Before the outcome one believes in different causes than one does after the outcome Friedrich Nietzsche
My brother Gil had visited me for dinner once when I was with Sheryl Chevalier in 1987. It was a short pleasant stopover. It was followed up with a couple of phone calls that turned into a true confessions of sorts with my brother telling me of my abuse from my family and some not so nice things he claimed my older brother had brought down on me.
As hard as it was to consider, I could not find a reason for him to be deceptive. My mother always said this brother would say the sky was purple. But then again, so would my mom.
When Gil called in 1996 after a 2 year hiatus, I should have been suspect, but I wasn’t.
I then told him about the outcome from our last trip to Kenosha and of a letter where my mother bullied me with my older brother. And Gil felt this was a dangerous situation and that I needed to stop her. He suggested doing this legally and he would pay. I told Gil I felt that just staying away was enough, but no, he said my life was in danger He told me where to get a recorder for my phone. Which I did, and really, the only person, at that time, I recorded was him. But when he suggested a legal action, I drew the line.
My father was sick, he had a lung transplant in 1987 and even though it was successful, his health was tenuous at best. Gil said he would be there for me no matter what. He would be honored to put his arm around me and help me through anything that would happen. If anyone tried to attack me verbally or otherwise, they would have to take it up with him. If my father died, he would bring me to Kenosha and hold on to me, keeping me safe. I was his sister, his only recognized relative
I hired a lawyer.
Angela Fergosa was a small woman, very pretty and feisty. But she had her moral clause as opposed to most lawyers and found the request to be highly suspect. For the most part she and Gil made all the arrangements, my brother even created the wording for a restraining order. I didn’t want to do this. It felt wrong and Ms. Fergosa felt the same. She fought it till the end and that I will give her profound credit. The restraining order was created and Willie paid her with the promise that Gil would reimburse her.
I was at work when the order was served. I had only wanted it served against my mother, but he told Ms. Fergosa to file it against both. Gil called me at work elated.
“They served it” he whispered “Oh my GOD!!! I wish I was there when it happened!”
I was stunned. I couldn’t talk. I cried and hung up the phone. But I had to believe he had my best interest at heart.
Everything came flooding down. My father photographing me constantly, taking me to watch the boats in the harbor. The horse races and dog races. The MANY MANY lunches and dinners. The endless phone calls. Now there will be nothing and I set my hopes on Gil and his love for me to get me through this. I wanted to call my father. But he died.
My daughter found out first and told me rather devoid of emotion. I called Gil who had a cell phone and was already in Kenosha.
“Gil, is it true?”
“Yes” He was monosyllabic and I could not draw anything out of him.,
Then “Dianne, I don’t think you should come here”
“What” I cried “Why, I thought you said…”
“No Dianne, don’t come.”
“Did you check dad’s computer?” My father had asked to have his entire diary deleted if he died.
“II don’t know how to do that” he said very slowly and deliberately.
“Then I need to come” I explained “I promised Dad.”
“Dianne, I told you, don’t come, you are not welcome”
I fell to the floor devastated. Why? Why would a brother and son do such a thing. I had to be misreading. I made airfare arrangements and gathered my children to go to Kenosha. When we arrived at Midway Airfield, my sister and a friend and her husband were waiting. They were cold to me, warm to my kids, which is probably to be expected. It was like a covert operation out of 24.
“Yes, we have them”, My sister on her cell phone. "Ok, I agree, we don't need that"
And with that she hung up the phone, then some whispers. No one spoke to me, but they spoke about me as if I weren’t there. My little sister who I did everything I could to make her life a success, she treated me like a pariah. And she let her good for nothing husband be as rude and mean as he wished.
The last time I saw her husband Henry, he was living in my home eating my food, asking for money and made a living off my company. Yet he felt comfortable acting like a cheap fool.
“Oh man, let’s come back and bomb that place” He said as we drove by the Union Club, a Gay Bar on the outskirts of Kenosha.
