Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frat Life 101: The White Rose or Heartbreak Awaiting part 2

The second White Rose that I attended, well I guess I have to say I sort of attended it. For this one I chose not to risk the embarrassment of asking a young lady for a date only to not have her show up or contact me. Plus I didn't have any money for tickets. There were actually three of us who found ourselves in this situation so Tony, Gary and I stayed in Bert's room. We would come by the ballroom where the formal was being held every so often to see if the White Rose (the female who had done the most for us that year) had been serenaded yet because we wanted to participate in the ceremony. Once we had done that since the formal was about two thirds over just about everyone there told us to stay and not worry about the ticket issue. We tried to leave saying it wasn't right but they insisted and honestly I think we were happy to comply. It did cause a bit of friction and perhaps a few hard feelings afterwards for a few people but in reality we didn't plan for that to happen and meant on harm. In the end it was about brotherhood and being together.

The third and final White Rose for me was in 1986 and this time I had a date who actually came with me. That way there wouldn't be any mysterious circumstances or any garbage like that. She was a friend from the Northeastern Activities Board named Micah. She seemed nice, was friendly and I didn't feel that she was completely out of my league like I did with Leah. For some reason however once we got there she barely paid any attention to me whatsoever and that led me to decide to return the favor. Once again I was avoiding talking to her and sharing my feelings which could have cleared things up quickly. I decided that I would have a good time with my friends no matter what my date did or did not do and so I moved forward with that plan. The famed "walk of the dwarves" even made an appearance or two that night.

All was reasonably well until the last song of the night. As we customarily danced on the tables during the last song everyone started jumping off of them and I followed suit (doing my best Eddie Van Halen imitation) which left her as the only person still on the table. Did I forget to mention that these tables had one, broad leg in the center? As soon as I jumped off the table it flipped over unceremoniously dumping her on the ground while I danced on oblivious to the damage that I had unintentionally created. I think she must have thought that I'd done it on purpose but I hadn't. It was just that I had really stopped making the effort of paying attention to her since I felt she had been ignoring me. More than likely I had taken her treatment of me completely wrong (I have been called overly sensitive in my life) and had mistakenly made a mountain out of a molehill. We didn't talk a great deal that night or the next day but we did remain friends afterwards.

here you have it. Three White Roses and not so much as a kiss on the cheek goodnight. One had ended sad and lonely with no date. Another ended happy to have been with friends for at least part of the night. The last ended with a date seemingly in name only. Although I couldn't see it at the time there was a pattern repeating itself over and over in my life as far as saying what I felt and it would continue to do so. Story of my life.

Published by Don Leach

Frat Life 101: The White Rose or Heartbreak Awaiting?

Every year each chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma has an annual formal event called The White Rose where members, alumni, girlfriends/wives and members of our sister organization (Roses of Sig Tau) all get together to revel, make mischief, have fun and well, honestly, get drunk. Or at least that's the way it was done at Zeta Chapter especially back in the 80s. It was a point in my life when I did imbibe from time to time but I was never what you'd call a big drinker. That usually put me in the minority.

During the spring semester of 1984 we started planning the first of three White Roses that I would attend and the older members let us new guys in on a vital piece of information. We had to start looking early for a hotel in Tulsa to host the formal and it would take some time because once we had an event we would end up being banned from that establishment due to our attendees wild, over the top behavior. When you've done that they tend to have long memories and are usually unforgiving. I can look back now and shake my head at some of our behavior and ask myself what were we thinking however I also know that everything in my past has helped to propel me to where I am today. I learned lessons about life and experienced many different things which is what I think college is for, expanding horizons. Of course the person I am today would be extremely annoyed if he were on the same floor with the person I used to be while one of these events was going on. Such is life.

