jump to navigation

My Mother’s Birthday April 26, 1923 -1978 April 26, 2017

Posted by voolavex in birthday, mother, serial monster, funeral, life baggage, loss, dead, death certificate, despicable, Domestic Violence, guilt, Mann & Mann, marriage, murder, My Mother, serial monster, Social Issues.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Back in the days when domestic disputes were shameful and unreported, my mother was the dead body in a domestic murder.

In a small blue-collar town in Massachusetts. On January 24, 1978.  It was a long time ago and it was a moment ago.  It was the tragic finale to many phone calls and plane ticket reservations and telephone commiseration for a mother who simply couldn’t.  She fought back, she screamed, she saw a doctor, she drank, but she could not leave with my two much younger siblings, or the pony or the house or the lingering affection she carried for a man who was a serial monster.  Bigamist, philanderer, narcissist, sociopath and murderer.  One sib says many calls of service were made to the local police – their hands tied by 1977/1978 concepts and legalities.  Another sib tells of death threats  made to them on the night of my mother death.  I did not know anything about this part.  I only knew my mother wrote and cried and simply said “he” had a girlfriend and she was confused and didn’t know what to do.  At 54 she was probably menopausal. Not much to go on.  She didn’t want to move out with the children or leave the pets and the laundry list of excuses women have conjured for time immemorial.  I was in Los Angeles and not welcome in her house. (Actually on February 10, 1958 I was no longer welcome in her life.  At 12, I thought it was because he really loved her.)  I blame myself for not listening harder and asking more questions.  And I had no idea that physical violence was part of the picture.  Neither of my siblings (19+ and 15) called me to ask for help. My mother had pride that went before all else.  Including her funeral.

Her death certificate from that time reads  COD: undetermined.  A residual fear stops me from requesting a new one.  She will still be dead.

She was only 54. Today is her 95th birthday. May I say she was beautiful and gentle and kind? May I say by the time I arrived at her house, anything of sentimental value that had belonged to her was gone?  That her grieving husband knew I knew and it was not pleasant?  That I swallowed my rage, stepped back and stayed for the children ( I am my mother’s daughter)? That I drank and sobbed and that the tables overflowed with funeral meats and that 200+ attended her funeral in Boston? That mourners continued;  people I never knew, arrived in tears? That it was the same funeral home by her high school best friend’s parents? Mann & Mann. That I had played as small child in their huge house upstairs? That my family went back as close friends of the Manns? That the grieving husband read a sickening tribute?. And that my own father wept with me in stunned sorrow?

In 1978,  it was simply another domestic dispute. Perhaps still in the local police records – on paper in a box; with so many others of the time.  

There was no investigation.  I knew of no interviews with siblings. That police never asked me anything.  My grandmother thought it was a heart attack.  She had just lost her only child.  Was it mine to reveal?  Information continued to seep through and very long after  I found out the history of the man she had married in 1958.  From his children; who loved my mother.  I should have wondered more about the words of my dear step-brother who walked in, in 1978,  crying, and said to me, sotto voce, “what did he do to her?”

 I have always known it was murder.  I have always known he patiently waited.  I knew she did not wash down 40 or 50 pills with vodka.  She didn’t ever take Darvon and that’s what they found. I know he sat beside her and watched. I have no idea how he managed to make it happen.  He died five years later; alone  in a rented apartment in Lawrence; the other woman long gone.  He was soup when they found him.  Dead five days of a heart attack in a fall from the up high liquor shelf. One he needed a step stool to reach.  In a closed apartment on a sweltering summer day.

 

He was short and bald and had good teeth.

I could kill him again and again for his crime but she would not have wanted that.  And dead never ends. They would have been married twenty years on that February 10th.

She has been gone 39 years. Since the day my  broken heart and endless anger met all at once.  And no one of us leftover has ever been able to move on.  We try to unpack that valise, only to realize that some things travel with you forever,  in your life luggage.

Advertisements

Town and Gown Antics – Cambridge 2009 August 3, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
“On July 16, 2009, (Skip) Gates returned home from a trip to China to find the door to his house jammed. His driver attempted to help him gain entrance. Responding to a report of a possible break-in, a Cambridge police officer arrested Gates and charged him with disorderly conduct after a confrontation. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.[10] The incident spurred a politically-charged exchange of views about race relations and law enforcement throughout the United States.[11]”  Wikipedia.
 
I have been following the Skip Gates saga since it started; the many twists to the story are fascinating and while I don’t think any “dialogue” of race has been started I do think it’s worth noting how polarized people have become over this incident and for interesting reasons.  Here’s one:
 
I was born in Boston and have lived in Cambridge.  It is its own city with its own police force.  Having said that- the Cambridge PD are not hired by or from Harvard.  I think there are people that imagine that Cambridge attracts a better,  more educated kind of cop.  In fact,  the City of Cambridge draws their police form the same gene pool that Boston PD does.  Good or bad – these are local folks for whom the idea of being a cop is a good salary, respect (maybe), a nice pension, medical insurance, overtime, camaraderie, better than a gang and you get to carry a gun.  You become the law.  Not everyone should become the law.
 
Skip Gates is a distinguished Harvard professor who lives in a lovely home in Cambridge.  He was disabled at 14 and requires a cane to help him walk.  He has degrees from Yale and Clare College, Cambridge (UK).  He is a Ph.D.  His area of expertise is African American Humanities and related fields.  His list of honors is a long one. 
 
