Archive for the ‘Tall Tales’ Category

nucleomituphobia.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Here is the obituary of trying: millions cascaded the streets swinging signs of hope. The skies were dreary but there was love and unity everywhere.
“america first” is what we are told we will become. When once we were so remarkably blessed because we always wanted to help other people. what is so wrong with reaching out? accepting? loving? This is difficult to do in an ego generated dog eat dog world- to be generous or even thoughtful but for two centuries we did that.

My youngest son once shocked me and cried out from his college campus podium:
“There is no such thing as karma” and yet now I, 56 years removed from being a helpless infant, have witnessed more karma in one lifetime to last three lifetimes.
my point is this: when you help other people, good things will always come back to you. when you turn your back on them, you better keep a close eye on the karma waiting for you just around the next ( or 478th) corner ahead.

Frequent Improvisation
the internet is the great masterpiece of civilization. it is the great karma of technology that has come to bite us all in the ass. it has alienated us while giving us the illusion that we are closer together.
what is it you fear?
while once I was a little boy crawling on a gold shag carpet lost in imagination. Leggos and blocks. My living room was safe. My house was heated from the cold. My town was never being invaded or bombed by another country. The president insured me on TV that we are the “most powerful country in the world” we have the biggest everything especially army. my friends were safe, the sky was blue with big puffy white clouds most of the time. my school bus never got hit by a train when we crossed over the rail road tracks by the FMC factory, our family always got City Line pizza on Friday nights.
then one day I was watching the huge wooden cabinet television in the rec room. It was a special about how the soviets have built submarines capable of launching nuclear tipped missiles. that moment (most) my innocence was lost. I thought the cold war back then was about snow plows but boy was I wrong
advice is given to be ignored but here’s mine: never take anything for what it is given to be.

To Write Is To Leave This World
the more technologically advanced we get the less we want to do.
Discarded technologies: watches, newspapers, hand written letters, telephones hanging up on your kitchen wall, typewriters, movie projectors, needle and thread, 8 track tapes. Although I could make a case for vinyl records, watches and newspapers.
I am happy that we have become aware of the need to get back to nature. Gluten free, organic, no hormones, grass fed, cage free. I see men with baby carriages. I see more women in pant suits driving $40,000 SUV’s. There are no bad ideas.
Yet I continue to struggle with my identity.
I am-?
-clever?
-leery?
-a cracker mother fucker?
-a good father?
-LMAO?
-complicated?
-cool?
-full of shit?

Table for Two
Here on the verge of the fall of the American Empire three years removed from the Handshake School, still deep in debt, I did some number crunching for my retirement and came up with this: homelessness. Lets make a deal. If I can design and build my own robot before my resume becomes ancient yellow and crusty then I’ll gift wrap my future for you. I’ll be your janitor, butler and boner for the rest of your art saturated days on this melting planet.
This has gone on long enough and so I end it with my deepest darkest secret: I write messages of hope on slips of paper and hide them in books at the Barnes & Noble.

(mikes bar)

Friday, October 21st, 2016

about Mikes bar was an old mans bar on Roosevelt avenue right before the West Carteret bridge. I t was the quintessential filthy bar with a Jukebox, pool table and black and white Tv up on a shelf. It’s not there anymore. It was refurbished with shiny new bar with mirrors and played disco music in the 80’s but now even that is gone. I’m not even sure whats there now.

This was my mother and fathers “hang out”. Especially my fathers as it was on the way home for him from Westfield. Most times he would just go in and get some “packaged goods” as they were called back then. A six pack to go. There was a neon light in the window even announcing: “Packaged Goods” and it would blink on and off ad nausueum.

As a seven or eight year old boy I would sometimes go in there with him. I remember going into a bar for the first time more than I remember riding a bike for the first time. It seemed the same song was playing on the jukebox all the time. It sounded like the saddest song in the world of a love lost. The background singers sounded like angels in heaven. Many years later I heard this song cracking on the AM radio and I memorized the name as “Rambling Rose” by Nat King Cole. Overtime, whenever I heard that song I thought my father.

I wasn’t allowed to sit at the bar so I was placed on a table behind the bar and underneath the TV.

I've created a Time Machine APP on my 'very smart now' phone."

I've created a Time Machine APP on my 'very smart now' phone."


There I was given a Coca-Cola and a box of pretzels holding hands. (The pretzels were connected when they were baked)There I was buried in Jukebox music and tremendous clouds of second hand smoke. My dad, always in his business suit, up at the bar having a cold one and laughing with the regulars. Perhaps arguing why the price of gas is approaching .50 cents a gallon because of the Vietnam war.

My father came and got me to introduce me to a pile of people in the corner of the bar by the front window. These people were always there. The same ones. Always. I was introduces as "George Junior" which I hated and wished I could just be called Butch for the rest of my life. Fifty years later I actually remember one of their names; Teddy. A strange looking old man with a fedora and a hungry nicotine appetite.

Teddy came close enough to my face where I could smell the stale cigarettes and fresh Schaffer beer and I notices he had no eye brows. "Go ahead, Teddy tell the boy why you have no hair." some old hag with long gray hair said. Teddy took off his crumpled hat and sure enough no hair there either.

Teddy then proceed to tell the story of how when he was a kid he went to the movies to see Frankenstein with his friends. The movie scared him so much that he had to be helped home and was shaking uncontrollably in the kitchen. His mother tried to tell him it was only a movie and put him to bed. When he awoke the next morning all the hair on his body had fallen out. And it never grew back again.

I quess the vision of that for me at the time was waking up in your bed with hair all over the sheets. Now that's a horror story. I suppose growing up the rest of your adult life with no body hair gives you permission to sit in the same seat at Mikes Bar in West Carteret for thirty years and slowly drown yourself in ice cold Schaffers and Lucky Strike cigarettes.

A screenshot from the movie: Pro tip: When putting a camera right up to your face, try to follow some easy rules of personal hygiene.

A screenshot from the movie: Pro tip: When putting a camera right up to your face, try to follow some easy rules of personal hygiene.


When my father took me home he told my mother about my first visit to Mikes Bar. So how did you like it Butchie?"
First I thought of how the bars lights are always dimmed. The loud echoing music. The muffled laughter and serious talk. An adult world. Deep dark and mysterious filled with story book characters. The romantic neon glow on everyone's face. I always got a nice "buzz" from the Coca Cola.
"I really liked the atmosphere." I said
And with that the laughter that followed lasted several days. Where a 3rd grader comes up with such a word, "atmosphere" is beyond me and I'm sure I heard it in a movie or cartoon somewhere but I honestly don't know how I came up with that.
This story became an ongoing thing for about a year. My mother would call me in the kitchen when she had guests, proceed to tell the story about me and Mikes bar and then I would get the Que from her:
"I liked the atmosphere." I said as I rolled my eyes and they laughed and laughed as I went back to my army men.

Hard to describe in words

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

window
You may find yourself…
One day I woke up here and the sun was spilling into our bed in what seemed to be huge buckets of yellow and orange paint. We had breakfast together and then went outside into the garden.

