living dead

cadilac-and-sailor1I know the story of ‘the grass not always being greener on the other side’ is more less a fable…although,true.

I write here lamenting about my life as a ‘survivor’ and bellow about the misery of being such…and,it is misery. However-I have to grow up in some ways to respect the fact that there is worse and there are those who endure worse…and my details are small in comparison to the many ills and evils that life tends to dole out on each of us.

Some have good lives-some have lives that make it hard to appreciate that others have lives that are not even able to reach the top of a pile of shit. Some have lives that are helpful to me to put things into some kind of perspective-to realize mine has not been so bad when I see another.

An example-here I am at age 58 and I have had some advantages…a long life-compared to many. Yet I look at the news and see the tragic losses or the crippled others-those who never passed through childhood to be able to play sports or climb ladders to success because of severe handi-caps. Some never even reached a 3rd birthday or 5th birthday or ever grew at all. So-I have no room to gripe about what has been my so called life. But I do.

I have a prayer life-I speak openly and boldly to God. I NEVER ask for any material things…never ask for money-or a new car like shown in the photo…or a new house or good days or food or any kind of benefit to me. I ask to leave this place…my predominant prayer is: Father God…please let me out of here!

Don’t think of me as NOT being thankful-there are many things I consistently thank God for-my sons being foremost,and the ‘good’ life I’ve had being the other…just about everything I see and know is a part of my thankfulness…I even thank God for the part I will not be able to thank God for-the day I die from this misery.

I am not a happy person. Ah,I do smile much of the time…that because I know this is not my life-my life awaits me in a more glorious place. Why I know this is because I have seen the evidence of death and that it does not respect anyone…man,woman-or even child.

Many say that life is good. Maybe they have a reason that I have not experienced or witnessed. I did witness an old man commit suicide. I also witnessed my six year old brother rolling beneath a Chrysler New Yorker-the rear tire crushing his head. I also witnessed the man at night carrying my sisters limp body out of our home in the late night. I don’t know who he was or why he was there-I know now my sister was sick…she was 11 and I was 6,maybe 7. The next time I saw her was in a small pink coffin-a year later another coffin sat in the same place,it was the old man who committed suicide.

No one sat me down and explained these things to me. I just knew then from instinct that the were dead. I also knew from way back then that death respected no age,no family circumstance of wealth or poverty…it just was.

And death-it is final…but not the only situation that reveals the unfairness of this ‘so called life’.

I wanted all my life to be an architech. As a little boy I built models of homes and buildings. I had a scrap book filled with clippings of floor plans and pictures of renderings. I only my future at a drawing table-my hero Frank Lloyd Wright one day allowing me to come learn from his designs. I had not yet come to the point where the Navy was going to be my second choice of my future-my career. I only realized that once I began boot camp.

Things as a teenager created the changes…my family moved to a new area near Richmond Virginia and much happened there to change the course of my thinking. It was an unfriendly time-not the one a boy would want to live through,yet-it taught me about human kindness or the lack of the same. When we moved to Washington DC suburbs I thought things would be better…they only became worse. It was there my little brother was killed-his death was sudden and my other younger brother and I were singled out as the two who had to witness it.

My own life had taken turns-remnants of our time in Virginia had made a difference in the my future. It was not planned by any human doing-our lives must be set up by a higher power…a God,as I see it.

My upbringing was that of a patriotic sort. As I’ve mentioned many times in these writings of my life-we were taught that defending the Constitution and our Flag was number one,and our duty. VietNam was the war of our generation. It appeared ugly as we saw it on the evening news-every night we saw the images of the days dead-first the coffins draped with Flags,then the photos of each who occupied the coffins. Some protested that the war was evil…it was,war always is. But-I willingly went to enlist to do my duty.

Once I began boot camp I liked what was happening-the one thing that really made me comfortable was the social structure of being in uniform. We all dressed the same-we all were alike. We all knew where we stood in rank-no airs and no country club snobbery of others…we all were the same. The only time I realized life on an equal stage. You knew who was the leader-you knew who was the peon. It was cut and dried right there…the blue uniforms were in one structure,the tan in another.

