Kristin Erickson and Ken Green
DescriptionKristin Erickson (60) interviews her significant other, Ken Green (63), about his childhood, his golfing career, his family and friends, and the relationship they share.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Kristin Erickson
- Ken Green
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
00:01 My name is Kristin Erickson. I'm 60 years old and today's date is Friday, August 6th 2021 coming to you from New Fairfield Connecticut today. My conversation partner. Where is Ken green and Ken is my significant other partner.
00:21 Hi, my name is Ken green. I am 63 years old as of today. Friday, August 6th 6. I am in New Fairfield, Connecticut. I'm actually in my bed.
00:37 And the name of my interviewer is Kristin Erickson, and she is my lover of arms.
00:46 Like had said we're meeting you from our bed. We're talkin to you from our bed because Ken just had a big surgery. And so we're like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who spent a month in bed. Did you know that? Can I did know that? I'm actually a pretty big John John but being better than him, so
01:18 On the spectrum of Life. Everybody has successes and challenges and your spectrum of your life has been pretty extreme. You've had pretty amazing successes and you've had pretty amazing challenges and traumatic things happened to you in your life. That is true.
01:41 Quite chatty a roller coaster so to speak. So I know you had some terrible divorce and custody battle over your son, hunter, green. I know that you've also had a lot of success as a professional PGA golfer, going back to some challenges. Of course, the big one is that you had a RV accident where your brother Bill and your wife Jeannie and your beloved dog. Nip were killed in the accident and you ultimately lost your right leg. And pretty much in the middle of a comeback. You were 50 years old, correct? And on your way to a PGA tournament events throughout the Heyday, the best times, the most successful X, I guess of your PGA Tour, you won a number of
02:41 Tournaments right? How many tournaments did you when I 19 total and the best golfer on the planet? And you played on the Ryder Cup in the 80s as well, correct?
03:04 You know, I know, we're living in an age where a lot of people aren't so keen on this country. But to me, it's the best country on the planet and when you get a chance to represent it you go and it's as simple as that.
03:24 So anyway, I wanted to talk a little bit less about the stories in your life. You know, you wrote an autobiography Hunter of hope that talks about all of the amazing stories of your place and your
03:41 The 9th of August, you know, part of your life that the tragedy is and but my first question for you is what do you think was your greatest success in your life so far?
03:57 It's up as weird as this is going to sound.
04:03 The two best things that I've done.
04:07 Was one saving my sister from drowning in the ocean and then saving nip from the alligator and I know I've had great successes and golf but you know, that's that's golf. I didn't even know it was my life and my way of surviving you keeping the family, you know, healthy, it's still it's still not the same as as saving someone's life and that you love them. And when Shelly was in a drowning in the, in the ocean, with the riptide,
04:43 You know, we got away with that one. I don't know how. And then, you know, saving nip from the alligator. When I had to jump in.
04:52 You know, when you look back if it shows that you're willing to lose your life for the people you love and to me that that shows that you you kind of understand what life's all about.
05:08 Those are two Amazing Stories. I know that you're a huge dog lover and you probably didn't think twice about jumping in the canal and rescue. And your dog was in the jaws of an alligator and you're lucky to have survived that one as well. So tell me.
05:30 One of your favorite, one of your best memories of your childhood.
05:38 That's kind of a different one because of the two and a half years. I had.
05:46 At what you called peak of your childhood, you know, from 11 to 13.
05:56 I would say.
05:58 One of the finest memories was actually during that bad stretch, when we were living in, in the country of Honduras in Central America. This was in the early 70s.
06:13 I got to represent the country of Honduras in the Central American Junior, Golf Tournament. So, that was kind of a thrill for me, you know, obviously not being a citizen of Honduras. There wasn't a whole lot of Junior golfers in Honduras. So they allowed me to have temporary citizenship. So that was, that was something you don't you don't ever forget and mother move there to try to save their marriage. My father was a terrible Drinker at, but my mother was of the theory that maybe in a foreign country. We wouldn't have as many friends.
07:02 Man, maybe you don't drink as much.
07:05 Do that Siri was shot because
07:09 You know, drinkers find drinkers. If you're if you're looking for drugs, you find drugs and you know, people that are suffering from addiction, you know suffering, that's that's unfortunate, but it's all it was a. It was a chance in the dark that my mom took and it just didn't work out.
