Archive for November, 2006

…about my Dad

November 21, 2006

death picture

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

To be honest with you-I have no idea how to begin about my father. The best way I suppose is to say that I love him.
I knew that the day my little brother Carl William was struck by the car in front of our house,my dad holding his battered body-still living but certainly dieing,the back of his head was crushed his face blueing and his mouth contracting like that of a dogs that has been run over and ready to die.
My father rode away with Carl in the ambulance-our family in stunned shock as we we stood in the front yard and in abstract because of the event.
I knew my father loved us when he returned home. My mother was lying on the sofa-and the way my father took her into his arms and wept told me that was so. I was 32 year years old before I could tell him how that moment effected me-and how much I loved him,and his reaction was not the one I drove a few hundred miles to recieve. His blank stare as I saw it through my tears was the final word-silence,if that can be described as a response.
A year ago this month I saw my 85 year old father being wheeled down a hospital corridor-a hose going into his nose,and he was out of it from the anesthesia. I have never seen my father like this and the reality quickly took my soul and heart and told me that the days for my father are running out.
He has made a year with cancers-I’m not really sure the extent of them….no one has ever told me a thing,except that he has cancer.
Some time ago I was in a conversation with an aqaintence about my military service…and the rape and sexual assaults came into the conversation-I’m not really sure how,but the part that sticks out is the other person said after al that time it was time to ‘just get over it’….
It is’nt that easy.
My family never knew about the rapes. I once told my (now only surviving brother) younger brother about them some long years ago-but no ones ever known. The only thing they ever knew was that I was a failure in the Navy….which was to be expected because of my behavior in Virginia and later in the Washington area-the last home I lived in with my family.

[ one has to read these blogs in sequence from where I started writing to understand how this entwines with everything]

Because I was considered a big trouble maker in DC during high school…which my parents could’nt accept what I told them was going on in Richmond,and since someone from Richmond was in the same school in DC – well,time was up for me to be in school. These are all detailed in earlier pages of this.
So I was given the cold welcome when I returned from the Navy,and my family has never ever regarded me the same since then.
I did it for my father-enlisting…and saw it as a chance to redeem myself with him. When it was advised to me by the education officer on ship I had college potential and the suggestion I use the Navy to send me there was as a dream come true-my life was going to improve and my career was going to be in the Navy.
How could I have been so wrong-to ask to serve with my older brother? How can a brother treat a brother like my brother treated me?
I don’t know what my father was told in 1970 when I was locked away in barracks D. He certainly was never told the truth-or so I suppose…how would I know? He never asked me.
And now my dad is going to die.
All of these years the incident that happened in the Navy concluded my relationship as it should have been-father and son-ended and never revived.
Theres a holiday coming up-finally I was asked to come and share Thanksgiving with my brothers family and ma and pa…the invite stated “we have a lot to be thankful for-another year with Pops”….well,yeah-thats because my brother and his family live right around the corner from them…see them every day-share the daily paper,and Sunday family meals. They’ve been to Europe together-I’ve never been to Europe with my family,I did get to go for a short week alone with dad…but he must of been beginning his stages of cancer then because seven days turned into three days and we returned from a trip to North Carolina.
It is interesting -my brother was here once and we were looking through some photos-and there were some from when I used to build scaffolds and ran a crew in south Florida for a few years. My brother asked when I did that…heck,I did it for five years,started as a truck driver-ended up being the boss. My brother never knew that? My family has no idea the strength of the positions I had in building many of the prominant buildings here in Gainesville-more less the projects that I took part in across the state…and the south east states.
In spirit-‘Sir’….my grandfather-my fathers father,see’s the things I’ve done. I can feel him holding my hand as we watched the construction of the ‘Heart O’Town’ hotel in Charleston West Virginia…after he was forced to retire from steel construction because of his age-my grandfather came to visit us in Charleston and every day we were there he took me to that job site. He died when I was still a kid-but because I always remembered the night he took me to see them move that train locomotive into the Smithsonian I always thought of ‘Sir’ when ever I worked with cranes and steel and rigging and trucks.
I swear to God….I wish my own father could hear the things I’ve done,and soon he will be dead. It is killing me too….I feel him inside of me as if a part of my own body is going with him as he goes,spiritually…
I went up there to see them-my ‘family’ ,this past weekend. I left there with such hurt that I think I hope I never see them again. I was only a guest….I surely will not return to see another Thanksgiving with them,hardly recall the last time we ever did that as a family. My sons were’nt asked to come-so the whole family thing is sort of superficial
if my own children are’nt invited,and I am only asked as a token gesture?
My entire adult life has been eaten up and spit around because of the events while I tried my best and my brother Frank put me to ruin-the rapes began a life that meant I had to carry that burden alone. The physical part of the assaults ended in the confines of barracks D….but they followed me all of my life because of the secret being mine and yet having to endure the position as the family outcast-seeing from the sidelines all the goodness between my younger brother and them-my parents,and seeing how that all works. The men that assaulted me would have done me a favor if they had gone on and finished the job and killed me…I’ve been rather dead since then anyway.

