Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Boy

  Hey all,    Many people love to go camping.  We get away from the grind and have a little R&R. They can be memories for a lifetime.
   The boy was about 9 years old and it was summertime. The  three brothers used to camp in the backyard as many kids do.  The two Younger brothers would make a "Fort" out of blankets, pieces of plywood  and any thing else they could find.  They loved being outdoors,  their time was spent there as much as possible......... usually together.   Most of the time it was just the two of them as the "Oldest"   was four years older  at 13.  He was avoided and he wasn't welcome in the Fort.  Lets just say for now that the Oldest was not sociable. Putting it nicely
    All the boys were out in the backyard camping this warm summer night.  The Oldest was apart from the other two in his own tent.  It was a small nylon two man tent  and was set up about 30 feet away from the fort.   As happens with most all siblings, the Younger two had a disagreement over something,  it was trivial but, boys will be boys.  The disagreement was big enough to cause the"Middle" brother to leave the Fort to avoid a further physical altercation.  The Oldest  could hear all of this commotion and invited the "Middle" to stay with him instead of going in the house.  The Middle hesitated a little because he knew that his older brother could turn on a dime and he would be in even bigger trouble.  The Oldest coaxed him and told that it was no big deal and he would like to camp with him.  The Middle let down his guard, after all, they were brothers.  Right?  How many times was it going to take for him to learn?
      The Middle picked up his pillow and blanket that the Youngest tossed out of the Fort.  After they had settled in the Oldest zipped up the tent door, the brothers talked a little and the Middle thought that this wasn't so bad.   Then the Oldest started talking about sex.  The Middle knew nothing about this and was very uncomfortable.   The Oldest grabbed the Middles genitals and then exposed himself.  The Oldest had gotten the Middles' naked genitals in his hand and wouldn't let go, causing the Middle a great deal of  pain.  He wanted the Middle to touch him and the Middle refused...............  the Oldest used force to get his way.  When it was over, the Oldest instructed the Middle not to tell.anyone or he would get him.  He would also tell everyone it was the Middles' fault............... that he started it. The Middle eventually was let out of the tent and went in the house to his bed.  It was very late. but, the kitchen door was left unlocked and the light on all night.  The Middle was confused as he always was when it came to the Oldest.  Why would he do this?  Why did he always want to hurt me?  What's wrong with me?  The Middle was embarrassed, and ashamed, he knew what happened was wrong, a sin..  He felt guilty for having participated and thought that this was somehow his fault.
      The Middle experienced physical abuse from the Oldest for many years.  This was a standard in their house.   He kept this secret for over 40 years.  He still feels the same about it as he did back then..... .... sometimes still wonders what's wrong with him.    In his mind he knows that it wasn't his fault but the wounded little boy some how is still with him. 
       The story is very personal, so no names are mentioned.  I know this protects the guilty, but telling this in the third person makes it possible to tell.
                             Until the next time......................God Bless.