People come in and out of your life for a reason
I come here immersed with gratitude. I am very lucky blessed and God has been very good to me. As I look back on Gods impeccable track record a glow of thankfulness covers me like a warm blanket in my new home.
In all that was chaos is blessings. I have done some of the footwork for I have no idea where I would be today if I wasn’t sober. Most times my mind goes faster than what I can keep up with but even that is getting better. It seems like so many many years ago I walked thru the doors of a place in Piscataway NJ, fresh out of jail, jobless and confused. It was a big room on the second floor covered with windows by a railroad track. There was always cofee and sweets, there was always clouds of cigarette smoke (yes, that’s how long ago this was.) but most of all there was always meetings. The building was not dedicated to anything else but recovery. Everyday, several times a day. And during holidays it was 24/7. I am very lucky blessed to have found people to talk to and phone numbers (there were no cell phones back then but I knew where every phone booth was)

she died a Hartman

she died a Hartman

I continue to be in awe of life …. and death. If you take for granted the billions of miracles that are going on around you and within you then you can lose touch with this whole amazing thing. You were actually a very sweet person, you just got a little lost. (like we all do) I’ve lost count of how many people have just slipped away from my life just so suddenly. They are up here, swimming and struggling* to stay afloat like the rest of us and then you turn around and
they are gone.

* and some people can just float

One day, a long time ago, I woke up on this farm in Canada too.

One day, a long time ago, I woke up on this farm in Canada too.

So this past June 16 was the 45 anniversary of my fathers death. I remember him telling me about the “7 year locust” next to that funny looking tree that is (still!) in our front yard. Obviously the seven year locust only come out every seven years. The story is that he was working on the rose bushes which he loved to do and one of those huge MF’ers flew into that tree and let out one of his crazy long noise/scream/bug sound. It freaked me out but my father soothed me by saying, “Don’t worry it’s only a seven year locust. He wont hurt you.” And that’s the end of the story pretty much. It’s funny how I can have memories that long ago! Actually if you asked me what my deepest longest memory EVER was, I might think it was the 1964 Words Fair in Flushing NY.

I lost you in the butterfly tent
So basically I have obtained a Flux Capacitor on Ebay and with the help of a friend of mine from New York City, we have created a Time Traveling APP. In a nutshell, when the phone is charging I can transfer through communication lines into different periods of time. My current quest is to travel digitally to a bar in West Carteret (Mikes Bar) and transfer my image onto the TV at that bar. The date I picked is October 10, 1968. A Thursday. My father frequented this bar ofter especially on Mondays and Thursdays when the Westfiels Sewing Center was opened until 9PM>
Since my father has never seen my kids, HIS grandchildren, I plan to show photos and small movies of them projected thru this black and white TV in Mikes Bar. My only hope is that dad sees them.

I haven’t traveled into the future yet. I’m too scared.

IDGAF
Sometimes I wish I never connected this blog to the family website. Sometimes creativity is hard to understand. Many

once a long time ago I woke up on the third floor of this Victorian mansion and had just impregnated my wife at the time with my first son.

once a long time ago I woke up on the third floor of this Victorian mansion and had just impregnated my wife at the time with my first son.

people need pure logic and straight thoughts. Sorry I don’t have much of that nor does this blog feature happy butterfly clipart and borders of flowers. I can view the number of times this blog gets “hit” which is actually pretty high probably only because it’s so public. So I’m sorry I can be so deep and dark and I know my audience isn’t keeping up with me nor caring but it’s this: Writing for me is incredibly therapeutic and the creative energy it creates just knowing I have a little corner in the world to turn to is so very nice. At least there is some family tree stuff and heritage so maybe one day one of our kids or their kids might be interested in that. I seem to be the only one.

Every time I start feeling Sorry For Myself I watch The News
I used to think I knew too much about life to have optimism. I was very wrong. When I was a teenager and into my twenties I wasn’t a very good person. In fact I was a big dick. I was indeed a racist, a sexist, an egomaniac and an irresponsible punk ass hippy. I’m very sorry to all the people I hurt, especially my family.

Everything that makes you happy is going to end at some point. I have gotten over that and have diligently tried to be a better person. I used to think that letting my divorce happen was one of my biggest mistakes. One day I woke up in my car and said “what the fuck have I done?” I should be waking up with my kids and teaching them how to sheetrock a fucking house or something! How to make a living in life. How to cook. How and when to put on underarm deodorant.
Actually I don’t have the first clue of how to sheetrock a house.
And today I don’t regret the sloppy one-sided nightmare divorce one bit. I know in my heart of hearts I did the absolute best that I could…..stressing with WHAT I HAD.

I am extremely blessed with these guys. You can not put a word to parental love.

I am extremely blessed with these guys. You can not put a word to parental love.

I have been calling Uncle Billy and I did that because I had some kind of crazy resentment with him. That he “abandoned” us or something. See, I can still be an idiot. After Carol died we used to think Barb was the last elder left in the family, then we found Jerry Jones but she sadly passed away almost as soon as I found her. Our fathers brother is still here and he such a nice, intelligent man with many many memories. He was so pleasant and patient when I last spoke with him and I had a hundred questions(knowing me yes some of them were strange) He is doing very well and will soon be out of assisted care.

Westfield NJ 1919. The Westfield Sewing Center not yet here (second store from the right) I hope to time travel here some day.

Westfield NJ 1919. The Westfield Sewing Center not yet here (second store from the right) I hope to time travel here some day.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve conquered it all except death. And maybe heavy merges on Rt 46 during rush hour.
When I see people in their twenties freaking out in their car, I laugh to myself. I was like that once too. Climbing the ladder of life. Knocking people down. Building a wall around myself and possessions. Yeah, this materialistic fever fed by American TV and movies. I’m reading a book now that changes all that. After the last France truck terrorism episode… it changed me greatly and I needed to find myself again. I’ll tell you one day soon how I made out.

Gill-go-round

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

headerForGillBlog
In this months PTMYT (April 2014) another old mysterious Gill photo taken on Austin street in Westfield NJ. (probably). This photo had the same kind of look and feel of another old Gill photo mentioned in a previous BLOG POST.

This was taken much earlier than the above photo based on the height of Joan alone.

This was taken much earlier than the above photo based on the height of Joan alone.

Definitely not from the same day at all. Maybe some of the same people but several years earlier. Our grandmother May Gill was born in 1915 to John Coleman Rosecrans and Maude L. Rosecrans. May died at a very young age of only 44. She died suddenly and shockingly of a heart attack at home. There have been rumors flung about about her death being suspicious based on several “things told to me”.
1. The fiery relationship she had with her husband Fredrick, a Westfield NJ cop.
2. The decision by husband to have NO autopsy and a quick burial.
3. A suddenly new relationship by husband with a new woman only a few weeks after funeral.
So yeah, ha ha, secret family scandal. May Gill was poisoned by her cop husband. None of this has ever been proven. Nor will it ever be. I’m not exhuming the grave of the grandmother I never saw and I certainly don’t want to see what she looks like now. Rest in peace everyone involved.

