FYI… there is sooooooo much more meat to put on this bone but it is hard to talk about emotionally for me. Keep in mind peeps, I wrote this in 2010 BEFORE I found out who and what my “Mother” is… a sociopath!!! I eventually will expound on this part but I am just not ready yet!
As I sit in front of the “glowing box”, I wonder where and how to begin my story. I’ll just figure it out as we go along.
My wife is sleeping peacefully. She inspires me every day. I have to thank God for her on a daily basis. My sweet love… I love you..
Also, to my best friend Karen. This project would not have taken place without your unwavering faith in me, my life, and my story. This may seem juvenile, but, I have to say it. B.F.F.
Mom and Daddy, thank you both. For giving me life, and for all you’ve done and said to me. It made me into the woman I am today. I will forever love you both. R.I.P. DADDY.
CHAPTER 1 – MY BIRTH
On this day, May 19, 1970 an angel was born. That was the inscription on a trophy my Daddy gave me at age 3. It was a three tier marble trophy and at the bottom was a plate, with a picture of me. At the very bottom, was a gold plaque saying “Happy Birthday from Daddy” at the very top was a golden Angel looking up with its wings spread, holding a cup. You know, like I had won something. I will never forget that trophy. Nor, will I ever forget that day in my bedroom… (Boys were not allowed in my room.). I was in the 8th grade. In Catholic School (Holy Rosary) and Nat (my boyfriend) went to one of the local Public Schools. Well, as much of a boyfriend that you can have at 13. He came over one day after school and I let him see my bedroom. Not for anything sexual. I just thought it was kool. You know, sneaking. Getting one over on Mom. Hey! I was in the 8th grade! But back to the point. Nat and I were kissing, (my first French kiss was with him) and we were of course kissing with our eyes closed. Next thing you know, my trophy that my Daddy gave me at 3 fell off it’s mantle and broke. I was livid! Heartbroken. Mom would be home from work at any moment, and I would have to explain to her what happened to my trophy. Talk about anxiety!!! I was a wreck… That trophy meant more to me than anyone knew. I was a “Daddy’s Girl”. My Daddy (God Rest his soul), was my best friend! Actually back in those days I was Mommy AND Daddy’s girl. I guess you can say I was spoiled, however I was always so grateful for everything. Christmas was always a great day in our household. I would wake up on Christmas morning to a boatload of toys. I always wondered (and still to this day) how they did it. I mean, all my toys were on, batteries already in the electronic toys like: Fabulous Freddie, Merlin, Electronic Battleship. I would come out of my room hoping Santa paid attention to my list. You know, thinking about it now, I can only imagine how my Daddy felt about this old white bearded big bellied stranger getting all the credit. Credit for all of those gifts. I mean, most of us, as kids, give Santa all the credit. When, all the time, it was his time, money and effort mixed with unconditional love that really went into those toys.
My Daddy was born in 1927. My brother Eric told me when I was around 10 years old that there was no Santa! I remember feeling so duped! Sad even, that this strange old white man with reindeer and toys never really existed. What a lie! I was an overly sensitive child. I know my Daddy was glad! I mean, really. Here he was busting his butt to get me these things and an old fat white man got all the credit for it. Thank you Daddy! He grew up in the South, went to school for only a few hours of schooling (they called it “the Colored School”). Well, one day after school Daddy went to his job (yes, he worked. As most, if not all “colored” kids did in the South). Anyway, when he was around 9 or 10 he was there, working so hard and he died with the scar on his head from where his boss hit him over the head with a two-by-four. He wasn’t working fast enough. When he went home to his mother he said: “Mommy, when I grow up I will never work for a white person. I’ll work beside them, but, never for them. And he didn’t! He owned several businesses, and Daddy had many white friends, and business associates. My Daddy was a great man! Again. R.I.P. Daddy! I think about him daily.
I’ll never forget those days, back in the 70’s and the 80’s. Daddy would have one part of the Newspaper, and he would hand another part to me! He wasn’t into the “funny papers”. He said there wasn’t enough educational nutrition there. Thinking of my Daddy makes me smile. Mom would be right there with us. I caught their glances at each other. I felt safe. I was convinced that he would be with my mom forever.
I don’t want to get too far off track. A.D.D. can be a blessing and a curse.
CHAPTER 2- What the Hell???
