I have been remiss over the last couple of weeks, the only original thought posts I have created have been the “How I Feel Today” posts, and while informative, and sometimes light-hearted, they don’t reek of my normal talkative self. I guess it’s a case of writers’ semi-block. I have reblogged a couple of emails, and some dynamite posts from other bloggers (with some heartfelt prologues) but again nothing original. This first paragraph is an effort to get my motor up and running. I feel kinda like an ice breaker, I am just churning away, breaking up big chunks of thoughts into paragraphs, only to throw them in the mental trash can. Kinda like how an Ice Breaker will just plow thru the ice breaking it up and leaving the broken ice in its’ wake. Just not as productive.
I have music blasting in my ear as I write this; Nickelback’s Next Contestant is slamming into my Dr Dre headphones. I am sure that will help stir up the creative aspect of my head. Soft sad smile, I do believe the music has done the trick, I now know what this post will be about (though it took 7 songs to get to this point). I want to write about my Dad, and you will be the ones’ I will share my story. Over the 18 months that I have been blogging I have read at least seven different Tributes to Fathers. Some of these tributes were about fathers’ still with us, some of the fathers have passed on, some had divorced the mothers’ of the blog author, one was written about a father the author didn’t know, and her mother didn’t know either and that was one of the most touching tributes I have ever read.
Dad (William Joseph Hamilton) was born on Dec 1, 1925 in Herrin Illinois, where he lived pretty much until he joined the Navy during the latter part of World War II. From all that I clearly remember and stuff I can surmise, Dad was a great student (the Honor Roll all the time) and was a big time track star. I remember one time going thru a box (of his stuff) that had a ton of memorabilia from his youth. He must have gotten it from his mother’s house after she passed. But the box had several years of his report cards, some newspaper clipping from his track star days, and a clipping of when he joined the navy, a few snapshots, and other collectables that his mom must have kept. I have no idea in the world if any of this information exists today, and if it does, who has it? My sister remembers an album with all manner of photos and other collectibles of dad growing up, but she has no idea where this may be or like the box of collectibles I found, if it still exists.
Dad was discharged from the Navy in Baltimore Maryland, where he worked a variety of factory jobs in the post war environment, while also attending college. He also met Mom in Baltimore and that is where they were married (on 02/24/49). Mom was a nurse who graduated from John Hopkins College of Nursing. I was the first (of 6) born I came 9 months and a day after they were married.
I am going to share what few positive memories I have of my dad. The single most important memory I have of my dad goes back to when I was a tiny person, no more than 4 or 5. We were living in Baltimore, MD and it was the middle of winter, it was very cold. Dad had taken me to an Auto show, we were coming back from the show, and on the icy street my dad (who was carrying me) slipped and fell, there was so much ice that I began to slide toward a drain at the curb. My dad scrambled to grab me before I slid into the drain. He had done this with a broken arm, which happened during the fall. The most important thing my dad did for me was not naming me William Joseph Hamilton, JR. he had been called Billy Joe, all his young life and hated it, I truly can appreciate that, just as I truly appreciate him not sharing his name with me. I also remember dad coming to every JV football I played in. Dad loved golf, and we would play together though these aren’t all positive memories because I too loved golf. He loved going to the stock car races, another thing I love, and those were all positive memories. Sometimes it was just him and I, sometimes it was the entire family, and sometimes it was just us boys. One of my brothers remembers him going camping with him several times, these were Boy Scout events, but the brother has positive memories from those trips. Dad loved to read, and was very well read. He was an intellectual, and knew it and bragged about how smart he was.
As kids we play two-hand touch on the street in front of our home, from time to time one of the neighborhood dads would join the game, and dad did as well. Our fifty yard line was marked by a fire hydrant, it was 2 feet in bounds, and you avoided it at all costs. One afternoon dad forgot, and ran dead into that fire hydrant, he busted the hell out of his shin, he never played again, and nobody missed him. Another trademark experience with dad, were the car rides to nowhere. He would draft any available kid to go on a car ride with him. These rides lasted 2 or 3 hours and dad just drove around, no destination, the radio on his favorite channel, no talking, no explanation, and dad was the worst driver on record. Sigh, those were some of my favorite memories of dad.
Folks, it kinda goes off the rails at this point. I am sure that as you read that last paragraph, maybe even read between the lines, but you most likely were thinking, something along the lines, wow that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. It wasn’t. Those were the good times. Dad was an abuser; he physically, emotionally and mentally abused each of us kids. He was much more physical with us boys, but my sister paid as well, from the emotional abused reaped upon her. Abusing was what he did quite well, he couldn’t keep a job, he couldn’t be there when he was needed, and he ran through money like he won the lotto, but damn was he good at abusing. I am not going to go into any of the horror stories, it would serve no purpose and it wouldn’t make me feel better, and to be perfectly honest I only remember in any detail a couple. Also being honest, I thought that was how it was supposed to be in the 50’s and 60’s. I did spend a couple of hours talking to 2 of my sibling about this, and those conversations confirmed thoughts that had been running thru my head for a long time.
Dad passed away on Feb 16, 2001. I didn’t shed a tear during the viewing or the funeral. I have sat in my office many a time thinking about dad, and why I wasn’t upset with his passing. Part of me understood why, now even more understands.
Thank you for taking the time to allow me to get this off my chest, has it done me any good, I hope so. As always your thoughts, comments or questions are always appreciated. Please take care, Bill