Senseless Deaths

I have recently had two deaths in the family.  I am still working through them, but not for the reasons you might think.

Yes, I am sorry they are gone, but I’ve accepted that already. I cried a little but my grief is mixed with anger, so I know I will eventually have to work through that.

One I will miss terribly.  The other, I will always wonder how I could have made a bigger difference in his life.

Death number 1:

The first death was my cousin’s.  My cousin was fantabulous.  I didn’t grow up with him.  I babysat him. He was considerably younger and so I never really was around when he was a teen or growing up.

The visits to our Mexican side of the family had been few and far between, by then I was a mom and responsible parent.  My young cousins seemed wild and we all worried and wondered if they belonged to gangs. One visit in particular, I remembered seeing gunshot holes in a straight line along all the cars across the street from their house.  My aunt and uncle moved from there shortly thereafter wanting to get the kids to a better neighborhood. Given the circumstances of his death, my brother’s response to the news is, how grateful he is, we didn’t grow up in that environment. Mother kept us away.  Mother may not have been quite sane, but she still had a mother’s protective instinct. I thought for a long time she was ashamed of her family, but perhaps not.

Still, they are family and for that reason, I’ve since tried to get to know them better.

For 30 years, I lived out of state and hadn’t seen them in quite a long time even though I stayed in touch by phone and mostly just with my aunt, their mother.  When I returned four years ago, I started visiting them again.  All grown up now, “RA” (not his real name) and I became buddies.  During my time away, he’d had four kids and they’d had kids. He was no longer with either of their mothers and now lived next door to my aunt, his mom.

On m first visit, I drove up in my “dirty” car.  I’d just washed it either a couple of days before or the day before.  He insisted, he’d detail it.  In short order he had all his buddies washing and buffing every inch of it.  Before long it looked brand new!!!  I didn’t realize that washing alone doesn’t cut it. A good waxing and buffing makes a world of difference!  Spit spot.

I offered to give him something for it but he always refused.  When my son got his new, used car, he taught him how to take care of it and when they were done his car now looked spanking new.  That particular time, because he had worked on two of our cars and quite laboriously, I might add, I once again offered him a sizable amount of cash for helping out.  That time he took it.  I think he went to the casino afterwards. I was, of course, disappointed and vowed to not do that again.  Instead, I thought I’d give him something in trade, perhaps.  I’m a first born.

On some afternoons, we would talk and occasionally have a beer together. He was warm and kind. I did get around to asking him if he’d belonged to a gang and he said, No, never.  We would talk about everything and I saw nothing but a good guy.

He was also quite artistic and gifted me a Betty Boop clock that I knew my airline pilot brother would be envious of and he was. Betty Boop

On that first visit, when I was in LA for a screenwriters workshop, I told him of my screenwriting desires.  He had gotten so excited about my screenplays.  It was neat, he looked up to me for all he thought I’d achieved, even though a part of me was so afraid to disappoint. He was interested in what I’d written and even hooked me up with a guy who had once been in law enforcement who might help my research. My story centered on a kidnapping and a woman’s unknown connection to the cartel.  Later he would tell me, “Cuz, don’t do it.”  He was quite serious. I didn’t understand his change of heart, but even though he said it sounded great, he reiterated, “don’t do it”. He said, it was dangerous.  It never made sense to me since lots of writers write about the cartel.  In fact, there are so many cartel stories out there, how would one more make a difference?  I said, it’s fiction after all and my queries were non specific, plus I told him, most everything I had, I got off the internet, the rest was made up. Nevertheless, I let it go because it wasn’t developing the way I wanted it to anyway.  Unfortunately, there was also one about a kidnapping that came out soon after.  Plus that year, so many cartel movies began to surface that I would be hard pressed to sell it anyway, even with revisions.

On my aunts property, she had fruit trees. RA would harvest giant grapefruit and from her tall avocado trees, avocados.  She would sell them to the neighbors or passersby that would stop and ask.  Of course, that was frequent since RA made her a big sign inviting them to buy.   “RA” would also be the one to climb this tall ladder to harvest the fruit so his mom  could sell them for a little cash (like 10 for $1 or so), mostly so they wouldn’t go to waste.  When I was there, I’d hold the ladder for him as he’d tie it and himself in before he’d get to work some 20+ feet up.  Between him and his brother they took good care of his mom and did things for her all the time.

A few weeks ago, he was shot, assassination style.  The news said that, except for his age, 63,  it had all the markings of a gangland “hit”.  But what got me is that it was a story that got snuffed almost immediately. It was weeks before his body would be released to the family.  Am I overstepping my bounds in saying so?  I hope not.

It was around 2 AM.  He was riding his bicycle home, after visiting a “friend”, after said friend called him over.  Was it a set up?  We still have no answers and pictures are sparse for a reason.

At first, I thought perhaps, because I knew he liked to gamble, that maybe he’d gotten in debt with the wrong person.  But that was just a guess.  No one else seemed to have a clue.

I’ve since learned the FBI is investigating.  The FBI?  Hmmmm

The story gets curiouser and curiouser.

Death Number  2 –

Last weekend, we deposited my ex son-in-law’s ashes at sea.  My daughter and granddaughter came out for the services.  She was his first and I believe his only legal wife. His mom, sister and ex football jock friends from high school were there and all his homeless “crew” were there.  The contrast disconcerting.

The homeless sat or stood on one side and the country clubbers on the other.  How did this once good looking guy go astray?

I knew he had an alcohol problem when he married my daughter and I only suspected the drugs.  One time, when I visited them, I had observed him stepping out momentarily with something in his hands and then returning moments later, but I was naive to those matters at the time. Was it a drug deal?

What I didn’t know is that he had once used my daughter, while she was pregnant with our grand daughter as a drug mule. So, his addiction and her love caused them both to make some unwise choices. I never knew.  Drugs and alcohol, for me anyway, have never been a temptation, for which I’m grateful.

We talked them into moving to Colorado to live with us hoping that away from his druggy friends, that he’d kick the habit.  They were there for six or seven months.  We employed him at our bicycle business and kept him busy, but he was miserable.  He didn’t have his drugs, that we knew of, but he still had access to alcohol.

While cleaning one day, I found a stash of alcohol, several bottles of vodka, whiskey or whatever.  I went back to check later and those were gone and several others had taken their place. Where and when was he getting these? One day, I asked him to run to the store for me, so he borrowed my bike and took off.  After more than an hour, I went looking for him on my son’s bike. (the store was nearby) I found him sitting on the bridge, downing cans of beer and tossing the empties into the Colorado River!!!  I took the cans from him and we had a chat.  When the chat was over he hugged me, thanked me and then closed in for a kiss.  I pushed him away and told him, he was drunk and I’m his mother in law, for Pete’s sake!  He was only 21.

I wasn’t angry at him because I recognized only too well that this young man had a serious problem. (My ex had been an alcoholic, but a good natured one such as BAC, (not his name). He was a teddy bear… a gorgeous, handsome, charismatic hunk (at the time).  Women had trouble not forgiving him. Instead of getting angry, they forgive and forgive, which was a disservice to him. Some time later, the kids announced they were moving back to CA. We were not happy.

They got their tax return and he was going to go on ahead, get a place and send for the girls.  We never saw him again.  My daughter, after waiting awhile, learned he had moved in with her former roommate.  She filed a divorce in absentia.  I’m not sure if that’s the correct term.  She would later marry a guy who became the only dad, my grand daughter would recognize as dad.  He and his family love her to pieces.

