Glenn also extracted me from a 8 year hiatus in a warehouse job painfully going nowhere. He enticed me with the Teamsters Union and really good health benefits. In those days of being twenty-something year olds, I was petrified of people and change, but the thought of finally fixing my chipped front teeth was worth a “risky” job change. My two front teeth were severely chipped when I was 7 while playing a game called Hot Potato, Glenn, yes Glenn actually did do it, threw the bright red clicking-timer hot potato into my mouth. Dad promised he would have them fixed “when your teeth fully grow in” but he died. Mom never even considered it when getting food on the table was a more important matter. So my adolescents was a living hell. Afraid to smile. Petrified to talk. I learned to speak with my upper lip closed or my hand in front of my face. But Glenn did it! He got me a great job with more money, overtime and immediate health benefits. I wasn’t at this job for one week before I was sitting unconscious in a dentist chair having my front two teeth grinded down for caps! The thousands of dollars it cost were picked up by the Teamsters. I was a totally new person after that and I owed it all to Glenn.
REMEMBERING A BROTHER
Middle Child Syndrome
Everyone has their own favorite personal stories of Glenn. The fifth born, third son of George and Joan Hartman. Everyone remembers his mischievous smile, his happy laugh, his love of life, his beautiful children and his flirtations with the law and his health. He was born into a home already buzzing with four young children. During his early childhood, five more siblings appeared after him. Each needing attention and care. To say his life wasn’t hectic from day one is quite an understatement. As all young kids crave attention and love, maybe there wasn’t enough to go around some days. Sometimes you can get lost in a crowd. Sometimes your crying isn’t heard. So you trudge on to survive and always find a way. We were a big family getting bigger but we never failed each other. Our older brothers and especially sisters took care of things. We were never told or taught to do this, we just did it instinctively.
As the third boy in the loud home he followed Greg and I with droopy diaper everywhere. Pacifier stuck in his face, his big brown curious eyes searching for leadership. Early in life Glenn caught the blame for all the little things that went array in the crowded household. Thus the famous cry of “Glenn did it! Glenn did it” appeared and remained with him for the rest of his life. Somebody drank all the pickle juice out of the pickle jar? Glenn did it! Someone took my teddy bear and threw it out of the top bedroom window? Glenn did it! Somebody drew magic marker all over the wall? Glenn did it! It had gotten so that almost all the awkward accusations in a home filled with accusations could safely disappear with the magic phrase “Glenn did it!”
Glenn Did do it
Many years down the road after we all had moved out and mom sold the house in 1985, I still took solace in this verbal escape. If I woke up with a hangover, or dropped a full glass of milk, the Giants losing an important (or any) game, a car accident, my divorce-were all met with outcries of “Glenn did it!”
Personally for me, I was very close to Glenn early in his life but “lost” him after I got sober and he moved to Florida to be with his two younger brothers. Glenn took me to my very first AA meeting at Perth Amboy hospital. This was during one of his early stints of attempting to clean up his act. I just remember sitting there next to him scared, but listening. Glenn was always way more open and sociable then me. He was shaking hands and introducing me to other recovering drunks. When the meeting was over, or so I thought, the entire room stood up. I was attempting to leave when my brother Glenn grabbed my hand. The strange man on the other side of me grabbed my other hand. The leader of the meeting called out: “Who’s Father?” and everyone recited the prayer .. “Our Father, who art in heaven…” And it was in that one powerful moment. in a room full of sick people…powerless people…all calling to a higher power together…that I knew this was where I belonged. Glenn took me to a great place and although it took me years after that to finally “get it” ..to finally get sober, I never forgot my first meeting with my brother Glenn.
On The Beach
I have so many wonderful memories of my little brother Glenn. Going to Great Adventure to see Southside Jonny And The Asbury Jukes. The crowd exploding when they sang “On The Beach” and how years and years later, we still sang that song to each other. There were so many times it was just him and I. In Washington Square Park in the village singing along to “Ripple” with a street musician. New York City. A rented room in a boarding house at Belmar beach.
A Hard Worker
Glenn was also responsible for getting me a side job at Min Goldblatt catering company. It was there that I witnessed his true strong Hartman work ethic and dependability. He had also got some of our friends jobs here. It was here that Glenn began to blossom into an excellent cook. Everyone remembers his favorite dishes. Mine was his seafood gumbo. He catered his own wedding.
Glenns later years became so struggled that it hurt to talk with him. His long bouts in jails and hospitals, what could we do? His letters from jail were filled with colorful sometimes religious art. During one stay at a Kentucky prison, I remember he was in endless physical pain. He kept complaining how it hurt all the time to do anything and the people at the jail did NOTHING. Carol Dooley became engrossed with this and called the prison several times. Consoled Glenn on the phone. Only by Carols constant nagging did Glenn finally get the attention he needed. It had gotten so bad that he was actually taken from the jail admitted to the hospital.
As time went on, Glenns health grew worse. His addictions never dimmed. He had created a hell on earth. But in his daily struggles he was a loving dad and grandfather. He paid back child support. He was blessed with random visits with his children. The running family joke with Glenn was that he would out-live us all. He had nine lives like a cat. But finally one hot Summer day in our sisters Bonnies basement where she cared for him, he never woke up. He didn’t die in a hospital, nursing home, prison or on the street. I salute Bonnie and Paul for that. For, as hard as it was, when nobody else wanted him, or could afford him, they took him in. He was needy and difficult but we thank them for giving him the dignity of passing on to a world far away from this hell he lived in with some respect.
You were a good man that fought an unrelenting attack of demons. I salute you. I look forward to mingling with you on the other side and being connected together in the tapestry. I salute you. I love you. To Bonnie and Paul for most recently taking him under their wing and taking care of him, I salute you.
To everyone in the family that tried to help him. that put up with him, that felt like they had lost him but never gave up hope, I salute you.
All Together Now!
To Grant, for taking care of Greg after his stroke and most recently to Ann and Gary for taking care of Greg every single damn day. For making sure he takes his meds, for bathing and feeding him, I salute you. To Barb, Bernadette and Belinda I salute you for driving halfway across the eastern USA to meet in the middle so that our younger cousins can spend a week or so together. For sharing your resources and sitting down at every single school play and event…for swimming and field trips, stories, love and care..I salute you! For everyone trying to be the glue of the family..for keeping us together with social media, photos, and blogs and text messages and phone calls. I salute all the prayers we offer each other in sickness and in health. In death and new life. In addiction and cure. Thank you for huddling together as The Mighty Ten always and remembering where we all came from and where we are going.
I salute the Hartmans.