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« Brain food from the heartland

The unanswered knock of love, part vii: dad

By Louie b. Free (Contact)


Published November 19, 2006

Dad,
I had a guest on my radio show today that made me think about you. My guest wrote a book about protest in America, about dissent, titled Dissent in America-the voices that shaped a nation. One person that the author,professor Young writes about is Eugene V. Debs. I read the speech that Debs made in Canton Ohio-the one Debs was arrested for making.

I remember you telling me about *your* father. You always spoke of your father w/great admiration and honour. You spoke of how your father arrived here in the U.S. of A. w/nothing-after all-all was taken from him,all from him and all like him, when he and the others of his kind were forced to leave their homesteads. You told me about how you father came here and took care of his family-how he supported his family after learning a skill, a trade. You told me about how your father made a living and then, how he was also able to help others,poorer people ,w/his skills. Many times,when I was young, I witnessed you helping people-poor people, orphaned children, physically and mentally ill people. My guess is that your compassion for others may have begun watching your father's acts of compassion. You also told me about your admiration for your father's musical(violin) talents and his involvement in the Yiddish Theatre. It would disturb me when you'd tell me-w/pride-of how your father took you to the Yiddish theatre and how you'd fall asleep in the balcony-I felt bad that those times together were not. You also had played violin at an early age but then had to give it up for work. You probably would have been a good violinist.In your later years you taught your self to play piano which seemed to be one of the few things that brought you peace as cancer was slowly taking your life. You also picked up other artistic skills from your father. The birthday,Christmas and holiday cards sent from you were always *everyone's* favourite. From the artistically designed envelopes, often addressed in olde-english script-done by dipping one of your old pen nibs into india ink-if a birthday card-with a hand drawn cake w/ appropriate number of candles-to the unusually done messages inside, w/instructions as to how to hold the card at eye level to be able to hear the encrypted message and often with one of your cartooned characters. You were so generous w/your giving of those cards which took skill AND time to produce. Too bad that you didn't have the patience nor take the time to try and pass some of your skills to me. I often wonder where compassion comes from. I always asks guests who seem to be giving,loving and/or compassionate: "...where do you think your compassion comes from?" Taught/learned? Innate? Did your compassionate giving come from seeing your father's compassionate giving? I remember going w/you around Thanksgiving with boxes of food-that YOU put together and delivering them to some very poor people. I remember going w/you around Christmas w/boxes of food and toys-taking them to the homes of needy families-just us-no organization, no media, no hoopla, just compassionate giving. I wonder today, how you obtained the names and addresses of those families. I also remember seeing the tears of appreciation in the eyes of many of the food and gift recipients. I remember you telling me about a job that you quit. You were working in a pawn shop. One winter day a man came in, took off his boots, put them on the counter and was given a quarter("...and in those days, that was a lot of money..." you told me). You told me that you quit and walked out when that happened. Did your father ,by example, instill in you a sense of compassionate giving ? You certainly had to have been a willing recipient to carry on w/compassionate giving. Your father also had some other characteristics that I am not at all glad that you have perpetrated. When you were violent w/us you'd always add a 'disclaimer': "You're lucky you didn't have *MY* father !...He'd REALLY give it to us when...". So why would you,when you had a choice, take the good AND the bad attributes of your father? Did you really think that after your rages, saying that it could have been worse was any comfort to us? Why you refused to have a soft side w/your own children is and always will be a mystery to me. You were sweet and adoring to your wife and angry and violent w/your children. Thankfully, the mythic concept of "quality time" was not something practiced by you-who knows what THAT would have been like?
My love hate relationship w/Woody Allen: I hate his paedophilia and love his movies which makes me even angrier at him. I won't go to his movies or even rent his movies, but love when they're on TV where I do not patronize him personally. In Hannah and Her Sisters, Hannah, think about her parents : " They loved the idea of having children, but raising them, didn't interest them much...". I suppose it's good that you didn't tell me that you loved me-it would have only been confusing as your *actions* would have hurt much more that your words would have *healed*. Do I wonder why I spent so many years killing pain w/ drugs? Possibly the confusion that I felt when a combination of *my*blood and *his*(note: my father did NOT sexually abuse me) semen dripping down my leg from my anus and my tears streaming down my face would have been worse had you said that you loved me-because when the man who had *just* inflicted so much physical pain and emotional confusion and fear *hugged* me and told me that *he* loved me, that actually felt good-good to feel someone hug me when I was a little boy and tell me that he loved me ! So, needless to say, that confusion w/love,sex and pain created some problems in my life: hence my promiscuity and drug abuse? What might it have meant to a little boy to have been able to go to his loving father for some loving help?-I don't know, that's *was* the problem. I looked for love via sex and killed the pain anyway and every way that I could. When you were 70 years old, at the urging of my wife, I asked you if you loved me-your reply still echos in my mind :" What kind of question is that?"-gee, Dad, I thought it was a good one.

end part one

~Louie b.

19 Nov 06

7:44p


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