The Little Boy Who Could.


A Thinking Man. 1960. Just six years old.

The Process Of Emotional Healing.
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You have to start with the story.

I lived these words, this is my life and story and I am being conservative with this. I don’t want to, nor do I intend to, hurt or damage anyone, I just need to tell my story.

I do not intend to insult, berate or denigrate anyone with this account. I only intend to write about what I saw and felt…..then…..get past it. I certainly hope to stir a desire in others to address the issues they may have in their own lives which are, or may be, similar. To entice them to resolve those issues and move on to a fruitful place in their lives.

Thank you for reading.

If you have encountered similar issues in your life and want to talk about it, leave a comment. I’ll talk with you. Please know that I am just a person. I am not a medical professional in any sense at all. I’m just a man who is trying to understand past situations that govern my life today which need to be resolved and jettisoned. I need to, and desire to, get past these issues.

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A lot of things have happened through my life that will never see the surface of a piece of paper, never be seen on a monitor and certainly will never fall on anyones’ ear. Things that are in no way constructive to anyone in any way. I will never reveal those events. Things that I will carry to the grave. Many things that were painful to endure and many that just do not need to be told. Some of the people who were involved in those activities no longer walk this earth, some do. Concerning the content of this story’s actors and participants, their names will not be revealed.

Originally, I wrote this story and post marked it via USPS, as well as e-mailing it, to a family member who has been somewhat important to me through my life, although that person has not been present in my life for any continuous or extended length of time. I wish it had been different, but as they say, ‘that was then, this is now.’

So, now that I have been ‘revealed,’ I see no reason to keep it to myself. Maybe even gain some knowledge and repair from sharing and hearing what others have experienced and may even care to discuss.

Certainly, I do not intend to denigrate or insult with this story, but rather, intend to ‘just get it on paper.’ I hope to overcome some, or many, of the issues I still carry with me from my younger years.

Now, having introduced myself, I will dig in and reveal myself.

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This story was originally intended for that family member’s eyes only, but that person felt the need to pass it around to others to read after it arrived in the mail and then told me what had been done. Imagine how I felt when they bragged to me about what had been done. I was a bit amazed. I was disappointed. I had hoped for an understanding and helpful personal response. A resolution, but that did not happen. I was told to step back and stay away. I’m 60 years old now and thought “What the hell are you saying? Are you telling me that this didn’t look to you like something that was meant for your eyes only?” Regardless, that’s what was delivered, through an e-mail, no better. Not by phone, not by letter, but through an e-mail. My trust in that person was completely dashed. The respect was stripped away.

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Many years ago, on the fifth day of the month of January in 1954, a boy came into this world because of the love between two young people. A happy, cared for, little blonde boy, possibly an unexpected addition, but they still cared for him, loved him, watched out for his well-being, nurtured him, parented him and taught him moral values that would get him started in life. They all lived in a very small town in the very northwest corner of the United States.

The little boy delighted himself in exploring the world around him. He looked under rocks, behind doors, he took everything apart to understand what made things tick. He was curious about everything in the world. He delighted in the wonders he saw that were so big and strange to see. He was a happy little boy. His family loved him. How could he not think he was loved?

His parents made such a fuss over his birthdays. He loved his birthdays and what went into making them special. One year, on his seventh birthday, his father collected $1.00 bills from all of his friends and taped them to a roll of paper in a long ribbon. There must have been billions of dollar bills. It was amazing to see the ribbon of money strewn up around the ceiling of the living room. The little boy’s eyes bulged when he saw all of the $1.00 bills all over the house. They were all his and there were so many. He had never seen so many dollar bills at one time.

One year for Christmas, his parents got him a beautiful big red and white bicycle. It was so big and tall. Very hard to ride, but it started a love for adventure that would last for the rest of the little boys life. His bike was his magic carpet. It always had magic carpet rides at the ready. He loved to ride his bike.

Over the years, he became the apple of his grandmother’s eye. She scooped him up at every opportunity and took him with her everywhere she went. They were buddies. Real pals. They went to the store, to the beach, to the Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair in Seattle when it launched in 1962. They were the best of friends. The little boy always felt safe and secure when he was with his grandmother. He knew no one could, or would, do him any harm when he was with her. His grandmother loved him and she knew that the little boy needed her stability in his life.

He watched television with her, he drank wonderful chocolate milkshakes that she made in her home for him, she took him fishing at the Humptulips River. She comforted him when their car got stuck on the bank of the river. “We will be ok. I will get someone to help us. Don’t cry, Gammy will take care of us.” She always did take care of him.

