I met Lorraine at the Pittsburgh Racquet Club in Monroeville, PA. I had taken a year off school to regain some “sanity” in my life. I had already gone 4 years, but had one more to go to finish my dual degree program. I was a tennis pro, and she was a culinary assistant in the members nutritional center (also called a waitress to the unrefined). Despite the manager warning me that I shouldn’t “associate with the staff” I found her irresistible, and we started going out. Within a few months I told her we were going to marry, and while she had her doubts, I eventually wore her down. I really made out on the marriage since 3 year old Michael was included - a veritable "package deal". I was doubly blessed with an “instant family”.
We were married in jeans and plain shirts, in Lorraine's back yard by John Guest – an international speaker, Episcopal Priest and friend of the family. We then made our way back to State College for me to finish my last year in College. During the Penn State homecoming football game, Lorraine gave birth to Nathan, and before my first semester was over we were a family of 4. Having little room for #4, we converted one of our closets to a bed for Nate - we thought the better alternative between that and the dresser drawer. We lived in a mobile home 10 miles from campus, and our car situation was such that I had to frequently hitch hike to get to class. I also learned how easily pipes freeze in the winter when you have a mobile home. Lorraine also was on crutches for a while that year, so all in all, it was a challenging year to say the least.
My first job out of college was for ServiceMaster Industries – managing housekeeping departments in hospitals. My first assignment was in Akron, Ohio. Nina was promptly born 14 months after Nate, while we were in Akron. We lived in federally subsidized housing and qualified for both food stamps and the WIC program due to the literal poverty wages I was paid; but it was a job, and we were happy. I found “interesting things” that people would throw out (working in housekeeping, I became the Sultan of Trash), cleaned them up, and would bring them home instead of buying toys. Hey, the kids didn’t know any different – they played with whatever I brought them.