One thing I really ponder on now, was that May had THREE brothers and SIX sisters! So that big family thing isn’t just a Hartman trend? So there were NINE aunts and uncles that we also never really met or saw. I might have been too young to remember even if I did meet them. Her three children, Joan, Fred and Carol told me Grandma Gill was a nice woman. That’s all I remember. Another story was that when she pooped, her kids would all go in the bathroom with her and she would tell stories. She was known as a very kind woman in her job at Westfield High School where she was a cook for nine years. Her death at 44 was so early that she only had two grandchildren when she passed away, Barb and Beverly. She would have been surprised if she hung around.

Mrs. Fredrick Gill Obituary. CLICK to READ

Mrs. Fredrick Gill Obituary.
CLICK to READ

So my curiosity remains at who is who in the top photo. At this point I’m going out on a limb to assume that most or all of them are her siblings.
Starting from left, John Rosecrans Jr, May Gill, sister, another brother (maybe Fredrick Rosecrans with wife OR another sister. Fred Gill Sr is next and he is holding a little baby Caroline our aunt. At the end the only thing I can say here is “Get a freaking room.”
Of course in the first row is Joan Gill (our mother) and Fred Gill Jr our uncle. He is wearing an official cap of some sort. This stirred up even more curiosity in me. I do know that we have a great uncle that was lost in a submarine during WWII. I am assuming this photo was taken around 1940-2. So there was a war going on when this was taken. That man in the middle appears to be wearing dress military uniform. So I am assuming that the cap our uncle Fred is playing with is actually from that guy in the center of the photo. I did a google image search on Navy caps used during World War 2. Not surprisingly something very similar came up. It might be an officers cap from Navy.
So is this the guy that was never found on a sunken submarine in WWII??? Sure enough I found a web site that listed every submarine and their crew member LOST during WWII. I actually clicked on every submarine and checked for the sir name Gill. I did find one- on January 24, 1942 the submarine USS S-26 went down BUT three men survived. The mans name TMC Joseph Mathew Gill was goggled and as it turns out he is from Alabama and not New Jersey.

The only other things I think of is that great uncle from the Navy was actually a Rosecrans and not a Gill. This is not the way I remember it being told to me. This WWII hero was definitely named GILL. OR maybe that is a fireman or policemen uniform. It is a fact that Mays father was indeed the Cheif of the Westfield NJ police force which is exactly how our grandfather Fredrick Gill got the job.

Yet another Rosecrans search, I found in the Westfield Leader newspaper (bottom left middle article) that Mays brother, Windsor was promoted to a Lieut. in the National Guard. But this was July 1927. (yet still possible, that might be a captains cap after 13+ years!)

So this is how it goes with web research on the amazing and still growing world wide web. I was just trying to find out some names. People that have long passed on. People that were “somehow” related to our mothers and fathers. This spark of a connection in life that electrifies our existence. Like I said, if I had this interest even before Carol or Joan died, I would have had all the answers and names and probably a few cool stories too.

May sandwiched by brother and sister. Big family love.

May sandwiched by brother and sister. Big family love.


Dad and baby daughter. Caroline.

Dad and baby daughter. Caroline.


Sister and brother. Joan and Fred.

Sister and brother. Joan and Fred.


lovers

Gettysburg 1970

Friday, December 6th, 2013
July 1970 11 months before his death, Dad "pulls" and Brenda resists.

July 1970 11 months before his death, Dad “pulls” and Brenda resists.

two score and three years ago our father, full of determination and
curiosity gathered his young family into a green Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
and journeyed 200 miles southwest into the belly of American history,
the fields of Civil War death, the tourist traps the land of hotels and

cyan colored swimming pools. The fierce fighting for the window seats
as mom chain-smoked Viceroys with windows up, AC on, seatbelt s off,
FM radio tuned to rock classics of the day “Which Way Ya Going Billy?”
Poppy Family,”In the Summertime”by Mungo Jerry,”Hey There Lonely Girl”

by Eddie Holman, The Hollies with “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
this station wagon featured speakers in the back seat panels, and
this was modern day coolness unheard of in the day. We breezed thru
Interstate 76 pass the Esso billboards and Roadside America invitations

Bushkill Falls, Crystal Cave, the Amish in Lancaster, covered bridges, and
the Hershey Factory. So it was, we as a family took our one and only
vacation and not everyone was invited and some invited guests didn’t
want to come! If you were clad in diapers than you stayed home

with Mrs. Askew. Beverly was lost in teenage phone world and requested
to be left alone forever. Against her will she was dragged into the
overcrowded station wagon and we endured the three hour struggle
into the sweet beauty of Pennsylvania’s mountains with our mighty V8

spectacular blue skies, puffy white clouds, fields of lazy cows and
a dreary mundane depression that forever lurks in these small towns.
Their shops, schools and slow walking slow talking locals with accents.
We stopped once for 36 cents a gallon gas as Apollo nine flew hundreds

!969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon

!969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon


of miles overhead and the Vietnam War raged on overseas.Just being in a
hotel is the vacation.Soda and candy vending machines.Running down
hallways screaming and taking the elevator up and then down, over and
over Dad sitting in the chair smoking a cigar, planning our days with

maps and brochures the TV blaring,nobody watching Jumping on the bed
suddenly,how many glass displays of dug up bullets, marble statues of
men on horses, riffles hanging on walls, hundreds of B&W photos
of dead men can one person view? This was an endless history class in

the hot Summer sun.It wasn’t my fault I was a kid with different ideas of
adventure and that by the third day of endless hundred year old history
I had enough and made it my point to say so. Somewhere in between
Little Round Top and Devils Den, my whining had warranted a beating

I was sent to the car crying On the way home this hungry family did
breakfast and dad ordered pancakes for all which finally came stacked
bigger than anything we had ever seen. Psychology won and just vision
had made us full. Dad paid the bill shaking his head at the biggest waste

of money and food and Brenda picked up her “underbrella” and we left
The longer drive home hypnotized sleep. Dad the accountant adds
expenses in his head. It wasn’t a vacation it was an education he later
said. And as we finally pulled into the concrete driveway I knew that

if I became a dad, my kids would be riding roller coasters on our
vacations.We would take luxury ships and planes to get there. Never
long lines, hot sun, ‘education’ or hours to get there but then if I did
would my future son ever write a memory poem such as this?

Because she is missing, Bev probably took this photo. Lost tourist.

Because she is missing, Bev probably took this photo. Lost tourist.

All we are, is all we will ever be.

