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The Story of Chale Holmes & the Birth of Chuck – Inspired by true events

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So I wasn’t always Chuck Richter. My mom remarried when I was young and I adopted my step dad's last name of ‘Holmes’ from the age of 4 years old to 18. When I turned 18 I changed my last name to my blood dad’s last name of Richter, out of respect to him. Note: my step dad was awesome and I regard him as my dad today, but my real dad was awesome too. Anyhow, in High School my name that I went by primarily was ‘Charlie Holmes’. One day, new semester, new class, junior year, new kids to get familiarized with and the first roll call.  Just to back up a bit, I lived in So. Cal (Riverside, CA) and there was some Mexican gang bangers in this particular class. Back in those days, we called them cholos, and these were some scary looking dudes. They carried knives, I carried lunch money. So, during roll call the teacher gets around to me and calls out "Charlie Holmes". I said "Right Here". In one accord and in the same motion, four cholos turnaround from the front row and -- with their hair greased back with nets over them, wife beaters and pants sagging they said: "CHALE HOLMES?!?!?" "Yes" I replied. They responded: "Did you know that Chale Holmes in Mexican slang means "What the ****, dude??"  --- Meanwhile the teacher was so intimidated by these guys that she let them interrupt and carry on during roll call without a peep. Anyhow, I responded and said “no I didn't know that.” (These cholos got a kick out of it, gave me high fives and said) -  "If anyone messes with you, we got your back Chale Holmes". As I left class that day I felt like I could run my mouth with anyone from that day forward. I walked around the school campus (Arlington High) and outside world with swagger. Charlie Holmes gave birth to ‘Chuck’ and he never looked back. The once shy, timid and lacking in confidence Charlie was on his way to tearing up the town, strutting his stuff all over the Southland. Later on in life when someone would say “WHAT THE **** CHUCK?” in good fun, I laughed a little inside because it reminded me of the Chale Holmes story, and that essentially it means the same thing.  â€“ The End



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That's hilarious, Chale'!  I've had similar experiences, and learned that finding common-ground helps break through a lot of barriers.  Unless they're robbing you of your lunch money at the time, of course.  Some of my best friendships as a kid, grew out of schoolyard fights.


I was born "Christian Kelly" before being adopted (by wonderful parents, who gave me an amazing life in Huntington Beach and beyond!).  My mother was an amateur genealogist, and traced my birth-roots to the Northern Ireland Kelly's.  I'm very excited to be traveling to Belfast in a couple weeks to explore the family roots (and probably a few pubs too!).

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