Hard to describe in words

August 11th, 2016

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.

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.

POV #8

July 29th, 2016

E X P A N D the P H O T O

A start for Gill Tree

July 28th, 2016

Click here to enlarge.
This is an extremely rough version, at least a small beginning of a Gill tree. I want to thank Cheryl, a friend of mine for digging in unexpectedly and doing this.
Yeah there are missing last names and somebody named Caroline that was probably who our aunt Carol was named after?
Hartman-Gill Family Tree
Above is the workable link that I am going to transfer soon. You may need a {free) account to view. The starting point is me because she knows me. Again, this is a very rough draft and I’m putting it here in the blog with a lot of searchable tag words to hopefully attract some curious Gill tree seekers. (like the one who disappeared.) We need help on this and ……. time.
Also: I have added her emails to me in the comments.

America Today July 4, 2016

July 8th, 2016

The Wild West
At home and abroad, the world has grown less safe. Simply put, America is full of fear.

Whether fueled by sexism, racism, or linked to radical Islam, simple things like going to a church or dancing at a club are not so simple anymore.

I’m not a very political person and this blog is the furthest thing from that (although I did run for president on this blog eight years ago). I am one who has not become desensitized by the next mass shooting. I am a very sensitive person and when Kryha crawled into bed late last night and said, “5 police officers were killed” I just cringed and couldn’t sleep.” Now, my God we are killing the people that protect us. Because this is now what we have become. I can not view the news anymore it has come to that for me because my heart breaks for all the victims and their families. It. Just. Breaks.

Amid the current chaos global voices have emerged that are feeding off the fear of terrorism and migrates.
Tens of thousands of migrates are fleeing war-savaged Syria and are flooding Europe without any end in sight, and that helped the Brexit movement succeed in Britan. That same fear has helped Donald Trump to his current spot as presumed Republican presidential nominee.

America and I want to go back to a safer time. They want out of the global picture. They want their overseas jobs back. Yet little of this is possible no matter who is president.

But we should remain hopeful. Remember that against all odds back in July 1776, a couple of men got together and envisioned a great country. This is what we should continue to do.

POV #4

July 7th, 2016

E X P A N D the P H O T O

The Trailer for my next movie.

June 3rd, 2016

Our Aunt Pat

May 19th, 2016


Very few of you will remember Brother’s wife, Pat Gill (now Moon).

Maybe George and Barbara will but since Brother and Pat divorced in 1970, there are few memories.

Pat is the mother of three of our cousins, Debbie Denmark, Jim Gill and Mindy Smith all who live in the Akron, Ohio area.

Pat is brilliant, was the Controller at her father’s company, had a beautiful singing voice, and Brother and Pat on the dance floor were a sight to behold…Fred and Ginger would have been proud!

She was a single mom who raised three children and earned her Accounting degree by going to night school after a long day of work.

She enjoyed her bourbon…first Ancient Ancient Age and then Maker’s Mark.

After retiring early, she moved to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and spent about 10 years there before moving back to Ohio to be with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She loves her cats and would fly them to Houston for veterinary care when she lived in Puerto Vallarta…yes, she really did!

Pat celebrated her 77th birthday on May 13th and is extremely thankful to be able to celebrate that birthday.

After 77 years of excellent health (not counting the brain aneurysm when she was in her early 20’s…yes she survived a brain aneurysm!), she had a major stroke on September 10th, 2015.

Sure the years of smoking, the daily 5:00 adult beverage and age had something to do with it, but the stroke just came out of the blue.

Her son Jim recalls speaking to her on his daily 5:15 call on his way home from work…all was normal.

At 8:30 that night, he was called by his sister Debbie to get to the hospital quickly because mom just had a major stroke and the outlook was grim.

It was grim but after months of recovery, Pat is now walking, talking, etc.

No longer smoking and no longer enjoying her bourbon, she eats oatmeal every day.

There was no better Euchre partner…with Pat on your team, you were going to win.

Pat was also a Master Bridge player. If you have ever tried to learn bridge, you realize it’s a game for really, really smart people…she was really, really smart.

She loved her daily Jumble, her daily crossword puzzle and always had a stack of ‘puzzle’ books – very difficult puzzle books.

Pat wasn’t a huge sports fan but believe it or not, she loves Tiger Woods.

One of her greatest memories was being within feet of Tiger as he practiced on the third green at The Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

She was also a phenomenal cook…she made the best Caesar Salad with homemade croutons…no one comes close.

