Sam Jenkins was a different child. He was smart, heck he was genius level smart with an IQ that tested at 180 when he was a freshman in high school. His parents were unrepentant 1960's style hippies who had made it good. They were well educated and had great jobs but their life philosophy embraced many of the beliefs the "flower children" of the 1960's spouted. This was, perhaps, normal considering they had grown up in that decade. They had both been in love with the Beatles music as well as other contemporary groups. They had both been violently opposed to the Viet Nam War. They had read voraciously about the "free Love" and had read many books and papers on Utopian views of life and how to live with others.
Both of Sam's parents had grown up in the Midwest so the majority of their knowledge about these beliefs came from news shows, paper and magazine articles as well as some of the music they loved so much. Their parents had insisted they attend college. Their parents assisted them with expenses too so when Sam's parents graduated from college and went to work they did not have too large a student loan to pay off. Sam's mother Flower (Daisy was her given name and she HATED it) had majored in Psychology and Sociology. His father Todd had taken a degree in Business Administration. Like many young people of that generation Todd and Flower had tried some of the recreational drugs. By the time they were in college though they had eschewed the harder drugs. Their drug of choice was alcohol with a little Grass or Mary Jane on occasion.
Shortly before graduating college they even stopped smoking. Their alcohol consumption declined until they were what would be called moderate drinkers. Todd and Flower lived their philosophy of love and caring. When they made a friend they would do anything for them if necessary. They helped strangers whenever they could if they felt they were kindred spirits. Even during their college years they let friends and acquaintances live with them if requested. Some of their friends stayed a night, some stayed for weeks at a time. Many times Todd and Flower received no monetary help from their live in friends. Other times they got a token amount. No matter, if you were their friend and they had it, you had it. Sam learned this unselfish way at an early age.
Both Todd and Flower took jobs in a moderately large city as teachers. For the first few years they taught high school then both obtained graduate degrees and began teaching at the local college. Considering their background it is not surprising to any who knew them that they chose to reside in an unconventional location. Shortly after the two young lovers began working and well before they decided to marry they made a purchase that was to impact their and their future children's lives greatly. They were looking for a place to live that was not overly expensive and that suited their philosophy of life. The city had just completed consolidation of a smaller school system outside the city limits proper into their much larger school system. The school district was trying to sell the old middle school in the small town to generate some much needed cash. The building was in marginally good repair and sat on an entire city block.
Todd and Flower thought it would be proper to "recycle" the building, to salvage it and turn it into more than another decrepit empty building. The school building was in a nice but older residential neighborhood. They somehow managed to borrow money from friends and family members to get enough for a down payment on the old building. They ended up with a very large mortgage but their jobs were sufficient so they could service it and still afford to live. Todd and Flower began improving and repairing the building turning a couple of the 6 classrooms three offices, gymnasium and food service area into their home. They even had a local farmer plow up some of the yard for a very large garden.
One of the classrooms was turned into three sleeping rooms and small sitting area. Another of the classrooms was turned into a large living area with one corner set aside for a library and study area. They continued to use the food service area for a family kitchen. It was rare that the only people served were their immediate family. Friends, friend's acquaintances and family members were always welcome to eat with the small family and 'crash' in their home. Guests used one of the remaining classrooms or offices for a sleeping area. The school restrooms served the family and guests just fine.
All during his formative years Sam lived in the old school. Many times his parents let families of various sizes live for varying periods of time in some of the other rooms. From time to time one or the other of Sam's parents brought home a college student down on their luck. These students would stay with them for varying periods of time. Some even lived with them for a year or more until they found someplace else or graduated and moved away. If the student could afford to pay rent or for some of the food they ate they did. If not they were asked to help around the house and yard to pay for their stay.
As time passed Sam and his parents slowly landscaped the grounds making them into a veritable paradise. They planted tall growing shrubs along the boundary fence then a row of trees just inside that. By the time Sam was large enough to play outside the shrubbery was ten feet tall and completely blocked sight of the grounds. When he played outside it was as if he were playing in a Forrest. Every summer they grew many garden vegetables which Flower lovingly preserved for their winters enjoyment. They even purchased wheat and corn from a local farmer to grind into meal and flour.
One of the first expenditure of funds Todd and Flower made was to pull up half the gymnasium floor and install an in ground pool for year around use. Later they tore out the remainder of the gym floor, replaced it with concrete and installed an in ground hot tub beside the pool. They left spots in the concrete open to the dirt underneath for plants to be grown. The end result was almost tropical in nature. The pool and hot tub were surrounded by very comfortable lawn furniture and vegetation. The part of the gym that did not have the pool and hot tub in it was turned into a two story floor plan by adding a second floor over it. This area was converted into yet more rooms for guests with a balcony overlooking the pool.
Being "flower children" Todd and Flower did not wear clothing in their home. None of the windows were low enough for anyone to see inside so once they returned to their home their clothes were taken off. Sam learned nudity from birth and saw nothing wrong with this. All of Sam's parent's friends who visited disrobed upon entering the home. The only exception was business associates that infrequently visited. Even some of them visited nude if they were numbered one of Todd and Flower's friends. The friends that 'crashed' acted like Todd and Flower. Adults slept together in the parent's bedroom and children in Sam's room. No distinction was made for sex. Sam learned at an early age about sex and birth control. Many times he saw his parents or their friends engaging in the sex act consequently it did not hold the same mystery for him it did his peers. It was a natural occurrence and he treated it as such. Sam's parents did teach him to treat his partners correctly, with consideration and to make sure they enjoyed the experience. Sam lost his virginity at a very early age because of his upbringing and the almost commune like environment he lived in.
Sam learned at an early age to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, since that was the case his schoolmates labeled him a wimp. His outlook on life was such that his interests did not coincide with his peers. He did not enjoy sports but would rather read, grow plants or 'commune with nature'. As he aged he became enamored with that new concept called the computer. Since he was a social outcast he took solace in the machines. Somehow he obtained an old TRS 80, one of the first computers, and learned how to program it. As some of the businesses discarded old primitive machines Todd or Flower obtained them for Sam. He learned how to repair and operate the machines. He spent hours programming games on his new toys. Of course as he became more interested in the computers he had even less time for social activities so he became even more of a loner. If you looked up "Nerd" or "Computer Geek" in the dictionary the definition could be condensed to one word—Sam.
The jocks and in crowd did what they normally did to those not in their group. Sam was picked upon unmercifully. None of the few women he tried to date would go out with him because to them he was a geek, a weirdo and therefore below notice. He did have a few friends but they were like him—geeks, nerds, the 'ugly people'. A couple of them even shared his love of the computer and spent many hours in his workroom with him and his machines.
After Sam had been beaten up several times by the town bullies Todd took him aside and suggested he fight back. Sam was 16 at the time and replied, "I thought you and mother didn't approve of violence. Why do you want me to fight now? Besides, I wouldn't know how to do it."
"Sam in general we don't approve of violence but there IS a time and place for it. I love your mother dearly so I try to follow her desires in many things. I never openly confront people if I can avoid it but I have to admit a time or two I have had to stand up for myself or for your mother. I just choose a time and place where she can't see me do so. If you would like to learn a little self defense and can keep it a secret we will see you get some training. Would you like to do that son?"
.... There is more of this story ...