For my first White Rose I somehow gathered up enough courage (a rare event for me in those days) to ask a girl named Leah to accompany me. We knew each other but not very well. I was shocked that she agreed because I felt that she was out of my league so I went all out for this event, including renting a black tuxedo with tails. Basically I spent a lot of money on tickets, tux, room, etc. A few days before the event I saw her and tried to nail down the final details such as if she wanted to drive up to Tulsa with me, where it was and so forth. She told me that an uncle that she wasn't close to had died but that she still planned on coming. She would already be in Tulsa so she would meet me there. Since I was the nice guy I let her know that if she didn't feel up to it she should just call the hotel and let me know and I'd understand. In effect I was giving her an easy out.

Let's just say that after calling the front desk roughly thirty odd times or so in the course of about three hours two things became clear to me. The first was that the clerk was becoming more aggravated with each call and the second was that she wasn't coming without even giving me the courtesy of a call. This must have been the banner year for Zeta Chapter members getting dumped because I recall quite a few whose dates didn't show up. Keith was one of my closer friends and it happened to him as well so we ended up hanging out a lot that night. As for the formal, well let's just say that fun was had, things got broken and we continued the time honored tradition of dancing on the tables for the last song of the night. Which could explain some of the things that got broken. I think there was a fight too. Oh, and we were asked never to come back to that establishment again.

On a side note, a few days later I saw Leah going into a room in my dorm after having snuck up the back stairwell. She said hello to me and acted as if nothing had happened and everything was perfect. I simply turned away and walked into my room. She followed and asked me again and true to form instead of blasting her for what she did I just bottled it up inside and refused to speak with her other than saying that nothing was wrong. This was a fairly normal pattern in my life although at the time I never realized what I was doing to myself. I guess I thought that by avoiding and ignoring things like this I was putting it behind me but in reality it would simmer just below the surface only to escape at various moments for a long time afterwards. As if you couldn't guess, I never had much to say to her for the rest of our time in school.

to be continued............

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Give In To The Dark Side And Join My Young Apprentice

The day I've been dreading has come, I finally gave in after much thought and mental anguish and went over to the dark side. No, not that "dark side" you perverts. I'm talking about something entirely different and much more insidious. That's right, last night I joined twitter. For several weeks I've debated about joining and decided I'd wait until I was actually doing something that would warrant me needing twitter such as when I eventually am able to start my podcast(s) or when I'm trying to do something with the scripts I'm working on. Then I saw that a person I admire and respect had joined so I threw away my reservations and decided to jump in.

The first person that I followed was the one responsible for pushing me over the edge, my brother-in-law Gary. My reasoning is that if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me. After that I looked up a short list that I had already compiled in case I did decide to join twitter. After that I filled in the rest of my initial choices from amongst music artists, comedians and podcasters whose work I enjoy. In the days to come I'll start following more people but mainly I want to find some interesting people with interesting and funny things to say.

Here are the people/artists in no particular order that I initially chose and it is indeed a very stellar and unique group:

theslackersband great ska (and more) band
alescovedo amazing musician and songwriter
exenecervanka vocalist from the legendary band X
joerogan comedian/podcaster/voice of the UFC
stuckinthe80s the best 80s podcast I've found
pattonoswalt funny comedian/actor/writer
BryWaltQ the guys from Tell 'Em Steve Dave podcast
ThatKevinSmith writer/director/podcaster/internet radio guru
DougBenson funny comedian
yragarevir my brother-in-law

So that's the inaugural draft class which I'm sure will go down in infamy. Today I noticed that I've already picked up two followers and I haven't even made my first tweet yet so at least I've got that going for me. Time will tell how this goes so I can only hope for the best. My true passion for writing can't be contained in so few characters but at the least maybe I can direct more traffic to this blog. It couldn't hurt. Before I forget, my twitter name is notmovingpics so get over there and follow me. Please and thank you.
Published by Don Leach

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Whilst strolling through Youtube I found this video that is simply a great parody song that takes on current world events and skewers and twists them before spitting it all back in our collective faces. It comes from the College Humor website. Well done I say. Well done indeed. That's all, move along, nothing to see here.