BAC didn’t show up in her life again until he learned she’d had a son. His mom, sister and brother were always in Becca’s life, so it wasn’t as if he was totally unknown to her, but he wasn’t dad and she’d never met him.  She finally agreed to meet him.  By then, he’d been in and out of prison, lost an eye in a fight and was living on the streets.  He’d stolen from friends, and abused his friendships. He was a mess, but despite that she says philosophically, “he lived life on his terms.”  She doesn’t hate or admire him.

My daughter met his “wife” and she told her that he stayed away as much as possible because, he said regarding his daughter, “she was the only good thing I ever did” and didn’t want to ruin that. She was the only child he would ever have.

Now, here he was, at 48, in a box. (His mom gave permission to use his pic on this blog.)

The program had a picture of him when he was young and the way my daughter remembered him when they first met.  She lost it.  She never expected that hurt to spring up after 26 years.

The homeless people laid out a spread you would not believe, but no one, except the homeless ate anything that they’d prepared. Even then, they didn’t eat until most everyone had left. We drank water and dipped only what our own hands touched.  There was a pork loin (several, in fact) that were on the barbecue, but when I saw this guy slicing it up with his filthy hands… well.

My grand daughter and I made an attempt to talk to them, but discovered that most of them seriously suffered mentally and from their addictions. They did say, he talked about us often.  It was difficult to watch. We learned that some of these folks had, at one time, had come from good homes. Some were well educated and talented. I learned they  are provided phones and other resources by family and friends, who have not abandoned them completely, but don’t know what else to do for them. There was among this older group, one young man, who is probably not unlike BAC was at one time and it saddened my heart to see and wonder where he would end up. It was sad all the way around in so many ways.

BAC died peacefully I hear.  He got up one day and sat down at the table and that was it.  He died where he sat.

My daughter said, she believed it started when his father died while he was still in high school.  He never got over it. I think people are more aware of the impact of traumatic events these days, but perhaps not so much then. No two people suffer the same and for some, it is deeply hidden and surfaces subtly.

His high school jock friends turned out. They went to college and he went to drugs, but they were there anyway.  Some were childhood friends and others he’d grown up with later and they came.  Two of his friends went out on their boards to deposit his ashes.  None of his homeless friends except for his wife, would walk that far (one block) to the beach for his send off.  For me, it was so evident who his true friends were.

 

When his friend had paddled the required 1/4 mile to deposit the ashes, he said that once the ashes got wet, they felt like 50 pounds on his back.  The sea was not in his favor and he returned exhausted.  That’s friendship.

Bret sendoff

 

Graduation Trip (part 2)

Weeeell, After what felt like a near death experience with the flu which I thought I’d never get over, I did and none too soon because my oldest “child” was graduating college at 51 years of age!!

Tina got married at 17,

and traveled with her hubby some. Knowing he would one day inherit the bicycle business started by his father, he learned German and Italian, since those were the primary manufacturing locations of their products. So, of course they got to go to Europe several times. Not having children yet, she was able to accompany him on these trips.  For some time, we never thought she’d ever start her family.

When she was in her late 20’s, the business was sold and they did begin their family. At age 29 her firstborn child was born, on the same date my eldest boy was  born. After that came son number two…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and sometime after that came son number three.  It appeared that once the ball started to roll, they couldn’t get it stopped.  Suddenly, she found herself pregnant once again.  I asked her if she wished for a girl, but she said, No! “B—‘s only make boys,  (her brother in law has four boys) besides if I had a girl, I don’t know what I’d do with her,  I know what to do with boys.”  Guess what? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She had a girl.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for her.  Postpartum depression set in and sadly ruined the momentous occasion.  When she confided in me how she believed she should be happy, but wasn’t, I suggested she see her doctor.  Fortunately, I wasn’t the first person to tell her that.  Her mid-wife gave her a referral and in time, she improved.

By now she was 38.

Five years ago, she decided to finish school and go to college.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that she chose nursing  given  her own previous experience, but I was.  Her whole life, she had been more into holistic healing and the organic approach to health. Yet nursing it was.

Little by little other pieces as to why have fallen into place, giving me clues as to how she came to her decision.

You see her goal is to eventually become a travel nurse.  Her kids are all but gone and she’s seen the need in her travels. She’d been to Nepal for a mission trip some years back, so yes, there is definitely a need. She just returned from Tahiti with her father (a graduation gift) and she was told there was a need there.  There’s always a need, regardless of her age anywhere in the world.

THE PINNING:

First came the pinning and everyone was there.  Little Ally was in a wheelchair and on pain meds still since her trampoline accident had just occurred a few days earlier.

With her family’s support she completed her schooling, so of course her family was thereto support and cheer her on, with the exception of one brother.  He came out earlier for his grandfather’s funeral, which took place during Spring break while his wife was on hers from teaching.  As foster parents, getting away doesn’t come easy, so it was the best they could do. He did bring his oldest son with him, so it was a good visit.

We get to meet her classmates and some “bestie’s” she made while there.  She made a point of not giving away her age at first, not that it ended up mattering. They loved her.

And finally graduation day:

tina

And more family –

And then it finished off with a party at her house, which for some reason was just us… at first.  It seems the graduates make a circuit run of all their friends and stopped in later.  For some reason, probably because it was way past my bedtime, I didn’t get pictures. Oooops!   Yea!!! She graduated with honors and much thanks to the whole family for their support.

The Other Woman

A long time ago, too many to count, I lost my first husband to the other woman.  It was sad and I was miserable but I got over it.

I moved on far quicker than I imagined I could.  How and why?

Well… for one, it was the third time.  In my mind, I’d reasoned that a man that strays is not a man worth crying over.  If you take him back  (and I did twice before) then he’ll continue to stray.  What incentive is there for him to remain faithful if you keep taking him back?  Is it worth the heartache?  Not at all. Besides, I had two daughters, what kind of message would that be sending them?

So, I moved on and was eventually okay with it.

Then I married a younger man and he had women pal friends. Oh boy!  They were friends before I came along, so why worry about them.  I found it incredible that there was not more to their relationships.  When he and I started dating, he talked of them often, it was always “Jenny” this or “Pam” that.  So, of course, I thought perhaps there’s more there than I realize?  Hmmmm.

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Jenny was the pretty one and his “favorite” climbing buddy. She was always available to go on trips with him and he loved having someone to climb with. On occasion it puzzled him that her husband had no problem with her gallivanting off alone with a single guy.  In the early stages of our relationship when we were just friends, I ignored any speculation. Easy peasy. Not my problem.

One summer, I took a climbing trip with my rock-climbing buddies and he went trekking with  Jenny and I thought perhaps Pam,  another one of his regular climbing partners, but he reminded me how the two women didn’t get along so it wasn’t likely they’d pair up with him. Could it have been jealousy?  No telling.  It was kind of funny actually.

In the meantime, my guys, ( I was with three) helped me set up my tent on a mound not far from theirs so they could keep an eye out for me while giving me some privacy.  I loved it.  I know little about my BF’s trip, but it didn’t matter.  We were after all only dating then.