The Beast

Hey All,     It is said that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family.   Anyone can see the obvious truth in this statement and many can relate to it. 
    The Beast was the the "Oldest" and reportedly had the umbilical cord around his neck at birth  He was a shade of blue because of this and as the story is relayed,  this detail has caused many of his problems.    He had failed 1st Grade and was then put into special education.  The "Middle" came along 4 years after the Beast in 1961 and had the misfortune to be born into this family..  The Mother turns out to be an alcoholic and the father distances himself as far as he can from his wife without divorce.  The Middle was an unwelcomed addition for the Beast.  He was an only child, the center of attention since he can remember and now this  thing took it all away.  What about him?  As far as he was concerned, he was the only one that mattered. He focused on this intruder......he would take care of him.
      The first sign of trouble that the Middle can remember was when he was 2 years old.  The Youngest was born  in 1962 and his mother spent a lot of time with the him.   The Beast took the Middle by the hand, while the  mother was busy with the Youngest  and took him into the living room..  The Middle was way to happy for the Oldest, he was even smiling at him now.............he was going to fix that.  He stood him by the end of  radiator near the door and put his hand on the Middles' forehead and and shoved.  At impact,  the Middle drew in a deep breath and let out a long wail because of the pain at the back of his head.  The mother, baby in tow,  came in the door along with her mother to see what the commotion was about.  The Beast went over and stood to left rear of the mother when they came in.  He had a wide smile of satisfaction on his face as  the Middle had blood running from the wound on  the back of his head and  who could only point at him through his tears.   The Middle was taken to the hospital and got stitches............this would be the beginning of a very long childhood for the Middle..................and the Youngest.
       The Beast was enabled and protected by his parents and Grandparents and for many years. When he was caught doing bad things, no matter what they were...........there was no punishment.  He would only be told to stop, no beatings like the others got,  he was different, he didn't know anybetter. Bullshit!  He tried to chop off the fingers of the Middle with a shovel,   put a pin needle through a rubber dart and then shot him in the face just under his left eye.  Then there were the many beatings that the Middle would receive from him over the years.  Just to name a few.  If he didn't know any better..........why would he alway instruct his victims not to tell?  Maybe because he didn't want anyone to know of the bad things he was doing, but then he had to have known they were wrong. 
        I wish I could  say that the Beast only attacked with in the family..............but I know of at least  two events that involved people outside the family.  Yes,  it was abuse and these attacks were on females, you can read into this and be correct.   The Mother knew about these and in one instance................. blamed the female for what happened.  Way to go woman.........blame the victim....... protect that piece of crap at the expense of anyone else.  The father at least could claim ignorance for these events as he remained in the dark about most of these events until his death.      I have said this before..................the Beast of Norwyn Rd had no chain. no cage or master.  A predator to be free to do as he wished with no fear of reprisal........................ today that piece of work would have been imprisoned.  The Middle has great shame that people know he is  related to the Beast.................................he's thankful for the friends that he has chosen and to the friends  that have chosen him........................ you are more precious than gold.
                 Until Next time.........................God Bless.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Broken Trust.

Hey all,   When I was 13 years old,  I lived with my grandparents in Glenside for the duration of the 8th grade.  It was lonely at first but as I made new friends in their neighborhood.and settled into my new surroundings.  Shortly after coming to live there, the first friend I made was the "girl next door".  I was very backwards when it came to girls, not having any sisters and living some what of an  isolated life.  I didn't have the slightest idea how to even talk to a girl.  They were like aliens to me.........maybe from venus.
       She was a very pretty girl and it didn't take me long to have a crush on her.  On her part I was just a friend.  She lived with her Mom and didn't see her Dad.  Her Mom worked a full time job, so she had time after school to herself until her Mom got home.  We were the same age and she was physically developed for her age.  She also had a secret life of her own.  She smoked and dated  18 year olds.  I never told anyone.
On one day she had a girlfriend over along with two 18 year old boys.  We all sat on the front porch and played card games and talked.  My friend was flirting with the boys and would make insinuations.of a sexual nature when things took a turn and they took her inside the house by force.  They were still all laughing but I felt uncomfortable as she was struggling pretty hard.  They got inside and locked the screen door.  There was a lot of screaming by her coming from inside.  The other girl just sat there staring at the street with tears welled up in the corner of her eyes.  I realized then that this could be serious.  I went to the door and watched as she struggled to free herself as they tried to drag her to the back of the house.  She managed to get free and get to the screen door and unlock it but was caught again and taken to the back of the house.  I wasn't sure what to do.  By this time I was 14,  they were 18 and there was two of them.  I was scared, but, I decided that worse that could happen was that they would beat the crap out of me and since I was accustomed to this at home, one more time wouldn't make a difference. She was still screaming when I went inside and found them trying to get her on the floor. When they saw me they told me to get out or they would make me leave and I would get hurt.   I told them to let her go and that they couldn't hurt me any worse than I got it at home and .......... I wasn't leaving.  They didn't think to long about it and they let her go, leaving within minutes.   I still don't know if this was playing or for real.
        Some time after, I revaled to my friend about how my life was at home.   It was my private pain and embarrassment. I told her about my alcoholic Mom and some of the things that happened in that house. We knew each others secrets.
        A few days later it was dinner time at my grandparents house.  We all sat down and Grandpopop said grace over our meal as he always did.   It immediately went sour after that.  My Grandfather was silent but Grandmom lit right into me.   How could I talk about my Mother that way!  I was a liar!  My ears were red and burning  as I sat and listened to my Grandmother chew me out.  My Mother was a saint and my Father was no damn good and she wanted to make sure I understood that.. When I got a chance to speak, I told them that what I said was true...................... whether they believed it or not.  Which only led to more yelling from Grandmom.  After dinner I went to my room and cried as quietly as I could.
        I was informed that my friend told her Mom and that they both talked to my Grandparents.  At the end of it all,  my "friend" believed that I lied and since this related so closely with her events with her Dad............she looked down on me after that.  We weren't much of friends from then on..  I was felt so betrayed.........I told my most personal secret and not only was my confidence broken , but, I was shamed by my Grandmother and rejected as a friend.   I never revealed any of my friends secrets to anyone back then.   I only retreated further back into my soul as I learned yet another example of broken trust from someone I cared about and  again by another female.  I was backwards about male/female relationships for a long time.
      I left my "friends" name out of this story out of respect for her privacy.   I came to understand how this could have happened and how she felt and harbor no ill will.  Things happen and this...............was just another day.
                 Until next time.......................God Bless

