Tag Archives: family

My Father and I


A little time travel was required. That's me on the right, Dad on the left.

What would he have thought

I wonder.

At my face and his face

And the inevitable passage of time?

Would he warn me

Console me

Or just be happy to see me?

Happy to see that it all worked out

I’m just fine.

It all happens too quickly my father said

Not long after this meal we shared

You take a breath, thirty years have passed

And everything moves full circle

As the child becomes the father to the man

As my Father and I

Have breakfast together again

Lady of the Lake


My sister Linda is perhaps the hardest sibling for me to write about. She stands on a distant shore, and my telescope isn’t quite powerful enough for me to see her face clearly. Linda has always lived in that beautiful world full of love and light. No disappointments, betrayals, lies, anger, pain, sorrow, or sickness. That is the beautiful world of Linda’s soul. Elvis’ song Memories is playing as I type this. Quite a coincidence! She is an Elvis fan, and Memories captures exactly what I’m saying. Memories is about a wonderful world of our memories, forever elusive, slipping away as we reach for them. Memories not of what actually happened but our enchanted perception of what happened. The past almost takes on a fairy tale quality. Linda loved this kind of memory, all of the stories told and retold, of the farms where we all grew up, the dogs we had, the ghost in the upstairs of the Allen house, and the snapping turtle down by the pond. (oops! that last one is my memory!). She transforms these stories and memories, into something unspeakably poignant, beautiful, and heart breaking. Her ability to enchant the funky, dirty, disappointing world around us is why I call her the Lady in the Lake. The mysterious woman who rose from a lake and handed King Arthur, the sword Excalibur. I can’t really articulate any better than I already have why I make that comparison, but my intuition tells me it perfectly describes my sister, Linda.

The “real” world hasn’t been kind to Linda. The scars were apparent in her voice when I last talked to her. Perhaps hearing from me brought back a lot of painful memories. Maybe I caught her at a bad time. But everyone tells me she is happier than at any time in her life. She has many friends. She loves the little church she attends. She is living a life of her own choosing, for a change. I am so happy for her! However I can remember Linda when she was very happy. She and I were very close when we were both kids. We had a little club all our own. Linda would confide little things that only a little brother could be trusted with. Of course, I can’t recall any of those secrets now, I’m not sure I understood them then, just that my big sister was whispering to me, her beautiful brown eyes wide. I felt so special! She is whispering to me! her little snot-nosed brother! A warm glow surrounds those memories, of summers at Keith’s, Linda and I sitting on the steps, just enjoying the sun. As I grew older, I became a huge embarrassment to Linda. I was so uncool. If Lawrence was Elvis, I was Jerry Lewis. In fact, for many years my name was ‘Stoop’, as far as Linda was concerned. (you know, short for stupid?) It just made me want to act even more like a doofus. I suspect her friends were confused. “Does she have a little brother or not? The other day, she claimed that dopey kid wasn’t her brother.”) I have no defense. It seems I have never been terribly concerned about what other people think. (as this blog proves) But Linda had an image to uphold, just in case Elvis Presley should visit Warrensburg. You gotta be prepared! Ditch the goofy little brother! Elvis never came, but a succession of other guys did. I was the thorn in the side for almost all of Linda’s suitors. I’d tease them, ask them dumb questions to throw them off guard, and Linda hated it. She always banned me from the premises, but I’d still manage to slip in. One guy, Paul, (I think that was his name), wasn’t fazed at all by my antics. He thought I was funny, I liked him, so did Lawrence and David. I guess that was all the more reason for Linda to dump him. She doesn’t want to get hooked up with someone like her brothers!! God forbid! Give me someone who doesn’t have his head in the clouds! I also remember one poor unfortunate soul, (I think his last name was Otten.) who had the habit of saying “we’ll see ya'” when leaving Linda at the end of the date. I would always say “Is there someone else out there?”. I think Linda might have asked him that, too. Poor Guy.