Off track for a moment here. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with climbing in general, let me inform you that not all climbing is technical, meaning requiring ropes and harness.  In fact climbing routes have numerical classifications depending on their difficulty, so when I refer to “rock” climbing, then I’m letting you know it is more difficult or as some say “technical” which requires rope and harness pretty much all the time, except for the brave soul, and there are some who free climb regardless of it’s difficulty, but that’s not me. The hardest climb I ever did was a 5.10a (US) which I thought pretty tough,  but for a more experienced climber, probably not. When I refer to climbing fourteener’s, I mean peaks of over 14,000 feet in altitude, these may or may not require ropes at all, although it is possible. In fact, there are peaks of less than 14,000 feet, such as the Trinities in Colorado where you’d like to at least have the option of using ropes if necessary, which some in our group did. Later I questioned my own sanity for not having been one of them.  Most guidebooks will tell you if there is a probability of needing them depending on your own caliber of expertise. There are some heights and areas that although not necessarily difficult are so exposed that they can make you feel a bit woozy, so it then becomes more of a precaution than a necessity.  BTW, For me exposed means straight down or with very little to break your fall, should you fall. In cases like that you could get “sewing machine leg” which means your legs tremble uncontrollably from the tension and trepidation of taking the next step.  That can be especially true on lateral climbs but not so much on the vertical ones.  It somehow feels different.

 

Back on track. As our relationship progressed, my BF and I began going on trips together with his friends.  Mine were not backpacking climbers, so it was just me that migrated to the mountain climbing group.

I was a greenhorn when it came to this distance climbing.  While rock climbing required leg and arm strength with enough stamina to hike into the climbing area, climbing 14ner’s required more long distance stamina and in rare occasions, decent technical knowledge.  Usually in rock climbing, the places I went to required minimal trekking in and most areas, you could practically just drive up to get to them, like the City of Rocks in Idaho.

Climbing 14ner’s was tough in a different way.  I was always out of breath from the altitude… until someone cued me in on a trick.  But before I learned it, these new group of “friends” frequently left me in the dust while they practically ran up the mountain, found a spot to take a break and wait for me to catch up.  As soon as I’d get there, they’d put on their packs, wait a couple of minutes for me to take a swallow of water and maybe, if I was lucky, I’d get a bite of a granola bar before they’d be ready to head out again. I learned quickly not to bother sitting down because as soon as I sat down they’d be up, which was just as well because my legs would start congealing and it would be all I could do to get moving again if I sat too long.  Fortunately, I did get stronger. But that was at first and boy did Jenny enjoy being the queen bee in those early days.

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Even my BF (hubby) didn’t wait for me.  I remember half the time wondering why he was my BF.  It pissed me off because he’d be of with “her” or “them” and I was struggling behind.  I’d have to remind myself how I grew up at sea level and I was considerably older learning all new stuff to do. (I’m nearly 50 in those pictures above) It was all new to me so I was determined and at the end of the day I was glad of it.  I really loved getting to the top of peaks and seeing God’s creations in all their magnificent glory.  Not to mention testing my own strengths and tenacity. Getting left behind while Jenny, him and the rest of the gang were way ahead was quite motivating as well.

On one of the earlier camp outs, Jenny and I were off by ourselves and she tells me how she just can’t understand how he could fall for someone like me.  (Bitch!)  Without malice, I ask what she meant by that.  Her response, was… “you’re old-er”.. . Yes, that can’t be denied I am years older but she didn’t know how much older so her stating it cued me in on how she felt about him and how I was the interloper.

Huh!

I tell my BF and being a guy, a rock could land on his head and he’d never notice, but he laughed and said, “No way, we’re just friends. We both just like to climb.”

Riiiiight!

Then he adds, “besides, she’s married.”

No matter, I kept my eye on her because although Pam was a possibility, as a single woman, she never made any claims or try to mark her territory.

So, I used the principle of keeping your enemies closer and asked Jenny to go climbing on a trip my BF had done several times before and that she had failed on two other occasions, so it was good chance for me to have a partner and her to try again.  Gladstone sits between and near Mt. Wilson and Wilson Peak.  It pretty much required an early morning start, so like at about 3 am I’m up and a little later, pick her up. Soon we are headed out from home and arriving as early as possible and starting the actual climb at daybreak.

picture by John Kirk

We did Wilson Peak first then proceeded to head up Gladstone.  Unfortunately, it started snowing about then.  At first lightly and then suddenly humongous flakes begin coming down quickly.  It was an early autumn snow which was surprisingly wet, so note the foreground in the picture and the rocky ridge?  Well compound that with wet snow that because of the cold will freeze.  We get through about a third of the way and each step becomes progressively more tenuous.  I suggest we turn back. She says no, “she’s failed twice before and just can’t turn away again.” We went on a bit further until the snowfall escalated. In just a few minutes the places we’d passed earlier were completely white. It was my first attempt and though I felt for her, I wanted to see another day and wouldn’t continue.  Plus each step we took became slipperier as we progressed.  Getting there was possible, but the return?  When we turned around to come back, we both looked up to see what looked like giant alien stick figures materializing on the east face of the saddle where the snow had collected, across from Mt. Wilson.  It was like a sign from God.

As it turns out, we barely made it to this old mining shack we’d passed going up the mountain and took refuge there. It was still far from our vehicle, but until it abated some, it was a safe haven.  We worried it wouldn’t stop and we’d be stranded there overnight and I made calculations of what we had in our packs that could get us through the night. In light of that we made the decision to go for it. As it was, it was dark when we got off the mountain (remember, we started out initially at 3 am)  Sadly, it would be midnight before we drug our sorry bodies home.

I didn’t climb with her again.  Without sounding sexist, I observed that the climbers with more sense were generally guys and I trusted my hubby’s judgement best of all.  Some time later Jenny, would get a divorce and surprisingly, she did drop hints here and there which confirmed what I’d said.  Was he disappointed? I  asked.  Had she been free, would he have given her a second thought?  He was honest and said he didn’t know. The truth is, it was actually Pam he’d been more attracted to, but only because she was always up for a trip, other than that, he didn’t find her that attractive and she was so dang radical that he’d pretty much nixed her out as well.  As for my queries about Jenny’s climbing passion being more akin to his?  He said “No”, she wasn’t that great.  Yes, sure she liked to go out but he questioned her motivation because,  in retrospect there were times when she went on climbs with him that she failed the ascents, bailing halfway up. Her reasons were complaints of nausea and headaches, which to be honest, if you don’t adequately hydrate at those altitudes, it can be a problem.  As for abandoning climbs? Well, I too,  abandoned climbs before and in both instances I was with a singular other woman and both times it snowed heavily. I’d also heard stories my BF told me of times he should have and didn’t and how it could have been fatal. Then there were the news stories of people getting caught in blizzards and ending up dead or lost for days. It happens.

As for Jenny, I felt sorry for her because even though she remarried, it didn’t work out well for her that time either. From then on out, she climbed less and less but then so did we.  Age has a way of catching up to us, but for as much older as I was than they, I outlasted them all.

Oh, as for the trick I learned to survive the altitude and breathe easier?

Aspirin.

Bayer Aspirin Regimen Low Dose 81mg, Enteric Coated Tablets, 300 Ct

Yes, they Do over near Tucson AZ -Badfish

Huh?

December 15, 2016

This is too funny.

I was getting all these “likes” and an unexplainable “Huh?” from BF for the above Title (comment) posted five days ago and I didn’t know I’d written it.

Some time ago I’d replied to Badfish on someone else’s post and didn’t realize that I’d done so as a “post”, so here I am looking at all these likes and wondering why the reaction to my reply.  It wasn’t that interesting. Really.