Published by Don Leach

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Art Of Making The Mix Tape

The one way I can almost always guarantee creativity on my part is by being around someone or something that is also creative. Whenever I'm around my friends band while they are practicing I always seem to get an idea for a line or two at the least, which makes it a good thing that I help write their lyrics for them. Rarely does a situation like this fail to spark my mind into action. Sometimes it also comes when I'm listening to music and I'll find an artist, album, etc that puts me in a certain frame of mind and it brings something else out. Thinking deeply can be a good thing.

Then there are books. Currently I am reading (and I always seem to be reading something) a book titled "Love Is A Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield. It's about him going over a series of mix tapes that he and his wife/girlfriend made for each other in the 80s and 90s and talking about what was happening in his life at that time. Not far into the book he describes different kinds of tapes such as the Party Mix, the I Want You Mix and the Road Trip Mix. There are many more but you get the point.

While perusing the list I came to think about my own mix tape making career. I had never made one for a girl that I was interested in which always seems to be the number one reason most people have for making a tape in the first place. At least not that I can recollect and it would likely be something that I would remember so I guess I missed the boat on that one. No, most of mine seem to have fallen into three groups which I intend to elaborate on here where I am most at home.

My rules were rather simple for most of the tapes that I made. (1) Try to get music that went together well or at least was from the same era and (2) don't use the same artist more than once per tape. My second rule could be temporarily suspended by making a tape that featured most of the same groups using two of their songs but only by splitting them up on both sides of the tape. I've still got quite a few tapes hidden away somewhere in the house and every so often I'll break them out to remember a different time both in my life and technology wise.

My first kind of mix tape was the Radio Tape. These tapes tended to mix genres since you you were at the mercy of the radio station. What I would do is put a tape in the cassette deck and push pause. Then I would push play/record. That way whenever a song came on that I wanted all I had to do was release the pause button to start recording. You couldn't leave it like that indefinitely however and I was frequently having to reset it but it worked well. It also allowed for less harsh sounds when starting and pausing the recording. I'm not sure that it mattered as most songs had the beginning chopped off and the ending segued into another song or were full of the DJ talking but you can't fault the logic here for getting free songs.

The second kind was the Road Trip Tape. For that one you prepared a tape with songs that had something with a lot of energy, loud guitars, great sing along choruses or a lot of silliness. These tapes always made the trip fun or at least made the ride seem a lot shorter than it actually was. They also had to help keep you awake if you were the driver so slow songs were always kept to a minimum.

The third and last kind was The Greatest Hits Tape. On this one I would take the best songs of bands that I was currently listening to and put them all on the same tape while staying loosely in a genre. More killer, less filler as a way of listening to music. Unfortunately this also led to some of these tapes never being fully completed if I adhered to my one song by the same artist per side rule and got too severe in not mixing genres as I was wont to do.

Mix tapes gave way to Mix CDs which gave way to MP3 players which will give way to something else. Music and technology are forever changing so I'm sure the next bigger and better thing is just around the corner. Believe me, I do embrace technology and I like being able to carry around a ton of songs on my Ipod. Still, I would be lying if I said I didn't sometimes miss the old ways of doing things. I put a lot of effort into my tapes and would often sit with headphones on trying to catch the perfect pause between one song ending and another beginning. I'll keep adapting with technology but I also plan on keeping my old tapes for those days when I feel like going back in time, just a little.

Published by Don Leach

Monday, June 20, 2011

Road Trip To New Orleans Day Four

Day Four, the last day, of our journey was upon us. We awakened, got cleaned up and readied ourselves for the final leg of the journey, our drive home. Before doing so however we had to fuel ourselves with lunch and without asking we all knew where we would be stopping, Chuys. Chuys (pronounced Chewies) is a regional chain of Tex-Mex food and we've managed to eat there every time since we found it when we've gone to Dallas for a concert because simply put the food is good as is the ambiance. Once properly fortified (and after certain peoples bowels were emptied) we departed from Dallas.