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Christmas Bicycle

Hey all,   Christmas is  special time of the year. As Christains we celebrate the greatest gift ever given.  We have family get togethers with great food and laughter, sharing our lives with each other ......and yes there's gifts too.
      When we were young, around 12 or so, Tom and I had paper routes delivering the Daily Intelligencer,  It was how we paid for the things we wanted such as fishing gear and Christmas gifts.  We were only allowed to have 20 dollars spent on each of us for Christmas.  That was it.  We had to choose what we wanted very carefully.  On this particular Christmas I learned of a bicycle that Bobby who lived down the street was selling.  It was a 3 speed metallic brown stingray with a white banana seat and it was in like new condition.  They wanted 40 dollars for it so I made a deal with my folks that if I paid for half of it,  then I could get it for Christmas.   We brought the bike home a couple of weeks before Christmas and kept it in the cellar. The deal was that I couldn't ride it until Christmas Day.   I was excited!  I would go down to the cellar and admire it and imagine what is was going to be like to finally  get to ride it.
     Christmas Day  arrived warm and sunny.  There was a slight shower the night before and the roads were a little wet but that didn't stop me from taking the bike out.  I rode it up and down the street and once around the block. Everybody in our house was getting ready for church and Mom asked me to take my new bike and go downtown to Wawa and get a gallon of milk. When I got to the store I realized that I didn't have a lock and chain to secure my new bike so I parked it in front of the doors in the parking lot where I could see it from inside.  I was only inside a short time and rushed back to find my bike laying on the ground.  I picked it up went to sit on when I noticed that it was bent and then realized that somebody had run it it over.  Whoever it was had to have known what happened but left anyway.  I cried most of the way home as I dragged my bike because the back wheel was bent with frame.  When I got home, Mom said how bad of a thing it was to have happen.............. that wrapped up Christmas for that year.
      Christmas for a kid is different than an adult.  That Christmas was a sad one for me.  I've learned that material gifts are nice but, not nearly as important as the family and friends that I share laughter, food and funny stories with.  I'm looking forward to seeing all of you again.
                                     Until next time.............God Bless.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Last Photograph

