I was one year old at the time of my father’s conversion. Although my three older sisters were required to attend the meetings, they never accepted the teachings. I would describe our family as closer than most, even though we were now divided religiously.
I was baptized at the age of eight. My two best friends, both of whom were slightly younger, were baptized around the same time. I was genuinely interested in the Bible and tended to be conscientious when preparing talks for the Ministry School. I was also very involved in music, both playing and composing. At age 16, I began dating Barbara, a girl in my congregation who had begun attending meetings when her mother decided to return to the congregation after years of inactivity. We weren’t scrutinized much other than the pleadings of my parents to end the relationship because we were too young to date. They were right, of course, but the forces of nature were at work. We weren’t able to stay apart. We dated off and on, and although I dated others, and so did she, I knew that I would marry her some day. I graduated high school in 1969 during the Viet Nam war. The default for most of us after high school was to pioneer. College wasn’t even considered in our household. My father was convinced that 1975 was all the Organization said it was. I worked hard at pioneering, even making some converts, some of whom are still active today. I was living with my parents and worked in music, performing relatively mundane tasks for Witness composers and producers who were established in the music business prior to becoming Witnesses. By the time I was 22, Barbara and I wanted to get married. Since my income from music was hit and miss and since I was still pioneering, I took up the other default--janitorial work. We were married in 1973. By this time, my father was semi-retired, having invested in the construction of a resort in Jamaica. His foray into the travel business afforded him deep discounts on air travel and hotels. Some brothers approached him with the request that he make travel arrangements for a group that wanted to attend a district convention in Hawaii. The success of this venture spawned other group junkets to Brooklyn Bethel and other destinations. Thus began Kavelin Tours, Inc. I was grateful to give up my stint as a janitor to assist my father in the travel business. It was a very happy time for Barbara and me, as all of our activities centered on the congregation, traveling with groups of Witnesses to many exciting destinations, making contacts at Bethel and so forth. Barbara auxiliary pioneered with me on occasion and we rarely had any financial worries. Then came, and went, 1975.
Not surprisingly our services as tour operators were less and less called upon as the friends were in the process of regrouping and readjusting their thinking regarding day-to-day survival, post-1975. Fortunately, I was able to reconnect with my Witness contacts in the music business and was able to eke out a living and provide for my growing family. Our daughter, Sara, was born in 1977 and our son, Peter, came along in 1981. My father died in 1982. Fortunately, my mother was able to live quite well on my father’s music royalties and Social Security for the remainder of her life. She enjoyed much love and support from the congregation as well as the love and support of all of her children. My sisters and I were at her bedside when she died in 2005 at the age of 91.