He got a high five and a hearty chuckle for making a threat about an endeavor he was far too lazy to follow through on. But it didn’t matter, he was trying to make a point.
“You are going to stay at Grandma’s, your kids are staying with us” Marnie, my sister demanded.
And I said nothing. I was in shock and it was easy just to do as I was told. My kids would be safe.
When I arrived at my grandmothers, I knew it was the better choice. My poor grandmother had buried her youngest grandson, husband and now her only child, in that order. Grandma chose to use this opportunity to tell me the stories of her youth.
She met my grandfather when he came to my Great Grandfather (her father) Kressel’s house to purchase some bathtub gin. Illegal Booze.
This was so hard to believe since my grandparents always seemed above reproach, but this enlightenment was not about two loving grandparent’s, but about two teenagers. Her mother asked my grandfather, George, to stay for dinner.
He was a strikingly handsome man, over 6 feet tall. My grandmother was a petite woman and had an adorable face. People say I was the image of her, and more so, her sister Ardela. When dinner was served, my grandmother couldn’t be bothered. But my Great Grandma, Alice, told my grandfather my grandmother made the dessert.
“George, Margaret here is an excellent cook and made a pie for desert”
“No I didn’t” my grandmother retorted.
Grandparents as defiant teenagers was hard to imagine. But it got better. She told of being asked to take a walk where she walked ahead of him with her arms folded. This was especially interesting since she was the model of the submissive housewife and up until the late 70’ she barely drove, wore dresses and hose and lived to clean and cook.
Obviously things turned out because she found herself pregnant! Can you imagine in 1931, telling your folks? I do not know the ins and outs, but of course, they married and my father was their only child.
These historical issues of my heredity made the visit a bit lighter. She told me stories I had heard often, of my father’s youth and his subsequent marriage to my mother which about made her have a heart attack at 38.
I got my birthstone ring back and later found out the alexandrite stone was a crown jewel of Russia and impossible to get except in synthetic form. My grandmother assured me it was real. The stone, one I was disappointed in when I was a child of seven, was a multicolored affair. It would turn deep purple or ruby red inside a building, and blue or emerald when outside. I had wanted a pearl, my birthday being in June, but I received this and even though I was disappointed, I treasured the ring. When I later found out its value was in excess of $8000 a caret, I treasured it more. Of course. My grandmother also gave me my first communion picture where I am wearing the ring.
The funeral was on an icy cold, yet sunny morning. We arrived at my mother’s house as an endless stream of people went through the doors. A sister in law I never met stood in front of me facing me head on and refusing me access to the house. I said nothing, just stared at her like the crazy person she was acting like. A family friend, Mike Lenzen, moved her aside and I made access.
My brother Gil was the first person I saw and I ran to him. He was cold and turned away from me. The moment stands still in my mind. To this day, I cannot understand his motives. His excuse, less so. My sister-in-law Geri, told me my sister and mother told him I had accused him of doing something horrific to me, and for the sake of him and his family, whether Gil deserves it or not, I refuse to go into detail. But it was untrue and I am astounded he believed them. Honestly, I do not think he believed them and this was his excuse for excluding me.
My mother told all of us how we would travel and I asked where my children were.
Now I told all of you earlier on, my brother Gil had told me some unbelievable things my oldest brother did to me. I confessed what Gil told me to my sister. My sister told my mom even though I asked her to let it go. My mom went ballistic and called my brother Bob in Hollywood. My relationship was destroyed with that brother. But based on the fact that my mother believed that I believed he did these things to me, she used him to get back at me.
“Mom, where is Devo”
“She is taking a ride with Bob”
She said this thinking she could rile me into a panic, thinking that I believed the crap Gil had doled. But in light of his behavior at the funeral, I can easily say, he fabricated those things to keep me within his grip and away from my family. I have no idea why. Maybe because he thought the tight relationship I had with my father may have put me in line for an inheritance. I never cared about these things, my father knew this. And besides, the man had a lung transplant in 1986.
How much money could there be left?