Hey All,       We all experience life differently.  We have memories that we can look back on that bring a smile, a chuckle or even a tear from a warm hearted memory.  These are treasures that come out of nowhere and remind us how very lucky we have been. 
       In  mid May 1986  Charlie and I were living with Grandmom in Buckingham.  At the time  I was working at the Central Bucks School District.. I  had recently gone from 3rd shift to 2nd and was enjoying having a reasonably normal routine with Charlie. I also had more time with Dad.
       Dad worked as an over the road truck driver for many years.  As teenagers we didn't see him very often due to his schedule.  With one of his employers,  he would be gone 6 months at a time on tour with music acts.  He toured with Jethro Tull, Foghat, The Commodores and Emotions.  He hauled their equipment and props along with other drivers from locations across the  USA.  He would send money home during this time and came home for a break for about a month before going on another tour.  He would usually get frustrated after about a month of enduring home life as we knew it and would say he couldn't wait to get back on the road.   Generally  he expressed this with a lot of colorful words.  He couldn't take Mom for to long.......So he left us with her instead. Yay!
       At this time my Dad had a bad heart.  He had suffered from congestive heart failure and enlarged heart.  He had a minor heart attack out on the road but told no one about it a he didn't want anyone to worry about him.  We had no health coverage.  Dad was 54 years old.  He was home permanently now and on SSI  as he physically couldn't work anymore.  We saw each other almost daily.  Charlie was his only grandchild and they spent  a lot of time together.  Dad would take Charlie with him to the hardware store, the garden, spotting deer in the evenings or for ice cream.   Dad would sometimes come home with a story of their outings.  They would watch the deer in the fields and Charlie would yell out the truck window for the deer to come to him.  Of course the deer disappeared instead which ended the trip. They loved each other and I was almost emotional at times as I watched them together.
        I have always enjoyed photography.  I had one picture left on the roll and wanted to get what I had already taken developed.  I took my camera outside and found Charlie and Dad sitting on the sidewalk by the backdoor.  Charlie had a small toolset in his hands as he had just "helped" Dad fix something on the truck and they were watching a big bug crawl across the the walk and were talking.  Grandmom was sitting in a lawn chair behind them looking out across town, lost in her thoughts.  I took a candid shot of them as my last picture.  It  turned out to be one of my most valuable treasures.                                   
         The next day, May 16th, 1986.   Dad passed away from a heart attack as he gave the dog a bath.  Grandmom, Charlie and Joe, my older brother were with him.  Charlie watched Dad fall and was there as the EMTs tried their best to revive him..  Charlie kept screaming that Grandpop was dead and was taken inside.  Charlie cried and talked about how much he was going to miss his Grandpop.  I explained to Charlie about his Grandfathers love for him,  about heaven and that the time would come they would play together again.   Charlie was 3 years old and Dad was the only grandparent that he had a relationship with then.  Grandmom had lost her son..........he died about 80 feet from where he was born.
         I can see that photograph as an  8X10 framed and hanging on the wall from where I sit now.   It's hung on a wall in every place that I've lived............ and will until I get to see Dad again.  Every time I look at it,  I find myself kneeling down in front of them, looking through the lens and how thankful I was as I brought them into focus, that Dad had the time to spend with Charlie.  
        Until the next time..........God Bless

Friday, September 23, 2011

Idle Hands

Hey All,     Some things just happen with no rhyme or reason.  Life unfolds in the strangest of ways sometimes.  Accidents happen, right?   This may be one of those stories.  Or, Grandmom may have been right, "things happen just the way they are supposed to, even when you can't see it at the time".
       I worked away from home for 4 years and only came home for 2 days a week.  During this time I lived with my brother Tom.  He put a roof over my head so I could take this job which we desperately needed at the time for health care. I had way too much time on my hands and not being at home and of limited resources,  I spent my time off reading, doing Soduku puzzles and looking things up on the computer. 
       One day in the beginning of May 2009, I was surfing the web, killing time until I had to go to work.  I Googled my full name and got a hit that that not only surprised me but had my full attention and curiosity.  It seemed that someone was looking into my divorce from Charlie's  biological mother in El Paso Texas.  This information was on a website called Dads Divorce.Com.  This person was looking for specific information about children born to my former marriage for their "family member".  I wasn't sure what this was about and the posting was a week short of being 1 year old, but I decided that I would investigate.  I registered into this website and left a message for the author, but didn't get a response.   He wasn't visiting this site very often.  I read every posting he made to learn as much as  I could.  Maybe I would get a lead.  Finally, I researched the author's log in name and found him at another site about BMW's.  He was online  at the time but the site wouldn't allow me to send a message unless I was a member.  I registered for the site but he was offline by then,  It was frustrating.  He was right there and I missed him.  I decided to leave a message for him that only informed him about the message at Dads Divorce where I had included my email.
        Charlie has two sisters he didn't know about.   Their names are Crystal and April. The searcher was an Uncle and agreed to help his eldest niece in the search.  She had found out she had a sibling by accident when applying for a security clearance in the Military.  Her parents never told their daughters about Charlie and were against them looking for him when they finally  did know about him.  These kids all had something in common besides a birth mother.  Their birth mother left them with their fathers when they were young and didn't look back. I guess motherhood isn't instinctive for all women.  I still had to tell Charlie and wasn't sure how to approach him with this revelation.
         Charlie had lived with the sense of rejection over this for some time.   He had asked me a a young boy "why didn't my mom love me"?  It's a tough question to answer.  I told him that she loved him enough to leave him with me because she knew that I could take better care of him.  Where those words came from I'll never know,  they were on my tongue without thought.
          I had exchanged emails with Crystal and she had sent me a photo of the girls together for Charlie.  I didn't reveal his name to his sisters until I had Charlie's  permission.  I wanted to be sure this was something he wanted but I felt strongly that he would.  I printed out everything from my initial search of my name to all the emails from the Uncle and Crystal along with the photo in a folder and called and told Charlie we needed to see him.  It was all a mystery  and was kept that way until he arrived.   Penny and I sat on the patio with Charlie and gave him the folder and  we took the direct approach and told him.  He was quiet at first as he absorbed it all., then asked us questions and we told him what we knew.
       They are all in touch now.   Crystal is being deployed soon and plans a visit with Charlie, Colleen and Baby Riley before leaving.  This is one of the most amazing things that I have ever been involved in.  It was a privilege. I guess idle hands are not always the devils' workshop. Sometimes.....God does work in mysterious ways and sometimes he works right out in the open,
       Until next time............God Bless.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grandmom and the Kid