Yes, I had a charmed childhood. However, there was a catch. When I was 9 years old my Mom told me that my Daddy was married to someone else! I think she was forced to tell me. Daddy was over and told me I had been invited to a slumber party for one of my nieces (we’re the same age). My Mother was adamant that I not go. I was mad and upset that she wouldn’t let me go! I wouldn’t talk to her after Daddy left. Perhaps this should be a source of embarrassment, however, on the night’s when Daddy didn’t spend the night, I would sleep in my Mom’s bed, and we would talk, and watch television with the timer on so we wouldn’t have to worry about falling asleep with the television on all night. Well, duh. Isn’t that why we all have/use sleep timers?
Anyway, we were watching “HART TO HART” Many of you may remember that tv show. It (the show) was really popular back then. So, back to the story. I wasn’t talking, I may even had been crying, and neither of my parents could stand to see me cry. I have to admit, I was a really good kid! She couldn’t take seeing me like that. I remember laying there thinking….Wondering, what was the big fucking deal? Why couldn’t I go to the party? Well Mom said. It broke my Mothers’ heart to tell me. I could hear the pain in her voice.. “Tina” (that’s my middle name). She said “Tina, there is a reason I don’t want you to go to the party. (How she must have struggled to tell me this.) Your Daddy has a wife and the party is being held at his house, and his wife will be there and I don’t want you get your feelings hurt by his wife. You see, my Daddy was a very busy man. He owned a car dealership. I pretty much grew up on “the lot”. In the office he had a separate space with couches and a TV. I had thought that the times he didn’t stay with us (Mommy and Me) was because he was sleeping at the lot. That wasn’t true. He had another wife, and at 9, I had to try to make sense of it all. I remember being in school (Darley Road Elementary), as the teacher was trying to teach, my mind wasn’t there. I remember that as the first time I considered suicide. I did not belong here (on Earth). I had been to private school before Darley Road (which was public. Well, in Catholic school (Holy Rosary), where I went for 1st and 2nd grade. I had enough knowledge of the Bible to know that my life was cursed. What was I gonna do? At 9, I was like…”OH NO!”… My 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades were tough. ( I had grown into an overly sensitive child.) My Dad was like “You’re overly sensitive.” I would cry if the teacher corrected me. I mean, benign stuff too! Like. “Tina, please stop talking” Okay? Crybaby! The kids were tough, and I had to make new friends. I remember that I got two D’s in the fifth grade. I know one was in Social Studies, and the other was Mathematics (for all you Math majors out there). Brings to mind a close friend of mine. Later in college. She was a Math major. But, it was always “Mathematics”. I always thought that was a funny word.
That word “Mathematics”. I wasn’t there mentally. I was trying to figure out how I fit in this world after knowing Daddy had another wife. I knew that was a sin. Was I, Tina a SIN? In and of my own self? My very being, by just being born? A sin. Personified. That was scary.
I remember my Daddy being very upset that my mother had told me. He threw me now what I know to be a lifeline. We went on one of our long drives. We talked, He asked me for a penny for my thoughts, and we drove, and we talked. Next thing I know we are at this palatial estate looking place! Daddy began to explain to me that this place was actually a school and that he thought it would be a good idea if I went there. The only thing was, I would only see them on weekends. He wanted to send me to boarding school! I remember going into panic mode. My mother needed me more than ever now! I mean, she’d just told me this news, and I was her best friend. There was no way I could think about leaving her. Even if it was just during the week. I often wonder what direction my life would have taken had I gone to that school. I’m glad I didn’t go. My life’s path led me here. And, here, is good. This is my journey.
See, my Mom started to see my Father at 18. He was Mom’s favorite radio jock. She and her friend placed a bet on who could get him to give them a ride home after the party was over. The place was called “The Pink Poodle”, and my mom was there every weekend. My Daddy was known for saying “We have women hanging from the rafters!” He always packed the place. It was there, at the PINK POODLE that my parents met, and, of course, I’m sure you’ve deduced by now that my Mom won the bet.