07:28 So that's that was where you learned. Golf is good. As Honduras was about. Let me represent them as a golfer. They weren't so good about letting me play other sports. And I couldn't play baseball or basketball or any of those because I was America. So, you know, it was kind of a double sword. But so I kind of had no choice. It was golf's that was the only option I hadn't. So that's what I did all the time. So, you are on the American school, every country has school that, you know, for all the different people that are are
08:13 I'm working in the in foreign countries.
08:17 So then when you come back you come back to Danbury, Connecticut.
08:22 And you continue to golf, because
08:30 I tied that point I'd fall in love with it with the game. That's all I ever wanted to do. And so when I came back, I really wasn't a social person probably because of what happened in Honduras with the sexual and physical abuse. And so I just went off and you know his many people know you can you can play golf by yourself and literally every minute that I could on the golf course.
08:58 What are the things that amazes me about you? And
09:04 And golf is that all the way until today. You'll love it and you would probably play golf every day still if you could. But before the surgery, you're probably playing four times a week. A lot of nerve damage from the accident. So I wasn't able to be as active as I normally would be whether to call for any of the other activities that I like to do not participate in. So, you know, you can go off when you can and then you know the other time I pretty much just try to ignore you which I think I do pretty well and I'm hoping this new surgery. We had will will allow me to actually play a little more and actually work on the game cuz I haven't been able to try to get better cuz the game has changed dramatically when you lose a leg.
10:02 You know, it was a great.
10:05 It's God's not a game that you can just get better at without working at then. Hopefully this surgery will allow me to to just have fun trying to get better. I mean, obviously my playing days. It's still it's the challenge of trying to get better that I love and you know, I'll I'll
10:26 I'll play till I die. I mean, or until I can't move in and it it's just, it's just a great game and then it gives you everything that gives you the highs and gives you the lows. Your you get to be with friends and get to be with family if they play golf, you know, in it and you get to be outside. I know a lot of people complained it takes too long and it's like, well, what's wrong with being outside with friends and family? When what the hell she's going to do, go go back and look at your phone. Did anti stress yourself to do stress yourself in on today's world because of the computers in the phones. People are expected to be, almost be on duty.
11:12 24/7. So golf is a great game. Trying to get to the loan, people just to relax and get the stress out of your life. So you have been playing golf since you were eleven, eleven, and made a living as a professional golfer. Did you ever have any other job? I dug a ditch. Once when I was 16, and I said, I've never going to have a job again, but I'm sticking with golf. And I only tell people I've never had a job because I really don't think I've had a job. I mean, technically was it was working and, you know, I had to
11:55 I provide for myself and my family but I never looked as golf as being a job cuz I love this so much.
12:05 So you have two sons and Junior?
12:10 And Hunter Hunter passed away at 21 years old. He was found in his dorm room. What school did he go to Dallas? And it was just about six months after the accident. So, you know whose it was too difficult.
12:33 Your situations at the deal with and, you know, when when I lost Jamie and Billy, it was like
12:41 I know they were 55 years old, you know, in 56 and so they had to run a decent run through life and in a child, obviously the give me the funeral. He's only 21, just beginning, so that, you know, that's hard, you know, then you have to decide.
13:05 Whether you believe in God or not, you have to decide what you're going to do with the life that you have left and you can either continue to fight on that and live it to the, to the best or you kind of just go around in circles, which unfortunately, a lot of people do when when such drama hit some like that. And you know, that's my hope that one of the reasons I wrote the book, you know, Hunter, if outfit is, is that you can bite through everything and it it's, it's okay. If you fall down
13:42 You know, it's it's okay. If you just lose your marbles, you know, you cry or lose your job when you just not quite there as long as you keep getting back up and, and, and live that life till the best. You owe it to yourself. You know, I know that you do, you know me. I care more about others than me, but you still got to think of you. Whether you again, when you believe in God or not. This is the life you have. When you think you're going to have another one, or this is the only one. You'd damn. Well better live it the best you can do you believe in God? That is not a doubt in my mind.
14:21 So, your other son and Junior?
14:25 Lives close to you in Florida because we live part-time in New, Fairfield Connecticut and part-time in West Palm Beach, Florida. And Ken Junior lives. Very close to us.
