Patrick’s California Memorial

In late June 2017, Abby, Julie and Rui visited California. In addition to the usual fun-for-kids stuff like Disneyland, horseback riding (three times, including once up to the Hollywood sign), going to the beach, and checking out the stars on Hollywood Blvd, we were able to visit with Julie’s brother, explore San Francisco, and go see Abby’s Aunt Gretchen at her house in the mountains near Yosemite.

On the last day of their visit, the four of us held a brief memorial service for Patrick in my back yard. Here’s a transcript of that service.

Continue reading “Patrick’s California Memorial”

You Coulda Been a Hero

Patrick liked the writing style in this letter from Gretchen, as did I, though it was painful for him to read. Some references have been edited at my sister’s request.

WARNING: Sensitive readers may be offended by this letter’s foul language or the reality of the tale itself.

CHAPTER ONE

You pegged Pedro dead to rights, when I called him a neanderthal. You said “no, cro-magnon, he wouldn’t eat his own children, but he would eat anything else.”

But at least he noticed I was there. Which was more than could said for you … during the important bits.

By the time we got hauled out of the 2nd orphanage, (the BEST SETUP EVER, lemme tell you) I didn’t even know who was doing the hauling. They SAID … but for all I knew, she could have been the Fucking Tooth Fairy, rumored to exist but rarely seen, since you had to believe it first.

Or the rare triangle-spotted ocelot.

But by this time we were fairly well accustomed to being shipped off to strangers for no apparent reason and I, for one, did not protest. Jennifer was delighted (as it was a source of pride at the orphanage that a) our parents were alive somewhere and b) said they would come back for us.)

You, at this point, were some exotic blurry figure in the distance, who was gonna show up in the nick of time. har har har. Personally, I suspected that you were living like Doctor Zhivago somewhere.

If you HAD showed up in the nick of time, I wouldn’t of recognized you either.

CHAPTER TWO

Now aunt Phil I woulda recognized. I would have willingly gnawed my own leg off to get away from her, too. She ran her home like an army barracks on her good days, like the CIA with carte blanche in a central american country on her bad ones. And she did not hesitate to fuck up her kids. Not just her kids, but ANY kids unlucky enough to cross her path. She beat ’em, she burned ’em, she made ’em eat outta the garbage (THAT’ll teach him to waste food…) She did worse, but it wouldn’t help anybody to know about it. And wouldn’t make fuck aII’s worth of difference either.

Aunt Phil was where mama dropped us off when she ran off with Rhett. Aunt Phil should have been taken to the vet and fixed, before bearing her first victim.

And she still ranks as the cruelest human I ever saw up close. That stretch woulda been a good time for you to step in. You coulda been a hero.

Mama says let bygones be bygones, … but she wasn’t there.

Neither were you, pal.

Why am I telling you this? Because the past has finally reached out to grab me and it’s dragging me down down down down down. And hell, who else is gonna listen? If not my beloved father.

Real Kill

Here’s a long autobiographical story by Patrick about his time in Missouri. I found two versions, one from 2011 and another from 2013. I spent a couple of hours editing the latter (mostly typos and formatting) and am posting the result here.


The airlines wouldn’t let us fly, so Mari and I returned to the States from Holland on the S.S. Rotterdam.  Mari was in a stupor induced by Thorazine, little red capsules that she had to pop two or three times a day.  It seemed pretty crazy to me that she could travel by ocean liner, but not airliner.  Seven days, if I remember correctly, with nothing but sea in all directions.  She could fall or jump.  On a plane, I’m pretty sure I could have kept her in her seat for a few hours, and anyway what harm could she have done?

A friend met us at the dock in New York and took us to his apartment in Freeport until we figured out how to get to Missouri.  I had sold my car before expatriating, or so I thought, two years before. Continue reading “Real Kill”

Our Lives, Like Birds

Our lives are like birds.

Sometimes they fly together, sometimes one is above the other, or below, but ultimately every bird falls from the sky.

And yet, we somehow still see them, always flying, even after they disappear.

When they don’t return, we can only hope that they’ve just flown away.

(inspired by a conversation with Ivonne on 13 Sep ’17)

How Patrick’s Life Choices Affected My Own

Back in January 2015, Christine asked if my Dad’s life choices affected my own. I recorded this response while driving.

