Learning to read, allows a young boy to escape into fantasy. Always, this lad, had a vivid imagination. Playing Cowboys and Indians was a favorite escape for young ones growing up in the 50's. Looking back at that time now, as a grown up with a lifetime of experiences, makes the old man shiver now. Well . . . the boy did not know any better. He was playing out childhood fantasies, mimicking what was popular at the time. The theaters show westerns, westerns on the televisions. Well the boy had no choice, as to what was on the televisions, the adults control that, since the child's family did not have a television until he was about twelve years old, mostly the only viewing of that relatively new invention was on Saturday night at Grandpa's. It's hard to understand to the generations growing up after me without television and all the other gizmos that have altered children's imaginationt. Good or bad, like the westerns portraying the white man and the thieving redskins, our mind's are forever shaped.
Saturday night was the big night of the week for Eddie, he got to spend time with grandpa, his true father figure. Sad, even now, to admit to that, but the truth is, the real truth! Grandpa Ralph never got excited, except' for rassling. A tall thin man, slightly bent from a lifetime of hard labor. He worked over 40 years for the Rail Road. On call 24 hours a day. Hard work meant nothin' back then, his hobby was planting a big garden for the family to can, he and I sold the extra. I was his star salesman. After all nobody could refuse a ten year old chubby cheeked young lad. We were close . . . I carry his name, Glen. I'm proud as a peacock, to mention that. He died when I was but 12, yet he's in my dreams, my thoughts, as it were, only yesterday. Good memories, never fade, they're cherished, shared with love, like watching a garden bloom. Life is hoping the bad thoughts will slowly, dissipate. Replaced with the still, love for life. In 1963 he went outside on a November night, trying to catch his breath, a lifetime of 62 years.
Back then, seems as though, every man smoked. ( The Marlboro man commercial, most likely, influenced the youth's of that era, ya, reckon? ) He rolled his own. Prince Albert in a can. I'd watch him carefully, take a single sheet of thin paper and place Prince Albert tobacco on it, then lick the end slightly, connecting the cigarette, using matches he'd strike on any surface. A young boy once, lovingly fascinated by the very act of watching grandpa build a cigarette was totally devastated in the wee hours of a cold November. I remember it, as I remember yesterday! ( Actually I remember it more, than yesterday! ) The very scene, clearly etched, into my mind, will never heal! Can't! Will not! Ever!
A child's mind, plays out, forever, those feelings, the thoughts of being that child, the actual, devastating, loving, unknown visualization, at that time, in their history. Lost, totally lost, in that moment, plays like a stuck needle, only forever, such as in the rut, of an old 45 rpm record. You move the needle carefully, yet returning to the same spot, the record stop again, and again, in the same damaged rut. Yes, how can it not? Time, really stops, stuck forever, in one groove, to be, never, forgotten.
Children are not capable of understanding the darkness of life. Their lollipops, rainbows, cartoons, puppy dogs, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus all rolled into one, with love and pride, like grandpa's Prince Albert cigarettes.
The cigarettes that eventually kills grandpa is real, but . . . children DO NOT understand these things, and the consequences. Sadly, but with great love and tenderness, an old man ME, at almost the same age, grandpa died, fifty years ago, reminisce, fondly, and admit, I still miss him!!! You see that child that heard the message, "grandpa just died" as he lies crying, in his bed, still feels that moment. It will never perish, nor do I wish it to!
I learned first about death 5 years before this. Sissy's what I called her. A red head that I can only barely remember, playing with. Seems like we we're playing, the next thing I remember, they're rushing her in the "dead of night," to a children's hospital far, far, away. Never for me to be seen again, except for the viewing of her, in her small casket, at the funeral home. Children do not understand such matters, as death, funeral homes, burying!!! They know not what, questions to ask, there's nothing, in which to prepare them for such an event! Seven years old is about the learning of elementary school fundamentals. The essential tools of life, to be built upon. NOT ABOUT DEATH! What does the losing of a younger sister teach a child about? NOTHING! Not true! It teaches the cruelity . . . and absolute, foreverness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the longing, the missing of a love one! To never be finalized, never to be understood, to carry that loss , , , that love . . . for eternity!!!
DAMN IT ALL TO HELLL! TO CARRY SUCH LOST, THROUGH ETERNITY MOLDS ONE . . . HAS TO!
WE ARE WHOM WE BECOME, BECAUSE OF!
WOULD I BE SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT IF?
SEEMS THE ANSWER WOULD BE "MOST ASSUREDLY!"
TO OF KNOWN THE LOVE AND THE GIVETH, EVEN FOR ONE MOMENT MORE! YES, I SAY!!!
THE HAUNTS I CARRY, IS OF THE LAST SHOT/MEMORY, FOREVER ETCHED INTO MY MIND, I CANNOT SHAKE AFTER HALF A CENTURY?
IT IS OF MY SISSY, A PICTURE TAKEN THE DAY BEFORE HER DEATH OF HER NEW RED SLIPPERS, THEN HER DARK OF THE NIGHT, DEATH RIDE IN OUR NEIGHBORS 55 BUICK. SISSY WAS BURIED WITH THOSE RED SLIPPERS.
AS FOR MY GRANDPA, HE SIMPLY WENT OUT ONE COLD NOVEMBER NIGHT TO NEVER CATCH HIS BREATH! THE DEATHLY GRIP OF NIGHT, COMETH, ONCE, MORE!
WHAT I PONDER UPON, ALMOST EXCESSIVELY, AS MY MOTHER'S ENDING DRAWS NEAR?????
HOW WILL I HANDLE THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE OF MY LIFE? I TEAR UP NOW, WHILE TYPING!
THE ONE, AND THE ONLY THING I KNOW IS LOVE FROM HER. I ONLY WISH TO THINK UPON HER THAY WAY!!!!!!!
FOR, TO CARRY THE LOVE OF THE LOST ONES IN OUR LIFE HAS FORMED US, GUIDED US, MADETH US, WHO, WE ARE. I LIKE TO THINK THEIR WITH US ALWAYS AND FOREVER. I KNOW THEY ARE!!!!!
I'M STILL STANDIN', LIKE NEVER, BEFORE!!!