Madonna And Chris
My father was born on August 08, 1917, in a small town in eastern North Carolina, and my mother was born on February 12, 1923. They both grew up in the same part of the state and eventually met in the 1930’s. The two were married on September 11, 1939. Having only completed the six and seventh grades, my parents lived in a time and place when education wasn’t important and a man took a job wherever he could find one. After having several children, my parents moved from eastern North Carolina, to a small industrial town located in the central part of the state, known as Burlington. Burlington was known for it’s cotton mills and textile plants and was home to Burlington Industries.
My father worked for Western Electric, which was known around the country and the world. Their contracts ensured Burlington’s placement on the “hit list” during the Cold War due to the manufacturing and testing of emerging defense technologies.
My parents already had three boys and one girl when I came along. I was born on July 22, 1961. By this time my mother was 38 years old, my father was 44, my oldest brother was 20 and my youngest brother was 7. My sister, who raised me until I was 4 years old, took care of me while my mother and father worked. She was 14 years old when I was born and 18 when she married and left home.
Every summer, when I was a child, my parents planted a huge garden in our back yard. I could remember crawling out of bed in my footed pajamas, sneaking out the back door and heading straight for the strawberry patch. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I would sit in the strawberry patch and eat fresh strawberries right out of the garden.
As I grew older I spent most my summers playing in the creek that ran through my neighborhood. I was constantly collecting frogs, salamanders, tadpoles, chipmunks, flying squirrels, crayfish, field mice, moles, snakes and anything else that I could find. I loved spending time in the woods and being around nature. Nature always seemed to communicate with me in special ways.
All throughout elementary school and middle school, I landed every lead part in all of the school plays. I could act, I could sing and I could dance. But all of this changed as I approached high school. My voice changed, and I became very introverted and very shy. I was hiding something from the world, so I stayed far, far away from the spot light.
Although I was raised Methodist, I attended a nearby Presbyterian Church, where I was saved at a very young age. None of my siblings went to church, nor did my parents. I guess they had had their fill of church and had gotten that out their system by the time I was born.
At night I would thumb through my parents dictionary and world atlas, and imagine traveling to places all around the country. I wrote down a list of places that I wanted to see when I grew up.
When I was a teenager, I would lock myself in my room, put on an Earth, Wind and Fire record, turn my record player up as loud as I could and dance around my room. I loved music and I loved to dance.
My father retired from Western Electric in the early 1970’s, and I graduated from high school in 1979. Since my parents didn’t graduate from high school, nor did any of my siblings, my high school graduation was a big deal to my family. While most of my classmates went to college after graduation, I was given the choice to either attend a community college or go to work in a factory. I attended a community college for a couple of years and then took a job in a factory, which my father helped me get through a connection he had with one of his ex-coworkers. I worked as a grinder, grinding down parts for an auto manufacturer.
After several months of “grinding” I decided I needed something more out of life.
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Disclaimer: This story is about my own personal connection with Madonna’s music, not Madonna herself. Her public persona is hers and hers alone. At no point during my story was I ever in contact with Madonna, or anyone from her staff. I can’t vouch for Madonna, just as she can’t vouch for me. It’s all about the music.