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.

open relationships

What exactly is an open relationship?

My definition of ‘open relationship’ is there’s no commitment to any one person. So isn’t an open relationship the same thing as ‘friends with benefits’? In other words, if a person wants an open relationship he or she is a polygamist. And that word (for me) stirs all sorts of feelings & emotions and reminds me of the polyamorists in Utah that have large, extended families and everyone loves everyone and they all share beds & household chores & have long hair & wear long dresses & want peace & incest & molestation (*note: I know this is not the rule about polyamorists but it IS the reputation they have).
This is one area that I’ve never been able to sway my beliefs into the other direction just for a test drive. I strongly feel when I am in a relationship that my commitment to that person (and them to me) is complete. I don’t have sex with anyone but him and I don’t share certain thoughts with anyone but him. I expect the same from my partner. Why even bother to be with that person if you aren’t going to be number one next to none? If I am not able to physically & emotionally satisfy my partner and he shows an interest in an open relationship, to me, it’s his way of having permission to cheat and therefore should just move on to finding his happiness without me.

Being in love isn’t something I can control. I also cannot be in love with more than one person at a time. It’s a special place deep in my heart that has room for only one. People fall in & out of love. They don’t fall in & in love. At one point in my life I could have several partners at once (not at the same exact time but rather a few separate fuck buddies) but none of them would ever/could ever have my heart completely. Perhaps I could be in a situation like that again someday, but not right now. Being one of many doesn’t make me feel very good. Why would I be chosen over anyone else? What’s/who’s to say I’m any different than the 4, 5, 6 or more other women he’s having his open relationship with? It’s like having a handful of jelly beans, each a different color. You could put them all in your mouth at the same time and yes, there will be a taste. It might taste good but you’re not savoring each separate flavor on it’s own. You will never know what it might make you feel, see, learn if you didn’t take the time to try each one, one by one. Giving them a chance to give you what they were created to give you. Then next time you come across a bowl of those jelly beans again you won’t know which one tasted the best and which one left that bad aftertaste without taking the time to experience every one.

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…