The drive was rather uneventful, full of conversation much as most of the drive had been throughout the last four days. I arrived home not to a loving family waiting to greet the returning beloved father but to an empty house. It seems my wife and son were out because they got bored and didn't know when I'd be back. Ah well, there's something to be said for quiet time too, isn't there? I missed my family during my road trip but it was good to get away with just the guys. I think that it is vital to do things like this every once in a while.

I can honestly say that during this trip I broke from my normal patterns and tried to eat things that I usually would shy away from and I came away from the experience better for it. There were good times, good music, good people and most of all good food. It's made me more open to trying different kinds of food when I get the chance to go back to Peru, hopefully next year if all goes well. Until then however I only have one question. When and where's the next road trip Tom?

Enchiladas, Rice and Beans at Chuys

Published by Don Leach

Friday, June 17, 2011

Road Trip To New Orleans Day Three

Saturday found us sleeping in a bit late so we quickly got cleaned up and packed all of our belongings so that we could check out of the hotel. A mere two blocks or so away was a local joint called Nola's and that was where we decided to have our lunch. Once again I decided to try something that I had never consumed before and the choice was a Crawfish Pie more commonly known as the Crawpie. It looks like an empananda and was quite tasty. I also had some of Chris' po-boy which he could not finish. To wash it down I had a Snapple Green Tea and a Big Shot Cola which is made locally right in New Orleans.

After looking at some of the show flyers that were on the wall (including a killer one for X) we decided to head over to a cemetery to take a look. Since New Orleans is below sea level everybody has to be buried in crypts or else when it floods the bodies will rise up out of the ground and start floating. Some of the crypts were well taken care of and some were falling apart. That comes from either extreme age or the fact that a family cannot pay to maintain the crypt. In these cases the bodies may be moved and the plot sold to someone else.

The pyramid crypt seen above is said to belong to actor Nicolas Cage and will be his final resting place whenever he dies. Originally I had wanted to see the 9th Ward area where very few people live anymore. After Hurricane Katrina almost nobody that lived there came back, they just relocated and left their houses. Parts of the ward are deserted and a lot of house are falling down. Unfortunately it was farther away that I would have liked so we elected to start our drive back.

After jumping on the highway I got engrossed in my new Android cellphone and Tom missed our exit so we ended up going the wrong way. Instead of backtracking we elected to take a "shortcut" that would get us back on the correct highway. Or that was the theory. The shortcut seemed to take forever due to the numerous small towns and the equally numerous slow drivers. Eventually we reconnected with the highway and all was well. After a brief stop at an outlet mall we found a fish market in Baton Rouge that had a great deal on shrimp for Tom and they directed us to another place called Tony's Seafood market & Deli that was bigger and better where he could get some crawfish or mudbugs as they are commonly known. While there I went over to the deli side and decided to try some boudin since that was something that had been highly recommended to try and I hadn't had any at that point.

Once there however I changed my mind and had the boudin balls after the worker gave me a sample of each of their three kinds. First was seafood, next was crawfish and last was Cajun. As I tried each of them they got better and better and I ended up buying a dozen of the Cajun boudin balls. I can honestly say that this was the best food I had all trip long! Tom and I were smiling and laughing as we devoured them in the truck, that's how good they were. You know it's good food when it brightens your mood and makes you happy, even giddy. The long drive into the night continued and our plan was to stop and get a room in Dallas and get something to eat there.

We realized however that by the time we got there nothing other than fast food joints would be open so we elected to discontinue our plan of only eating at local places on this trip and have a late dinner at the single open restaurant that we could see, Cracker Barrel. Hey, the breakfast food was pretty good and since it was so late it came out pretty fast too. Again, there was no reason for pictures of the food there. After about another hour and a half of driving we were able to stop and get a hotel room but were unable to use the internet because of the policy of this unmentionable hotel to charge for it. Needless to say, we won't be going back there again. So off to slumberland we went and when we woke up, day four of our journey would begin.