My Daddy’s wife Nora was from the Philippines. He was around the age of 17 and was stationed there. Many American Servicemen and women were stationed there. I think it was the Korean War… I’ll have to verify that one. But, I’m pretty sure that was it. The war was in full swing. Anyway, after Mom told Daddy that I knew about his “other” family. He took me on a long drive up to Jersey. Daddy would take me up there to go pick strawberries. He would talk to me and ask “a penny for your thoughts?” No matter where we were or what we were doing, he would ask at some point “a penny for your thoughts?” I have always cherished those times. Anyway as we drove up to Jersey, Daddy drove me over my favorite Bridge. The Commadore Barry Bridge. We were still on I-95 (not yet to the bridge). He explained to me that he knew I might be confused, but, I shouldn’t be. He explained to me that he was so young when he got married to Miss Nora (not her real name), that he didn’t know what he was doing. Also, he told me when he laid his eyes on my mother he just fell deeply in love with her. When he said it, I could tell he was reliving the moment. His eyes just lit up simply by talking about her! My parents taught me the true power of true love.
They were always kidding with each other and laughing. I can remember a whole lot of laughter in my home growing up. It was great! I didn’t go to the party. I understood. I have to admit, I was a very intuitive child. As long as they were happy, and I got to see my Daddy almost every day and night, it was fine with me.
CHAPTER 3: MEETING MISS NORA
My Daddy had explained to me how Miss Nora loved me and that I always had a room in his house. Up to this point, I had never been to his (Daddy’s) house. Like I said earlier, I thought he was at the lot all night. Or at a boxing match. Daddy, and my brother Butch were always going to “the fights”. I would watch the matches on TV and look for them (Daddy and Butch) on TV made me feel like they were right there with me. That was my “normal”. I could always spot my Daddy! There he is! I would shout. And stare at him anytime the cameras panned in his direction. I still do that whenever I watch the old fights on TV.
I didn’t meet Miss Nora at Daddy’s house, I met her at a Boxing Match. See my Daddy was also a boxing promoter/manager. Well, it was the SPINKS VS. BERBICK FIGHT. I will never forget it. Daddy took me to the fight. I didn’t know what to expect. My Daddy had told me she (his wife) loved me, so, when I met her at 9, I had already developed a love of this person who had to share her husband with me and my Mom. I didn’t know how she would receive me. Well, during the fight, I had to go to the bathroom. Well, he (Daddy) and my brother Butch were so caught up in the fight yelling into the ring, words like: JAB! UPPERCUT! I asked Daddy if he would take me to the bathroom, he said “Nora can take you”. So, Miss Nora took me to the bathroom. I remember feeling so much anxiety. I was afraid! I didn’t know her. I do remember her saying to me before I entered the stall. She said “You know your Dad is my husband?” I began to shake, I nervously went to pee. I was shaking so bad that when I went to wipe I peed on my hand. I couldn’t wipe right! I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. And, you know at 8 and 9 you’ve mastered the science of wiping. I was trying to hide it as much as I could, but, I could tell Miss Nora didn’t like me. Why would she? My Daddy was HER HUSBAND! I didn’t see her again until I was 15 years old. We’ll get to that part of the story later.
CHAPTER 4: FAMILY TIES
I wasn’t really affected by the fact that my Daddy was married to someone else. He came over every day that he was in town. Except for 1 Christmas. I must have been 10 or 11. Mom wanted me to wait for Daddy before I started playing with my new toys. He never showed up. Mom was pissed! I wasn’t mad. I figured he was caught up in his work. Daddy worked so much. Now, that I am much older, I can understand. He had so many responsibilities. Plus, I figured he was caught up with his grandchildren. Actually, I think he explained that to me the next day. I was young. So, I’m kind of cloudy when it comes to that Christmas. It was okay. I knew he would come over the next day with an explanation. I admire my Daddy so much. He was a great man. He was always so kind and generous. I remember his logo. He was “The Working Man’s Friend”. If you had a job, Daddy would make sure you left the lot with a car. Daddy sold used cars and did his own financing. He was the same way with his real estate. I remember one of many times that Daddy took me with him to collect rent. I remember the people said that they didn’t have it (the rent). When we got in the car to go I asked him. I said “Daddy, if they don’t have the rent, why don’t you kick them out?”. I remember this so distinctly. He said “Oh I wouldn’t do that T. , they have children. I can’t put children out on the street, people, in general, (they are doing the best that they can). My Daddy was able to afford it, so, he just ate the cost. Daddy taught me so much. About people, and life, and how sometimes you just have to understand, people are doing the best with what they’ve got, and, if you can. Give. My Daddy was a giver.
