When I was 12 years old (1969), I experienced two events that changed the course of my life: I got my own paper route, and my mom drove me to the bank and opened a checking account in my name. The reason she opened the account was because she didn’t want the job of writing a check every week to the company that owned the newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. When we got home from the bank, she taught me how to write checks. When the first bank statement arrived in the mail, she taught me how to reconcile the account.
I’m going to share something with you that I probably should not be sharing. I began writing my weekly Adoration Letter more than 13 years ago. Over the years, I’ve had people express surprise that I’m willing to share so much about my personal life. Most adults who are over the age of 50 are much more private about their personal lives than I am. It has been my experience that if I’m open and honest about my own personal strengths, weaknesses, faults, and experiences, people will be more receptive to what I have to say.
Her name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson. Have you ever heard of her? Me neither. The first time I was aware that she existed was last week when I saw a headline on a news website that said she had made an announcement that she was quitting Twitter. Apparently, several people on Twitter had posted cruel comments and memes about her size and weight.
I recently listened to an interview of a business consultant who said that he blames Thomas Jefferson for many of the problems in the United States, because Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The consultant said that he had no problem with the life and liberty part of the phrase, but that Jefferson’s use of the words “pursuit of happiness” was a mistake.
I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family of 17 children. I have two older brothers and two older sisters. My oldest sister’s name is Mary Kathryn “Mary Kay” Hersemann. Mary Kay and her husband, Joel, raised three children: Angelica, Joseph “Joey,” and Alanna. On Sunday, December 1, 2019, Joey was killed as a result of an automobile accident. He left behind his wife, Katie, and three young children, Layla, Madison, and Sam. Joey was 38 years old when he died.
Last month, my wedding-photographer daughter Teresa scheduled a date and time for a family picture. After working with everyone to accommodate their schedules, she sent a text that provided directions on how to get to the area of Bradley Park where we were going to meet for the picture. The time that she scheduled was immediately after an 11:00 AM Sunday Mass at St. Philomena Church.
During the years that my children were growing up — the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s — my wife, Georgette, made sure that they were exposed to as much music as possible. When she was pregnant with each of them, she would pray, read, and sing out loud, so they would develop a love for God, reading, and music. After they were born, she did the same thing while she nursed each of them.