livin’ inna shack drivin’ a Cadillac

November 17, 2006

my new car

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Rest your worried minds…I finally gotta title to this automobile-was scaring me…I thought for sure it was going to be a yard ornament forever-a lesson I have learned these past two weeks looking at this car and looking at this car-since thats all I could do,no title-no tags and no ride.
Thought is-take it for a ride and sell it!!
I’m not a Cadillac guy…did you know that the front page in the owners manuel says that driving a Cadillac is the ‘Penalty of Leadership’.
What bullshit….
my son the sherrifs deputy says that in law enforcement acadamy they taught that only two kinds of people drove caddies…dope dealers,and old men.
Guess I am getting old for certain….but in truth,this ain’t my kind of car. So now I have it free and clear and the two week lesson I learned from stareing out the window at it is this….sell the stupid car-dim wit!!

my old truck-my old prison

November 16, 2006

my old truck

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I last saw this rig on December 31,1998.
We were up in Kendellsville Indiana. It was an interesting day. I had been up most of the night with miserable chesty pains and thought I had a bad dose of flu ,or a bad cold was coming on.
I say we-I was married to the rattlesnake wrapped in poison ivy at that time-and she traveled in the truck with me. We were staying the night ion a motel-it was snowing badly out side and the load was up at a steel mill waiting for us to return in the morning to meet a crane. Everything I hauled was huge-and if it did’nt drive onto the trailer it had to be picked by a crane. Learn this-if you want to be a trucker learn the wide load business….most every night is a night of rest and sleep,not pushing boxed freight or frozen stuff-worse yet,living produce fresh from the plant-rushing all the time and missing more sleep than its worth. And-Lumpers…hauling wide loads requires NO LUMPERS. Lumpers-my general public…are guys you have got to hire to off load your freight and thats at a rate in the 120 dollar range.
So-if trucking is your interest…learn the wide loads. You cannot move them at night except maybe in parts of New York. Who cares-just trust me,wide loads are the prime way to go.
In my working life-this is what I did the most. It is exile. It is a prison-no question at that. Once you are in a truck-you can’t get out of it…fact. It is worse than a drug,almost…but no doubt it is a prison. Most likely the same size as a cell-oh,a little nicer-sure. But just the same…it contains you and has you at its mercy.
Don’t get me wrong. It is a far greater thing than a real prison-but don’t be fooled…because these things,these trucks-lock you in and you can’t get away from them.
I used to load these tanks in York Pennsylvania. Odd place for the plant where they build them-this ones a Bradly,and brand new.
The United Defense plant is almost right behind the Harley -Davidson plant…I’ve hauled to there too.
We’d haul this kind of tank all up through Virginia and over that mountain pass into Charlotte NC -that is a ride down that grade. We’d carry this to Ft.Stewart Georgia and there they would arm them. We’d reload right there-aleays…and would carry the same machine,except an old unit,to Texarkana-and there it’d go on the ground…and we’d load there at Texarkana to got to Camp Irwin in California…I think it was near Barstow-but where ever…it was deep in the desert. Yet it was always good to get there because it took you out of the military haul cycle and you could load a machine of less destructive goals…and would usually end up at some interesting part of the country.
I loved trucking. The chest pains I had that night in Indiana were the near ending signs of a heart attack…I’d been having the damned things all across country since new years eve that year. I’m fucked for new years eves-I think.
I always find stuff interesting because that morning after we off loaded at the steel mill we stopped at a truck stop to eat breakfast and they were having a benifit for a kid there-I think he got burned real bad…but can’t remember. I do remember the local radio station was broadcasting live from the cafeteria in the truck stop about raising money for this kid-and an hour later I am layiong in a hospital being told I was having a serious heart attack. That was the last day I saw my old truck…and my Marlboro’s went that day too. Not all bad.
I always think about that kid-and have no idea what it all was about. Just stuck in my head because of that day.
It is funny-oddly funny,as you will learn soon enough when I finish telling the rest of the account of ‘Rose’,the Americas Most Wanted experience my life attracted….because I had a stroke two days later-the day she and her boyfriend moved in up the road from me…800 miles away. I had not been to my home in 121 days until I had the stroke. Been home ever since.
( I am getting a great mess of photo’s developed and set on disc so I can share my own pictures-like this truck photo is my own…so the crime story will come with pictures)
I have a different life with out the truck. Iived in that mahine-altough I have a home here…the truck was the place. Had a TV set with VCR and a micro wave and closet space and the ride was like being in a Cadillac…gawd,a Caddy!! There are some of the sweetest truck stops in the country that were like homes-Jimco in Ripon California…I loved that old truck stop. It was an old Ma and Pa kind of place with several different buildings that had services of various kinds-the main building had an old style bunk house and I used to sneak my old dachsund Joe up there with me…he loved the place too. It was right on a walnut grove-acres and acres of these huge trees planted in neat rows and was so nice to just carry a cold beer through there walking Joe-him on the search for a new ferol cat to chase-the place was rich with them.
The truck is a prison-but some convicts are comfortable with thier relationship with thier cells-and I was no different. I kept big money in keeping this truck waxed and the wheels polishe-it made me money…but it also made me proud,really really proud.
I cut my right thumb off one day when chaining a bulldozer down and this old Puerto Rican surgeon sewed it back on….he was so gentle until he found out I was a long distance trucker and then he cut loose and was less compasionette-blameing his hatered for truckers on me. I limped around the west coast with that bum thumb-oh did it hurt-still does sometimes.but jeez do you not realize how much that one thumb means when it comes to zipping up your jeans. I was in the old truck stop in Barstow and could zip my pants so I had to wonder around the restaurant looking for a volunteer-felt like a damned fool…but a cute little waitress said not to get any ideas and she zipped me like a momma would.
Any way…I miss the life-yet I don’t…because I’m not in that prison any more,but long for the exile.