Thursday, December 5th, 2013
moon and sun

moon and sun

I’d like to bring you back again and see if you changed your mind about death. Brenda called “SHOTGUN!” as my sisters ran to my car. Beverly just smiled and elegantly squeezed her long lean body into the crowded back seat of my small Kia Reo.
“On my God, it’s been SO long!” she said.
Brenda popped into the front seat and was so excited she was just making noises.
“Put your seat belts on”, I said as I started the engine
I was a little surprised when they listened to me because I didn’t know what to expect. Death can do strange things to people, I thought.
I put the car in gear and they both squealed simultaneously.
“Stop and get cigarettes!” Beverly yelled from the back.
“Oh yeah, Georgie, do THAT!”, Brenda chimed in.
Oh what the hell, I thought I spent almost $17.00 for two packs.
“Holy crap!” Bev said. “They were three bucks last time I remember. John Karst used to always get them for me.”
So I drove and they smoked. We drove and we drove all around New Jersey. Carteret, Rahway, Linden and Perth Amboy. We stopped for Taylor ham and cheese at Burger Express drive-in, TWICE. I picked up Wise potato chips in Linden and Slim Jims at a Krausers along with more cigarettes. We drove past Bevs old haunts including Grandma Wilski’s house in Linden. We got out of the car on Whitman street and walked outside around the old abandoned house we used to live in. When I told Beverly that one of her Persian cats had already out-lived her by 13 years she blurted, “Nooooo Waaaay!”
Beverly then started to cry as she lit another cigarette but I just let that moment go by. There has to be a lot of emotion coming back from a “deep sleep” after so long. You realize that life doesn’t stop when you do, it’s just keeps going on and on and on.
With windows down to let out the smoke and the constant ramblings and memories of my sisters words, it soon started to get dark out. We are watching time pass but with no anxiety and no attempt to alter the past or present.
Brenda and Beverly asked me question after question. Before I could finish answering one, there was another or a round of laughter. Everything had changed and was “funny looking.”
“I thought there would be flying cars by now, Butch. Remember the Jetsons? Is that still on?”
I finally took my iPhone out of my coat pocket and to their amazement I showed them how it worked as we parked in Carteret Shopping Center for more Slim Jims. They fought over the phone but Brenda eventually won because there were photos of Becca and Brooke all over Facebook. Bev took a long deep drag on her cigarette and as smoke flowed out of her mouth she asked, “So everyone has one of these things?” pointing to the phone.
I told her technology was getting out of control and since she had been gone the longest, she was the most amazed by current life.
“Oh my God George. TAKE ME TO OHIO RIGHT NOW!” Brenda barked as she stared open-mouthed at the photos of her kids on my phone.
I took the navigator out of the glove compartment and plugged it into the dash. “Another phone thing?” Beverly asked?
“No, this thing will tell and show us how to get to Ohio.”
“Whatever!” Bev says shaking her head. “So mom died a year after me?, were people sad at my funeral?, who came?, I don’t remember the coma. did you tell Danny Braza??”
The questions went on and I answered the best that I could and sometimes I didn’t know or I lied. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t afraid. Any fear was totally overwhelmed by seeing them sitting in my car. They seemed young, healthy, full of vigor and curiosity. I think life is a good thing where they come from. A Gift. They seemed to have missed being here but they also had nothing to say about where they had been. “It’s such a wonderful place. I do miss it already.” was all I got out of Brenda at one point. But they were only interested in this moment. Driving around in my car. They both had a strange glow to them and their eyes were almost wild with excitement.
In front of us has we drove West on Interstate 80, the sun was blazing and clouds were turning into a molten lava of oranges and reds. When I pointed at the sunset in front of us and said “Look at that!” they seemed uninterested as if they had seen things much more beautiful while they were away. It was at this point I felt a small tug on my existence here with them. Something was happening. Something weird.
Brenda was showing Bev a photo of Brooke in a high school play when a tingling sensation in my arm shook me, I heard Brenda’s crazy laugh and looked over at the passenger seat and it was only my phone. My arm hurt. It hurt bad. I looked in the rear view mirror for Beverly and she was gone too. The fog was lifting. No, it can’t be. Was it? My arm is under my body and it is asleep. The fog is lifting quicker as the tingles in my arm stir me back into reality. No, no no. It was a dream? A DREAM??
“Look at that sunset sisters!” I yelled as I tried to get back to where I was. I didn’t want to leave. Now it feels like cob webs are all over me. My eyes are crusty. There is droll all over my chin. Oh my gosh. I was out of it. One of those rare deep sleeps. I remembered everything. My entire day driving with them. It seemed so real. I wanted to go back. We never got pizza. We never made it to Ohio.

As I was saying, the moon was orange…

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

…thru the pine trees of our camp site. It felt like we were a million miles from New Jersey but there we were right squat in the middle of it. In the middle of what seemed to be nowhere. You couldn’t hear the turnpike screaming here and we weren’t under a direct 747 plane route to Newark. The only sounds we heard here was the crackling of a fire, beers popping open and our dog barking in the wind. These were the days, my friend. I don’t remember who discovered this “hidden” dirt road to Farrington Lake (Stuff or Glenn?) but it was the greatest discovery since rubber-coated baseballs. We drifted here often to get away. To drink, to sleep in tents, to fish and to just basically be crazy kids. I have some great memories (at least what I hazily remember anyway) of coming here on windy Fall days or blazing Summers. Into the cool shade of pines. Swimming in the cold lake. Cooking off the fire. Drinking and laughing into the late hours of darkness. We were men (and dog) living off the land (ha ha) and surviving the wilderness (yeah right)
About this photo: courtesy of Bonnie Ludwig Matthias on Facebook. This is actually a photo of a photo and I loved it the second I saw it. Wish there were more photos of the Farrington Lake era.

Two brothers and their dog.

Two brothers and their dog.

Other notes:
-Perhaps it’s part of our basic nature to drift into believing that we have a handle on life. Perhaps we think we’re all so experienced that we have seen it all, know it all and that nothing that comes our way anymore is shocking. And then someone you love dies.

-My awkwardness is at an Olympic level. I stumble into most rooms looking for a corner to hide. Except at work. I’m a quiet T-Rex that can explode in hunger at any given time.

-Latest discoveries: I’m over-emotionally available, have a strange brain and like it. I enjoy taking part in life for the most part, don’t we all? If you think you have a “miserable” life just stay in touch with the news and if you can’t radiate one OUNCE of gratitude from that then you probably won’t get along with anyone and certainly not me. Children with cancer, especially RARE cancer is seemingly becoming an epidemic. Do you ever really wonder what is in our food and milk after humans and technology get their hands on it? Do you believe that at the turn of the century and the industrial revolution has anything to do with this? Back then it was “OK” to dump millions of tons of toxins in the rivers and oceans and air. Do you think all of that has just gone away? Do you think we have completely stopped dumping on Mother Earth?

BLOGdissappearLikesmokeWith large families being so rare these days, I’m always asked how my mother did it? You have to give her tons of credit but do you mention the drinking, shoplifting and total loss of control? Some people just aren’t cut out to be the disciplinarian. Being part of such a large family means you always have someone to play with, but privacy is scarce. We had more bunk beds then a submarine. It makes me sick of what becomes a reality TV show these days. Anything and everything. While some can be interesting and educational most of them and 90% of TV is just pure trash anyway. If they set up a few cameras in Whitman street during our peak, I’m not sure it would sell. Some of our neighbors were pretty interested in our life. I remember being watched with an odd eye a lot as a kid playing in the yard or cars driving by slow to take a gander at the bizarre Brady bunch after Ed and his kids moved in. There were always haters but there were some that loved us. Some that loved us so much, that they actually became family. We took in anybody. Mom was like that after dad died. Hey we have ten kids but Bevs boyfriend moved in and friends slept over for days upon days turning into weeks.