Hey.   Grandmothers are special people.  They have the wisdom that time has taught them and the love born  of motherhood that is unique to a woman.  Their loving words and gentle hands are a memory never to be forgotten and always to be cherished. 
      Grandmom Scarborough was a very special woman and the matriarch of the Scarborough clan.  She had 4 children  and quites a few grandchildren.  She would often present herself as a tough lady and prided herself on her fortitude.  Her family saw this part of her but another as well.  She was the most tenderhearted woman I knew back then.  She opened her home to a few of her grandchildren at different times over the years when ther was a troubled homelife or a need. My son and I were recipients of her generosity.
       It was February 1985 and after 6 years in the Army I had an opportunity to apply for Warrant Officer.  The only problem was that I would have had to make provisions for my son Charlie.   If I was deployed or whenever I had field duty he would have to have a legal guardian.  If I saw combat or was killed in war he wouldn't have any parent.  I was divorced at the end of my tour of duty and became a single parent.  His biological mother decided she "didn't want to be a wife or mother anymore" and left  us 6 months before  never to be seen again.  Charlie was 19 months old when this happened and I  was the only parent he had left and decided that the only real choice was to be a full time Dad.
      We came home from El Paso,  Texas at the end of February 1985.  My brother Tom volunteered to share in the driving duty home, so I sent him a plane ticket and we drove straight through.  I needed a place to live for a little while.  My parents had a dispute with each other over my staying at home with my Dad for it and Mom against it.  This didn't surprise me much as Mom didn't want this to interfere with her " lifestyle".  Tom and Joe, my brothers still lived at home. Mom said that" I made my bed now now sleep in it".  Good ole Mom, I could always count on her compassion.  
       My Grandmother offered us her home when she learned of our circumstances from Dad. I felt a great sense of relief and gratitude.  Starting a new life under these circumstances was hard and her generosity to us was  much appreciated as we got our feet back on solid ground.
       My father and brothers spent agreat deal of time a Grandmom's house.  It was always the gathering place for us as boys and early adulthoood.  I'm not sure when it started but Charlie was affectionately called "the kid" by the family.  I suppose since he was the only little child to live in this house in a long time.  Grandmom was the greatest person for Charlie at this time.  He needed a female role to show him love and she just naturally excelled and gladly accepted this position.  I got a job and worked 3rd shift for a little while and then managed to get 2nd shift.  Grandmom made sure Charle was fed and bathed.  She took him out in the yard to play and let him watch Johnny Carson with her.  Even though he had his own bed, I would often get home from work to find him sleeping on the couch all night with her as she slept.  When I talked with her about spoiling Charlie she just said that "I make special allowances for him".   Grandmom  was 75 years old at this time and there were times that she was overwhelmed with one so small and energetic, so I made arrangements for child care on a regular basis. Charlie was as good for Grandmom as she was for him.
      Grandmom died in end of November 1987.   I know how very lucky we were to have her in our lives.  Like us, she may not of been perfect.......... but, I know that her love to us was pure and perfect.  She was the 1st woman Charlie knew in his young life that showed him he was loved.  When  someone in your life, whether they are family, friend or stranger extends themselves to you ........they are a tremendous Blessing and are to be considered a treasured gift. I love you  Grandmom........Thank you.

       Until next time...........God Bless.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Day

Hey again,  

The day that 2 people get married is very exciting with love, hope and laughter.  It's a union created and sanctioned by God himself. Some don't last for various reasons.  Commitment to another imperfect human soul can be a chore that many never consider.

April 7th, 1956 was the day Joseph and Dorothy had set for their nuptials.  They had met at Jamison Rollerskating Rink and their life together began.  The weather was typical for April with clouds and snow squalls.  After a beautiful Catholic ceremony everyone celebrated at the Casa Conte in Jenkintown.  By all accounts and the photos from the event is was a great celebration, a good time for all.                             

