Photo of the house where Jim's family lived in Plymouth, Wisconsin
Growing Up
The Injury
Life as a Quad
Aging with SCI
Contact Jim


Growing Up

New Holstein, Wisconsin

Plymouth, Wisconsin

Plymouth, Wisconsin

After the 1968-69 academic year, my father had some sort of a conflict with the administration of the high school where he taught. I believe they wanted to cut the summer program he had developed over many years. This was quite a blow to him, enough that he decided to resign his position at New Holstein High School after 25 years of teaching there.

Dad took a position with Lakeshore Technical Institute in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as an adviser to young farmers in Southeastern Wisconsin. This career move required him to live in Sheboygan County. That meant relocating the family and we moved to Plymouth, Wisconsin.

For me, moving to Plymouth was like a dream come true. No more huge gardens to weed, lawns to mow, or isolation from my friends because of living in the country. The move meant I'd be a "city" boy.

The actual move came toward the end of November during my sophomore year in high school. My last day at New Holstein High School was a Friday and that night our football team had just played its last game of the season. The next day, we moved to our new home in Plymouth. The following Monday I began my life in Plymouth, attending a new high school and looking for new friends.

I clearly remember my first day. My father dropped me off in front of the school on his way to work. As I walked into the main office with an attitude of bravado, I approached the woman behind the counter and said, "I'm supposed to be going to school here now." To my surprise, she called me by name and proceeded to walk me to my first class, Physical Education.

When I walked into the gymnasium, the teacher immediately stopped everything, walked up to me and said, "I know who you are. You're Jim Hemauer and we have high hopes for you here." He obviously was aware of my athletic abilities. This comment only reinforced the tough guy attitude I had taken on. I guess I wanted to impress everyone. Whatever the case, I had the feeling that I was going to enjoy my new school.

Making friends would be my first challenge. Being a shy person, meeting people was not something I was good at or enjoyed doing. Fortunately, a couple guys approached me that first day and initiated conversation. They were friendly enough to win my trust and ended up walking home with me after school. My first day at Plymouth High School was a success.

The house my parents bought was located three blocks off the main intersection in town. It was a really nice house with a porch on the front. The yard seemed tiny, compared to the two "country" homes I had lived in. This house had a warm, welcoming feeling about it.

I loved my new life in Plymouth.