Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goodbye Dad?


My Dad was finally discharged from the Navy. We could move out of my grandmother's place and be together as a family again, in a new house. The new place was in Rivera (now Pico-Rivera), across the street from a farm, (now Rivera Park). I started Kindergarten at Alice M. Birney School and fell in love with the girl next door (a hot five year old named Mona Lisa Gonzalez).

My dad got a job as a “Culligan” water man and we attended a church that was just down the street. With my dad on the scene, life seemed almost normal, I had some toys and even a bedroom to myself, with no friggin geese in it. Looking back, it seemed like we were a happy little family. Then one day, out of the blue, everything went to hell.

I walked into the living room, just in time to see my mom slap my dad across the face. He just stood there for a few seconds, staring at my mom, then turned and walked out the door. The next time I saw him, he and his “new” girlfriend took me and my older brother to the newly opened Disneyland. I remember a lot of that day, even though I was only five years old. I remember it ending with the four of us stopping at a cocktail lounge in Bellflower. I had a "Shirley Temple," because as the bar tender said, "they don't serve alcohol to anybody under eight." I didn’t find out until much later, that my dad’s new girl friend worked as a bartender there also. In fact, the reason I saw my mom slap him earlier, was because she had caught them together there (her story).

My mom, my older brother, and I ended up moving out of the new house and into a shack in Bellflower. The next year, while I was in first grade I remember my Dad coming over and talking to my mom. He said hello to me, but that was it. He left without saying good bye. I didn't understand and was crushed.

I didn’t see, or talk to him again for over 35 years….

I asked my mom many times, why he moved away without saying anything to me about it. My mom always said that it was because he didn’t care about me anymore. I loved my Dad and still remember the hurt I felt by what she said. I continued to ask about him from time to time, she always told me the same thing. "He doesn’t care about you, just forget about him."

I remember that my mom used to get a government check every month. I’m not talking about the one we got from welfare, this one was different. It was from the Army. My mom told me that my dad had gone back into the military. This time it was the Army and the check was my child support. Even at my young age, I knew that was a joke, because there wasn’t a lot of support coming my way from my mom, or from anybody else.

I continued to ask her from time to time if she heard from my dad, what he was doing, and why he didn’t want to see me. One time after asking her, she told me that after going in the Army, he got remarried, had two new children with his new wife, and wanted nothing to do with me, ever.

Ouch… I already knew my mom was screwed up and now thought the same of my dad. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my older brother had a different father than I did, I guess that's why none of this seemed to bother him.

About thirty five years later my mom died. First she had breast cancer. Then she had lung cancer. Then she had brain cancer. The doctors said it was related to her constant smoking, and she had no more than a year to live, depending on how fast the tumor grew.

I know what follows is redundant, but I need to set the stage for the next entry...

To my younger brother she left a chair. She stated in her will that she had spent enough on him while alive and didn't want to give him anything else. To me she left $1.00. She stated in her will, that she wanted it to be clear, that she did in fact consider me and only wanted to leave me a dollar. To my older brother, she left everything. Now she didn't have a lot, but she did have some profit sharing money and some life insurance, but that wasn't even the point. I was there, I was the only one helping her. I was even too stupid (or too honest), to take advantage of having power of attorney and have her change the will before she died. My older brother, to his credit, did in fact give me a fair portion of the money for what I had done. If I had been in his shoes and he in mine, I'd have given it all to him. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated what he did, I just would have handled it differently.

I'm sure most people think that the will is my main lingering beef, with my long dead mother. They would be wrong, so very wrong. It did however, hammer home the fact, that I was right about thinking that she hated me.

19 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

You had a tough, tough childhood. I can't even imagine.

Tina said...

Patrick, I think you're so strong to have survived your past. I'm so sorry that you had to suffer that pain. What's the story with your dad now?

Christiejolu said...

So did you ever find your Dad? I am thinking if you do you may find a different story. Gosh I don't know why some mothers want to hurt their children.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks for the comments! Your questions will be answered tomorrow...

Bossy Betty said...

I am completely engrossed in your story. I can't imagine what you went though in your childhood. Keep writing. We'll keep reading.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks Betty, even I think it's interesting! And I was in it!

Tina and Christie - I'm thinking a few more posts (to fill in he gaps) before I answer the question!

Copyboy said...

Your family history continues to amaze me. I too am surprised your dad didn't try to cross paths with you again. Oh, and that $1 "will gift" is yet another shocker in your endless life tales that I'm completely hooked on reading.

TS Hendrik said...

That is just insanely brutal. I can't even imagine living through that. I'm blessed to have had a mother who's always cared about me.
I just can't get over the will. That's just harsh.

Joe Cap said...

I remember this post...and it brings back all the feelings I had before for you...

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks to the three of you! Three of my favorites commenting on my crap, I appreciate the hell out of it!

copyboy - Yup, it's quite a story! thanks!

TS - Crazy is as crazy does...It wasn't a picnic, that's for sure!

Joe - Thanks for reading. There more coming!!!

Nat said...

Your life story continues to fascinate me...I am very interested to find out what happened with your dad, so keep writing!

Hard to imagine having such a difficult home life - I had such a good, stable childhood and I am so grateful for that.

Talli Roland said...

I'm so impressed with your strength to get through difficult experiences like you've had.

Athina Loveland Photography said...

I enjoy reading your stories - you are a great storyteller! Thanks again for sharing! :)

Andrea said...

I can't imagine what life must have been like - I can't help but feel deep and utter disgust sometimes as I read - not meaning to offend - just that my heart breaks that any person, greater still, a child at any time would ever have to go through some of the things you did. I have two of my own - and to even imagine making one of them feel worthless and unwanted is gut-wrinching! You seem to have come out - through much hard work mentally and emotionally - on the better side as a better individual. Thank you for making that decision, couldn't have been easy, and for sharing with all of us.

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

I'll say it again Pat, you are amazing. You totally struck a chord with me.... I have a four year old son who idolizes me. He bursts into tears when he forgets to say goodbye to me when I'm leaving to get dinner from the drive thru. I can't imagine how you must have felt as a child, having your father walk out that door.

35 years.... You heard from him again?

The check from the military, were they support?

I need more information Pat!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

She hated herself most of all. You were just an extension of herself (in her eyes). Sorry, the Social Worker in me had to say that, Pat.
More hugs,
Robyn

Pat Tillett said...

Nat - The saga will continue. Plenty more stories.

Talli - thanks for the nice words (and the award)

Athina - Thanks! If there's one thing I have a lot of, it's stories. And I haven't even started lying yet.

Andrea - thanks so much. Some intervention would have been great. Lot's of time since then spent in quiet rooms with therapists, made the difference.

ABAO - Thanks so much for the supportive words. You gotta wait a little bit longer for more about my dad.

Robyn - Yup, she was crazy as a loon. I wish there had been a social worker around when I was young. Maybe I could have gotten out of there!

Wings said...

Well, that has to be one of the saddest things I have read in awhile. And I just read it, I didn't have to live it.

I understand more than you will know, but that won't help you. Just feel for you.

Peace man.

Pat Tillett said...

wings - It was a long time ago, but I know I missed on a lot. The "happy" ending to my relationship with him is posted today..
thanks so much for reading and commenting!
I appreciate it!