This is the life story of Chris Crinion as told to LuAnne Crinion on August 5, 1990.
LuAnne: If you were to do a time line or outline of your life. What would this look like? What would be the title or theme of each part?
Chris: Well, I guess I would be looking at my life in terms of for the most part school ages, like preschool and elementary and then high school and then college. With two periods and two marriages in between so I guess it would be about six units.
LuAnne: Were you told anything unusual about your birth?
Chris: No, there wasn’t anything mentioned other than the time of day and even that I believe it was a regular six o’clock in the evening type of delivery it was either six in the evening or six in the morning. But, in those days births were fairly safe and my recollection is that it was a normal birth.
LuAnne: Do you remember anything about your first year of life?
Chris: No, I really don’t.
LuAnne: What characteristics do you remember most about your grandparents during your childhood years?
Chris: Well, I guess I never really knew my grandfather on my mother’s side although I know everyone spoke very fondly of him and I guess he was quite a character, a real social being, loved to play cards and that type of thing. My grandmother I really didn’t know that much during those early years. And my grandparents on my father’s side I really didn’t know although my grandmother on my father’s, my father’s mother was very close to him. Mostly my father related to two aunts who Aunt Merna and Aunt Freda whom I remember as being like took the place of grandparents.
LuAnne: How would you describe your parents?
Chris: Well I think they were happily married and I guess we made up what was the nuclear family just for the most part my older sister and myself and then much later than my younger sister. But we were always a compact family. We didn’t have the type of extended family that I have seen in my more recent years here in Maine. I mean we did visits to my grandmother but when we did that it was my mother and my sister and myself, my father didn’t join us, and we really were an entity in ourselves. I think we weren’t that closely related to a church or closely related to other family members, actually most of our family friends of that time were business associates and my father’s.
LuAnne: What do you think you inherited from your parents?
Chris: Well, I think I’ve learned from my father’s mistakes and I think I’ve really had my mother’s warm heart and strong desire to serve people. And I think I’ve gotten from my father a real taste for the real quality of life and knowing what the good things in life and culture are.
LuAnne: What are your earliest memories of your sisters ?
Chris: Well, I remember my older sister as being like the character of Betty in Father Knows Best. She was very she seemed always more grownup and mature than I was and ready to bloom and go out on her own which I think she did quite young but, before she did so she at one point took the role of my mother, when my mother was ill and I think I’ve always it’s been kind of difficult for me to take the role reversal and I have a pretty good memories of my older sister. And my younger sister was like almost a second child to me I mean I just my parents were having difficulties when she was born and I like tended to look out for her. It really brought out the maternal instincts in myself, and develop them.
LuAnne: What was growing up in your neighborhood like?
Chris: Well, I’ve lived in a variety of neighborhoods and I would say for the most part it was always safe existence and really even in the poor neighborhoods I lived in was I never felt like I was living in a slum or something like that my parents really dwelled on trying to have us live in the places that would be the most appropriate and. Although I guess I must say with my neighborhoods other than for immediate neighbors I never felt a real relationship to the people around me.
LuAnne: What did you like doing as a young child?
Chris: As a young child I mostly enjoyed bicycle riding and playing
sports being in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and active in the YMCA.. I really had a number of best friends among my boyhood chums but I didn’t really, well, I had some friends of the opposite sex also but I had a great childhood I always think that was one of my best stages of live.
LuAnne: During your elementary years did you have a favorite teacher and how did they influence you if you did?
Chris: I had a couple of favorite teachers, my second grade teacher was one I was infatuated with I guess the one that most school children I had a crush on a teacher in their lives. She was always very nice to me and made everyone in class feel like they were really worth something. Then I had a my six grade teacher who I idolized but I never felt that the same amount of it wasn’t respect but I just I don’t think she thought I was going to go very far. Although she was very nice to we and I visited her house a couple of times and she was very encouraging very encouraging.
LuAnne: What would you pick out as the most significant event of your life between the ages of 6 and 16?
Chris . Well, I guess the most significant event in my life would have occur closer to when I was almost 16 and that was when my father began to have trouble with job keeping. And our family was thrown into an economic tailspin and we had to leave the social environment that we were in and go to another one a much lower and more economically depressed type of, it really was a losing of confidence and a real struggle to regain ourselves and I’d say that was probably the most traumatic thing plus at that time my mother was going through a lot of emotional problems that had a disasterous effect on the family too.
