Father’s Day

June 17, 2012

Father’s Day has been an odd day for me through the years as I’m sure that there are many others who could say the same. I was fortunate to have 2 fathers. I didn’t get to share this love until later in life but there were only a few brief years I didn’t have a “father” with me and even then I lived with my grandfather who played the father figure role.

When I was adopted at the age of 11 I had no contact with my biological father for around 5 years or so at this point but I wanted to keep my birth name for some reason. I was proud to be a Junior of a man I had yet to know. I heard good and bad stories from family and even fictional stories from my mentally ill biological mother through the years.

After a year or so of settling in with my new parents I celebrated Father’s Day with my new dad I called by his first name Bill. He raised me trying to be the best father he could and did a decent job despite my already wacky ways. He wasn’t the type to celebrate holidays much Father’s Day wasn’t a big deal. We’d have a more formal meal or go out to eat and I’d get him something but as I got older all it came and went.

In my 20s my biological father came back into my life. It took a couple years to drop our baggage and become friends and it was worth it. Then I had 2 dads. Some years I divided my time and other years I neglected my real father. I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there with me. I haven’t been the best son to him but he tried to be the best father. We’ve been building since. We started slowly but eventually started getting together once a week and did lunch and we kept with it until we both were broke and changed it to once a month and we still get together.

Meanwhile my adopted father was getting sick on and off from 2006 or 7 to 2009 when he finally died. I moved in with my adopted mother and him early 2009 and he died June 19th 2009. I became closer to him than ever before he died and take comfort knowing him better.

I still hung out with my biological father and every year I begin to appreciate him as a father. This past May he took me to Atlantic City for my birthday because it was the closest town with a Hooters. We used to go to Hooters every Monday for luck for over 2 years. Maybe 2. We walked the boardwalk and even the beach that day and I had a lot of fun. We were both relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. I realized later that I was subconsciously reliving my early childhood bonding with my dad at one of the beaches he actually took me too as a kid.

I realized I don’t give him enough credit as a father and all he has done for me through the years since reconnected.

We’re getting together on Tuesday June 19 for lunch to celebrate father’s Day. I realized later that it was the 3-year anniversary of my adopted dad Bill’s death. I think it’s appropriate. They were both great Fathers. Rich Hillen Sr is the underrated one and it’s time to give back whatever I can and be a son.

Happy Father’s Day.


Excerpt from My First Novel Yellow Socks Confessions of a Non Don Juan

June 4, 2012

An Excerpt from my 2010 novel Yellow Socks- Confessions of a Non Don Juan

 

Skeleton Woman or Things Like Me Don’t Happen To You

 

Christ it happened again. Another notch in my “girls that want to be my friend” belt. It made sense. We were perfect friends and she was real cute too. I kept thinking that I was ok with it. I’d be happy just being a friend again. I keep turning to God for strength to accept my fate as “Friend to all women” that I’m attracted to. My acceptance level seems to be ok. I go to my happy place. I go to my cave. I say the serenity prayer over and over I am sure that I will be ok with this. Yes I will. (no I won’t)

 

Cut to a scene from Fight Club

 

TYLER

Stop it! This is your pain — this is your burning hand. It’s right here! Look at it.

 

JACK

I’m going to my cave. I’m going to my cave to find my power animal!

 

TYLER

No, don’t deal with this the way those dead people do. Come on

!

JACK

I get the point, ok, please!

 

TYLER

No, what you’re feeling is premature enlightenment.

 

Ok. I get the idea. Feel the pain. Feel the hurt. Feel the rejection saturating my heart until I bleed more than just these words all over the place and finger my open sore of a brain as it wants to dwell on her over and over again. Screaming and roaring her name with anger and grief and sometimes a slight relief that it’s done and I know that she will not reject me again unless I go back for more and more or less or a little bite of her cheeseburger and a sip of her Pepsi to tide me over until the next one comes along with better food and spirits for my, for me for. Four scores of seven years itch as I scratch the weathered tired out mongrel of an ego that was left stray years ago in a pound for wayward hearts and letches that can only love and never be loved.