She taught him how to make pea shooters from the bamboo that grew in the back yard of her house.
He was happy to be with her anytime she had him in her sight. They were buddies.

She taught him how to tell time when she gave him his first watch. She gave him a chalk board and some chalk and taught him to write his name. She taught him the ‘ABCs,’ she taught him how to write 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 on the chalk board. She made his lunches and took him to school.
His grandfather taught him how to fix a flat tire on his bike. His grandmother and grandfather were all in the sky that he could see. They blocked out the sun and shone much brighter.

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Where were the little boy’s mother and father?

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Sometimes the little boy saw mom and dad do things that made him feel like they did not love each other. He felt as though he was the reason his mother cried and his father yelled. He didn’t know what to do so he would run up the stairs and hide under his bed and cry.

His mother and father had some problems in their marriage and decided that their problems were not reconcilable and they decided to end their marriage. This meant that their problems were not considered to be solvable, even though, by this time, they had three precious children who needed to be cared for and looked after. The oldest was just eight years old, the next youngest was five years old and the littlest was just two years old. Even though these children were so young, impressionable and innocent, that was not more important than divorce. The parents were not willing to work their problems out, or put them aside, for the sake of the children who needed their love and guidance. They could not agree to be nice to each other to make sure the three boys would have someone to look after them.

“I, husband, take you, wife, to be my lawfully wedded, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Those wonderful words did not seem to be worthy of the safety of the children in the father’s and mother’s life.

This meant that the mother would now have to provide for the children on her own, that the father would not be a part of their daily lives. This meant that the oldest son would have to step up and be ‘dad’ to the two other children. This was a monumental responsibility for one so young, none the less, an inescapable role in his little life. There were no options on the table. His childhood was now going to be denied him. He would not be able to go outside and play as other children did, because he would now be charged with taking care of every aspect of the two younger sibling’s lives on a daily basis from morning to bedtime whenever there was no responsible adult in the house.

Eventually, he was old enough to start school, although, because of the proximity of his birthday relative to fall enrollment, he was held out of kindergarten and entered a year late. He would always be a year too old and would result in his early school years being hard to endure. School children can be very mean. They reflect, through their actions on other children, what they are taught or see in their home that their father and mother do.

His first grade teacher was Mrs. Adams. She was a stern, tall woman with a gruff voice. Later in the boy’s life, Mrs. Adams’ son, Robert, would become one of the little boys’ best friends. The little boy, as an adult, would become friends with Mrs. Adams. They would laugh and joke and have fun when Robert and the little boy grew older and they visited in Robert’s house.

During the first year of school for the little boy, he was cared for by many people who were and were not family members. He was cared for by his grandmother adequately and most often, but he also was shuffled to his aunt’s home, to his parent’s friend’s homes, to people’s homes that he did not even know. He was passed around like a thing that no one wanted, although the relatives were reluctant to act on or to tell anyone how they felt about this. The mother would not listen to it. Even though she struggled relentlessly to raise the three little boys, she would not allow anyone to help her unless she asked them to. She did not like, nor did she take, advice from anyone.

Over the years, the little boy lived in many homes and played in many environments. So many, in fact, that they are just too impossible to remember. He even lived at an animal shelter compound once.

Through all of this turmoil, the little boy remained steady and stable in his heart, mind and soul. He learned to speak when spoken to, he learned to take abuse without shouting out, and he even learned how to run from school yard bullies again and again. He had a hard time knowing how to behave because he was always trying to stay safe and unharmed. He missed his Gammy above all. His safety was no longer a daily way of life. He hid behind things often.

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As the little boy entered his teen years, there were even more challenges to face. Challenges that were not considered normal or matter-of-fact for most young adults to face.

At thirteen years old, his beloved Gammy passed away. He really didn’t understand what this meant. This was the first person in his family since his birth to pass away. He knew that death meant Gammy would be gone forever, but did not know where she would be. His mother dressed him in a little formal suit for the funeral. He could see his father, whom he loved very much, from his seat on a pew, in another room laughing. He didn’t understand how someone could be happy when his Gammy was dead. “This was MY Gammy. How can you laugh at her. She is dead.” His father did not talk to him. He did not come over and sit down by him. The little boy did not understand any of this. He had not seen his father in a long time. He needed his father to help him understand what was happening. His father did not come to him, to hug him, to say “Hello” to him, he did not come into any room the little boy could see him from. The little boy felt abandoned by his father at his Gammy’s funeral. He had lost the one who loved him, but his father didn’t seem to care.

