The story you're about to read is basically about my life and my missing father.
I can say, my father and mother were married in the summer of 1965.
In December of 1966, my sister was born. Then, in 1968, I come into the picture. There are some things left out, but mostly because the information isn't relevant to the story. My parents decided on having two children and only two. They got what they wanted on both tries. They wanted one boy and one girl. My father would have preferred I was born first, but it simply didn't work out that way.
I have seen pictures of when I was a young boy and I have to take them at face value, as having truly been there, and done the actions. For I, have no recollection of some places, events or things I've done in my past. The reason for which I don't remember is clearly told to you later, however, to give you a glimpse into the future, I had one near-death event that has left much of my childhood in choppy pieces, at best.
My earliest memories of my childhood, take me back to when I was about 7 years old. I can remember, sitting in the livingroom and my family is watching television. What's on? The Dallas Cowboys. My whole family use to root together, as we watched the game on Sundays.
When I was 7 years old, it was a troubling time in my life, because I didn't fit in and I was much smaller than other kids my age. I was one of those kids who didn't like to fight and to this day, I appall violence. But, when I remember my past, I can see where I got my strength and determination from.
And, I'm saddened to tell you, I didn't get it from my father. He decided, when I was 7 years old, that he was leaving my mother, they were getting a divorce. My mother sat my sister and I down for a talk, it was about them splitting up.
My father realized my mother was unfaithful and it ended their marriage of 9 years. My sister and I, had to accept the fact, our father wouldn't be living with us anymore and it would be just her and me, and our mother.
There were many questions in my head and I didn't know where to turn. My mother was very hush hush about it and really didn't want to explain. She just said, your father won't be living with us anymore and that the marriage was over. It wasn't until much later did I find out, what really happened.
The day my father left our house, was the day we sold the house and moved into an apartment, just my sister, mother and myself. It was very odd at first, but after a while. I liked the place. My father would have visitation rights and pick us up on the weekends. One summer, I remember seeing Star Wars, something like 6 times. I didn't care, I just wanted to spend time with my dad.
This went on for a few years, over that course of time, I managed to move twice and change schools twice. And, somehow, lost my father in the midst. It seemed like he no longer cared to visit, because we had not heard from him, since the first move, nevermind, the second move. We lived in each place about 1 year, so he was missing for 2 years.
I was about 11 years old, when I realized, that my father had given up on us(family). It taught me a very vivid lesson, very early in life. It showed me, how much my father really didn't know. My father was an experienced uneducated person. His wisdom passes moral values. Day after day, I would be wondering where he is or what he might be doing?
During his time missing, I managed to complete my first communion, as a catholic. I managed to maintain an A+ average, up till I entered 9th grade. My grades were failing, because of other influences. Plus, it was a new school again. I got my first "F" on my report card, for one marking term, which devastated my mother, which you can bet.....there was no TV, no games, no outside playing.....I was to study and stay in my room.
My mother began dating, while my father was missing and I wasn't cool with it, but I was forced to deal with the situation, for which, was out of my control. My mother found a man, who was legally separated from his wife and two boys. He was arrogant, pushy, a liar and a very heavy handed person.
By this I mean, as my mother's relationship grew with him, he became more forceful about my sister and me, as in listening to him. My mother agreed to give him permission, if necessary, to discipline the two of us. His name was Ronald, nickname "Ronnie" or Ron, for short. When I was younger(and sometimes today still) I always had a problem swallowing pills. I always felt like I was going to choke on them.
There was one day, I just out right refused to take my daily vitamin. Ron grabbed the back of my neck and forced me to stand in front of the sink. In fear, I tried to take them and honestly couldn't do it. And, the next thing I know, I am flying across the kitchen floor, all sprawled out, because he back-handed for not taking my vitamin and claimed I was doing it, because I didn't want to listen to him.
For me, there were no happy times, during the 4 year relationship. There was one day, my sister and I were confined to our rooms, because we were fighting. When Ron sent us to our rooms, we were also told to clean them and he would be checking them.
Well, Ron did check out our rooms. He entered my sister's room and found things to be the way he wanted. The door to my room was closed. I was getting changed, because I worked up a sweat cleaning my room(yes my room was that dirty) and I had a t-shirt, I'd not had a chance to put in my hamper, on the bed.
He walked over to the t-shirt, picked it up and asked "What is this?", I said a t-shirt I was about to put in the hamper. He dropped it back on the bed. I walked over to pick up the t-shirt and when I straightened up, he backhanded me and I went flying across my bed. I hit the wall that was on the other side of the bed and fell down on the floor between the bed and the wall.