freezing in Florida,or August in Sturgis…

November 13, 2006

micah and my road trip 140

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

This morning in northern Florida it was a two dog night. My two pups and I huddled together wrapped inside of a quilt and an old U-haul furniture pad to keep warm. And winter has another month to go before she comes.
I’m getting to old for this-trying to sleep with my body in a knot and keeping my mouth up against a small air hole in the blankets so I can breath-the cold happens against my nose as it sticks out for air. The dogs? I always wonder how the do it with out suffocating-yet they are always glad to be there and never seem to mind.
It in the 40’s right now. I’m wrapped in another quilt sitting at the keyboard wanting to say many things other than “how’s the weather”…but right now theres not much more on my mind-it is cold.
How unreal that is for me…another year of this is probrebly all that I can handle again. I feel it this morning-nausia and my body is cramped from being so stiff through the night-and I am inside of a house,God forgive me for my discontent…there are others colder than I.
My son was stationed in Pearl Harbor up until last summer. He and his wife flew me out to Seattle August 2005 to meet my son and his Corvette…he drove me across country-a trip always treasured,I had not been alone with Micah for a long time.
We stopped in Sturgis on our way through South Dakota-the weekend of ‘Bike Week’. It was freezing…in AUGUST,and I stood outside the car for this quick snap shot…but the wind was unreal-coming out of those hills behind me,I think you can tell by the photo-the sky even looks cold.
Its a funny world we live in. As my son piloted the Vette down the pike we kept passing motorcycle after motorcycle-all heading towards home from the events of the great weekend. The wind was so fierce the bikers had to lean one way to keep thier motorcycles upright and moving-every time we passed a bike that had a passenger…the passengers looked at us in the cabin of that Corvette and you could see the envy in thier eyes as we drove by.
Its a funny world we live in. Here those people spents a fortune on the motorcycles and the gear and the trip must cost a pretty sum too for the rooms and parties….and the misery to ride on that open motored thing fresh into the wind and rain-and oh was it raining across South Dakota that day. The wind was so bad we stopped mid-day and quit by getting a motel room to just get some rest. And we were in a car.
Funny how things are. A motorcycle is for sale in our local paper today-a Goldwing (??) and the asking price is nearly 30 grand for a motorcycle….blows me away.-and people willingly get o the things and ride them through the wind and rain like that.
It interests me about my son-his love for the car he owns. I can understand why…being brought up in a poorer household than many of his classmates in school…both of them,I have two sons-but this guy took his dream of owning such a car and made it true,and he is true to it. He even named his son ‘Corey’…get it?
I bought Micah his first automobile-it was a 100 dollar special-a car that a fat man killed himself in….my sons always called it the ‘killer car’. The poor guy was so fat that he had the steering wheel cut in half so he could fit in the drivers seat. My son loved it…and was as proud of it as he is this Vette.
I’m trying to make sense here. Its just that things never make sense to me. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life of auto ownership drving ‘clunkers’…as I’ve said in earlier writings. I’ve even worn out more shoes than you can count walking in and out of these woods. My house is still sub-standard…to an extent. Its liveable and better than many many people have-but the back part of the place is wide open to the weather and waiting my nail bending expertise to close it in. I borrowed some money-yeah,said I was’nt going to-but had too. And what did I do first? I went out to buy myself a car. Not just a practicle car…the glitter crossed my eyes so I could’nt see good sense,and I bought this old ladies Cadillac. Oh what a car. !! It is more beautiful than anything I’ve ever owned to drive. My knucklehead blindness has yet to show me how much it might cost to keep this car up….but,that does’nt much matter in the long run. The title is bad-in other words….this beautiful car is mine to keep as long as it stays in my yard.