He was lost.

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By this time, being bullied, more at school than anywhere, had become a part of the little boy’s life. It was inescapable. Some family members and those who took care of him were abusive as well. It was a daily ordeal, for the little boy, to avoid people who were always mean and abusive. He had bad dreams many nights.

At fifteen years old, he was living at home with his single mother, and had been for at least seven years since the divorce. The little boy was now reaching puberty. He was shy, as the abuse over the years had caused him to be. He was afraid to express his feelings and ideas to anyone older than him. The adults in his life had now, for years, laughed at him, they threatened him, they made him feel so small that he no longer felt important to anyone. He just existed as a boy, not a person. He felt as though he had been left solely and completely on his own, even though he lived with a parent and two younger brothers.

His mother would daily go to work tending bar somewhere. Her parents either felt no need, or had not the means, to send her to an establishment of higher learning and education, so the mother never established a skill which would be profitable to her as a means of financial and professional support for herself or her family as a stable career. She worked as a bar-maid because she knew nothing else and had no time to spend on attempting to better her situation without jeopardizing her children’s well being or the roof over their heads.  Consequently, she was in no position to inspire the pursuit of higher education in any of her children. She was not able to set an example for her boys.

Due to this situation, the young boy was stuck at home preparing the meals, washing the clothes, greeting the bill collectors at the door, ensuring that the two younger brothers did not get into trouble by just being boys. The young boy, from the age of eight years old, was expected to be the ‘father’ of the house after the parent’s divorce, thus relieving the rest of the relatives from having to accept any responsibility of helping the situation by lending a hand in any way at all. This was a God send for the family members who did not want to help, or were afraid to step in because the mother was unapproachable.

The mother would go to work, then eight or ten hours later (sometimes not till the next morning or afternoon) come home from work with a bag of burgers and fries in one hand, and a male companion at her side. She would drop the bag of chow on the dinner table and instruct the young boy to “Put the kids to bed at 8:00 pm. Make sure the dishes are done, all homework is done and the doors are locked” then she and her companion would leave. There were many different companions over many years.

One day, the mother met a man whom she thought seemed to be nice, even special. She brought him home all the time instead of just once in a while. They were ‘meant for each other.’ Once in a while, the ‘boyfriend’ and the mother would disagree about something and the ‘boyfriend’ would hit her a time or two, like the father did many years earlier, with his fist, then the yelling would stop and it would be so peaceful that they would go in the bedroom and make all kinds of noise. ‘Grunts, growls, etc., the kind of sounds that animals make in the wild. They would come out of the bedroom in the morning, happy. The mother would be wearing dark glasses to make her look pretty. Life was good again for at least one more day. The ‘boyfriend’ lived with the mother for many years, but he never married the mother. He would have been a really bad father. He scared the three little boys who lived in the house with their mother, but that didn’t matter to the mother. She didn’t even ask for or consider the feelings of the three boys about the ‘boyfriend’ living in the house. The little boy didn’t like the boyfriend. He had seen the boyfriend hit his mother, but he could do nothing about it. He wanted to end the boyfriends life.

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Well, in a few years, the boyfriend wasn’t around anymore. The mother could stop wearing dark glasses to make her pretty. She could now start the burgers and boyfriend routine again which she seemed to like better than having to wear dark glasses all the time. Maybe the boyfriend wasn’t as nice as she had wanted him to be.

A few years later, in the same small town, the mother met another man whom she thought was nice. He was from the state of Texas and talked funny. It was hard to understand him when he spoke, but the little boy and his brothers got used to it. After a couple of years, he married the three brothers’ mother. Then again, the mother had to start wearing dark glasses again. A few years later, the mother and the stepfather did the same thing the first father and the little boy’s mother did, they divorced. ‘Burgers, boyfriends and dark glasses again. Again, the mother never considered the three boys’ opinion of the man from Texas.

By this time, the young boy was becoming braver in his life. Braver in speaking out about his disappointment in the way he had been brought up, speaking out about the bullying that he had lived with for so many years. The bullying he received through the end of his grammar school years and into his junior high school years.