Published by Don Leach

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Pictures From My New Orleans Road Trip

Here are a few pictures from the French Quarter in New Orleans:

Published by Don Leach

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip Day 2

Day two of the road trip started and after getting cleaned up we went to the French Quarter and had lunch at Johnny's Po-Boys where I had the Alligator Sausage Po-Boy that you see below. It basically tasted like sausage, nothing more nothing less. I could only finish half of it so I had the other half wrapped up and ended up giving it to a street musician.

Next we went around the Quarter looking for souvenirs which took a little while. While we were doing this we also went to Cafe du Monde where we had beignets and then went on to the riverwalk. While there I bought some alligator jerky that turned out to be extremely spicy and it set all of our mouths on fire. It was so hot it made me glad I didn't try the alligator on a stick (seriously, they had it). Afterwards we continued to look for souvenirs and to see what the Quarter looked like.

I asked in one shop about the location of vinyl record stores and was told that there were no longer any to be found in the French Quarter. Half a block away I found a small book/record store where I happily purchased two 45s. Did I go back to correct the lady in the shop? No, it would more than likely have proven to be a useless gesture.

We'd been out for several hours so we decided to head back to the hotel even though it meant that we needed to walk the mile and a half or so distance in order to get some exercise (and not pay for another cab ride). Once there Tommy and I went to the pool for a nice cool swim because it was pretty muggy and we had gotten hot during our walk. Chris however elected to stay in the room and watch tv. Maybe they had different shows on than what we have in Tulsa. After getting ready we headed back to the French Quarter for dinner where we decided on Felix's so that Tommy could get oysters on the half shell which he desperately wanted and I could get the blackened alligator I had been looking for. I also had a cheeseburger po-boy but decided not to take a picture of it. The alligator that you see below was excellent and I highly recommend it.

The appointed hour had come to head to the New Orleans Arena and see Rush. This was the seventh concert by them that I had seen (should have been 3 or 4 more) and they never fail to impress. Age is of little consequence for how masterful they are musically and if you get the chance, go see them while you can. It's worth it. Great songs, great between song banter, great light show and some very great music all add up to a good time in my book. The only negative thing was the people around us who waited until after the show started and then decided to go get food and drinks. Seriously, if you pay that much money shouldn't you actually watch the band instead of constantly getting up and down going back and forth from the concessions stand?

Anyway, a cabbie tried to rip us off and charge $10 each to go back to the hotel so we ignored him and found another. Here's a hint, there's always another, you just may have to wait a bit to find a good one at a decent price. Upon our inquiry the lady at the front desk told us that there was a local burger place about a block over so away we went and there found the bar and grill that it actually was, where I grabbed some mozzarella sticks. Afterwards the moment had come to hit the sack and get ready to see some more sights tomorrow before starting our journey home. More to come.

Published by Don Leach

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Road Trip To New Orleans Day One

After a long day of driving (almost 13 hours thanks to a shortcut that took longer than the directions said) we have arrived in New Orleans and are safely ensconced in our hotel room. It was difficult to say goodbye to Connie and John but we will see each other soon. Tommy, his son Chris and I are here to see Rush in concert. This is my first time ever in New Orleans so tomorrow we'll be doing the tourist type things like going to the French Quarter and seeing the sites before going to the concert. It will be nice to see Alex, Geddy and Neil for the seventh time playing some of my favorite songs ever.

On teh trip down we stopped for dinner in Shreveport and I had a beef BBQ sandwich that was pretty good. Sorry, no pictures of that but tomorrow there will be plenty of the town and the food. I'm pretty tired as I didn't get much sleep last night and none at all on the trip so I'll be cutting this short and going to bed in a few minutes. I'm ready to break out of my normal patterns and try some different kinds of food than I normally eat. Exactly what kind you ask? Check in later with me and you shall see. Manana.

