I was born January 15, 1947
in Mt. Carmel Hospital, Detroit, Michigan.
Within six months of my birth, my mother would bundle her baby boy into a blanket and board an American Airlines propeller-driven plane--in effect, leaving my father behind--to return to her hometown, Ft. Worth, Texas.
My Dad had an excellent job working for Cadillac as an inspector. It was a Union job. It paid well. But his wife (my mom) refused to continue living in his house because his alcoholic mother lived there. Dad left his secure employment and flew to Ft.Worth to reunite.
Mom and Dad moved in with my maternal grandparents.
Those grandparents pretty much reared me.
Dad got a job making 1/15th his previous working wage.
He had to walk five miles to get to work as an auto reupholsterer.
Mom worked in a Donut shop, in a Carnival, as a waitress.
According to Mom's story, Dad lasted in Cowtown about six weeks and threw in the towel and moved back to Detroit. He got his old job back and sent her money to return when she got her head straight.
According to him (I met him 25 years later), she spent the money on new clothes and told him to send more cash for plane tickets. She spent that too and he was done with her (and, consequently: me.)
None of the above is at all interesting to you but it fascinates me. I guess this is because I got off to a lousy start in life without a father in a world where DIVORCE was shameful.
For the first 21 years of my life, I felt inferior to my peers who had both a Mom and a Dad.
I was extremely shy and backward socially in elementary school but I made perfect grades. That was my compensating principle: You are better than I am--but I am smarter than you.
I was the school spelling champ. I could memorize anything.
I increased my vocabulary to the point nobody could understand a word I spoke or wrote.
Congratulations Terry, for stupid over-compensation.
My best friend, Johnny, induced me gradually to become absorbed into a seemingly friendly and righteous religious organization (cult) of Jehovah's Witnesses. For me at that time--it seemed like self-betterment.
I learned (was indoctrinated) to go door to door talking to strangers about how Armageddon was coming. I was schooled in public speaking and how to prepare and deliver sermons.
I was privately counseled to refuse induction into the Armed Forces and got myself sentenced to 6 years in Federal Prison. I 'served' time from 67 to 69 and was paroled.
I married my best friend's sister.
We created three incredible babies and I worked as a janitor, a mobile home builder, and a bricklayer for four years. Simultaneously, I was a full-time (one hundred hours per month) minister of Jehovah's Witnesses.
I lost my F-ing mind!
Talk about s*itholes? My LIFE was one.
I moved my entire family away from Texas (and I hoped the influence of the JW's) to California. I determined to become an artist.
Life changed dramatically. I was reborn as a human being.
My wife was still a devout Witness. Our marriage fell entirely apart.
I could no longer even pretend.
You can't win for losing, it seems.
Either my life has been a stinking failure or it was some kind of raggedy-ass drama of survival with PTSD. (I had been assaulted in prison.)
I either did the best I could with what I had--or I'm simply the remains of a brainwashed cult victim who could never quite regain sanity.
Tomorrow, I turn 71.
What in the world, I ask you, do I have to celebrate other than surviving?
I have exactly what I deserve and nothing more.
My children and grandchildren are the real miracles in my life.
I have nothing to complain about worth the telling.
I'm still healthy and have most of my hair. I'm not yet fat.
I lost 2 of my best friends to death last year.
I cannot acquire or maintain any significant other in my life because I'm pretty much impossible to deal with.
Why am I writing this?
Beats me, other than to bring myself up to date in personal inventory.
Turning 71 means you stop and take stock.
I appreciate all my Ex-JW friends who stop to read what I write and post. You help me more than you know simply by BEING THERE as a sense of 'family of friends' for me to talk to and 'share' thoughts with.
I guess if I didn't have stories left to tell or people to listen, I could pack it in and join Elon Musk in a colony on Mars.
Thank you, folks, for listening.That's my birthday confessional