Now, I also know why Badfish responded as he did…

4 thoughts on “Yes, they Do over near Tucson AZ – Badfish”

I guess the truth is not everyone reads our blogs as well as we imagine they do ( I notice that with me, the ones I read most often are ones that don’t arrive in multiples on any given day, it’s just too hard to keep up with three or four from the same source.)

I’m sure some of my readers were wondering what the hell I might have been smoking when I wrote the headline and not following it with anything.  They probably had no clue nor understood what this one was all about.  Thank you for indulging me.

The truth is, it proves that unless we have a catchy title that draws one in for the read or are exceptional writers, like Badfish, we may not get our blogs read all the time.

Badfish and I go back a very long way as some of you may already be aware and I must admit his blogs are exceptional and few, which is a good thing. It gives me a chance to look forward to the next savory dish.We have, now and again, had a great deal of fun bantering and alluding to our relationship in our blogs. Why not, what are friends for?

 

However the above comment was mis-written and one that I later on corrected and sent, but only now discovered, never realizing or knowing the reason he hadn’t received it in the first place was that I’d “blogged” it in a title instead. (I did later resend it as you can see above)

Actually, the only thing that existed prior to me adding this little blurb was just the title.

By the way, the title was in response to his query about ostrich farms and where one is, in Tucson, AZ… at the base of Picacho Peak.

File:Picacho Peak.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So there you have it, the rest of the story.

 

The Whole Picture

I know a great deal is happening in the world today.  Attitudes are changing, some good, some not so good.

In this mash of over stimulation and feeding of opinion, from every form of media and friends, how do we get the whole picture?  The TRUE picture?

Truth is relative, that’s a given truth be told. So much of what we believe is influenced by those around us, our friends, neighbors, educators, religion (if we attend), media and if we read, books. Sadly most of it comes from a combination of media and peer pressure.

Peer pressure is something we just can’t seem to avoid. We’re like cattle or perhaps sheep off to slaughter. Friends are an integral part of living and heaven forbid we disappoint friends. So that leaves MEDIA. MEDIA is the most damaging. TV especially because more people watch TV than listen to radio, in periodicals or the daily paper. Why people believe what they hear on TV as gospel is beyond me. Most of it is “he said, she said” anyway.

I recall an interview a few years back of an actor who had for several seasons or perhaps years, had played a villain on a long running soap opera.  He said in the interview, how surprised he was at the number of people believed it was for real. He was frequently being chastised on the street for being so bad. One day, he says, a woman literally came up to him from out of the blue and hit him with her purse.  The audience of course laughed, but what a sad commentary of how “our” belief system is influenced.  That’s why commercials work and why certain ones are aired at certain times and channels for a specific target audience. That’s also how our children’s minds get formed without us even being aware.  That’s how it is though.

How many people rely on media for their information?

TV news anchors and various talk shows constantly skew their information and cut and paste to present information to fit their own agenda. Now social media is in the mix and how even more impactive that has become.  Because now it’s the man on the street, showing us “live” as to what is going on.

Tell me, has anyone stopped to think how it is that someone just “happened” to see and shoot something as it unfolds from beginning to end and in it’s entirety without prejudice?  Who on earth is ready to roll all the time?  It’s hardly likely unless the event was contrived in the first place. Think about that. And the public believes it? Incredible. Generally if you see something happen, it takes more than a few seconds to get your camera rolling and by then you probably missed a good chunk of important information. It’s hard enough to get a good reel when you plan to shoot it. Trust me.

Low tolerance, high tolerance. It all goes awry when it comes to personal beliefs.  For example, someone may say they are tolerant of this or that and appear for all practical purposes to be so until someone who has an opposing ideology attempts to present theirs. Suddenly their “tolerance” is out the window.  What it really boils down to is so and so has no right to their voice if it conflicts with mine. In other words mine is right, theirs is wrong.  Period.

It’s human nature to hear what you want to hear and if you dislike someone you may be even more inclined to isolate the incriminating or what you want or need to indict them. Sometimes people don’t bother listening or hearing the whole message.  Oh, but wait!  Perhaps the whole message wasn’t shared, just a little this and that. Perhaps some media power that be edited it to discredit  one or uplift another.  How would you know?

There’s no doubt that if we want the truth, we have to go hunting for it and like hunting, it takes work and patience to find truth behind the stories that are being told.

I understand we are all under time restrictions, but do your best.

If you don’t take care, what you see is not necessarily what you’re gonna get. You could be in for a surprise.

We as the human race can be so foolish but for this country’s sake,  lets not be. Our future depends on it.

Do your homework folks.

 

 

 

Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

I was just watching a video clip of a young man and girl on you tube.  It was the typical, Simon Cowle makes a face or tweaks his mouth in reservation, judging them.  If you look at the faces in the audience, you see they too have made a determination about this couple.

Case in point.  You have to see this.

You see what I mean?

Later, we see this:

 

We, as people make snap judgments on everything we see or hear.  We often times don’t wait to get the full picture. I do it all the time and I generally hate myself for it afterward.

We are often hardest on one another. Judging. Always judging.

If someone walks out of the john with toilet paper trailing behind them, we tend to snicker or let it be, we do nothing to rescue them. Mind you, I didn’t let that pass, but did notice many who did.

If someone looks different, smells different, is fat, has too many tats, hair too long, varied in color or they look tattered, dirty or perhaps their mascara or lipstick is smeared or worse yet there’s a good looking guy with a big booger in his nose. What do we do? Do we tend to turn away and think, yuck!?

At that moment when the young woman came out of the ladies room trailing tissue, I ran up to her from behind and blocked the view as best I could and tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Stop! You are trailing tissue and your skirt is up!” Though embarrassed, she hadn’t gone far and was so very grateful. I had rescued her.

I remember feeling like a hero. The thing of it is, she was a large girl with poor posture and sadly dressed. She had all the makings of a joke, the kid in school that everyone would make fun of, yet something inside me didn’t hesitate.  I’m sure she may even have had the same level of confidence of Jonathan.

Yeah, yeah. While it may appear I pat myself on the back, I don’t.

There have been times, I would have wanted someone to tell me if something was askew, instead of me finding out hours later. There have been many a time I was not the rescuer.

I’m sure we all recall moments in time where we fell short.

Like the young kids above, sometimes people need “rescuing” in different ways. Sometimes, they just need a helping hand.

The story above is a lesson to us all and in many ways. On the surface it’s one of friendship and loyalty true, but it’s more than even that. At least to me it is.

At first he’d been judged and then she was judged.

Sometimes I think in rescuing others, we rescue ourselves. In the end they went their separate ways amicably two years later. For a time though they needed that bond they found in each other to give them each the lift needed to work independently. He had time for the stigma of his size to pass.  As Jonathan and Charlotte’s confidence level improved, they were both finally free to explore their talent, each in their own way. Both are doing extremely well on their own now. 

Sometimes, if you see a friend in need, or if someone reaches out, it doesn’t have to be forever but only for a time. You never know what impact you might make on someone’s life, but especially your own for having been there.

I once had someone tell me that the good deed doers are in it for themselves, for how it makes them feel to do it. Perhaps. I can’t deny, it does feel good to help someone but what harm is there in that?

As for the booger.

It was me who didn’t tell the good looking guy he had a booger in his nose.

