Ok so home movies are boring as shit, even when clipped and edited to hell. But your kids are only young once so take as many photos and movies as you can. You will never regret it.
This was taken in June 1996. Josh was 4 years old. His brother Jonathan was one. Josh is now in the United States Air Force and is in The United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. He is going to be 23 this June.
His brother Jonathan is going to be 20 this July. He is close to completing his Associates degree at Middlesex County College. He made the honor roll and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He plays trumpet for Rutgers marching band and has high ambitions to be enrolled in Rutgers University soon.
In 1996 the president of the US was Bill Clinton. There actually was an internet. If you had AOL the default browser was Internet Explorer. There was no Google, Facebook, Twitter and 20 million Americans were actually on-line to a completely untamed web. Cell phones were huge, with antennas and very expensive. Nintendo64 was released in Japan. Hurricane Bertha caused 250 billion dollars in damage. Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned. The OJ Simpson "civil" trial began after two horrible murders. The Summer Olympics took place in Atlanta Ga. The attempted raising of a huge section of The Titanic fails. Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is murdered in the basement of her parents' home. Bill Watterson's comic Calvin and Hobbes releases its final strip. Whitewater scandal: U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies before a grand jury. Chess computer "Deep Blue" defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov for the first time. Daniel Green is convicted of the murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan. The American punk rock band the Ramones play their last show. Gene Kelly, George Burns and Tiny Tim (among others) died.
Cleveland Browns deactivate and move to Baltimore where they become the Baltimore Ravens and reactivate in 1999.
Dallas beats Pittsburgh in Super Bowl, The New York Yankees won 1996 World Series defeating the Atlanta Braves.
In dog sledding Jeff King wins with lead dogs: Jake & Booster
But the news here is that the web site is back. Not that anyone noticed but it was down for quite awhile. I had come across many obstacles in the last year or so. Most devastating was a hard drive crash of my Mac book pro laptop. This was essentially the heart and guts of the web site and it held all the data and functions for Mightyten. Although, I was sensing something wrong with the computer and instinctively did an emergency back up on an external drive one week before the crash…I still lost key passwords and expensive software that I used. At the same time the ISP provider for themightyten dot com (Yahoo) decided to upgrade editing and uploading capabilities that left me out in the cold. Yahoo is a company that just ASSUMES everyone has the money to just go out and buy or update expensive software. They have also increased the annual fee that I pay to keep this name up and running on their server.
In many ways on the internet the blog has seemed separate from the Family Web site but maybe this will (reluctantly) connect the two. So this is the The Family Web Site. I say reluctantly because in many ways I don’t want them to connect. I don’t want to feel obligated to always have to write about this family. Not that there’s lack of material but besides the sad deaths, happy weddings and births, life is pretty much a trivial journey through monotonous (not mountainous) highways. Boring with a capital B. I’m not calling everyone boring, I’m just saying everyday life is just that. Everyday. There is social media to blow your steam or toot your horn and we’re all pretty good at using it. I can’t even list how many of my writings, poetry, photography and digital artwork I would rather “publish” here but am frightened to do so. You see, I am a rather strange dude with weird taste. I have always had a huge appreciation of art, animation and creative writing. As a result of that keen appreciation I have tried (rather unsuccessfully) to actually BE a respected “artist” When I am surrounded by really intelligent writers, artists, teachers, graphic designers, voice over artists, and even ridiculously skilled puppet builders, I can’t even come close. It goes back to what I am. A really strange dude with weird taste and amateur skills. In art there are those that create it….and those that just appreciate it. I have surrendered to the latter.
Forty-four years ago (a tiny history) the “Family Ties” was called “The Hartman News” and it was printed by hand on school loose leaf paper. There wasn’t a server, Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, hard drives, corrupt fonts, blogs, and the closest thing to a hard drive crash for me was crumbling up a piece of paper and starting over. After that my sisters and brothers took over and released some absolutely beautiful paper editions of the now called “Family Ties” Some of these will be digitized and available for download I hope soon. Then nine years ago while working the night shift at a large format graphics company on 3oth street in New York City I became fascinated with the internet, web design, Adobe Flash and slowly self taught myself to put up a new “family news” site.
It was a lot of experiments, failures and fun and the main thing was that I was learning. The website I created was a bulky amateur mess that became outdated rather fast. I didnt have the time or resources to keep it updated.