Through all of this, the young boy developed a habit of biting his fingernails. He bit them till they bled, sometimes they would become infected. The boy was beginning to show signs of mental instability. The boy never became violent, mainly because he had seen it in his own home and saw how badly it affected people. He knew that was a bad thing. He didn’t abuse animals, or beat people up. Bullies were never cool, and he didn’t want to be a bully. The activities that he saw the adults do that hurt people were activities that he decided he would never do or repeat in his own life.

Now at the age of seventeen, he was beginning to become more and more able to confront those people in his life who felt the need to constantly control him or other people. He was beginning to refuse the control those people felt they needed to exert upon him. They called him rebellious. It escalated to the point of his mother sending him 150 miles away to live with his father. He was being passed on to someone else again. Passing him on to someone else was easier than actually being important in his life.

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He ended up in a large city, still in the northwest part of the US. He now lived with his father, a new stepmother, (the father had been married and divorced a number of times by now), two step sisters and one stepbrother. He was now a senior in high school. He hoped the bullying would stop because he had now changed his demographic. He was living in the big city. The bullies never came back. He was experiencing a freedom to live a life the way he was supposed to, finally, a life without fear of anyone. He began to laugh and smile like everyone else he knew.

He became somewhat popular in his new academic and domestic surroundings. This became quite a shock to him because he had previously lived and grown up in a small backwoods town where no one cared about him, and certainly no one important came from ‘there.’ He started smoking pot like everyone in the big city did, even like some of the new family members did. He started to drink a bit. There was always alcohol in this new house in the big city. He got invited to parties, just like a normal young adult about to cross over from his teens into his adult years.

His father tried to become important to him, even after being gone for ten years from his life of eighteen years, but he didn’t know how to get the son to respect or trust him because he didn’t have the skills to do so. He would not become an important figure in the young mans life, ever. The father tried very hard, but his tactics were very poorly thought out and executed. The father thought that yelling and being violent to people would get them to listen to him and respect him even though it always failed to get the sought after results. The young man never did respect or trust the father, and never would respect or trust him as a parent. The father did not know how to control his own anger.

The father made it very clear that he did not like the clothes the young man wore, the haircut the young man had, the type of music the young man enjoyed. The father never got to meet many of the friends the young man had because the young man, by this time, knew the father wouldn’t approve of his friends. The young man knew the father already hated everything else about the young man, so the young man never invited his friends to his home. He was sure the father would ridicule them also, if not to their faces, he would ridicule them later to the young man. The father was very judgmental, indeed. He liked nothing about his son, even though he made no effort to understand him, even after ten years of absence.

The father and stepmother consumed alcohol nearly constantly. There were fights between the father and stepmother. Very violent encounters resulting in broken bones, broken windows, holes in the walls, doors were broken. There was chaos all of the time in the home. The violence the young man had seen as a boy in his home from the ‘boyfriends’ and the stepfather was available for viewing here in the big city as well. All seemed normal as far as how things should be in the home according to what the boy had seen growing up. There was alcohol abuse, spousal abuse and disrespect for the young adults and children in the house and family. All seemed normal.

Eventually, the young man refused to do as he was told and was sent 150 miles away, back to his mother’s house and care.

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When the young man arrived back at his mother’s house, the two younger brothers were still living at the mother’s house. They were now 15 years old and 12 years old, respectively. The young man was completely lost in the world. What was the mother doing? “Burgers and boyfriends,” a cycle that seemed unending.

The young man got a job and a car. He worked at a shake and shingle mill in the small town he had grown up in and, again, lived in. He rented an apartment in the town and his life seemed to settle down.

Within a few years, he had become an active musician, a drummer, in this small town and was playing music in various bars and at events around town. He even played music in some of the bars his mother had worked in after her first of at least three divorces, although, by now, the young man and the mother had not seen each other for years.

Eventually, the economy got bad in the small town and jobs were hard to keep, least of all to come by. The young man packed all of his important possessions into his car, called his father and stepmother in the big city and told them of his plans to leave the small town for good. They were mildly pleased about this. The young man petitioned them for a temporary place to live while he established a financially stable and gainful position with an employer in the big city. They told him that was acceptable. He hadn’t seen his father and stepmother in seven years.

The young man, now 28 years old, left for the big city. He spent a couple of months with the father and stepmother before he got a bit of money ahead and moved into an apartment with a friend he had made who also worked at a pizza shop in the big city that the young man’s father helped to get him a position in. Eventually he moved out into an apartment alone. He spent the next twenty years living a normal life.

