He’s BACK!

I picked up my friend at the mortuary yesterday and brought him back to my house in a neat little box. Tomorrow I have to pick up the death certificates…then begins the tedious process of cancelling/changing all his accounts. To prepare, I’ve had to sift through the mounds of papers in his house. It’s such an odd feeling being in this situation. He’s lived next door since before I was born. As a little girl, he was always the elusive old blind man that wore a weird hat and drove really really slow that lived next door. He never seemed to have any regular visitors. Occasionally, I’d see his mother pull into his driveway and I’d  hear all sorts of doors slamming and her crackly voice ordering him around. Our street is pretty quiet and the neighbors here are so nosey that even when you keep to yourself, they still know what happened at your dinner table last Thursday despite your best efforts to keep it private and they make sure everyone knows. So, when there was movement at HIS house, you can bet every housewife was peering through her front kitchen window at the “weirdo” & his mother, gathering their gossip tid-bits for the daily morning swap via phone over their cups of  black coffee with the ones on the side of the street with a less desirable vantage point. No one made too much of an effort to befriend him and the story always was “he’s weird” “he never comes outside” “he never talks to anyone on the street” “he went blind from some government experiment in World War 2” “he’s got weird contraptions, like some kind of midevil sexual torture devices in his living room”. The general rule for all the kids on the street was to stay away from him because he might molest you. So nobody bothered him. Well, except for…me.

I was intrigued, I guess. I wanted to see who he was. I went to his house nearly every day. I’d knock on his door and he’d answer. He was always friendly to me. He never liked any of the other kids and he told me so. He & I would talk for a long time in his front doorway. I’d usually have my dog Duchess with me & he loved to see her. He had tattoos on his arms, a lion on each, and I’d always ask him to flex his muscles so I could see them move. I remember playing in his garage, sitting in the bed of his pick-up and watching him work at his workbench. I never felt scared or unwanted by him. My parents got a lot of flack from the lookie-loos on the street about letting me play over there for hours unsupervised with him. But they trusted him, like I did.

So now, at the conclusion of his life here, I am getting a chance to look into who he really was and I am beginning to learn why he was so…weird. From what I’ve gathered, he didn’t seem to have a close relationship with his father. He was quite close to his mom but I think he may have been mistreated by her. I get the sense that he didn’t have much respect for her though. He seemed to want to out-do her intellectually. He had an older brother, who was his fathers namesake. He married a woman. He had a daughter and possibly a son. I think the boy died when he was young and his daughter refused any sort of contact with him. I get the feeling the family was broken up by a devastating event and somehow my next door neighbor-friend had a lot to do with it.

Aside from all the family drama I’ve read about that he had dealt with, he was also a World War 2 vet, honorably discharged from the US Army in 1945. He was injured somehow and ended up in a hospital. He says he was given a shot in his arm by a doctor as part of his treatment then the next day his eye was completely bloodshot and his vision blurry and at the site of the injection was a large fluid-filled blister that ended up as a permanent, very visible scar. When he made the doctor aware of the eye problem, the doctor made excuses about what caused it and said it would heal in a short time.  His medical records showed he was on some sort of schedule to have these shots on a daily basis over the next few weeks but he suspected he was being used for an experiment. He had only 2 of those shots, which later was revealed that he had been injected with mustard gas. The military also infected him with malaria – he claimed.

After he was discharged from the Army, his eyesight deteriorated, but he managed to get his teaching credentials and became a Professor at San Francisco State University…at least until he was laid-off due to complaints from students and staff that he was rude, disrespectful and just plain mean. No student would take his classes and the other faculty avoided any contact with him.

Then there’s the hatred towards women. In his journals [which by the way, he meticulously kept for from what I can tell so far, every day, his entire life] I don’t know how many times I’ve read “kill the fetus” or saw his very graphic drawings of a woman giving birth to something that looks evil like the Devil. His drawings are all very detailed. The women in them are all slightly taller than the men. Always either dressed very classy or naked and posed obscenely. The captions are usually sexist. I want to have them looked at by an expert, but who? And why? It’s not like I can help him anymore. Maybe then, just so I have one of the last puzzle pieces to help me close this chapter of my life.

Those contraptions the neighborhood labeled as torture devices are actually still in the house and garage. Here’s some photos I took of his creations.

I am fascinated by how creative he was. The photos don’t give enough detail. He designed these 2 massive “home-gyms” and built them with very little commercially manufactured components as possible. He also pre-fabricated each one in miniature.

Now that I’ve found a family member of his, I’m feeling my loss. I became very close to a man that they really never knew and against his wishes, I have to give him up to them merely because he’s related by blood. They don’t know him as well as I got to know him and are swooping in like vultures to pick apart the corpse. I’m struggling with my automatic reaction to protect him still, like a gaurd dog, I wish I could chase them away.

