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

 

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What a Way to Grieve or How I Spent Memorial Day

May 29, 2012

 

What a way to grieve. My Uncle and I have been getting closer and closer through the years. I’ve always adored my Aunt. Now, neither one is a blood relative and actually Aunt Marie was my Great Aunt on my adopted Mom’s side. Yeah, was. She died this past week. Memorial day night was to be the night of her viewing so my Mom had a view out of town visitors and even my Uncle Carl over for light “Memorial Day” food before the viewing that night. Now My Uncle Carl never married my Aunt so they are Common Law husband and wife and had a great 18 years together. She was the “apple” of his eye as a distant relative put it.

 

The past 3 -5 months have been hard on Marie and Carl once Carl started to have medical problems. She was a much older woman and he’s barely 70.  He started having medical problems after taking care of Aunt Marie for years. She pulled through her various ailments. This time she got sicker as he got sick. Family and friends all kicked in to help out. Uncle Carl meanwhile finds out they won’t do one seemingly simple surgery until his apparent heart problems were taken care of. He put it off to make sure Aunt Marie was taken care of. She was up until the day she died. May 24th in her sleep at a ripe age so to speak. She lived a pretty long life and happy one with Carl for the last 18 years or so.

 

Uncle Carl felt he had to at least wait a few months to grieve before he took care of the heart surgery. His heart told him different. After my Mom’s lunch dinner Uncle Carl started to feel sick. He went in the other room to sit down. His “brother in law” and I followed to make surer he was all right. He was white, had the cold sweats and a rapid heartbeat that he claimed he has had for months. His breathing was becoming difficult. We called the ambulance.

 

My Mom’s brother, my Uncle Tom drove me to watch over Carl at the hospital. We were dispensable and I’m Uncle Carl’s friend in addition to his nephew. The bottom line is he was admitted to the hospital so they could keep an eye on his high heartbeat and try to stabilize it despite his protests so he could attend his dead wife’s viewing and funeral. It was fated if you believe in such things that he stays and finally confronts his heart problem.

 

I hope he makes it through and gets a real chance to grieve.


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


Row Home Prison

January 10, 2012

I had a dream

Not like Martin Luther King Jr

Probably not

A nightmare

Did Dr King have nightmares?

I do

Not often that I recall

 

Incisive nightmares

I am a prisoner for a crime I never committed

Imprisoned in jails, institutions, and basements

I was a prisoner in a house

The house in Camden I grew up in

Didn’t grow up but lived there

Only access to the house next door where my cat, Betty

Was held prisoner also

 

I knew I would get out

I was innocent yet I felt guilty

Depressed and optimistic

My adopted mother was a prison guard of sorts

Not listening to me

Judging me

She always thought I was guilty

When other mothers said “not my son or daughter”

My mother would say “It was probably my son”

 

I was afraid and confident amongst fellow inmates

I knew from elementary school

From high school

From college

From the internet

And you were in the next cell

Laughing madly

 

I snuck next door in my Camden row home prison to

Visit Betty

She was happy to see me but afraid of getting caught

She gave me a kiss and hid under a bush

I was happy she was alive

My only love in this world had returned

I snuck into the house to find my valuables hidden in the basement

In a crawlspace

Rotted books, records, art and clothes

I held up a t-shirt covered in rusted buttons

For some reason I felt that I was being held against my will

As a result of my books, records, art and t-shirts

Contraband in some minds that lack freethinking

 

I woke up in the prison of my cozy bed

Sweating

Relieved

Until I looked out the window and the view

To the outside was the same

 

NOTE: HOURS OF VISITATION ARE FROM 12 PM TO 8PM WEEKDAYS AND 8 AM TO 10 PM ON WEEKENDS

 

Please drop by and bring cigarettes to trade for food


Joan or Arc, Joan Baez and You!

