I was born in Philadelphia to Frances McGuire (nee Dunn) and Edward McGuire. I was raised in a large, working-class Irish Catholic family with 3 brothers (Edward, Daniel and Micheal) and a sister (Kathleen) . I had a second sister (Rita) who died before I was born. I had a happy childhood running around the streets of South Philly, playing stick ball and spending my summers at the Jersey Shore (Go Wildwood!). I attended Sacred Heart of Jesus grade school (which closed in 2012) and St. John Neumann High School (which is now Neumann-Goretti). With no direction in life, I attended Philadelphia Community College to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice, following in my brother Michael’s footsteps, who spent his life as a police officer.
During this time, I landed my first job at Strawbridge and Clothier department store at 8th and Market, thanks to my sister Kathleen who raised me like a son. After thoroughly enjoying a creative writing class and watching a play of mine (Mind Over Matter) brought to life before me, I transferred to Glassboro State College, in New Jersey, to challenge their journalism program. These years were the best and worst years of my life at the time. As I met new friends, moved to Mantua New Jersey with my brother Ed, his wife Helen, and their children Karen, Shawn and Chris, and learned that I loved to write and enjoyed attending school, I also lost a lot during these years. My nephew Kevin (Ed’s son) took his own life, I lost a dear friend Johnny to lymphoma and I lost my mother to emphysema. But with death comes new life and new opportunity.
Around this time, I also discovered that Frances McGuire was not my birth mother and that I had a sister I never met. I went on to meet Colleen, she had a beautiful daughter, Rosemarie (my niece) and I learned of my siblings Nancy, Ro and Michael. More adventures to write about.
After graduation, I took a job at a photo finishing lab in Mt. Laurel, NJ. called Coastal Photo. The lab was bought by Konica and I moved up the ranks and purchased a condo in Mantua. I loved that little town! But I went on several years struggling with money, depression, stubbornness, infatuation and recklessness. When the smoke started to clear in 2001, and reality set in, I found myself losing my home, my supervisory position at work, was in a broken relationship and had to move back to Philadelphia with my sister Kathleen at age 35. Not my finest moment. It was a wake up call. The remaining part of me that was still asleep truly woke up on Sept 11, 2001 when hateful people changed our world.
After a few years, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started over. Three of my good friends, Joe, Eric and Brenda moved to Burbank, California and I went out and visited them in January 2002. I also decided to get some computer knowledge and dove back into school at Gloucester County College in Deptford, NJ. This time for graphic arts. After several more visits out West, it became harder for me to leave my friends and the nice weather. In September of 2005, my friend Brenda moved out of her Burbank bungalow and as Brando put it, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
A total life change. With mixed and uncertain feeling, I decided to leave school shy of a third degree, leave my family, quit my job of 15 years and move to Burbank, CA in October, 2005 (in the bungalow). It was the toughest decision of my life, but a necessary one. I needed a life change; a fresh start. I spend several months laughing and crying over my decision. In January 2006, Konica closed its door and everyone was out of a job. Talk about destiny. I didn’t see that coming!
I was determined to follow my dream and be a writer/journalist as I set out to do. After a brief stint writing resumes for law students, and doing script coverage for an ambitious movie producer, in 2007 I took a job with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (of all places). I went on to become the managing editor for their trade journal American Fitness. As a result, I’ve gotten many great opportunities from meeting fitness experts like Kathy Smith to celebs such as Mario Lopez. I’ve gotten to interview personalities Jillian Michaels, Andre Agassi and recent London 2012 gold medal winners Heather Mitts (soccer) and Kim Rhode (skeet shooting). Our publication has also featured Anna Kournikova, Jane Fonda, Dara Torres, Scott Hamilton and Denise Austin. What an opportunity!
I’ve been lucky to have met so many wonderful people in Los Angeles, popping the pretentious label I had in my head before moving. In the midst of it all, in August of 2009, I met Vanessa, a wonderful school teacher in the San Fernando Valley. After many great times together, we found it harder to be apart and we moved in together in Monrovia, CA in February of 2011. In March, I asked her to marry me and she accepted. During this time, I wanted to get to know my new surroundings in the San Gabriel Valley. I discovered Patch.com and started to write government news and feature articles covering Monrovia, Arcadia, Sierra Madre and Eagle Rock. Vanessa and I married in April 2012 and have been having a blast starting our new lives together again. We had a pretty big wedding and I was able to see my family and old friends come together with new family and new friends and have a lovely time together.
So, this where I am now. In August 2012, I decided to start a new blog to share some of my great interview opportunities, share ideas and maybe blow off some steam now and again. I decided to call it The Scratched Lens because I am seeing the world through old glasses and might not see things the way you do. In any case, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