7 Years

When I was a little girl I would often have thoughts of losing one or both of my parents. I don’t mean in a grocery store. Since my parents had me quite late in life it was normal for them to be planning for the day they would die. But as a little girl, maybe 6 years old, this seemed like the scariest thing that could ever happen. But that thought would pop into my head a lot. I would always get this overwhelming feeling of panic and within a matter of seconds I’d be hyperventilating because I would just cry so hard.

A 20 year old Bride and her Daddy, circa 1993

I lost my Dad 7 years ago today. I am writing this entry at about the time that I got the phone call. My Dad was 68 years old and had only been retired for a year. My Dad was an Immigrant from Germany. He came over by boat in 1951 with his best friend Frank.

They landed in Nova Scotia. Their work visas were through the railroad and they were able to come here because they signed up to build the railroad from Nova Scotia through to Kitimat, British Columbia. When my Dad died I got all of his things. The only thing my brother wanted were some medals that my Dad had acquired as a boy from Adolph Hitler and the German Military for participating in Hitlers’ Youth (to prepare the youngsters for the SS). The stories my Dad told in the 26 years I had him with me came back to me in the photo albums packed with snapshots of his antics and daily life as he grew up, his boat ticket for when he came across as a young man, pictures of him with dozens of different women as he made his way West over the Northern American continent and eventually settling for a little while in Santa Monica, California before coming back to San Francisco.

My father wanted the American dream. Open a business and work hard. Build a family, and retire in a home he loved with no financial worries for himself or for his children’s futures. He accomplished his goal 10 fold. But his line of work was toxic, his way of life was toxic. His wife and son were toxic to him. My mother admitted marrying my father for his money only and she made him miserable. He almost left me many times to go back to Germany to live because he had never learned to write too well in English and he could not fathom trying to keep the business open without my mom running the office. He would have rather given up and gone back home. But he never did. His business was his love. He was so different at work than at home. He absolutely glowed. His customers were loyal because he was the very best in the trade. You would have never known my Father was well off. He was the most humble man I will ever know. He was always generous. Sensitive. But he could be a mean mother fucker if he needed to be. He was the hardest worker I’ve ever seen and he could drink 8 tall Seagram’s 7 and waters, pass out drunk on the family room floor, snore so damn loud that the whole neighborhood could hear him but he’d always get up the next

morning at 4:45 am and make it into work at 7am to open up.

I just wish that he could have had more time to finally enjoy all the money he earned over all those years of hard work and sacrifice. But something tells me that when he finally did retire he felt like he had no purpose in life any longer. He had gotten a bad cold from my husband and ended up having a minor heart attack which spawned several strokes. I had just found out I was pregnant when he went into the hospital. The first night, they told us he wasn’t going to pull through it. I went in alone to be with him. He was in a coma. I sat next to his bed and talked to him. He had a a breathing tube in his mouth. I was crying, I had tried so hard to stay strong for him but there was no use. I begged him not to leave me yet. I held his right hand and thought about how long it had been since I had done that. I felt how rough his hands were from the decades of hard labor. He had the most beautiful hands ever. I cried hard. I begged him not to go yet. I was so angry. I was 25, too young to have to say goodbye already.

I hadn’t had enough time yet. I gathered myself and thought that I had better let someone else come in and spend some time with him. I stood up and moved close to him. I kept his hand in mine and I told him that I loved him. I watched his face. His eyes were closed and the machine that was doing his breathing for him kept on pumping. I told him again that I love him and he squeezed my hand hard and mouthed to me ‘I love you’. He held my hand hard a long time, shaking it – his way of showing me it’s ok, be strong. I felt better. He was fighting for me again. I knew it. He knew it. I walked out confident that he’d be home soon. I walked up to my family in the waiting room and burst into tears as I told them what he said to me. My husband was so happy. We held eachother and cried. All my Mother said was, ‘I don’t believe it, he hasn’t said that to me’. Dad did pull through but while he was rehabilitating in the hospital, my mother would sit for hours trying to have him say ‘I love you’ to her. He never did. She resented me. It was pure hatred she had for me. Still does. I lost my whole family the day my Dad died a year later. But I am

here to carry on his strong morals, his relentless devotion to the things he loved, his unselfish sacrifices of himself, his love of the outdoors, his love of animals, his love of socializing and partying, his whole legacy. My brother may be the one that carries on the family name but what my father left me is more valuable than all the material things my brother will buy with his inheritance.

I love you Dad and I miss you more than any words can ever describe

and I know you know.

I know that pain that you lived with that I never understood now. I know it. And you told me I would. I guess I am carrying that part of you with me too. You are so missed. I will suffer this loss until the day I die.

And now…stay tuned for your regularly scheduled programming…

L i f e I s C r u e l


I got married at 20.

Bought my first home at 20.

Had my first child at 22.

Acquired my first corporation at 24.

