….disturbing the Peace




Jo Eileen

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I last saw this little girl in the fall of 1957. She was in a casket in a funeral parlor-I had taken some flowers from Mrs.Cowans garden and placed them on her chest….I had to stand on a stool to see her because I was just a boy of six.
I was’nt allowed to go to the funeral-I guess I was too small…but I remember as the funeral procession drove by our grandfathers house,my sisters casket was taken to the cemetery in a coupe la floure (an open flower car hearse combined) and the only explaination about my sisters death coming from a great aunt who sat on the stoop with me as the cars filed by-there goes JoEileen.
I guess the whole thing was more mystery to me than anything-but a little over a year later me and another boy were playing and saw our neighbor-an older man-going into his cellar with a gun and without him knowing we had had followed in curiosity Mr.Hoke used that gun to kill himself. It was a little easier to understand as a few days later I stared down into the casket at him-his casket was in the same parlor as my sister laid in repose just not too long ago. These people were dead.
Where my sister is buried in Pottstown Pennsylvania is where my brother Carl was buried when he was killed-unlike my sisters funeral I attended this from the very moment I saw Carl going under the frame of a Chrysler New Yorker and seeing his head being cracked by the tire…until we followed the hearse to take him to Pottstown-my mother kept saying to me it “should have been” me as we stared at Carls casket from the back of the hearse for a journey of 150 miles or more.
I dont know if I can tell this in one try…I’ve just returned from a journey to the graves of these two young children-buried in between is even a third,my cousins young daughter,Somer….she was 12.
My parents are now getting quite old and my father has taken a notion that after 50 years for my sister-and 40 years for my brother…he wants to move them to a second grave site in the same cemetery,to a plot where my folks seem to see fit to be buried.
I was enlisted-I confess,I did at one time volunteer to go to Pottstown but was turned down by my father…at that time I had no idea of the plan. But last week I was enlisted and with in an hour of fruitlessly trying to patch my leaking bedroom-the roof…I was on my way to begin a journey through airports and back with my parents-Beep and Bop! My pockets lined with two dollars in quarters and my credit card…which is now a sinking ship!
Last night as I sat here trying to work it rained-and the patch did not take and I sat here working on my computer while it rained three feet behind me into buckets I had lined on the floor of my bedroom.
The plan to destruct my siblings peace has been estimated to cost around 4000 dollars…the man at the cemetery used the term ‘it’ in regards to my brothers remains….it seems he was buried excluding a concrete vault,so rusted pieces of a casket are there-and the feeling of a back hoe digging up against what the cemetery man is calling ‘it’ is a disturbing thought to me…that is my brother,and I saw him die. That is my sister-and I remember her being carried from our house the night she went away. That is my cousin Davids child who lay in between-a child he loved and her sisters loved and her mother loves. This is about the most crudest thing I have ever witnessed.
I dont know what is promoting this idea-my father blames my mother…my mother does not want this to happen-she says its him??
When the cemetery man refered to my brothers remains as ‘it’,my emotions started spinning quickly. I escorted my parents to another part of the cemetery to try to find a great aunts uncles brothers son…and tried to keep my self to myself but could not because in the car is my father saying such and such was a horses ass and he wans’nt going get out and see him and my mother and I troddled off to this little grave and there she said she was not liking the idea about moving my brother and sister-and I lost it….
Bop looked at me…”are you crying”??
You’re gawddamned right I’m crying mother dearest….

2 Responses to “….disturbing the Peace”

  1. Sous Gal Says:

    Such a life you’ve led. And still do it seems. PTSD many times over is not an easy burden to shoulder, nor easily processed experiences to get beyond. Thank you for sharing and I hope doing so eases the burden somewhat

  2. mary Says:

    I take it back, I do not know exactly as you feel. Your nightmares much, much worse than my own.

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