Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Jones’

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.

Cousin Dennis

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

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.

waiting for Big Moon

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

It was BIG alright!

When I woke up Kryha said “Those poor Japanese people” and here it was eight or so days later and we are still captivated by the news. But when it is the first thing you say when you wake up then you know it was such an intense, earth moving event that you become consumed by it….well at least I was. It is the opposite – “does – G(g)od – really – exist” – thought. What I mean by that is this: “Why them?” Aren’t the Japs supposed to humble, quiet and clean? Free of crime? Spiritual?” If G(g)od really does exist then why would he wallop them with the triple-header? Tonight was the biggest moon in eighteen years. I thought of Richard and Clara. How close their dead bodies were. How I wanted to be by them. I imagined laying down on the grass spread out. Reaching for their bones. Reaching for the life that they lived. The Trolly cars, the horse shit on main street. Chicken dinner with the Hartmann’s The woman with the beautiful big brown eyes, mother of fifteen children. Burying two little infants (I will find them one day too!) and what about all the heartache, that they experienced? It all means nothing now. They had the world on their shoulders and now they are buried in it. This hustling-bustling time bomb of a planet. I would see Joshua and Jonathan tomorrow, BUT today, a day before the Big Moon, I would visit Richard and Clara. Swiftly through the sky blue windy day. (one day before Big Moon. In German dreams and tongue, I travel through time on slow moving elephants. Into the sands of time, the hourglass of past memories, into the streets of Jersey City.
Only In America can you come home from such a busy day and pop some popcorn in the microwave oven, sit down and watch a war, live on television, and then they cut over to a nuclear disaster (they are finding trace amounts of radiation in Seattle Washington) There are people over there that have been buried underneath the rubble for a week and they are uncovering them alive. If you want to know what it is like to get swept away by a tsunami, then you should watch the first ten minuets of Clint Eastwoods (directed by) movie, The Hereafter Although, it is nothing like the first ten minuets of “Saving Private Ryan” it has the same effect. It blows your mind!

PHOTOS THAT MAKE YOU THINK
In March 2011’s photo’s I only now just noted that there is one thing similar to all the photos for that month. I took every single photo. Do you think I will ever run out of photos that make you think? Maybe when all the photos are grabbed off my laptop it may mean only three things: 1. I have run out of photos and I am desperate. 2. I am just a lazy bastard and didn’t have time to scan, clean and color correct. OR 3. I am still waiting for help from the family in the form of emails and/or snail mail scans.
In Feb 2011 photos that make you think there is a photo of one of the scariest moments in my life. In the Summer of 1975 I was sent to California to visit the Jones’. The Jones’ were our nephews and niece from our fathers side of the family. Our father had a sister named Geraldine. She married Robert “Jay” Jones. They had three children: Robert, (Jaybird) Diane and Dennis. We used to be very close with them as children (for those very few of us who can remember) Jay Jones was a professional soilder and “worked” as a soilder in south Jersey. Dad used to take us down there alot. His sister Geraldine, was a shrieking manic-depressant that yelled and cried a lot. She was a very good woman, though. She also had another child, much older than the others named David, I think out of wedlock that eventually became some kind of manager for Dads fabric store in Westfield.

"Jaybird" Jones poses with me pool-side July 1975. He reeked of reefer and mistrust.

