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

1 comment:

Gary Rivera said...

Al parecer tu padre y el mío son personas débiles y con mucha necesidad de cariño que (tal vez) sin proponérselo lastimaban a las personas que debían proteger. Me ha gustado esta entrada porque me permite conocerte más. No puedo juzgar a tu padre, pero si al mío, se equivoco en gran manera y ha dejado heridas que no se ven, personalmente YO no creo en el matrimonio y aunque no lo descarto, no es mi prioridad por un temor a fallar, a faltar a la familia y sé que sería doloroso. Por eso evito el compromiso con alguien, por ahora estoy muy bien Yo solo.

Creo que al averiguar podrías abrir heridas antiguas y causar dolor, pero si no lo haces ¿como podrías por fin “enterrar” el tema?

En mi familia paso lo mismo, mi padre casi murió hace unos años, ocurrió el mismo dia de mi cumpleaños y de golpe tuve que conocer a todas sus “esposas” fue vergonzoso y un poco doloroso, finalmente toda esta experiencia me sirvió para perdonarlo y olvidar algunas cosas, otras aun las recuerdo.

No puedo juzgar a tu papa, pero resulta que al margen de todo el daño potencial que ocasiono, hay algo bueno que yo considero un milagro sin el, TU no estarías aquí, sin TI John no estaría aquí! A mi me parece algo bueno. Que nunca los hijos paguen los errores de los padres.