I know my description may be hard to follow,but I know what I saw I liked. I was comfortable there-comfortable knowing where each of us stood-and at what level. There was no needing to guess the social standing of one another-no fancy clothes,no social cliques…just the uniform.

After boots I was standing in awe of the ship I was about to come aboard. The USS Vulcan looked like an ocean liner-not a war ship. The interior was a massive repair shop-foundry’s and metal shops,wood working shops…watch repair shops-design shops…pipe fitting and cabinet making and anything that might be required to make emergency repairs-it was there. I was in love with the scene around me. I was in love with the United States Navy…I was in love with the USS Vulcan.

I had not finished high school. I was not drop out material. I was put out because of a situation between me and a student teacher. She was my first experience with a woman-and the way I always understood it,she became pregnant and was sent away-and I was kicked out,or-the way it was told to me…my father ‘dropped me out’. This was a paramount reason as to why I enlisted.

Once aboard the Vulcan I was given the routine tour-among the stops was to take exams given by the ships education officer. An opportunity arose to offer me an education-a complete education…college. I was offered an exchange-re-enlist then for 10 years and I would be given a choice of colleges to go to. I wanted that-I wanted to excel in school…social stigma interfered with my civilian education,my former student teacher finalized the end. Indeed-return to me what was interrupted.

I was not smart enough to realize how individual our lives are. Because we have family does not mean we are bonded in love like storys tell. My older brother was a petty-officer aboard the Vulcan too. At my request-I was stationed with him. It turned out to be the worse idea I ever had. Things were bad from the moment he learned I was there. I always believe he had much to do with the ‘trouble’ that I found myself in which led to my abrupt discharge….which was the trouble that found me in barracks D-where I was brutally attacked and raped. The event that changed my life forever.

After my swift life in the Navy I found myself broken. No where to go-at first my family home was closed to me. I did stay briefly in our area in the suburbs-only to find the need to escape and fleeing to Florida. Things were never the same. I would never be the same-my innocence wrongly destroyed…as the innocence of many was in that era. I could never hold a job-some one there would remind me of someone in barracks D and off I’d go. Blame would follow-my family thinking I was just ‘no count’ and never bothered to ask why-or what was wrong…why I had changed from the youngster I once was into the monster I eventually became. The monster…who I am inside from the fears and anxiety that I suffer since my days in barracks D.

My family did not raise a drunk-or drug addict. I became those to try to escape the memory-then and now praying that something would take me from this ugly life.

Yes…much of this makes no sense to the reader. It has never made any sense to me. I went off to do the right thing-to serve my country,to find honor in my life…to do honorably for this land of the free. Instead-I lost all hope for honor and doubt the land of the free.

Something that happened to me 39 years ago should have drifted away-it should have been different. I would have gone to college-I would have been a career man in the U.S.Navy. I might have been a commander of a ship-this I will never know. I wanted to…I wanted it all to be my life,to sail the sea’s and to be the leader of men-hopefully to be a hero,definitely to fight the enemy and keep our country free. Why that was not to be I am not certain-yet I am certain that life is not fair. I am certain barracks D created a hate for this life…I am certain I will be pleased when this life is over.

2 Responses to “living dead”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Hi i just read another of part of your life and i wrote the wrong website…I know the feeling of living this life too.. in many ways …I to was raped by a boyfriend in the Army but your not suppose to tell anyone that “right” you just keep quite and hold it inside and it all comes out in many diffrent ways …but most of all I WANT MY HUSBAND to get help ….help help help ….Shannon

    • jayherron Says:

      Shannon- I will make copy of your other comment and hand carry it to our Senators next week. You know and I know that I cannot promise anything more…but I promise to make your grief known to those who can make a change. I am sad for your husband-I do hope he finds help-strength…and the best of healing possable. PLEASE keep me posted if there is any help I can offer,I will help!

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