Archive for the ‘Mom Dad’ Category

(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.

Uncle Billy and Dennis

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

billyanddennis
Uncle Billy is our fathers brother. Holy crap… we have an uncle hanging around?! Dennis is our cousin. Son of Geraldine Hartman Jones. Billy is struggling with his health in a rehab somewhere in Los Angeles. Dennis went to visit him. I wrote about Uncle Billy four years ago HERE. with some crazy strange blog title: “Put your arms around me for Gods sake” and at the time I was angry at my fathers brother because he just nonchalantly walked right out of our lives and never ever once looked back.
So ironically 40 years ago I rode on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland in California with Billy and just recently last night got off the phone with him for the first time since.

Right after Gerry found this blog and the Hartman’s and Jones reconnected and right before her untimely death before I was going to visit her in Las Vegas, I spoke to her on the phone. I remember she told me how upset she was at that blog post “Put your arms around me for Gods sake” and she really defended her brother and also told me that my cursing and some the sexual things I had wrote on this ridiculous blog were totally uncalled for.

Talking with Uncle Billy I heard my father’s voice. I heard my Grandfather’s toughness but most of all I heard Uncle Billy. He is his own man that made his own choices and created his own life and really didn’t need to stay “connected” to Joan and her ten kids. He had that right. He owed us nothing and we certainly owed him nothing. I just thought it strange that not once did he just think to check in on his 10 nieces and nephews that tragically lost their father at such an early age? But that’s ok, even though we were little kids, we didn’t go out of our way to check in on him. Damn, I still sound bitter here, don’t I? Too bad.

It was only by pure luck and internet hocus pocus that Aunt Gerry searched her own name and found this blog because I hoped she would. My reverse finding tagging trick worked. Through Gerry I have rediscovered our long lost cousins, Robert, Diane and Dennis. All of us have lived our lives and roller coasted the ups and downs that it can bring. Billy in particular had a life threatening disease, polio, attack him at the age of five. This is one rough way to start your life. Dennis is quite a story himself and an outright damn miracle of recovery. I even posted a movie made about him on this blog HERE

It’s a small world after all INDEED when your fathers brother is still around even after 44 years four months and three days after his untimely death.

My cousin Dennis and me in the jaws of Disneyland 1975

My cousin Dennis and me in the jaws of Disneyland 1975

In the Summer of 1975 I was an awkward teen boy going through puberty from hell when our uncle Jay Jones died. I remember Dennis calling me up and crying about it to me. That Summer his mother Gerry, insisted that I come out there to be with them. Her greatest concern was that as she worked she would be leaving young Dennis alone. I really didn’t want to go. I was scared of everything at that age. I’m still scared of everything at my current age of 55.

The agreement was Gerry was going to pay for my plane fare to California there and mom was going to pay for it on the way back. The other agreement at my insistence was that I was only going to stay a couple of weeks. Well I ended up staying the entire Summer and almost ended up living there forever. Turns out when it was moms turn to pay for the fare back, she didn’t have the money. And thus began the non-relationship of mom and Gerry. You see, money destroys relationships quicker than a hurricane hitting a double-wide.

The day I left mom had to give me a ride to the airport and as the time grew closer and closer for the plane to leave, mom sat at the kitchen table getting drunker and drunker on white cans of Budweiser beer. I was sure I was going to miss the plane or that we would get into a horrific crash on the NJ Turnpike half way to Newark airport. Finally I just yelled “MOM we have TO LEAVE!” which was strange for a boy that didn’t want to go.

Needless to say I made the plane. Everything was pure magic after that. Pure absolute magic that I will NEVER forget. It was the first time I rode on a plane and it was crystal blue skys and puffy white clouds out my window seat. The stewardess treated me like a king because I was a 15 year old boy alone. I couldn’t believe how BIG and how BEAUTIFUL our country was from up there. When I arrived in LA and got off the plane there were hipsters and hippies and PALM TREES, California is not of this planet. It is it’s own beautiful world of color, neon lights, texture and gorgeous sunsets. Aunt Gerry was always a woman that loved to go out and do things! And that we did. She took me to Disneyland, we went to see Jaws in a huge theater in LA which just blew me away as a movie (now the special effects are laughable!) I was very fortunate to have Gerry take me that Summer. I left all my brothers and sisters in the groggy hot depths of Carteret as we went to Reno Nevada and played Kino for hours.