James K. Crowley is a sergeant with the Cambridge Police and is the responder to the call of a possible burglary in progress at an address that happened to be Gates home.  A passer-by called it in.
 
Did I mention it was broad daylight – around lunch time. 
 
I think everyone behaved poorly;  Gates was jet-lagged and Crowley was over zealous.  When Crowley established it was indeed Prof. Gates’ home he should have simply said – “sorry – we have to check every call for service” and left.  Gates should have cooled his jets. Crowley or someone in the CPD instead called for back-up.  He asked Gates to step outside.  Gates got really irate and mentioned Crowley’s “momma”.  Gates was then handcuffed and arrested for DISORDERLY CONDUCT”.
 
Let’s review – Crowley has the gun, Gates has the cane, Crowley is overwrought, Gates is furious.  A crowd has also gathered.  Look at all the police.
 
NB: Black people do not get treated by the police – in general – the same way white people get treated. This is not Black paranoia – this is experience.  Black parents train their kids how to act when pulled over by a cop.  Do you imagine white parents do?  The main idea is not to get hurt or worse and stay out of jail.  We have all heard of Driving While Black.  This is a real thing – not a Dave Chapelle sketch.  DWB embraces every possible experience Black people could have with the law, even when they are the victim.  Deny it, sputter, shake your head.  But I been there. And I am not the Black person in the car or store or house.
 
White folks don’t think this happens at all and Black folks wish it wouldn’t happen so often.
 
So the other day a woman, whom I know from my area,  and I were chatting and the subject of Skip Gates came up and she went off. Like a bottle rocket. And she was specific – she hated Gates; hated his interview on TV with Ethiopian Jews years back when she says he lied about these Jews  and hence he was an asshole , a liar and no good.  (She is a 60-something Jewish lady who says she’s a Democrat and loves the President).  The Cambridge Police, she claimed, were not like other police and were polite and reasonable and they were specially trained to be police in a university area and better than other cops.  And Gates lied and he did it.  And I just stood there. She was so angry and so adamant that I feigned “gotta go” and went.  We were not having what I consider a “chat” at that point.
 
So what have we learned through all this ordeal – including beer at the White House?  Did it become a teachable experience for  all of us who swim in this multicultural ocean?  I don’t know – I jumped in and got bitten by a shark.  I suspect she could have been arrested for disorderly conduct as her voice got louder – but no passerby called 911.  Just as well.

A Common Sense Platform May 3, 2008

Posted by voolavex in common sense, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

I am adopting Common Sense as my party of choice.  I am disgusted with the donkey and the elephant.  The Dems are behaving very badly and the GOP has never appealed to me.  The following is what I think – the short version.

If it seems wrong or not a good idea then don’t do it.  If you have a strong feeling about people being free and  those who want others to be free too – then go for it.  Embrace integrity.  If you have none consider getting some.  Don’t blow people up.  Don’t brainwash children.  Don’t use them for sex. Don’t use racial slurs. Give up lying.  Women and children are not chattel.  Pets are not chattel.  Don’t steal unless it is to feed your children.  Nothing else is important enough to steal. Your children do not require beer, Jack Daniels or snack cakes either.   Other people have opinions and if they don’t impact your world negatively let them be.  All slavery – mental or physical is wrong.  The police make mistakes.  So do the courts.  We still need both.  Not all countries have to be homelands for other people who want them. And you should not invent homelands.  Pakistan was non-existent before 1947.  It didn’t turn out well either.  Israel was Israel before Christianity and Islam even came along.  Let it belong to all faiths who love it but let the Jews do the statecraft.  .   Jerusalem is a Holy city – no one should be kept out.  Not everyone agrees with the Jihad approach.  Leave Jesus out of it – he died for people’s sins once – don’t force him to relive the moment forever.  God may have moved on to other projects.  Don’t think he will bail us out every time.  If you don’t believe in God – why should it bother anyone who does?  Black people get treated poorly in this country.  This is not a myth.  China should not have been awarded the Olympics because they are a repressive regime.  But we should not do business with them and then expect  them to be like us.  If we don’t like them – and no one else seems to,  then  we shouldn’t go there.  When in doubt – ask what the Dalai Lama would do and do it. Try to age gracefully. If not, choose your plastic surgeon as though your future depended on he or she alone.   Babies after 40 may not be the best idea in the world.  Get a pet.  When this planet has been used and discarded like a Styrofoam cup – you will not get a free trip to Mars.  If you live on Earth then everyday is Earth Day. You do not need that huge car.  If airline travel is going to resemble subway riding then it should be a lot cheaper.  Read more books.   Get a real life and reduce your need for tabloid news. Money can buy happiness and better health.  Sad, but true.  If you want political power you will need to toss some bones to the public.  Health care, better distribution of assets, jobs and taxes that make sense.  Donald Trump should not get any loopholes. Avoid Wal-Mart.  George Bush was not the right man for the White House. Even the GOP knows it.  Sex education works better than abstinence.  If abstinence was a solution we would see a drop in sex-related matters.  Everyone who wants to be married should be entitled to do so.  Who they choose is their own business.  The media makes things up for profit.    English does sound better with a British accent.  Rethink Justice Antonin Scalia – he blows hard but some of what he blows makes sense.  Not every mishap is a cause of action. 

Common sense.  No purchase required.  Rated for all ages. Pass it on.

“Without relying on religion, we look to common sense, common experience and the findings of science for understanding…”

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama