Friday, March 26, 2010

My Mom (generally speaking)

don't let looks fool you

Many new readers have signed up for my blog. Based on recent comments, most haven't seen earlier posts relating to her. So, I'm going to rapidly run them.  To those of you have already seen them, I apologize!

No way I can put everything noteworthy about my mom in one post. What follows is a thumbnail sketch of the woman...

My mother was an extremely harsh woman. She was smart, funny, attractive, and could handle herself quite well in a bar fight. She could be on top of the world one moment and totally miserable the next. Either way we, as her children got nothing positive from her. These things made her hard to love and even harder to like. If clinically examined today, I'm sure she would be diagnosed with Bi-Polar and Border Line Personality Disorder at a minimum.

I've been told that she had some good traits, but I assure you, none of them were used in her mothering. If she had any compassion at all, I never saw it. She was an alcoholic and "pioneer" drug user who would disappear, without leaving any money or food in the house at all.  We pretty much grew up on welfare.

In her later years, when there was no men to "support" her (wink wink), she did in fact have a job. Before that she was a bar maid. When not working in that capacity, she was still usually in a bar. Actually, she was in many bars. She was known in all the bars in North Long Beach as a regular, if not a current or former employee.

Although there was a constant stream of men in and out of my moms life after she split up with my Dad, none of them stuck. None of them became a father figure. I can't even begin to recall how many phone calls we had to make (when we had a phone), to the local bars, trying to find her. There was one very important part of motherhood she seemed to forget. That part involved FOOD...

Sometimes people at the bars would try to find her for us. It got to the point where we were neither traumatized, or worried at all, when we couldn't find her. We just made due with what we could dig up. I recall that my older brother became pretty good at macaroni and cheese.  Many times it was just cheese.  There was always plenty of cheese around.  It came in five pound boxes from the county.

My mom had four children, all of us boys. As I said before, she was an extremely hard woman. To make it worse, she hated men. Although she always had men in her life, she clearly didn't like them. Four boys, four different fathers and all of us males...

My mom has been dead for over eighteen years, and we still don't all agree on who was fathered by whom. My older brother's father was a sailor. My father was another sailor. One of my younger brothers was fathered by a truck driver. My other younger brother thinks his father and mine were the same, but that's impossible. The person who my older brother and I think may be his father, was another sailor, but we're not sure if the time frame lines up. There was also a long standing rumor around the bars of North Long Beach that my father was actually a local mailman. That wouldn't have bothered me at all, because I knew the guy many years later. He was one of the funniest and nicest people I ever met.

There is one thing that we are pretty sure about though, my mom may have been a prostitute.  She had a steady stream of men in and out of her life. And they provided things, including money. I know at least a small amount of these things went to us. So although we know that she did in fact give sex in exchange for things, I don't condemn her for it.

I do however condemn her for other things.
Two things, above all others...
Those were the lies she kept alive for 35 years, to keep my father and I apart.


  1. Sounds a lot like my mom...except with no brothers, sisters or pot. Bet they knew each other. We lived in Carmelitos for a couple of years. That is what made your strong personality :) Thetis

  2. wow..I didn't notice this comment until just now. Sorry to hear you had to go through that also. It sucks for sure...
    Did you go to Jordan?

  3. I thought I had been in a few dark places in my life, but you story makes me realise how lucky I have actually been. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you to share this, thank you for doing so. Gary

  4. Thanks Gary,
    We're just getting started here. I'm going to be posting at least once a day for a couple of weeks to catch up. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to work through it all.
    thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. mrscolombo@yahoo.comFebruary 18, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    I love your honesty. It is so inspiring. I know how difficult honesty about our own lives can be. You're one of my hero's in this area.

  6. thanks Toni...
    It took some work, but I'm just fine now. Not all my brothers were as fortunate.

  7. Holy sh*t, Pat. That's one moving post. I'm not even sure how to respond.

    I love your honesty and way with words. I am so sad for you, yet I'm afraid you may be the type to get pissed off at what one might consider "pity" or compassion ... so I will feel sad for the little Pat. The Pat who needed a mom :(

    I can't even begin to imagine how strong of a person you must be today having fended for yourself you're entire life. The part about going 35 years without a dad is painful to me as well. I have a friend in a similar situation. Sad. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

  8. thanks Ally, I've totally come to terms with my earlier life. It wasn't easy to get there, but I did. I'm happy as a clam!

    I'm not the type to get mad at much. Spent too much of my life that way. It's just not productive (or safe!)
    thanks for the nice words and comments!

