I was born Edward Joel LeCouteur, on July 27th, 1965 in Seaway Hospital, Trenton, Michigan. Walter and Doris were very proud, and Doris was especially tired. Labor lasted more than a day, and she nearly died several times during the birth. She realized that attempting a birth at 44 after 10 years since the last was not a very good plan. Once free, I was placed in a plastic bubble. My father (a somewhat diminutive man) went to the viewing room to see his new son, and was dismayed to find him in this bubble. Amidst the scowls of the other fathers around him, he asked why his boy wasn't in a bassinette. The nurse replied: "because he's too big to fit." Beaming, my father lit a cigar and gloated to the other fathers.
Not that I remember any of this, of course, but I have paperwork to the effect. I grew up in Brownstown Township, Michigan which is in the Downriver area of Detroit. My first memory is of the ceiling in that house on Cornell street. I remember looking at the ceiling tiles while in a crib of some sort as a man(?) approached and looked down at me. After that, my next several memories involve me being in a Batman T-shirt...
I had a typical childhood for an insatiably curious only child. I actually have 4 brothers and 2 sisters, but they all moved out by the time I was five, so I was effectively alone. I had a chemistry set left by one of them that provided me endless amounts of trouble. My time with it ended when I lit the garage stairs on fire, nearly taking out the garage and myself. Later, my folks chose my chemistry equipment carefully, choosing sets guaranteed not to have explosive capabilities. The makers of these sets never, apparently, tried boiling calcium carbonate in a solution. I left an uncleanable green spot in 'my lab' after an experiment with explosive gas production using this solution. That experience proved valuable in high school chem when I had to identify a vial of calcium carbonate for my final.
Let's see...what else? I tended to spend summers with my brother Rod. He had a small farm with horses. He eventually became a jockey, and I helped out where I could. We travelled the fair circuit with his growing family and I learned to ride in some of the other events. Some of my best friends of that time period had four legs. I don't remember winning any events, but getting out and barrel bending with a small philly was more than enough excitement for me.