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.
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.
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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.