Gary Rinsem

I Had A Father For Three Hours
by Gary Rinsem
Written in 1997
Often Edited

  • Happy Birthday Ma

"Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you see me?
Papa, can you find me in the night?"
Barbara Striesand

This is a tribute to my father that I've spent the last five months periodically editing, May through September 2020. I can't begin to make it right. Today, September 30, 2020, is the 23rd anniversary of his death so I'll give up editing. I can't do better, the subject is too difficult for me to have any creative focus. What's it matter, nobody else will ever read this.

Chapter 1) My Fathers Closet, Unspoken Bond

The doorbell rang, it was my dad stopping to see my house. It was 1988 and I'd been here about a month. I had no furniture. After a tour, inside and out, my father asked me for a key. It didn't matter why, my dad wanted a key to my house so it was given without question. No explanation was offered.

A couple weeks passed when I got a vacuum cleaner. I opened the hall closet to put it away and found the closet full of clothes and boxes. They weren't mine. For an instant I thought I discovered things left behind by the previous owners of my house. But no, I looked in that closet numerous times and it was empty. Confused, I stared for a moment until I recognized a heavy coat hanging there. I'd grown up with that coat, it was ancient, my father wore it whenever it was really cold. It had sentimental value to him, and now, to me as well. I wore it for years after his death, sweating since it was far to heavy a coat for Arizona.

Many thoughts flooded my mind as I tried to make sense of my father's closet. I recognized items of clothing. On hangers, there were numerous pairs of pants and button down shirts, new and old. Several jackets and wind breakers. Then, the big question, what's in those boxes? It felt like snooping, obviously it was, but I had to know. One box was filled with packages of new socks and underwear. Enough for a decade or more. Another box contained a bunch of documents. The third box was the big surprise. In it I found my dad's treasures. Every little keepsake important to him. I recognized some, even knew the story behind a couple items. Most of all I remember the contents of a large Tupperware and a large manila envelope. They contained banded stacks of hundred dollar bills. It was over sixty thousand dollars. He silently stashed nearly enough to buy the house.

Throughout the next nine years, before his death, my father made good use of his key to my house. I checked his closet periodically and watched as the contents changed. The money didn't last long. They had a business failure which ate up his secret stash.

I kept a printout of my work schedule on the fridge so he'd know when the house would be empty. The work schedule often disappeared. Once in a while the doorbell would ring and we'd talk briefly at the door, he would leave saying he was going fishing. That was his alternate solitary activity. I always felt bad for being home.

There would often be beer in my fridge, but it didn't last long, same with bags of chips in the cupboard. I knew when my father had spent the day, the trash was full of beer cans and the ashtray was full of Winston butts.

One day his car was on the street when I came home. It made me happy because I'd get to hang out with him. I found my father in a lawn chair under the tree in my backyard. Said he was enjoying the huge flock of noisy birds in the tree.

He set up camp in my yard. He had the patio table, the kitchen trash can with his fast food wrappers in it, a cooler full of beer and the ashtray full of Winstons. My extension cord was powering his little portable TV with sports playing silently. Numerous empty cans in the trash told me he'd been there a long time. He soon began cleaning up his camp to leave. I asked him to stay. I suggested going out to dinner and anything else that came to mind. Dad just wanted to be alone. In the future, I kept going when I came home to his car in front of my house.

At twenty-nine years old my father's closet taught me something, he and I had an unspoken bond between us. He knew me, deeply. My father knew exactly how I would react in this odd situation. He didn't doubt my support, didn't doubt that he could confide in me in this way. He knew I would protect his secret and support him. My father new I would understand and never mention it, not even to him. If he wanted to talk to me about it, I'd have known in advance of him stocking the closet.

Through his closet, I gained a special appreciation of the silent relationship with my father. I didn't touch his closet for seven years after he died, not until Susan moved into the house. I'm often reminded of him when I walk down the hall or open the closet door.