Naturally in this vastly interconnected yet simultaneously disconnected world, all things impact all other things. A mosquito bite in Africa can lead to profound consequences in North America. So, yes, there were certainly aspects of his decisions that impacted me, not the least of which was his need early on to strike out on a new life while my sisters and mother and I were left behind—or maybe we were the ones that struck out and he was the one left behind… philosophically, certainly not realistically. Hell, I just lost that thought. Continue reading “How Patrick’s Life Choices Affected My Own”

Descending the Camarillo Grade

I am descending the Camarillo grade.

Halfway down I see nothing but clouds. The entire landscape is obscured from view.

It’s quite pretty this morning, in a chilly sort of way, and as I approach Exit 50 fog appears.

I can still see the tail lights of the cars ahead of me, and the sound wall, and the curves as I approach, but it’s getting denser now and the road signs are slightly obscured.

Today’s going to be a beautiful day even though at the moment I can’t see it.

Moments like these remind me to be thankful for this place that I live and the people in my life.

Written 28 Oct ’18, before the fires.

Newspaper Announcements

Patrick’s old friend Lee sent me the following newspaper clippings from a newspaper archive source.  They announce Patrick’s marriage to Donna, the birth of their first child (me), and the death of Patrick’s mom.

I’m attaching screen shots for the closeups, as well as links to the original PDF files that Lee sent to me.

Thanks, Lee, these are really cool!

P.S. Notice even then that people had a hard time spelling “Dillon”!

Wedding Announcement (PDF)

Orland Evening Star – 2 Sep 1955

JPMD Birth Announcement (PDF)

Patrick’s Mom’s Obituary (PDF)

La Carrera Panamericana

Patrick attended the Prescott Rally with me in 2014 which was a two day affair. He probably would have found La Carrera Panamericana overwhelming, but he would have been very supportive of my participation.

If you’re interested in following the race, for reasons you might guess, here are two sites that should help:

https://lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx (espanol)

or

https://lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx/home/ (English)

and

http://www.eztrakrally.com

Rally on!

JP

The Whole Point of My Life Was to Meet Stephanie

Another one of those long conversations with Patrick, sharing a bottle Scotch at my dining table and talking about life, responsibility, love, and minding our own business. This one is from 7 Oct 2014 and was transcribed by Christine. The audio file is too big to post here, but if you want to hear it, I can make it available elsewhere.

Patrick: Whatever happens, happens. I did what I had to do, or what I thought I had to do, and you did what you had to do did or what you thought you had to do. And we’re still doing the same.

JP: Un-huh, yep, yep!

Patrick: And of course there’s no one to judge us except you and me.

JP Yeah. Although, I think others who, whose lives we have touched…

Patrick: They can’t judge because they too…

JP: But they will judge whether…

Patrick: Ah yeah, well…

JP: … it’s appropriate. Again, we can’t control their actions.

Patrick: I judge myself more harshly I think than other people, even more harshly than my own kids, I think.

Patrick: On the other hand, I think I have to say, the whole point of my life was to meet Stephanie.

Patrick: And I’m sorry, but all the other stuff was an issue that was just on the way.

JP: Un-huh

Patrick: Because I wanted what I found, and I thought I found it with your mother, and then I thought I found it with, with Mari and I thought I found it with Lois … and I found it… with Stephanie. At this point, Jennifer says, “I’m so jealous of Stephanie.” [laughter]

Patrick: What can you say?

JP: Yeah, yeah. I…

Patrick: But, I was a human being who was also looking for love… Just like you guys.

JP: Un-huh, yep!

Patrick: And my family is just as fucked up as your family. [laughter]

JP: Yep!

Patrick: It’s just I was innocent, escaping that family, but I’m not innocent in escaping this family. I was guilty. On the other hand, I don’t believe I had a choice at that moment. Every time I think about it, I get to the point where I drive out of that schoolyard and I have just lost my job, and my car breaks down, and I lose my job at the newspaper that night, and I’m going then to a little money in Melbourne at the Satellite lounge playing bass, and I still have to wash the diapers.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: And then I find a job in Chicago and go.