 

The pain of being a friend. A friend. I’ve heard that “Let’s just be friends” millions of times in my life as I gargle a new mouthwash and toothpaste hoping my breath will be the answer to my problem. My problem is as follows: me, myself and I. We altogether are the problem. We want to be loved so bad that we give off the vibe that scares the shit out of women so they just want to be friends. Friends. Friends. I think to myself that will be fine. Friends is ok. It’ll do. I can accept that. Bullshit! Feel the pain I tell myself. Embrace it. the pain is your friend. To hurt is to be alive. I’ve never been so alive. I’m alive. So alive.

 

“Did you ever hear about the skeleton woman?” Morton asked.

 

“Was that a Glam rock band from the seventies?” I ask.

 

“Ha. Ha. Nah. It’s an ancient Indian story. This guy was fishing in the middle of a lake. He was totally into it. He was relaxed. Not a care in the world except catching the next fish. All of a sudden he feels a tug on his line and he yanks it up. A skeleton appears on his line. He doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line and he gets scared. He starts paddling his boat away from it but it follows him. He still doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line. He gets out of his boat and runs into the village and he is carrying his fishing rod and the skeleton is still right behind him. He jumps into his Tee Pee and it follows him in. He lies down and tries to hide not looking at it for a while. When he finally turns to look at the skeleton it has changed into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. She is his. The moral of the story is that he was minding his own business doing something he enjoyed and that’s when the right woman came along. In other words when you are not looking for love is when it will find you. ”

 

“I know that but it’s so fucking hard to stay focused on other things without thinking about how much I want to be loved. Fall in love. Ya know?” I responded.

 

“I know. I know.” Morton said.

 

“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Tyler Durden

 

To purchase click here


Happiness is a Warm Gunner Hanson

March 3, 2012

Friday nights are my favorite nights and Saturday mornings are my favorite times of the week. Since I left my mom’s aftercare from my Heart attack and surgery in September at her house in Haddonfield (the house I grew up in from 8thgrade to college graduation) and moved back to where I live now in Fairview in Camden (the town I grew up in from age 5 until 5th grade). Both towns have changed through the years and I like the changes in Haddonfield much more.

I lived in Haddonfield from March 2009 to October 2010. The move was a wonderful and heartbreaking experience. I was financially distressed, just broke up with (dumped by actually) a yearlong girlfriend or whatever she was and a comeback from a short relapse to drinking after almost celebrating 17 years of sobriety. I was recovering from these factors and moving on and at the same time my adopted father (the one who raised me since I was 11) was sick with many ailments including the worst -Myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatigability. It also lowered his immunities lowering his abilities to fight infections.

The three of us decided that it would be a great idea for me to move in to my parents house so I could help my mother with my father’s new needs and be an extra person in the house so she could relax once in a while. I was more of a back up and security than daily help. We thought despite his ailments he was to live many years assuming he continued with current treatments. Despite his surprising death from catching scabies that lead to a facial neuralgia similar to my own, I have happy memories due to the pleasure of getting to know him better than I have in my entire life. He died June 19th 2009. I stayed on with my mom in what I thought was a support to her.

In May 2010 I lost my job and my relationship with her deteriorated slowly until September when I realized I had to move out. Mom didn’t like a reclusive jobless son living on her porch, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes on the computer day in and day out despite the fact that it was one of my most creative periods of my life. As if God presented it Himself I was offered an opportunity I felt I couldn’t refuse. Without my mom throwing me out I went ahead and moved to Camden because my good friend owned the house, it was a bargain, it was furnished and it was cheap. I also had a friend that was in a similar situation that was ready to jump on the bargain. I loved the place when we first looked at it. Our decisions were made. I had the money and my new roommate had the money.

On the day we signed the lease I had a bad feeling as I was driving through the neighborhood. I saw the boarded up houses and drug dealers on the corners. I made the commitment so I went through with it against my last minute objections.

Here it is almost a year and half later and I am full of regret. I’ve since ran out of my savings, and due to my low income of my last job my unemployment barely paid the rent, My various mental and physical disorders got worse, I applies for disability so even if I could get a job I couldn’t, I lost my license due to not affording the NJ surcharges, I gave up my car, I lost my unemployment, I replapsed again and luckily couldn’t afford it and got sober once again, I went on welfare and I even got mugged once.