At 25 I went out dancing for the first time ever with my girl friend. I had NO IDEA what it was like out there. I never wanted to go home again! Needless to say, I stayed out late. When I got home it was probably close to 3am. My husband was livid! Yelling, putting me down. Accusing me of no good. Before I’d have any chance of defending myself he’d attack about something else. As far as I saw it, I made a mistake for not calling to let him know where I was and when I might be expected home. That was it! I didn’t cheat on him. But I was accused of it. I woke up the next morning with a wicked hangover. He & I had planned to go to a street fair that morning, and we did. But as we walked around and tried to enjoy it he turned his voice in my direction and said to me, “I am embarrassed to be seen with you after the stunt you pulled last night”. He added, “I bet half of the people here [at the street fair] saw you last night and saw what a tramp you are”. WTF!???!!! I didn’t cheat! I didn’t give out my number, nor did I get anyones number. I didn’t kiss or even hug anyone! I went dancing with my best friend for the first time in my life! ~~~ Right then I knew I wanted out of my marriage. But I ended up trying to work through it. ~~~ At the end of that year my Dad got sick and was in & out of the hospital a lot.

At 26 I had baby number 2 (No, having another baby was NOT what I thought would fix it). My Dads health seemed to stabilize but he was just not the same after what he’d gone through. I struggled everyday with how he’d changed. Before his strokes he was driven, lively, social. He drank & smoked and swore. He was my best friend on Earth. He’d come to my house several times a week to have a drink (or drinks) with me and we’d talk. He’d bring his German Shepard over to play with my German Shepard. He was the only one on my side that I could ever trust. But not after those strokes. He couldn’t drive anymore. He didn’t remember that he drank or smoked. He forgot that I was Daddy’s little girl. He never came over to my house again. My mother didn’t encourage him to get better. She hindered any of his progress. She was so hateful of me. She hated that he loved me. And she brainwashed him against me. Mid February, 2000 my husband took a last minute trip to Lake Tahoe with a buddy of his. I stayed home with my children. I felt angry. Let down. Insignificant. How come he can go all the way up to Lake Tahoe for the whole weekend with a friend, yet I got the 3rd degree for that one night at the bar in my own hometown? I let it start to eat me up. I went to my parents house and they were asking where hubby was and I broke down in tears and told them the whole story. They were so pissed! They sympathized with me and supported me and were able to understand why I was so hurt by it. It made me feel validated and strong that they backed me up. Well, once hubby came home again, I was still angry and disappointed. I talked to him about it & somehow he made it seem legitimate and fair that he was up there. I think he justified it by reiterating that he went with a gay man [NOW – I know that’s NO guarantee of innocence anymore, tyvm]. Anyway, things between he & I were smoothed over for the moment. A few days pass & I contact my mom. I come to realize my parents are still VERY angry at my husband. Even though I had let it go, they had not. Every time I’d talk to my mom she kept badmouthing my husband and belittling me for staying and letting him get away with it. The negativity got worse & worse and spread out to my brother and his family and of course my mom brainwashed my Dad into her negative ways. One day, out of the blue, my mother shows up at my front door. Cynical, snooty, fucking bitch came over to ‘check up’ on her poor mistreated daughter. She ended up making me cry. Then went home & told my Dad a made up story as to why I was crying, that it had to do with something hubby did yet again. When it wasn’t that at all. She insulted me in my home and dug at something she knew hurt me on purpose. I actually don’t know exactly what she told my Father. I never got a chance to talk to him about it. My pride was hurt. I felt as if I let my parents down by staying with my husband after all he’d done to me. I stayed away from them so things would settle. Apparently my Dad went into a depression and asked about me everyday and my Mom never bothered to tell me. She said that he asked if he’d ever see me again and she told him probably not. He died shortly after that, in his sleep.

When I got the call from my mother that she thought that my dad had died I could hear in her voice that she was relieved and I honestly heard excitement. When I pulled in to the driveway & ran up the stairs to my parents front door she opened it and yelled that he is dead. I collapsed. When I came to, my husband was standing above me offering to help me up, I started screaming. He can’t be gone, NO! NO! NO!!! He can’t be.

He was gone. My mother invited the whole fucking neighborhood and all the relatives over to ‘mourn’ with her. All those fucking people – fucking scavengers. Including my brother. It made me fucking sick. No one knew my dad like me. No one was mourning but ME! At one point, my brother walked up to me and with a very nervous voice he said to me, “I’m glad it was dad that died & not mom because I wouldn’t have gotten anything had mom died first”. I COULDN’T FUCKING BELIEVE WHAT I HAD JUST HEARD! Who the fuck are these people? And why are they laughing? Why are they trying to decide where they were going to go for lunch? My 6 month old daughter sat up on her own that day for the first time and looked at me and smiled and it was the most heart wrenching private little moment she & I shared in such an awful nightmare I was consumed in. I decided to leave. Said my goodbyes and went home. My husband and I cried together for days & weeks and months.

My life was never the same.

It ruined my marriage. Not that solely, but it was 75% of why my marriage failed.