I met my wife in high school, I but really met her when she was working for my mom. My mom owned a daycare when we were kids. My wife bought me Baldwin the necklace and I’ve worn it ever since.
It was for my birthday when I turned 18. We were actually split up when she bought it for me. She was just trying to be nice and love me I think. We were always friends no matter what, even when we were separated.
Since we were so close when we grew up, she has always been important to me in some way. She had always been a family friend, whether or not we were dating.
It always felt like I should keep it or hold on to it. Plus, I really like the necklace: It is sterling silver and nothing too special, but to me it is.
Everyday of my life I think of it, sometimes when I’m not really appreciating my family. It happens. You become busy or frustrated. In the back of my mind, I’m reminded of my kids’ faces and my wife. It kicks me right back into a good mode. It’s helpful in everyday situations.
I’m a cook and I struggled a lot with education and going to school. My dad was a chef and the first job I had was cooking. He was cool enough to pull me in, teach me something and give me a skill. I’ve done a lot of other jobs but I always come back to this. It is the thing I am most comfortable with.
The lifestyle is hard. A lot of guys in this kind of business get into drugs or drink a lot. With me, having her and my boys keeps me on the straight and narrow. They keep me away from all that negative activity.
Of course, I still have a lot of stress in my life, but other than that I stay straight and good for them. Addiction and alcoholism run in my family. It is good for me to have them. They are all appreciated everyday by me.
My wife works real hard. She has a great job. She teaches me how as families we need to work together to stay afloat. It has been a long road and we both struggled with jobs, finding places to live and vehicles.
It is great because at the point we are at now, everything is good. We’ve built up our credit, got a car and a house. We are happy.
(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email email@example.com.)