Saturday, July 14, 2012

Page 76 Gay Parenting

This is an absolutely true story

Willie’s Dalmatian had given birth to 13 puppies and had eviscerated all but three. Poor Devo had rescued one of these pups, pulled it right out of Lucky's mouth, a little female we named Spot because she had none. I rushed home from work as the hysterical child sat huddled in a safe place, the puppy close to her heart, under her shirt. 

Lucky was never the same and came after Devo often. Willie was told the dog, once through nursing the pups had to go. And she agreed.We sat at a spot frequented by people selling pets, FM 1960 and 59 by Deerfield Mall. We sold the three Dalmatian puppies instantly. We had to settle for $100 a piece because the siring was not witnessed. But the pups got a happy home. More so, Lucky found a family. A very large 6’6 young boy, 22 year old mentally handicapped, came to see the pups and fell in love with Lucky. And Lucky really seemed to like this boy. I was concerned since Lucky had picked up a mean streak in light of just having her third litter in less than a year. But the mother of this boy said she was certain Lucky was the perfect pet. We agreed and three weeks later the mother called. Her son and Lucky were asleep on the couch and she was crying she was so happy her son and Lucky found each other. Willie and I were relieved. We were so afraid Lucky would have to be put down.

So we go to see 101 Dalmatians and Willie cries. She wants another Dalmatian. Absolutely not I told her. She had proven to be less than responsible with the dog. And anyhow, we now had Suzie from the Ren Fairre living with us, with her little white yappy thing defecating and pissing all over everything, I couldn’t have it. But eventually she talked me into getting this little Border collie puppy. For Devo she said. Devo was in her room sulking about something. Willie cracked her door and let this sweet little black and white pup go in the room alone. We suddenly hear a squeal and Devo came running out of the room holding the little guy. She named him Bickley after my son’s rock group.

We also had a cat and this cat hated the dog. She would aggravate the dog, swiping at him at every instance and then climbing to a height the little fellow could not reach, until one day, he managed to climb up on a chair and the cat screamed in shock. There is something somehow rewarding watching a cat, almost certainly, the smarter of the two, getting her come uppance. I love cats because they are too smart to be controlled, yet their attitude gets them what they want. They are a proud animal that would rather hide behind the couch crying “fucking OW” and licking their wounds rather than let you know something hurt them. But if they are sick, they retreat. And sometimes it is too late. This almost happened.

The dog got on my last nerve, he was so clever. I would put him in his pen. He was all of 6 inches tall at his little 4 months; the pen was five times taller than him. I put him in there when I would need to do work in the house. I was vacuuming and I would turn around and he was sitting there just looking at me innocently. I did this a couple more times, and then I decided to watch and see how he was doing his great escape. This little menace could climb that pen like a cat. He was a herding dog and learned his craft well shepherding cat, child and parents whenever possible. He finally routed me into a door, and I fell into the ingress in such a way that my fingers got caught in the space between the door and door frame. The door got pushed open crushing my fingers. I cried out and Willie was sleeping. I showed her my fingers which were swelling before her eyes.
She went back to sleep.“At least take off my ring” I cried. 
And she did, but claimed the fingers were just sprained and to please let her sleep. But I knew better and she finally relented and took me to the hospital where the nurse and she agreed I was a big baby. But the Doctor ordered X-rays. Willie and the nurse had a good old time matching stories of medical missteps and unruly patients as I sat there crying in pain. It turned out I had a “greenstick boxer’s fracture” which is a bone that not only breaks, but it twists like a green stick, a stick not quiet dead from a tree or bush. This was a fracture one did not want. The nurse was repentant, and Willie was, to a point. It was to take 6 to 10 weeks to heal and may require surgery. I was an artist and my hands were the tool of my trade since I drew buildings and interiors. Thankfully it was my left hand.

But it interfered with my work because I also provided all the computers. I order and unpacked, then installed them. They were not what they are now. A monitor weighed sometimes 20 pounds. I had 40 people under my management. I needed help during that time. But I am a fast healer and it mended quickly, before the 6 weeks, and even though Willie made misdiagnoses, she still laughed about this.

Willie would often slight me in this fashion and find stories to regal people later, understating the importance of the situation. And somehow, through the years, I went with her on these issues always the “good sport” The fall of 1996, Willie was becoming an integral part of the family. She had her opinions. Willie felt I was too easy on Devo. Devo had one job, to continue her above average, advanced grade straight “A” career. I did not demand any housework and Devo made it clear she was going to hire a maid, so experience was not necessary. Consequently, her room was a mess and I was lucky if dishes made it to the kitchen much less was washed.
Willie bitched, until she saw the light when I ground Devo for 6 weeks over a “B” on her report card. Devo was a responsible child, there was very little I could do that would be effectual. She hated parties, dances; going to other kids houses (she would rather have them at home). Going out with her brother and staying backstage while he performed was about the length of her social life. I could not let her friends suffer for her disparity, they needed the calm and the humor our home had. Therefore, for 6 weeks Devo had to stay home on the weekends. Not only did Willie argue that she felt I was being too hard, Devo’s friends’ mothers called me and said they would be more than grateful if their children presented “B”s. I OFFERED NO APOLOGIES. I wanted only the best for my children. I expected nothing but the best in return. And in the end, I did the right thing. Devo never brought home less than an “A” again.

