V.J.’S WEEKLY CHALLENGE #37: STORY

Here’s my story…long, but it makes me so happy every time I tell it.

Hope you enjoy.

 

It’s Never Too Late….

(Branding VS Bonding)

“Maternity is a matter of fact; paternity always a matter of opinion.” Unknown Author

When I was two, my Mom and me found me a Dad. They got married and had my sister Eileen when I was three. They had my sister Barbara when I was six. When I was nine, I found out that Dad was not my first Dad. I don’t remember that fact being particularly bothersome. But when I was twelve and my folks divorced, well, that was definitely bothersome. When I was fifteen, being fairly exhausted by the role of Junior Mother to my sisters while my own Mom drank herself into oblivion, I left home in search of the rest of my childhood. When I was nineteen, my mother made her first (at least discernible) suicide attempt. (She took pills.) She survived, but only after being in a coma for as many days as I had had years on the planet. She woke up saying, “I don’t want to sleep anymore.” I thought she meant it and was really relieved and hopeful. Her narrow escape from death seemed to inspire her. She turned her life around dramatically…but only for a couple of years. When I was 21, my mother was more determined…no reprieve this time. It is much harder to survive suicide by gun.

When I was 24, and had a toddler of my own, the difference between a biological parent and a step-parent right in my face, I wrote my Dad a note. It said, “Now that Mom is not alive, you and I are not REALLY connected by anything, do you want to stop being my Dad?”

As of this writing, I don’t remember how he answered that question. I think it was something sweet and positive.

I do know that after he died in 2001, when we were going through his belongings, I found that 30 year old note from me, crusty with age, in a small box full of obvious treasures; like a very beautiful picture of my mother (his one and only love), correspondence from his father, and a very impressive letter of endorsement from his commanding officer in the U.S. Cavalry recommending him to West Point. My barely camouflaged plea for parental reassurance was in very admirable company indeed.

When I was 40, I received the following letter from my Dad:

 

Dear Kathie,

When your mother and I got married, we didn’t have much money and you were very young so we didn’t think you would mind if we skipped the legal proceedings for me to officially adopt you. Then, as it does, time passed and we just never got around to it.

Would you think it silly now, at this late date, for me to make it all legal? Would you let me adopt you?

I think you know that you have never been any different in my eyes from your two sisters, except that you were my oldest. Your biological father left before you were ever born, marrying your mother in name only, at the “insistence” of your grandfather, so I knew I would be your only Daddy.

Have I ever told you when I knew you were mine?

When your mother and I were dating, we always brought you along. I knew from the start it was a package deal with her and that was just fine by me. One afternoon when we were out, I picked you up to carry you on my shoulders, as had become our routine. Well, while you were up there, you had a little accident and leaked all over my neck. That wasn’t too bad really. But when I went to change my shirt and tie later, I found that you had marked me. My white shirt and neck were stained a bright crimson, the color of my tie. I didn’t think of myself as a “red neck” but I proudly wore that red mark around my neck for several days until it finally wore off. I told the guys at work that my new little girl had branded me. That’s when I knew I was your Daddy.

Now, I would like to make it official if that’s OK with you. Let me know what you think.

Love, Dad

 

My response to him was a no-brainer.

So, the Christmas after my 40th birthday, my Dad flew to Seattle from San Diego. My sister Barbara was there. My sister Eileen, who had rarely seen any of us since our mother died all those years before, flew over from Hawaii, and my 2 long time best friends, Lee and Linda, attended as witnesses. It was definitely official, taking place in a courtroom in front of a judge who asked both my father and I a peculiar series of questions. “Do you have any ulterior motives for taking this step?” “Does doing this help you to avoid legal action in any way?” “Are either of you doing this for financial gain?” etc.

Then the judge pronounced us legally “father and daughter” and leaned over his bench to shake my Dad’s hand. He said, “Congratulations on your new baby girl.” And to my sisters he said “She is your real sister now.” Then he thanked us all profusely saying, “Usually during this week between Christmas and New Years, we have nothing in Family Court except Child Protective Service cases or maybe the termination of parental rights. How refreshing it is for me to have participated in this long awaited and obviously joyous occasion.”

Judging from the things my Dad did during the time immediately before he died, my legal adoption was not the first time he had considered my sisters and I being re-united.

Although he had never uttered a single word of criticism or advice concerning our long-time estranged sibling ties, clearly he had thought about it. He simply carried on three separate father/daughter relationships. He developed his own connection with his 3 grandchildren and before his death he fixed it so that at least once more, we had no choice but to all three be together. I mean really together. We had to join up and cooperate in the dispersal of his estate. All papers had to be signed by all three of us at the same time. There was even plenty of money designated specifically for travel expenses from our respective far corners, etc. Clever, clever man. Either that or he was a real brat.

If Dad was nearby, and we believe he was, we know he got a real kick out of it as his lawyer innocently said, “Yes, I thought this was an unusual request that there be 3 executors and that all must be present in the same place for all procedures. This is not how it is commonly done. Your Father must have known that you three get along really well to put you in this position as equal trustees.”