Another one of her greatest memories was meeting Michael Symon at his Lola restaurant in Cleveland.

Not just meeting him, but speaking with him as he knelt down beside her to speak with her and then autograph her menu.

Pat was rarely at a loss for words but that was one of those rare occasions.

She will never be the lady she was prior to September 10th, but she is alive, she celebrated her 77th birthday and there are three children who still call her mom.

-James Gill

“Her Legacy”

May 3rd, 2016

Many thanks to Bernadette for copying the pictures for us and to Carol for sharing some of hers. Thank you to ALL OF YOU for contributing…even those of you that took forever to get it in….past deadline!! As you read the following pages REMEMBER…all the happy times spent together…for in the end all that is left is just that…MEMORIES.
I apologize in advance for any typos, mistakes or errors I made copying your letters.
A lot of poems and sayings you read in here were found in Mom’s belongings. She kept them to maybe read again because they touched her or to share with someone else, so we tried to include those as well. There are lots of little things only the original author will understand: Grant was ADAMANT about getting his “dancing men” in, Viki wanted sunflowers because her and Mom planted some seeds shortly before her death, I collect dragonflies, etc, etc. All put together so lovingly, first by you and then me.
Even though this edition seems like a gift to you, they are ultimately, a gift to Mom. Happy Birthday! We love and miss you so much! Her legacy to us…LOVE. Let’s keep it going…
NOW…get out your glasses if you need them, a box of tissues (you’ll DEFINATELY need them) and your telephone because someone will be calling you soon.



This past Sunday, May 1 was the fifteenth anniversary of Joan Gill Hartman Karst Donathans (or Mom as we knew her) death. In keeping with the ten year anniversary of FT on-line here is another golden nugget. I believe this was created a year or two after her death and released on her birthday. It is a beautiful piece of work. Many people worked on it but Ann organized, chased people and ultimately put it together. Looking at it now, there some really touching and amazing things in here. So thank you Ann.
With Mothers Day and her birthday coming up this is good timing. I don’t remember much about the events 15 years ago but personally it was a very difficult time for me. I was having panic attacks at work and ultimately lost a job that I truly loved. Beverly then Mom died. Then there was the divorce. Through it all I remained sober.
My memory of standing in the church with everyone and then someone rolled out moms open casket and it was pretty much a blur after that. I remember my sisters openly sobbing and I was having a difficult time trying to cry but the get together we had at Barbs afterwards was pretty awesome.
Mom would have enjoyed all her new grandchildren and great grandchildren and she died way too young, 64. This June 27 she would have been 79 if she survived. That is still a doable age. I could see her on Facebook crying and laughing at all of our posts. I could see her cradling her new GREAT grandchildren and even still cooking and making her kick ass potato salad.
Where do we lose that innocence of being young? So sad how wonderful people just get lost in time. Life is a gift. A blessing.

I am posting Ann’s wonderful Family Ties Special Edition right here. It is 52 pages long so I created two view-able PDF’s. One is 26 pages and the other is 25 pages. Somewhere along the line I lost page 16. Sorry. Some of the photos in here are worth resizing and I’ll be putting them in PTMYT.


Fear of dogs and loyalty

April 22nd, 2016



It’s funny how nicknames end up sticking with someone. George Costanza was sick of his name and tried to get a nickname, T-Bone and ended up with Coco. Howard Wallawitz ended up with “Fruit Loops” instead of “Rocket Man” I got a nickname when I was too young to remember. There was a neighbors dog that I was really afraid of and his name was “Butch” So in order to traumatize a young toddler (and DYFES didn’t exist at the time) the name Butch was thrown my way just to see my to see my scared reaction to it. So it was “Hey Butch…. ha ha ha … he’s petrified and crying, isn’t that cute?” So after so many “Hey Butches” the name stuck. In some family circles, even to this day, I am still called that.
In one of my many different work environments I was once called “Hank” This nickname also stuck only because Glenn Haley just kept calling me that. We worked together for years in a depressing dark warehouse and went out almost every night in his car with an eight pack of bud nips cruising for chicks. It was the thing to do back then. At the end of every night Glenn would look over at me and say, “Where the hell are all the chicks, Hank?” And I never knew the answer to that question so I would just shrug my lanky shoulders and say “Don know Glen. Don’t know. See you tomorrow morning”.