In my Summer trip to California I met all the Jones’ for what would probably be the last time in my life. My aunt Geraldine loved to take photos but she was lousy at it.
I hated being there in California that Summer. I was told it would only be “a week or two” but it turned into the whole Summer. I wil never forget that lie. Mom drove me to Newark airport very drunk and late. The plane ride was my first and it was amazing to me. To look down at the clouds, toy cars and toy cities it is only then that you realize just how bug The United States of America is!! (2,825 miles)
I wanted to be home. Summers were magical back then. The side-street gang may have been fading, Bill Brunner may have moved away for all eternity but there was no school, no work and long hot days. Mc, Gitts, Beds, and the others were all playing baseball, football and hunting for unexploded fireworks on the streets July 5th.
In this photo Jaybird had me! His arm around my neck. Aunt Gerry ready to snap a photo and I just knew he was gonna throw me in the pool and the sound of “cheese”.
I was a very awkward fifteen year old boy. I was as skinny as a stick. I had a uncontrollable mop of yellow hair, pimples all over, I had two huge front teeth that were chipped (I didn’t smile for 18 years until I had them fixed myself) I was lost without my father, my mother was always drunk, I had zero self-confidence, I had just completed my freshman year in an all-boys Catholic High School that was an absolute nightmare, I didn’t know what was going on inside my body or outside my body. My penis had become an uncontrollable monster connected to me like an evil twin. I was confused, very lonely, young, dumb and full of ……
Jaybird never threw me in the pool but now thirty-six years later I am looking for him. On Facebook. In people searches, obituaries, web browses… I have been trying to find this part of our family for as long as the internet has been around. The biggest obstacle that I have faced is their last name: JONES. (this is the third most common name in the United States behind Brown and Williams)
The “TAG” words in this blog, I have discovered are VERY powerful. They are openly exposed (and very quickly I might add) to search engines all over. I have randomly added our cousins the Jones’ to many of the blog posts in the hopes that maybe one day they may “google” themselves and find us. So far nothing. No sign of any Jones’ anywhere. Come out, come out, where ever you are!
Why America is so Damn Fat getting fatter.
It all began about eight or nine years ago when fast food establishments ended their CASH ONLY policy and started accepting credit cards. WORSE THAN THAT, they suddenly started their “We are open LATE” routine. Not just until midnight but two or three o’clock in the morning. Have you ever driven past the drive thru of a McDonalds at ONE AM in the morning and seen seven or eight cars waiting for deep fried fat and hamburger meat on a sesame seed bun?? Is it dinner time? NO! It’s let’s have ANOTHER fat drenched meal before bedtime!!!
WHY do we CARRY ON like nothing happened?
Am I the only one that still feels a sense of dread and doom over the loss of 15,000 human beings and counting in Japan?? That there is STILL a NUCLEAR TIME BOMB on the edge of the ocean some where in the world. Life still goes on. We work. We go to school. We play. We turn on the news and Japan isn’t the headlines anymore, sometimes not even the second page. Mothers are still driving their cars, loaded with their young innocent children into lakes. People are still getting blown-up beyond recognition in third world countries, the economy is still sinking like a Western sunset into the sea…people are still killing people, with guns, their cars, bats, knives and poison. Life goes on.
WHERE IS THE HAPPY NEWS?
HEADLINES:
Father Doesn’t Leave Family
or
Women Completes Rehab rejoins family to tears and hugs
or
Family Buys A Home
or
Man Donates HALF his Savings to Charity
or
Woman Opens Door For Crippled Woman at WalMart

The death of Lima Beans

Friday, May 14th, 2010


Some upcoming New Jersey Road Trips:
Brooke will be in NJ June-18th thru 21st.
Becca will be in NJ August -14th – 21st

My sponsor called me up
“Where the fuck have you been asshole?”
“I love you too”
“No really, this ain’t no fucking game!”
“I never said it was…I just…I’ve been busy.”
“BULLSHIT”
*click*

Gil Mercado, 25, Paterson New Jersey comes home

The war rages on and do we really notice? Unless we have somebody over there, what does it matter? Did we win or did we lose? President Obama cleared away an old Bush law saying photos of coffins from the war were banned. So welcome home Gil Mercado! Paterson is probably one of the toughest places to live in New Jersey. It is a war zone of drugs, guns, corruption slums and sleaze. Gil was probably thinking, “Hey, what do I have to lose. I’ll join the Marines to get the hell out of this God-forsaken hell hole of a New Jersey city life. 25 is too young, my God to die for any cause.

If I lived in my car, I would be home by now.