 

I wonder what that attorney thought of the look of shock, dismay and wonderment that passed among my sisters and me in that moment.

 

Dad, I’m sure, was chuckling. I guess he really believed that it is never too late.

 

IMG_4154
Wedding number ONE, Dad, back left, the only non-Mormon there, except me😉
IMG_4143
Dad, with husband number two (looks like he’s ready to “paddle” him)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #37: Story

SongLyricSunday 2/24/19 theme Harmony/Melody/Music

Not sure if my choice this week fits the theme but I do love the melody of this song.

It’s just that the song, and especially the video, mean so much to me. It has been around for a while but I fell all the way in love with it when I heard it on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. (Historically, this TV series has given me so many favorite songs.)

A couple of weeks ago, a baby, in serious trouble, was born into my extended community, and somehow this song gave me comfort. (She’s going to be fine but it was close…way too close.)

My son’s birthday was yesterday, and everything about this song made me think about him…his life…his path.

My favorite lines:

This is not love you’ve had before
This is something else

It describes the love I feel for my children and my grandchildren.

It’s just a beautiful song and video. I hope you enjoy.

 

Life On Earth
The first snow
First winter of my life
I was told it was the height of me
The first dance
Well, the first one that counted
Felt like my blood was built my from crackling lights
Oh this ancient wildness
That we don’t understand
The first sound of a heartbeat
To riots roaring on
This is not love you’ve had before
This is something else
This is something else
This is not the same as other days
This is something else
This is something else
This shouldn’t need to be so fucking hard
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
It doesn’t need to be the end of you, or me
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
The first light
First light on the silent shore
Just the ships set anchor me and you
The way home
This is always the way home
So you can rip that map to shreds, my dear
But all we ever wanted
To see miles and miles from here
In the first days in a strange new land
We could be sailors
This is not the love you’ve had before
This is something else
This is something else
This is not the same as other days
This is something else
This is something else
This shouldn’t need to be so fucking hard
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
It doesn’t need to be the end of you, or me
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
This shouldn’t need to be so fucking hard
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
It doesn’t need to be the end of you, or me
This is life on earth
It’s just life on earth
Songwriters: Garret Noel Lee / Gary Lightbody / John McDaid / Jonathan Graham Quinn / Nathan Connolly / Paul Wilson
Life On Earth lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Spirit Music Group

 

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/23-days-left-till-spring/

Photo a Week Challenge-Eyes 12/21/18

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/a-photo-a-week-challenge-eyes/

Try saying NO to these eyes…..

love my hat tooDSCN5106one beautiful boyDSC_0226mmmm, shepherd's pie

They have been testing my Grand-mothering will power for almost 16 years!!!

crafts1-07 003IMG_4272IMG_7041IMG_4821

 

Anyone else hearing the Guess Who right now???

SongLyricSunday 12/8/18

It’s Saturday but I won’t be able to do a post tomorrow.

I knew exactly the song I wanted but when I wrote today’s date, I burst into tears.

38 years ago today we lost John Lennon. I was stopped on the I 90 bridge in rush hour traffic.

I was searching for music, but every station was playing “Imagine”. Oh God, I knew immediately what that meant.

Back then, I also burst into tears .

You know how, in traffic, you can catch people movement in the car next to you? I turned to see a young man, way younger than me, also sobbing. We locked eyes for a long, long time, just crying. We had both just heard, and we knew it.

What an incredibly powerful and intimate moment. I’ll never forget his eyes.

 

And this version is from one of my favorite movies…ever. I am an all-the-way-out-of-the-closet Mush Head!! But if you like a good “teacher” movie, this is a must.

 

Now I’m going to go hug my beautiful, beautiful boys….

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 12/9/18

IMG_1345

Share Your Thankful World…11/21/18

This SYW Challenge comes from sparksfromacombustiblemind

She says: I will post four or five different questions each week for you to answer.  

Are you an Early to bed, early to rise person, a night owl and day sleeper/dozer, or an ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ person?   

I don’t. Sleep that is. Well, I do, I mean I must, right, or I wouldn’t still be here at 70. But I have never been able to pull off anything considered normal or regular, apparently not since I was 18 months old. So it was perfect to have a job for almost 40 years that had me “on call” 24/7.

My sleep record in recent years is almost 5 hours in one stretch. Usually it’s way less. I often sleep in two segments…2 hours in, I wake up and am ready to roll since my body thinks we’ve just had this great nap. I trick it, into thinking we are up for the duration and do something inane for a while and then we go back to bed and usually pull off a longer stretch.

For the last 18 years I have had an almost daily NAP! A ritual started as a way to connect with my slightly feral cat. We got to the place where I could say, “Zorro, wanna take a nap with me?” and he would beat me to the bed…and then wait for me, no matter how interrupted I had been.

Zorro passed away in September from kidney disease.