JP: Yep.

Patrick: At that point everything goes like it’s a quantum leap, and it’s a sense of freedom (long pause), and adventure, and love, and still, back there: JP, Jennifer. Oh God, you can’t imagine what it was like. I came back to visit you in the garage apartment in Melbourne, and you fell over the…

JP: Construction set.

Patrick: [laughs]

JP: I thought that was in New York.

Patrick: No no.

JP: Okay.

Patrick: Nah, I came to stay and was in the bed with Donna and you came in excited about what you’d made and you fell over it and broke it. [laughter]

JP: Yep

Patrick: Nothing’s changed!

JP: No [laughs]

JP: I tend to destroy the things I build.

Patrick: Ohh God.

JP: [laughs] …in some ways. I’m much better now at …

Patrick: That was just before I left for Europe. It’s been a long, a long trip.

JP: Yeah, a strange and wondrous journey.

Patrick: Yeah. I’m glad you’re ok.

JP: Yeah, yeah. {pause}. I’m glad you’re still a part of my life.

Patrick: Yeah {pause}. I hope you are able to eh {long pause}, make eh {heavy sigh}… find the other half of yourself … which is always, I think, by naturaleta, by nature, a man and a woman. I think it’s really, in my opinion, it has to be. I hope that you can do that.

JP: un-huh

Patrick: Because life would be so much more beautiful, that’s all. On the other hand, it’s not my business… [JP and Patrick laughs], it’s your business. I have to say eh, life with a woman is twice as valuable as a life without a woman because there are four eyes and the world is multiplied. Anyway, it’s not my business.

JP: [laughs]

Patrick: Wow! [Looking at the bottle of Scotch we’re drinking]

JP: [laughs] Yeah…I noticed the quantity there too…

Patrick: You are James’ son! [Jameson]

JP: Yes!

[laughter]

JP: Ahhh. Well hopefully you will sleep tonight.

Patrick: Well if I don’t,

JP: You’ll sleep tomorrow on the drive up!

Patrick: [laughs] Yeah, that’s right

JP: [laughs]

Patrick: If I fall asleep at the wheel—I’ve done it before—I did it twice, so I’ve… third time’s the charm.

JP: Don’t fall asleep.

Patrick: No, right.

JP: No, let me rephrase that, stay awake.

Patrick: Umm, yep

JP: And I’ll inject a penny into the [negativity] jar. [laughs] I don’t know when I started thinking about…

Patrick: Not using negatives?

JP: … trying to … You know I, there was, there was something or some… I don’t think it’s been that many years but I must have read something or considered something, I don’t know how it was, but maybe I was just thinking about verbs and I have been very negative about a lot of things and I need to stop that.

Patrick: But you don’t need to eh cram it down other peoples’ …

JP: Noooo, I know.

Patrick: I think it kind of becomes a little bit of a headache.

JP: It is, it is.

Patrick: I do the same, And Stephanie used to do it, but very gently. There’s a way of doing it…

JP: I’ve tried to start adopting a more positive outlook. I know I do it a lot with Christine and I think it’s partly because I have … for as long as we’ve know each other we’ve enjoyed each other’s company but it has always struck me as so… I guess I just wanted to share with my feeling that we need to make more positive things, just subconsciously.

Patrick: Yep.

JP: Maybe it’s something I picked up from Toastmasters too, I don’t know.

Patrick: Yeah, could be. But anyway, if you’re saying “Make it positive,” this is already a negative statement for Christine… what you’re doing is not fair… So, be careful.

JP: That’s true

Patrick: Yeah, anyway, it’s not my business, as I say. Did I tell you “It’s not myyyyyy business?” [laughter]

Patrick: I always say to my friends in Spain, Olvidé mi cremallera, “I forgot my zipper!”

[laughter]

Patrick: So, whenever you have the feeling of saying “I know more than you do by eh because you just said something you shouldn’t have said,” I always say “don’t.” It doesn’t contribute, but never mind, it’s not my business. [laughs] It is not my business. How do you say that positively? … “It’s only your business.”

JP: Yeah, that it. That’s right, this is your business. [laughs]

Patrick: This is your business [laughs].

Patrick: It’s been a good life.