LuAnne: What is some of the best memories of school?
Chris: I guess the best memories of school were the friends I developed and the things we did and the activities school for me I always loved going to school it seemed like a world like a world where people could succeed and people were nice to each other there wasn’t a lot of
violence and anger thrown around and I just thought I had a lot of positive experience, acting in plays and participating in sports and even getting some good grades I mean I wasn’t a straight A student by any means but I did have some success in school and things just seemed to work like they were suppose to.
LuAnne: What was being a teenager like, what was some of the biggest difficulties and some of the biggest joys?
Chris . Well, I had it pretty good teenage life I had a little bit of a weight problem and I guess my personality carried me through a lot of things. I ran with a group that was considered one of the more popular groups in the area of the high school I guess. I didn’t date a great: deal but I did have a couple of relationships that were friendly type relationships nothing I got so infatuated that I had a lot of broken hearts or anything like that. It was my forays into encounters of the opposite sex were good at that time and I think generally my teenage years were except for dealing with my family’s problems were good times.
LuAnne: What friendships were important to you during your adolescents.
Chris: Well, mostly the friendship of my best friend and that they were like a family for me when my family was having some real problems. They also gave me that base of knowing what a family should be like that works and its functional. They met some of my needs although I mean I could never be a part of their family as far as a member I think they tried to make me feel as comfortable as they could.
LuAnne: What did you like to do for fun and enjoyment as a teenager?
Chris: Well, I guess my teenage years my fun and enjoyment things were mostly related to some kind of sports, and again I maintained my ability to ride bicycles and I really didn’t drive until my late adolescent and that wasn’t a recreational thing to me, but I did like to travel and I did like to go out with other people I did like to dance and do things like that. I like to be involved in a lot of social activities. I love to go to parties I loved going to family reunions and things like that. Even work became part of my recreation and when I started working I really found myself to be happy with that. Happy to be held in a position of responsibility.
LuAnne: What are some of your memories of your college years?
Chris: Well, my college years were so spread out when I first went to college I really wasn’t ready for college and while I was having great social relationships and having a lot of success with getting what I wanted to get. An education wasn’t one of the things that was a high priority for me and I was certainly glad to graduate from high school and I made quite a big deal about graduating in the upper half of my class. I really played down the fact that the school I went to had a low academic performance and most of my friends came from the suburb school which you know that if I had graduated from that school I probably would have graduated from the lower half of the class, but was able to get into school and then I kind of squandered that activity and to me I kind of went through a period of time when people were really being good to m and helping me but I wasn’t able to make the most of my opportunities and it wasn’t until I worked for a couple of years and entered into my first marriage relationship that I found out what I really wanted to do and then my second stab at college was more successful. Maybe the fact that I was going part time and only taking a couple of courses a semester three courses. I had a lot more success and it was a much more gratifying experience. But all in all I still held that happiness was being in an educational setting and having people lead discussions, I always liked the instructors who tended to be concerned about you and concerned about life in general not just that they were there and knew everybody I mean if they if people felt like they knew everything and I had to argue or things like that I just kind of did it for the semester and then I was glad to be done with it.
LuAnne: What were your hopes and dreams as you entered adulthood?
Chris: Well, I guess my hopes were for a family and my dreams were for to have money to do what I wanted to do and then be established in a community and have a house and have the ability to travel at times of the year. To be able to celebrate holidays in a stylish way and but
I’ve always been a kind of a desire to be just a middle class working person with a family, and I didn’t want to be the super rich and I didn’t want to be the super powerful I just wanted to be safe and secure and enjoy life.
Chris: Well, I think the stressors for me have always been the money and I’ve just never felt like I’ve been secure as far as having enough money. I seemed to have had good success in finding jobs and keeping jobs and even progressing in jobs but never to the point where I felt there was a strong savings account with you know money to buy a house. I have never I have always felt that our budget has just been on very just getting enough to make ends meet and not doing any better than that. Certainly not being able to provide everything I’d like to to the people within my life and at certain times feeling really like I just could not live up to the things people expected from me. Although I do when my children consider themselves coming from a poor family take some exception to that because I feel in many ways they were they got so much more then other kids they just don’t see kid living in abject poverty. I guess another stressor I would see is that ability to make good and not necessarily screw up and I don’t live in abject fear of being fired or anything like that but I guess from seeing my father lose everything. I have that feeling that the ability to succeed is very important and. I just I don’t know I want to move up and not ever fall backwards so that does bother me. And not to have given up a house at one point in my life is I think more of a disaster than I really gave myself I still haven’t forgiven myself for it it bothers me. I guess
the other stressors is just maintaining relationships and trying to be sensitive to other peoples needs and be there for them and not to be able to keep communicating and when you can’t communicate I think there’s a real indication that we have a problem.