Its as if a lesson is being shown to me. I’d say ‘taught’…but I have’nt seemed to learn anything-except what a fool I am. Got a damned house thats mosquitoe friendly in the summer…and friggen freezes in the winter. And-winter in Florida can beat the best of the traveling Minnesotans that come down south to winter-only to find its just as cold here (unless you go to Miami).But I own a Cadillac.
And then….it comes to me how funny things are!
Them fools on the motorbikes in that South Dakota wind and freezing like I am right now-all that money between thier legs…numb legs-numb from the cold. And me-the fool and his money…the bogus Caddy in the yard. I might as well get a few cinder blocks and get her off the ground…and go enjoy the stereo.
…and then there are guys like homeless Tony in Toronto. And Opencontainer Speedway-out side some where. I am thankful for guys like these who actually help me regain my practicel vision-the vision of sense. But more so-the vision of thankfulness. I have nothing to complain about (except my own foolishness with pride). I read about homeless Tony standing in a doorway all night-and the wind that touches him. And for Speedway-wow,I need to hear the truth about having to swipe a chunk of cheese just to feel fed. I lost view of those things and am grateful for them to open thier lives to us to share that desperation to need to steal to eat….and to remind me where I have come from to be where I am right now. Damned its cold-but I got things right over there in the fridge thats next to the micro wave- thats near the room where the hot shower is. I appreciate the reminder,and respect these guys and all that are like them….cold and with out a place to go.
I think for one day the homeless in South Dakota had it better than the rich-at least the rich on motorbikes….it must have been warmer to them that day then it did for the poor souls flying down the highway on those two wheel open machines a year ago August. Talk about an open container.!!

I am…

November 12, 2006

me and trueman

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I am Jay Herron. Every thing I have written in all of these past pages have been absolutely truth-it is my look back at my life as a man who had a tragic childhood and fled that to join the Navy . I joined my older brother at his duty station aboard the USS Vulcan-my brother was not very pleased I chose to be with him and in return I learned what a huge mistake that was.
I found myself in a situation that altered my life forever-I found myself in a detention barracks….where I was raped.
Along with haveing a way to formulate how my past should be told-because of how complex it all seems to me…it must seem unreal to the reader. I have all intentions of getting this out…my story-if only to purge myself of the poisons manifested by many of the details….and many I havent been able to get down in words. I have to break right here and confess-to be able to put emphisis on some of the things I’ve been saying I have ‘borrowed’ pictures from elsewhere…such as the picture of the caskets-and Alcatraz-and the coke and the cadillac-some of the ships,you get the ‘picture’…I only hopr the persons who own the eye that saw the shot those pictures offer will understand and appreciate the way I used them….I hope there is understanding there is no intent to steal-just share,and I am grateful something as fine as these images are available.
I am a real person….and again-everything I’ve told about myself is real too. I am hopeful that my words and details of my life can somehow be found and used by someone in the same place I am…or someone who is trying to help someone who is the way I am.
I find it interesting in my research for my desire to help other veterans who have been assaulted-the search ‘words’ used to find and hopefully discover resources…the ones I have tried are ‘male rape’ or ‘males raped in military’ and it strikes me odd to notice most of the responses come up from the UK….and very much close to hardly anything at all from the USA.
It appears to me that someone else is interested in reading about this -I see in my blogs stats the way readers have come to find me…and so I hopefully am hitting the right cords. We are seeing the military hide these crimes-crimes that do happen,and happen to men also.
I have a lot more to tell-and am needing to delay until I can get some of my own photos developed-they are able to tell the story too and can’t be found on the internet.
There has also been trouble getting my thoughts all out because this does become emotional to me and I have to stop.
But I intend to say as much as I can.