14:43 He was from my first wife, basically was a girlfriend who got pregnant. And I did the right thing and it didn't work out, but we've had a great relationship for all the years. I mean, he's he's about to turn 40, which is X no sense. But time flies and it's, you know, he say, he's a cop in Boca Raton, which is, you know, that such great time nowadays to be a cop cuz of all the baloney that's going on in the world, but he's been doing that for 12 years and he's got about 8 more. I is Scott a wonderful lady to Melissa that he's married to and we have two grandkids. So, I'm a relatively young grandfather cuz I have a leg and it is 7 years old.
15:33 And Aubrey is 5 so they're fun. I don't really get to see him as much as I want because
15:44 Ken Junior Melissa of kind of
15:47 Helicopter parents and I'm more of a laid-back individual and so I've been fired a few times.
15:58 It defies logic, but you know, they're the parents are they? It's that there rules person. So, you know, I'll be able to connect with them a little more and I'll get my revenge on going to teach the kids how to manipulate get around the parents. So I look forward to that. Interested in Golf. Do you have a favorite memory of something that happened between you and Ken Jr.
16:30 Probably my, my
16:34 Best memories Academy for me for one summer.
16:40 So, you know.
16:43 That is.
16:45 A time that you apparently doesn't forget, did the weird thing about that is that you're spending time with your kid and your kid doesn't know that you actually enjoy being with him and you just want to be around them. And, you know, he feels like God, he's doing work, he's doing that's what she is. But I also looked at it as she, I got to spend, you know, four months of of time with him, you know.
17:10 So it was it was appearing that I can't forget and then probably the other was our two trips to Ireland, you know, the play golf, you know, chance not as good as I am.
17:24 And so he struggles a little some a little over there on the golf course. And so was fun watching him struggle on the overnight and it has they're famous for their pills in their Clemson, their gullies and you know Juniors, then I'll swear and left and right when the ball's not going up and down the right spots, you know, so it again it's fun to just spend the time with her. So I've been lucky in that sense that I probably spend more time with him and had more good conversations than most people, the weather for their children.
18:03 I know you told me before, I let you think that people with young children.
18:09 I've got an idea. It is they got them and took off. So I drift away from us. You've got an activity that well. I mean, let's face it. We all know. What do you play golf or not? And say your young parents at 28?
18:28 We all know as our kids become teenagers. They don't want anything to do with you. They got their own little life and for whatever reason.
18:39 Kids will play golf with their parents when they're teenagers, and it doesn't even face and they wont. Do anything else with him, but they'll still play golf. And to me, it's like you've got to at least try to go out and play and and let your kid play and if he walks away from it during the seniors, that's fine. Because he'll eventually come back to golf because golf is a game, you can continue playing, you know, it's not like a basketball or football or, you know, the cross that you only going to play when you're in high school or college. So it's a great way. If your and your child's Eye Golf you are always going to have that connection in it. And especially with the opposite sex syndrome. Let's face it. Sometimes, you know the father and daughter don't always
19:30 Know what to talk about, it signs, you know, that they go through the correct.
19:35 Conversation, so to speak. But if they were on the golf course, they've got a connection and something that they talked about and it's a, it's a lifetime is if if you if you fall in love with golf, you're going to play it forever and then you have that connection with, with your family. And then, of course your friends, I mean, if there's there's no better way.
20:00 So my next question is about your friends. You and I meant nine years ago. And one of the first book was, how many friends you have and true loyal friends. Who love you and would do anything for you.
20:23 Why did that happen again? Part of this golf, you know, in a lot of my friends I met through golf, you know, being a fresh golfer just around golf.
20:37 And I'm a big believer in.
20:41 And stayed in touch with friends. Never know. We move away from each other and are best friends. And then suddenly, you know, what job comes up for your friend, and he's got to move. I believe in staying, in touch with him. I believe in and creating.
20:59 Fun, you know, like I'm, I'm the one that that gets all the guys together and we go to golf, or we have what we call my civil wars, or you know what, you just finished be fun games, but it allows us all to be together.
21:15 And you know damn true true Golf. And I've been able to bring them to the Masters us opens and all the Great Avengers that have happened. So, you know, I try to be the guy who's always the one that's doing and then
21:33 When something happens, which in my, in my life, it did unfortunately with the accident then you find out how many good friends you have and, you know, they all stepped up to the plate and help me out. It was so it was great to see that. You know, what I've done throughout my life to maintain relationships, actually.