We were in high school. Granted he’d been surfing earlier and water tends to do that, but I thought he should know that. I remember him flirting and smiling and I wouldn’t give him the time of day. All I saw was the booger. Besides that, it seemed that all he ever did or cared about was surfing. Out of high school, he went on to be a fireman. It turns out he wasn’t a loser. While fighting fires, he got a contractors license and built some very nice homes in California. Later he would move to Hawaii with his wife, a former cheerleader which surprised everyone and went on to build multi million dollar homes there.  At our class reunion, he told my husband how he’d always thought I was so hot and how I wouldn’t give him ‘the time of day’! Yeah, that was me.

My husband and I have a word for that. “Idiot”

As I said, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  You will almost always be surprised.

The Cat’s Out –

My step sister uses the phrase, and I might add, way too often, “The cats out of the bag”.

She did this when she thought my son was seeing a girl she thought he shouldn’t be seeing.  He was actually doing something legitimate like homework. No matter, it was what she uttered accusingly at him whenever she thought he might be with the girl. Dumb.

So now that’s our inside joke for any and all assumed revelations. So begins my story.

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Mazatlan 1966 – Spring Break

Long ago, 50 years or so ago, I was a young girl enrolling in college. I had been out of school six months and decided it was time to further my education. My mother was unworldly and uneducated for the most part, no help there other than she thought it would be a good idea. So, here I was at registration doing my best to fill out the required forms.

I’d not been a good student, not because I wasn’t smart enough, no it was more the stress of my living environment.  My mother married a guy whose five children were all in foster homes. She thought it noble to take them all in, so she (they) requisitioned for them to live with us. One was adopted out to his grandmother before the other four were finally released to us.

Here I am a teenager in high school and our family is expanding. As it was, I had a brother and two sisters already, so adding the other four made us eight. Our parents  four years later, would have one more child between the two of them. I was the eldest and I had just turned 16. Mother worked and her new husband was shipped off overseas. There was already the whispering of war ahead, but I was so unaware until Kennedy was shot.

The little ones came to us two at a time. I fell in love with the first two. They were four and six years old. They had lived in Boston, so had the cutest Boston accents.

It would also be the year I would lose my “virginity” willingly.

The other two kids arrived six months later and were not as pleasant. They were 11 and 5. The five year old had a chip on her shoulder a mile wide and the other one was obnoxious. I would be in charge of them all. My list of duties were not unlike those of any parent. I was the parent.  As I kept house and cooked meals, my homework went by the wayside.  Needless to say, I escaped whenever possible. I went to football games and sneaked out whenever I could. Was I a bad girl? Well, in my heart of hearts I think I knew I wasn’t but like a good many teens I acted out sometimes, “looking for love in all the wrong places”.  My self esteem left a great deal to be desired in those days. In truth, I was overwhelmed in every possible way.

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1966 Beauty Pageant

There were times I thought of myself as unworthy and as stupid as I imagined everyone else thought I was. Deep inside I struggled to convince myself that I was more than the sum of my parts or than what lay on the surface. I relied on my good looks more than my brains. (Sorry- camera’s weren’t that great then – BF do you remember taking this?)

I remember one time, mom and I got in this big fight.  Name calling was what she did best. So, at one point, I’d had enough and left home. My boyfriend at the time had a friend, whose sister lived alone, so I crashed with her, cooking and doing laundry in exchange for room and board. I was good at both those things. During those months, I got straight A’s. I remember one of my teachers saying, “I always knew you were smart. What’s different?” I told him and he was sad.  That was short lived however and I, out of concern for my siblings, would eventually move back home.  I learned from one of them that with me gone, there was no one to run interference for them and they were miserable. It was what I did. Fight the bad guy.

So, when I graduated high school my grades were less than optimal. I didn’t actually think there was any way for me to go to college.  We had no money and my grades were abominable. Then I learned that if I could maintain good grades in Jr. College, I could earn my way into a four year college. I thought, why not?

That is where and how I met K. It was a late enrollment, so there weren’t as many classes open and I was having a hard time deciding what to take. I will never forget how he popped in from out of nowhere to help. That he noticed me was a mystery. He was charming and beautiful and I’m not exaggerating. He of course, got me into two of his classes, Business Law and English which would later become his profession teaching.

I had just gotten over a horrible breakup with the aforementioned boyfriend, who I thought I was in love with. He had  up and married unexpectedly, leaving me in the dust. I guess I should have expected it. He had graduated with honors and was attending a four year college and I was … hard on myself. I was devastated and K was so… what I needed.

I poured out my heart to him and he was a good listener. In those days he was quite the surfer dude,  always looking for the best waves and places to go for them. We did a lot of fun things together. He was so easy to be with. We were friends.

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During spring break, a group of us planned a trip to Mazatlan. As it turned out, of all the girls planning to go, I was the only one who made it there.  Here I was with K and several of his friends. They surfed and I’d lay in the sun. We drank tequila shots with beer, ate raw oysters and drank lots of pina colada’s and margherita’s. Hell, it was spring break!

We hitch-hiked everywhere.  Actually, I’d get out in the street and put my thumb out and when someone stopped, the guys would converge on the vehicle and we’d all hop in. I don’t think anyone seriously minded. They all thought it was fun, having this hot girl hitching for them. Yes, I was hot and… I would never have hitch-hiked in the states!

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Dudes waiting for a ride- my dude sits on the left

We also rented a jeep for those out of the way places like a lighthouse, (me moving a “formidable” rock in our way) and we

rented horses and rode on the beach. My nethers hurt so bad from riding as I’d never ridden a horse before, but it was so worth it.   That must be why our daughter loves horses.  So, yes one thing lead to another.

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Horseback ranch

If I thought K looked like a Greek god before, he looked even more so on the back of a horse.

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Adonis

I didn’t actually know I was pregnant for some time and by then K had gone back to Maryland and was no longer in my life. Interestingly though, when we decided to take a train home, a little old indigenous woman on the train came up to me/us and said I was with child which we thought ridiculous since we’d just done it.  I was fairly naive and thought I was suffering from a stomach bug, barfing all the time.

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Caught getting into my airline shoes!
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Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our daughter was born, I got a job as a flight attendant and would marry a pilot and change my name. Unbeknownst to me, so did K. He went back to his birth name, so in the end neither of us could find the other.

Tina, in the meantime grew up and later married.

 

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Trying on her Bridal Gown

Move the clock forward 34 years later and we would accidentally come across one another via the internet.  When his sister told him she had found us. He exclaimed, “How? I’ve been looking for 34 years!” That was good to know.

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Tina meets Beatrice

She got to meet her grandmother and aunts for the first time when she was 35 or 36. I got to meet them as well. They said as far as they are concerned, I’m their “sister” in law. His mom was 96 or 98 at the time and would die just shy of 100, not long after.

Shortly after he would meet his daughter in Amsterdam and later take a trip to Bali and begin celebrating birthdays from the point they were reunited onward.

 

As for us, we have not seen each other since we parted. I know I wasn’t the love of his life nor was he mine. We were “just friends”.

Would I want to see him or he me?  Good question.  We’ve seen pictures of one another but not spoken except through emails and through our blogs.

I am currently married to the best person for me. My hubby was able to help me heal in ways that no one else could and it couldn’t get better than that.

As for K? I know he’s single. Been married twice and lives far away.

When our daughter first met him, to paraphrase her, she says to me, “Oh mom, I know now why you fell for him, he is so charming.” LOL

Yes, he is that.

She also asked me if the song “Monday, Monday” meant anything to me.

Oh yeah!

One of these days if we live long enough and if he ever returns to the states, maybe someday we’ll meet again. Who knows?

 

 

 

Blogging

Wow!route 66

Do you know how long it takes to read blogs?  I love them but of late I’ve had to put them on hold. I especially love the friends I’ve made blogging.