A lot of time I blame my move to Camden so you can see why Fridays and Saturdays are my favorite days of the week. A twelve to 16 hour vacation from the “home” I dread. I spend the evening mostly alone in the TV room watching cable TV that I don’t have at home and write. My favorite TV show How I Met Your Mother is on 3 channels at 3 different times to keep me happy. I love Neal Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan since the Doogie and Willow days. I go to bed early creatively satisfied and entertained.

I wake up nice and early around 6:30 am and pray and meditate, write and watch reruns of a crime show called Female Force on a crime channel. The morning coffee and cigarettes even taste better in my Haddonfield house. I either take a walk to help my uncle with his business for a couple hours if my pain and metal state are in order for the day or try and help mom around the house. Then we do lunch and I go back to “home” only by name and back to my on and off terror of my Camden environment.

I love Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I feel almost normal when I’m here


The Pains and Pleasuresof Moving On

September 17, 2010

It’s starting to hit me. The feelings and emotions associated with leaving the nest all over again except this time I am sober and a lot older. I’m talking about moving out from my adopted mother’s house. It’s been a great year and a half or so but an opportunity came up and I had to take it at the last minute. One months notice.

I moved in here in March 2009. It was mutual need at the time. I was having trouble with my rent and my adopted dad was sick and needed extra attention. I was a slight mess )total mess to be honest) and my mom needed the extra help with my dad. I moved in. It was goal to get closer to him while I was there and we accomplished this goal just in time for hs death in June 2009. To be honest, it’s taken a long time to recover from that. My mother seemed to recover faster.

My mother and I have had a great relationship and made great house mates. I help around the house but she asks little of me. It was discussed that I was going to have to leave within the next year or so. Then I lost my job. It’s been a blessing and a curse.

I hated the job and I had some money away and collected unemployment. This afforded me the time and energy into finishing and publishing my novel and 2 other books. After 2 months of just writing and working on my books, my mom was tired of me sitting around the house all day and wanted me to look for a job. The one I have my heart set on is an Alcohol and Drug counseling job that requires you to have 2 years sober. Because of my brief relapse in 2008 I am not eligible until October 9th. To be honest I’ve been kind of putting off looking for work because I want that job that I’m not guaranteed to even get.

Its been a rough month and my mom has been on me abut looking for a job. Luckily, my great aunt’s boyfriend put me to work very part time cleaning offices with his business. It was enough to keep my mom happy for a little bit. I had to apply for a couple more to make her happy. I really want to be a writer full time but that will take some more practice and writing and promoting. I also want the counseling job and I guess I’m putting all of my eggs in one basket but that’s what I do sometimes.

So I am set to move into a 2-bedroom house that my friend owns. On October 1st.  I’m moving in with a friend I’ve known for years. Meanwhile my mom is going on a 2 week cruise to Europe this Saturday and won’t be back until the day I move. Today is the last full day of us officially living together. Tomorrow she is leaving. We went out for dinner as sort of a goodbye and a celebration of our new lives the other night. It didn’t hit me until now that this is the last time I’ll see her as a resident of the house. Sad yet happy.

She wants me to move on but she’s worried about me not having a job yet. I’ll survive. I always do. I just need more people to buy my books, get a job and start anew business. I haven’t done that in a while and I usually do well when I do it.

It’s nice to know that I’m leaving on good terms this time instead of her throwing me out because I drank too much when I was younger. It’s a positive experience but I still have to go through the pains, sadness and anxiety that go along with it.


Excerpt from my Novel Yellow Socks – Atlantic City

August 26, 2010

“Everything dies baby that’s a fact

But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City” -Bruce Springsteen

Mom was really going off the deep end. She started reading the Bible day and night reciting passages mostly to my Dad. She was telling him he was a sinner. Her personality was getting meaner towards him. She snapped at him on many occasions and threatened to kill him. The next day she would cry and apologize and beg him not to tell her parents. When she wasn’t mean to him she was too nice. She had conversations with people that weren’t there. She was convinced at one point that Dad was Jesus Christ.. He was the son of Joseph. He was the Son of God. He was the Son of Man. He was born on December 25th, Jesus’s birthday. He dismissed it. He thought she was just over worked with raising me. All we needed was a vacation. We went to Atlantic City for the weekend.

