Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

Remembrance of One I Loved

December 12, 2013

Some might consider this a long overdue eulogy.  So be it.  To me it’s my way of having an ever lasting memory of one I love even to this day.  Yes, I’m talking about a deceased member of my immediate family.  His birthday is this month and I wanted to do something for him even after thirty (30) years of being long gone.  He lived for a very short forty two years.  Some may have called him every name in the book and then some, others may have called him a friend.  However, I’ve always referred to him as “father.”

For the most part he was a good father.  His only character flaw to me was his lack of showing how much he truly cared openly.  Don’t get me wrong.  There were plenty of times that he openly showed he cared.  It’s just those times were few and far apart.  Otherwise, his love was shown in the best way possible.  He was always understanding even when he didn’t voice his opinion.  My father was certainly supportive of his three children.  His one thing was we had what we needed even if he had to do without.

From the day my father left high school till the year before he died, he worked as a tool and die worker.  You may have seen some of his work when you climbed into your automobile or truck in the past.  He built the molds for a large number of plastic parts that went into those automobiles and trucks.  One such mold I remember him having his shop order a microscope so he could fix a mold someone else botched up.  It was for the Ford four speed shifter that was to go into the Mustang of the time.  Alas, this is but one memory of my father.  Not the fondest of memories but just one.

Probably the earliest memory of something my father did for us kids was when we lived at the house on Pulver Road outside Three Rivers, Michigan.  One year it snowed deep enough for him to come out and make us a snow fort semi-igloo with a snow shovel.  At the time we weren’t even old enough to handle a shovel all that well.  I think I was around eight at the time.  My other two siblings at the time were seven and five.  It was a lot of fun.  I think my father even got into a snowball fight with us kids.

The next fondest memory of my father was when we lived on North Main Street just a block outside of Three Rivers.  It was on a fourth of July.  At the time my father was big into muzzle loading guns.  He had ample amounts of gun powder in the house for shooting as well as testing barrels for some of the guns he build himself.  That fourth of July he took the time to make home made firecrackers and shot off his muzzle loading rifle out back sans lead balls.  I still think he had more fun than us kids that year.  It was the same year my mom’s oldest brother showed up with his family.  He had to show off to my father after seeing my father’s muzzle loader.  He brought out an old WWII vintage Thompson semi-machine gun and lit it off (shot it) in full automatic.  Needless to say we had police at our door ten minutes after my uncle put the weapon away.

By far the best times with my father were spent on our eighty acre farm he bought back in 1973.  It was almost half way between Jones, Michigan and Three Rivers.  We heated by a wood/oil burning furnace as well as a Benjamin Franklin style stove.  Many a times either my entire family or just my father and his two sons went out to cut wood for the winter.  He’d cut the trees down and cut them up so we could load it onto a trailer.  A lot of wood got split by yours truly as well as my brother.

Funny thing is I was not there for a picture my mom shot of my father when he wasn’t looking.  I believe she still has that picture today.  The picture in question had my father out in the driveway the day after an evening snow storm.  All the trees are covered in snow as well as the ground.  My father was looking off towards the woods to the south and thinking about what I don’t know to this day.  To me it’s by far the best picture of my father I’ll ever see.  I have one other of my mom, him, and myself that was taken around my high school graduation time but it doesn’t even compare with the one mentioned.  I think he was actually in his element when my mom took the picture of him in the driveway.

My last memory of my father alive was during a Christmas leave period (while I was in the Navy) in 1982.  I was home for his last Christmas as well as his last birthday alive.  He’d been diagnosed with a brain tumor just two months before and had come through surgery to remove some of it.  He didn’t go for full removal because he didn’t want to loose his mobility.  Instead he opted for the partial removal and to finish his life out making his final plans for his family.  When diagnosed, my father was given six months to two years to live.  He left my mother, my brother, and my sister but five months later in April of 1983.

It’s been difficult to write this short piece about my father.  My eyes are watering and tears are starting to roll down my cheeks.  My only wish is that anyone who reads this will remember what my father meant to me and think before they have bad thoughts about their own fathers.  Sometimes fathers do things for the strangest of reasons.  Most times they do them for the good of the family that is theirs.  For better or for worse, I LOVE YOU FATHER WHEREVER YOUR SOLE IS NOW I HOPE YOU SEE THIS.

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20 years later! Discharge anniversary. A small look back!

November 28, 2012

Come this December 14th, I’ll celebrate 20 years since my discharge from the United States Navy.  However, I have nothing really to celebrate other than more freedom (though several of those freedoms are being challenged by our current congressional leaders), more police harassment, and politicians who refuse to find jobs for and help those veterans that protect their rights.  Of course, I can believe this since there are only 103 people in the upcoming Congress who are veterans themselves.  That’s not even 25% of our congressional leaders are veterans.

Before I give you my opinion on that, let me give you a brief synopsis of my life since I left the military.  Well maybe not so brief, but it will be enlightening to say the least.  Let me add that before I entered the military, I had some if not much college education.

Ok, I was discharged in December 14, 1992 and I remained in San Diego for approximately four months living in what some would call a studio apartment.  At the time rent was $425/month in San Diego and that was behind the San Diego airport.  Living anywhere near the beach or in a decent neighborhood was cost prohibitive.  What sucked was, I was attempting to do this on a security officer’s (as most call them “rent-a-pigs”) salary.  No easy task back then.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.