  9. Pat--Not sure how to respond except to echo the sentiments of the other commenters: I appreciate your honesty and feel more fortunate with my own lot in life after you sharing your hardships.

    Thanks for stopping by my place also and for becoming a follower. I appreciate it.

  10. Thanks Jon Paul,
    It was what it was...
    I survived and couldn't be happier now.

  11. Every time I see this photo the paradox astounds me. Beautiful composition as well as subject, hard to fathom the evil that lurks within. So glad you chose to take the high road, many have led bitter, unproductive lives having suffered much less severe rock.

  12. There's about 4 or 5 "movie of the week" plots in that one post. Sounds like you've had some real tough times. Though it seems (from reading about your life) you've persevered and become a better man because of it.

  13. Vickie - You are so right. You'd never know what kind of person she was by looking at the photo

    Jesse - you know what they say, "what doesn't kill you..." I'm doing just fine now. Well, maybe a bit twisted...LOL

  14. It is always nice to hear other peoples stories because it gives you a chance to reflect on your own... I enjoyed your story... it had a lot of depth to it... i am sorry that you had to go through all that but even though i haven't been talking to you all that long i can tell that you are a very strong and great human being! My mom is bipolar... and i must say it is a struggle sometimes to be around her but i can say that she has been and feel that she always will be there for me... i am sorry that she didnt give you guys a chance! Anyways... you are awesome! lol... & i was also wondering why you posted a comment HEY!!! lol... was it just to say hey? LOL

  15. thanks Kimberly!
    Unfortunatley not all my brothers fared so well...
    Oh yeah, HEY!!
    That was for your post being aimed only at your female followers...Seemed a lttle discriminatory!

  16. I did apologize to begin with and added that you can totally post one of your own with Hot Females! lol... :)

  17. My mom was a tough woman, and a lesbian, but she did like men! I guess I was lucky that way.

  18. Pat, I read the post and then all the comments. Your replies to the comments are as enlightening as the post itself. I admire you my friend. You have come through hell and not only survived, but are happy and calm and taking care of your own family. I'm glad that I can be here and know you a little.

    The Clean White Page

  19. She Writes - Thanks for reading and commenting! My mom was with both men and women. She clearly didn't like men. But they were something to be "used" for income and punished. You know I don't judge her at all for those things. Probably the only "life" lesson she taught us on purpose, was not to judge people by how they looked, or how they were different than us. Of course, you could get your teeth knocked out if you even hinted at violating the lesson.

    Tina - thanks...
    It sure took a lot of hard work to get here. I think it helped me a great deal when I "wrote off" my mom at a fairly early age. I wish a couple of my brothers had been able to do that. You would think we would have ended up very tight because of the circumstances. But my mom made sure that didn't happen. It ended up being every man (or boy) for themselves.
    Again, thanks for the nice words!

  20. TexWisGirl - thanks! My blog is littered with crazy things about my mom and childhood.

  21. If her life was this dysfunctional and lacking in funds, you can't blame her for earning money the old fashioned way.. still, she mustn't have done it a lot, or you all would have eaten a lot more..

    then again, booze is expensive.. glad you boys got through it all so well.. plenty don't.

    There's a screenplay here. Maybe i'll write it for you.. lol


  22. I can not imagine what a horror life must have been for your mother, too - with four sons, bi-polar, substance abuser, hating men, which probably meant hating sex, and yet having to (choosing might be too glib a word) sell her body to survive, however dysfunctionally. It's easier for me to have compassion from a distance. But I CAN understand that you were more traumatized by her pathological lying than by her physical and emotional neglect. When you (if you haven't already) forgive her for all of it, you will be totally free. I speak from some experience.

  23. I bet this was all a huge shock for Christine when she read your words. Such an amazing story. An so glad I came back and read this. genie

  24. Francisca - I understand what you're saying, but my mom NEVER acted like anything bothered her. She had no guilt about anything. We never saw any of the money she made doing those things. Truly, none of it. We barely even saw her. I don't forgive her, but I'm not angry about it anymore. I wrote her off at a very early age. Here's a link to the worst thing she ever did me to me. Another "gift" from the grave.

  25. Okay, Pat, I read your post about her gift from the grave. That's ugly and painful. Your mother may have had more than a touch of sociopathy. Yet still I can't see that life would have been a cake walk for her. And no, it certainly wasn't for you, in large part thanks to her twisted mind! I'm just so glad you did connect with your father, share his more loving nature, and got yourself beyond the hateful past.

  26. That you and your brothers found survival skills at such early ages and learned to navigate life despite harsh circumstances and your mom speaks a world of good for all of you. Have you written a book about growing up?


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