Grow up, Kenny


Author’s note: This story is about my dad and how he grew up when he was having his first kid. I chose to write this story because my dad is a role model to me, and I wanted to learn more about him when he was younger. The story is also about my sister Danielle and how she struggled as a toddler. The town of Lewistown was founded around the year 1795. The town is surrounded by mountains, one of which is Jack’s Mountain. The mountain got its name from a fur trader in the 18th century named Jack Armstrong.

On January 23, 1986, an eight-pound baby was born. The parents weren’t quite sure if it was the right time to have a baby. The father was in the delivery room that day as he was anxious to see his new baby girl. The father’s name was Kenneth Tyson, and he was overwhelmingly excited to be able to hold the newborn for the first time. The baby was born at the Lewistown Hospital in Lewistown, Pa. This hospital was a grandiose brick building, which was the only hospital in the area. The baby’s name was Danielle Lucina Tyson. The first name came from Ken’s middle name, which is Daniel, and her middle name came from Ken’s grandma’s name, Lucina.

Ken had been living in Lewistown ever since he was born, as this was his hometown. He lived on the outskirts of the town. Back then Lewistown had a great culture. The town was lively, and every day there were a lot of stores to shop at.

Lewistown was just a small town in the center of Pennsylvania. For entertainment, the town offered movie theatres like Miller Cinema Six. It also offered the McCoy House, a museum filled with Civil War gear. Lewistown was a town where almost everyone knew each other.

Ken Tyson was 23 years old when Danielle was born. Ken met Danielle’s mother, Karol, in high school. They dated for three years then got married in 1983. He and his wife, Karol, had been married for two years. The couple had thought about the decision to have a baby for a while until one day they decided it was the right time. The decision came around April 23, 1985. Ken had been out of high school for four years then, and he went straight into the workforce. He graduated from Lewistown High School. Ken graduated high school at the age of 17, the youngest in his graduating class.

When Ken found out that he and his wife were having a baby, he grew a huge smile and tears of joy began to stream down his face. That day changed his life. Finding out he was going to be a father, made him realize he was going to be responsible for another person’s life other than his own. He was scared that they were not ready to financially provide for the baby. That was the only issue with the decision making. The gender of the baby didn’t matter to him; he was ecstatic either way.

When the baby was born, both parents had jobs. Ken was working at Mexico Forge and Karol was working at Jamesway, a small department store in the town at the time. Both were hard workers at their jobs, trying to earn as much money as they could to make enough to provide for the baby.

A year after her birth, doctors noticed that Danielle didn’t have a hip socket. Ken and Karol were both nervous once they found out. Ken didn’t know how to react to this news. He knew something was wrong when Danielle couldn’t walk right. Both parents knew that this journey was going to be a long journey, to get Danielle to be able to walk right. Danielle had to wear a white rough material cast on her body, to get the hip right. Ken had to get up every night to attend to her. He and Karol both took turns doing this so that each could get a good night’s sleep.

While Danielle was in the body cast, Ken would always take her for walks in a wagon that was as red as a ripe tomato. While on these walks she got to smell the fresh country air and feel a nice breeze flow across her face. They would go for this walk every day. This started a bond between the father and daughter. Danielle enjoyed the walk because it gave her the chance to see the outdoors.

At the age of 2, the doctors decided to take the cast off. Ken and Karol were both grateful for it. Danielle would finally be able to do things a toddler does without having to fight with a cast. Both parents could not wait to see Danielle do those things. Ken would still take her for walks, though. Danielle would grow into a healthy little girl after this. Both parents were proud of the little girl she was and how she acted. They were proud of the job they did to raise Danielle.

After a couple of years, the parents started to not see eye to eye. In the year 1988, they got divorced. After the divorce Ken and Karol came to the decision to share custody of Danielle. She would stay at Karol’s, then come to Ken’s house and stay. Holidays each would get Danielle for a half of the day. Every other weekend one of the parents would have Danielle. Both felt like this was the best for her, as both didn’t want her to be hurt.

Ken stayed single for a couple years, until he met Kay. They met at a diner called Red’s, where she worked as a waitress. They ended up dating for a couple years, until Ken decided to propose. They got married in 2000. Around May 14, 2000, the couple decided to have a child, and the child would be due in February. The couple were delighted to know that they were going to have a baby boy. Ken was working at Marlett Homes in Lewistown at this time. He and Kay started to think of names. They looked through many different baby names and couldn’t decide on one just yet.

On February 14, 2001, a 7-pound 9-ounce baby boy was born. The couple decided to name him Colton Garis Tyson. The name Colton came from the Colt 45 pistol, and Garis came from Ken’s dad Paul’s middle name. Garis was Paul’s mother’s maiden name, and she gave it to all her children as their middle name.