My mother Patricia Mae was born in Maui, Hawaii December 7, 1935 – Her Mother Teresa Farias was the youngest of the 12 children of Joseph and Teresa (Pavou) Farias both from Portugal. It is said that Joseph as an infant was taken from a family by the name of Fontez in Portugal, and sold to a family in Hawaii, named Farias. So he, his children, and their children were born and raised in Hawaii, which are many!
Not the Hawaii we know of today, “Very poor Island”. She was in and out of relatives houses and orphanages throughout her childhood. She was abused much and neglected, not much love. Her father left early on, reasons I know not, and came back to mainland; he was from the Scottsboro Alabama area. His name was Gilbert ; he died at 41 years old at Chicago 1952.
My mother met Bill of Elkhart, Indiana in 1952, in the Air Force being stationed in Hawaii, when she was just 16 years old. He became her first love, (though later she finally received a letter, which I now have) from her father that he wrote just weeks before he died, which assured her of the love he had for her, it meant a lot to her. Bill and Patsy married in late 1952.
June 16, 1953 my oldest sister was born – Teresa Ann , the three of them "the picture of a happy little family". They left Hawaii in 1954 (mom, never being off the islands), he was stationed some time in California then at Valdosta, Georgia then to Maryland and finally to Chanute AFB Rantoul, Illinois.
Bill was in and out of the picture a lot back then while mom was pregnant with me; This was during the cold winter of central Illinois 1955-56, she was living in an apartment in Paxton, Illinois. I was due to be born in late February 1956, but was born March 20, the first day of Spring (Spring was the name she picked if I were a girl, didn’t really know till delivery in those days) She was rushed by ambulance to Chanute AFB Hospital where I was born 7:30 in the morning, the Chaplain performed emergency baptism on me for I was not expected to live. After 3 weeks of “ups-and-downs” I was released from hospital and went home with mother, sister but no father. Bill was not in picture again till much later! They were divorced in November 1956.
My arrival happened at a very hard time of my mother’s life, 20 years old, with a 3 year old girl, and me, pretty rough time. My mother’s only friend was Tari and I was a baby. I don’t think I meant the same to my mother as my sister did, she was kind of special (even to the end).
As far back as I remember until I was 12 years old was filled with screaming, yelling, rage, anger, put downs, belittling, beatings and worse even than that - the nightmares I had, constantly of the above mentioned abuses. I was scared, I had physical, mental, and verbal abuse that I still battle with.(but I will overcome) I was never told “I love You” never hugged, I knew I was not loved that’s probably the worst scar I had. But my wife and 2 sons(and I hope my daughter will someday) know that I love them, not just because I tell them daily, but because I really do and I know that they must know this, so as to not end up scarred like their daddy was!
My mother met Roscoe in Rantoul, Illinois and married in 1958. He was a good man from Southern Illinois. They had 3 more children: Cheryl, Jill and Robin. He adopted Tari and I in 1961, changing our name , I didn’t know that he wasn’t my biological father until much later.
I did finally meet my biological father in May 1980 when he came to my sister’s funeral. She was killed in a car accident in San Diego, California at 26 years old. He didn’t seem to want much to do with me, and I really didn’t care either, my mother set the whole thing up, I’m not sure he would have come to Tari’s funeral if it were up to him(I just don’t know). My mother talked me into calling him a couple times which I did, but he didn’t seem to want to talk to me, and I am not real comfortable talking to people in the first place, let alone someone who don’t want to talk to me!
My Dad (step-dad) tried to be my father as much as he could, but I was so messed up and she just kept things so violent around there taking out most of her frustrations on us kids (especially me) he stayed at work most of the time till real late, came home after we went to bed, then the yelling and arguments would continue, this was a daily – this was our childhood!
Then the big and often very violent divorce happened 1968. He ended up with custody of my 4 sisters and me, an unheard-of thing back then. That is when “normal” started for us – But not soon enough for Tari and me. She ran away in 1969, and I in 1971. She was in the 1970s Hippie scene with all its weird stuff. She lived with my mother off and on, and with the college bunch around Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Eventually traveling around with a local band that hit the big time. As I said, it was during this time she was driving her Mustang, (under the influence) crashing into a house in San Diego, dying instantly!