guilt and shame…

November 10, 2006

a view at Dover AFB Delaware

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Tomorrow is November 11…veterans day.
When I was a boy around my high school age I can remember seeing scenes like this one every night on the evening news of our young men returning dead from war in Viet Nam. Each day the news would show the photographs of each of the days dead-young guys like myself in thier high school year book snapshots-or the picture taken in boot camp of our profile in military dress. Each day the flag draped coffins would be lined on the tarmac at Dover AFB-the nations mortuary…and a salute was made to these lost lads-killed in action.
It was about respect to show Americans these brave heros who died to preserve the democracy we hold dear. It interests me that we no longer are given the privledge to see these images.
After my discharge from the Navy I would find myself in tears year after year on days like tomorrow-thinking about myself and my place as a veteran. I become so ashamed that in my mind I feel that I did’nt fulfill my duty…and feel so guilty because of those who did. Odd-just the other day I pointed out that every one of us that heard the call of duty and went forward on our own free want to-our will to do the right thing…we are as those who went to battle fields because we joined with our bodies to be a sacrifce no matter what the sacrifice was to be. But still-today I still feel the sadness of not being able to persue the life I knew would be the best-to sail the blue seas and see places afar…like the enlistment posters said.
Theres something wrong with this picture-I had to ‘steal’ it from somewhere so to be able for more views can be had. We neeed these pictures to tell us why the veterans of war should be given more than just a day of respect and recognition. We should all be ashamed these pictures are’nt shown every day and the respect and honor these men and woman-someones child…deserve.
Instead of realizeing there is a war going on we head for Wal-Mart and rarely do we see a young man or woman in uniform when back during the Viet Nam days we saw the sight of marines and sailors and soldiers in dress uniform everywhere….bus stations and air ports. Often those that wore the required dress of the day recieved spittal and curseing for being in a war they did’nt begin and had no desire to be at…but took the brunt of disrespect. But at least we could see them-those of us that honored them and knew what the men in uniform meant.
Instead of seeing uniforms we see grown men in pants so baggy they have to hold them with one hand to keep them from falling down…men old enough to take up his place in the military,but there they are standing in sneakers they don’t even lace up. There are no images of the young men and ladies-some ones child , coming home from Iraq and Afganistan-fo us to pay our respect to. The very democracy we are sending these kids to die for and show the world its right is not allowing us to pay them respect.
Tomorrow is veterans day. I remember as a boy the big veterans parade. Today it is the specials at the billionaires store that are sucking us in to see whats on sale….
once upon a time I remember hearing songs about where all the soldiers gone…”where have all the soldiers gone?” sung by Peter Paul and Mary. I remeber the songs of the 1960’s that opened up the minds of America to see what war was doing. Country Joe and the Fish singing “one two three…what are we fighting for?” was the opular anti war song of those days and young people were out in droves to protest the wrong of the death of innocents. Now there is something missing.

sexual violence against MEN in the military

November 10, 2006

It is about time we all come to an understanding that RAPE and SEXUAL ASSAULT is a CRIME that has no gender perimeters…a CRIME that is not concerned with age. Socoety is not accepting that MEN are victims of rape and sexual assault-althought less likely to come forward to report it-never the less….men are victims too.

I am writing this particular few paragraphs because it angers me that everytime I search Google or Yahoo for ‘males sexually assaulted in the military’ or anything related to men being sexually violated…it always comes up with women in the response pages. Sorry-theres something very ‘sexist’ about that. I am a male rape survivor-and I am here to try to get attention of our issues…our post traumatic fears,the shame-the guilt…the stigma,and the filth of having had my body violated in such a violent way.

My rapes occoured during my service to America as a U.S.Navy seaman apprentice-I was 18. No one wanted to hear my story back 37 years ago when the rapes took place-when I reported them I was told to get used to it. All these years later someone in the VA system says I should seek compensation…I was met with bigoted ignorence then-the veterans advocate said “one would’nt think homosexuals would need to rape each other” ??? Is’nt that bigoted? and ignorant?

I am wanting to open up the ears of those who can make some changes for us-male victims and female victims…we served our country,they looked the other way.

Veterans Rights for military rape incidents !