I have not had a nap in 82 days. I still can’t do it……

9-10 0249-10 022

I get really wordy when I haven’t slept. Can you tell what kind of a night I had last night?

 

What are some misconceptions about your hobby, should you have a hobby?

Uh, I raise Giant Spiny Australian Leaf Bugs that get to be about 8 inches long.

What do YOU think of that?

 

 

A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

Dance lessons start in five!

 

Aliens have landed…do they come in peace?

They’re not Here, They’re not Coming

From the Arizona desert
To the Salisbury Plain
Lights on the horizon
Patterns on the grain
Anxious eyes turned upward
Clutching souvenirs
Carrying our highest hopes
And our darkest fears

They swear there was an accident
Back in ’47
Little man with a great big head
Splattered down from heaven
Government conspiracy
Cover-ups and lies
Hidden in the desert
Under endless skies

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No time for heroes, no place for good guys
No room for Rocky The Flying Squirrel

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
Turn your weary eyes back homeward
Stop your trembling, dry your tears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

Would they pile into the saucer
Find Orlando’s rat and hug it?
Go screaming through the universe
Just to get McNuggets?
Well, I don’t think so, I don’t think so
It’s much too dangerous, it’s much too strange
Here in a world that won’t give Oprah
No home on the range

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No authenticity, no sign of soul
The radio won’t play George and Merle

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
‘Til we put away our hatred
‘Til we lay aside our fears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my sister
They’re not here, they’re not coming

To this garden we were given
And always took for granted
It’s like my daddy told me
“You just bloom where you’re planted.”
Now you long to be delivered
From this world of pain and strife
That’s a sorry substitution
For a spiritual life

Well, it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
Post, postmodern world
No place for sentiment, no room for romance
Bring back the Duke of Earl

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
Turn your hopes back homeward
Hold your children, dry their tears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Not in a million years
‘Til we put away our hatred
And lay aside our fears
You may see the heavens flashing
You may hear the cosmos humming
But I promise you, my brother
They’re not here, they’re not coming

Lyrics from Genius

 

What are you really, incredibly thankful for this week?

My husband, my son Michael, my grandsons Julius and Luca, all of whom live with me in a house I have owned for 43 years.

IMG_7286

20141011_132053 20180209_155818

I don’t know how I could be any more grateful for a building than I am for this 110 year old, funky, maze of a house that has supported me, more than 40 other people and countless animals living here over all these years.

 

 

NEWSYWbanner

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2018/11/19/share-your-thankful-world/

vacation photos

No, I am not on vacation…although Nancy Merrill is. So she is skipping a week of her inspiring photo challenges. Her themes are great and the responses she gets are wonderful. Worth visiting her site:

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/photo-a-week-challenge/

Here’s one I responded to a while back.

https://chosenperspectives.com/2018/10/13/a-photo-a-week-whimsical-10-13-18/

Since Nancy is gone on vacation, I decided to use THAT as my own theme for today. I actually started writing about our 7,000 mile Epic Roots Road Trip vacation last summer but never got back to it.

Here’s a photo sampling.

IMG_0258
VERY Southern California
IMG_0278
Dinner company 
IMG_0312
Blue Angels practice show
IMG_0336
Naval Air Museum-Pensacola

IMG_0373

IMG_0378
Beauties in the Florida swamps

IMG_0393

IMG_0404
Campground Sunrise
IMG_0498
blurry definition??

IMG_0504

IMG_0524
Cousin’s Chow
New Orleans Duck
friendly duck, looking for junk food handout at 7-11 Louisiana

 

 

 

SongLyricSunday 11/4/18 Theme-Taking

I don’t know what Henley’s meaning for this song is but I know what it meant to me.

This song is dedicated to the hundreds of brand new Dad’s, whose baby daughters and sons entered this world in my presence. How lucky was I to have attended and witnessed so many births over the years? The most profound miracles of my life!

As for this video, I am so impressed with Don Henley live. Though the quality of this video is not great, what a polished performance.

Don Henley – Taking Your Home (Live)
Album: Inside Job (2000)

Lyrics by https://genius.com/Don-henley-taking-you-home-lyrics

I had a good life
Before you came
I had my friends and my freedom
I had my name

Still there was sorrow and emptiness
Till you made me glad
Oh and this love
I found strength
Never knew i had

And this love
Is like nothing i have ever known
Take my hand
I’m taking you home
Taking you home

There were days, lonely days
When the world
Wouldn’t throw me a crumb
But I kept on believin’
That this day would come

And this love
Is like nothing like I have ever known baby
Take my hand
I’m taking you home
I’m taking you home
Where we can be with the ones who really care
Home
Where we can grow old together
Keep you in my heart forever

Oh and this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand
Taking you home
Taking you home

Yes I am

 

 

mysteriously little info available, apparently a bit of controversy, hope I don’t get in any trouble for this post. 😒

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taking_You_Home

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 11/4/18

IMG_1345