08 September 2020 - 06 December 2020
Senior Memory Book
My name is Mark Samuel Keeley, but everyone knows me as “Sam”. I live in Tulsa, near 21st and Peoria. My father moved into this house about three years ago. I began living full time with him in March. My life goal is to create things, as I find my greatest joy and purpose in life by fixing a problem. To achieve this goal, I plan to attend college and earn a degree in CAD and 3D modeling. CAD is the modeling software most companies use to design prototypes with, and I have self taught myself some things about it as well, running a small 3d printing company. Designing the parts, or working on models for either a production company, or 3D modeling for a movie or video game group would be fantastic. Another goal in my life is to one day be able to have the time and skill to create a costume that would pass the standards to join the 501st Legion, which is a Star Wars group that wears screen accurate costumes and goes and brightens people's days, like little ones in cancer wards in hospitals. The goal isn't the costume but to make people smile.
My great grandmother was a business woman who worked as the head administrator to ConocoPhillips upper management. Another attribute of hers was her thriftiness. This is something that my father picked up, and both have benefitted from it, allowing them to help out their loved ones in times of need or to give the family opportunities for the future. She also took the time to raise her children instead of working. I am grateful that there has always been a parent who has been able to stay at home not working to spend time raising their children.
Making sure to always put her children first and valuing education, in which she earned an associates degree,all of her kids went to college and two earned master's degrees. My family has always placed great importance on earning a degree from a university or college. The importance has always been on the degree, not the location or specific institution, but the higher education in general to go and achieve what you want to do. The final piece of my great grandmother that still is felt in the family is the appreciation of other places and the outdoors. She started the family trend of going on road trips, especially to Colorado. I have great memories of skiing in Colorado and of driving in between towering mountains on the one lane winding roads. For all that she instilled in the family is why I chose to write about her, as I feel that a lot of what she did can still be found in me and my siblings today.
When I was young, I was a very talkative child and constantly asked questions on how things worked and why they did a specific function. I have no memories of my parents living together,or of a consistent house or residence that my mom lived in. I spent a lot of my time with my Grandpa Doug, who was a physics professor at Northeastern University. He lived in Tahlequah until I was six. I was enamored with dinosaurs, and after about the age of two, if the book was not Doctor Seuss's The Lorax I would only want to read dinosaur encyclopedias for my bedtime stories. I ate at Jason’s Deli every other Sunday after church but called it Sam’s Jelly. I played with a lot of legos, and transformers as well; they are fun puzzles to figure out. My mom spent about six months in New Mexico starting a new chain branch for Rib Crib. I did not like that, and it got to the point where I would not talk on the phone to her, because she needed to come home. I met Ruth, my step mom when I was two years old, and was the ring bearer for her and my dad when I was four. Andrew, my oldest brother was born when I was four and a half, and mom was pregnant with Olivia, my oldest sister that is not a stepsibling, when Steven, who was my first step dad went to jail for opioid addiction and domestic abuse. I never spent more than two or three days at a time at either parents’ house, up until ninth or tenth grade. I still have my room at Grandpa Doug’s, with my legos there today. I visit every Wednesday and Sunday when I can, but at least once a week.
The first years of school for me were at a small school in Broken Arrow. There were many different activities and a table covered with planes and model space shuttles. I attended this school for preschool and kindergarten, and I did preschool twice. In First Grade, I began attending Robert E. Lee Elementary, which is now known as Council Oaks. My first teacher was Mrs. Crabapple, a very short tempered crone who retired within my first month of school. The second teacher I had was Mrs. Outlaw, who had lived in all the states that start with O. My mom met my second step dad around this time; they are still married. Grandpa Doug picked me up every Tuesday and Thursday, while still living in Tahlequah. In second grade, Nancy Stevens was my teacher ( named one of my mom’s cars after her, Nancy the Navigator), and at that point, I was placed in the gifted and talented program. My deskmate and my best friend during grade school was Greyson Miller, and we were desk mates and gifted and talented buddies. Jaxon, my brother, was also born when I was in second grade. Some other things that happened were me being the lead of Scarlett's Web as Wilbur the pig, and reading all of the Harry Potter books in the first semester. I also started scouts that year. When I completed the series, my great aunt Gerry surprised me with opening night tickets to go see the Half Blood Prince in theaters at the Warren. Grandpa Doug and Grandma Elizabeth moved to Broken Arrow that year. I still have a room at the house they moved into.