21:58 Was a benefit to me, not that. I planned it that way because, you know, obviously don't like to have bad things happen, but it just
22:05 It just showed my friends that I'm very loyal to them. Then I'm that's why I stay in touch with him all the time. And that's why we do things all to get in all the time together all the time. And before, you know, it is instead of having, you know, two or three good friends. I've got in a 20 or 30 great friends and I went, and let you know when I look back on my life, that those are things, you're going to remember, you know, the relationships, you've had the people, you know, I am I death, but I'm not going to say, damn. I wish I was.
22:44 You know, when you're going to you're going to say dammit, what a great time. I've had with all my friends and you know, we got this one did that and what else can I ask for? You know, I mean it if you've got that great connection with with people you you love it. It's a homerun for you if you want.
23:03 You've had a lot of great friends. You've also had a lot of great dogs. I never talking the other day. Thank you 39, dog on 40. Right now at the moment. We have three eight, nine month, old, German, Shepherd puppies, bring you up to 41 munch.
23:31 Wow, what a what a dog. I got Munch literally about
23:38 4 months after the accident.
23:41 After the accident, obviously it was you no national news and all that kind of stuff.
23:46 An individual that I played a in, with a Pro-Am, which is where I am play with Pros, that play x amount of dollars to play with the pro. I played with him in 1990.
24:00 And he calls me up and he says, Ken Josh, you know, what can I say, you know, is I feel for you. He says, we'll listen. I'm a German Shepherd, lover, myself. My breeders getting ready to have some pops and I want to gift you a dog now. And at first I said, I'm not, I don't think, I'm ready. Simply cuz physically, I didn't think I was ready and I knew I was going to get another dog, but and then stuff, kept eating at me. Like, I got to get this. I got to get this one. So I called them back up and I asked him if the offer was still there and he said yes, so I flew to Dallas, Texas cuz I didn't want to put them a little puppy on an airplane.
24:43 I picked up the dog and I was trying to come up with names like, you know, this and this, and I have a Blog, you know, they all came up with some great answers and then it dawned on me. It's like, listen to dope. This guy is giving you a two or $3,000, dog, whatever it is. And you should try to see if you can come up with the name that at least gives him a little little credit. And his name was Bob buncher.
25:12 So I'm like that, I bought a bunch of. Well, let's go with lunch. So I came to lunch with the name.
25:20 And about a month later.
25:22 I found out the name was Munger not muncher, but by then I'd love the name Bunch too much and he turned out to be.
25:34 The greatest dog that I've ever had, and I've had my other two nips have been phenomenal, and he just
25:43 He surpassed him in the sense that he was so smart. I mean, all you had to do was look at them and he would move from the spot, you know, where you got near, he would move the spot, you know, or you know, if if I got dressed and I had golf clothes on, he knew you was coming cuz he always came with me in the car, you know, you was with me all the time.
26:07 And then the dope gets too smart and he starts figuring out how to open the car doors.
26:15 And all he's trying to do is find me on the golf course.
26:18 But now, I got a
26:21 Catch 22. And that I don't want something bad to happen if he keeps open the damn doors.
26:28 You know, and he would too, he would, he would do everything to try to get the doors open and chewed a little lock off the RV and jumped out the window one time, you know, he figured out how to open front doors at the house. You know, he was just, it was just, he was, you know, Einstein of dogs, but I'm much better-looking, Einstein and 125 lb came about because I had to go into the hospital and I was there for about 5 weeks. So I had to leave in with my son and his two, German Shepherds and his two German Shepherds.
27:15 I don't want to say that they were weenies, but they didn't have a deep voice, you know, and they always ran up to people with a bark and so much to learn how to bark. He literally didn't bark for the first year and a half life never even barked and then all the sudden you figure it out while this is what you supposed to do when you meet people. And it was, it was an intimidating. And I would tell people just don't worry about it. It is, it's not going to bother you. It's but it's it's going to scare you and then it was barking. I didn't want to give, you know, you and I differ on this. I didn't I didn't want to change it. I said screw it's not a bad thing, you know, to have a a bar like that you you didn't like it but it's okay. There's nothing wrong with being wrong.