He was ranting about how HE wanted my room spotless and if I wasn't going to listen, then he was going to make me listen. I was so scared, literally frightened, because I didn't know what he was going to do. I stood up, between the wall and my bed, and backed myself into the corner. He moved my bed with one hand, so as to have more room. He stepped up on me and grabbed me by my forehead and slammed my head into the corners of two walls.
The day came when my mother, asked my sister and I, if we had a problem with her marrying Ron. My sister calmly said- "Mom, Yes." and I said "Yes!" And, then my mother's next question is "Why not?"
My sister told her that Ron abuses me. The shocked look on my mother's face, said it all. Then, she asked me, if it was true and I said, "Yes". This ultimately changed the entire outlook for that relationship, which ended shortly after she came to us. Which, I was very happy.
However, that didn't help with the feelings I had for him. And, Yes, these feelings are not the kind you want to share with others. It use to be purely unadulterated hatred for the man and I knew there would come a day, when him and I would meet on the street, and only one of us was going to be walking away.
At age 13, I began going to high school, and it seemed like it was not much different, than my other schools. The same clicks, groupies and other people, just trying to learn what they can and get out. To some students, classes were boring and knowledge wasn't worth the effort.
There were some great teachers in my school and I honored them by learning whatever I could, while taking their class. I was never the type to be disruptive in class, because I wanted to learn. I guess, I learned at a slower pace than others. However, I did absorb or learn more knowledge than most kids in my classes and whenever someone came to me for help, I would help explain things they didn't understand.
In 1983, which is the year, I started High School, I found my love for computers. It began a couple of years earlier, but I definitely found my groove in High School. I managed to keep up my grades, until my senior year, when things got harder.
In the early part of 1983, my mother decided that it was important to find out what happened to my father. So, she contacted other family members across the country, to see if they had heard from him. She talked it over with my father's sister(my aunt) and together, they paid for a private investigator to search for him or track him down.
To a very wonderful surprise, the investigator was able to find him. He was living in a motel in the same city we were living. Why hadn't he come to visit? Because, he went to live in San Diego, CA. and had been working for some small restaurant. He wanted a fresh beginning, as far as, employment opportunities. But, was only recently back in Mass.
My mother gave him the opportunity to come, and be a father/male figure to his children, but under one condition- he was to help out around the house and seek out, at least a part-time job.
I thought, at the beginning, there would be a possibility of my parents reconciling their differences and getting back together, but that was shot down by both of them. They seem to be alright as friends and living together, than when married to one another.
I was filled with an abundance of joy, when he accepted her offer to live with us. He would at least be no longer a missing part of my life and we could talk, and do things together. Which, we did. When I was younger, in 6th grade, I learned how to play Chess and Checkers, and enjoyed playing Chess more than Checkers. I use to play against the computer(on the computer I owned at the time) and win a lot.
So, I taught my father how to play. It gave us something to do together, not to mention, we would also be able to talk about whatever came to mind. These times I enjoyed so much.
My father stayed with us, for a number of years. He even helped out with baby-sitting, younger cousins, so his sister could go to work. Over the years, my father developed a problem with his stomach, which when seen by a doctor, was misdiagnosed. It wasn't until a few years later, did we learned more about it.
On one evening, my mother and father, were walking around the street, to go to my aunt's house. As they were walking along the sidewalk, my father fell down to his knees, in pain. He was getting sicker and the medicine the doctor gave him, seemed to not be working as lead to believe.
That night I stayed with my father, at my aunt's place and checked on him during the night. He seemed okay. I went to sleep and when I got up in the morning, he was asleep. I did what I needed to, woke him up and took off for school. Later in the day, while at school, I was told I had a phone call in the office. I was excused from class and went to the office. My sister had called to inform me that my father was admitted to the hospital, because his lips and fingertips were blue in color.
I was permitted to leave school and went to the hospital. The hospital was the next building over on the street of my school. Hence, they were side-by-side, on the same side of the street. The hospital didn't know or couldn't figure out what the problem was, but kept him for a night of observation. At that time, we had to dig into his military background and see what the VA could do for him.
We were told to take him to the Northampton VA Hospital(a 15 mile one-way trip) and they would take things from there. When we brought him there, they took the precautions of putting him in isolation. They originally thought that there was a high probability that he was coming or came down with TB.