Chapter 2) Father In Love, Secret Love

As a small child my father took me places, he wanted to spend time with me. I wish I knew if I was special to him or if he did the same with my brothers and sister. It's not really important either way, I'd just like to know. That relationship with him ended in 7th grade. I think it was my fault. I had grown up to a point of being very independent and it probably disappointed him. Sorry dad. I can't do it over, would if I could. Girls were more appealing to me than you, at that time.

In 1970 at 11 years old, the latter part of 5th grade, I went on a road trip with my father. He'd taken me with him to the races many times, I even had my own Ford jumpsuit covered in racing patches to wear in the pits. This was different, it was all the way to Yuma Az. In the past it had only been the two local tracks.

This trip started the night before by going to the grocery store for provisions. Dad borrowed a shiny Ford truck for the trip. We packed the cooler and made up his signature snack, a grocery bag poured full of mixed up bags of chips, to eat on the road. The grocery bags were always soaked in grease from the fried junk inside. The cooler was mostly beer for him and root beer for me. There were also sandwiches we'd made and a plastic bag of chocolate bars. Dad planned the trip and wanted it to be special.

We loaded the truck in the morning and got in, off to Yuma, wherever that is. When dad turned the key there was an ear shattering noise, so loud it made my teeth hurt. Dad panicked and quickly turned the key off. He fiddled with the stereo and started the truck. Backing out of the driveway he gently twisted a knob and a woman's voice quietly proclaimed "Crazy, crazy for feeling so lonely." By the time we got to McDowell road, Patsy Cline was full volume again. All the way across the valley, Patsy was blaring out of four big speakers. When she stopped dad fiddled with the controls, popping out a piece of plastic and turning it over to reinsert and play again. I later learned that was a cassette player, a rare item at the time and undoubtedly the reason he borrowed that particular truck.

We got to the VanMeeter's house and hooked up with a caravan of trucks and trailers going to Yuma. The men loaded that truck beyond full with race car parts, tools, coolers and sleeping bags. I played with the boys, we knew each other from numerous race days. The men checked out the stereo. One after another they got in and started Patsy singing as loud as it would play. They were amazed. Cassette players were an expensive home stereo component at the time. It was a mystery why a pick up truck had one.

You've probably guessed that Patsy Cline played full volume all the way to Yuma and home again, stopping only long enough to turn the tape over and hit play. Years later, the box in my Fathers closet had a complete set of unopened Patsy Cline tapes, along with some well worn copies. Numerous times I found Patsy tapes in cassette players of dad's. Move his car, there's Patsy. Push eject on the player on the garage work bench, find a Patsy tape. A couple years after he died I found one in an old car stereo on the shelf in the garage. I never found any other tapes, only Patsy Cline, and I never heard him listening to her after the Yuma trip. I wonder if he had any actual connection to her, if maybe they met at some point? Or was it just a love based on her voice from a stereo? It must have effected him when she died. I don't think her voice is that special so it makes me happy to believe he knew her. Unlikely, but more romantic that way, also less creepy.

Dad's secret love is a special memory for me. It's the only truly personal bit I knew about him, before the very end. Now you know too. I hope he'd be happy to finally have it out in the open, it was obviously of great value to him and it's a bit of him not yet forgotten.

Chapter 3) A Silent Father Is A Mystery Father

Dad was very distant. He'd talk, but said nothing. I was never able to get him to talk about anything of substance. I lived my life with him as a closed book, not even knowing if he was conservative or liberal. I didn't even know if he was aware of such things.

I had so many questions, wanting to reminisce, to understand my father and clear up confusions. I couldn't get him to talk about the past no matter how I tried.

Something as simple as his tattoo. It said "S Y L" and I never found out what it meant. I asked many times and nobody in the family would say, if anyone knew. The question, like many others, was most often met with misdirection. I don't think there was any big secret behind it, my home simply did not include that sort of communication. Don't bother asking.