Me, on the other hand – I was the result of a messed up childhood, insecure, was convinced that I was no good for nothing, and worthless I had no friends, my sisters didn’t seem to like me much, the only one who ever gave me any attention(bad) was gone! I hated school I hated everyone and everything, I didn’t even like the way the 1960 Ford station wagon my dad had, looked at me as if laughing at me! Me and Okeefe ran away. We hitch-hiked over to Springfield,Illinois and got on Route 66 and headed west. We got to Spencer, Oklahoma where he turned around and went back home to Danville. I (in my mind) had no choice but to stay on the road thumbing to San Diego then up the coast to Seattle then back and forth to Virginia, Texas, Florida, California, when I got to the end of the road, I would turn around and thumb it till the road ran out again. This was the only way I could survive asking for money or beer or odd job which I had many, but I was too scarred to stop and rough it long enough till I got a pay check so I kept moving. Sometimes I would end up in jail for shoplifting, or some other thing like that, for the winter, which wasn’t so bad “3 hots and a cot”
I did this for almost 9 years, saw 38 states, saw a lot of stuff, that song the Eagles sang “standing on a corner of Winslow Arizona, what a fine site to see……” was my theme song! I was picked up thumbing by many kinds of people. I remember hearing how dangerous it was to pick-up hitch-hikers, but I’ll tell of a fact – there are many more weirdo’s with cars than there are thumbing! But still looking back at it all, my childhood was the pits, and this part of my life is pretty low also, but a level up from where I came from. I have been progressively going up in my journey.
It was in 1978 on a dark highway in Idaho, I hadn’t seen a car in hours, that I thought of my grandfather who died drunk at 41 years old, alone in a Chicago apartment, I decided I did not want to die that way on the road, (which I knew I was going to do) I woke up many times covered in my own blood (probably caused by something I said!) on the side of the road or in a corn field. So I started my journey off the road which still took a few months because I didn’t think I had any place to go. I finally mustered up enough guts to ask my dad if I could move back into the house. So I went back to Champaign ,Illinois and went up to the Dairy Queen window(which he managed) and stood there for a minute and he looked at me and said(as if I were a customer, for he didn’t recognize me)Can I help you? I stood there like an idiot (I had no money) couldn’t order anything, “I um” He said wait a minute! Tony? I said “yes!” He said “come around to the back” It was kind of like the Prodigal Son in the book of Luke that I read about a few years later. He said yes, but I don’t have anything for you to sleep on except for an air mattress, I said no problem!
October 1978, my dad was diagnosed with cancer in one lung, he quit smoking that day. The surgery to remove it was scheduled after the Dairy Queen closed for winter October 31. He and I grew close during his last months; he died September 13, 1979. I was a bad mess at this time.
November 18, 1979, I started the day drinking beer by myself (as was my custom) in my mobile home at Leverette, Illinois watching a football game on TV, I got in my car (which was also my custom) I was so lonely! (I remember nothing except I had already drank 1 case of beer) drove 70 miles ended up going the wrong way on l-57 just south of Kankakee, I had a head-on crash with another vehicle (no one was hurt in the other car), I woke up in the hospital a week later.
When I got out of the hospital a couple weeks later, it was advised that I check into an alcoholic halfway house for a few months. I did the program, which helped me with all the legal problems I had accumulated in all the years on the road and of late, it all caught up with me right there in that period. The money that my dad left me after he died was spent on getting me out of all the trouble I was looking at (a good investment though). God has been so good to me even before I ever knew anything about Him. Romans 5:8“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” You know, I haven’t got into any trouble since I quit drinking; I did suffer consequence and had to pay the price of this nonsense, and that, not as bad as it could have been or what I deserved!
