My stepfather’s war career was rather impressive. Three tours active in Vietnam, I remember going in his closet and just was amazed at all his medals, He had quite a few, reading the stories behind them he made Rambo look like a pussy. I later came to understand one of the reasons why he would abuse me so excessively. He liked to hurt people. A true sadist and my first narcissist.It was just that simple. When my mother turned her head and he found he could beat me for my silence it was the perfect storm. A couple of men started showing up this year, they would tape record my stepfathers story of his life in Vietnam, I never was allowed in the dining room when they were doing these interviews, but it lead to a military bestselling book written by a man who was the youngest most decorated officer in the entire Vietnam war. His name was Dave Christian and my stepfather was in his platoon, Christian’s Butchers. The book is called victor six and the tales of this man and his platoon’s exploits were something movies like apocalypse now were made from. Years later when I would read it, it all just became so clear who this man really was.
Mr. Christian ran for the U.S. senate in 1984, but this year 1986 we were flown out to a hotel near his house and spent a few weeks over there, he seemed like a nice man. I could never attest to his true character other than to say he would go on to Fox news and become heavily involved in the rights for soldiers suffering from agent orange. There were many horrible things in that book that were done from all sides. The end of it concerning Gunnar “Ape Man”tales of man who found God and relieved himself of drug use. I also found out later this was a fucking lie. I suppose everything in celluloid has to have some kind of happy ending. I wish I knew then no one has it. No matter how hard they paint it. We all believe the lies, how we deserve happiness.The truth is, we have to fight for it. Anyone and everyone involved. With everything non violent we have.
Third grade was in Berks Christian Academy. One of my more vivid memories was when the space shuttle challenger blew up. We watched it on tv in school because they said a teacher was going to teach class from space. In school at the time I was a C average. The homework was getting more difficult. I was au pair to 2 boys, my mother went back to work second shift and my stepfather no longer had a mop job he began to work as a corrections officer in Graterford state prison. It was better money and he seemed to love what he was doing. He earned medals for rifle marksmanship and worked the tower fairly often. I never saw my mother anymore at all I was always in bed by 7:30. My stepfather was always living way beyond his means, debt and stress were piling up. He bought too many things they couldn’t afford. I found out later he was in debt up to his ass when he married my Mom. I did all the housework, and I walked down to the corner store everyday for his diet 7up and his Philadelphia daily news. This became my only escape some days.If I was lucky enough I got to play outside but was only allowed the half block and not allowed to cross the street. This way if I was needed for some house duty he could just walk outside and find me on the sidewalk because the house was on the corner. He never yelled, it was my responsibility to observe if he was there or not. If I missed him, I got beaten when I came home. Sometimes I swore he even made shit up because rarely and I MEAN rarely was i ever out of sight. I’d get a ball i lost in the yard or something that’s it.
Lucky for me there was the Nieman boys, 2 kids I loved playing with. Also that year now that I think about my dad actually picked me up for a day or few. One visit was spent with my Dad in a speed binge with my uncle randy and they decided to build me a go cart out of scrap wood. I loved that thing. Even had a kick and go scooter I got for another birthday and wore the wheels off of. Some toys I also had acquired from yard sales and Christmases and birthdays.I used to always get just one big thing, never a lot of little things. I had gi joes, transformers, a scooter and a bike. Eventually when the go cart rotted the nieman boys were lucky enough to have the roof redone on their house, that gave us wood and nails. I rebuilt the go kart piece by piece by tracing all the old rotted pieces and we spray painted it orange instead of the original dark green. More bad ass than ever. The corner store was owned by the Velez brothers, they rented vhs videos sold cigarettes and lottery, few grocery items etc. I made the best I could out of what I had as always,and I took a lot of time getting as far away from the house as possible walking to that store. That would alternate between going outside and getting whipped regular for not being where I was supposed to be. I began to not want to go outside anymore, I spent a lot more time in my room, sometimes the Attic.