The people at the hospital were very helpful and kind, even when they delivered the bad news that my father was dying of Cancer. They claimed to not have the equipment to treat him and they would send him to the closest place, which turned out to be up in Vermont, White River Junction, to be exact.
We spent a lot of time traveling back and forth, just to see him and how he was progressing. He was very weakened by the medicine and had really little time to spend awake. He was still losing weight and could barely stand up under his own power. This went on for at least 1 year.
The military dug up his military background and realized that he was discharged from the military, under an undesireable discharge. To be exact, he was discharged because he was seen as unfit for military duty. His discharge was equal to that of a dishonorable discharge. This provided the hospital the power to not treat him, because he was not covered.
So, one day we got a phone call, from the administrator or his doctor(don't recall), to inform us that they were going to send him home in a couple of days and we needed to come get him. So, we drove up to get him and bring him home. They gave him a 3 months supply of medicine and painkillers, so he would have something.
Now, it was our job, to simply let everything else ride out over a course of time. He knew he was dying, but still never lost his sense of humor. Then again, my father never feared death.
The last time I would ever speak with my father was just him and me. He wanted to ask me something and didn't want other people around. The one thing my father preached to me as a kid was character of the individual and how important it was. He said when you give your word, you're to stand by it and not break it for anyone or anything, if you can help it. Our last conversation was him asking me to make sure that I never leave my mother alone because it was her greatest fear. He placed his hand on my head, as I held his other hand and was looking away from him because I was crying. He asked for my word, I wouldn't leave her alone. And as of the writing of this article, I haven't,
There was really nothing we could do. He had no insurance and there were no hospitals, equipped to handle the problem. About 2 months went by and I was at school one day. I was sitting in class, the phone on the wall buzzed, interrupting class, and I looked up when it began to buzz, I placed all my books to one side of my desk(which happen to be against a wall), closed my notebooks and waited at the edge of my seat.
The teacher put the phone down and said I was to go to the office, because there was a visitor to see me. I immediately JUMPED over the legs of the three people who were sitting in my row and bolted to the door. As I was leaving the classroom, I could hear all the kids laughing at me. I ran from one end of the building to the other, without any care of my own well being. I was running so fast, that I was unable to stop at the end of the hall.
Therefore, I ran directly into the wall. The door to the office was immediately to my left and I entered, slightly out of breath. I was then escorted to the vice-principal's office, where my sister had been waiting for me. The vice-principal tried to be as nice as she could, and she claimed to understand what I was going through, but I really didn't care to hear about it. She even threatened me, by telling me she knew I had skipped school recently and if I over stepped my bounds with her, right then and there, then when I left school, I wouldn't be returning for the rest of the school year.
However, at this time, I was a senior in high school and presently finishing my last year of school. It was about the beginning of April when he went into the hospital, for his last trip. He was there for 2 weeks and died, because the cancer simply beat him down, until it destroyed everything(every working organ began failing). When we brought him to the hospital this last time, he was weighed in at 76 pounds(he was 5'11"). The doctors asked how he was still alive to begin with? One doctor simply said that his heart was the only organ above his waste that was not cancerous.
There was the last and final, dreaded phone call at school. The message brought forth was again, my sister in the vice-principals office, which my father had died, earlier that morning. It was April 17, 1986, the Thursday before my spring vacation of my senior year. We had a wake for him on the 18th, then buried him on the 19th.
I began my vacation mourning the loss of my father and consoling the rest of my family, during this time. I remember this part so vividly, not because he died, but because I had an English assignment to write an essay about what I did over my spring vacation. When I handed in the assignment, I was told it was not good enough.
It had only one sentence. I MOURNED My Father During My Spring Vacation. Enough Said.
After, we waked, buried and mourned my father, we had to try to pick up the pieces that were left. I went on to finish High School, by graduating on June 3. My father never saw that day. He would also not see, me getting my driver's license on the same day(which he taught me how to drive). However, in August of 1986, I was driving alone down a side street and before I knew it, was in an accident. I only know this because I saw the car, before it hit mine and I tried to steer clear, but to no avail.
I woke up on the ground, outside my car and had people asking me all sorts of questions. Apparently, my head went into my windshield and opened up a part of my forehead. My sister arrived on scene, scared out of her mind, because she saw my face was completely covered in blood. Then later that same year, I was again in another accident, this time I came extremely close to dying, as I was lying in the middle of the street, after being thrown from my motorcycle. I hit the side of a car, that was taking a left hand turn. At the time of the accident, I was barely breathing, people around the accident couldn't tell whether or not, I was alive.