-It isn’t hard to learn how to breathe more properly Deep breathing can be very relaxing, it reduces stress and is a wonderful way to get in touch with our body and our very self.

-Nothing can make people feel they have a purpose in life, like having children.
I am worried about what I do not know. There is too much of that. I don’t live with my kids. What is really happening? What happened?

Before Halloween became yet ANOTHER American made money making extravaganza there were very limited Oct 31 decorations. This cat is a huge part of my childhood.

Before Halloween became yet ANOTHER American made money making extravaganza there were very limited Oct 31 decorations. This cat is a huge part of my childhood.

Yes, that day of regret has finally arrived like I knew it would. I gave everything I owned and MORE in the trust that it would work out for their benefit.
I knew when they were just so young, and there was never a pet dog and worse thing ever, when I pulled up in front of the house on Oct. 31 to pick them up, there were never any Halloween decorations.
Children without a real home, will always seek a real home. What is a real home? The definition can vary, but when sickness and phobias create an unhealthy environment, then you can be left with no warmth. Warmth in a home can consist of many wonderful things. -Paintings and photos hanging on the wall. -A crowded refrigerator full of food and healthy snacks. -A crowded refrigerator door filled with magnets memories and fun. -A functioning TV. -An internet connection and family computer. -A comfortable positive environment. -Never worrying about losing your home to financial ignorance. -A dog with a wagging tail or a purring cat. -Halloween decorations.

CONCLUSIONS:
1. .Just sit & observe. You’ll learn a lot.
2. Before you get married, spend one year living together first.
3. The best things happen unexpectedly.
4. Never trust coffee that isn’t coffee flavored.
5. Go camping once a year.
6. Take a few deep breaths daily.

low tide

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

A wooden house in eastern Europe. Elm trees. Low hills. My walking stick. “Let me sketch you.” Set yourself free. Charcoal shadows and hollow air. The earth sings goodbye to another day. Brisk and fresh. Steam and mist. There is no script. A car radio bleats the blues….my minds not right….my sideburns are lopsided…my testicles are hanging lower than usual. The moon is a boomerang and at low tide you can smell dead sponge and rotten crab meat. From the bridge we looked down and saw huge fish swimming, a broken dock and the cafe lights where we had lunch. A salad with walnuts and fresh fruit. A glass of bubbled water from another country. Down at the waters edge, the crowds filled the streets and bikers had an excuse to ride in the orange hue dusk. We will grow old. Read books on a porch. Wait for visits from children. And their children. Fade into the colors of the trees. Watch the shadows move across the wood and when the noiseless winds come, I will still hold you and kiss you.
The End.

Fear Of Abandonment

Sunday, July 14th, 2013
If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy. -Kurt Vonnegut

If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy.
-Kurt Vonnegut

While many family historians struggle to discover any tiny piece of information that they can, we have been blessed (on the Hartman side at least) with a recent slew of photographs and now documents of our early nineteenth century beginnings. These new “Family Memory” documents are a really fun and interesting read. I would recommend downloading the links below and printing them out. Find a nice chair and enjoy. You are about to individually meet every one of our Great Grandfathers kids, his wife and him. The “industrious” Jersey City printer with a sense of humor. These words were originally taped and then transcribed with keeping curious future generations like us in mind. I’m thinking, how very generous and nice of them. These were recorded by the youngest of our Great Grandfathers children, Marie Elizabeth. She was also the last one to pass away.

Family Memories Of Marie Elizabeth Hartmann
Pages 1-17 Part One Memories (PDF) DOWNLOAD
and here are pages 18-45: Part Two Memories (PDF) DOWNLOAD

In her opening statement Marie writes:

saintsSinners
“It may help you understand yourself” – I truly believe that this can be one of the benefits of heritage discovery.
“I am not planning on recording gossip or family scandals”
– Wow. How much does that suck! After reading this, I find it interesting that gossip or scandals even exsisted in this family!! Marie was very kind and honest in this document. But of course human nature dictates such things inescapable. And the bigger the family–the more gossip and scandals there will be! We can tell you that first hand experience!

There is another one of these documents written by one of Marie’s sisters that I possess and will share in a future posting. There will be no information overload on this blog.(that’s a sarcastic joke based on my last post date of 6 months ago) Actually it’s been quite the opposite. The family web site is slowly being worked on. Dead links. Outdated photos. Missing people, most in particular, Blake on the family tree.
Here is a list of things I have been working on in my spare time:
+ Redesigning the web site. Cutting a lot of the fat. Leaner, quicker and cleaner. More use of Adobe Flash.
+ Finding and interviewing John Karst our step brother. Last presumed residence Elizabeth NJ
+ Finding the grave sites of the two infants that Charles and Clara lost. 1892 Emma (9 months old) and Charles 1895 (3 months old) There are 5 cemeteries in Jersey City. I’m assuming maybe Holy Name cemetery and it is huge!
+ Create a family tree that begins with our mother and father. This has become quite extensive over the years.
+ Call and speak to my fathers brother, William Hartman, who is currently residing in California. (another fantastic discovery through Jaybird and Diane, as I had been looking for him unsuccessfully on the internet)

The reason this document is available to us is because of a chain reaction of events from finding our long lost cousins through this blog resulting in the rejuvenated friendship of cousins Diane Jones and Barbara Hartman. Since we have been reunited, Barb has visited Diane down south where she lives now and recently this past Spring, Diane came up here to visit what is barely left of the New Jersey Hartman’s. She also wanted to attempt to revisit some of her deep New Jersey roots. When I heard this I truly understood her desire for this. As a military child, her family stayed where ever her father, Jay Jones, was stationed. A huge part of our families childhood is visiting our cousins on these bases. Particularly Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Dix in south Jersey. While Diane was here we planned a trip to Brooklyn for Diane. Unfortunately due to high security we were unable to get into the bases (despite the pleading by Diane to the security guard at the gate) but we did mange to see the house from outside the confines of the Fort on the Belt Parkway.

Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons.

Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.

Yes, even just this drive-by glimpse was all we had. Yet it had initiated a flood of memories from all of us on that heritage journey. My sister Barb and I are old enough to remember driving over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the station wagon.
We have so many wonderful memories of this place. Diane was almost bubbling over with flash-backs, friends and memories as she was the second oldest of the family. It was also a very interesting drive around Brooklyn. For some people that have at least a certain degree of sentimentality in their hearts, it is warm feeling to revisit your childhood. To walk down the old streets that slowly change over the years. It ignites old feelings and “where are they now” friendships.

Diane Jones and George Hartman in front of Whitman Street in Carteret. Spring 2013

Diane Jones and George Hartman in front of Whitman Street in Carteret. Spring 2013


What now seems like many moons ago a “super” storm smashed into this side of the country doing things to us that I never thought possible. This time all the hype and warnings were very correct and most people that lived anywhere near any kind of water were devastated! Our little family was in a tiny room on the second floor of an old wooden house, many miles in-land and north, yet our house was actually BENDING.BLOG_gaslines I will never forget that helpless feeling of being in that moving house. I had fears of being homeless or someone getting hurt. A tree fell down on our street. That was it, and oh yeah, we lost our power for a week. (that really sucked) but that was it. As the days unwound afterwards, the images and stories that unfolded before my eyes made me feel very grateful. This was one very serious ass kicking by nature and yet while I was embedded in this swaying room I had no idea how serious it really was.
Coming home to darkness everyday and the sound of the neighborhood generators echoing in the backyards became very depressing. No refrigerator, no TV, no lights, no heat until we were granted a single extension cord snaked up into the apartment. We lived in a room with candles, one extension cord, and glued to the images on the TV.
When something like this happens you can feel a compassion in people that overflows into all the nooks of your life. Most people care. Most people will help you. The human race is temporarily changed into a caring kind soul. I haven’t seen this since the 9/11 terrorist plots. For months after that the northeast was greatly humbled. The “mean” streak was lifted. It lasted for quite awhile. Then people returned to what they were. I have been to many different areas of the USA. The northeast is mean. I took that photo while waiting in a gas line. People would wait in those gas lines for HOURS and HOURS on end. I met the greatest, funniest people in those gas lines. I actually began to look forward to waiting in some kinda gas lines. Even in a gas line for cars that usually went around the block three times and hardly moved, people would get out of their cars and talk and laugh and shake hands. There was a sense of community there. We were all just human beings. Nobody was rich, nobody was poor, nobody was black, nobody was white and so on and so forth. This is what disasters and tragedy do to people. Damn, I miss those gas lines.

Current Status: July 12, 2013 3:28 PM Life has just become a series of moving from one air-conditioned spot to the next. I love potato chips.

And So It Goes
Billy Pilgrim was my hero when I was a teenager. This turned out to be a HUGE mistake.
I read Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut in my freshman year of High School. This book just really blew my mind wide open. It so greatly affected me that I became (or tried to) one of the characters. Recently I have witnessed this with a friend of mine but with the epic novel Catcher in the Rye.
I so loved Slaughter House Five, that I became obsessed with the author and began to systematically read every one of novels. It was also around this time that I discovered writing. I was a night owl and spent many nights pounding my old fashioned typewriter and scribbling long hand poetry in journals. I had some great teachers in a time a true turmoil at home. I began to write just like Vonnegut.

Billy Pilgrim 1972. a worthy reflection on the big screen. Punk ass bitch!

Billy Pilgrim 1972. a worthy reflection on the big screen.
Punk ass bitch!

Fear of abandonment is an anxiety disorder which is characterized by an acute fear of being alone or isolated. It is backed with the fear of having to deal with the difficulties of life all by yourself. I believe that in many ways, I am still a little boy waiting by the door for his father to come home from the hospital.
Billy Pilgrim was pretty cool in many ways. He was so humble that it was hysterical. He was smart. He was wise. He lived through a catastrophic fire bombing in Germany. He met so many cool people. But most of all… Billy Pilgrim could time travel.
The bad things about Billy Pilgrim mostly was that he let people push him around and walk all over him. I did this. I still do this.
I reread Slaughter House Five thirty-nine years later, cover to cover, as an adult now. My conclusion was that Billy Pilgrim was a punk who deserved everything he got. Even I wanted to kick his ass. WHAT WAS I THINKING? To model myself after this pussy. Oh yeah, I had issues but being Billy Pilgrim was the easy way out. I needed a father to grab me by the shirt collar, shake some sense into me and scream WAKE THE FUCK UP!
I was constantly seeking and finding father figures. I could list at least ten guys who I chased looking for a father figure. Danny Braza was a Daddy for me. And then he just disappeared one day! Abandonment comes in many forms, but leaves similar scars. The negative impact that this type of trauma can have on someone cannot be understated. The feelings of apprehension and anxiety that are associated with this form of loss can pervade every relationship that follows in that person’s life, whether intimate, social, or business. Fear of abandonment can cause significant impairment and result in a diminished quality of life.

-Diary Of A Sex Addict-
Act II scene III
Coco and Butch are on the balcony of an ocean front resort. The tops of palm trees surround them as they pour each other glasses of red wine. The sound of the ocean and seagulls can be heard. The lights are slowly lowered to simulate the on coming dusk. Red and yellow lights slowly light up the background “sky” as the sun drops into the ocean.

Butch: As humans on this planet we are never happy enough. There is always something “wrong” with us. We are either too fat or not smart enough or we drink too much or work too hard. We never have enough money. We worry about the future, shun the past and forget all about what is happening in the now.
Coco: You’re always too serious.
Butch: Where were you last night?
Coco: (surprised at first but then recovers) Uhhh, what? I told you. I worked late. You know that design project in Brooklyn I’ve been telling you about.
Butch: Oh yeah, work. It’s always work.
Coco: It is. Yes.
Butch: There are always these gaps of unexplained time….
Coco: (interrupting) ..we have gone over this Butch. My job is very demanding. Sometimes I sleep there.
Butch: Yeah yeah.
Coco: I don’t like this conversation. Especially as we are someplace nice with a beautiful sunset.
Butch: I’m sorry. I care. I..
Coco: …lets just have fun. Live in the moment. Like you just said.
Butch: Yes! Here’s to us! (pours more wine in Cocos glass and raises his own glass. They touch glasses with a “tink” and smile at each other.) You really needed this. You work too hard.
Coco: So do you but don’t think about that now. Take a deep breath, suck in this air sip wine.
Butch: (grinning as he changes the subject) I just love your ‘daddy issues”
Coco: What in the name of god are you talk…
Butch: They say girls with daddy issues are good in bed.
Coco: I, I, I…don’t know whether to accept that as a compliment or should I slap you in the damn face.
Butch: (holds up his hands to block a potential slap) A compliment! A compliment!
Coco: Where the hell did THAT come from? Shit, you know how sensitive I am to my dad.
Butch: I’m sorry. (reaches out to stroke her face, she pushes it away) no, really baby, I’m sorry. I forgot. I know he left you but what happened? You never really told me.
Coco: My mom and dad lived life pretty roughly. They were always drinking and chain smoking AND fighting. All the time. It made me crazy. I never knew what “normal” was. Well, one day we were driving down the road. One big happy family. Me and my sister in the back seat. I knew something was wrong because I could just feel something very uneasy in the air. It was high noon. Bright sunny day. My mom and dad were fighting really bad the night before. It kept me awake. Well, on this day that we were driving it was TOO quiet. I knew something was wrong. We were going over a bridge. A big steel one, I remember and my dad, who was driving, just pulled the car over, very nonchalantly got out, walked to the side of the bridge, and leaped over the fence. That was the last time any of us ever saw him again.
Butch: (holding his hands against his open mouth) Oh my god! (grabs Cocos hands from across the small table) Oh my god! I’m so sorry. Why didn’t you ever tell me this.
Coco: Oh shutup. You never asked and I HATE telling this story.
Butch: Oh no, you should tell this story, you poor little girl. How horrible and you…
Coco: I said SHUTUP! (she slams her wine glass down) This is why I hate telling this story. I hate all the stupid sympathy that comes after it. I’m an adult now. I dealt with it. He was a sorry excuse for a man. A drunk. An ass. The funny thing was, my mom just sat there and watched him. Never said a word. She hopped into the divers seat and took off….like nothing fucking happened! Can you believe that? Me and my sister were waiting for him to come home that night. Probably soaking wet, but we were waiting every day for him to come thru that door like nothing ever happened. One day the cops came and they found his body and my mother threw away all his clothes and that was when I said, “He aint coming back”
I remembered then when I was a little girl before my sister was born I ran away from home. All I did was go in the shed and sit on the lawnmower but it was dark and I was angry and scared. I was there for about two hours before my father opened the shed door and came and picked me up.
This was the greatest feeling in the world. I had left home. And someone DID love me. Someone DID look for me. Someone DID find me.
So I did it again. After my sister was born and I felt neglected, so I ran away to the shed. This time it took a little longer but my father finally did come to get me. This time he was angry. My parents were stressed out with two kids and drinking all the time. I felt really lousy. If someone runs away they are not abandoning the people they love. They are NOT giving the people they love a hard time. Chances are that if somebody you love runs away, they are in desperate need of feeling loved. They haven’t been loved or hugged or talked to, or listened to in days….in weeks!!! Don’t neglect the people you love in your life. Get down to their level, look them in the eyes and tell them THAT YOU LOVE THEM.Then grab them and hug them and squeeze them and say “Don’t ever leave me again! Because I worry about you. I care about you AND I LOVE YOU DARN IT!!!!!!!!_*

Movie Still #3 from Home Movies

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Bev


Nobody misses Beverly. It’s all about Brenda. I just don’t understand it sometimes. Can you believe Bev is gone 13 years this August already. Maybe that’s why. It was so long ago. Pretty soon your existence on this planet becomes nothing. Unless you are a president or a celebrity. Unless you are leaving something important behind, like a legacy of inventions or books.
One hundred years ago our great grandfather struggled everyday with making ends meet for eleven children. He had hundreds of different relationships with family and friends. He walked down the streets of Jersey City to the German butcher to talk in his native language to the people that worked and hung out there. In his mind this world that he knew and loved would be here forever and in the back of his human thoughts maybe he would be here forever too. New technology to him was cars going down the street, photography, indoor plumbing and electricity. Now the entire family is dead. All their everyday worries, heartaches and triumphants don’t mean a blessed thing anymore. Think about how minuscule your deepest desires will be in one hundred years. Some freckle-faced little future cousin of ours will be looking at a photo of you posing with your large family from Carteret, New Jersey and thinking, “He’s dead now. I wonder what concerned him in 2013?”

Soon the breeze you feel pushing against your face as you walk down your sidewalk, surrounded by your own technology friends and family will make you smile at the simple joys of being alive. You carry a phone in your pocket and you have almost three hundred friends in your combined social networks. Your Great Grandfather had chickens in his yard and you buy your chicken already cooked at a place called KFC. Did you ever look at old photographs and wonder just WHO those people were? Are they still alive? What kind of life did they have? Was it happy?

The human experience.

The human experience.

What Number Am I Thinking Of?
I believe in ghosts, UFO’s, the after-life, angels and God. I used to believe in magic until my brother Gregory actually “became” a magician. He collected magic tricks and purchased them at a “Magic Store” I think in Westfield NJ. We got most of our cool stuff from downtown Westfield. He paid a lot of money for this magic because basically he was paying, not for the props but for the “secret” of how this magic trick worked. This is why I don’t believe in magic anymore. It’s not magic. They are all tricks and delusions. I was very disappointed when I saw all this in my closet that Greg and I shared.
This was the same closet where my brother collected Charlie McCarthy dolls. There were seven of these dolls “living” in our closet. I saw all the magic tricks and their secrets. The hidden doors and collapsable boxes.

For the record Greg had a few great moments as a magician. He may seem quiet and a little anti-social but once during one of Beverly’s three weddings (maybe it was the denim one with John Morgan the ex marine and steel worker) that Greg performed one of his best magic shows. It was magnificent. I remember people actually saying “oooooohhh” and “aaaahhhhhh” after one of his tricks. This was the last night that I ever believed in magic.

If You Believe In Ghosts…
pepBoys…then Joan, Carol and Fred are sitting on the empty table next to you in the dimly lit bar. They are giving you Keno numbers written on Pep Boy match book covers. You wonder why the numbers aren’t all winners. You can’t see a ghost of course but sometimes if the light from a mirror bounces off a wall at the right angle… I do believe in the other dimension, the one right in front of you. The one defined by quantum physics. There is no present, past or future there. Smoking their fucking brains out and lining up cans of Bud and shots of Rock and Rye. The lushes they were, they will always be and hoping that this time in upside-down-land they might finally feel the buzz. Joanie as she is known here, would do anything to fall and break her leg (again) and feel the pain because you can’t feel anything in that ghost dimension. Who can forget Mom laying in the dark middle room in agonizing pain from her sciatica. Sciatica can be induced with pregnancy. My mother was very good at pregnancy. In a micro moment they are walking with Rebel down the property line of 2850 Pioneer 9th street.
“I just can’t fucking believe it.” Rebel says over and over again.
“I just can’t fucking believe it!” as he walks a straight line down the outskirts of his property. He looks down at this imaginary line and paces to the northwest corner. Stops. Turns left. Then continues down the invisible line.
“That fucking Butch. That god-damn son of bitch fucking no good Butch!”
“Where’s my property?? Son of a bitch!!”

dummyThere were moments when I fantasized living there. It was always sunny and there were cows and horses everywhere. A perfectly symmetrical cornfield. Chickens clucked during the long hot days and rooster woke me up at 4:30 in the morning. Kryha told me that the cows are a lot of hard work but they are worth it. The froth at the top of fresh warm milk in a bucket is supposed to splendid. Perhaps even containing secret ingredients to good health and a long life. (I’ve never had it) Technically I was the only homeless man that actually owned a home and property in the whole world. It was one of aunt Carols greatest last wish in this life here in the non-other-dimension that the property remain in the family. Greg tried. Then nothing. Truth is the place is better off with someone to take care of it. To give it the love and attention that it needs. Nethertheless I failed greatly. Carol doesn’t care much but Rebel has been trying to kick the shit out of me for the past month. He is stalking me with this southern rage. I find his beard hairs on the bathroom floor. I feel the whiplash of the breeze every time (six or seven times a day) he tries to punch me in the face. His ghost arm goes right thru me. So the ghosts of our heritage past watch over us, speak to us in German in our dreams, they toast to our upcoming deaths with Irish whiskey.