After the reception some of the family went to Dorothy's parents house in Glenside. Many had raised their. glasses one too many times in celebration.  Joe was feeling the effects as well so he took an opportunity to lay back on a bed in a spare bedroom upstairs.  As he lay there with his feet on floor,  his thoughts were on the drive to Niagra Falls where they would spend their honeymoon.  Dorothy's father, Fred,  had come down the hall and spotted him laying there.  He had something on his mind and with too many glasses of cheer himself, went in to the bedroom.  Joe was only 5'7" tall where Fred was near 6'4".  Fred walked in and reached down to the bed and picked Joe up by his collar and raised him to his feet.  "I don't know why my daughter married a bum like you" he said. And with that, dropped Joe back on the bed and walked out.   Well  Joe was confused..  What just happened? Where did that come from?   As he laid there dwelling on this new revelation, his anger was growing like a hurricane in the Atlantic.   He was raised poor but proud and couldn't let this pass unanswered..  He decided that he should at least be heard on this subject, so he went back downstairs into the small kitchen where Fred now was.  Well, words were spoken in anger and then it got physical.  At the end of this "discussion" Joe laid his new father-in-law out on the floor.   Needless to say,  Dorothy and Joe had their 1st argument as a married couple with the result that had Joe spending his wedding night at his parents house and Dorothy at hers.   Eventually they did go on their honeymoon at Niagra Falls.

I loved my Father and Grandfather very much.  For many years I could sense the distance between them whenever they were in a room together, but, didn't know why.  My parents stayed together "until death do us part".  Their wedding day set the tone for the rest of their married life.  Dysfunction, alcohol, physical, verbal and emotional abuse could be found in abundance as time passed.  Three boys were born into this storm and, at times, contributed to it.  Those are tales for another day.

Until next time.......God Bless.                

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Samaritans

     I have posted stories from the past in which all have things in common.  Yes. Life can be painful. But, in stories where there was a bad or sad event there was also a neighbor or friend who extended themselves and went out of their way to show compassion to me.  These people have been permanently etched in my mind and heart for what they've done.  These stories are about lifes' events but they're about these wonderful people.  I wanted to thank these people for the impact they've had in my life and I have no doubt in the lives of others. I owe a debt to these people that can only be repaid by paying it forward and passing it on.  I pray I never miss an opportunity.
     The story is as much about them as it is me.  They are the heroes of the tale.  These good Samaritans.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Graduation Day

    Hey,   I'm back again.  If you read my 1st posting here, you know why I'm writing.  I will be telling all kinds of stories from life.  Some aren't flattering.  Even of me.
    Penny, my wife, knows these stories and tells me that it's a wonder I survived childhood.  Sometimes I wonder if I did.
    The graduating class of 1979 from Hatboro-Horsham High School probably remembers that day.  It was a very beautiful day in June.   Many had plans and great expectations for the future.  Maybe even a little uneasiness as to what was to happen in their lives as one chapter closed and another began.
     I spent the day of graduation with a friend, Jim and we loved to fish. Almost as much as Mr Nishiyama our biology teacher. We went out early and had a great day.  We got back home with just enough time to get ready and get to our graduation ceremony.  When I got home, I ran inside and quickly cleaned up and got dressed to go.  Mom was pretty well in the bag by then and she sure looked it.  She asked me where I was going, so I reminded her of what today was and asked if she was going.  She wouldn't commit one way or the other.  I felt a little abandoned when I thought about being alone at graduation as far as family was concerned, but, this was status quo so I shouldn't have expected anything more.... but I secretly did. I hoped to have a "normal" life like the other kids had..... silly me.
    Jim picked me up and off we went.  It was  hectic as kids got ready in their caps and gowns.  There was lots of excitement and laughter with talk of graduation parties afterwards.  We made it.  We were graduating.  With each of us walking up when our names were called and cheers or applause when they got there.  I kept looking in the bleachers for Mom, but, I never found her. I was sad but kept it to myself as I always did.  I didn"t want anybody to know.  I was emabarassed and ashamed.of my circumstances.....sometimes I still feel that way. 
    After turning in my cap and gown all I could think of was running as far as could.  I just to wanted to get away as fast as I could.  As I was going down the hall, Joe, another friend caught up with me and wanted me to come to his house.  Joe had seen my homelife 1st hand and his family was aware of it as well.  I attended a graduation party held for Joe and myself.  I received gifts from from Joes' parents and even his grandparents.  I wanted to cry but I didn't......I felt so grateful.
     When I got home later that night Mom was still drunk.  I asked if she went to my graduation.  She said she was there......under the bleachers.  She took a taxi and had him wait and after she watched me get my diploma from under the bleachers, she went home.
      Again I find myself in deep gratitude to people who have shown me that I was not alone.  To Joe and his family I could never express to you how much this has meant to me, as with all the other souls who have extended their hearts to that kid. I wouldn't have survived this long if not for you.
       Until next time...... God Bless

