Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Flawed Legacy - 36

Well, I am almost done with "flawed legacies".  I am about to leave one behind, that is for certain, and the purpose of this blog is to offer my children now, a look "into" the person they have known so little about and a life they hardly have had a chance to know at all.

One day, I was there, the next day I was gone, and they were left - almost, on their own.  If there was any way I could change any of that, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I hate the feeling they must have and I am to blame.  However, I was left without a father, literally, from the day I was born and only by the grace of God was I raised in a responsible home with grand parents who loved me as their own.  But, my point will be, I have personally known dozens - if not, hundreds, of fatherless children who have made a better life for themselves.  Something that seemed difficult for me to do and so, what follows will take a closer look at my life through my eyes as they were and are today.

"Nan", our grand mother, took me home to Yale, MI, from Ohio, when I was a little over three years old and used to delight telling others, I stood the whole way, gazing out of the windows.  I guess I wanted to see what I could see.  I don't know of the first time I fell and scratched my knees, but I would bet I ran to "Nan" who would hug me and tell me, ..."everything's going to be OK."

And it wasn't until I saw the neighborhood kids getting new bikes and going to new places that I did not and learning to do whatever I was asked to do, that I began to realize, I was somehow, different.  My mother would come up to the farm and ask how I was doing and sometimes, pull me close so that I got a smell of her perfume, but I soon learned that I was living on a "performance based" schedule as far as she was concerned.  I began to pray that she would marry one of the guys who would tag along on her visits, but that never happened.  I did well in school, very well indeed, but when it came time for others to talk about going to college, I was told there was no money.

Along came World War II and the possibilities of a college education and I jumped at the opportunity, even though I had not completed high school.  I would get my diploma because I passed a GED test and that was all that was required.  During the first week in the service - I think I have mentioned that in an earlier blog, I was left behind and that thought fit perfectly with my experience on the farm.  So, I was gone. No one seemed to care.  Fortunately, the military had to care and so I went where I was scheduled to go, according to their schedule.   It would stay that way for the following seven years.  I did not have to think about where I was going, what I would be doing, who was directing me and all of that - and more, and it all began to sink in.  It was not MY fault if something went wrong, it was THEIR fault.

I would wind up in the Korean War and when I came home, no one seemed to notice, no one asked about where I had been, what I had done, even though if they had asked, I was prepared to go on for hours on just a few of my many experience.  I was in Hawaii four different times, for God's sake. Everyone else would drool a the thought of just going there.  But for me, there were no questions, apparently, no one cared.

I got out of the Air Force to go to school, to get a college degree, go back in and retire when I was forty years old.  That was my plan, but I screwed up.  I wound up living in my mother's apartment and I hated it.  A gal said she loved me and so I got out of that apartment and was married, to a gal who worked for the airlines.  We could fly everywhere she said.  I bought into that as well.  But I was popular in college and soon there were social commitments as I became the President of the student body.  I went alone as she did not want to go.  There were pretty girls everywhere, some even daring to ask about the absence of my wife.  I graduated and took a job I would hate because it offered more money than the jobs I thought I might like.  I quit the one I hated and took one I thought would be great and I failed miserably.  Whose fault?   Hers, of course.  So, I left town, got drunk often, found jobs that I enjoyed and succeeded until it was discovered I drank too much.

One morning, I woke up after a night of drinking, felt bad and so, I went to church.  Guess what.  I found people who loved me and one in particular loved me so much, we went to bed together and she became pregnant, so we hurried on with the wedding plans.  Our first child was born and she was beautiful beyond words.  I was so proud of both her and her mother.  It was - to that point, the greatest moment in my life.  I had a great job, really great prospects and it blew up in our faces.   Not my fault, that time! We moved on with thanks to my sister and with a little effort and a boost from a business associate, we were on our way again.  Another pregnancy, but this one almost aborted as a result of an argument.  She survived, however, and then there was a son.  All the while, my job was working for me - for a change, until something happened that I still do not understand.   However, a friend was standing by with an even better job, this one with a car and the harder I worked, the more success we had.  There was another pregnancy and another son.  Again, life was good.  We even found an apartment where part of our rent was paid by our merely collecting the rents for the other tenants.  Then, there was the case of the missing money and my wife confessed to me, it was her fault. 

What I failed to mention a few lines ago, there was money missing from a neighbor's mail box and it was taken by my wife.  She wound up with a Federal charge and a sentence of ten years in prison, but freed on probation.  Now, with another case of missing money, she was headed for prison, for sure.  I loved her, I did not want her in prison, so I accepted the charge and was tried for grand larceny. Before the trial began, an Assistant AG and I had examined the books of the owners and found a number of discrepancies and referred to them as I was on the witness stand.  The Judge listened and declared that I was innocent.  Of course, that caused some questions in the minds of my employer and they fired me, only I found a new job, a better job with more potential.  Unfortunately, they did not return the payroll deductions taken from employees and the IRS closed that business.

At this point, I no longer believed anyone.  I hated myself for being so stupid on a umber of counts and I suspect that wore on my wife.  She took the children and moved out.  When I lost the job I had, we talked and agreed to get back together, to work hings out and even moved to San Diego to get a new start  life, each vowing there would be no more problems.  That didn't last long.  She was arrested again and when I realized our problems were not all of her fault, I sought help.  It meant leaving our children in "Foster" homes while she was being examined prior to her sentencing and before I knew it, she was back out of prison, had taken the children out of the places they were staying.  As far as I know, they are still with her.

I no longer cared.  I cared for our children but as long as she could get in and out of prison and prison sentences, there was nothing further I could do.  I did my best to provide what the State required me to pay for their support and that was all that I could do.

I know, I was for awhile, re-united with my youngest daughter but I made a mistake she did not care to discuss with me and that ended that.  If you want to know the rest of my story - watch this space in the future

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