Responses II: Family

July 18, 2010

“Could you also write more about your family, and possibly the relationships you have with the members of it?”

My immediate family is composed of my Mom and Dad, and my three brothers (ranked in order of increasing age): Jack, Sam, Jesse. I’m the youngest. 

Dad: Tom Cowell was a physical education teacher in Medfield for decades, and is now retired. He was raised on a farm in Cummington MA, not too far from Amherst, and as such he retains a great deal of farm boy morals. Respecting a hard day’s work, meeting deadlines, being willing to live without life’s little luxuries, and knowing that it’s alright to get dirty once in a while. He’s hopeless with technology but he’s great with anything else. He’s very youthful for his age, thanks in no small part to the fact that he’s the program director at FCDC. We get along very well, and I trust his advice and wisdom more than anyone outside my family. He’s low-strung like me, but he can be very energetic when he’s passionate about something. 

Mom: Susan (Kelin) Cowell was also a physical education teacher in Medfield, which is how she met my dad. I want to make clear the fact that neither of my parents were “gym teachers” that is, the clipboard-wielding whistle-blowing meat heads who make kids run five laps and then lift weights. They’re both legitimate educators whose programs were renowned throughout their districts. My mom is now the department head of all high school and middle school gym and health classes, and teaches everything from physical fitness to cooking. She’s also somewhat tech-savy and so she acts as the technology translator to my dad. She’s more high-strung than my dad and is less likely to sacrifice morals for fun. For example if I wanted something I would always ask my dad; he was more likely to say yes. But, this is usually because my mom is right and I’d rather do what’s fun than what’s correct. I always trust her judgement, even when I don’t want to obey it. 

Dad & Mom

Dad & Mom

Jack: The youngest of my older brothers, Jack, is 2 years older than me and is currently a junior at the University of Alabama, studying to be an English teacher. A great deal of my personality is his personality rubbed off onto me, an inevitable consequence of spending 16 years with a person. Everyone seems to agree that we’re similar. He’s very funny, and pretty vulgar. He’s a decent athlete; he played baseball and varsity soccer in high school, and occasionally still plays pickup games of basketball. I don’t always agree with him. He’s not as open-minded as he could be, and is very quick to judge things by their appearance. But everyone loves him, and ever since his first year of college we’ve been good friends, even when we don’t keep in contact much. 



Sam: The 2nd oldest child is Sam, former Staff Sergeant in the US Army and 2004 Non-commissioned Officer of the year. He spent 4 years at Kansas University, then joined the Army, serving all over the world, though most of his time was spent in South Korea. He’s a very driven person and a natural leader, willing to take up the hardest job without a second thought. He is hardworking, generous, and has a very keen sense of morality that tends to mirror my dad’s. He’s been married for 3 years to my sister-in-law Kerry, who like him is more loving and generous than any person I’ve ever met. They have a soon-to-be two-year-old Eli, who is just now learning to combine words into sentences: “Eli go bye?” All three of them now live in my backyard. Literally, they built a house there. I couldn’t ask for better neighbors. In all honesty I admire Sam as a person more than anyone in the entire world. 

Sam Kerry Eli

Sam, Kerry, Eli

Jesse: Out of all the members of my family, Jesse, the eldest brother, is the one I know the least and know the least about. He graduated from high school when I was still a toddler, so I don’t have any memories of him from my childhood. He went to college, but then dropped out of school and went on what I assume was either a long personal journey to find himself, or he just needed to get away. Regardless, he dropped out of contact with my parents and wasnt heard from for a long time, save the occasional short letter to let them know he was okay. There’s a long time-gap where I don’t know what he did, but much later in life he studied law at Lewis and Clark University and eventually passed the bar exam. He is now working with law in some form or another, and has a wife Raechel and two daughters, Sarah and Anika. I don’t know much else, because they live across the country in Washington. I generally see Jesse once every 2 years, but from the small amount of time I’ve spent with him I know that he’s an intense intellectual, is mildly religious, uses enourmous words, beasts at chess and board games, and hates losing more than anything. He’s a loving father and a great man, and hopefully down the road I’ll be able to spend more time with him.




If you want to know more about me, post a comment!


2 Responses to “Responses II: Family”

  1. Tor said

    mike, this thoroughly made me happy all the way down to my core. i loved hearing about your family and your descriptions gave a really great insight and i could tell you put a lot of thought into them. i loooooooooooooved the pictures too, but i’m also a huge sucker and you’re probably laughing at me.

  2. Wally Hersee said

    I knew you as a toddler . Of course, I knew your mom and dad as well. My dad taught school in Medfield, too. You’re a wonderful writer. I enjoyed “catching up”. Take care.

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