Finally, at the age of 48 the man bought a computer. He learned to get around the computer, how to navigate the web, and eventually established a cyber relationship with a woman in another part of the states. The two Emailed and “chatted” with each other for about a month when the man’s mother passed away. The woman found out, and that evening, they shared their first phone call. It was obvious to the two that something new and special and permanent had been initiated. They began to share Email, conventional mail and make phone calls for the next seven months. They established a relationship that they had never experienced before in either of their lives.

The man wanted to meet the woman so he approached his employer and asked about their vacation policy. He discovered that at that time he had a week of paid vacation ready to collect. He took it. He flew to the woman’s state and town of residence, spent the week visiting her and her family and friends. They decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

After much discussion and consideration, they agreed that the man moving to her area would be better than her moving to the big city. He flew back to the big city, informed his employer of his plans and moved forward. Late that fall of 2001, the man rented a truck, packed his things in it and drove across the states to be with his new love. They wed in May of 2002.

During the next ten years of marriage, the man started a business after realizing the potential the computer revolution had to offer. His business does well; he has established a fair group of friends and returning clients and a comfortable life in his new environment.

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During this last ten years, the man has also established a connection with his father back in the northwest part of the US. It had now been nearly 40 years since they had communicated.

This newly established association comes with hopes of abandoning old ways and habits, but things do not seem to be so. There is still the bully attitude in the father, pushing the man against the wall only to attempt to manipulate him into some unforeseen position or consideration with the intention of denigrating him.
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Let us move to today.
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We all need to change from day to day, just to be a better person to others, and for me, to be a better husband to my wife. I will not give up on this continuing work, and I will embrace and encourage this process in those whom I see on the same path.

More than anything, I want to believe that my father can change and consider that I am now a fully grown man, capable of all things he had expected from me as a boy, and know that I am already far down that road.  Maybe my father is not capable of seeing me in that light, as my wife suggested, but I can still hope.

Even though there has been very little contact between my father and myself, I still care for him. I certainly wish I could go back 50 years to when I was a child and my father filled my sky, but it is unrealistic to think that way. I will have to make the best of the tools at hand. Most of all, the final result is that I just want my father to want to be my father. He isn’t going to be around much longer.
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If you have experienced activities similar to what I have, and would like to toss some ideas around or share, leave a comment. I’ll get back to you as long as you don’t post a “smart assed” comment. This isn’t about opinions, it’s about relief and sustainability.

Again, thanks for reading,
Kelly J.

Edit; He still hasn’t responded as of 7/20/2012. I still hold hope.

Edit 2; The above letter was sent back to me within the month of May 2013. He had written on the back of the envelope, not in a concealed place, “Thought I would send this back to you so you don’t forget why you hate me.” If he could just put that amount of effort into resolving a toxic relationship, or actually creating a relationship of any benevolent type, he would be the father he should be.

I see no future for this situation and see no reason to make exceptional strides to resolve it. I know my efforts will never be recognized or honored. How truly sad.

Thanks for looking,
Kelly J.

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One last edit. My father, at least the man I have been told is my father, passed away in January of 2015, on the 18th.

That’s life.
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12 thoughts on “The Little Boy Who Could.

  1. What a powerful piece, and even more so that it was told in the 3rd person. I applaud your bravery to type this out and share it, and furthermore relay hope and compassion for such substantial person in your life. I wish you all the best (:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Olivia.
      This was something I had been carrying around for many years without really knowing that I had been. Writing and publishing it put in in a place where I could actually touch it. The need to release it became even more urgent and important. Very cathartic.
      Thanks for reading and commenting,
      Kelly J.

      Like

        • Thank you once again. The “Hitting The Streets” series (four parts) is the entire story to today following “The Little Boy Who Could.” I must say that the title for “The Little Boy Who Could” was inspired by my long ago passed grandmother. When I was just a boy, following the divorce, I was in her care. She made sure my life flowed smoothly. I was in the play “The Little Engine That Could” at school while I was a boy in her care. She was always there for me and understood what was going on even though I did not.

          Thanks again and God bless,
          Kelly J.

          Like

  2. My prayer is that you will one day reconcile before it’s too late. I never got that opportunity as my father decided to hang himself from my bedroom light fixture, I remained somewhat unhappy about that whole experience, but life does go on….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, I am near the point of just not caring any longer. Having a father who makes no effort is much different than one who decides to deny himself and others. My sympathies to you Mike. I didn’t know that about your father. God bless you my friend.

      Like

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