Actually my main goal at that time was to discover any bit of information on our family heritage. I become totally intrigued by our great grandfather and his 12 children that lived on this earth around the same time the Titanic sunk 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. I was also fascinated by the stories aunt Carol, uncle Brother and our mother had told us about the Gill and Westfield NJ. While I was creating this huge list of questions in my mind for them, but then they slowly and softly passed away and left all my questions unanswered.
I have had many inspirations, influences and teachers in my time. I’ve had some lucky breaks. I remember the first time I saw somebody doing Photoshop on a PC in the late 90’s. It was version 4.0 and I was floored by the use of layers which had been released a few years earlier. Even I knew at that time how absolutely ground breaking that was in digital art. I also knew right then and there that that was something I wanted to do. I wanted to learn. I asked a few people at my job at Lucent Technologies in Holmdel NJ to “please just sit down with me a few minuets and show me some things” and nobody ever helped me. I will never forget one guy looking at me right after I asked him for help and saying.. “why don’t you go to school like I did and learn it”.
So I went to Barnes and Noble all the time read and purchased books. I practiced at work. I practiced at home. Then I got into Adobe Illustrator and was completely baffled by that. I self-taught myself all that I could with books and YouTube didn’t come out until April 2005 and it was even a few years after that when it became the mother of all tutorials on the web.
And yeah I did, at age 40 went back to college and the small Brookdale Community college I went to had just built a brand new computer lab with 30 brand new Macs. I was in heaven and I was blessed with good teachers who insisted on me learning how to cut a perfect path. At the same time I buried myself in art magazines and tried to duplicate other peoples work as practice.
After the dot come bust from 2000 to 2002 and the collapse of Roman Empire Lucent Technologies (Many argue that the dotcom boom and bust was a case of too much too fast.) I ended up on the streets searching for anything to provide for my young family. I ended up in a auto graveyard in Carteret NJ. Far far away from anything creative, or digital or what I had inside of me pushing out.
I was driving a huge fork truck in an car auction crash “graveyard” Moving around automobiles that were in accidents. Some of the accidents were not so bad. Most of the accidents were totals with fatalities. There were detonated blood covered air bags. Shredded windshields and doors. Jaws of life claw marks on the hoods and roof. There is money in car parts. Sometimes a totaled car is worth more in parts then the car itself. We cleaned these cars out and lined them up for an auction every week. Big shots from all over the tri-state area would come with their tow trucks and car carriers and buy these wrecks for parts. It was a highly depressing job. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get along with anybody there.
I was never a “car guy” and they found that out quickly. I reported the unsafe working conditions to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and wasn’t afraid to put my name on the report (even though it could have went anonymous) because I wanted to get fired. They demoted me to the grungy job of cleaning out wrecks and took me off my fork truck. In many of these wrecks that I cleaned in the hot sun it was the last stop for many people. There were even stories of the accidents from the tow truck drivers that dropped these cars off. “Oh this was an old couple that got hit head on by a tractor trailer. They never had a chance.” or “This was a car load of teens with no seatbelts that rolled over three times.” I was too sensitive for this shit as I collected their loose change in the ashtrays and tried on some cool coats that would find in the back seats.
I was ready to surrender myself to a life of physical labor, warehouses, factories, bleach lines, blue collar punching in and out until one day, a newspaper ad. This was still web infancy days. There was no Monster.com or Craigslist although emails were the thing at that time. There were still newspapers publishing wanted ads.
Every night the Summer that I worked here I would lock the huge barbed wire fences and watch the sky turn gold and purple then black. I had that newspaper ad and the next day I called it a man named John answered the phone. He was in a complete panic. “George…I need someone to come in here….get behind that Mac and get all this prepress work out the door. I need a quick mind. I need someone that knows graphics…knows prepress….understands printing..I need help.”
So a few days later I was hired. At this point in my digital career, I wasn’t very good. I was slow. I had a lot to learn. I was basically a poster and powerpoint designer with pussy footed deadlines.
This job threw me out of the pot and into the fire. I learned the incredible details and hectic world of large format prepress for huge companies like Barnes and Noble, Cigna Insurance, Morgan Stanly, The Holocaust Museum. I learned fast and I learned hard. John insisted on using software “shortcuts” and being quick and precise. He was a great tough teacher. At first I really didn’t know what I was doing. I had major panic attacks when they gave me job envelopes. I almost quit several times. It was very rough times for me and a few years before I was comfortable with ANY challenge.
I often wondered why I was hired. I know they had a quite a few people lined up for the job. Turns out, because of my “lack of” experience the CEO got me cheap and he liked the fact that I was…
This is some of Glenn’s art. This what I have, I know he had a lot more out there. Hopefully there will be a day that his grandchildren can see these and get a small perspective of who he was and what he went thru. Some of these are almost 10 years old. His talent was wonderful and if he applied it in the real world away from his addictions he could have been very successful. (to view these properly, click on image for full size and then hit the BACK button on your browser. We are subject to the simplicity of WordPress.com sorry)
your symphony of weariness gone
your struggles just the wind now
we all have our self-defeating schemes
marked bends in this journey
climb another mountain
cross another field
an angled view of an obsolete world
the blessed dance of life
footprints in the mud
Home is more idea than place
where suffering never knocks
and you can taste Gods endless seasons
only fragile evidence that you were here
your stories embedded in verbal books
wade into slumbering silence
behind the curtain of death
thru a dying forest of memories
and an empty river of grief
you wait for us
This poem was inspired by this THE TRAVELERS
this faraway land
just a mysterious dream when I’m awake
wet cobblestones in Kraków
old village heritage so fresh and green
a pile of freshly dug potatoes
your mothers swaying flowers
your fathers radiant Winter fires
Come up and kiss me sometime
i wont push you
Or grab me randomly and put your arms around my waist
or an electronic ‘kiss’ from nowhere
in the middle of the day
(haven’t i taught you yet?)
remind me that we are one sometimes
even if for just once
on your own
i dont ask for much
i got pulled over for being too much
i got a ticket on this one-way street
but then its just not the same
when you Have to ask for it
our hearts can speak even when blidfolded
or at least mine can
Life isn’t supposed to be this brutal
everything isn’t money
im fading down this dusty dirt road
like a crying cow
being led to slaughter
Every year i want to make the garden bigger until there is a farm there maybe and mountains instead of the neighbors hoovering houses. Besides the white dog there will suddenly be two big cows and you will teach me how to talk to them in cow language and how to milk them without stressing them out, I will have my first drink of hot foamy milk right out of the bucket. Chickens lay eggs and have to be killed one day to be put on the grill.
So Im never happy, i was told by a hater. im extremely content with a simple humble life and my real goal in life is to fall off the grid.
Maybe like an old friend of mine, (same age, same long ago HS school), i should have two houses, one at the beach, two pick up trucks, exotic antiques, two snowmobiles, a motorcycle, three jet skies, a sloppy sex affair, a son that secretly shoots heroin and a chocolate lab named sparky. ahhh yes. this is the true american life. maybe people will like me then.
Or the guy that abandoned his life in new jersey, googled his sons name twenty years later and got the boys obituary. i always wondered where this dude went. we were so close in our teens and twenties. we dropped acid, laid on our backs in carteret park and watched very low flying 747’s fly by directly overhead to land at newark airport. he comes back from missing after several decades and turns out he was having a fucking blast. the west coast baby. the sunsets. the chicks. the open air concerts. learning and working a new trade. converted a lesbian to have sex with him and getting her pregnant and abandoning them too. never a dime of child support and then another kid- getting some random chick preggo at Burning Man Festival in nevadas black rock dessert and oh yeah the methamphetamine. it brings the best of us down to our knees empty handed holding our dripping soul in our hands. where were you when your kids needed you out having fun going to concerts that i wanted to go to fucking all the chicks that i wanted to get pregnant and all the icy cold northern crabbing jobs that i wanted in alaska and cooking and smoking meth you lucky fuck. damn you. turns out-even if you’re a fucking dick they will have a parade for you when you come home
one late night this past summer, there were three of us jetting down lost highways somewhere in upstate new york. just coming back from an exercise in small theater, menopause the musical and there we were. i pulled the car over. there were no houses. no streetlights. no other cars on the road. we were sandwiched by two empty fields. i turned off the headlights. i turned off the car. i rolled down the windows. and there it was: the single most amazing moment of my summer (damn i miss summer) it was just blackness..and blazing stars. the cascade of crickets. and lightening bugs. yes the lightening bugs. hundreds flickering and i wanted to get out of the car. open the door. get out and look around and embrace the moment but i was talked out of it. (SAFETY???) and i understand that. kinda. i should have got out of the car. so now one day i will go back there before i die. whether i am alone or with someone…i will go back there and get out of the car. Only this time I will be driving the Lexus LFA Nurburgring.
truly people, how important is Consumerism and One-upsmanship when spirits of the past constantly whirl around you and moan “it means nothing you foooooool nothing. money shouldnt be your journey to happiness…” these bastards should know. been there done that they say and if you ever stop your Lexus LFA Nurburgring in the middle of nowhere just to listen to the crickets and star gaze then you will understand
in a very recent blog post i wrote of my fascination with my brothers Glenns earthly clean up. he had nothing. he had nothing and he was extremely miserable. so maybe im wrong about all this Buddhist horseshit. LIVE LIFE and go crazy. buy things. big expensive things. surround yourself with materialistic happiness. life is short. go for it. take as many vacations as you can. if you cant afford this, then charge it all on your credit cards. after all my brother Glenn lived this way with drugs. it made him happy and he couldnt charge the drugs so he begged borrowed and stole for forty years.
Actually the third sibling death in our family should have been ME! i am number three. third born first son.
We aren’t dying IN ORDER damn it so be very fucking careful
one day i would hope to come to this blog and type “dear readers…” but not one word of that would ever be true. laughing my ass off.
josh when you graduated high school im sorry couldn’t get you that laptop you wanted as a graduation gift
jonny i wish i could give you tuition to four years rutgers with on campus room books and a six pack (abs not beer)
layla remember the kites at the giant games tailgate windy parking lots. i wish could have done more for you but thank god for Buc. and ill find that canvas one day
ashley such a sweet girl my first daughter. remember that time i made you swim in the ocean?
anna there are times i really feel like your dad but i just want you to know this: if i was in Ikea with you when you were a little girl i would have purchased that play kitchen set you were crying for
mom empty your stinking ashtrays and open up the windows of imagination to your kids. remember when you gave us every shop rite food can in the kitchen, flipped over the wooden toy-box to make a counter so we could play “store”?? And that lasted for hours on that cold rainy day. if you use your imagination you can own anything. i never expected you to turn our back yard into a fake farm on our birthdays but you always made us feel special somehow. we all do the best that we can do with our kids. parental love is indescribable until we remember to be human
there will come that day when they don’t need you anymore. there will come that day when they don’t come home.
so now, so so so now …so now..we sit here with our empty arms out stretched waiting for something to fill them
) maybe grandkids?)
The day we said goodbye to Glenn started as a sunny day like the day before, but slowly turned into a complete washout. The family was drained from Glenns impoverishment and his goodbye was limited to a small memorial service and a rent-a-priest in the funeral home. I don’t believe his cremation even took place so there was an empty urn at the front of the room. Does any of this really matter when you pass away? Glenn had not been “the same” in many years, yet we were there to say goodbye to the spirit of Glenn that we loved and remembered. So on this rainy day two sisters cleaned out Glenns small space where he lived. Fifty one years of living had come down to a few bags of “stuff” Mostly his state supplied medication, some hand made notes and phone numbers, his cloths and razor blades. That’s it. Fifty one years and it took an hour to put away his physical presence on this planet. Like I said in an earlier post Glenn wrote many letters. He was a very talented self-taught artist. During the clean up of his meager worldly possessions, sister Bonnie found a letter from him to her. The last letter/poem that brother Glenn wrote can be viewed below.Glenn left behind more important things, some great memories, two beautiful children, a granddaughter and another on the way. The journey to Brendas grave was started as just an idea as something to do before the service. Traveling to Ohio was a good enough reason to take advantage of going to her grave. Brenda had passed away six years earlier and her body was in an unmarked grave in Middletown Ohio. What we thought would be a forty minuet drive turned into a much longer long twisting journey in the pouring rain hills and back roads of southern Ohio. I had missed Brendas funeral so it became special for me that I get there. Thank you Bonnie and Paul for making that possible. Also the girls persistence that a marker be put on Brendas grave after six lonely years is a blessing.
