After my father died early this past Wednesday morning, the 11th, I’ve been less than inclined to write about politics. I just haven’t felt the mood. But I decided early on that I wouldn’t purposely avoid blogging altogether. Writing can, as many of you already realize, yield a cleansing of the soul, a catharsis, an expurgation that soothes like the application of aloe on a burn. Like easing your head onto the cool side of the pillow.
For me, such as writing can be.
That first night of the 11th, I had a dream. I awakened with it in my head. Carole King was singing “So Far Away.” I remember that most distinctly.
I and my brothers are good during the day. We have been keeping ourselves together by being near to each other. We’ve had dinner, lunches, together. This in and of itself is a rare thing. We are not much of a social family. We were held at arms’ length as children by our parents. Hugs and kisses were non-existent. This isn’t a bleat; it’s just truth.
During my stint at home, growing up, Dad was mostly gone. I spent a good amount of time at my grandparents house in downtown Sacramento. I can still remember the address: 2526 27th Street. The phone number was GL-55483. Gladstone-55483. It was easy to remember for my mother; she lived there with my grandparents: Nelson Newton Goodenow and Stella Artois Goodenow (nee Meldrum).
I can still remember when my mother beat the air out of me, on three separate occasions.
I can only remember the specific events of one instance: I had lost a toy or a car. I was told to find it. I couldn’t find it. I can only recall having no breath and thinking I was dying. After the first round the next two were tolerable. I kept these examples to myself for years. My mother is gone. My father is gone. Who cares if I reveal them now? No one. My mother was not perfect. Maybe she was at the edge herself. To this day I dislike her for doing that to a child.
My father had the luxury of being predominantly gone. To WPAFB. To Washington, DC. To the Pentagon. To wherever.
When my mother died in 2002, I shed few tears. My two brothers spoke words at her service. I remained seated and said nothing. I can recall one of my mother’s admonitions: if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing. I had no good words to say about my mother.
So I said nothing at my mother’s service.
Maybe it was Good Cop, Bad Cop. My mom was Bad Cop. But my father ended up being final Bad Cop. I finally realized that my father was sorely manipulated continuously by my mother. He had to live with her. I and my brothers did not. So he acquiesced to her judgment. On any number of issues and topics. My father wrote me and my brother out of the will. He wrote us back in. It was all at the behest of my manipulative and plotting mother.
When she died, I didn’t much cry.
See the first photo above? That’s my cabin today, surrounded by Global Warming.
When my father passed — I didn’t expect it, and it hit me hugely.
I finally got to know my father for what he was: an easygoing man, a national servant, a smart man, a financial wizard.
I finally got to know him, uninfluenced by his overbearing and manipulative wife. Who smoked continuously. Who concealed her COPD. Who concealted her inhalers. Who concealed her condition from her very own husband. Who was rapid, quick to point out any flaws exhibited by myself, my brothers, my previous wife, my then-girlfriend (so sorry, Wendy), myself.
That is MY determination.
I finally realized where the manipulation lay. And it wasn’t pretty. Or expected.