I remember going to the car sales in Jersey. That was always fun! The auctioneers’ talking really fast, and Daddy knew what they were saying! I was always in awe of how he could understand. Because, I had no idea what he (the auctioneer) was saying. Daddy would buy some cars and Betty (his secretary and best friend) and Mr. Skooley and Daddy and me would head back to the lot in Pa. I can’t count how many car auctions we went to. I just know it was quite often. Mr. Skooley was one of the many people he would give work to so they could have a job. As I said. He was so generous. Oh! This is funny. One day when we were on our way back from Jersey (Daddy was leading the way so that he could pay the toll for all the cars in his fleet. Well, Mr. Skooley somehow got in front of Daddy and me. You know those “arms” they have at toll booths? Well Mr. Skooley just went. The arm goes flying in the air! Daddy knew he would probably have to pay for it (the arm), but, he didn’t get angry. He laughed. He had the best laugh!
I remember one day, we were dropping Mr. Skooley off at his home. He lived in what is called “the projects”. Daddy drove me around the neighborhood. He asked “are you scared of the people here?” I was around 10 years old. I was like “yes!”. Daddy told me that I shouldn’t be afraid, again, he reminded me that people are doing the best that they could with what they’ve got. I understood.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself here. I’ve got to tell you about the years leading up to 9. Well, keep in mind here that at this time, between 1 and 8 were fantastic! At that time, I had no worries or anxieties. I had great parents! They would talk to me all the time. They let me explore my interests. Thank God for Theater and the arts. Can’t forget summer camp and my Surrogate Grandma, Miss Mary Jo. She has since passed away. She was 103 years old! I will love and miss her forever.
I remember way back when I was about 7. Mom got me SRA’s Remember those? Some of you have had them I’m sure. They were these boxes with educational questions and you circled it with your black crayon that came in the box. Not like Crayola or anything. This crayon was ginormous as I remember it. Totally obnoxious. All of my toys or recreational time at home was spent doing something educational. I thank them for that. Academia was, and is my playground.
I remember my Daddy getting me “Readers’ Digest’s Condensed Books” at 8 years old. He would turn on the tape recorder and have me read aloud into the recorder, then, we would listen to it together. As a result, I inherited Daddy’s love of speaking and reading. I remember having spelling words as an assignment on Fridays (you know, from school). However, Daddy would have me do the spelling portion of Readers’ Digest Magazine (yes, I got those too), the Vocabulary portion. Education was so important to him. I’m sure you can understand why, just like I do. Having to work at 9 and having such little time in the classroom.
I always knew my brothers though. Jute and Boom (Daddy’s nickname for my brother Butch). In my Eurcharist book (the same book they use today actually! There is a space for you to illustrate your families. This was in the first grade. May have been second. No, it was first. Anyway, in that book I illustrated my three brothers, my sister, my Mom and Dad. Although I remember I spelled my brother Butch’s name wrong. I wrote Buch. Hey! I was 6! I can’t believe they still use that same book in Catholic schools. I remember going to Eucharist classes after school. Preparing for my first Holy Communion. It was so much fun! It made me feel so grown up! Going to classes in the evening. Like some big kids did! This was important, and I took it very seriously. I was going to be a bonafide Catholic. Able to take Communion at mass. Picking out my dress and veil was so much fun!. I was so excited, I felt like a Princess! With my patent leather shoes! Holla at me! (Mom and those patent leather shoes) She loved them. And Easter? Forget about it! Schree’ was sporting the patent leather shoes. Anyway, I’m not sure that Daddy came to my First Holy Communion. He was pretty skeptical about organized Religion. He told me when I was around 8 to be very careful with the Bible. Though inspired by God, was written by man. Daddy believed in an eternal nonexistence. That when we die, that’s it! End of story, and you sleep eternally. I know that not to be true. My Daddy visits me many, many times! And, it gives me encouragement and love. Daddy’s energy is so strong sometimes. It gives me comfort. Knowing his spirit still hangs around with me.
My Mother’s side of the family was Catholic. Several generations as I understand it. We had the Catholic Bible and my Baptismal candle. All that good stuff. My first set of Rosary Beads! I was so excited!