There was a councilor there, Christine, a recovered alcoholic. After I left there Christine and I started seeing each other. In 1981 she was diagnosed with late stage of Hodgkin’s disease (cancer of lymph nodes). So we went through the chemo/radiation treatments for two years. May 1983 while in remission she moved here to Jacksonville, Florida, to take care of her mother. I moved here in November 1983. I Needed To See More Than The Tip Of The Tree
We married July 28, 1984. I was a well driller and she kept working as a case worker for drug addicts/substance abusers. We attended AA meetings at this time. She met a young lady named Deana during one of these functions, they became good friends kind of big sister, little sister thing. Chris was 14 years older than Deana.
July 1987, Chris got sick went downhill and died of a blood infection July 24. She was buried on our third anniversary. She could never have children. It was at her burial that I met Deana, she was so sad and crying, I had to take notice! I did not talk to her till later. That winter was a very dark gloomy time of my life. I found Deana’s phone number and called her. She was so good to me, nice, kind and soft. I kind of liked this girl! Deana had a son “JD” from a previous marriage and he was her “only” in her life.
Things were pretty good then, Deana still had her ex-husband wanting to see JD now and then (though he was not holding up to his part of the legal arrangements) so I kind of thought she didn’t owe him anything. Never-the-less, I figured we could work around all that. We got married July 16,1988, On the way back from Folkston Georgia (where we went to get married) it was a long quiet trip back to Jacksonville, I looked over at her in the car, and saw something I have never seen before, I could tell that she realized that she just made the worst mistake of her life!!(That’s the first thing I thought, though I said nothing) and it turned out, I was right in my perception. That didn’t make me feel good about myself. I also realized something soon thereafter - I was heading into a very dark chapter of my life! I was right there too.
My intention was to be married to Deana, even if I had made a mistake,(though I didnt think I did, still don't, good things came of it!) unto the end! I might still would be, if she didnt leave and divorce me.
Then things started changing (I won’t say much but what is needful) The ex was in background where he belonged at the beginning, seeing JD now and then, but soon he was in foreground and I was in the background. I had lost “my” rights in my own house. Not long after we married, Deana took JD to his house for the weekend visitation and we didn’t see JD for almost a year, they were caught in California, He did time in prison for that. I wonder that maybe she never stopped loving him and could never love me? I think I have seen this before!
Then there appeared the first anything that I ever had a right to, the first love of my life. March 9, 1990 Patricia Elizabeth “Patti”. I was there at her delivery, I held her then, it all started then. I started loving her and kept doing that till finally she started recognizing me and reciprocated as much as her little self could. We spent a lot of time together and she liked it too. Her pretty smile (she still has) her little giggle (she still has) when she saw me as I pulled her up into my arms. I was her daddy and she was my little girl. She showed me for the first time in my life that I was capable of love and being loved. Even Deana would not get between her and me. She wouldn’t violate this bond in its beginning. She did respect my right to her. I appreciate her for that. She has never been my “just biological daughter” this paragraph belongs to Patti and no one else, and I am the only one that can and do give it to its rightful owner. I would have stayed with Deana for Patti!
Deana wanted to give up and leave January 1991, I then took Patti, for I was fearful for her safety and I didn’t want to lose her, not only that, she told me to take her! So I did! I had Patti for 2 months when March 8, 1991 happened, Deana came to the babysitter I had while I was at work, and took her. I have not seen them since that day. I am not the one that did what I had to, Deana is the one that applies to, I believe that Deana did what she had to do, she was desperate, I understand totally!
But, I did what I was forced to have to do - loose Patti :( and I lost the first one I ever had a right to,
I lost -----my little love.
I wrote this to Patti in a letter in October 2009 (along with much of this article)
One thing, I don’t know if anyone told you this, when you were a few months old it was found you had a serious heart problem that a fairly serious operation was being planned on your little self. Deana and I took you up for prayer at church. The next day they checked and found surgery was not necessary.
I have not seen Deana or Patti since March 8, 1990. I talked to Patti in October 2009 on the phone, but not again as of January 1, 2010.
This is the end of " The way I did see it "
The next article I write will be the beginning of " The way I now see it "