 

There is tandemtrekking, who writes about her beautiful treks across this great country of ours, now in the process of doing the Pacific Coast Trail (?) better known as the PCT.

Nutsrok shares what it’s like to be southern and what it’s like having such a colorful assortment of relatives. Telling her stories with such great humor and candidness; bunKaryudo, I’ll be damned if I know how to pronounce that but then maybe it’s not meant to be said aloud, shares his trials of being a parent and other convivial sides of life. He is always on the hunt for subject matter to keep us entertained with.

Then, there’s thelonelyauthor, with his lovely poems about his humanness and I can’t forget all those posts from “the neighborhood @thepublicblogger“. Not lastly, there’s my friend from the past, Badfish, who shares his beautiful pictures as he journeys and gives his perspective of peoples and countries most of us may never get to know from across the world.

Not mentioned are the many more people I’ve connected with since I started to write this particular blog.

From time to time I’ve been prone to and will reblog other’s posts; if you weren’t named trust me, you’re still very important to me.

BLOGS

Do you ever start, stop then after awhile start again, figurin’ it’s been long enough?

That’s me.  I’ve got three half started blogs, no five. This is one of them. So now there’s four.

Lately I’ve had so much on my plate. Working on what I should be working on, screenplays and trying to battle moles and gophers from my yard and finding a way of getting my yard looking half way decent within the restricted water parameters in California.

I debated on graveling the front and/or the back, but my neighbor spent thousands on just a small 6 X 15 foot stretch in his front yard and I’ve got 5 times the yard.  No, I’m not ready to do that yet. It is interesting but California had us restrict our water usage and Californians being conservation minded complied, then the water board proceeds to announce that all our water rates will rise to compensate for the lack of revenue!  We can’t win!

This is one of those times I wish I were back in Alabama where rainfall is consistent enough to not need irrigation or outside water sources.

It’s time for a breather.

Julia and I at Hollywood Film Fest

I had a sweet Young lady visiting from France, Julia Pajot. We met on LinkedIn and became friends. After communicating for some time she came out for a visit. She was recognized for her music in an animated short that is making the film festival circuits. The following link as a beautiful piece and the pas de dux is a short she won an award for.

https://www.youtube.com/user/juliapajot

Dreamworks

She’s an amazing, young composer.

Through and with her, I had the grand privilege of attending some Academy animated film screenings. One at Dreamworks and another at The Writer’s Guild. Later we would view her animated short at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

 

At one point I had to say “time out”, I’m not as young as I used to be and I had trouble keeping up with her.  She was patient with me.  <grin>

(If I’d known I’d get a red carpet pic, I’d have worn something different.)

We’d have fun for a couple of days and then I’d have to rest a couple of days. Seriously.

How she managed to stay up until one or two in the morning networking and hobnobbing, I don’t know. That’s not true. I do remember those days when I had no trouble staying out late. <sigh>

I too, was patient and I didn’t blame her, you got to make hay while the sun shines, and she had to make the best use of her time while here. She is now back in France but her efforts paid off and she is now in the process of getting a work visa to return.

Ahhh youth! At Dance a thon

In the meantime, the gophers and moles have been contained… for the time being anyway and my lawn is acquiring some color again.

I also got back into exercising  but only for awhile.  I think I’m prone to going at it like I was killing snakes and ended up overdoing and now have to take time out to heal my poor body. Ugh!

Isn’t it funny how our minds still think young and our bodies belie us?  What am I saying?  Didn’t I keep up with those young ladies at the Hollywood Dance a Thon for more than six hours?!  Of course, it did take a week to recover.

So I take time off to let my shoulder, hip and knees recover and next time I start out at a much slower pace. That was the beauty of having a trainer, she made sure I didn’t hurt myself. I can keep up and do the work, but after a few weeks my body doth protest. A bigger sigh. <grin>

It was lots of fun, but now it’s time to get back to work. C’est la vie! Oh well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Me.

WARNING!  This post is not for the feint of heart. It is disturbing and unpleasant.

As I mentioned early on when I first started posting, there were some things I would eventually include in my posts that were cathartic for me but that I hope might help others as well.  This is one of them.

——–

I have heard from the proverbial “they” that you must first love yourself before you can love others. I have also heard that those who stay in an abusive environment are ones in search of love. They equate abuse with love.  I disagree and perhaps agree a little with that.  In fact, there are countless reasons that come into play. More than you realize. (See footnotes)

My parents were both abusive.

My mother who was later diagnosed schizophrenic was more verbal than physical, although she wasn’t above taking a wooden coat-hanger to us, yanking us by the hair in the middle of the night because we left a spoon in the sink. It didn’t matter who did it, we all got it. It was worse, when she and dad got divorced and she remarried and took on her second husbands children. Those poor babes were taken out of foster homes where they’d been molested to a home where they would get beaten, and they were there because they’d been abandoned as children while my step-father was serving his country. Hard to imagine that kind of stuff exists, but it does.

Oh, did I have my hands full!  My sisters and brothers (now six girls and three boys), made a grand total of nine, with me being the oldest. They tell me they pretty much regard me as the momma they look up to. Hard to imagine. I was 16.

Daddy was both physically and sexually abusive. The sexual he reserved for me. It had never occurred to me at the time to ask or wonder why the other girls were never touched. Later, as an adult, I was to learn his why. It was simple really. He told me he really never thought I was his daughter. Apparently early on in their marriage, when mother had escaped from him after one of his beatings she had returned to Mexico. He thought perhaps she’d reunited with an old boyfriend because when she returned, she was pregnant. She was aghast at the idea and told me, yes she left but had gone to her mothers and upon learning she was pregnant,  returned to her husband as so it was expected in those days.

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But, the question remained. Was he punishing her through me?  I don’t know.

Once I became an adult, he no longer believed that. In part because after I moved to the small town he’d grown up in, he had taken me to a store to meet a cousin. Later, a woman walks in and says you must be a —–, giving our family name.  She hadn’t seen my dad standing nearby but the family resemblance was apparently unmistakable. He laughed proudly.

The sad thing about abuse is, there is often times no rhyme or reason for it.  Abuse is not punishment.  It wasn’t always discipline for misbehaving.  If mother had crossed him, he’d had a bad day at work or was just in a foul mood, he’d take it out on us. His physical abuse against me and my siblings I remember, that against my mother, I don’t, whereas my siblings do. If it wasn’t an outright beating, then he’d hit us on the back of the head with one of his famous backhanded slaps.  (I wince every time Gibbs does that to his people on NCIS even though I’ve noticed he does it less now, so someone may have complained) The sexual part was in a cloud-like dream. I couldn’t remember anything beyond a certain point. In some cases I thought the perpetrator had been someone else.  Over the years I’ve seen several (three) therapists and through them, learned a lot about myself and my ability to cope. I call it “shelving” the ugly. The therapist said that it is how I survived and remained sane.

I came face to face with “ugly” several years ago when my daughter encouraged me to see her therapist and thought maybe it would help me as well. I was in one state and she in another, “out west”. She was having some things she wanted to work through and some of it was in relation to her feelings for me. Being the eldest, she always felt responsible for me emotionally and didn’t understand why.  I too, am the eldest and it was my job to protect my siblings, which I often did, stepping in or deflecting blows, so I understood.