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Lesson for Life

Hey ,  My memory for this day comes from childhood. People and pets have such an impact and influence on our lives.  This is one of those memories.
    I was about 8 years old and my older brother was around 12.  There are 3 of us boys and we spent a great deal of time down at the creek near our home when we were growing up.  Joe usually took me along with him on these trips when he didn't take his friend Fred.  It was springtime and we roamed the creek from Main St in Hatboro all the way to the Old Mill Inn at the other end of town.  We followed the creek all the way.
    On this particular day we came across a ducks nests with eggs in it near the creek.   Joe decided that it would be cool to take a couple of eggs home and hatch them and have them as pets.  Of course our parents knew nothing of this fantastic idea.  Joe and I each claimed ownership of 1 egg and took them home and put them on a vent over the boiler in the cellar.  I would check on them whenever the notion came to mind.  It was fascinating to watch the eggs rocking on top of the vent as the ducklings formed inside.  I was really excited.
   One morning before school I went and checked on our eggs and had arrived to find my baby duck half out of its' shell.   I had enough time to stay and watch as rest of this little miracle as it unfolded.  It was magic!  At the time I didn't realize that since I was the first thing the duckling saw that it thought I was its' Mom. Unfortunately,  Joes' egg didn't hatch.
    I have no idea if it was a he or a she but I named it Susie. She followed me everywhere!  If she couldn't see me she would call for me. Peep, Peep, Peep!  Sometimes I would hide from her and watch her run around  with her feet slapping the linoleum, her head high and peeping away as she looked for me. We would play in the backyard and even watch TV together.

   One day while I was at school, Mom took Susie out and let her run around the backyard.  Mom wasn't good at paying close attention to things and Susie must have gotten into something.  When I got home from school Susie wasn't very happy to see me.  She kind of just sat there looking around, not moving much even when I took her outside. Over the next couple of hours I watched as Susie slowly declined and finally died.
   I was heartbroken to say the least.  I wailed so loud a few kids in the neighborhood told me they thought I was dying.  I went out front of our house and sat on the curb with tears still running down my face.  Bobby  lived across the street and he was much older than me, but still a teenager.  He came over and sat down on the curb next to me and asked me what was wrong.  I explained it all to him and Bobby very gently talked with me about love and heaven and how I would get to see Susie again.  He soothed my broken heart that day
   Thank You Bobby Hanson.  I will always remember your gentle kindness to a little boy.  You taught me a lesson in humanity and manhood.
   That's enough for today.    Until the next time........  God Bless.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Hunt

 Hey friends.   I'm back with another story from life.  It's hard to pick what to tell.  There's good and bad in all our lives and I don't want to focus only on negative events.  
     It was 1976, I was 15 and it was the beginning of the hunting season for deer.  It was a fairly warm day for early winter with a fog that you could only see for about 1/8 mile or so.  We hunted on private land and were the only ones with permission to do so.  My father had been a caretaker of sorts for the landowner for a long time.  He would post and patrol this property for trespassers and evict them.
   I was on my hunting stand that morning when a white Volkswagen bus came slowly down the road behind me.  It slowed to stop without pulling off the road and then two men got out with hunting gear and started walking into the woods not far from me.  As soon as they walked passed the posted signs I heard Dad yell for them to stop.  He approached these men and explained that no hunting was permitted.  One man became very agitated and was yelling that he could hunt here if he wanted and my father would not stop him. This man carried a scoped rifle which was illegal to use in our part of the state.
   While I watched  from my stand I thought my Dad should have carried a firearm because this situation looked dangerous.  I heard a small voice that said "you have one."  Then I looked at the shotgun in my hands and back to the scene I was watching from my deer stand. I scooted down the fallen over tree and I removed my orange clothing,  I quickly crept up behind a few large old oaks, frequently peeking around the big  trees and thankful for the wet leaves masking my approach.  I stopped 10 feet from the screaming man, keeping track of what was happening.  The other man had backed away and stood near Dad and seemed nervous about the way his companion was carrying on.
       I  watched from behind a tree as this guy picked up his rifle and put it to his shoulder, sighting through the  scope at Dad.  I stepped around the big oak into the open, leveled my shotgun, cleared my throat very loud and clicked off the safety.  I was 90 degrees to this mans' right side and only 10 feet away with my gun aimed at his chest.  This guy looked at me and the black hole at the end of my barrel.  It had taken but a second or two for him to make up his mind.  He lowered his rifle and announced that they were leaving.  He said nothing else and walked away without looking back to see if his friend is following.
      I surprised everyone that day including myself.  I was ready to kill a man and wasn't the slightest bit nervous   Afterwards I wondered who that kid with shotgun really was.  My Dad thought that I saved his life that day.   I'm very thankful that guy lowered his rifle and walked away.
    The next day I harvested a nice 7 point buck.  Until next time.......God Bless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Memories and photographs

