I was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, a small town of about 12,000 people, located about forty miles south of Tulsa. Financially, my family was struggling there, so we moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when I was seven years old. We made this move so my dad could work in the family business, Piccadilly Cafeterias, started and primarily owned by my mother’s brother, his wife, and in-laws.
Consequently, I was raised in South Louisiana and learned the deep south way of life. I had a speech impediment, stuttering, for all of my younger years, which gave me special challenges as I grew up. I attended an all boys’ private high school, where I made many good friends.
After high school, I enrolled at Louisiana State University, where I came to believe that the consumption of beer was more noble than the pursuit of good grades. Being president of my social fraternity gave me the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills. LSU inspired me with a passion for Tiger football. I still get goosebumps when I hear the Tiger Band play “Hold That Tiger”. Yes, Saturdays in the fall are reserved for the Tigers.
I managed to graduate from LSU with a BA in Communications. Upon graduation, I applied for both Air Force and Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was rejected due to a hearing loss. Subsequently, the Army drafted me but turned me down again due to the same hearing loss. I was spared the Viet Nam experience.
Free of college and military duty, I spent a period of 30 years in retail management with Montgomery Ward. During my career with Ward’s, I spent time in store management, strategic planning, with multiple store responsibilities. After Ward’s failed, I spent time in management with several other retailers. In 2005, we had an opportunity to purchase my brother’s residential construction business in the suburbs of Chicago. The 2008 financial meltdown had an adverse affect on the housing market, so after four years in the business, we decided to move back to Texas to be near our family. I retired at that time and began to explore a lifetime desire to write. To date, my two novels, a personal memoir, short stories and essays are the outcome of this endeavor.
As a small boy, I dreamed of being a big league ballplayer. I tried hard but, unfortunately, talent was a prerequisite for following that dream. The Brooklyn Dodgers was my boyhood favorite team but they ruined my interest for the game when they moved to Los Angeles.
My interest in baseball was rekindled while living in Kansas City for three years following the Royals. George Brett, the Royals’ best player, reminded me that any dream, baseball or otherwise, should be pursued with reckless abandon and intense desire to succeed.
My three children, Allyson, Courtney, and Jesse, are successful adults pursuing their life goals. We have six grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Time does march on.
My wife, Jan, is an incredible help in my writing – from cheerleader to editor, she does it all. She has so many interests, it’s impossible to list them all, but right now yoga is at the top of her list.
Will there be more books? I have a couple of ideas, but time will tell. Jeremiah has a mind of his own. Right now, I just hope you enjoy my efforts and that Jeremiah Overstreet and friends bring a little happiness to you and perhaps give you something to think about.
“John Wayne never used a straw…”