Jem Targal was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan Hospital. His family lived in the small community of Whitmore Lake until Targal was 2 years old while his father attended, and taught, at the University.
The family then moved to a small town in Turkey named Teke. Targal's memories of the 300 year old home include lots of scorpions, a big stone wall, and a goat trail that wound its way toward two castles. The house itself had a room that Targal recalls was his favorite. He refers to it as "the Jasmine Tea room." It had a window which looked out over the city of Istanbul. He still recalls the spectacular colors of Istanbul at sunset.
Targal's father was then teaching at the American College in Istanbul. There were seven families, all related, living in the house together. Targal's Grandfather, a retired general, was there. So, too, was Targal's uncles. One had been the head of NATO forces for several years; the other uncle was a professional wrestler. Then, in 1951, Targal's family returned to Michigan.
The moved into a house on Marlboro street in the city of Detroit. The street was near Jefferson Avenue and within walking distance of the Detroit river where Jem often wandered to watch cargo ships or gaze across the river at the Canadian city of Windsor. Targal went through school in Detroit, graduating from Cooley High school before moving, with his family, to a beautiful house in the suburban enclave of Troy.
While attending the Detroit schools, Jem began his stage training. He studied violin from the time he was eight years old, and, in high school, he acted in school theatrical performances.
Once in Troy, Jem enrolled at the nearby Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills. At Auburn Hills, Jem developed his interest in art and painting. He started some of his major projects and also contributed editorial cartoons to the school newspaper. It was there that Jem met Drew Abbott. Drew was a monitor in a speed reading class in which Jem had enrolled. Jem knew who Drew was, and had seen Drew playing in folk music clubs in the