Fear is nothing to fear
When I read back on a lot of my past posts in this blog, I see a lot of confirmed fear, starting in my youth and continuing on up. What I never really shared is my absolute conquering of fear. One step at a time I have confronted great fears in my life and kicked the living shit out of them. It’s taken 55 years of walking into many rooms full of unknown uncertainties and people and then realizing how stupid I was to have even let fear overcome me like that. Maybe just for survival purposes it seems have I survived fear. Probably only 8% of it is pure heroic bravery. But I will never overcome my fear of dogs, especially German Shepard’s.

Eat Drink and be Merry (you only got one life)
I used to blame a this fear on not really having a father around, and to an extent that might be so. If we can all just realize just how human every one really is. No one belongs on a pedestal. 50 years ago (see last post) my hero father was blindsided by something that really affected him greatly. Haven’t we all at some time or another reached that low depth that my father writes about? But you know what..In 50 years nothing is going to matter. This horrible thing that he wrote about (and I believe it to be infidelity) that caused him to express this drunken slur of words on pain and “dazement” (that isn’t even a freaking word!) means nothing now. Everyone involved with it is dead and “the cross to bear for life” is just buried in time except for on this 50 year old yellowed page in his journal.
I also laugh a little when I read another post by him in the same journal 1966:
“First, cut down on drinking, limit yourself to a few a day. Second, give up entirely the track. You fully realize it is too expensive, too habit forming. Third, cut football games from 7 to 3. This was your plan a few years ago anyway.”



Drinks, “a few a day”? So you drank everyday? No wonder you had stomach and intestinal problems. He doesn’t even mention the smoking. Mom and Dad were at the track all the time. This is what I say about that: you should enjoy life and do whatever it is that makes you happy. Why stop going to the track? Have a few drinks everyday. To each his own.
Seven football games a year. I had almost forgot the NFL was on a 14 game schedule back in 1966 so there were 7 home games. But why cut down on football games? Maybe because the New York Giants were 1-12-1 in 1966? Their worse season ever. That’s a good reason.

Come on Pops be a real fan..….like me! I ended up sleeping in my car for a few months eight years ago because of economic disaters and I still somehow paid for my season tickets and went to the games. Also, at that time the Giants had extorted from me a fee just to have the right to purchase tickets in the newly built stadium. A PSL they called it. Personal Seat License. Come on they said, lets just create a license to buy seats from us. Who do you think you are? Now they are losing season ticket holders and begging them to stay. I was so late with this PSL. ($2,000!) I kept extending the deadline on their stupid demands and might have been the last season ticket holder to have finally finish paying it.

Last season I went to every game and they were horrible. Most times they had the lead and lost it. Most losses were what they call “heartbreakers” but after the game we watched the sun melt into the Jersey sky, cooked marinated steaks and steamed clams, clinked our plastic cups together and said “Fuck it!”

Wait till next year.

My fathers seats were last row of the mezzanine. The seats were so good the players wives sat in the same section.

My fathers seats were last row of the mezzanine. The seats were so good the players wives sat in the same section.

April 20th, 2016

This is a tragic page in this book and like all books it has this one.It is a page of heartbreak, of loss of faith, deep personal pride plunged from highest levels into pits of darkness, of return of dark area in childhood and in summation of deep deep hurt. The most tragic event in my life has been fulfilled. The most dreadest fear realized in respect to human dignity. And without overemphasizing, I can honestly say that this experience has been the most disappointing if not the biggest disallusament of my entire life.
To protect those concerned, the circumstances, the innocent, no mention will remain anonymous in order to protect the people involved and circumstances from embarrassment should ever this writing fall into innocent hands and the episode being embarrassment to all concerned including myself.
The hurt has been unbearable at times and will undoubtedly remain so for one does not forget great disappointment and disallusioned by talking. The grief hangs heavy and for one of the rare times in life I approach tears, dazement and bewildered that it can’t be true. In essence for Gods plan many disappointments are in store for me in lives road but please Lord don’t ever let me reach the point of nervous collapse again in my life.
In solution, and for all of life has a solution if we so desire to look for it, let this be my cross to bear in life. We all have crosses to bear and honestly I feel I’ve had my equal share not to discriminate that God has at all been unjust. He has been more than generous in his gifts and blessings to me. But in truth, I have the most painful cross to carry for the rest of my life. Now it seems heavier than what it should be and there are many days when it will be heavier than it should be. Everytime I think about, I have cheated of lifes finest dignity, my personal pride has been dumped to low ebb in my lifetime. I pray now that I use the above writing and dear Lord that you render me the grace to withstand the weight and the hurt of the cross that you have given me to carry. Amen. (sic)
George Charles Hartman 1966