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Steven Michael "Chip" Nelson

Steven Michael "Chip" Nelson

School Custodian & Classroom Mentor

Born: Brooklyn Center, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

I would try my hardest in school. I would be good to my teacher because they care about your and love you. Sometimes you think they are mean but they love you. Be good to your parents and good to each others. In the long run you have to know how to get along with people. If you make it hard for your teachers and for your parents you are making it hard for yourself. Try to be the best person you can be. Don’t expect anyone to give you anything. Work for the things you want in your life. If you don, life will be better and more gratifying.

Steven Michael "Chip" Nelson

School Custodian & Classroom Mentor

My full name is Steven Michael Nelson. My grandmother gave me the name Chip on the day I was born. She said I didn’t look like a Steven. She said, “He looks like a Chip.” So that’s the name that stuck.

I was born in Brooklyn Center a few blocks from Earle Brown. My parents were big people of the community. Sheriff Earle Brown hired my dad. Back then it was a village. My dad was the first policeman at night. He had to use his own car, which didn’t have radios. The way my dad got calls was my mom would turn on the front porch light and my dad would go in the house and get the message from mom.

When I was young there was no Brookdale Shopping Center, no parks, only woods and potato fields. When we were kids we played “kick the can” out in the street. My dad had an extra lot next to us and we played baseball and softball there all the time, used to ride the bikes on the old Earle Brown farm on Highway 57.

My mother always told me, “Kill people with kindness. If you don’t bring a fight to them, there is no fight.”

My parents didn’t have a lot of money. One day my dad said if I wanted a tent I would have to go earn the money. When I was eight years old, I cut lawns and raised about thirty dollars to buy the tent. I felt so proud of myself to get a tent from working so hard mowing lawns.

My dad always told me, “If you want something you must go out and earn it. If you do, you’ll be proud of it.” He tried to teach us that if you want things and you appreciate things that you must work for them.

I have a learning disability. I can’t remember what I have read. Kids used to make fun of me because I struggled in school. I had good teachers who taught me to look inside to find my inner self and my parents encouraged me all along.

Got my job here in ’76. I’ve worked here ever since, cleaning. When I come to work I really love it. Some days are not as great as other days. Best part of it is you kids. Being around you and being able to help you. I was there and remember how hard it was for me. I know some of the struggles you’re going through. If I can get through and have a successful life anybody can. I want to stress that to you.

It is important to help others. I try to make the kids feel good by talking to kids who are struggling. Telling people they look nice. When I see someone with shoes untied I stop and tie their shoes. My biggest thing is to make sure these rooms are clean. The minute that teacher walks in that door how she feels will affect the kids all day long. I try to make sure the teachers are happy because keeping their world better is to help them and by helping the teachers I am also helping the students. Everything trickles down to the kids.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Steven Michael "Chip" Nelson

In Brooklyn Center Tonight Everything Is Going To Be All Right!

Got to work to make a living / Got to work to be fed
Got to work to make achievements / these words my mother said,
“Kill people with kindness” / “If you don’t bring a fight,
there will be no fighting.” / Everything will be all right
In Brooklyn Center Tonight
Everything is going to be all right (4x)
Everything is going to be all right (8x)

My name is Steven Michael,
But my grandmother called me Chip,
On the day I was born,
Been called that ever since
Born in Brooklyn Center,
A few blocks from Earle Brown,
My father was the first
Night policeman in town
Working for Mr. Earle Brown
In Brooklyn Center town
Back then there was no Brookdale
There was no shopping mall
Just woods and potato fields
And that was all
Kick the can and baseball
In the vacant lot we played
With friends and neighbors
Outside night and day
These words my dad would say
To me everyday
Kids use to tease me,
Back in the third grade,
The things they would call me,
I would never say
As I got older,
I learned to be friends,
With those disrespected,
Always be kind to them
Why can’t we all be friends
With each other ‘til the end
When I was eight I wanted
To get a pup tent,
Dad said, “If you want it,
You’ll have to work for it.”
Mowing lawns all summer long,
Washing dishes, too,
There‘s nothing I like better,
Then being here with you
When people are in a good mood,
It trickles down to me and you
Being head custodian,
Here at Earle Brown,
Gives me more pleasure,
Than putting people down
Cleaning up the hallways,
Sweeping up the floors,
Makes the teachers happy,
When they walk through the door.
If you ask for more,
You I won’t ignore
Everything is going to be alright (4x)

Words by LARRY LONG with Mrs. Umphrey’s 6th grade class of Earle Brown Elementary School (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2005 / BMI