It was here I did see Uncle Billy for the last time. He was always so distant but that’s just him. Our uncle is struggling to walk now and he is full of memories. My phone call with him wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I was looking for the past again. I wanted to hear intricate stories of him and our dad running down back alleys of Westfield and getting into trouble. I wanted to hear Grandpa Hartman yell at them for not eating their peas. I wanted to see Grandma Hartman shopping at the A&P and squeezing oranges. I wanted to see them all riding to upstate NY in that station wagon they had.

Instead we talked about polio and prostates and how he was a salesman for AllState Insurance company his whole life. But that was ok. It was great to speak to him. And in this “small world afterall” he ended our conversation with … please call again.

Bread, the Primary Colors and a Raven

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

"The Travelers" Digital Art composition. PS CS5 - 20"x26" Mixer brush experiment.

“The Travelers” Digital Art composition. PS CS5 – 20″x26″ Mixer brush experiment.


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.

The raven flying off the canvas tells us that life is fleeting.  That is Ardea Raven, Glenn Jrs newborn baby!

The raven flying off the canvas tells us that life is fleeting. That is Ardea Raven, Glenn Jrs newborn baby!

Still hot!

Still hot!

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.
FINAL_SHEBELONGStoMeI 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.

fig1Why 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.

Happy birthday Raven!

Happy birthday Raven!

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.

Movie Still #4 from Home Movies

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Times were good!

Times were good!


Yeah, back to that home movie. 3 min and 24 seconds into it. My favorite part.

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?

Heart of Darkness II

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

f-life mother f-er’s


Fevor
In twenty-four hours I had been sick and sicker then I have ever been in a long time. The aches, pains and sweating were the easy part compared to the feverish nightmares. It all began with a powerful sneeze in a train station in Seacacus NJ and very slowly advanced into a lost day and a half of tangled sheets and chills. You can almost recognize the power of the brain when you witness what it does when you body is burning up in fever. Your mind is a movie house of horrors. The movie replaying over and over again. As you sit in your seat gripping the armrests with horror, you know it will all end but you think that if it doesn’t you can fully understand why people would commit suicide.
As the cool wind blows and yesterdays news tumbles to your feet, you can wipe your brow for the last time. But the snots are still like a river. It is a human metamorphous to emerge from the sheets one morning. You have survived and hope to never go there again.

My eldest son’s holy trinity: Red Bull, Hot Wings and Heavy Metal.

To the philanthropist: Your tongue is mightier then the sword. You’re killing me.

— Oh Mrs. Mc H —Wherever you go … there you are.

Anthony
Anthony wasn’t a close friend of mine, as a matter of fact I hardly knew him. The spaces were so far apart in between our meetings that he actually forgot he had already told me his life story and would repeat himself every time we met. Anthony was certainly different then most alcoholics, perhaps there was a more severe bipolar thing going on inside his mind. When somebody takes their own life you can’t help but wonder what was going on inside their head leading up to that moment that they find themselves alone and make such a decision as Anthony did. One night shortly after his huge funeral, I was sitting in a hot tub with some other people that knew him when I was asked, “What’s your take on Anthony?” And I was speechless. I couldn’t put it together yet. It was too early. I was really shocked. Death has always fascinated me, scared me, and captured my thoughts. I finally came to the conclusion that Anthony’s brain had succumbed to damage from his drinking. The last time I saw him he seemed really out of it almost like he was mentally ill. I also think that the period when he told everyone he was sober, he wasn’t. I believe he had a a thing that chronic drinkers get called wet brain syndrome When this happens it is irreversible and that’s pretty much the end of the show. I also don’t think it helped Anthony’s cause that he was rejected and verbally battered for many years by his girlfriends family. That’ll take a toll on even the soberest man in the world. People are people. Some are sicker then others. There is no room for ignorance of this proportion in the world. You don’t hate and reject human beings. You pray for them and try to help them. Too late ignorant people, too late.

The right way to end a story.
After the sunsets and the longest hottest Summer EVER is finally over, the actors and actresses will realize that everyone had already left a long time ago. The writers will smack the sides of their head and realize that their writers block had never ended. This was the Summer of nothing. A dried up ocean of desert sand with no waves and a sun hotter then a preheated oven in hell. A vegetable garden that, to me, produced weird stuff. A drought of happiness that led into a deep depression. I’m still waiting for the day when I will wake up refreshed.