Published by Don Leach

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shootout In Old Tulsa Town, The World Just Got A Little Crazier

There was a shootout in Tulsa two days ago on a Tuesday afternoon at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Apparently two men forced a man at gunpoint to take them to his Tulsa home. While there a police car pulled up and they made the hostage return to his vehicle and then they drove to the Walmart store located at 21st and Yale. This is a store that I frequent sometimes at night after I get off of work. At least one of the men took the hostage inside the store and fired multiple shots. It seems that the other man left at some point, possibly when police officers began to arrive on the scene. The gunman came outside and attempted to steal a car but ended up shooting and killing a foreign exchange student from China while his passenger got out and ran away.

Next he tried to take a truck from a man who told him he could have it if only he would let him get his baby, girlfriend and her brother out of the vehicle. In this case he allowed them all to exit the truck before getting in. Right away he started shooting at police officers and they returned his fire. The truck crashed only a short distance away and the officers found the man dead inside the truck. The whereabouts of the second man is unknown at this time.

A comment I heard after all of this happened was from a person that lived in that area who had said that they always thought that it was a safe neighborhood and now they weren't so sure. Too many people live under the illusion of safety in this country. Just because the place they live has houses that are a bit more expensive they think it's less likely to have poorer, lower class people and thus less crime. People like to think this way instead of facing reality. There is no such thing as real safety. All it takes is one time for a person to decide to break the law or lose control of themselves and lives can be lost in moments.

Criminals who plan ahead look for places where they can get away with their crimes quickly and easily, but for those who are on drugs or have lost their grip on sanity there are only sudden, unplanned decisions that can spin out of control rapidly. In these cases a simple choice of turning left instead of right can impact whether you live or die and there is no way in cases like this that you can guarantee safety. Nor can you legislate it either. More laws guarantee nothing. If somebody wants to get a gun and use it then they will find a way to do just that no matter how many laws there are to prevent it from happening.

We live in a time of instant access to information amongst other things and it seems like people are losing patience and the ability to comprehend completely. They want it all now, with no waiting no matter what laws or regulations there are. Indeed they believe that the rules don't apply to them at all. Don't believe me? Just watch an episode of Parking Wars and you will see the unbelievable vitriol verbally hurled towards the parking enforcement officers in Philadelphia.

People know they are in violation but don't care and they sound off in the most idiotic fashion. It's an unfortunate sign of the times and will only bet worse. Violence is escaping from it's confines on an increasingly larger scale and the most we can hope to do is educate ourselves about it and pray that we can escape it when it happens. Ultimately people are becoming more and more selfish and they plain do not care if others get hurt by their actions. Safety is a faded ideal. Reality is our present and future and I don't see it getting any better.

Published by Don Leach

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Brief History Of My Father And His Wives

I spoke with my older sister earlier in the week and for some reason she and my mother are trying to determine how many children my father had and with whom. Mind you, both of my sisters and I are in our forties now and our father died back in 1999 so I wasn't really sure why they wanted to do this at this point in time but who am I to disagree? I guess it's something about mapping out our complete genealogy or an attempt to understand him a little better. Either way, as it turned out our conversation did unearth an item or two for each of us that we did not previously know so it did turn out to bear fruit in that way. The thing about my father though is that he was a habitual liar, whether it was about large things or small, and that makes it difficult to decide exactly what he said was true and what was false. What is certain to me is that he always needed a woman in his life in the time that I knew him, no matter where he was, and he didn't normally go a long time without one.