James Fredrick Gill our cousin keeps in touch with me since we rediscovered his and his sisters existence again on the cute social network FaceBook. Basically we text one-liners to each other during the football season and exchange cool emails. This has been a great find in my life. I am really grateful for the internet in this respect. His love and knowledge of sports is ferocious and he has turned out to be quite a great dad and person. Since our reunion he always stretches out his arms in invitation and tells me that there is a free room waiting for me and Kryha in Ohio. All we have to do is get there. This invitation has become relentless. In the beginning it was nice and then it started to piss me off. It made me crazy because as simple and sweet as the invitations were….I just couldn’t make it a date. I always had an excuse. Work, money or time. I never had any of them…..and THIS just pissed me the hell off. That if I can’t take advantage of this beautiful thing….then there is something deeply wrong with me. Life is too short as I have explained in detail this entire post and actually my entire blog.

My Death
My great grandfather died at age 55 and he had diabetes. Before he passed away he had his left leg amputated because of the disease. My grandfather also died of diabetes but he lived to be 71. He also had his left leg amputated before he passed away. My father died at age 38. He didn’t have diabetes but his death was very complicated.
Here is a page from his autopsy. Click Here.
This was so long ago and officially they say he died from a bleeding ulcer. It is so obvious here that we inherit so much from our past generations. Do you think it’s ironic that both my grandfather and great grandfather had their left legs amputated? It’s surely not a coincidence also that our sister Beverly also died from diabetes although drug usage and anorexia also played a part. Beverly had begun to slowly kill herself in her teens. I called her death a slow-motion-suicide because that’s what it was. Do we believe that alcoholism is inherited? Or any of the other addictions. Do I have my fathers nose or my great grandfathers penis? I am glad I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that he made his living as a printer. I am a printer.
So what is the lesson here? Should I have a doctor check out why two middle toes in my left foot are slightly numb?
I have already out-lived my father by fourteen years and in two my years I will have caught up to Charles Hartmann from Jersey City. What happened to my dad? There was something burning his insides out. They couldn’t figure it out. The doctors seemed to have did everything wrong. I was never one to go around suing everybody for every little thing but this was quite possibly an open and shut case of medical malpractice. I even remember hearing someone telling that to my mother shortly after Dads death. Just think how much more complicated and deadly our little family of ten would be with a couple million of dollars injected into the already chaotic state?
This is why so many people have become so interested in their heritage. Where did we come from? It is an amazing journey through time to catch a glimpse of your past. A photograph. An old letter. A lock of hair. I hope it is, that whatever my father died from, is NEVER inherited into the family. Hopefully it was just botched doctor work. For the record all his siblings were “sick” to some extent. His brother William (that is still alive) is a polio survivor. His sister had lupus and was told she wouldn’t be here long (but lived an very long life).
There are two sides to every heritage however. We have a father and a mother. We are the combination of both heritages. Mixed in a blender and spread out on a plate of surprise. Nobody knows what the heritage blender is gonna mix up as a person. Sometimes it even creates a new trait, feature or addiction for the next generation to handle.
For the most part I have succeeded in obtaining a huge chunk of the Hartman side of our family. Two years ago, I thought I would never see a photo of my great grandfather or his children. Not only do I now know what they look like but I have also obtained two huge documents they contain an oral history of the family. They are written by two of the eleven children. In my next post I hope to have them obtainable here in PDF form for downloading/printing and reading.

I have neglected the Gill side of our family. My mother Joan’s heritage for the most part is a complete mystery. The people that I would like to ask even the most basic questions to…are all ghosts now. That is very frustrating because I had my entire life to ask these questions to all of these people when they were alive and now when I need them they are in another dimension chain smoking Viceroys.
I always did have a curiosity for the past. My mother was a strong story teller and I loved when she would get into that story telling mode. Sometimes she would get TOO HONEST. A couple of “King of Beers” in the white can and a pack of smokes and she would sit at that kitchen table and tell us all about Grandpa Gill and May Gill. How they would get their children into the cinema for free during the depression just by saying that their dad was a policeman in town.

Somewhere, somebody named “Bernie” had or took what was called the “Gill Family Bible”
I do remember this thing being mentioned in one of my mothers rambling stories. Supposedly it contains names and layers of the Gill tree. Photos and other information too.
It is now the quest of cousin James and I to find that treasure.

For the Hartman explosion of heritage discovery it all began with a letter. Barb took the time to write to a nuns retirement home to ask about our great aunts who were nuns. The information we received back helped greatly in the discovery of our Jersey City New Jersey heritage. I am surprised that even the simplest facts of Gill family tree heritage is not even know. Grandpa Gill, the Westfield cop…did he have any brothers or sisters.

From what I remember he did have at least an uncle Frank but I wasn’t sure. I also remember my mother telling me the story of how Frank went to WWII as a sailor in the Navy and his submarine was lost at sea. Nothing or nobody was ever recovered from the water. How could a young boy like me who obsessed with combat movies ever forget that tale.
Here indeed is a letter verifying “Uncle Frankie” existence.

"March 25, 1938 8:30 AM"

“March 25, 1938 8:30 AM”

Here is what is inside the letter. HERE This beautifully scripted hand-written letter post marked almost exactly seventy-five years ago, a short but sweet introduction to a newborn is just classic. Real letters like this, from the heart are almost extinct now. FaceBook, twitter and emails are the new norm. There were probably hundreds if not thousands of letters delivered between all the members of the Gill/Hartman family and yet this one ended up saved. It survived I believe because it was written by a man that he would “see you soon” and maybe that never happened. Uncle Frank was lost at sea and never found.
Are there any more siblings of Fredrick Gill? Perhaps we think a sister Caroline? (according to ancestory.com…not confirmed.) Maybe this is who our aunt Carol is named after? Also with this letter we get a different address presumably the one they lived at before Austin street.
austinSt
The lost art of letter writing and the US Post Ofice has announced that they will soon end Saturday deliveries! At one point in the beginning of the century, when our great grandparents were not ghosts, the mail was delivered seven days a week and two times a day!! Twice a day deliveries ended in 1950 and it’s been pretty much downhill from there.

Does expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?

Things Greg collected:
Legos
albums
charlie McCarthy dolls
horror movies
books

Magic
What happens when you say that you don’t believe in magic anymore? Your life can become a dull senseless voyage to nowhere. I have always been connected with the news. I waited by the door for the newspaper to be delivered when I was a kid. Three different times I worked for newspapers and I read every daily issue from from to back everyday. Now with the internet the news is at your fingertips everyday. There have been so many sad news stories lately that I keep telling myself that I am just going to stop reading the news. The Sandy Hook school tragedy affected everybody greatly. For me it was comparable to 9/11 which took me months to get over. Or do you even ever get over something like that? I haven’t. It changes you. It changes the world.
In my news musings I found this viral video of a little girl who was going to ride on a train for the first time. She was almost the same age as the children that were machine-gunned to death in Connecticut. That video is HERE.
When I first saw this I realized how magical life is when you are a child. Everything seems fresh and new and then what happens? There is magic, never lose faith. Even when you think you have seen all the hidden doors and collapsable boxes, you really haven’t. There is always another magical trick awaiting around the corner. It will surprise you when you least suspect it.
“There is magic, but you have to be the magician. You have to make the magic happen.”
SIDNEY SHELDON, Are You Afraid of the Dark?

764 Central Ave Westfield

764 Central Ave Westfield

When is the spaceship coming to pick me up?