William McKeen

 

Nicole

The Whole Hee-Haw Gang (left to right): Mary holding Charley, Sarah holding Travis, Graham holding Jack, Savannah holding her own.

Travis

Graham

Sarah and Mary

Savannah

Greetings . . . .

I work with a magnificent bunch of people at the Boston University College of Communication and
live in a Leave it to Beaver house near the rocky shore   of Cohasset, Massachusetts.

I write books and articles about  music and popular culture. I also teach courses in writing, literary journalism, the history of rock’n’roll and the history of journalism.

I am married and the father of seven children. No, that’s not a typo.

Here’s a short film about my family. The first image is me at 13, and the last is me at two years. In between, it’s all wife, children and the occasional grandparent:
















I was born in Indianapolis to Charles Lewis McKeen and Martha Elizabeth Harlos McKeen. I was the third of three and, I suspect, not planned. My older brother, Charles, is a surgeon in Bloomington, Indiana, and married and the father of five and grandfather of a growing brood. My sister, Suzanne, is a nurse and is married, the mother of two, grandmother of some more, and a resident of the Washington DC suburbs.

My father was a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force, and so I had a nomadic childhood, for which I will always be grateful. I grew up in England, Germany, Nebraska, Florida, Texas and Indiana. When I am asked where I am from, it’s hard to say, but Indiana is the place I generally call “back home.”

I was the only child in the family to start and finish high school in the same place, which was Bloomington, Indiana. I began working for one of the local newspapers there (The Courier-Tribune) when I was 14. I worked there five years, worked briefly for the Palm Beach Post, then had another short tenure at The American Spectator. I worked for The Saturday Evening Post for two years, helping edit a book called The American Story.

I took a vacation from the Post to attend graduate school, and that vacation took my career on a trajectory into education. I’ve taught at Western Kentucky University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Florida and Boston University.

I am married to Nicole Cisneros McKeen, an apprentice midwife and writer, and I am the father of  Sarah, 34; Graham, 31; Mary, 27; Savannah, 17; Jack, 11; Travis, 10; and Charley, 8.

Nicole and I live with the four youngest in a wholesome-looking situation-comedy kind of house in Cohasset, Massachusetts. We try to get the three oldest children to visit as often as possible.

Here’s a rundown on the family:

Sarah graduated from the University of Florida, worked at a Washington, D.C.-area architectural firm for three years, worked for a major firm in Manhattan and now in Chicago, where she lives.

Because of Highway 61, people constantly ask me about Graham: "How's he doing?" Well, he is public health manager at his alma mater, Indiana University, responsible for the whole university system's water supply, among other things. He is a also at work on a master's degree, and engaged to marry a fabulous woman.

Mary Grace graduated from Ball State University and is a talented actress who played Eponine in Les Miserables and Ado Annie in Oklahoma during her high school acting career.  She's living and working in Chicago (for Lettuce Entertain You, Inc.), where she is becoming known as an entertainment mogul.

Savannah graduated from eighth grade at St. Paul School in Hingham, Mass., in a ceremony that lasted longer than many university commencements. She is a junior at Cohasset High School, where she shows her school spirit as a cheerleader. She has adapted well to Massachusetts life.

Maybe we should have named Jack Elvis (which was my preferred name). The boy has a lot of Elvis in him. There are times that I think he is a space alien. He is in sixth grade at Cohasset Middle School.

Travis was born two days after my birthday and six days before Savannah's. We celebrate an eight-day festival called Birthday Week in September (sort of like Shark Week on the Discovery Channel). Travis looks just like his mother, which bodes extremely well for him. He's in fourth grade at the Deer Hill School in Cohasset.

Charley is a very wise little guy. He is a baseball savant with an incredible memory of Red Sox games and player statistics. He’s in third grade at Deer Hill School in Cohasset and is a baseball savant.

It goes without saying that my wife, Nicole, is a saint and a churning urn of burning funk of creativity. We call her the Idea Maven around the house.


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Jack

Me, in my favorite outfit

Charley

That’s-a-me!

That’s-a-me!

MUSIC: “LINUS AND LUCY,’ THE VINCE GUARALDI TRIO