OAKLAND, N.J. – A chapter of Oakland native Cindi Michael’s memoir, "The Sportscaster’s Daughter," is labeled “The Golden Years.”
“It is really when our family was the strongest,” said Michael, of the years she and her siblings lived in Oakland with their famous father, George Michael.
George Michael was a WABC disc jockey, Islanders play-by-play announcer and weekend sportscaster in the late 70’s when the family lived in Bergen County. During that time, “my dad tried to be Mr. Mom. He tried to do everything right,” said Cindi.
“Oakland is just a really special place. It is the happy years of my childhood,” she said.
Cindi Michael will be back in Oakland on Thursday, February 23. She is slated to discuss her book at 7 p.m. at the Oakland Library.
Redbook Magazine dubbed "The Sportscaster’s Daughter" one of the best books of 2016.
“It is really the story of our family and how my dad came to disown me and how we became estranged and the impact on me as a mom and as the daughter of somebody who was larger than life,” Michael said. The book is also about “how you go about finding your own confidence and strength from within and learning to forgive him,” she said.
Michael, who now lives in Sparta, didn’t have an easy childhood. She said her parents divorced early on, and her mother neglected her and her siblings before her father gained sole custody.
In 1980, she and her siblings moved to Washington D.C. with their father when he became a sportscaster for the "Sports Machine," where millions of people watched him each week. But the demands of the job left little time for the kids.
“We’d come home to an empty house every night. The only way to see our father was to watch him on TV,” Michael said.
She and her father had a falling out, and hadn’t talked for years before his death. She said she hopes her book “helps people find their own strength and heal.”
“Family rifts need healing. It has impact that goes to your children, your grandchildren, your spouse. And that no matter how much time has passed, it is never too late to fix things. So whatever grudge you hold onto, do you really need to hold onto it?” she said.