December 30, 2011

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez

And you

 

So young an beautiful in my mind as

You once were

 

Joan Hillen

Joan Marie Siani Hillen

Mother

 

Great mission                         from God

And country

Joan died                 for it all

So young

Brave

Young

 

“Love is a

Four letter word” Joan sang

Protested war

Civil rights

Entertained thousands

 

Joan brought me into this

World I am still figuring out

You spent years

In wards of hospitals

I never understood

They never understood                      YOU

 

Oh MOTHER. I understand now.

I love you now

Now that it’s too late.

 

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez and

YOU


Mom, Birthday, Mother’s Day & Love

May 9, 2011

I was going to post this yesterday on Mother’s day but I didn’t. Here’s a story about my car accident, mom’s birthday, and love.

A few weeks ago I was invited to my adopted mother’s birthday dinner celebration at a local semi-fancy restaurant. I drove up around 4:25 pm. I was 5 minutes early. The parking lot was empty and I pulled into the closest spot to the fenced in mini-outside dining area. I drive a huge car. It’s an old Lincoln Towncar. I’ve had it for over 3 years now and I still have trouble judging space. As I pulled in I heard a bang so I backed up and parked farther away from the fence surrounded by cement planters with plants and flowers in them.

I got out of my car mostly concerned if there was any damage to the fence. The fence looked ok but the planters were moved and there was a little red paint from my car on the cement. I moved the planter back in place and didn’t worry about it. I met up with my great aunt and uncle then my mom and we were at and had to wait for my mom’s friend and her mother who are always late.

Just as I settled down at the table the woman who greeted us came to the table and asked if I hit the fence outside. I admitted to it. Even if I didn’t have a conscience, I couldn’t deny it with the red paint on the concrete planter. I followed the woman (who turned out to be the owner) outside to the “scene” of the crime. She was quite upset as she pointed out the black painted metal fence was bent slightly and broken at the bottom where it meets the corner. I was full of guilt and apologized way too much. She was more upset about telling her husband (the co-owner) because there was an accident that broke another part of the fence recently. I told her I’d take care of it and give her my information. I went back to my seat and tried to get my mind off it since it’s my mom’s birthday and all.

Everyone eventually showed up and we ordered our food and I tried to have a good time. I got up and went outside to have a cigarette. I passed the owner and she said she talked to her husband and he was calm about it. He would be coming in soon and we’d work it out. Cool. I had my smoke and re-examined the damage. It looked fixable. Even though I was a little relieved I was broke and didn’t need this.

I went back to dinner and enjoyed the meal and the people. My aunt was pretty funny and so was my mom’s friend. We joked, small talked and some serious conversation. After the meal my uncle joined me for a smoke and on the way out the female owner stopped me and said her husband was at the bar.

I went over to him and introduced myself. He wasn’t the friendliest of people but he was polite and trying not to be angry with me. I apologized and told him that I’ll pay for it etc. I gave him my phone number. He told me how much it would be to replace the fence piece. $240. Yikes. He said the other one was destroyed and that was the quote he got for that one. I told him I’d be in touch and joined my uncle for a smoke.

My uncle was examining the fence when I arrived and lit up. He didn’t think it looked that bad and he makes a living fixing things. I told him how much it was to replace the fence and he said that was crazy. He could fix it close to nothing and they didn’t need to replace the fence. Then he went on to say how stupid it is to have an eating area right outside the front door and in the parking lot. I was thinking that the fact that it was hit twice in a month might be saying something. We went back in and my guilty feelings came back.

We left and luckily my mom had a great time and that’s all that mattered. I made the mistake of telling her how much it was to fix it. The next day she sent the restaurant a check for $240. She told me that she did it because she likes to eat there and I can work it off around her house. Weird. Most of my life my mom has no been the one to bail me out unless she really sees me working. We have a deal that I never ask to borrow and she never offers to lend. She’s been bending that rule lately but I never ask. She has made the effort to understand what I am going through and where I’m at and she’s been a big help. I don’t take her for granted but appreciate the help. God bless mom

My Mom is also a talented wriiter and published author.

Check out her Monday Morning Blogs at http://theresemarlin.wordpress.com/

Buy her book at

http://www.amazon.com/War-Distance-Therese-Marlin/


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