Third grade was an interesting year. Tom got a job in Edmond as the manager of a country club. Tom and my mom moved at the start of the year, while I stayed in Tulsa with my dad to finish the first semester at Lee. Driving back and forth between Tulsa and Oklahoma City was pretty boring, although that is when I figured out how to wiggle my ears, which I can do up and down, back and forth, and one at a time. After Christmas, I moved back to staying with my mom. I got a phone for Christmas that year-- blue brick that with a fun slide out keypad let me call my family more often. I got my hands on a complete collection of magic magazines from 1984 to 2006, and began my infatuation with magic tricks. Edmond was a place where I got along with people easily, but I did not have any super close friends. That would be the result of split houses, moving halfway through the year, and never having time to be able to invite my peers over. It stayed that way until middle school. Mom and Tom got married in June, and I walked Mom down the aisle.
The fourth grade I moved schools again, which led to being the new kid for the second time in one year, which really started a trend for me.I went to Lone Star elementary school and had Ms Walton as my music teacher. She taught us how to play recorders, and moved me up to the middle school choir. I quite enjoyed that year. Because of how well I was doing, I was on sixth grade spelling lists with no issue, and still hold the record for AR Points that year at 1104 total points. I'm proud of that, and liked being recognized as an erudite. Saw the Smithsonians for the first time that spring when my dad took me on a trip to Washington D.C. , and saw the Apollo 11 command module. and began my phase of minecraft. The friends I had were all weirdos (me included) but I was happy, and enjoyed the asinine conversations of 10 year olds who had solved the world's problems.
Fifth grade was an interesting year. I met Lantz, and we are still excellent friends. He was the mastermind behind trying to start an airsoft team, and I appreciate that he did that. Introduced me to a hobby that I still enjoy in the present. It is an amazing combination of fitness, muscle memory, and control. The game itself is similar to paintball or laser tag, with a heavier emphasis on the immersion and realism in comparison. Another great thing about Fifth grade was learning about Doctor Who, which is a Sci-Fi series that I really enjoyed until a couple of years ago, when the writing really degraded into political correctness instead of traveling this vast and amazing universe. I also knocked my front teeth out for the first time in fifth grade, shattering them past the gum and bone line. And then got extremely well acquainted with ‘All I want for Christmas are my two Front Teeth”. I am now known as the Christmas Bonus for dentists in my family, because I’ve knocked out my front teeth five times as of this writing.