One of the nights we ate at a boardwalk restaurant called Captain Stan’s. We left the restaurant and took a family walk on the boardwalk. It was really dark. Not many people around. We watched another couple standing near a rail looking at the ocean. They were interrupted by a group of three black men and were beaten near death. I watched through my wide child eyes as this couple was beaten with pipes and a chains. They robbed them and ran off. My Dad called the police. Mom and I went to see how they were. The woman was a blonde. Her eye was swollen shut. Her entire face was covered in blood and she couldn’t move her arm. The man was tall and had dark hair. His head was covered in blood. They were hysterical. The police and ambulance arrived shortly. We were questioned while the couple was taken away in the ambulance. I have never seen so much blood in my life since except the horror movies I later grew up with. Mom told the police her theories.

“It was Jesus Christ’s will for the black man to kill them. The black man is the devil’s tool to take down the white man. The couple were racists and deserved it.” She told the police.

“Sorry officer. She is in shock right now. She is taking nerve medication.” My Dad told the police.

Luckily, I wasn’t paying attention to my Mom. I missed all of her off color comments and insane rants. I usually blocked her out when she was acting strange.

My Dad left when I was six years old. He took me to a movie before he left and explained to me that Mommy was sick and he couldn’t take care of her anymore. He said that Grandma and Grandpa would take care of us. He told me he loved me and would never forget about me. I don’t remember this. I didn’t see him again until I was twenty-two years old. Mom told me he wasn’t home from work yet. She told me this everyday for the next year. It took me even longer to realize what really happened. He left me with a crazy woman.

Order Yellow Socks : Confessions of a Non-Don Juan at LuLu.com


Nicole Died

August 4, 2010

I just found out that my cousin died. Well, she was my ex-cousin. Ex-cousin in-law technically. She was my cousin’s wife. They weren’t officially divorced so I don’t know what to refer to her as. At one time she was considered a friend. She was even my housemate briefly along with my cousin. I stayed in their house while I was down and out in 2003-2004. Weird. I just posted a story on wordpress.com that I wrote in 2004 about going to see the Cramps with her and my friend.

A little family history. When I was in my early 20’s I found my natural father who had left when I was 5 years old. I was quite the partier at the time. I drank a lot and I was always high. He introduced me to his sister. I guess I should say re-introduced me to her. She had around 10 years sober at the time. She told me about my Uncle and my grandmother dying of alcoholism. She was “planting the seed” in my head for when I was ready to get sober. Eventually I did.

Through  her I meet my 3 cousins. Joey. Patrick and Kelly Ann. We got along great but didn’t see each other much but when we did there was a strong bond there. It’s amazing to be so much like a person that you never see. It has to be the genes. I stayed in and out of contact through the years. The male cousins were big partiers. A lot of drinking and drugging. I stopped and they kept going. In 2003 my cousin Patrick died of a drug overdose at the age of 36. Same as me. But for the grace of God there go I. It was hard on the family and tried to remain friends with the remaining cousins. Meanwhile I met Jo’s wife Nicole. She was tattooed and into punk and rockabilly like me. We shared our love for John Waters’ movies and horror. We hung out a lot. My cousin Joe didn’t like to go out much. She was also sober and he was on and off.

I was stuck for a place to live near the end of 2003 and the offered me a room for real cheap so I moved in with them and their 2 dogs and 2 cats. It was a small bedroom but it served my purposes. I still hung out with them at the house. Right before I moved in Nicole had a gastro-bypass surgery and there were complications. Something was wrong with her gall bladder. She started abusing her pain medications as well. Sometimes she was completely incoherent. I dealt with it and moved out in April 2004.

I pretty much lost touch with them after that and they also separated within that year. The last time I saw Nicole she came to visit me at the restaurant I was working at. She was with my dead cousin’s widow who was also known for doing a lot of drugs and partying. They didn’t look too healthy but I was happy to see them. That was at least a few years ago.

Today I joined my natural father for lunch with my aunt. She told us about Nicole’s death. My aunt wasn’t real clear about the exact nature of Nicole’s death. She said it had to do with her neglected gall bladder and her drug use. My cousin Joe isn’t going to go to the funeral. I kind of want to but I don’t think it would be appropriate. She was using her maiden name so I couldn’t find any information on her. I’m not even sure when it happened.

I guess I’m writing this as my way to say of saying goodbye to her. She was a friend and family after all. Rest in Peace Nicole.


A Video Tribute to my Father Who Died One Year ago Today

June 19, 2010


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