NORTH JERSEY: My new existence? It’s pretty new to me anyway. I was born and raised in central NJ, married and had kids in south NJ (Da Shore) and somehow came back to central NJ then migrated to north NJ. New Jersey has always been broken up into three parts. They are all extremely different from each other. My experience in north NJ has been so far incredible. It is truly the melting pot OF THE WORLD Never have I seen so many different ethnic communities blended together so finely. Northern New Jersey was the site of some of the earliest European settlements in what would become the United States of America. The Industrial Revolution in America started by the founding of the northern New Jersey town of Paterson. PATERSON NJ is an amazing city. Driving through main street on any Saturday afternoon is an open-air market experience that rivals only Disney World on it’s best day. If you speak about Paterson NJ to most people they cringe at the homicide and car theft rate and will tell you that they wouldn’t be caught DEAD there! This past week marked the EIGHT YEAR anniversary of moms death. May 1st. Her mothers name was May. Has it really been that long already? Beverly will be gone TEN YEARS this August. Brenda two years. Is it official yet? Do you think that Becca has any memories of her mother at all? To me that is a tragedy that I can never comprehend. But at least she had some time with her and Brenda had known her for a short while anyway. It was only 100 years ago that it was a crap shot that the mother, child or both survived the birth process. Giving birth was just a risky medical procedure and it truly was a miracle if everything went smooth. Not everyone may know it but mom had a miscarriage in between Beverly and me.

Annual death rate per 1000 total births from maternal mortality in America (1850-1970)

In New York City there is a bar with sawdust on the floor and everything is large and made of oak.

(212) 473-9148 - 15 E 7th St, New York, NY

They serve salami sliced on a cutting board, mustard, ham sandwiches and beer. Nothing else. It is a famous bar with tons of history and bursting at the seams with character. I never cried at moms funeral. I don’t know why. I really thought I should have been balling my eyes out but I didn’t. This isn’t hard for me to say and the past is the past. Besides trying to get me back into an even keel of fellowship and meetings, my sponsor told me to get my head out of the past. (or maybe he said to get my head out of my ass, I’m not sure).

DEATH is a very hard thing to figure out. Throughout the world, death and the rituals that surround it are steeped in taboos. Death is celebrated, embraced and feared. It is the only thing that scientist here on earth or any other planet will ever NEVER totally figure out. It is that great mystery that creates such grief and or wonder. What is our connection with the other side? The third dimension of puffy white clouds, serenity and potatoe chips on the couch. Nobody could imagine heaven or hell, although allot of people claim that we are living hell here on earth. What could possibly suck the life out of something so young, so small, so cute? All the tears and grief for this little doggy and I have filled seven suitcases with guilt that I never cried at my mothers funeral (or my dads) yet, when I experienced the loss of a friend that I had known for a short time, I cried for months……and the loss wasn’t even death!!! It was just a goodbye. So what does this say about me as a human? Do I remember Mom? Of course I do. I was just thinking the other day, how she loved to cook Lima beans as a vegetable. They were almost like eating wax. So I mixed them all up in my mashed potatoes and smooshed them and guzzled them down with my grape Hawaiian Punch and yet today I miss them. Nobody cooks lima beans anymore. No restaurants. No place. No where. No body. They shouldn’t even grow them anymore. I miss lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) but I don’t miss mom.

Everybody is always “going”:
Where are you “going”? How is it “going?” I’m “going…” Let’s get “going”
In the news: The sole survivor of a plane crash is a 9 year old Dutch boy. 103 people died including his mother, father and older brother. Thankfully, he doesn’t remember the crash. He hasn’t been told yet that he lost his family. He only said this:
“I don’t know how I got here. I just want to get going…”

There was an episode of the Little Rascals when the gang built a “fire engine” out of wood and raced it down a very steep street. Stymie was driving the back and Spanky was driving the front. The fire engine was so long that as they were going down the steep hill, the “fire engine” bent in half. Eventually the back of the “fire engine” caught up with the front of the engine. At this point Spanky the front driver yelled over to Stymie the back driver:
“Hey Stymie, where ya going????”
and Stymie replied,
“I don’t know, but I’m on MY WAY !”
That pretty much sums up life for me.