Where did I grow up is always a fun question for me to be asked. If having to answer with a location, I generally answer Tulsa, or Sapulpa for simplicity’s sake. With honesty I have moved environments, and houses for so long that where I grew up0` is the people that were around me, not towns or houses. The people that stand out as important in shaping me in who I am today are easy to list and describe though. My Grandfather Douglas Harrington is the man I aspire to be. He is intelligent, generous and disciplined in his life. He retired a few years ago from being a physics professor at Northeastern State University. He has given me a love for reading, for gardening. Spongebob every saturday with him was always enjoyable. When I was young, my mom went to Roswell, New Mexico to help start up a Rib Crib in the town, as the company was expanding and she worked for them. I stayed the entire time with Grandpa and Grandma. He has modelled strength to me. His first wife went to an asylum and then kidnapped his first born, who he didn’t see for years. He had Uncle Will and Patrick with his second wife, who passed away from breast cancer. He met my grandmother the year his second wife passed. They married when my dad was four, and never had any kids together. His life is a testament to the fact that as terrible as it can be, you can still choose to be kind and gentle. The strength of being kind even when hurt is sometimes forgotten. Pain does not make someone kind, or stronger, rather it is the ones who God blesses and helps to turn that negativity into light. My father has taught me that it does not matter what other people think of you, achieve what you want to. He was an average student, and a party animal, and still is a true socialite. He went to Oklahoma State University for financial planning. He met my mom in Tahlequah, they had me. Even going through the mess of having a kid and not being married or out of college, my dad made good decisions. He changed schools to go to Northeastern State University for a cheaper college, and to have help from his four parents in raising me. When my mom went back to sapulpa to move in with her parents, my dad moved into a condo with his stepbrother Kirk, who still lives there to this day. He met Ruth, my stepmom and has never divorced. He and Ruth have given me two wonderful siblings that I love so much. My mother has taught me love. As ironic or oxymoronic it may sound, she has. She will always try to put her kids first, and that is an admirable trait. My relationship with her has taught me how love is not an emotion. It is a promise to always care for the other person, because sometimes they may not be able to care for you. If someone is loved by me, it truly means that I will always be available to help them. Doesn’t matter what they did, I don’t care.
My first crush was a girl named Amelia Huntsman, who I am still friends with. We began as friends at church, and that developed into an infatuation with her. She was never the prettiest girl in the room, but I was blown away by her personality, and ability to think differently about life, and not care about others opinions on what she thought. We never dated though, as pushy as I was. And i did blow a stupid amount of cash on her as a sixth grader, which is slightly embarassing now. A couple of years later, she did come out as gay, and boy was that embarrasing. I felt very bad about poorly hitting on a girl, who was not even interested in my gender! Luckily I have gotten over that, and we get along quite well. She lives a couple of streets over from me now.
My second crush was a girl named Rachel Lovy, and she just came out to me as well, in the last weeks of November of this year. She is a smart gal, and is a resident of Sapulpa. I know her girlfriend as well, and they are both great people. I wish the best for the both of them, and can’t wait to see what wonderful people they will become. Their families are not as accepting as Amelia’s though on the subject of the LGTQ community, which makes me sad for them. If people would be more accepting of those who are not straight, the world might be a bit brighter all around.
It does amuse me though that I am shooting three for three on being infatuated or in love with those of the LGBTQ community. Especially because it was before they came out. My radar for it is pretty on point, so much thatI don’t notice them either. In their defense though, I read social clues about as well as a brick so it’s not saying much about me.
When I was a child, my favorite book was The Lorax. I enjoyed how the whole world of Dr. Suess was designed. The art style was fantastic, and the Lorax himself had a bushy mustache which reminded me of my grandpa’s beard. Another enjoyable part of the book for me was the made up words, which rhymed quite fantastically. Besides, who doesn’t want to speak for the trees? The biggest takeaway from the book that I try to carry with me today is, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, its not”.
In middle school my favorite book series was the Inheritance Cycle written by Christopher Paolini. The much lengthier series is a fictional story similar to The Lord of the Rings, and about as long and as thick in the language as the aforementioned forebears of high fantasy. The main character is named Eragon, and the story is told from multiple perspectives. I enjoy the amount of research that went into how items are interacted with, from forging to crops, to measurements used back in the day versus now. There are also multiple intricate languages from different species and cultures.
My two current favorite series are the Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series and All Quiet on the Western Front. The series written by Ransom Riggs, which he based on old photos that he found, and is set in the present and the past, with a form of time travel in it. It is a unique premise, and I quite enjoyed it. Would recommend it to anyone that wants a different flavor of modern literature. All Quiet on the Western Front is a defining novel written by Erich Remarque about World War One. I was touched about how Eric viewed the war, neither condemning the soldiers nor entirely attacking war in general. He feels that too many people are pressured and forced to do things in the name of Duty, and would rather each person make his decision to serve based on their own personal convictions. It is a great message in being kind to others, because life can be hell.