I never knew any of my family's political leanings or anything else about WHO they were. All my life I've met people and quickly got to know them, learning basic things about strangers that I never knew about my own family.

In addition to my dad's tattoo there were other things which seemed to be secrets. I had a brother named Ronny, I think that was his name, nobody would tell me about him. Apparently he died very young. I only knew of him after discovering his birth certificate. Any questions about him went unanswered. He was never once mentioned except by me, trying to learn about him.

In a word... "Throckmorton!" Yep, that's the word, don't wear it out. It was also a big secret. A question I couldn't get answered until I had a Father For Three Hours. I've written about Throckmorton in a separate journal entry. There's a link at the bottom of this page.

After a visit in the early 70s, my father's brother was never seen or spoken of again. There was a photo of him and my father together, I saw that a few times. I think his name was David. What happened? I never got that question answered either. I know his brother was very important to my father and living the rest of his life without him was difficult. I only know because of his response anytime I asked. My father's attitude always changed, becoming silent and brooding at the mention of his brother. I've always suspected there was some sort of problem involving my mother, but could not get the suspicion confirmed.

A few years ago my father's brother contacted me. Aunt Marilyn was being committed and he was set to be her guardian. For some strange reason, I think it was in the 70s, my aunt and uncle made me the executor of their estate. What an odd thing to do. I can't imagine why I was chosen. I didn't know them and I was young at the time they did it, VERY young the last time I'd seen them.

There were numerous contacts with dad's brother and none of it personal, just what was legally needed. A lawyer's office sent me some documents. It was important for me to agree to be the executor. Not agreeing would somehow change her situation for the worse, I don't recall how. After five or six emails with him it seemed our business was about done so I asked the question, what happened, why was he never around. My Fathers brother didn't answer that email or reply to me again after I asked the question. Two of a kind my dad and his brother. My silent father's brother was, apparently, just as closed as my father.

Other kids knew the story of their birth. Absolutely nothing I did would get me the story of mine. Sixty one years old and I still have no clue. I still want to know, but never will.

That's a few of a great many questions unanswered in our family. Things of any substance were off the table, never discussed. My Sister Suzy was the family's exception, but she grew up and moved away when I was too young for her influence to count in my life.

At other kids houses I saw their families interacting in a manner I longed for. Parents asked kids about school and talked about current events. On a daily basis the parents knew the kids homework assignments. Kids got advice from their family members and did things with their siblings. None of this happened at home. It made me envy them. Attempts to duplicate any of it in my family were always met with subtle denial. I was far more connected to my friends families than my own. I felt more at home away from home, often very quickly in a new friend's house.

Not to say there weren't problems in other families. Two houses on Starlight Way were so messed up I wouldn't even ring the bell, just rattle her bedroom window and hope she was in there. If not, too bad. Those two girl's scary assed mothers still give me nightmares.

So, I never actually knew my Father. He was a true mystery to me. I never doubted that he loved me, loved his family, but I never heard him say it. He said it loud and clear with his actions. His actions showed that he worried about us and he would do anything to make our lives better or to keep us safe. He was deeply devoted to his children. As a young adult I depended on him for help more than once. Several times he bailed me out of problems. At the time I had no idea how much he sacrificed to help me. He would never let that show. I was fortunate to be able to return his kindness by helping him a couple times, when I was older. More than just giving him a closet, my father asked me for help and even advice, once I'd matured.

My father, really my whole family, has always been a mystery to me. If I'd never had friend's families for comparison I would never have known the closeness missing in my life. I would never have known some families work together, cooperating in daily life. If so many kids had not told me their birth stories then I wouldn't lament never knowing mine.

My father, my family, are a silent mystery and I was never able to make any connections after my sister left home. I tried with her many times in many ways over the years, she was far too consumed by her own family. Facebook has recently shown me that her daughters have a close relationship with their mother, even though they've spent years apart. I'm curious, is the relationship superficial? Do they truly know their mother? I've been lucky enough recently to spend some time with Sister Suzy. She showed me that she's not a closed book so I'd guess that her girls actually know their mother.