Let's begin with hopefully where it all started. First he was married to my mother and they had three children of which I am the middle one. My older sister is Teresa and my younger is Karen. We all grew up in Ironton, Ohio, a rather small town in the southeastern part of the state. During their marriage he was away in the military some of the time so I suppose it is possible that he had children out of wedlock in Germany or Vietnam. Who can say? Shortly after Karen was born he had a daughter with a woman named Irene and this was in Pennsylvania. None of us know what his daughters name is. While I lived with my father here in Tulsa he did inform me one day while we were talking about the past that he had gone to Mexico to get a not so legal quickie divorce from my mother and then later had to do it again in the states. Perhaps this was so that he could be with this woman "legally" in his or her mind.

Wife number three was Maryann, also in Pennsylvania, this time in the northeastern part of the state. With her he had Mary Katherine and then twin sons Tim and Tom. Interestingly, again while I was living with him in Tulsa he told me when Maryann had found him (much as my mother had) towards the end of 1986 that he was unaware that she had been pregnant with the twins when he had left her. Now she was having difficulty with her sons (she had an older son as well from a previous relationship) and dad ended up moving back to help with them. More on this later.

Next up was a lady by the name of Elizabeth who had been a nun previously (no idea if dad had anything to do with that or not) and they had a son named Michael in Missouri. I do remember my father talking about living in Jefferson City amongst other places in that state. The only thing I know about Michael is that he was killed in a car accident when he was seventeen.

My father had not been in communication with us nor had he been a part of our lives when my mother found him sometime around 1981. He was living in Enid, Ok and both of my sisters as well as myself came to live with him at one point or another but I am the only one that stayed. In Enid dad was married to Jo and although she was a rather strange woman I think now that she really tried but it couldn't have been easy taking in us and my cousin Larry as well as his friend Rich. At any point, dad decided to leave her and take up with a lady he worked with named Pam, who was also married. This would end up being the last job that I ever saw my father work other than being in the National Guard. Pam ended up being not so very stable (mentally) herself and she and I had issues that I am sure helped to put a strain on their marriage. Plus she was nuts.

Dad briefly left her and took up with a lady about five years older than me (I was about nineteen at the time) whom we moved in with. Unfortunately her car was hit by a truck that ran a red light and she lapsed into a coma and later died. Dad had no choice other than to return to Pam until he could find something or someone else. Around this time I wrote some lyrics about Pam that show how I felt about her. They started with the line "She's a witch she's a bitch" so you can see I didn't try to sugarcoat it at all. There was also a lady named Della while I was away in college that I don't believe he ever was involved with other than to string her along and use her to his advantage. That's my impression at least. She deserved better because she was a very nice lady.

I had joined the National Guard as well and left school so that I could go away to training. When I returned dad was living by himself in Tulsa and I stayed with him while trying to make up my mind about college. It was at this time that Maryann found him and told him about the problems that she was having. I had decided to stay out of school and return home to be around my mother and sisters and shortly after I left he moved to Pennsylvania to help Maryann with their children. As you can guess, at some point they got married again and wife number three became wife number seven.

There is a substantial gap in time between Elizabeth and Jo and my father never really spoke much of that time to me so I guess anything is possible. The final best guess tally that we know of is seven marriages (to six ladies) and eight children. The man could definitely talk to women and seemingly was never without one for very long. Perhaps we'll never know what his reasons were, what he was feeling, what caused all of these relationships to fail and all of these children to not know their father for much of their formative years if at all. I do know that wife number three and seven didn't want us to know much about them. She even asked my father's twin sister to not tell us that he had died. We found out from another aunt and Teresa and I showed up anyway, much to her chagrin.

There is no relationship between the different groups of children and it's doubtful there ever will be. Nor do I expect that we'll find out a great deal of information about Michael or the girl that he had with Irene. Anything is possible in this era of instant access but I have to ask myself if it's worth the trouble. If it were to happen I feel that it would have to be something in order to help one of us come to terms with why our lives were the way they were. Otherwise it would just be opening old wounds. Personally, I think it would be worth it to help even one of us. Maybe we'll see, Teresa can be pretty tenacious when she wants to be so I can't discount her finding out any news. That's about it, to the best of my rapidly faltering memory.

Published by Don Leach