My parents were very good about. Well, everything! They put me in the arts in like 1st grade. My first Christmas play. I remember the teacher or Nun or whoever was directing. She wanted me to do a tumble to the edge of the stage. I was like.. Oh no! Not to the teacher..in my head. I didn’t take tumbling, and I could just see myself tumbling and my ass hitting the floor… Ummmmm. No thanks! So, I just kinda put my paws up (one, of which I had lost) and replaced that dumb tumble with a simple and very basic wave to the audience and did this weird shuffle thing with my feet. My parents were so proud of me. Especially Mom. I was her “little star”.
CHAPTER 5 : THE BEAT GOES ON
Well, Holla at 1st and 2nd grade!! I loved Holy Rosary! Everyone was so kind! It was like. “Use kind words type of school”. I had fun with my friends every morning in the front schoolyard. (That same school is now, as I write this, now an all girl’s school. When I was there in 1st and 2nd I was the only black kid in the whole school! I never felt different though. Come on, I’m from Delaware! I love Delaware, that will always be home. No matter how far or long I roam this world.
I remember there was this flagpole and my friends and I would swing around and around. Me, Francine, Tiffany, Karolyn …We were a click at 7. When I think back on those days, I always smile. I knew nothing then. I was a care free kid, and it was wonderful. Little did I know then that in a few years I would be questioning my right to even live in this World. Back then it was Eskimo kisses (you know, nose to nose) with my friends, and the Eurcharist (First Holy Communion).
You know, thinking back now, I went to a lot of schools! Eight to be exact. If you count preschool and college. People are always amazed that I can name them.
Daddy, Mommy, and me
We were a tight knit family….Daddy, Mommy, and me. Daddy would always sing to me. “Your Daddy’s rich, and your ma ma’s good looking..so hush little baby..don’t you cry.”. I never knew how profound that song was until I heard Fantasia sing it on American Idol. Daddy never sang the whole song. He would Just sing that one stanza. You know, as I sit here thinking about it, I don’t think that as a child I really “got” it! You know? It was really when Fantasia sang it that it really hit home for me. I held back tears as I remember watching the show that nigh. But, I’ll never forget all those times he would sing that to me. Me and my Daddy always had a very strong, telepathic connection. You know, the kind where you don’t need words. We called each other “twin souls” We just “got” each other, you know what I mean? He often referred to me when introducing me to his friends when I was a kid on the lot as: “the last button on Jacob’s coat”. I was like 4 or 5 as I remember that. I spent so much time at the lot! I know, I already said that. Thanks Mommy and Daddy!!! Those were the days. All of my brothers worked at the lot. (They were salesman). My Big Brother Jute still sells cars. If you ask him why, he’ll tell you. It’s all I know! He’d been working for my Daddy for so many years that he’s a big time salesman in Pa. He became a very, very respected and admired car salesman. My Brother Erik as well! He worked for Daddy, and he’s (Erik) still in the game. I’m so proud of those two. 9am-9pm.. Those are BRUTAL hours! Like my Daddy always said. If you’re not there to sell the cars, they won’t sell… you HAVE to be there. Commit. Get in the trenches of life and work hard for what you want. And , not to judge people. My father was big on that one. The non-judgement of another human being. As well, he (Daddy) had a love for dogs. There was never a stray that crossed his path that wasn’t picked up, groomed up, and, depended on. Put to work as a guard dog on the lot, or, it (the dog) went home with Daddy. OMG! To this day, I have not met a person who loved dogs more than my daddy. It’s like, he was the original dog whisperer LOL. 🙂
Anyway, let’s move this along, shall we? I have a tendency to rattle, and , this is my first book, so, please, forgive me 🙂
So. One of my best memories of my childhood were the trips to our beach house in Atlantic City. We would often “go away” maybe twice a summer. I was always able to bring a friend, which was kool. My mom and dad had their time, and me and friend would have our time! Watching tv! Swimming at the hotel pool, watching TV. Stuff like that. It must have been betweeen the ages of like 7-12 for me. GOOD TIMES!! Sometimes it would be boxing camp. In the Catskills.. I loved it there! My Daddy managed the Schuler Brothers Marvin and James. James got killed in a motor cycle accident and that’s when my dad told me that broke his heart. Managers love their fighters! So, he backed up from the game and just worked it on the BLP side (Butch Lewis Productions). You know Butch from my Eucharist Book. My oldest brother.
