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OXFORD – Being brought up as one of 10 kids has no only taught Brian “Bip” O’Donnell how to get along in most circumstances, but also how to be assertive when the situation calls for it.
Q: Where were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born at Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, but lived in West Roxbury from age 1 to 5 then Cohasset from 5 to 16 and then Sherborn from 16 to 18.
Q: Do you have many siblings?
A: I have nine; two girls and seven boys.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My dad owned and operated a 150-unit apartment and my mom stayed at home to raise her children and my step-mother is a language teacher at Newton High School.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: I grew up in small towns of about 4,000 to 5,000 people, though not small by Maine standards. In Cohasset we lived on the ocean and I loved it. I went boating, swimming, played Little League, went fishing in the ocean and had great fun. It was kind of an idyllic Norman Rockwell life. In Sherborn, a town of old money and farms it was a big change but it was also great fun.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: At different times I wanted to be different things such as an FBI agent from the TV show with Efferent Zinbalist Jr. I also wanted to be a veterinarian and a doctor.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I did one year at Boston College majoring in Biology and One year at Babson College majoring in Business. Then I went to a trade school to learn plumbing and then the School of Hard Knocks.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: I’d rather not say. I plead the fifth.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: From 14 to 15 years old I had a paper route. From 14 to 16 years old I was a dishwasher at Hugo’s Lighthouse Restaurant. I’ve been a plumber most of my adult life and work in construction.
Q: Where and how did you meet your spouse?
A: I’ve never been married, but I am spoken for. I met my girlfriend Tammy nine years ago. She was waitressing at the Landing Strip Café at the Auburn/Lewiston Airport. I’m still working on the married part.
Q: Anyone ever said you look like some famous?
A: Yes, Stone Cold Steve Austin when I had a goatee and Uncle Fester form the Addams Family movie.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: No, I despise traveling. I enjoy myself when I get to the destination, but why travel when in Maine we have four seasons, the best of all worlds and sometimes the worst.
Q: Which place was the most interesting?
A: Ireland, tracing my heritage, my roots.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: Not particularly, although my parents wanted all their children to graduate from college, but more than anything they wanted us to be happy in whatever we did. That gave us all the ability to be and do whatever we wanted. They were always our greatest teachers of values and truth.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: I enjoy reading, sports, warm weather activites like boating, swimming and fishing.
A: The School of Hard Knocks.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Shadow of the Hegemon , The Eider Series by Andrew Scott Card. I’m currently reading Hunted by John Lescroat.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Archaeology, the history of man in fossils etc.
Q: What is the one thing you would not give up?
A: Sweetie, my girlfriend, though she says I would not give up my work.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: Yes, three, my girlfriend’s step-type children. Matt, 27, Tiffany, 24 and Samantha, 19.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: People that give up hope, the human spirit can overcome all odds with the proper support.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A: 67 years-young and maybe someday I’ll grow up.
Q: Any heroes?
A: Mom and dad, they were and are the best. I also have to include my stepmother, Maryellen, she is top shelf.
Q: What was the best memory this interview brought back?
A: Feeling safe and secure always. Never realized how lucky we were as kids until I grew up and discovered how rare this can be. Thinking about my family and growing up. They are all my best friends. When people meet us together they always comment on how well we get along.
Q: Last day on earth, what would you do and with whom?
A: Just what I’m doing how, enjoying family and girlfriend, enjoying working and enjoying friends.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most like to see?
A: My mom and dad, but they are always in and with all of us.
Q: Any regrets?
A: No regrets; life is what it is.