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A ridiculous unbelievably wonderful life

Novel By: teedeebee50
Memoir



The first chapter is about my mother taking my brothers and me to see JFK. Chapters after that are presented seemingly at random. The second chapter is about my philosophy of life as it applies to money and wealth. The third chapter is a vignette about traveling to see a friend and his idiotic behavior in a bar. The fourth chapter is a few childhood memories that describe what would now be considered a very unique upbringing. More to come. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Submitted:Jun 10, 2012    Reads: 60    Comments: 2    Likes: 2   


Chapter 11" There he is boys!"

An important thing happened when I was very young. I must give my mother credit for this. It was she that had the ability to recognize history as it was being made. As important as that though, she had the self assurance needed to act on her own instinct and expose us, her sons, to that important history. Such insight though not rare, may be considered uncommon at least. I am, and will always be, indebted to her for that. This event has continued to reveal to me over the decades how much I was given that, in turn, made me so able to recognize the same types of things, trust my own instinct, and give of myself. Those abilities are the more important legacies of the event than the thing itself. Everything about it said to me "this is how you should be to your children!" Don't be afraid to be an inspiration. Don't be timid about showing your progeny what you believe is important in life, in serious, substantive, and dramatic ways. Either that or live with the middle-of-the-road, milk toast, easy-to-get-along-with, wall flower, middle managers that your children will be. Enough though. Here's what happened…

It was the fall of 1962. I was only 6. Mother woke us up and bade us dress nicely and prepare for something important. I really don't remember the trip to the event. My sense is that I didn't really understand what was so important about where we were going, just that it WAS important. I remember almost nothing until the moment itself. It happened like this; Mother found a place to park just off the road. It was a beautiful October morning. We walked a short way to an old stone bridge over the Flint river. It was well out of the city proper, near the Michigan School for the Deaf, in a lovely city-park looking setting. As I gazed south at the river it turned west in a gentle 90 degree arc about 500 yards away forming a well-groomed meadow of 20-40 acres. Down in the meadow, near the river, several dark imposing Lincoln limousines sat with men in dark suits milling about. A large, loud helicopter touched down. At the age I was, that was impressive enough. I was enthralled. I had seen helicopters on TV, but to see one for real was amazing! Several men got out of the helicopter and got in one of the limo's that had the top down. My God! Helicopters, convertibles, stone bridges! My memory gone over by the adult that I became realized in years to come what I was feeling, how I must have reacted and that my mother could see that I was already so taken with everything that I could easily miss what really mattered. My brothers were, I'm sure, in a similar state. To put it succinctly, we were distracted from what was to be one of the most important observations of our lives. My mother decided to act decisively.

As the cars came up to the road, they turned our way and were soon crossing the stone bridge. We were the only ones on the right side. We were near the far side of the bridge as the vehicles crossed. I want to be very clear about this. We were the ONLY people on the right side of the road, and there were damn few on the other side.

My mother commenced to put on a display that would probably get her tackled by black suited, coiled-wire-ear-bud wearing secret service thugs in an instant now. She began to yell as loud as she could "There he is boys! There he is! Right there! There he is boys!" in a kind of 100 Db loop. At the same time she was frantically pointing at the drop-top black Lincoln continental with the suicide doors that held several people in addition to the driver. In the back, on our side was JFK. Next to him was LBJ. In the front was the then-Michigan-governor George Romney. One sitting president that was destined to be one of only three that have been assassinated, his VP, destined to be president in his own right, and the person destined to be father of one of the most empty-suit Republican also-ran losers to disgrace the republican party in decades. Quite an historic carload by any stretch.

Here's the thing though, my mom was making such a spectacle, and I'm sure that the sight of a 4 ½' woman with three boys in tow, screaming and pointing as though the Kraken was emerging from Lake Michigan, was such a sight that JFK was truly amused. He was laughing at her/us. HE pointed US out to LBJ. I swear I lip read him saying to the vice president "Mick Jagger told me that the Detroit audiences were the most enthusiastic he'd ever seen. Man he was right!" LBJ was just nodding his head…

At that moment I got it. I became aware in an instant that this was a single moment in time that would be in my memory forever, and that I would always be able to use it to place myself in time and space by this. JFK and I locked eyes. He was maybe 20 feet away. I was the smallest, holding my mother's hand, (ok she was clutching MY hand in a vise grip!) and by far the most serious.