Another great memory I can share with you about my childhood was my boat. Yes, my Daddy bought me a speedboat when I was a kid (around 7 or 8 as I remember it) and sometimes when he had time, he and his secretary Betty who was like a second Mom to me R.I.P. Betty. Breast Cancer. It’s a bitch.
Anyway, my boat was called “THE TINA”….In huge letters on each side.. I am fighting to get every second of those days back. In my mind. In my heart. It seemed like we went out on THE TINA every day! The three of us. I remember Daddy and Betty laughing so hard at the fact that I was the only one on the boat who could swim! And we had no life jackets. Hey! We’re talking about the 70’s here! Makes me smile just thinking about those days.
My mother doesn’t really like the water all that much. She’s afraid of it. Not showers or anything like that. She’s more afraid of large bodies of water. Although it was only a small body of water in Crumm Lynn (Pa.), she would not go out there! Gotta love mom! She’s really girlie, nails and toes done. Changes colors twice a week, hair always done kinda chick. I can’t give out her age or she might get mad at me (smiling). But, if you knew it, you wouldn’t believe it! I mean, I live in Las Vegas, many of you reading this book have been or will come to Vegas one day. Now, my mother can walk the entire length of the strip! We’re talking all of it! I don’t know how she does it, but, I sure feel blessed and lucky to still have her around and as spritely as she is, I feel safe, for now, safe that she will be around a while. I am not ready to lose my other parent yet. I don’t know if I could take it. My father passed away April 22, 2004, and I’m just getting my shit together emotionally after that. He died in April. Our birthday was in May. I was born on my daddy’s birthday. May 19th. Which was great while he was here, but, to lose him so close to our birthday was particularly crushing. Just the fact that he died so close to our birthday. . I find myself each year getting better and better though. The first 7 years? WHOA! Tough. My lovely wife goes out of her way (which she does naturally, she’s a beautiful woman) to make my birthday my own. I applaud her efforts, however, that day, May 19th, will always be OUR birthday. Mine, and my daddy’s. It’s programmed into my head.
Spontinaeity! That’s another thing I remember about the early days. My mom, not so much. She’s a planner. My dad, well, let’s just say that it was not uncommon for him to come over and ring the doorbell over and over and then say “Hey! pack up a bag! We’re going away for a couple of weeks!” My mother would give him a kiss, then go and pack some bags. Daddy was always up for surprises. They were so in love too! You could just see and feel it when they were together until the day he died. He wouldn’t tell us where we were going until we started to figure it out for ourselves. Sometimes it was to our beach house in Atlantic City, other times, it was to Wildwood, N.J., or some kool place in the Catskills.
I remember one time we went to see a standup comic and I was little! I remember he (the comic) sang to me. I felt so special! I was drinking Shirley Temples. That was so much fun! I know my dad had to know the comic. It seemed like it. I know my dad would not let some stranger sing to me. He was very protective. They both (mom and dad) were. I was their baby. And it was great.
THE WONDER YEARS
“Oh! I ate too much” Mom would say, and go into the bathroom and bend over the toilet, stick her first finger down her throat, and loudly throw up. I remember this going on from the time I was around 8 or 9. This continued throughout my childhood. It was my normal. I am so thankful that I never developed that condition. It had no name then. Today, we all know its name. Bulimia. I grew up watching mom doing this. She always prefaced her action by making sure she told me “oh! I ate too much! I’ve gotta spit up” In those exact words, and she would go, time and again, stick her finger down her throat, and throw up. Loudly. My mother was by today’s standards, binging and purging. As I write this now, a wave of sadness crosses my heart. She was/is such a beautiful woman. I can’t help but wonder if her behavior had anything to do with the fact that she was in love and had a baby with a married man.
But, this book isn’t about my Mom. It’s about me. It’s been about her for far too many years. I am, just now, at the age of 42, coming to the realization that my Mother’s love for me came with many conditions. Conditions, which I naturally fulfilled until I met my wife.
Back to the throwing up! I remember thinking… “mom, you really didn’t eat that much!” I never said anything though. My mom was perfect in my eyes. She did no wrong. And plus! I had been assured by both of them that they loved me very much, and I was not a mistake. They were big on telling me occasionally that God brought me to them through love. I am so thankful for that lifeline now, as an adult. However, I have to say, as a child, I questioned it. I had been to Bible School and Catholic School. I even went to a Baptist School. I had to deal with it inside my head, and my heart, and soul. Was that really true? Would God accept me? Not the first time I was forced to ask that question. We’ll get to that later.