WHERE DO DOGS GO when they die? Damn it, I wish I knew! Actually, where does everything, everybody, every animal goes when they die?? It is that they just GO, that HURTS u so much. It is so final….so “never again” that the tragedy of it sometimes takes months or even NEVER to heal.

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, you found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the milk
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said, “It’s me.”
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.
“”It’s possible for me to be so near you every day
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.””
You sat there very quietly, then smiled; I think you knew…
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
And say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out… then come home to be with me.
~Author Unknown~

Goodnight. Sleep tight.

“Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell”?

Slow down!

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

REBELING AGAINST PERFECTIONISM
If you are trying to be creative or just plain -Living Life- we need to fall away from the mindset that strives for perfection. Being creative means for me to be, well, sloppy. Coming here to this “family”BLOG has been hard because it is just that “family” part that has been keeping me away. Well, fuck that then. From now on I’m going to be sloppy, besides, It seems to be just me here most of the time. Our family is consumed in the woderful world of Facebook and rightly so. It has been an incrediable tool for keeping in touch, laughing, posting photos etc etc. It has been healthy for me here to lay it out. Some kind of psychological suicide leap and splat. I have to own it. It takes guts sometimes to say what you feel TO WRITE what you feel without the fear of being judges and it can be very empowering.

The DECADE in Review
The general consensus: It sucked. Terrorism, Michael Jackson, Global warming, Floods Fires. To me it is all how you look at it. Our measure of time is a joke. First of all it is only a measure of time and secondly who cares. The next ten years, the next “decade” will bring even more floods and stupid celebrities deaths.

Let’s make a big deal out of the king of pops death. That poor freak of nature. Look what money and being famous did to him. The real celebrity of the decade, the REAL HERO, the unsung and saddest death that I hurt me this past decade was the loss of Dana Reeve
This woman stood by her man and took care of him and their son through the deepest of tragedy. When her husband passed away, her sudden, unexplainable, very sad death hurt me like no other. She was a true super woman. God rest her soul.

2009
The year 2009 was perhaps the most interesting and fullfilling for me in my forty-nine years as a male caucasian on this planet earth. Getting laid off in New York City and losing my housing triggered a chain of events that I could not even begin to write down. At one point I had no money, no gas, nowhere to stay and almost no hope. I was “stuck” in the mountains and woods of upstate NY. I hadn’t seen my children in weeks. I was disconnected from society. The micro waves couldn’t reach my cell phone. But I just knew it was temporary . I had learned that no matter how deep I got lost, if I did the footwork, I would pull out of it. I think this thing is called FAITH !

See, this little guy! Great start to a new decade!

See, this little guy! Great start to a new decade!

What Do We Teach Our Kids About Family Love?
Tell them to slow down, if you can. Teach them by example. This society is spinning so fast, at least here on the east coast it seems. Grow your own food. Chop wood. Carry water. Have dinner with the whole family, as a matter of fact, cook dinner, wash and dry the dishes with the whole family.

Or Else?
Or else this society is doomed. If we lose sense of “family” we will lose everything.

The Retard Got Carols Money, Now What?
Well, there might have been a reason for it, if you ever slowed down to think about it. Have you ever really thought about what it’s like not to have a place to go to at night?

Ahhhh, Whitman street. I remember those days like it was yesterday…..almost….but I was called “Retard” “Retard” I guess because I acted like one. Truthfully, for most of my life my head has been spinning. Thoughts and creative processes go faster than I can comprehend them. A cross between ADHD and severe depression but the real diagnosis was Bi-poplar. Finally after 49 years, someone figured it out. My medication has given me a new lease on life. All I want is four walls and a roof. A place to hang my hat. A warm bed. A little space to gather with my boys. Is that asking too fucking much out of life????

Maybe the best way to slow down is to sleep a little more, and pay more attention when you are awake.

urban runoff

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
what lies behind us.....

what lies behind us.....

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson