My husband has always been a “biker”. Well, a biker at heart at least. In the beginning he was a
“magazine/Harley T-shirt” biker. He didn’t own a bike but dreamed often of the day he would. Honestly, I didn’t care either way. We were two very different people from two very different backgrounds.
I was born the youngest of four girls. My mom was 36 years old when she had me and I was most definitely her baby. I grew up in small town Olivet, I never really needed or wanted something I didn’t already have. My family wasn’t “loaded” but we had money. I began travelling with my parents at about the age of 8. I have been to more cocktail parties and fancy dinners than I can ever try and recall. I have seen the majority of the United States, stayed at the best hotels and mingled with the “upper crust” of society since I was a child.
I graduated high school in 1989 and there was no question I would attend college. I graduated college with a B.A. in English and Elementary Education. I am a certified Elementary teacher. I spent eight years teaching in the inner city of Kalamazoo. It was the best experience of my professional career. Basically, the design of my life was clear cut: college, job, marriage to a nice professional man and someday a family. But, things most certainly changed. The blueprints I thought were so rock solid were obviously written in pencil and meant to be changed. I made my own despite my mom’s utter lack of approval.
On a side note, because this makes the story so much more real, my mom was diagnosed with cancer right before I started my second year of college. It was a blood born cancer and initially she was given less than a year to live. At 19 years old, not married and no children and still a baby, basically this was the most devastating news I had ever heard.
Now back to my husband and I, we actually attended school together from K- high school. We became very good friends my senior year, but that was it, just friends. Like I said, I went to college did my thing and graduated. Badge and I remained close throughout my years in college. He knew about my mom’s cancer and was a great support system for me. But, somewhere along the way and completely unintentionally our great friendship turned into something so much better. It was so strange and completely took me off guard but I knew almost immediately he was the man of my “dreams”.
As I said, Badge was quite different from me. He was raised in a family of four brothers, he was the second to the youngest. They were poor; often had no food, lived with no water and electricity for weeks on end, had family that was in and out of prison and jail and Badge dropped out of college after only 1 year.
The differences for us didn’t seem to matter, we clicked in a way that I honestly can’t explain.
However, it wasn’t “us” that was the problem. It was my mom and she absolutely did NOT approve. She seriously didn’t believe people with such diverse backgrounds would be able to make it work. Badge had hair down to his butt, tattoos everywhere, only wore black motorcycle shirts and dropped out of college. Who would blame her for having serious reservations? It took him well over a year to win her over. She let her walls down and saw the good in him, ACTUALLY, she saw the great in him and respected that.
I was happy and knew that I was sincerely loved and appreciated by him.
My “biker” and I got married in 1996 and of course my mom was an integral part of the whole thing. But, remember my mom was sick and had been battling cancer for over 5 years now, a lot longer than anyone said she would. She went through several chemo treatments and countless surgeries. But she was alive! She was with us when we got married. Sadly, my mom died only 7 months after we were married. But the time leading up to the wedding and the time before she passed, she made it a point to make sure Badge knew she loved him dearly. She would say the words “ I love you” and please “call me mom” time after time. He was so happy, it was like an achievement he had won.
Two months after she died it happened! My husband bought a 1978 Shovelhead, his beloved mistress. I swear he walked on clouds for the next 15 years. I rode with him occasionally, not often. It just never felt like my thing, not really who I was.
We moved back to our hometown of Olivet in 2004 had another baby and started all over with new careers. One thing remained constant the love for that Ol’ Shovel. Around the latter part of 2009 Badge started discussing the possibility of club life; honestly the whole concept was a complete mystery to me. Unfortunately, the club that first piqued his interest, would have left him a single man. But, as his wife and knowing how very important it was to him, he was given that option. It was not a threat, it was an option. Thank GOD for the kids and I, he chose us.
A twist of fate and good luck landed us two houses from the President of the Thunder Knights M.C. Badge started “hanging around” the club, he loved everyone, the environment and how it made him feel a part of something unique. Naturally, I would eventually be introduced to this world so different from my own and was expected to become a part of it too. Admittedly I was very nervous the entire first year. I didn’t know how to maneuver myself, I felt insecure about what to say and how to even act. I have never hugged and kissed so many people in my entire life. Eventually, I found myself fitting in better than I had thought I would. I was able to go my own way, people knew me and I was enjoying myself. I started to ride everywhere with Badge and I loved it. I even got all the proper riding gear.
Badge was “patched” in June of 2011 and I was proud. I have learned so much and feel so blessed to be a part of this world I was so unsure of at first. It is truly a wonderful feeling to have so many friends.
I have learned we do things in this life that may not seem like “us” but because it’s important to others we go with the flow, so to speak. For example; can you see Badge in khaki shorts and a polo shirt toting some golf clubs? It was a sight to see. He did though, because my dad and my brother in-laws do and he wanted to be a part of it with them. Seriously, the golf thing didn’t really work out for Badge but I appreciated the effort.
Basically, I guess you don’t know until you try. You can’t really “judge a book” by its cover. I absolutely love my new world. I understand why Badge has such a deep passion for this life. It is an incredible adventure. And if I do say so myself, I am a pretty damn good ol’ lady!