So after all that driving by Paul we only stood there in the poring rain for a few minutes but there it was. A beautiful and humble stone in honor of our wonderful sister Brenda. It was so powerful for me to see it. I am grateful to all the sisters that pushed it and for the entire family for making this happen. The angel on her stone is even a reference to her favorite song by Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel” and the sunflower is her favorite flower.
I can count on one hand how many times I have found a real feather in my life. It is such a rare occasion. I always pick them up and find them so fascinating.
Each time you pick up a feather it is a reminder that you are on the right path and that your life is sacred again. This is a part of the symbolism I put in this digital painting. I love digital art. I love the tools available to cut, paste, move and color. Kyrsia is an old school artist. She is not a fan of digital art. She works with real paint, paper and canvas. She only uses the primary colors to create her art. This is the way she teaches. Red, yellow, and blue are primary colors. They are the three pigment colors that cannot be made by mixing any other colors. These three colors are mixed to create all other colors and can be combined with white or black to create tints (lighter tones) and shades (darker hues) of these colors. If Kryha is teaching, you can’t ask for an “aqua blue sky” in a tube. You have to create it with the primary colors.
The bird is generally thought to be a symbol of freedom. They can walk on the earth and swim in the sea as humans do but they also have the ability to soar into the sky. Birds are free to roam to earth and the sky. Many cultures believe that they are a symbol of eternal life; the link between heaven and earth. The Raven is generally thought to be a symbol of sadness, loss and death. The ancient Greeks believed that the raven was a messenger bird of the god Apollo.
In this digital work the green pasture speaks for itself and the group of lilies at Brenda’s feet represent Mathew 6:28, “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing” Pretty much tells us that God will take care of us. I don’t think much about where Bev, Brenda and Glenn are. I consider myself more spiritual than religious but I recently read a book by Anita Moorjani called Dying To Be Me. A great read but it really confused me about all my conclusions that I had about the afterlife. If anything, it did give me great hope that there is AT LEAST something there and it’s not just a dark voided end.
My spirituality coveys great sadness that Glenns second grandchild was born just a few days after his death. This is the same sadness I felt when Brenda left behind two beautiful daughters. One of them so young, that she would never truly “know” who her mother really was in this physical world. When you go to the market do you buy bread OR do you buy REAL bread? Can you take home an unsliced loaf of bread baked right out of oven? The American market is flooded with mass produced, preservative filled sponges that they fool people and call it “bread”. I’m in love with a woman that loves bread and this is a big reason why I love her. This is my girl. Complex in so many ways yet loving so many simple things. She would take a hot fresh loaf of bread and a glass of milk over a fancy restaurant and a glass of champagne. This is a path in the journey, I have found. Cutting thru weeds and dirt trails instead of taking the Cadillac on the newly paved road. Go ahead and build your mansions in isolated woods, surrounded by rich white people. Go ahead and find your perfect schools, your unblemished politics, your English speaking neighborhoods. Take your perfect vacations while the sun sets on your bank account. This is NOT what life is all about. Tell me you are happier than the scavenger dancing for food on a rain washed sidewalk and I will tell you that you are full of shit.
I hope everyone finds happiness in their own special way and I would never condemn you for whatever it is that makes you happy. Find magic in every moment in life because it is fleeting. Death is inescapable lately. It is everywhere I turn. Personally, old friends are becoming memorial pages on their social network. The news is beheading peace and understanding in the world. Danger lurks everywhere. On the highways, seas and skies. Drugs take to the streets like a terrorism this country has never seen before.
One time when I was boiling inside myself with pride-filled anger towards my girl and I found myself on the verge of ugliness. I put away my pride and came to you. I was able to make this heroic step by being sober. By looking at a reflection of myself in a stainless steel pool of self pity. Why do we divide our homes with walls? Eskimos live as an entire family in a one-roomed igloo. Well, anyway, you were there in that room and I was there, boiling up inside in the other room. I came to you. I came to you past these divided walls and rooms. I came to you, thinking you were bitter and ignorant of my needs. I came to you expecting anger and shouting.
When you opened up to me you were crying within seconds. You were not the explosive witch I was expecting. You told me a story of your aunt when you were a child. How you were so grateful to her for bringing you art supplies on Christmas. It was such a simple heartfelt story. A simple long ago Christmas gift that you remembered and here I was expected an ugly showdown.
That moment, as simple as it seems now, was when I just fell deeper in love with you. How you became such a real person thru your tears and compassion. I love you for who you are. From deep in your past to this moment. From this I had learned a great lesson about pride and anger. No matter how hard it can be reach out and communicate!
Art fills Krysias soul. When you lost your job that you loved so much to a layoff, the school children cried when you were gone. No time to mope in negativity. You used the spare time to get your Masters degree and you kept getting interviews but there were no offers at first. So you went out and created your OWN Art school. You created your own web site, your own marketing, your own classroom and you built it up with your love of teaching art. Much like when you were a child and used anything you could find to make art and you hung it from the trees.
Yes, there were art teaching jobs that finally came to you but these were jobs that nobody else wanted. Tough teaching jobs, embedded in the troubled inner cities of North Jersey, you went with dedication and faith. So now you teach color, texture and composition to troubled kids, just hoping to plant an art seed in their mind. Maybe change someone. You wait in the empty rooms of Parent/Teacher nights, hoping that maybe one parent will show up and express that they care. You stand in the empty hallways of students art shows thinking that maybe the parents got the memorandum. Maybe they will show up to see all your students hard work hanging on the walls in display.
You see first hand what is absolutely wrong with this country. You witness and hear the destruction of the family core. The parents that are no-shows in a kids life. The administration that turns the simple truth of teaching children art into a big damn lie. You weave your way through political bullshit, labor unions, angry teachers and a mountain of “I dont give a fucks”.
I have had bad teachers and good teachers in my life. And then I had a few great teachers in my life. Teachers you remember forever. When I meet a teacher I always tell them, “I always wanted to be a teacher.” Most times the reaction to that is “Are you freaking kidding me?” Sometimes it can be a thankless job. Todays teacher is blamed for the students failures. Todays teacher has more homework time than most students and they do not get paid for it. In art there can be a ton of prep and cleanup. The job never ends.
Why Has This Blog Post Turned Into a Rambling Mess?
The answer lies within my drug of choice which just so happened to be a doppio espresso right before hitting the keyboard. We had our best year ever for tomatoes and one plant in particular must be responsible for 10 to 15 pounds! Barb told me at our brother Glenns funeral that we all mourn in different ways. I found this so true after I found myself in a rage. Like I mentioned earlier, so many people are dying way too young. Some of these early deaths are just bad choices and that angers me. When you think you have reached a level of sobriety and maturity, God takes his mighty hand and crashes it all down looks you straight in the eyes and says “What are YOU KIDDING ME GEORGE?!” and yes, I don’t know shit about nothing. Live and let live. Hey people that don’t drink alcohol, eat good, quit smoking and don’t do drugs….guess what? We’re all gonna die anyway!
Why does the United States of America always have a target on it’s back? It is the most hated country in the world. All things in life can be derived from NFL football and thus begins my story. There once was (still is) a team that was very successful and won over many fans by winning championships and having fancy cheerleaders and uniforms. Eventually this teams success was so incredible that they garnished the nickname “Americas Team” So now all the other teams and fans began a growing animosity towards this team that had singled itself out of everyone else. Indeed, who are YOU to call yourself “Americas Team”? And thus the hatred and jealousy brewed over time and eventually even “Americas Team” felt pressured to deliver. They knew they were hated by their own pompous ego and struggled to become the great team it once was.
I’m a fan of being patriotic. I’m proud of my country in many ways. It isn’t always a great country but it does lead the world in helping others. I don’t fly an American flag in my yard nor do I carry anything patriotic on my car or person. But I am proud of our countries ability to help other countries in need. Period. We need leave it at that. The thing is this. We aren’t humble anymore. “God bless the US” “We are the greatest country in the WORLD” “Don’t mess with the US!” “We are number one!” ….shutup! Just shutup. Being humble goes a long way.
The fact that America has become the worlds police is also extremely troubling. Nobody wants that title.
After the horrific tragedy of Malaysia MH17 plane crash over the Ukraine a Dutch father was on CNN discussing his loss of a family member that was on the plane. His final words: “I hope Obama finds the people that did this and punishes them.” Really? What about YOUR leader Mark Rutte? The plane was filled with Dutch Nationals so send America out to get the bad guys! Can’t we all just get along? Or as the Beetles said so many years ago; All You Need Is Love.FIN
May strong arms hold you,
caring hearts tend you,
and may love await you at every step.
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.