Willie had problems with Billy as well. She never took into consideration that Billy had chosen her over Crawford to be a permanent part of our family. Billy had run up some long distant charges and Willie covered them. It was about $400. She belabored the topic, but I stubbornly held my ground and refused to confront him. She never got over this. I told her repeatedly, this child has suffered from my negligence, living with his less than adequate father as a child. . There was no way I would make him pay this. Or anything. He was entitled to take me to the cleaners, but he is definitely the better person and has humbled the lot of us with his integrity. He has never taken advantage of me and this little $400 was nothing compared to the time he and I missed together. He will never know my loss, nor do I deserve him to. And his brother and sister’s loss in not only being allowed to grow up together, but to have a mother in such a constant state of loss, that she could not be the complete parent she longed to be.

My mother, sister and Willie say, “It goes both ways’ and as I stated earlier, no it doesn’t. When it comes to your children, there is no such thing. There is no amount of money, time, or affection to make up for a child’s constant fear of abandonment.
My decision stayed. Billy and Devo have proven to be above reproach and both live successful lives in their chosen careers, drug and alcohol free (that is saying a lot when both of them are entrenched in the music industry).
In many ways, Willie was threatened by Devo and Billy. I know not why, because they both seemed to respect and care for her.At one instance, Billy brought a very lovely girl to our home.

Willie was in possession of a lighthouse collection I had started for her. One of these reproductions came missing. Willie immediately accused this girl in her absence. Her nephew, son of Mandee, had shown up at our house. Willie had problems, many problems with Mandee’s children. There was a not so hidden rivalry. The boy made many purchases; one was an expensive light house. The disappearance occurred before Willie and the girl had even arrived. The nephew had purchased it for Willie.

Typical of this nephew, he wanted the accolades AND the lighthouse.

Willie never confronted this nephew. She didn't think twice of confronting me and asking for Billy's responsibility. Once everything was investigated and Willie was certain it was not Billy, she treated the situation as if it were over. It was not as far as I was concerned. I liked the girl he was dating and if she got word of this, she would certainly never come over. The damage had been done and feelings were hurt all the way around.

People in our circle were frankly more than surprised that Willie had entered into a relationship with a mother of three children. Dana had wanted children, still wants children and Willie would have nothing to do with it. Dana as well as my past paramours was convinced Willie was interested in me for superficial reasons. This included my looks and associations. I was deemed “fem” and it held.

I had at one time a crush, a BAD crush on Mel’s ex, Dana. I always thought she felt I was a little off for her. And Willie told me Dana had relayed to her that I was off balance, crazy, if you will. But Dana recently told me all she knew about me was from Bootsie and that I was some sort of “goddess”!

When Dana told me this, I was immediately embarrassed and delighted. All over again. I am not what I was and sometimes in life all we have to build up our ego is ourselves and the histories people remember and amuse us with. I loved Willie; I did everything and anything for her. It was easy. And she was wonderful to me. We agreed on everything in life.

We watched the same shows, and movies on TV and at the theatre. We traveled, A LOT, mostly road trips. We could go for hours, days with just each other. I loved to hear her stories of her time in the service, or her working with Dr. DeBakey at The Methodist Hospital. And she loved to hear her stories as well. We were in agreement on that.We had gone to see her sister, as I have written. 

And we went to see her parents in Mobile Alabama, the 5th level of hell. They were not wealthy people. They owned some property, but it was destitute. A house barely standing. And the inside. O my GOD, the indie was filled with vermin. And ants. There were millions. I refused to eat or drink anything. I also, refused to let her mother and father lives in that filth and spent our three days there cleaning. I cleaned ants from the most amazing places. Do you know they can live and breed in the refrigerator? And freezer? Willie spent this time with her father while her mother sat in a chair telling me what and how to do things. Willie enjoyed this indulgence upon her parents and sat and reveled in it. But she didn’t help. She asserted her position as “Head of Household” and I allowed it. 
After 2 days of cleaning from dawn to dusk, and later, the third day I spent packing the items her mother stockpiled. It was the first case of hoarding I witnessed and folks, it was as seen on TV. Not an inch of space to walk. In the window sat an aluminum Christmas tree tactlessly decorated in felt and other dimestore items. Willies mother was so proud of this. I think there were ten ornaments. Total.

We went shopping at a local outlet center and I can tell you, Willie’s mom may have been handicapped, but this woman can drive. We were relegated to the bed of the truck. It was cold and we had to lie under blankets. Willie promised it was close.

One and a half hours later with speedy Gonzales driving 90 MPH and finally Willie fessed, “Ok, it’s a little further than I expected.”

These were the sort of things I overlooked. Often.

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