In May of 1993, after already filing my Veteran’s administration claim, I had to leave California due to monetary reasons.  So off I went back to my home state of Michigan only to find no work for almost three months.  Then it was back to the recreational vehicle industry (manufacturing).  That move cost me almost everything I owned and eventually cost me the pickup truck I was driving at the time.  Then my transportation became a bicycle.  Probably a good thing too.

Between 1993 and 1998 I stayed as actively employed as I could.  Even in the rust belt it wasn’t easy at the time.  While I was in Michigan I got to visit with my uncle who is now deceased.  He was the only non-family member of Florida Technical College Dean’s.  This college was set up by Ronald Reagen’s ex-Education Secretary with multiple locations all over Florida.  He offered to help me further my education in the field of my choice.  It would be later that I’d decide to take him up on his offer.

Out a job and in financial trouble (about to be evicted from my rental mobile home and forced to call the bank and return a truck I bought just less than a year ago), I took the last $1500 I earned spending it on a reasonable bicycle and what I thought might be appropriate to travel around 2000 miles with.  I left in June of 1998 headed to Florida to see my uncle who made me the offer.  Needless to say, I had little or no knowledge then what I was letting myself in for not to mention I became homeless for the first of many times to come.

Trip to Florida

Now this was the most interesting or harrowing trip/vacation I ever made.  It was also a vast eye opener as to what was going on in the country most people don’t see and our politicians try to hide.  It took me one full month (21 actual riding days) to roll from Three Rivers, Michigan to Winter Haven, Florida.  I traversed Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in my travels.

While many only see what they view from the interstate highways and tollways, I got to see America up close and personal as bicycles are not allowed on those roads.  Most of my travels were on two lane highways (some four lanes).  What I saw was that there were only a certain few people who used what they earned properly (i.e. good home and functional automobile).  One such case I witnessed, a man owning a mobile home with no less than five automobiles in the driveway (one of which was a BMW sport sedan).  Now all of those vehicles may or may not have been his and some or all could have been non-functional.  However, no person should put an automobile of that expense over a home.

The vast majority of what I saw on my trip was shocking.  Most people in the areas I traveled lived in modest homes and had modest cars.  Many were living paycheck to paycheck to keep what they had.  They WEREN’T competing with the Jones.  Only a small percentage of people had any true wealth (i.e. luxurious home, extravagant automobiles, mobile homes, boats, and other luxuries by my standards).  All this got me thinking of who pays the most taxes.  Come to find out it’s not those with the luxuries.  It’s the ones barely making ends meet.

Sure there may be more of us who barely make ends meet.  However, the ones that can barely make ends meet are those who are most likely to become homeless and also those most likely to be imprisoned because of trying to stay alive while those that rob other people blind (i.e. white collar criminals) generally get of with little or no punishment.
As they say “The best law money can buy.”  Basically stating, if you have money you can buy the law/lawyers.

Needless to say, this trip opened my eyes up more than my time in the military or advertisements for aid to the hungry and homeless in Africa.  I saw both homelessness and hunger right here in America and am still witnessing it growing by the day in Columbia, South Carolina.  All this because of a small percentage of greedy people whom DON’T want to pay any taxes whatsoever.  It’s this, petty jealousy, religion, and the fight over resources that cause wars both civil and otherwise.

Jacksonville, Florida

After making it to Winter Haven, Florida and getting to talk with my grandmother for a week, I was picked up and relocated to Jacksonville, Florida where my uncle was opening up another branch of Florida Technical College.  It would soon be my new school since I told my uncle of my decision on his offer of further education albeit two years later.  It’s also where I took up residence with my aunt and uncle while I attended school before they were transferred south.

Once my time at Florida Technical College ended, I moved out from my aunt and uncle’s apartment.  I held a studio in Jacksonville for just a short bit before becoming homeless yet again.  Eventually, I got back to work for a day labor place and moved from there to full time work.  It didn’t last.  I ended up back on the street in 2000 without a home, a job, or any unemployment benefits per say.  It was at that time, I decided on a location change as there was nothing in Jacksonville.

Thinking with the little head!

In 2000, I met a lady online whom I fell for rather hard.  Thinking with my little head,  I decided to move to South Carolina.  Alas, she moved to Texas and I was stuck again.  I ended up in Columbia and remain to this day.  Still homeless (I was living out of a cheap used car I was driving at the time), I started working day labor again in an attempt to get back off the street and into something a little more permanent.

In the last twelve years, I’ve been on and off the street time and time again.  Each time it gets harder to get up and off the street.  Coming up on my 53rd birthday, I wonder if I’ll make it up this time.  Will I be stuck on the street while awaiting my Veteran’s Association claim to be denied yet again?  Will I finally be driven beyond the brink and do what I thought of doing last when I was 15?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

At this point, I can no longer do the physical labor I once did and Information Technology jobs in this state are far and few in between.  All I can hope for now is the resolution of my VA claim and my disability payment goes above 50% so I can at least find myself off the street.  From there I can at least run a part time business fixing computers from my home to supplement my disability pay.  Perhaps eventually, I’ll be able to garner the other certifications that will allow me to return to the work force in a much better job.

With all this on my plate, I’ll leave you with something about my next post.  It will be entitled Why do they do this? Police brutality!