LuAnne., What family or social celebrations, traditions or rituals were important in your life?
Chris Well, the major holidays were always the important and the high ones. Christmas was the most important holiday to us. And I don’t know if it was done in the religious context which I think I’ve seen that more in my life than my birth family’s life. But, holidays were always a time when all of us came together and I think the evolution of my family as it is today and the expansion of my wife’s family I think that’s one thing I really reap the benefit is that they put such a value on the holidays. It seems so natural to me and I really look forward to those times Christmas, Thanksgivings, and Birthdays.
LuAnne: What gifts either tangible or intangible are important to you?
Chris: Well, I guess the intangible gifts are just the ability to be able to have people to interact with me and that they listen when I talk and that I know when to stop talking. That I’m perceived as somewhat as a popular person. I guess to have my full use of my physical faculties is another gift. Having had the experiences of people, working with people who are in stages of well not fully functional they either have to wear special equipment or have things like dialysis or something like that or they don’t have full use of their vision or any use of their vision. I think I have is in working order and for the most part, and that I guess the gift of having people around me that are supportive and that want to see me succeed and I value that as a gift.
LuAnne: What was your first experience with death and what was it like for you?
Chris: Well, my first experience with death was probably the death of my Aunt Freda which to me was a very scary experience and I don’t know the most impressionable thing I think of is that after the funeral the family gathered and it was like a party and I felt it was so ridiculous and how could these people who supposedly missed this person celebrate and laugh and joke. I thought to me it was a very lonely and filled with despair time and I just couldn’t comprehend it. And I’ve really seen death in many other ways and even to people much closer to me then my Aunt Freda. My mother’s death was particularly disturbing but I did see a time and it did bring our family together and it rekindle our relationship between my father and myself and I had a recent card…. with death which I tend to joke about in my private moments but to me it was a very spiritual and moving experience, and again he was a person I envisioned with no friends and everyone came to her because she has lost her mother and I really learned a lot from that experience.
LuAnne: What belief’s or ideals do you think your parents tried to teach you?
Chris: I think mostly it was to care for other people and but at the same time take care of yourself and take care of your family and be ethical.
LuAnne: What special people have you known in your life?
Chris: Well, I’ve known people who have been successful in medicine people that I guess people who have been successful is the key factor and I tried to use those models in my own life and the other special people I guess I’ve come across are people that really through no fault of their own have been created in a less than perfect sense and still they have a life and they’re very they have taught me a lot as far as you know what we take for granted in life that goes sour after you know something physical happens and I’ve been very lucky to come across people that have been important in my life
LuAnne: Who shaped and influenced your life the most?
Chris: I’d say my mother has shaped my life the most. I think she showed me one that you have to take care of yourself or you can’t do the things you want to do for others. And two you have to show kindness to everyone.
LuAnne: What were the crucial decisions in your life? Have there been any mistakes in your life? How have you overcome and learned from your difficulties?
Chris: I think I made one crucial mistake in my life and that was just getting myself professionally over my head and rather than being patience and looking at all the aspects of moving forward when I should have just stayed back and waited and letting somebody I really didn’t know put myself into a position where I really screwed up myself and lost one of the things I thought that I cherished at the tine.
LuAnne: What do you think has been the happiest and most productive time in your life?
Chris: Well, I don’t know if I can equate the happiest and most productive at the sane times in my life. But I feel as happy now as I’ve ever felt and I think for right now I’m being the most productive that I can in terms of materialistic views. I mean I did accomplish my goals in education but they weren’t during happy times and I think I was trying to use that as an escape to keep myself from thinking about the adversity of my situation, but right the combination seems to be as mostly as much equal as I think it could ever be.
LuAnne: What have been some of the accomplishments of your life?