November 8, 2006

Since 1970 I kept the fact that I was raped during my less than a year in military service-to my self. I have been ashamed of my failure in the Navy…and yet , the failure was not mine , but has always been my feelings. I have felt tremendous other things about myself because of the rape and sexual assaults. I define them that way because the night of new years 1970 was the actual rape occourence-and I suppose the rest of the times despite my succombing to pressure can only be refered to as sexual assaults. I am not going to try to explain that any further-they were all unwanted…all of it , so I guess in that-they are all rapes.

But the issue is’nt just me. I have come to learn by looking in the internet that there are thousands of men just like myself that have endured the silence because of the stigma and the shame of being a male rape survivor…but you see I must say also that rape is a genderless crime upon a persons body-a theft of a persons entire self , and there are men and women that have experienced rape and sexual assault while doing service to their country and are going untreated because of the fears related to this type of crime and many-like myself-that did not know treatment was available. Another thing I did not know was the possabilty of financial benifits….I  never saw a monitary price that could erase my past-but once it was mentioned to me I admit my ears became open to the idea. I’ve lived in the pits all of my adult life because of this , yes-I could accept some help. No , I don’t think it is all wrong.

In 1969 times were tumultuous and draft aged men were running north to Canada instead of enlisting as a volunteer-or being drafted , to escape being sent to Viet Nam. Some found refuge in college classrooms , but many of us went in on our own accord. I did-I was 17 years old and enlisted before I had a draft card. I tried to enlist in the Marines-later I can tell you I am glad I did not-more at the convinceing of the recruiter , who I returned after boot camp and thanked. I wanted to be in uniform.

My circumstances as everyone of ours was different-why I went to barracks D was all a mistake. It all does’nt matter in relevence to this-what does matter is that each of us that has experienced this crime while in service have had one more thing taken from us-the knowledge that we have a right to help…and a right to be heard and we need to be heard.

When the Abu Grahib scandel happened it was appalling to me that they awarded the guys the soldiers abused and made a big stink about it and even convicted the soldiers involved. I have’nt seen the photographs-it would’nt matter because none of it was right. They had no right to do that to anyone….but it angered me personally that when I was raped the only thing I got from anyone was the laugh the navel intelligence officer gave me the day of the rape along with the advice to get used to it. The prisoners that were in that prison in Iraq were given compensation? I really felt one more let down in that what took place in my life 36 years ago…no one was ever punished for the abuse I took-only me. Yet it sickens me that they made such a case about that poor England girl and the others….sure , they might deserve punishment of some degree , but it is confused justice.

I’m pretty sure the veterans administration would rather we go on and be silent. But there are too many of us who wanted to do the right thing and were doing good jobs of it and in return the damage to our bodies and spirits was all we got. I would have gone to Viet Nam. I willingly walked into the Marine recruiters-it was him that said the Navy was better fit for me…and I went into that office on my own too. I would have gone to Viet Nam for the Navy too if that was the call-I would have …and was doing the right thing. There are those of you that were to. We stepped up to the plate and someone interfered with our life-for most of us…permanantly.

I am telling my personal story-the history of my life in and out of the Navy as the need as a survivor has demanded that I do so before this entire thing poisons me completely because it is my hope another one like me will see it and say they too are tired of being silent and want the justice…or just the satisfaction we deserve. I want to purge myself of all that I can to explain the way this has disabled me and how it worked to seperate me from my family and from things people take for granted day after day….and I am not wanting this just for myself-I want this for each of us. I want our veterans administration to step up like we stepped up and offer us help sensitive to the needs of our injuries and our mental health. I am sick of the system that is in place where we have to apply for help to some person in sneakers and a ball cap with the back ground of a fish wrapper who might be a champion at pushing government paper….but has no business hearing the nature of our stories. We are veterans. We signed up to go where they would have to send us-we did’nt slink away from our duty….we went forward. We deserve better-just as much as any veteran…but not every veteran has had a piece of thier soul removed in the way we have ( but God knows that all combat veterans have left something behind on the field of battles) . I had to tell my details to a fish wrapper-it made me want to vomit…it made me feel violated again. I know that I am not alone-we are many.

Come forward. Contact someone at the Miles Foundation ( 203-270-7861) and ask for direction and offer up complaint as well. Write to Congress….yeah,I don’t trust them much either-but write them regardless.