My little sister and I were caring for my father at the time which by comparison was relatively easy to that of caring for mother. I was having a hard time though. I’d been doing it since 2005.  She joined me in 2008. I was already drained from the energy it took to care for mother who had Alzheimer’s and who had recently died. (I had all the paperwork  to do which was daunting since I had a battle with VA constantly and then shared the physical care with my sister.)

Earlier on, there had been an incident with Dad when I found out he was friends with an old neighbor of ours. I had always believed that this neighbor had been part of a group of boys who had molested me. I told him I remembered the blood on my panties and my little friend running for help and his mom coming. I remembered her cradling me in her arms and I presume taking me home. I remember my little sister coming home from the hospital soon after. I remember little else. I was five. My dad blew me off!

He never once said, “poor baby”. “It’s not true.” Nothing. No comment and that seemed odd. He also continued to be friends with this guy, he just talked less of him. I thought, why no paternal indignation or anger?

So when my daughter, who is not generally the most tactful person on the earth made her request gently, I accepted her offer to come out and give it a try. I had questions. Besides, I thought a vacation sure would be nice. Hah!

My daughter had already learned about a phenomenon called “transference”, where the roles are flipped.  It made perfect sense to me. As a child I had been abused in every sense imaginable. I craved love. I was needy. When I was pregnant with her out of wedlock, I recall with definite clarity thinking and saying, “Now I will have someone to love and who’ll love me back and never leave me”.  Oh my! It is a known fact that children in the womb absorb so much more information than before realized and here I am loading her up with this stuff. I was so relying on this child to take the place of all the love I’d ever wanted and never got. So, yes, I wanted to be there for her to work this crap out. I didn’t do this to her knowingly, but I still did it.

I gave permission for her to be present. It was there we learned the extent of the damage. I was functioning as an adult and I was a good parent, but certain triggers would cause me to respond as a child. Trauma, it turns out can prevent you from moving beyond a certain point. (* A form of child PTSD.)  The therapist we saw, tapped into my inner self and found the details of the rest.  So much ugly!

It did turn out there were five teens (as I had remembered) that had raped me, but the man dad was friends with was not one of them. But there was more. Dad was also a perpetrator. Not with the boys, but later.  All I knew was by age 6 it had started. The man I was always trying to please was hurting me in ways I didn’t understand and I had blocked it out! The therapist asked me if I wanted the details. I said, “No way! I can’t go there.”

Oh, I didn’t disbelieve the doctor, because the cloudy dream like memories I had lived with were now coming back to life. Memories of Daddy coming to me in the night, lowering my panties, staring at me and stroking me. I remember him coming  to their friends house where I was staying in LA. They had been in entrusted with taking me to auditions and make Hollywood connections for me to get in show biz, because I could sing and dance “a little”.  I would hear him tell them he’d beaten mom to a pulp because of another man she’d fallen in love with, and how later that night, he came to me and held me in his arms and tells me how he wishes I was mother and then kisses me passionately. I recall wiping away the nasty kiss and not falling asleep, afraid he might do more.  A more I thought I was unfamiliar with. While at the same time he was telling me my Hollywood dream was over, I had to go back home and protect my siblings from my mom?

No, I didn’t want to know details.  I already had more than my fill of memories that suddenly took on a life of their own. What I had begun to think were the musings of an over active imagination were solidified.

A flashback of me confronting him as an adult and him not denying it but making the excuse that he’d grown up with all boys and never had a little sister so was only “fascinated and marveling” at my changing body. (My earliest memory of him was when I was 10 years old so it made sense) He apologized and cried and said he never meant to hurt or confuse me. I forgave him then. Was that all bullshit, or was he just relieved that that was all I remembered? Now the therapist is telling me there was way more than that? My mind was in a whirl. It was too much and I knew I could never handle more. As it was, I was gasping for air and my daughter for one last time, took her mommy role and held me in her arms as if I were her child.

For hours I sobbed uncontrollably. I would see her little girl sitting on the couch, confused and probably wondering why her grandma couldn’t stop crying and me thinking I was no bigger than her. Why? How could anyone do that to a child?  Mother and daughter cried together.

Dear God, how was I going to go back home and continue caring for him?

I couldn’t. More than anything I wanted to run far, far away, but I didn’t.  Did it cross my mind to exact vengeance?  You bet. I didn’t know what or how, but I thought it.

Instead, because I am who I am I didn’t.  I talked to my sisters and we agreed on specifics on how to handle his care, especially when he became totally bedridden. Up until then, it was just me and my baby sister.  The other sis had never stepped up to the plate, but now I was forced to engage her help.  She was out of work and her forte’ was senior care-giving. I would not wash or take care of any of that. I hated to do that to her but she said she was fine. To her, he was just another patient and she needed the money. I strictly handled his financial business, his medical and hospital transport and later hospice care. He had made me legal guardian years ago so that’s what I did. I took extra care to never overstep my bounds of guardianship and I refused to physically touch him.

I had accepted the beatings as how things were in those days and that they (my parents) didn’t know any better and had forgiven them both for that. Mom because of her mental incapacity and dad for his upbringing. His dad beat him and his dad beat him and so on, but this?

When I began caring for my parents, my baby sister had moved from Florida to help me care for mother since my caregiver sister would not.  My parents had been especially cruel to my caregiver sister because they thought she was retarded. Daddy and her locked horns regularly and at the time, he was still very coherent and although he fluctuated between giving her the “farm” and nothing, he could still hurt her by his words. And, she came through in the end. So, in comes baby sister.

I had to find a way to protect us all and still do our jobs. Mom had passed away the year before and we would now be alone with him.

My dad was very well liked in our little southern town. He was highly regarded for his intellect. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. If you’ve read my other blogs, you will also know there were many admirable qualities about him as well. He was charming and smart. So, it’s no wonder I was conflicted. There was also this need to hide what had happened. We were related to so many people here, so there was also this sense of embarrassment and shame for the family. My revealing this old stuff or explaining why we would no longer care for him would bring all this out if we just walked out. Maybe we wouldn’t have to explain, but I liked my other family members and being God fearing Christians that they are, I just couldn’t do that to them. They would be so disappointed and maybe even angry. Most of them are elderly.  No,  I couldn’t tell. Walking away would not be that easy.

On his deathbed, I would tell him what had been revealed and why I had distanced myself. I told him too that I forgave him. He had never been a God fearing person but had explored all faiths, but he had accepted Christ and I trusted God would take care of the rest. By then, he had had a stroke and could only listen and not offer up any excuses like he always did before. I went on to thank him, because it was my history with him that made me a stronger person and a better parent. (the girls still tell me I did a good job and we are closer because of it). Early on, I always knew what kind of parent I would be and nurtured my children the best I knew how.  And, I also thanked him for having been able to care for him.

I had to tell him this way, because before his stroke he had inadvertently slipped up and told me about a time he and his pals had violated their little sister, so his excuse about never seeing a little girl’s genitalia was hogwash – he also didn’t see it as violating her. He had said, it was just a child’s natural curiosity.  I get that, but it wasn’t right. What amazed me further is they surprisingly remained fast friends until they died – had she blocked it from her memory as well?

My siblings all say they couldn’t have done it. For either parent.
The younger sister I refer to is the one that was born after the first incident and because of our age difference I never really knew her well. She was also ten when our parents divorced, so our memories are not the same, neither our experiences.

Through it all, I don’t regret it because the bond between my sister and I could never have developed and grown like it did had we not shared those trials the last days of their lives. In so having this experience, I got resolution. The two of us got resolution. We shared our perceptions, our feelings and we are now closer than I can imagine we would have been had we not shared that time together.