So, life was good. It had become my “normal” to pray to God and ask him to forgive my very existence. I believed my parents. What they told me, that God had given me to them through love, but, I also knew it was wrong to cheat. And to have a baby out of that as well! I needed God to love me.
Well, the years went on, and, by the age of 12, I could tell there was something odd going on between my parents. I mean, we still went on trips and had good times, but, 12 year olds pick up on everything! And I was no different. I began to worry. I thought it was my fault that things were changing. I mean, if they didn’t have me, they would not be having these issues. They were together for 30 years though!
I really knew things were rough when Daddy pulled me out of private school and put me in Public. He said “my money’s funny”. I was 15. All of the sudden my parents didn’t like each other very much. At first, we went to California. We stayed like 6 months. Mom said she couldn’t keep me away from my father. That I would resent her later. So, it was time to go back to school, so, I was shipped back to Delaware to live at my Daddy’s house until my mother came back to Delaware.
MAJOR MENTAL ABUSE
So, anyway, I’m back in Delaware and living at my Daddy’s house. I had not seen his wife Nora since I was little. You remember, at the fight. Spinks vs. Berbick.
I approached the situation with an opened mind and a lot of love. Back then, I loved everybody! I’m like my Daddy that way. He was a “people person”. So, I took my brother’s room and lived out of a suit case for 6 months. (she didn’t clear any space for me, so, I made the best of it). Daddy was gone a lot of the time at the fights. He and my big brother Butch were riding high! R.I.P. Butch. Butch Lewis. One of the biggest names in boxing. I learned so much from him. I’m proud of all my brothers.
Ok. Back to Daddy’s house. Imagine this. I’m at “home” with Miss Nora, and she wants me to watch TV with her. Uh oh..My stomach sank. I knew what was next. I had homework, but, I wanted her to like me. So, I sat down with her. Well, it wasn’t just any old tv show she wanted me to watch! It was always (as this became normal practice) the same old thing. She would have me watch “DALLAS”, and any other of those prime time shows of the day that featured a lot of “affairs”. She even said one night during the show “I don’t know why any woman would have an affair with a married man.” Ok. That was AWKWARD! I didn’t say anything, but, I swore to myself, that, when I was old enough to talk back. An adult, that I would never let anyone do that to me again. I had to hold so much in during that 6 months. It was horrible! Miss Nora would even get her Bible out and show me where it says the children of the Adultress would go to Hell! I was 15! I had just left ST. Mark’s, I was at a new school in which I started late (Mt. Pleasant). School was in full swing when I got there. Fortunately I had already known some of the kids there.
That was the worst 6 months of my life! I was a good kid! I didn’t do anything to her to make her hate me so much! It was weird. She would make me breakfast every morning, and every morning I had to hear it. Mom couldn’t get back to Delaware fast enough! My head was so fucked. I didn’t even know it. I just kept going to school. Sometimes I would hang around school for a while and just walk home. I joined some after school activities just so when I got home, my Daddy was already there. She would only do it when she was alone with me. Oddly, I forgive her of all those things. I picked “Psychology” as my Major in college because of the whole thing! Seriously! Thank God for the theater!
I just turned to comedy! I decided that I would just laugh (on the inside) at her accent. I’ve got it down pact!
WHAT’S BEHIND THE CURTAIN?
Well, the years went by. My parents continued to be in love (it was so obvious). I mean, it got ugly! As most break ups are! Me? I got my degree, met a bunch of guys..it never worked out!..Until, I met my beautiful wife Baby..My love…Without you in my life, I don’t know that I would have one. God truly sent me an angel in you. Daddy loved you from the start. My mom too! Maybe one day she will know how to show me the same love she showed me as a child. Maybe, one day.
Baby and I have been together for 17 years! I thank God for you. He truly gave me an angel in you. I will love you forever!
You may ask. How am I now? I’m fine. I’m so glad that I’m on this Earth and I know why God put me here. To make people laugh at things they normally would not have found funny. Life…is too short. My Daddy passed away in 2004. I’m so thankful for all the lessons he taught me. Mom fortunately is doing well and will be around for a long time. As I said.. SHE..is perfect.
Wait..let’s stop the record and rewind. No, she’s not. Who among us is perfect?