I might not have become such a fan of Elvis Presley had it not been for Linda. Our love of Elvis was probably our strongest bond. Otherwise, as the years went by, and I became an adult, my relationship with Linda drifted, until she ended up on that very distant shore. Much like myself, Linda has always had one foot in another universe. I have a feeling it is a universe I wouldn’t mind living in. There is something so pure and fragile about Linda. And yet I can hear her saying, “Fragile? Are you kidding me? Only a really tough broad could have endured what I have endured.” Fair enough. I recall the younger Linda, with the delicate face, and eyes that could break your heart. I remember one of the last times I saw Linda. I was visiting Lawrence and everybody, and it was a beautiful day. I felt sad that I couldn’t just live with Lawrence Debbie, and Shannon, and not return to no man’s land. I saw Linda walking up the sidewalk, her bright smile filled her face. I felt so much love! I suspect I looked the same, because I loved her so much just then. We chatted for a bit and she told me she hoped we would get a chance to go out to the ‘farm’, where we once lived. I regret to this day that we didn’t take that trip. Linda and I could have taken a stroll through Avalon, and sat by the lake from which she sprang.

Buckaroo Banzai


If my oldest brother, Keith, was a buckaroo, my next oldest is a buckaroo banzai. For those of you that haven’t seen the movie, Buckaroo Banzai was a scientist, rock n’ roll singer, who investigated the farthest reaches of the unknown. He was probably a bunch of other things too (wasn’t he a race car driver as well?). It was a crazy, zany, over the top, comedy which was hard to categorize, there were so many different elements. That describes David as well. It is hard for me to write about David, because I have to decide which ones to focus on. David is committed to exploring the farthest reaches of his own mind. I can assure you that there is no mind quite like his. Just when you think David is engaged in a deep philosophical insight, he will inevitably throw you a curve, sending the conversation into a tailspin. Sometimes it’s comic, other times irritating, but always unexpected. His quicksilver mind cannot be contained by logic, belief systems of any kind, it has to be free to be what it is, in any given moment. This is his Art, and his Magic. And he’s my fucking brother! He was very much a role model, to the extent that I could figure out what the hell I was emulating. I guess I learned to keep moving, never allow myself to stop questioning, stop growing, right to my dying breath. While Keith could certainly generate a few storms, he seemed anchored in the ancestral soil as he raged. David is the storm itself, magnetic, compelling, dangerous, but a gift to a far too complacent world.

Ok, ok that’s all fine and good, but is this guy a human being or what? I mean all that stuff I wrote is so conceptual and philosophical that I just know I’ve lost quite a few of you out there in cyberspace. (or perhaps it is poetic? usually the excuse given for crappy writing.) So let’s get down to Earth, shall we? I love David in a way I don’t love any other person. Because I have to. You can’t love that guy in the normal way, it just doesn’t work! He is my muse, in many ways. There have many times when I have been out there. and I mean out there without landmarks or buoys to guide me to the shore. (Skip the metaphor, what are we trying to say?) Well, when I am trying to articulate thoughts about something that perhaps hasn’t been thought before, I think to myself, ‘what would David say?’ But every time I actually get the opportunity to talk to him about it, he always says something totally different. If I were a cynic, I would say that he senses where I’m going on a subject and deliberately does the unexpected, sinking my battleship every time! (I do love those metaphors, don’t I?). But this was supposed to be down to Earth. As I was growing up, I wanted so much to be a part of the midnight discussions about all things hidden, conducted by Keith and David. It was thrilling when I did get the chance to listen to them talk. At the time, it felt like such a perfect harmony, Keith and David making music together. Although I have had great talks with Keith and David both which lasted for hours, they could not compare to that team. David embraced life with joy, for most of the time I knew him, before I left for parts unknown. He had such an infectious enthusiasm for whatever he was engaged in. When he was being a cowboy, you wanted to be one as well. When he sang and played guitar, it was exciting, because he was excited. Lawrence and David were an intriguing combination of cool and hot. But I’ll tell ya, Lawrence was David’s biggest fan. I was a fan too, but also jealous. I wanted to do better. I didn’t like David stealing the limelight. I would think, “I’m just as good as him. He thinks he’s so great!” He did seem vain, at times, but that just hid a deep vulnerability. This often gave David a prickly personality, not unlike my own. So, inevitably when you get two vulnerable, insecure brothers together you get conflict. We have often been at odds with each other. There were a few actual fights. I would be my usual pain in the ass, and David would just kick my ass, or at least he tried, I left a few scars myself. It was crazy, neither of us could just let it go. One of us would shoot off his mouth and the other just had to shoot his mouth off in response. There are so many similarities between us. The extent to which we dislike ourselves, is the extent to which we disliked each other. We were like mirrors. I notice I keep saying ‘were’, I still have long conversations with David. I have reached a point where I appreciate David more than ever. I have left almost all of my legendary sensitivity behind, so he can just be himself. (and vice versa). There was a long period of time when I couldn’t even think about David without getting pissed off. David saw so much in me, left unfulfilled, and it made him mad. David was not shy about expressing his anger. I think I better understand what that was about. I just thought he didn’t like me.