The Blues
Today has been cancelled. I can’t listen to people anymore. My coworkers speak Spanish, struggle in English, dance to latino music while they work. Read my lips when I speak to them from the managerial pedestal. They understand me, but I am slow to learn. At home it’s a different language and I am lost in Polish. English is just not part of my normal day but I love it, it’s an adventure in listening and learning. I’m so confused.
Working on this blog is a unique kind of torture. The only safe place is within.

The Blues have been strangling me lately.

im waking up opposite from you upside down
so far apart and the faint smell of sex in the 6am morning sun
(so it must be summer but what day
? ahhhh, wednesday so i will go to work but even my snoring again
must have flipped you around and I face your feet
CLIMBING over you and knocking over plastic fan again
creaking toward now simmering heat this way too long
summer of moths, the olympics and unending heat
THIS is about when the now negative chemistry
deep blue almost black neon lights at night flickering
with my emotions these empty rooms and old carpets in my head

IT USED TO BE every day was magical but then something happens
the endless grind of living maybe. the never-ending sucking leach (more about this leach in a later episode)
on a part of your unreachable back. a bubbling of bad chemicals in the brain

TRULY A TOTAL LOSS of gratitude, faith, and money Taking restless
naps in the hot car Tossing and turning like empty trees in winter
shaking off the fuck-it-all-blues.

“Happy Horseshit” somewhere in this mixed media day I heard this forgotten expression and it has since become my new battle cry.
The bad thing about Barnes & Noble the bookstore/cafe is that it’s not a library and you can’t “shhhhh” people on the phone or tell them to “shut the hell up, I don’t care about your happy horseshit!”
To all my unlovable political IDIOTS burying my social media world in all your CRAP: Solutions, not signatures and if you think spoon-fed Rommney is gonna do better you have mashed potatoes for brains. Nobody is EVER gonna be a good president of the United States again. It was allot simpler in the 1800’s and up to the turn of the century. There were less people living here and most of them that did, GREW THEIR OWN FOOD and slaughtered their own meat. Life was FRESH and SIMPLE with no fucking preservatives. Why do you think the health care issue is what it it is today (Besides GREED) we have all these diseases, heart disease, cancer etc etc and including autism because man insists on screwing around with nature! Stop putting shit in our food and the cows food you dumb bastards, You are what you eat. Health Care is what it is because even with a successful surgery PEOPLE ARE STILL SUEING! Authorities are still catching people and groups of people stealing from the health care system. MONEY has become god in this stupid country. Everyone has to have a big fancy car because they watch too much blaring TV with commercials that tell you what you have to have. And most dumb asses BELIEVE that happiness comes to us through television and movies. Most dumb asses will steal, kill and go into tremendous debt to obtain that TV- driven message.
When we lived in log cabins that we built with our neighbors and grew food with our VERY OWN mud-caked hands and sat around a fire with our family, it was because THERE WAS NO TV. There were also no mortgages, no crazy insane diseases, and we didn’t need pills for everything. When life was REAL, you fell asleep naturally because you were so damn tired from plowing the field or your wife.
I found out recently that it’s illegal to keep chickens in your yard where I live. What a bunch of HAPPY HORSESHIT !!

Nobody Understands Why I Sit Next To These Churning Rivers Of Ideas
The past has it’s place, I agree. I shouldn’t dwell in it but it’s so freaking cool I just can’t stand it! Beam me up Scotty, there is nothing better then a well made movie about time travel. The latest one for me just happens to be Woodey “the genuis” Allens fantastic film, “Midnite In Paris” ONCE I was in an antique store somewhere in the hills of Pennsylvania with some hip chick wearing a swirly hippy dress and I found a big old wooden box. Not that the box was so damn cool but it was filled with old postcards…not that the postcards were so damn old and cool BUT they were USED. There were handwritten messages, address, stamps and lipstick kisses from the past. I was so enthralled with this, that I spent an hour in front of them. My swirly-girlie-hippy chick had to finally drag me out of that place so that we could dig into so Tai Food at some freaky Indian place on the side of the Hudson river.
Now, over lunch, and the smell of searing tuna, I explained to my colorful friend that I needed to go back and maybe even purchase some of those “neat-O” postcards from the past. As her eyes rolled (a typical expression of ALL my female friends) I heard her say “That’s a bunch of happy horseshit that I’m not going to do. We have a steam boat to ride.”
Hippy Goils are so sweet and yummy on the outside but on the inside they are just plain old females. Sort of like M&M’s they melt in your mouth but you can get sick if you eat too many of them.

Things I Never Regret As A Father:
1. Getting divorced.
2. Getting divorced.
3. Getting divorced.

WHY?
…as the only patron in Barnes and Noble does the coffee chemist behind the counter have to ask me for my name and write it on the cup?
My problem as a writer and photographer is that I’m always thinking that amazing revelations are to be found in the blandest most boring facts of daily life.
And THAT my friends is a bunch of happy horseshit. Today and hopefully not tomorrow.

We really need to get away. Nature is the deepest relief. Ocean or Forest. I don’t care which. Just show me the way. I’ll drive. I’ll pay the tolls. I’ll fill the tank.

How I Met Your…
One day boy, I tell ya, one day I’ll wake up from this unconscious stroll thru life and I’ll realize that I was a slave to money, yeah, evil moolah. You were waiting for me on the other side of the automatic doors looking fresh and pout. Your ass crack showed when you leaned over to kiss me. Yeah, you think I closed my eyes? I forgot to buy flowers but they would have died in my un-air-conditioned car from the early senventies. A Ford Pinto, a time bomb that could explode on impact. A fiery painful death for sure. The Pinto only had two front doors so you couldn’t get out if you were in the back seat and you were rear-ended. And that was why you would never understand why I never came to meet you. Why I never drove with you. I have always had nightmares of claustrophobia. I think I was suffocated or drowned in my previous life.
But there we were; In the middle of the produce aisle. Soggy broccoli being shoveled into the garbage. Parsnips freshly cut. The smell of onions and your french perfume. Organic cabbage. Small and soft. Cucumbers, like cocks lined up, I was disappointed you didn’t stop to lift them up, and feel them, squeeze them, like you are supposed to do while shopping in the produce aisle. These nuclear vegetables, they just don’t grow things the way they used to. So as they say, we lived happily ever not after, chasing vegetarian dreams and after several years, I caught you sneaking into the meat department.
That was the sunrise of our next ten thousand meals together. Holding hands and taking cracker samples until we couldn’t eat anymore. Wouldn’t you know there was a TV to watch while we checked out. You read People. The coupons saved us a fortune and I wanted to spend the extra cash on a new car with air conditioning. But you said I was too frivolous.

Home Movies

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


On the plane back from Las Vegas Nevada my prized possession was a dvd that Jaybird had burned for me. Several attempts at viewing proved futile and finally a visit to a "dvd specialist" gave me the bad news. The dvd never really burned. What I had was three seconds of Comedy Centrals Happy Days. Well, these weren't the happy days I was looking for.
When I called Mr. Jaybird with the bad news he almost instantaneously resent the dvd along with some other surprises. The movie then had to be converted in order to edit it. I found some free software on the web.
Originally this movie was just thrown together. It is a scrambled mess of dates and places and is in no way in any kind of chronological order. Some of the earliest stuff on here is around 1961 and the pool scene is probably a two years before dad died.
I want to thank Robert Jaybird Jones our long lost cousin for getting so many memories to me. It has been so good to be able to talk to him randomly on the phone.
For me, it is really quite eerie seeing dad "moving" That many of us probably never even remember seeing him move. To see someone you love acting goofy and even clowning around with his father is quite amazing after 41 years. The few seconds of mom being a loving mother is just priceless. You can almost forget at this point in your life that she did indeed give birth ten times in her life. She was a mom practically her whole life. A good mom too.

Most of these movies were taken by Jay Jones. Our uncle. He too, died terribly too young before any of us could really grow up to appreciate what a great guy he was. I remember him fondly. I am very fortunate. He had a heart of gold in his own military way!

A further analysis of this tape including a "who is who" list will come quickly after this posting.

Got guts?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

written in Dads last journal.

the man in the window

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

what is a blog and why am I going to be in one seventy years from now?