Michael Crater


“So you think you have a fun uncle, right? So let me tell you about mine. He’s interesting, let me start with that. Growing up, I always enjoyed seeing him. We’d pick him up at this sketchy apartment, and he’d hop in. It was the same line every time, “Hey, you goober.” I always loved seeing him, I thought he was so cool. Sometime when I was around 10 years old, I didn’t see him for a long time, almost a year. This was unusual. We would see him every other week or so. Later I found out that he had actually been in jail.

“The story starts when he was 18, and he told his family adios, and headed here to Minneapolis. They didn’t always hear from him, but my grandpa tried to get him into some technical school and he never went. He would bounce around from one friend’s place to another. At one point he had his own place, but that didn’t last. That’s how it was for him, and it’s still how it is, 40 years later. Eventually, my parents moved here in 1997. My mom had been in contact with him and had already visited him in college. She tried to start helping him. My uncle has always been a bit difficult. He had two kids, one who he doesn’t always recognize as his own. That kid is taken care of by my grandma. His other son is in a group home and has been in and out of juvenile detention. After one of the times my uncle was in jail, his now ex-wife had him shot. He was shot in the knee and it has had some chronic effects that are still affecting him today.

“So there’s always been patches of times where I didn’t see my uncle, and now I know that he’s been in and out of jail for various things. We’ve given a lot for him, but nothing is seeming to help. It gets pretty tough, he’s staying with us a lot. I used to love it but it’s tough. He’s a fun uncle. I love him.”

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