We should not remain silent any longer-much of the cases alive today in the military are treated wrongly and this must change. Theres a story in the book of Joshua in the Bible how the soldiers followed Joshua to surround the city of Jerico and God had warned them to stay silent until He gave the word….so they marched around that city for seven days and that seventh day God said for all Joshua’s soldiers to yell as loud as they could. Thats how the walls of Jerico fell. We need to YELL brothers and sisters-we are special and we need to be heard.

just a small story

November 6, 2006

When I skipped school- almost every day – I would try my best to head into the city.
My skipping school was’nt out of rebellion-more less it was out of fear that what was happening in Richmond was going to happen here because of Debbie. It did’nt even make a difference she was there-I just did’nt realize that myself and thus I quit going to school.
Instinct told me I needed to learn and so much of my excursions into DC led me right to the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is what a computer is like except the computer relies on electric genious and the Library relies on the genious of the Dewey System where the books and publications are cataloged in numeric pattern. The place is awesome in size-and one needs not look for his or her reading interests,one merely submits a list to the desk and they assign a seat and you just go and wait and eventually a clerk rolls a cart by and delivers each order as he passes the rows of chairs and desks.
And I would read.
But the city-there is no denial-has so much to offer from every angle and every street. In basic-DC was a great place to grow up in during the 50’s and 60’s.
My Grandfather and Uncle were iron workers and worked many years on the construction and reconconstruction of many of the buildings there. The history of my Grandfather has always had an impact on me-I saw so much through that silent man.
I lived in DC through the days of civil rights and saw in injustice of black men going to Viet Nam to fight a useless war and yet to return to hatred and disrespect-growing up watching the violence white people subjected black families to. Seeing the images of Emmitt Till-always makes a man want to hang his head in shame…not every man,only those with hearts.
I learned that DC had series of tunnels connecting some building to others to provide utilities and underground pipes to be accessable or to share heat and cooling between several buildings. I could go from certain buildings with out being soaked in rain or snow…but heck,I was a kid-footloose in the big city-and one of great importance,the capital of the United States.

My grandfather and my uncle were both ‘iron workers’-men who worked with the huge steel beams used to erect the structural frames of large buildings. They kept thier trade busy in downtown DC-the most prominant job that stays in my memory is the Museum of Natural History-better known as the Smithsonian,although they also worked on the renovation of the old post office building and I was just a baby when ‘Sir’…thats what we called my grandfather-Sir worked on the White House renovation that took place in the early 1950’s.

Sir would have been pleased to know that I ended up in the same lines of work that sustained him-and much because of his guided tours of some of these construction sites. As a boy about ten Sir ordered me to bed at an unusually early time of day-sometime around four in the afternoon. I thought I might have been in trouble but the request allowed me a special opportunity to take this nap in my grandparents room and that was enough to take my mind off of everything else because this was a room we could only peek in as kids-and now I am laying on thier bed.

My grandfather came in around dusk and stirred me out of my sleep and we shortly walked to the bus stop and there we met a taxi cab-a very rare occasion for my grandparents to use such extravagance , a bus was the normal way of transportation.

We drove down Pennsylvania Avenue and to the old castle-which is what the original building for the Smithsonian is called…then we walked over towards the Washington Monument and near there we sat on the lawn and my grandfather made us a snack with dry hard boiled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper he had in a small wax paper packet. Across the way we could see the bigger new building where my grandfather and uncle had been working and off and on while chewing on our dry eggs Sir would point out this and that about the building of this monolith….all things long forgotten-except for one choice moment.

Up in the distance in the dark the flashing yellow lights of some big trucks were working like a dance off the sides of the large buildings along the avenues and my grandfather said thats what we were waiting for so we started walking towards the flashing lights.

We got down to Constitution Avenue and there a sight to behold for a boy my age was moveing slowly down the street being led by the flashing red lights of police cars and the yellow lights of a bunch of tow-trucks and in between them was a big Diamond-Reo pulling a trailer made of wheeled dollies all supporting a huge locomotive engine big and green and shineing in the night with the street lights and the yellow truck lights illuminating this awesome sight.

We watched for what seemed hours as they tugged this massive load down to the cranes that where in place to lift the engine off the dollies and set it on the track used to move it into the building-I believe that took some time to do because once the train was on its track we walked away to a bus stop and went our way home.