The hardest obstacle in my life has been balancing my blended family. My parents split up when I was eighteen months old, which has left me with no memories of my family ever living together. My mother has been married twice since then, and both marriages have been struggles for her. I am the oldest of seven children, who are not all related to each other. I feel the constant pull of trying to make sure I spend time with all of them. Holidays are scheduling nightmares, because when you have two households, you have two christmases, two thanksgiving dinners, extended family coming from out of town that only visits on odd numbered years. I have had to learn the art of living out of a backpack. When you change houses every three to five days, you have to make sure you have your chargers, school books, the occasional toy, anything you might need at the other house. All my times with friends are planned weeks in advance, because otherwise I can not fit them into the schedule. I miss out on the ability to have spontaneity. To cope with the constant change, I became excellent at going with the flow. Teaching myself how to wiggle my ears up and down, back and forth, and individually. I have learned to lean on myself because the only place of stability I can have sometimes is closing my eyes, and breathing. I learned how to live minimally, and to appreciate what I have around me at the moment, as it may not always be feasible to go get what I need from another town.
My freshman year was a fabulous time. I made friends with my current best friend, Noah Tew that year. We had known each other previously as we went to the same church, but did not interact much. The catalyst of our friendship was that he was my ride to the church’s play practice. We did Once Upon a Mattress that year. I played my first year of football that year, and honestly quite miss the exercise aspect of the sport. My mom tried to kick me out for the second time that year. I also got Scout, my dog that year. Tom had his service dog Kate pass, and had acquired a boseron to train as a replacement. Tom did train the animal though, so I picked up the animal’s training in any way. Eventually my mom got tired of the destructive nature of a dog that could put its paws on my shoulders and be eye level with me. After getting rid of him, Tom had gotten into raccoon hunting, which is a fun sport. I did not want a hunting dog though, and Scout, while a treeing walker is neutered and is trained to come, sit, shake, lay, go, and we are working on the stay command still. He is a pet, not a tool.
Sophomore year was fine. Argued all the time with my mother to go to the doctor about my cystic acne on my back. I began to feel that my relationship with my mother was diminishing at this point. The second musical that I did was Little Mermaid that year. I was King Triton. Mom said that she was going to show up to it, and then called thirty minutes before opening night, canceling her plans. I was on the starting lineup for the football team that year. I earned the Life Scout rank as well. I was a part of the Order of the Arrow Ceremony team at that point as well, and played the East Wind.
Junior year. Junior year was rough when the transfer happened, but I got through it. I met Aliya last fall. She is such an amazing person. I remember seeing her at Yokozuna’s on homecoming night. She didn't go to the dance that night. Meeting again at a halloween party. She was very pretty then, and an excellent conversationalist. Running into each other a third time for the school play auditions. After that, I asked her out the next week. It took me asking four times in a row before she got the message through on what I was doing. We went and saw “Last Christmas” as our first date. I was recognized with the Vigil Honor that year, which is the highest award that you can receive in the Order of the Arrow. I received the name of Witshindin Nan Guttgennemeh, which translates to Helper That Gives. The Order of the Arrow is the national honor society for scouting. My mom walked out two weeks before the pandemic hit in March. She up and left, and I still don't understand why. I got a job refereeing and being a salesman at Airsoft Tulsa, where I worked over the summer, and through most of the first semester of my senior year. I enjoyed helping people as a salesman and liked teaching little kids how to play when I refereed.
My senior year so far has been ok. The first nine weeks were fantastic. I had a loving relationship. I was doing well in school. I enjoyed my job. I was optimistic for the future, and had goals to achieve, and knew who and what I wanted to be.