Around this time I think was when we got the family dog, gizmo. I hated that fucking dog. Ugly stupid piece of shit. A puli. Around the time I found out through a scratch test I was allergic to everything on the earth, even dogs. So this one was purchased because he was hypo allergenic. Of course my stepfather loved that dog. Maybe that is why I hated it, but naturally I had to feed and water it, and clean its dog shit up every day. I didn’t even want the fucking thing now I got one more duty. Mind you all my daily chores had to be done before I could go out, they also had to be inspected by my stepfather. Nothing was ever right. It wasn’t just doing things, it was doing things the exact way he wanted them done. My first submissive impact. I had to literally at this age study his exact methods and mimic them to a tee. But on the benefit, it sharpened me to watch for detail. This also encouraged me to be an OCD perfectionist.
My memory was photographic which assisted me to study his behavior, and his what seemed to be demonic behavior. The ego in him had ultimate power of his domain through fear and forced submission. You didn’t want to follow him, you were too scared not to follow him. He was a very massive man, he lifted weights, took steroids which I found out later and had a cocaine addiction which I think everyone must have at that time. All of his behaviors, drug use and successful execution with impunity just further fueled his ego . The rage of either of those drugs is truly a terrifying experience.
Then an odd behavior started to happen. Gunnar was obsessed with taking pictures of his 2 sons, naked. I mean rolls and rolls of film. I didn’t understand it then I just felt it was unusual. He used to let them play outside in the yard naked which was even weirder. We had thick hedges but it didn’t stop the gates. The neighborhood kids would stare and the dog would get tormented on a regular basis as well by the black kids mostly in the neighborhood. I never really gave a shit though.
My homework became nil, I would just keep getting failure remarks and I just never cared. I passed that year, but not by much. I almost think I was pushed ahead. I never got beaten because of bad grades, but as things went on the envelope was continually pushed with harder whippings and longer chore days.
Around this year comes the manifestation of lucid dreaming. My first time I had a dream I learned to control I was in a nightmare, I was getting whipped and I was so mad I screamed enough and I grabbed my stepfathers throat. I choked him until he turned into a snake in my hands and slithered away. I never felt so much peace in my heart, in that blank space. All I wanted him to do was stop, I never woke up with so much peace. I didn’t know what I did or how I did it. but for years I would try and to do it again. I became obsessed with learning the power of my own mind in a dream state.
How I started to learn was when I was trying not to think of something, I would dream of it. Was pretty tricky, but most times it worked. I’d think of something all day and when i went to bed I’d stay up in my bed for hours imagining me on my ship with Heather, Alex Charles, Brian. Chris would be my imagined sworn enemy. We’d fight in these giant battles where i would almost sink. Then I’d repair my ship and go back and win by some ingenious idea I cooked up. Maybe I’ll write a few of my memories. I will separate them of course some may find them boring.
My days in reality were unlivable, My nights in my imagination were a sweet comfort. It was all I had. I no longer wanted to learn or practice the guitar, the new instructor was ok, but my stepfather would promptly explain to me how much I sucked so i quit. One more dream done.
I used to have water thrown on me to get out of bed, It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get up. I couldn’t get up. Every night I went to bed I began to pray to my God to not wake up. Every day I heard the screams and/or felt the water. I cried because I knew I had another day in this world, and my God put me here.
My God who carried me through and protected me, my God who loved his little children, my God who would never leave nor forsaken me. Here I was, forsaken. What in the blue fuck did I do that was so bad? My conclusion at the time was I was born of evil, an unholy marriage. I was the son of the devil in the flesh. I was told so. Not just by my mother, by my family. The church my mother went to even refused to baptize me. They called me a black sheep. However My cousin gary jr. (my mother’s brother, his child) was the pristine embodiment of intelligence and holiness. I was always told to be more like him. But I couldn’t be, because my father was a bastard. A drunk a thief an abuser and a liar.
So I began to accept who and what I was. I let go. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
This year, was the year I had to become a man.