STEVE’S CHILDHOOD WAS NOT ON A SILVER PLATTER.
I was born in the state or Oregon in 1947. My first home was on a farm east of Union, Oregon, where my father worked. Later we moved to Melton Freewater because my father was in the Oregon National Guard after he returned from World War 2. He was a heavy drinker and it caused a lot of problems in my parents’ relationship, which shortly led them to divorce.
My mother was left to care for me as a single mom who received no child support from my father. This was a struggle for her but she never gave up to provide what she could for me. I remember a time when we had only canned tomatoes to eat; those she had canned with my grandma and aunt.
After a few months my mother began dating a few men. She finally met a man named Richard from Oklahoma whom she married. Richard’s wife had been killed in a farming accident and left him widowed with two girls who were living with his brother and wife in Oklahoma. Richard and my mother were married in 1957. The next year my half-brother was born. We traveled all over Oregon and Washington because Richard was in construction work.
My schooling was so bad that I was sent to live with my father and his wife, Dora, and a half brother in their home in Walla Walla, Washington. As I started to school there, I was told that I would be held back a grade to try to get my education back in line with the other kids. This caused me some personality problems and I did not get along with Dora. So I was sent back to live with my mother and Richard.
In 1962 we moved to Oklahoma and I then met my two step-sisters. We lived in Spencer, OK and I started to Junior High School in September 1962. This was a better place for me to meet new friends and I felt like I came home where I belonged!
I met a young Christian girl who lit my life up. She changed me in so many ways and we planned to get married when we graduated High School. However, we decided to break off our relationship in order to be sure we were committed to each other. We agreed to separate. I met another girl whose name was Margret. I thought she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Margret and I got married in 1966 when I was twenty years old. I started back to night school that fall. I had a great job working for Oklahoma Natural Gas Company. The marriage was great until I got a draft notice to report for a physical for the service in August, 1967.