The second nine weeks so far have really sucked. A lot. My girlfriend broke up with me, because she doesn't love me romantically anymore. My grades are in the trash can, and I am trying to revive them. I buried a grandfather in October. I have gotten into a couple of colleges. Been awarded scholarship money. I want my head and heart to be clear. I want to be happy with myself. I want to know that I can be loved, that I am capable of love. That all the ones that I love haven't left because I did something wrong. I want to know I am not a bad person. I want to feel accepted again. The best part of my relationship with my mom and my girlfriend was knowing that they accepted me for all the bumps and bruises of me. I don't know what I did wrong. I want to know it's going to be ok. I want a hug. I feel like a weak person for craving these things. I feel like a whiny, good for nothing creep for still loving both of them. What is wrong with me? What did I do to drive them away? I'm so sorry. For anything that I ever did to hurt them. I don't ever want to hurt people. I try to not put others down even though I am feeling hurt. Why do they all leave? Why do I still go too deep, and trust people too much. Am I an idiot for committing to much? My mom had surgery before Thanksgiving break, and started radiation for five weeks the first of december. I quit my job recently to try and improve my grades and mental health. It's not working. I am a failure where it matters. Follow through with projects, clear answers, and being consistent.
The things I would live over again are simple. I would relive everyday with Aliya. Every time that I got to see my grandfather who passed this year. To relive falling in love for the first time. I would change my relationship with my mom if I could do so. I would change my brothers and sisters ever having to deal with a father that went to jail, and suffered from an opioid addiction, making him unpresent in all of their life events. I would be a better brother to them as well. Be kinder, and more patient with them. Try to keep them safe from all of it. From a mother that is terrible at adulting, to dealing with loss. To be able to sleep at night without having dreams and night terrors over what had happened.
The vacation that I look forward to achieving one day is spending a summer visiting all of my friends in Europe. I want to go and see all that I can over there. The Museums and the cuisine would be so educating on how other cultures interact with the world. In Germany I have a family friend fifteen minutes away from Munich by the swiss alps. Esther used to be a neighbor in Sapulpa, and she taught me how to bake apple strudel. At the northern end of the country by the baltic sea. They want to do a pub crawl with me, and legally, as sixteen is drinking age in Germany. I also have a good friend named Mar who lives about an hour south of Barcelona Spain, and would love to show me around. I would love to see the architecture all around the countryside, as it would be amazing to see homes that have been standing for longer than a hundred years or so. The most exciting part of europe for me would be the train system. It will be so strange to have everything nearby via public transportation. The United States has public transportation, but not nearly on the same scale and especially in Oklahoma not the same efficiency.
I am in love with a smart, wonderful young woman. She moved on from me, and I am doing that as well. The best part of our relationship was that she was my best friend, we could talk about anything in the world, or nothing at all. We could sit in silence together and be happy with each other. She and I had made plans for the future, and I was committed to them. She changed though, which is perfectly fine. Does not mean my feelings have changed. We may never be in a romantic relationship ever again, and I will not feel one shred of remorse. She is one of my best friends, and if she ever calls and needs my help, I’ll do everything in my power to help her. Aliya wants to be on Broadway someday, and is applying to schools to get into theater programs. She will be amazing. I learned so much about myself, and what kind of man I want to be for my spouse, whoever they are. I learned that it is perfectly fine to cry in front of your loved one when you are sad. I do not have to be happy or perfect all the time. That self improvement never stops. I learned that waiting for the right kind of people instead of dating around like my peers have was absolutely worth it. I was exposed to another human being's perspective, and it was fascinating. I loved surprising her with gifts or a meal that I cooked. The first kiss was wonderful. I continue to improve on my communication skills, and to not shut down when I am angry. I gained a sense of direction in my life, as I had a goal to achieve, which was to do well, so that you can be happy with yourself as a partner that is possibly worth the other's attention. In the future, I want a partner that can feel comfortable with letting me know if they have doubts about us in their mind, before the end. I don’t want to ever get divorced, and never want a child of mine to have to grow up without a concept of having one home. I will earn a living that will provide for them.