My Story – Sunny Side Up

What a journey my life has been! When I was about 11 or 12 years old I remember asking my dear grandmother Nanny Bracken about some happenings and relationships that confused me. Her answer reflected her training as a school teacher, including in Manchester, VT at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home of Robert Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, and his wife Mary and their children where she taught their children (and other as well, I believe). She was recruited from nearby Castleton Normal School (now Castleton State College) in Castleton, VT. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, she said, “Joey, life is stranger than fiction.” That is certainly true of my life which has been far more strange than I could have ever imagine.

In an 1832 vision given to Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restored Church of Jesus Christ (organized in 1832), Joseph was told, “(W)here God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever . . . They who dwell in his presence . . . (will) see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace.:” (D&C 76:92 & 94) That implies that until that glorious event our perception of ourselves and others is imperfect, and perhaps very flawed and incomplete. So to share some of “my story” will miss the mark which is why I say “sunny side up” since this is about me according to my biased version of my better self, my sunny side, and will omit almost all of my troublesome aspects and doings.

Frankly, I would not dare to share my story but for the fact that through Christ I have mourned and repented of my misdeeds many times over, especially for the hearts I wounded in thoughtless selfish ways. So I will put my best foot forward, and leave my sins well behind for the sake of those I love and cherish so dearly for them to ponder as they make their own way. With that caveat, I hold to the words of my wise and loving grandfather Tom Bracken, “You might as well toot your own horn Joey, because nobody else will.”

I suppose that my life could be divided into three eras, (1) my formative years with Mom and Dad (Helena Patricia Bracken and Robert Charles Dupee, Sr.) and her parents my “Nanny and Tom”, (2) my wandering years away from Mom and family, and lastly (3) life with Liz (Elizabeth Alta Nelson) my prospective eternal companion. These were the souls that fostered a higher standard than the one I was often so naturally inclined towards. They also paid the price of loving me into being a better man. Nevertheless, I offer the following categories to layout my story.

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