Hey all,  I hope your day was blessed with a thought or event that brought a smile to your lips or joy to your heart.  I'm not sure how to write a blog and I don't want to ramble aimlessly.  My mind records events like a camera.  Not only do I remember life's events but I see them in my minds eye.  I can tell the weather that day , the smell of the air and how I felt about that day.  Just like it just happened and sometimes I want to cry.  Sometimes I do.  I have had heartbreak like you.  I try not to think about it though, because,  to think is to be there . So, my memory for today is of the past.
     My mother was a alcoholic..  I came home from high school one beautiful sunshine filled day and was fooling around in the backyard.  I picked up a small piece of plywood and tossed it as a Frisbee.  A piece of wood broke off and went into my hand, broken off deep in my palm but poking the skin up on the back of my left hand.  Hurt like hell!  Mom came home from work shortly after and when I tried to explain, she walked right on by and said not now,  it'll have to wait until tomorrow.  She went to her bedroom and locked the door.  It was the last we saw her that day, it was about 3 PM.  Some how Mrs Marie from across the street heard about it and sent her youngest to get me.  It was about 8PM.  Mrs Marie just looked at it and said ":Oh honey, I can't get that out. You'll have to go to the emergency room.". I told her what Mom said about tomorrow and she told me that she had spoken to Mom and it would be OK.  Her son who was 18, drove me to the hospital and signed all forms so that I could get treated.  I finally got the wood out around 11 Pm. The next morning when I came downstairs with my hand bandaged, Mom looked at me and asked "what happened to you?"  It then I knew Mrs Marie didn't talk to Mom about the hospital.  Where would I have been without that dear woman across the street.  I could have had severe complications if I had to wait until the next day.
     This story is just one of what was to be considered normal in our childhood.  Dysfunction was the standard in our household. How many Moms tell their children that she wishes that they were born dead?  We heard that many times. How many times growing up did I wish that too?  That's enough for today.  Until next time......God Bless.

Opening Day

Hey All.    My name is Charles and this blog is about any day in the life, heart and mind.  My stories are much like many people have.  I'm not any different than you.  This blog is probably more therapy for me than anything else.  My wife tells me I should write a book and I respond that nobody would believe it.  I have lived all these experiences and most of the time I wish I could deny any involvement.  But it is my life and accepting my role and position in it is the mature thing to do.                                                          
     May as well start with current events.  I am an Honorably Discharged Army veteran with a substantial hearing disability and I wear hearing aids.  I've worn them for 5 years now but needed them longer than that.  I am currently unemployed from a school district and have filed an ADA complaint  against them because of my disability. It isn't a pleasant situation, but, thanks to the intellect and integrity of some of the administration (or lack of it), I have emails and other documentation to prove my case. 
     The events that led up to this day have taken a heavy toll.  I am on anti-depressants and anxiety meds.  I've been to the hospital twice over this.  Once for chest pain and the other I was admitted to a psych ward for a few days.  I understand that I have PTSD which can be attributed to my military experiences and these current events have aggravated my condition to the point of affecting my mental and physical health.
     I hope that by writing this journal it may help me put things back in order so that I can be my good ole self again.  Many things that will be written here will be very personal and  may sound like they're out of soap opera.  I only wish I could say that they are not true.  But, the pain I feel from them is very real and I just want it to stop and to have peace.   Until the next time.....God Bless.