Chris: Well, I think the accomplishments have been one; of having the
family that I’ve always wanted, having a son and then adopting a daughter and I’ve filled my expectations of having children, even I guess having a young friend whose almost like a pseudo grandchild to me is in that realm of family and establishing family. I think I can think of a lot of different friends that I really treasure as far as knowing them. The thing I just talked about before about getting my masters degree in education to me is a very important thing. One that I think is almost unbelievable to me at times looking back at what former teachers thought of my potential and things like that. I think being able to land some of the jobs that I’ve had especially the one I’m doing now is something that I should be proud of obtaining. I guess of finding love again after I thought love wasn’t going to be possible for me after the disillusion of my first marriage. I think it was something I’m very proud of, thankful for, grateful for.
LuAnne: What role does religion or spirituality play in you life? Would you call yourself religious? Have you ever had a religious experience?
Chris: Well, I think more recently I think I have considered myself a more religious and spiritual person. I think I’ve had a couple of what the question was spiritual moments or religious experiences, I can remember the most clearest was when my wife and I went to an engagement encounter, I really felt a deep sense spiritualness at a Mass we had in the evening a midnight type Mass. I think I was very close to God at that time the second well, the other type of religious experience was when I was confirmed I really felt like I was being really brought into a community and all the trappings were you know very impressive to me. My wedding too was a very impressive event in my mind, one that now I wish you know we could do something to relive some of those that spirit that was such a joyful time and I kind of felt that during my sister’s
wedding but I really felt mine was much more connected to the Lord.
LuAnne: Has imagination or fantasy been part of your life?
Chris: It has been a part of my life. It’s a part that I’m not very proud of. I think often I use fantasy to I guess to feed my ego and the fantasies that I have are things I certainly would not feel comfortable about talking about to anyone else. It’s kind of a constant battle to becoming a religious and spiritual person to leave that fantasy of a very earthy person. It’s something that I would never be friends with the person I see in my fantasies, and to me it is just that and often I wish I wouldn’t even have those urges.
LuAnne: Do you feel you have and inner strength and if so where does that come from?
Chris: Well, most recently I think it comes from Jesus Christ and I often do pray to find that inner strength and to help me cope with things in my life. I have to say I am dependent on that spirit.
LuAnne: What do you think your life will be like in ten years?
Chris: Well, hopefully I’ll be in an employment setting where the job I have is fairly specified and I won’t be trying to do a thousand things at one time. I’m hoping that our financial situation continues to develop. I hope that we have an abundant amount of resource so we can do the things that we want to do. I would certainly like to be retired in ten years if that is at all possible so Lou Anne and I could do traveling and just really live life to its fullest. I still have a strong passion for serving my fellow man but I also have a strong desire to do some things with my wife and we would be just able to do that and not be worried about when the next supper is coming.
LuAnne: What do you think your life will be like in thirty years?
Chris: Well, I still have a lot of that feeling that I’m not going to live forever. And I guess I would see myself in thirty years at the point where I would have hopefully done what I needed to do to be ready to meet my Lord in a spiritual way. The people I see at seventy, eighty, and ninety now I hope some type or form of medicine finds us so we don’t have to be suffering like they suffered. I guess I’m looking for a life without end but then a life in my current biological status
if it were better. I mean I would love to be and feel like I did when I was eighteen. I guess I can I’ve made my adjustments so I can live with the body of a seventy year old but I’m not looking forward to it.
LuAnne: Do you have any advise for the younger generation?
Chris; Well, I guess I have to go with what my mother has impressed upon me and that is you have to be considerate of others and meet others needs. But then you also have to take care of yourself because if you’re not good to yourself then you’re no good to anyone else.
LuAnne: Is there anything that you have left out of your life story?
Chris: I’m sure there is. There’s so many memories and things that I’ve thought about, family members that I haven’t mentioned that have always been brought up to me. I haven’t mentioned my pets that I still to this day I miss. I think there’s a vital role in the other aspects of life and we are only part of the system and I just sometimes I look at my life in a very egocentric ways. I didn’t really bring up a lot of the things that I really fear and the violence of people and although I fear a lot of the things I watch on T.V. and read are things that are violent in nature and again I think that comes from that fantasy of wanting to be something else that I am. I didn’t talk about not going into military service when I was kind of brought up that was part of my life and I really should have and I’m living with that afterwards. But yes, I’m sure there are lots of things I have forgotten.
LuAnne: What would the title of your life story be?
Chris: The evolution of a caring man. I think would be probably the title I would like to see of my life story.