Chapter 4) Near The End, Silence Briefly Broken

My Father and I had a meaningful conversation in February or March of 1997. It was three important hours of my life. For those hours he wasn't just a blank slate to me. I had a Father for three hours.

Dad was sick and didn't yet know it, this was just a few months before cancer took over his mind. That day is extremely special to me and I'd like to share it with you. The conversation with my Father that day is the reason I'm writing this. Without it, I'd know little of him worth repeating after all these years. In 2001 I shared a few bits of that conversation with Sister Suzy, but until now that's all I've ever said on the subject.

I found the driveway blocked by their travel trailer so I parked on the street. Walking up the driveway I noticed dad sitting on the fold-out step at the trailer door. Very quietly he told me to get a chair out of the garage. Something was wrong, I was immediately concerned. Dad's eyes were red and I'd never seen him cry. I'd rarely seen any emotion from him other than happiness. So I did as I was told, got the chair and sat down by him. He'd been sitting there quite a while, judging by the number of empties on the trailer floor behind him.

Dad began speaking, cautiously for a time and then openly for at least three hours, maybe more. Up front he told me he'd been far too closed off his entire life, that he regretted not sharing his mind. Right away I was amazed to hear anything so personal from him. That day was both the first and the last time it happened.

I kept my mouth shut, giving him bits of encouragement and assuring him I agreed with what he told me. I learned that my Father and I were two of a kind, more alike than I could ever have imagined.

I'll have to paraphrase since his exact words are long forgotten. The message is what counts, much of it defined him for me. I learned WHO my Father was. The following is the bits of him that I remember. I'm sure there was far more, but the rest is lost over the years.

One of the first things my dad told me was how proud he was when I had the great epiphany. I was shocked. I'd never imagined that he could have noticed. Nothing indicated to me that he even understood the concept, but there was no doubting what he said was true, he noticed it and remembered. It was an important event for him. My father even remembered exactly when it happened, shortly before Neil Armstrong uttered the words "One small step." Thanks for noticing dad. This was one of many eye openers that day. If only we could have talked about it then and all the years after.

Dad's political stance was moderate, he didn't want to claim either extreme, he thought they were all nuts. Dad gave examples of politicians he thought should be in prison for their actions. He cited political events from throughout his life, demonstrating to me that he had a deep social awareness. He mostly voted democratic because he only talked like a bigot and felt that Republicans actually were bigots. Dad wanted an end to hate in the world. Mostly sounds like me, to me.

Second of the two most socially sensitive subjects is religion. How do you destroy a social gathering? Start a conversation about religion or politics. Dad broke the rule for me and talked at length on both topics.

He gave me the best compliment I've ever received. Throckmorton! My Father told me the proudest day of his life was the day I not only chose my religion, but stood up for my right to do so. It was made more special to him because I was only ten years old, yet I did it with confidence, enduring hours of my mother's abuse as I refused to be dragged off to her church and pounded over the head with her religion.

I never went to another church until Sister Suzy married Gary Benjamin. I made an exception for my big sister's second wedding. I regret that decision, wishing I'd had the courage to stand proud at the time. Not long after, I found that courage for my best friend's wedding. I was best man and yet refused to go when he told me it would be in a church. They changed the venue. It would have been terrible to miss his wedding but I'd had enough of religious persecution. Just my time working at the Hyatt Regency was enough for ten lifetimes, yet that was only the beginning. I was not and still am not willing to participate in other people's religion. I've suffered far too much of their bigotry. Seen far too much of their religious hate.

It was a long soliloquy by dad and I really want to convey his religious belief. I could just say he was Atheist, but that's not the whole story even though he declared himself to be capitol A. He had strong thoughts on superstitious belief systems.