However, I manage to remain alive, but did shatter my right wrist, into 500 pieces. I was also fortunate enough to be brought to a hospital, where the 3rd best(hand surgeon at the time) in America operated on my wrist for nearly 6 hours, trying to put it back together again. At that point, my family seriously considered, I was trying to purposely kill myself, because of my father's death, earlier in the year. It wasn't the case. But, has accounted for most of my memory loss of my childhood.
I still think about him from time to time, but realize he was a wise uneducated man, who loved his kids and wanted better things for them, than what he could provide. He was fool, because he never learned or understood his role in my life.
Thank you so very much for your time.
Raymond D Choiniere (author) from USA on September 28, 2018:
Hello Nancy, nice to see you and thank you for reading, as well as, leaving a comment. I'm sorry to hear your relationship of that long, turned out violent. I'm just glad he was violent with my mother or sister, otherwise I would likely be in prison currently and be unable to do the things I want to do. Thank you also for compliment and your time. Best wishes you to as well. :)
Nancey on September 28, 2018:
Hi Ray, while I was reading I also noticed places you were a little more in-depth than I remembered from several years back when I had come across your writings.While you were gone so was I. 4 yrs ago left a 19 1/2 yr relationship where in the last 5 yrs became increasingly violent. I have made my way and am happy. Just last mnth could finally afford WiFi. I am still learning to live and living to learn. Good to read you again. You are kinda my Mr. Rogers of knowledge, of being responsible and personal growth. Learning and practicing the keys to life. Whishing peace to surround you Ray
Raymond D Choiniere (author) from USA on June 07, 2018:
Hey Rochelle, always a pleasure to see you. I noticed some of the changes and yes you did read this particular article before, when I originally published it. I'm sure some of the "old-timers" are still floating around, but unsure of how many are here, when I was originally publishing awhile back. I'll be re-publishing many of the original articles I posted and others I've never posted before. I've even considered re-publishing my Women's Writer hubs, as they've been web archived, just not sure how many of them are actively on HP anymore. :/ And, yes the road wasn't easily traveled and in some cases, it still isn't easily traveled due to other people wanting to make my life more difficult than needs be. As always, thank you kindly for reading and commenting. Great to see you. :)
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on June 07, 2018:
Good to see you back, Cagsil. There have been some changes around here, but a few of us old timers are still writing.I know I read this before and still remembered many of the details. You have traveled a rough road.
Raymond D Choiniere (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:
I can see a bunch of changes and it took me a little bit to adapt to the changes. I've life changes as well, offline which interferred with online activity. However, I'm attempting to get back into some sort of groove going forward. I don't know how quickly I'll be publishing articles, as I have 3 currently saved unpublished, but still need editing. I also need to pull others out of a storage place, so I can re-post them. Hopefully, life hasn't been mistreating you, like it has been me, but I'll not go into that here on this hub. Maybe I'll write another about it instead. LOL!
John Harper from Malaga, Spain on June 02, 2018:
Hi Ray, me too... off the Hub for longer in fact, and many changes, which is the wonder of life!
Raymond D Choiniere (author) from USA on May 31, 2018:
Hello John, thank you for reading, as I'm pretty sure you had read the article the first time I posted it here on HP. And, yes it has been awhile since I published anything online, whatsoever. Almost 2+ years to be exact. I'll be republishing many of the articles I originally had on HP and most likely others as well. Appreciate your time.
John Harper from Malaga, Spain on May 31, 2018:
Thanks for sharing, long time no read!
Raymond D Choiniere (author) from USA on May 30, 2018:
Thank you very much for taking time to read my story about my father, Peg. I'm grateful for your thoughts and time. :)
Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 30, 2018:
Ray, reading this heartfelt story of your childhood and about your father made me realize how lucky I was as a child with two parents despite their many difficulties and troubled relationship. I'm grateful that you had a second chance to get to know your dad and that the potential step-dad was not allowed further access to you and your sister. It's interesting to look back on the events of our lives and try to make sense of the things we've experienced. Thanks for sharing this poignant story.
I had an uncle who joined the Army in the early 1900s who was later deemed unfit to serve due to unsuitability. He suffered an abnormally high fever as a child which left him with cognitive difficulties.
Your promise to your father and your commitment to your mother is admirable. Perhaps he eventually realized the importance of his presence in your life. Even if he didn't, his influence helped shape you into the fine person you are today.