David and I are also alike in that we both have dreamed big dreams, and we had to settle for reality. He wanted to be a singer and musician and recorded some songs at one point, sending them to a record company. I thought the tape was awesome, especially the guitar. But nothing came of it. I had thoughts of being a writer, actor, comedian, nothing came of any of it. I never followed through. David was a police officer and a minister, but in both cases the job was too small to contain such a vibrant personality. He is more than that, He is always more than that. It is exactly the way I view myself, and just like him, it hasn’t done me a damn bit of good. We are both brilliant and broke, or nearly broke. I shouldn’t say that, I doubt that he is nearly broke, but it’s a good sentence so I’ll let it stand. From my perspective, it is totally amazing that he and Ina managed to raise six kids, never got a divorce, managed to stick it out through some downright horrible conditions, and still end up with six wonderful kids! (it is six isn’t it? lets see mark monica mike bucky marjorie, that’s only five! if there is a sixth I can’t recall the name, my apologies.)  No. it’s five.  So, enough already about that. I just hope that in all those moves they made, when the kids were young, they didn’t leave some kid behind! Hey, it could happen! (No! dummy, it is six! I left out Shelly!! Sorry Shelly, Alzheimer’s is a sad thing!) As you can tell, I have run out of things to say about my brother David. Never boring. Almost always frustrating. But a brother like no other!

Beauty and the Beast


In order to understand my recollections of Marjorie and Steve, I must go back to a memory that actually isn’t my memory. Others have told me, and well….here’s the story. For reasons I have never fathomed, I had to use a ceramic pot for a toilet when I was very little, just a toddler. This pot was in the back room, no locked door, anyone could cruise in, but then I was just a baby, so nobody cared about a baby’s feelings. They don’t have feelings, right? So on one occasion, as I was availing myself of the aforementioned pot, Marjorie brought home her new boyfriend, Steve. And Steve is being given a tour of our small little farmhouse. He comes to the back room and there I am! Now I suppose there is a rich tradition going back many generations of laughing at babies taking a crap in a ceramic pot. But that doesn’t make me feel any better. Steve laughed and laughed, and I think Marjorie was there as well, my Mom and Dad, Linda, probably Keith, maybe David, Lawrence. Hell, I think there were probably a few neighbors invited in to take a gander. I was mortified, enraged, and so embarrassed that I can say with confidence that I am still embarrassed to this day! This set the tone for my relationship with Steve. And Marjorie? I don’t know if she laughed, but I knew she was the person that brought this jerk into my life. Guilt by association! I say I don’t remember this, but I do have a kind of recollection, I can recall the anger and hurt and embarrassment. Never do this to your kids!! They do feel violated, and it will fuck them up. Take it from me.