It's important for me to get it out because he lived his life in hiding. I've known too many people in that closet, its the result of a sickness in those who put us there. It's safe for him to come out now, there's no more harm that can come to him.

I was truly shocked by the revelation of my Father being an Atheist. I grew up with him chanting to someone else's imaginary friend before eating at the dinner table. On the proudest day of his life, he helped my mother abuse me, threatening me into cooperating. I didn't give an inch. Dad apologized to me for all the wrongs he did regarding religious freedom and the right to control your own mind. He didn't openly say it, but indirectly he blamed it on pressure from my mother.

Among the things he said about religion was one topic that really struck home. Dad complained about persecution at the hands of Christian bigots and having to spend his life in hiding. I've always been in the religion closet, I've only told a few people closest to me what my religion is. It's personal, you gotta be close to earn the right to know. It's not what you're thinking. That's all you get from me if I'm not sharing my heart and my bed.

Dad said there were multiple reasons for moving his family out of a small town in Minnesota. He wanted a better life, someplace bigger with more opportunities for him and for his kid's futures.

He hated the cold and wanted to never shovel snow again, but religion was perhaps his greatest issue to solve by moving. Dad complained at length about the narrow minded religious bigotry in small town Mankato. It was eye opening for me. A place where it wasn't good enough to be Christian, only a few sects were not ridiculed. Any other belief was hunted down mercilessly according to dad. He was disappointed with Denver and saw Scottsdale as a better option a year later. I thank him for his foresight and courage in making those two changes. Denver might have been a good place to grow up, but it's too cold for me.

My Father spent his life hiding in the religion closet, even further in the back than me. I didn't ask and he didn't really tell if my mother knew his belief. From what I remember, it was unclear to me at the time. What he made clear was her insistence in the earlier years, that we have her religion shoved down our throats. He made it clear to me that he considered superstitious blind faith to be a mental illness. An outlook I've come to understand and appreciate over the years since.

Dad was proud of all his kids and told me anecdotes about each of us. I only remember a couple and that's only because he and I shared those two memories.

When Sister Suzy was learning to drive, dad took her down McDonald Drive from Scottsdale Rd to 44 th st. It was a roller coaster of a street back then and dad laughed at Sue's response to the hills and valleys as she drove. I knew what he meant because when Sue got her first car she immediately took me for a ride, yelling "whoopdee" as a valley approached and "weeeeeee" when passing through it and over the top of the hill. Sue was excited to do it without an adult co-driver because she could go faster. She wanted to share it with her little brother and because of that desire, decades later it's still a memory I share with my father.

The other anecdote I remember involved brother Bob and a guitar. Dad admired his determination, if not his skill. I remember the summer of 67 on Highland street with Bob and that guitar. Thousands of times I heard him strum it and say "It's time we stopped Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down." I was in second grade and it confused the hell out of me. I could not figure out why he didn't do any more of the song and why the strumming didn't sound like the song on the radio. Over and over and over, the whole summer... "It's time we stopped Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down." Poor Bob, he never got any better at it regardless of the number of times he tried. Like Sue's "whoopdee", I still share this memory with dad.

The three hours with my talkative father covered too many subjects to remember, even the next day much less after 23 years. I remember him telling me about kids he knew growing up and men he worked with that he respected. Others he witnessed sneaking around, hiding, doing bad things to people. He told me stories that were stuck in his head and I shared a few from my life.

My father told me about people in Mankato who treated him badly. He didn't quote bible babble so he wasn't Christian "enough" to meet their requirements. Odd, I've been there numerous times in my life.

I shared with my Father the religious persecution on my first adult job, Hyatt Regency, it took away the opportunity that I worked so hard to earn. I ended up in boot camp as the only other option. I shared with my father the persecution in the military, both religious and gay persecution. As if there's a difference between the two. It was extreme and more than just officially sanctioned by the Navy, it was required, it was demanded. Not participating in the persecution resulted in BEING prosecuted.