I know it sounds incredibly self-important, narcissistic, and a self-aggrandizing memory. I swear it's true though. He and I locked eyes. At that moment, and in every moment since, I've known that I was destined to be an important historical figure in the 21st century. OK…that's total bullshit! I didn't have any great revelation beyond the fact that I had just witnessed a person who's soul told me that it would be leaving this plane soon… Ha! Bullshit again. I didn't have any dramatic insight beyond the fact that I had just been enormously embarrassed by my own mother in public.

Thank God it wasn't in the presence of someone that would influence the next century..whew! Like the speaker of the house wearing nothing but a Speedo, I knew that I could count on being incognito.

OK…I don't know where that came from. Clearly I shouldn't write these reminiscences when I'm buzzed.

The president and his VP passed. We drove home. I really don't remember talking about it at all. In fact, it was seldom brought up between my brothers and me in the years to come. Now though, I have a great regard for the mother that would have that much gut-instinct and act upon it. Good job mom. In some years to come she was willing to prove her mettle again.

It was 1969. A year earlier my parents, my brothers and I, went down to Kalamazoo to visit my sister who was living with her new husband in a small attic apartment while they were (ostensibly) finishing college. He did, she didn't. While we were there, my sister thought it would add to the family atmosphere to put on a new album that was out from the stage play "HAIR". The look on my dad's face when the song about "Donna" (Once upon a lookin' for a Donna time she was a sixteen year old virgin!") came on was priceless! He was visibly shaken. My mother laughed at "I'm a colored spade a nigger, a black nigger, jungle bunny, jigaboo coon, pickaninny mau mau" etc. It's not that she was a bigot, it was presented in a very humorous way, as were so many other aspects of the play.

The thing is this:

  1. She took me and two friends to downtown Detroit to see what was, at the time, a very controversial stage play. We were seeing something that was, to the current popular culture, cutting edge. For your mother to do that when you are 13 years old is amazing and wonderful. For her part, I'm sure that she was thrilled that:
  2. I knew about it and was able to verbalize what it was about, and
  3. I had friends I wanted to bring that were of the same awareness and
  4. By asking her to take us it demonstrated a tacit belief in her "hipness" and willingness to accept what the current culture was.{Her own mother was often extolled by my mother as a part of the group when my mother was a teen.} After going she was instantly known as the "coolest mom" that any of us had! This was exactly what she wanted to be known as. Last night I had a long phone conversation with one of the two friends that I took with me to see Hair. He STILL extolled the merits of my mother. This was 40 years later.

My sister was pregnant with my nephew Dustin when we went down to visit them. He became, and is, one of the most important, interesting, talented, and wonderful people in my life. Even more importantly, he KNOWS me. He knows me better than anyone (with the exception perhaps of Monica) ever has. He and I have always been close. I used to baby sit for him when he was still in a crib, and I was 13. I was the one that saw him stand for the first time and pointed it out to everyone. I lived with him and my sister when he was 4 and 5 years old. We talked, laughed, and shared our innermost feelings. He was my most trusted confidant. If I brought a guest over, be they male or female, I could always count on him to be observant, truthful, and an amazing trait at such a tender age, he was discreet and willing to allow privacy when necessary. In short, an easier child to be around I cannot imagine. He was self aware, and frequently serious. He took every situation, however bizarre or downright inappropriate in stride, and with a good deal of acceptance.

Most importantly though, Dustin has taken everything that his mother and I tried to teach/show him to its natural evolution. He has become what we aspired to. His very existence and success is proof that our ideas and philosophy had merit. He is the living promise of the age of Aquarius. Intelligence, high regard for self-directed work/creativity, a deep empathy for the plight of other human beings, and an acceptance of the natural instinct for life as a happiness existence are all hallmarks of his existence. I revere and regard him as the highest expression of everything I ever touted as the truth, and strived for myself. In that framework, I will tell a tale of his input as a child…





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