28:11 It was an amazing dog. And I think one of the most affectionate you like like right now, he would not leave the bed unless I left a bit. Although we do have two German Shepherd, puppies out in the bed with us, like being with it. Raising a child. I mean, think about it. If you're, if you're loving and show affection and hug them all the time. They're going to be Huggers. And most likely, usually, go get a dog. That's just going to be independent. And there's not much you can do about that. But, you know, I, I believe that the the better you are to them the better they'll be for you instead of just
29:03 But you know, some people have the dog just to have it. You know what, and they don't do anything with it. They don't know. They don't play with it or they don't let it be with them then keep it outside all the time. And so what's the point? You know, that's if you know everybody's different this world.
29:22 You sort of answer this question, but
29:27 How would you like to be remembered?
29:31 After you're gone, how would you like people to Remember You?
29:36 I guess you don't like how I was saying before the, the thing that I want people to remember, was how good a friend? I was, you know, and how, how many different events and just unique things. I would come up with, to get everyone together. I mean, you know, just play all the wackiest games with golf and, you know, mixed together and, and
30:02 And the fact that I was able to,
30:05 Do such great things for him, you know, terms of like going to Masters and you know, those are those are caddying for me is the Masters or caddying for me at the US. Open. Those are things that they just aren't going to forget you do and
30:20 It's just one of those.
30:22 I have the gun. I'm lucky in the sunset. You know, I do have so many great friends and that I think it would be great just to be remembered as the guy who's was loyal and loving and was just a great friend.
30:40 So I just have a little bit of time. I have two quick questions. Where do you think you? And I will be in 10 years. Will we be in ten years? We'll probably be in Florida.
30:57 With a possibility of summers in the mountains, maybe or just got to wandering. I don't see a staying in Connecticut for that long.
31:09 Even though, you know, I still have friends and stuff up up here.
31:14 It's all be nice to be near Katie located. You know, my step daughter would from Jeanne. She's like us, you know, she just lets the kids things. So, you know, it would be nice to you know, go there with it. We actually had the house up for sale near in Connecticut last year and we were going to start trying that process. You don't go to Boone North Carolina and hang out there and that's that got changed when we ended up with the nitwits here because, you know, I don't want to be traveling around until they're fully trained. We don't, you know, we can't have them just wandering around USA.
31:58 So, we're probably going to be stuck here for a couple more years before we even think about doing something like that. And then, you know, on the back end of our life.
32:10 You know, it's it's got to be Mister. You've got longevity in your family. But you also got the cancer, you're going to fight, which is it. In in a, whether we like it or not. It's inevitable. It's going to get you a question. Why didn't you know, my family. History is awful. You'll no mail has gone past 70 and five generations. Think about that. That's a long time. You know, that's a hundred years and not one male has made it past that my father broke the record heat. He died at 70 years old and one week you're now I thought my brother would you know, break the record and then I knocked him off so he can't break the break the record. So maybe I can do it, but it's it'll be interested. I'll be really bummed. I don't want to be one of those old people that can't do anything. That sucks.
33:07 Just sit in the chair. Now, Knock You Out, preciate that. So it's all.
33:14 I think that's probably what we be doing, what, you know in Florida, you're getting your, you're eventually going to have that that that thin blood, that the he's not going to bother you at all. You're probably going to think it's cold, but it's 90 degrees. So, you know.
33:29 That's a negative of Florida in the summer. It is roasted down there. You know, it does get ugly but you know, eventually it's inevitable When I Come Home Depot houses, so, you know, we'll have to, we'll have to drop that off but, you know,
33:49 As long as As.
33:51 Vore live eyes. I assume you know, I don't see anything happening that we won't be together then. I mean, I'm I'm great to be with. So we're running out of time. You have a chance to ask me one question.
34:09 That I can answer quickly. Yes, or no.
34:18 What did you think when you first met me and saw that? I, I was missing a like they did something pop in your head.
34:28 His life. Is that going to be weirder how we met on eHarmony and I reached out to you. And the reason I reached out to you is because your profile picture was you standing and in your front yard with three German Shepherds with shorts on. So I saw that you were in a PC and the end it was so different than all of the other guy's profile pictures with them, you know, flexing their muscles and stand in front of the motorcycles with the cars. And I thought it was a real person. This is a real person and that's why I reached out to you.
35:10 So, I thought
35:12 I thought that was cool. And that's what actually attracted me to you first off.
35:19 Well, then fast forward to where we are. Now. Where do you think will be? I'm sorry. That's two questions, but she didn't, she didn't raise up or down fenders yet.