Dad appreciated me sharing my reasons for enlisting, saying it was important to his understanding of my life.

At the end of that three hours I was anticipating many years with my talkative Father. I thought it was the start of a new and exciting relationship, one I'd always dreamt about. I didn't know it was my only time with him.

I wish I wrote much more of this twenty years ago when it was fresh in my mind. I've forgotten the vast majority of what dad talked about in those three short hours. He told me far more about himself, which gave me a better understanding of him. Wish I could do more to pass that understanding to you.

Chapter 5) Exit Out Of Reach, A Tortured Life

My Father searched for the exit, it was always out of reach. That's what my hall closet was about. Dad owned that closet for sixteen years, including seven years after he died. His old Minnesota cold weather coat lived there for 27 years, until 2014. I finally tossed it out in a purge of the house, when I expected to die soon and didn't want to leave a mess for others to clean up. Tossing it didn't matter since someone else would soon do it if I didn't. Seemed less harsh coming from me. I'm crying as I write this and it's hot, I'd put on dad's coat right now if I could.

In 1997, in the driveway for the three hours that I had a father, as I first sat down dad said "Son, I love your mother, but I can't take any more of this." The screaming and yelling coming out of the house is the "this" he referred to. The front windows were open so her abuse could be clearly heard. For our entire conversation there was three hours of almost constant abuse and it started long before I got there. Numerous times my Father yelled "Verna, for crying out loud, just shut up." He spent much of those hours silently crying as we spoke.

At his funeral I sat in the front row. It was a slap in the face to the wonderful man we were supposed to be honoring. Liars spoke vile words against who my father was. One actually called my father a "good Christian." It was another insult perpetrated as the result of forcing him to hide, to live in silence, pretending to be what would not be persecuted. My brother Steve sat next to me and commented, under his breath, that those statements were lies. I had only recently learned so I was surprised to know that Steve knew.

That day several people got up and spoke about dad. Another false statement has stuck with me. It was claimed his life's quote was "Verna, get me a beer." It's wrong. The person who made the claim didn't grow up with me. At the instant the claim was made, I thought dad's quote is "Verna, why don't you just shut up." That was his response to her routine raging so he said it far more often than anything else.

My brother Bob's first wedding was my mother's first giant hours long screaming raging abusive fit. At least as far as I knew. I had never seen it as extreme for such a long time. I woke up to it throughout the night. I had little sleep when dad came into the bedroom and told Jamie and I to stay in our room. He closed the door again as he left. It was very early. Dad came in hours later and told us to put on our best clothes. We sat all dressed up for more hours of my mother raging about Bob getting married. None of it made sense of course, but that didn't matter to her. The words I remember were my father's. Repeatedly telling my mother to "just shut up" and to "get dressed" and "it's your son's wedding" and "yes you ARE going so just get dressed." That loud dialog was repeated many times over those hours.

For all the years Bob was married to Carol, I looked at them together and my mind flashed to the horror of a memory that was created on the morning of their wedding. It wasn't their fault, I felt sorry for them, I've always assumed their day was also overshadowed by it. There are no details in my memory, but I know she caused problems at the reception. I only recall one of them. It happened in the parking lot.

My three hour father told me about the birth of his first child. It was a mixed emotion day for him. Happy to have a daughter and unhappy to be tied to my mother for eighteen more years. That's just about the way he said it. Dad recounted his thoughts and emotions on the birth of each of his children. His response was the same each time. Happy about the birth, sad that more years of his life would be lived in abuse. He knew he could never leave one of his kids to be raised alone by our mother.

My short term talkative father lamented to me his entire life story, shortly before it ended. He seemed proud of himself for enduring a lifetime of abuse, doing it for his children. He told me all of this in the driveway while trying to ignore the endless raging coming out the front window of our house. He left no doubt that he was proud of us, yet there was sorrow for the years he stayed once his kids were gone. He told me he'd been shopping for apartments and couldn't imagine himself living like that. Dad was sixty-six years old and never had a peaceful period in his life. I offered him a room to go with his closet, but he wanted to live the rest of his life by himself.

Chapter 6) He Left It Up To Me, Cost Me A Family

My father, love him immeasurably, left it up to me to do what he couldn't find the strength to do himself. It took four years after my three hours with him, but in 2001, I'm proud to say that I found the right moment. It took until I was 42 years old, but I did it. The cost was high, I lost all my family in the process, but I finally did it.

Sister Suzy was there when I took that exit. I doubted she understood what she witnessed so I tried to explain it a day later, in the driveway. She should get it, for a short time she was in an abusive relationship. Sue knows what it's about. I suspect brother Bob knows, I think he experienced it in his first marriage. Brother Steve knew from our mother, he and I briefly talked about it one time, shortly after dad was gone. Steve's experience was nowhere near as extreme as mine and his abuse only lasted a couple years.

I have a massive emotional attachment to the house on Starlight Way, still. Not certain why since it wasn't a happy place for me. I suppose it's because that house represented the only real stability in my life, at least from 1967 to 2001. Everything else seemed too fragile to depend on. I'd be abused, but I was always welcome to walk in the front door. Other people live there, but It's still my home.

For all the years with my true "home," I had it in the back of my head that one day it would be gone. Even as a child it was obvious that it wouldn't last forever. I saw a TV series where the final episode took place in their imaginary house. The characters reminisced, discussing good times, events from the show, laughing and bonding with each other for the last time. Admittedly, my expectations were high and unrealistic for my family. It was to be a bittersweet day for me, I was foolishly anticipating a tender parting memory with family and home. Mom had other plans.

I brought Sam with me, dad's dog. For two years after dad died, Mom bullied and abused me into taking Sam. I did my best to give Sam a life, to make sure she wasn't just dumped in the backyard. As a puppy, Sam made dad happy for a short time before he died. For that, I spent thirteen years giving her the best life I could. The house was empty, Steve and I had solemnly cleared out the last of dad's garage treasures. As I passed through the front door I thought it was likely to be the last time I would ever enter my home. I nearly cried at the thought of it then and I'll have to come back to this later, when I've regained composure.

I found Sister Suzy standing in the laundry room. Sam rushed by Sue and into the kitchen. My mother saw me and immediately started the abuse, bitching that I brought HER dog. That evil puppy was going to leave nose prints on the sliding glass door of the empty house that was already sold. As if that were what it was about. Fat chance. She was INCESSANT. It NEVER ended. There was ALWAYS a contrived reason to BITCH at me. A contrived reason to DESTROY any chance of creating HAPPY memories. My hope for a tender goodbye to the center point of my life, was instantaneously and utterly destroyed. It was a long anticipated dream event gone forever in an instant, just like most of my memories in that house. I shouldn't have been surprised, it should have been expected. I felt foolish. I still feel foolish for expecting otherwise.

In that instant I found the strength and determination. I decided it was to be the last bitching in my life. I quietly hugged my mother and said "I love you," knowing it was my last words to her. For decades I'd imagined the moment and those were always my last words to my mother. I was proud that I finally made it come true. As I released the hug I knew I was looking at my mother for the last time. I turned and walked past my sister. Calling for Sam to follow as I walked out the front door. I left Sam at home and returned to the neighborhood.

I didn't get the tender closure with family that I'd long anticipated on loss of my home. As a substitute I spent ten hours reminiscing in the neighborhood. I spent time at the park and three schools. I bought junk at Circle K, Seven Eleven and Basha's. I filled my tank at the Exxon station and found out they no longer had a condom machine in the bathroom. I slowly drove by at least fifty houses to remember people and events, parking a long time in front of a few.

In the following months I took a massive amount of abuse, finally throwing out my answering machine because it was constantly filled with unpleasant messages. With no volume control, it loudly played caller's voices in my home as they left a message. I couldn't take any more of that.

Not suspecting it would be sixteen years before seeing her again, I met my Sister Suzy at the house the following day. We talked in the driveway, not the reminiscing I'd wanted as closure, but it was a rare intimate conversation with the only real family I have.

Chapter 7) I Had A Sister And Three Brothers

In the driveway I talked plainly to Sister Suzy... I can't say she understood, or didn't... I can't say whether or not she thought I was nuts... I'm only certain that I made my situation perfectly clear. I'd had decades too much abuse. Sue gave no indication how she chose to take it. I don't recall hearing from her again after that day.

My brother Bob gave in to our mother's demands and called me once. He was direct, telling me I was doing bad, mom was raging terror on everyone and it was my fault. I gave Bob an earful of reality, reminding him of his experiences with her, that I remembered. His attitude changed. After that call he came to my house one time with brothers Steve and Jamie, but I don't think he even got out of the car. I never heard from him again.

Brothers Steve and Jamie were a pair of jackals. They hounded and abused me for a long time, claiming I was bad for finally separating from a lifelong abusive relationship. Neither of them heard a word I said. They were never any kind of family to me anyway. I hardly knew more of them than their appearance and they cared even less of me.

The thing that hurt most in losing my childhood and family, is when John and Polyann came to hound me. In tears, Polyann begged me to reunite with my abuser because she was abusing them in my absence. John listened and understood. Polyann has always been ruled by emotion. It makes her sweet, but vulnerable to the abuse my mother was now doing to them. It took over an hour talking to Polyann before reality sank in. When it did, she recounted strange events from my childhood which she was embarrassed at not realizing they were the result of being an abused child.

For many years John and Polyann lived with a strange and eerie mystery in their life. Too odd to really understand what was going on, they believed a homeless person was periodically sleeping in the dark corner of their front yard. As a one time occurrence it would be understandable, but they routinely found evidence of it over many years. It felt wonderful finally explaining the mystery to my pseudo parents. Getting that secret out has become an important moment for me. Knowing it was me sleeping there, because I felt safe near them while my mother ran me out of the house at night, came to them as an unreal revelation. Five minutes of discussion eventually resulted in smiles and jokes and laughter about all the times they had talked about their homeless person. They told the wrong story to many people over three decades. Their explanation of a homeless person doing it at random times for many years, made no sense to anyone.

I finally began dating again immediately after separating from my mother. For three years I was once again my natural sluty self. I spent time with many women, usually a couple women per week. I had favorites including two women I loved, but it took three years find Susan. She needed me.

This writing has been edited often since 1997, but it has remembered my father on the internet since soon after he died. Gone only for the last year, I'm happy for it's return. The only other mention of him is an automatically generated computer obituary at the link below. If you knew and remember him, then please go there and leave a message in his guest book.

December 2020: I was wrong above, when I said it was off the internet for a year. I just found my old site by accident, the URL changed. I only thought the site was gone.

To my father,

It's 23 years today since you died. I still miss you. You are the only man I've ever longed for when gone from my life. You are not forgotten.

It bothers me to see your granddaughter list Joe as her grandfather on her Facebook profile. You loved each other greatly, she should remember and honor you.


First time I saw those shrubs was in the summer of 1967. They were a few tiny individual plants recently planted in the grass, to help sell the house. For years I used an electric hedge trimmer to keep them manicured. Sad that they've grown amuck now, but happy they're still there...

Dad lived here a bit more than thirty years, summer 1967 to September 1997. I feel certain that he was attached to the place, as much as I've always been. It's where he made his home.

I can't find a real online obituary, just the link below. Add a message to his page if you knew and loved him.

Dad's obituary page on

It's a made for dad video

The closing scene of my all time favorite movie.

Thinking of you, Dad...

Throckmorton is next, then Dad's Friend Edna