I thought about that night for days and those turned into years-always remembering Sir and how special he was to me for his takeing me and none of my cousins-who lived right down on the floor below my grandparents. Once he visted us in West Virginia-my last memory of seeing him alive. The union had made him retire-an old iron worker in his 70’s…it was what kept him going. That visit he and I would go downtown Charleston and would sit day after day watching the construction of the ‘Heart of Town’ hotel. Every once and a while we’d cross the street and look through the plywood barrier erected to keep people out of the site and we’d look through the small holes to see the progress-Sir explaining everything as it moved along. Often , very often-as an adult…when I was operateing my own big rig and working with cranes and rigging involved with all of my loads-I’d think about old Sir and wonder what he thought of me working in the same field of work he and Uncle Press did? I learned to pull the loads that were so big it took days to move them and required cranes and flashing yellow lights to get them where they belonged-I moved things for NASA that were so big that we could’nt pull them across some sections of Interstate 10 and we’d have to route through downtown Baton Rouge…complete with police motorcycles as escorts to speed us in and out of the city quickly. My family has a photograph of my grandfather standing on a scaffold holding the aluminum pyramid that sits at the top of the capital building there and my spirit gleaming with pride that that special little piece up on that building was my grandfathers eyes and he could see the things I was doing that made me be like him.

Today near my home in the city of Gainesville I can drive up and down and east to west and point out building after building that I helped build-or towed the steel beams to each jobsite during the buildings construction. I love going to the top floor of the Dental College at the University of Florida and looking out across campus and the city and I can see the south endzone of the Florida field-the Ben Hill Griffeth stadium. I hauled all of the structural steel for that project. I always feel my grandfathers approval of what I’ve done. Funny-in an odd way….my father Sirs son-has no idea what I have done in the progress of this city and cities around us. My dad went to Scotland a few years back on a solitary trip to look for the graves of our ancesters…people so long dead that one can only guess who they were. But he has no idea what his own son has done , and I am still alive and he is getting older and older and now has cancer and probrebly will never know who his son was. Pretty strange.

jimi hendrix

November 6, 2006

Back in 1967 – 1968 in Washington DC was a time that I hope will always be mine to remember. Any of the years of my life in Washington are memorable and always stuck in my memory because they are my life. By the time I had reached high school and realized that was’nt going to be the place for me I was hooking from school and spending my days in the city.We lived a local bus ride from there and it made better sense then going to school did at that point.

I don’t really know how it came to be-but someone had handed m,e a ticket to see Jimi Hendrix at the Hilton Hotel near Californis Avenue in Northwest DC-the very place Reagan the prez met John Hinkley. The concert was in the banquet hall with limited seating for 250. It was my first real introduction to Jimi Hendrix live…my second other time was in Baltimore at the Colosium with ‘Buddy Miles and Cat Mother and the all Night News Boys’-who knows?

They flung albums out that night at the Hendrix concert and I managed to catch one and toted that around like I had the olympic torch in my hands.

I was skipping alot of school in those days and got stopped by a cop and he took me to the high school and turned me over to the boys dean and soon I was way-layed into class.

I stilll had my album. The class was being taught by a student that morning-a senior in school that was taking classes at the nearby junior college and Mr.Moran-the usual english teacher was gone so this student was teaching the class-her name was Francis. The class was doing book reports-stuff like ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Ann of the Green Gables’…and there I was with only my record. So I played the tune ‘Purple Haze’ on the class record player and gave my report on what I thought it was about-I had’nt read a book and was’nt a class player-so it was the best I could do. Francis-the student teacher was  enthralled and stopped me after class to find out who I was because I never attended classes-I left her with the point I was snottey and un-interested in her interest…mainly because she was a teacher-I was just me.

That night the phone rang and my dad always got it- and he was talking and talking and off and on he’d look at me and there’d be this hesitation..and the the phone call was over and he came over to me and said this student teacher was offering her free time to tutor me. I thought that was a poor idea…I hated it.

The weekend she arranged to come-my dad had fixed the kitchen table like a school desk all complete with pencils and scratch paper ,which he had an abundence of…and since we lived in the DC area he had decided to take my brothers to the city for the museums while I got taught the way of the english language.

Francis came and thanked dad for his efforts-but she had different ideas and was going to take me to the upper counties of Maryland and show me an old farm – I think her family owned it. I hated her for her being there and her plan and for her being in the way of my being a teenager. But-off we went.

She was my first piece of ass-my first time …and probrebly the only pure time of my life. Yup…the only pure time. I remember her asking me to collect wild flowers. We were at this huge field where nothing but wild flowers were gowing-so I’m out there collecting these flowers while she’s getting a little nest together on a blanket in this field. I had never seen a real naked woman before then.

Things at school were more interesting after that day-I know I was more commited then ever after the way school was in  Richmond…but soon that was over.I never saw her again-although I heard she had a child , I never saw it-and never knew.