Posts Tagged ‘William Hartman’

Jaybird

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Robert "Jaybird" Jones with Beverly, Butch and Greg. circa 1963

Robert “Jaybird” Jones with Beverly, Butch and Greg. circa 1963


For most of us that don’t know, we have a cousin in Las Vegas Nevada. He is 61 years old today. When I was growing up we called him Jaybird. He called me Butch. We still use those nicknames and that is a beautiful thing. I know many of you don’t know him but he remembers you. Actually check out this other old blog post is a photo of him and our aunt Gerry. Gerry was our fathers sister and they actually have a brother that is in California. So this is just a simple request to keep Uncle Billy and our cousin Jaybird in your thoughts and prayers.

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.

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