But more about the jerk, later. I remember Marjorie as this beautiful woman that just happened to be my sister. She seemed like a cross between Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner. She had such a beautiful smile, and an easy laugh. She had kind of a fiesty quality about her that made her a lot of fun to be around. She carried herself like a movie star. If Mom was the Queen, Marjorie was the Princess. It was hard for me to really get to know Marjorie, but I recall some times we had when just she and I sat quietly, and she talked to me as if I were an equal, although I was ten years old, She respected my intelligence, and thought I was very funny. There weren’t enough of those times. Strange how even though I was a young kid, long before puberty I was able to see the sexiness of my sisters. And they were very sexy! I was proud to have sisters like them! (what can I say? I was a ladies’ man in the first grade, giving a girl I had a crush on, a fake diamond ring). I hope they take that as a compliment, it isn’t meant to creep them out! But I have creeped people out my whole life so why stop now? (But speaking of creeping people out….but I’ll get to Steve later.) Ok, so if you are still reading this…Marjorie had such an elegant, self-possessed manner that it was a shame that it was wasted on Windsor. I thought she would be famous, when I was little. I think I felt the same way about all of my brothers and sisters. They were all celebrities in my young eyes. I remember that Marjorie and Steve’s home felt like the waiting room in a dentist’s office. Very clean, orderly, and formal. And you could have all the bologna sandwiches you’d like while waiting. But no cooking. Plenty of magazines. Ok, I’ll stop now. I fondly remember sitting up late (quite the treat for a kid), watching the Tonight show in their bedroom. Steve and I would discuss politics (even when I was a little squirt, I was a Democrat at age nine). Steve was, as everyone in the fucking universe knows, a Republican! He let everyone know how conservative he was and how great Nixon was. Gee, do I sound annoyed? We played chess and Steve always won. Boy was that ever fun.

Ok, we’ve heard about the Beauty, time now for the Beast! It is to Steve’s credit that he took in stride all of the outrageous remarks, and deliberate tactlessness I unleashed on him when I was a kid. (when I stopped being a teenager, he stopped taking it in stride. Not such a funny story). But I would tell him he was full of shit (this was as a teenager), and he would just laugh. Once Steve asked me how long I thought I would stay ugly, and I said “well, let’s see, you’ve been ugly for how long now? About as long as you, I guess.” What was even better about that incident was that about an hour later, Steve says “I don’t think I’m ugly!” I had gotten to him! Score one for the pimply-ass kid. Steve really went out of his way to get me to like him, and he almost succeeded. But then something would happen, and he was a jerk once again. It is kind of pathetic, because I never spared his feelings, I made it clear how I felt. And he still wanted to be friends (or perhaps, more accurately, my Dad). I gotta hand it to him, he was persistent. I was Steve’s unrequited love. ok, now it’s creep out time again, speaking of which, I couldn’t hold a candle to Steve in the creep out dept. We’re talking about his hairy butt hanging out in front of the inlaws. Dude! Get a belt! Here’s Steve on the telephone: What am I doin’? Just sittin’ here scratching my balls! Great stuff! He should have had his own HBO special! I don’t think Marjorie would tune in to that one, though. Probably not Andra or Megan either. But Steve gave generously to those who needed help, he helped me get through college, he helped me out many many times. As well as other relatives. He was not a Scrooge by any means. He took an active interest in my welfare. (I thought it was too great an interest, at the time. I was fiercely independent, never took advice, I’m still like that). He bought me a console stereo for Christmas just before college, and I played that thing to death. I remember Lawrence defending Steve when I was being particularly harsh towards him, saying that Steve had helped many people anonymously. “So how come you know about it?” I replied. But that’s not fair. He was a good guy in many ways. But, I won’t deny it, he and I didn’t get along. We fought each other in fun, and then, after I was grown, we fought in earnest. I remember a time when Steve and I were screaming at each other over the phone. We got as down and dirty as two totally tactless assholes can get. Shit! I guess we were made for each other! I think Steve just smiled at that remark. God damn it! Did I love this son of a bitch? I recall the pain and sadness in his eyes when I last was talking to him, as he was giving me a ride back to the KC airport after Keith’s funeral. It was as if I was gazing into his soul. He seemed to be saying, “Please don’t hate me.” Perhaps he remembered our harsh exchange a few years earlier, perhaps not. Maybe I imagined it. I’ll never know.

Dangers of Posting Your Thoughts Online


Before continuing to go down memory lane, I wanted to write a post about the dangers of posting your thoughts, uncensored, online. You never know who is going to read it. If you anticipate some repercussions, such as hurt feelings, revealing something that someone else would prefer be kept hidden, etc. then you should be careful and edit out the troublesome material. It doesn’t pay to just piss people off. It may feel good to rant and rave and get those feelings out, but keep in mind that people are reading your post. The internet isn’t a diary, it isn’t therapy, and it shouldn’t be there for the prurient voyeuristic curiosity of the average bonehead. (you hear that David? I have a friend named David that checks out my blog but doesn’t comment on anything, I think he just searches for anything that would satisfy his sick curiosity. Just email me, dude, I’ll tell you what you want to know.) Having said that, you still want to have an interesting and useful blog. Who wants to read a sugar-coated account of somebody’s life? Nobody. It is boring, and it doesn’t let you know anything about that person that is valuable. Especially if that person is your father, you want to get an honest account of how he really was, instead of a carefully crafted story designed not to offend, bland in every respect, like you would find in a family newsletter. I’m sorry, newsletter fans, but most family newsletters are recipes, pictures of kids and pets, accounts of things that mean a lot to you but not to the reader, nostalgic tales of an idyllic childhood, heart-warming stories, and more pictures of kids and pets, ad nauseam. No thanks! Of course, if I were married with a bunch of kids and pets I would feel differently, but I don’t know, I think even then, it would be pretty boring. Lawrence had a wife and kids and he was driven to distraction by the mindless chitchat his patrons at the barbershop engaged in. For once, he would have liked to hear something truly meaningful. I tried to explain that that was a barbershop tradition. You always make a comment on the weather, maybe mention something cute your kid or your dog did that day, or talk about the local high school football team. But the only thing Lawrence enjoyed about the barbering routine (besides the actual barbering), was playing checkers. He got to be pretty damn good at that game, But, anyway, you catch my drift. I want to write things that I would want to read. I admit that I like to stir things up upon occasion, and I am not above an off-color comment now and then (or every single sentence, given my mood). Which brings me to vulgarity. I write the way I talk, and it is a part of my personality. I don’t wish to offend, but oftentimes vulgar words can convey exactly what you want to say, and, admit it, folks!, it can make it more fun to read. My purpose, as pointed out in this blog over and over and over, is that I wish to wake people up, to keep it real. People prefer to look at the past through rose-colored glasses, and are prone to create a mythology about their family. My family was especially prone to that. That’s all fine, so long as you keep in mind that it is a mythology. I like to write a real, unvarnished account of how things were. I pay the price by digging up emotions within me that are often unpleasant, but for me that is more interesting than checking out some stupid tv show. Although it may not seem that way from how I write, there are many, many things I would never blog about. Some things are better left buried. I don’t care to satisfy someone’s idle curiosity, if that is all it is. I am not a completely open person, but almost. I want my recollections to perform a service, as well as entertain. I like it when it gives a son or a daughter a little better idea of who their father was. So, until I really start catching some flak from my family posts, I will continue. Thanks, again for all the comments. Now, please get a life!

Where it all began


I thought I would provide for the audience which does not consist of my actual relatives, a little background on myself and the family from which I sprang. Then they might be better able to appreciate my last post about my brother, Gandalf.

I was not planned. I happened. I had to be delivered prematurely. So my body didn’t get to develop completely. It explains how I lost my eyesight in my left eye, and if it hadn’t been for surgery, my right eye would also have lost it’s sight. It may explain my anemia, my terminal skinniness. It may explain why I have always had a foot in another world. No one thought I would make it. They fully expected me to die. I was in an incubator for quite a while. When I was told about that I always thought of chickens. So I was raised like a chicken, I thought. The last thing my parents felt like doing was raising yet another child. While there is no question but that I was loved, I was also very much a thorn in their side, at least by the time I was in college. I didn’t appreciate what I had, but then, what young adult does? I wanted to be independent and free of my Mother’s constant judgement, and so I left home, and didn’t return. Of course, by then, it wasn’t really home any longer. I paid a steep price for that independence. I became isolated from my family, only visiting occasionally, and then not at all. This spurt of facebook activity is a chance to catch up with the offspring of the family I left behind. Let me explain a few things about my family.

In order to understand my family, you must consider the parents. My mother and father were very different from one another. My father was shy, brutally honest, totally down to earth, endearingly childlike, but not someone you wanted to mess with. He did not suffer fools gladly. He spoke rarely, but when he did, it meant something. You did not want to piss him off. He was one of those rare individuals who is totally himself, no pretence, no bullshit, just the straight stuff right down the line. You could totally trust him, depend on his word. He was very difficult to get to know, but once you did, you realized it was a rare treasure, because it isn’t often on this Earth that you encounter a person who is completely there, with the total innocence and honesty of a new born baby. But that was my Dad. (I realize that new born babies don’t talk or anything, I don’t want to suggest that my Dad drooled and shit his pants. It’s just a metaphor, ok? Sorry, I was just reacting to my Dad objections to what I just wrote. He always hated for anything to be about him. Sorry to embarrass you yet again. Oh, yes He’s reading this. Don’t think he isn’t.) Now, as I sit here writing this, I know that Dad was my greatest fan. Even though I drove him to distraction, and once he wanted to punch me so hard that I would never, ever think of being disrespectful to him again. Other times he would kick me out of frustration over what a pain in the ass I could be. But for all that, all the disappointment and thinking I would never amount to anything, he still thought I was about the coolest thing around. He admired me. He admired my guts. Thanks for your support, Dad. While growing up, it felt as if there were a stranger living in my house, a strange, grumpy old man, who sat and watched tv, but rarely spoke. Are you my Dad? But you’re scary, I don’t want a Dad like you. He was a janitor, and that embarrassed me to no end. Once a pretty girl I liked asked what my Dad did and I just said “he works for the college,” I hated him when I was a teenager, and once I started yelling at him, letting out all my hate and anger, over how all he ever did was watch tv, he never showed any love, did he even know he had a family? what was his problem etc. He just sat there. I wanted to see what he was made of. I took it up a notch. I was a total jackass, but I didn’t care. Finally he jumps up from his chair and draws back his fist. I covered up my face, and said “Please don’t hit me!” He started laughing and said “I wasn’t going to hit you.” but I said “Oh yes you were!” I don’t recall what we said afterward, but I remember we talked a lot more and the conversations were always very honest. I knew from that time forward who my father was, and that I could always count on him to be there for me. I gained a father, and, I think, he gained a son. We bonded even more closely after my Mother’s death, and I treasure those brief months. He leaned on me, and I on him. We searched for what it all meant, all of it, life, everything. We listened to each other in a way I couldn’t hope to capture here. It was too intimate, too real for words. His last words to me were “I Love You” which he said with all of his soul. I miss him terribly.

And then there is my Mother. Although she did not have the documentation to prove it, my Mother was a Queen, and our family was her domain. She had such a powerful, regal personality that it was easy to overlook Dad unobtrusively sitting in a corner. She was effusive, full of life and love. She showed great physical affection, and fairly smothered me with that, until….Until I was no longer a little boy. Nobody gave me the brochure explaining all this. Just suddenly, my running up and talking baby talk, and putting my hands on her shoulders was no longer permitted. One must not touch the Queen, don’t you know the proper protocol? I made the mistake of saying “screw the protocol” and that is where the war began. We were as close as it is possible for a son and Mother to be, when I was a kid. She shared her world with me, I learned about flowers, birds, she shared her thoughts with me. It was as though she wanted to pour all of herself into me, so that I could be a little skinny boy version of herself. I loved her, but more importantly I depended on her for my very identity. I looked for her approval in pretty much all I did. She bragged about me, and worried incessantly about me. I think she continued to think she could lose me, and that terrified her. I was in awe of my mother. Her personality was like the Sun. She was literally a force of nature. My Dad practically worshipped her, and literally didn’t know what to do after she died. She was his life. I worried about my Mother, she talked out loud to herself, and I couldn’t fathom her mind. She was an enigma. As much as I spent time with her, there was a person deep inside that I wasn’t privy to. She was the Mother, in her regal glory, and I was the son. In that sense, our relationship was rather formal. Never was I able to penetrate that mask. I tried, and I must admit I wasn’t gentle in my probing. I think it is fair to say that my parents had no idea what they were in for. I was a fucking nightmare in many respects. I fiercely challenged everything that came out of my Mother’s mouth. But the full frontal assault that had worked with Dad, failed with her. She just cried and said she hated me. (who could blame her?) She had penned her hopes on me. I was following in her footsteps, becoming a teacher like herself. She was thrilled to death. She was beside herself in joy that I was going to find my way, finally, giving up my awful friends who had led me down the path to hell. I would be a teacher, I would be a good Christian. But none of this was my choice. I was playing a role for her benefit, and finally I had had enough. I resolutely refused to be anything other than myself. It was not my idea to be a teacher, not my idea to be a good Christian. I was sick of seeking her approval. We were truly enemies, and life at home was sheer hell for both of us, and I’m sure it wasn’t a picnic for Dad either. So I left. The last straw was her saying she hated me. I thought “fine. It’s the last you’ll see of me.”  Our close bond had turned full circle to an absolute break. But slowly, over time, as she pretended that those events never occurred, and she was back to being my Mother again, the wounds healed somewhat. But we never reestablished the bond we had when I was a child. Mom was not the forgiving sort. I had been banished from the land!! Off with my head! I think my Mother was not entirely of this world, she had a vivid imagination, and spent much of her time there. She was brilliant, but enigmatic. She had a sensuality about her which would often collide with her regal bearing. Here’s an anecdote. I remember the first time I used the word Fuck. I had no idea what it meant, but I knew it was a bad word. I said it to my friend down the street. His mother overheard and banned me from their yard, and called Mom to complain. Mom took me out to the large tractor tire filled with sand in the back yard. I knew I was going to be given a chewing out, and was worried. But Mom couldn’t keep a straight face while explaining why this word was bad. She really started laughing when I, in my logical fashion, could not understand how the very source of life could be considered nasty and bad. It made no logical sense, and it still doesn’t to this day! But my Mother gave me a mixed message that day, it was wrong but it was also funny, and maybe even kinda cool. I believe I owe my perversity to my mother, because my Dad was incapable of it. But, I am sad to say, I was never able to connect on a deep and honest level with Mom. Any time I tried to talk to her we would argue, or even worse, she would search my face for blackheads, spit on a handkerchief and start cleaning up my face, even when I was in my twenties. But I loved her deeply, and was devastated when she died. I hoped to gain some insight into her by reading her journal, after she died. But she wrote about flowers, about the weather, and about birds, with an occasional perfunctory noting of a birth or a death, or someone coming down with a cold.

And so. there you have it. Two very different individuals. One shy and withdrawn, the other out-going and dominating any room she entered. You can, perhaps imagine what sort of family these two would produce. A family filled with highly individual, charismatic people, who are alternately, either performers without a stage, or deep wells full of mystery. A hint of insanity, due to overactive imaginations, and a desire to rule the world, or, at least our own domain. We are larger than life, and uncharacteristically shy at times. Although we are overflowing with talent, we profess to be nothing special. We may not have any money but we are not poor. We feel we are of a special clan stretching back to King Arthur and Charlemagne, and yet we are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than we. Welcome to my family.