We noticed too that my brother who didn’t share this experience with us still has that baggage to unload. I hope he can.

My caregiver sister was my Irish twin and although we wished we could have a relationship with her, it didn’t happen. She escaped back into her own little world again when it was over. Her son would later get arrested for supposedly molesting their sons. I had shared my experience with him and his wife and a year later in the middle of a nasty divorce she accused him. I don’t think he did it. But how does anyone know for sure? The last I heard he was acquitted. Psychiatrists examined the children and there was no evidence to support her claim, but the damage was done.

What’s interesting is, during a bitter period, when a dear friend of mine who also knew dad and liked him, was singing his praise, I retorted “he wasn’t all that he seemed.” Her response was, “we know”.  I didn’t ask what she knew, it didn’t matter.

The family and friends I made during that time are irreplaceable and had it not been my decision to go there and explore my roots and meet family I would never otherwise have met them nor had the experience that was so worthwhile.

And even though they are several time zones away now, I love all my friends there and think of them often.

As painful as it was, it explained a great deal. My daughter now gets to have her mommy back and the “ugly” no longer haunts me. When it comes out it is when I feel it safe to share and perhaps help someone.

I have come to the conclusion that I have great survival instincts. When my first husband threatened to strike me, I stood up like a cobra and got in his face and snarled, “Don’t you dare! Don’t even think about it!”  He stood over 6 feet to my five foot 2″ little self (and I was little then) and he quickly backed off and apologized.  I know I frequently irritated the hell out of him in those days because if he raised his voice or was angry I would duck. I was still young and the wounds fresh back then.

Once when my dad hit his wife while I was visiting, she ran and hid behind me and I immediately got in his face then too and told him, “NEVER, never do that again!  You don’t hit women or kids!” He backed off instantly.  (I had already heard from the neighbors that she would sometimes run to their house to get away.) This woman who didn’t like me for most of the years they were married couldn’t do enough for me from then on out.

Why did these men back down when I stood up to them?

What was different now than from me as a child?  Size?  Not likely. I’m not much bigger now than I was then. Then I remember I did stand up to dad, when I stuck up for my siblings and/or myself and only got more beatings because of it.

The same for my brother. I think he and I got the most beatings. So what was different?   Did it come from the fact that I had nothing to lose or to gain? I don’t know.

No matter.  Tenaciously hold onto life and choose joy and happiness. I do.

The following links shed some light and understanding of the psyche of an abused child and adult.  I hope my blog wasn’t totally depressing.

NOTE: When I added the above picture of me when I was little, I didn’t realize how tying it to this blog would affect me. I suddenly became overwhelmed with the urge to hold that little girl in my arms and comfort her and tell her, “it’ll be all right”.

http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay/

*  http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/brain.html

http://www.practicenotes.org/v17n2/brain.htm

Friends and Lovers

Can a man and a woman be just friends, have sex with no love? I say yes to both with a caveat.

Some say it’s impossible, can’t happen…safely and maybe that’s true. My personal feeling is that yes, I can have a friendship with no sexual connection and I’ve known others who have had sexual connections with “just friends” and no emotional tie beyond that… or were they lying to me?

A loaded subject.

I have someone I consider a very dear friend whether he knows it or not. We were lovers once but are no more.   Outside of photographs, neither of us has seen one another in over 47 years and I don’t know that I’d recognize him on the street if I saw him but I really like hearing from him and reading about his exploits and I think he enjoys following mine and that’s perfectly fine.

I remember having male friendships when I was young that were strictly platonic and I had the finest time with them but most were gay.  No sex. No expectations of sex. I also had one relationship that ended in friendship after a rambunctious love affair that lasted a few weeks. It was hot. Probably one of the hottest affairs I ever had and I really liked the guy.  We parted mutually as friends. No hard feelings, no angst, no anything but a warm parting. We eventually lost track of one another.

Recently, I spoke with a young lady who had the great idea to give her spouse permission to have an affair. No, I take that back, she only gave him permission to have sex with someone else.  She set the ground rules with both parties, or so she thought, that there would be no emotional involvement between them, just sex. When more developed, she was angry that they hadn’t “followed the rules”. It wasn’t working and she just couldn’t understand why. They had fallen in love. She’s still in the equation but unhappily.  In her minds eye, it was supposed to work. (I guess if you play with a loaded gun, be sure you know how to use it or it could backfire.)

I explained to her not everyone is hard wired for sex without love. How awful is that? What makes sex grand is love.

It reminded  me of the story of a little girl I once knew who decided she would be a Jehovah’s Witness and her friends would be the people they call on when they knock on doors.  This little girl would stash each child in a closet with a scripted dialogue she gave them to repeat as she would proceed door to door “calling” on them. In the meantime they waited in this dark closet for her to get to them.

If they deviated from their given dialogue, she would tsk tsk, shove them back in the closet and have them do it over  again until they got it right.  Their dialogue would vary from slamming a door in her face, yelling at her, to being interested in “the message” she had to deliver. She was 5 years old and it was humorous then watching this child bully the neighbor kids, some of which were older than her, into doing what she wanted.

But this is not humorous and she is no longer five. The dialogue and wills of others cannot be dictated to.  I’m afraid this young lady, like the little girl will discover that love finds a way. I know she thought if he is given permission to stray then perhaps she could have a fling of her own without guilt or without giving up what she has or thinks she has. She wanted the proverbial cake and the right of eating it too.

It reminded me of when my marriage was going south how it was the guy at the desk next to me that was my sounding board for all the things that weren’t working in my marriage. My husband was paranoid, didn’t allow me to do things, he was afraid of everything and used God’s word as a weapon to neutralize everything I believed in or wanted.

It was this co-worker and friend, who I didn’t love initially who became my sanctuary and who I ran to in my sadness and took refuge in.  From that innocent beginning love grew and eventually became my partner, life mate and fortunately still friends as well. Oh yes, we don’t agree all the time, but that’s okay, we accept that and agree to disagree which means compromising sometimes. We don’t have to be right all the time and we have the freedom to relish in that at times.

As for the young lady, you might say, “what the hell was she thinking?” Sometimes, in my opinion, in an effort toward “free thinking”, we lose our souls, our sense of fair play, and most of all love. Is it okay to have multiple partners? I don’t think so. But I sampled a few to find the one that was the right fit for me and I’m done.  Maybe that’s what all this is about.

The young lady in question was 17 when she married an older man. She was suppressed and molded into developing a mindset that didn’t fit her, only she didn’t know it.  Unconsciously she’s been rebelling for some time and he has been trying to redirect her and get her back on the track he believes she needs to be on even though deep down he’s probably hoping she’ll totally derail.

The dilemma:  What now?

Her fear like mine was and is “What am I going to do? How do I support myself? What about the kids? Will his ship come in once I’m gone. Wouldn’t that be my luck! Then he’ll say, it was my fault that he never succeeded.”  All the same negative self talk I had as well. It’s a safe bet that he’ll do better if they are not together.  Why? Because perhaps his lack of success is that he’s as miserable as she has been.  Who can flourish in a negative environment?

To stay or not to stay?

She’s going to college right now and is a bit shy of her degree. Yes, it would be hard to support herself and continue with school. She may have to learn to budget and plan and…what about the kids?

Yes, there’s a lot to weigh in at, but …with a little bit of faith it’ll work out. I’m praying for her. In time, I hope she’ll figure it out.