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Author Topic: What got me here, Part 1  (Read 4034 times)

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hillsbororiver

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What got me here, Part 1
« on: February 24, 2007, 06:23:04 PM »

I was born in 1954 in Rochester N.Y. to parents that were physically handicapped, my Mom fell victim to Polio when she was 3 years old, a rather severe case that had her in a coma for days and when she emerged from the hospital she was pretty much paralized on her right side.

My Dad had some congenital issues with his hip and leg and had to have the leg amputated at about 5 years old, he was in and out of hospitals up until he was 8 and the severity of his condition delayed his start at school until he was 9 years old, this late start and being "different" helped him to form alot of bitterness through life that showed itself in a quick trigger temper, even with his handicap he was a powerfully built man who could strike fear into people when angered.

Both my folks suffered the predjudice of lowered expectations, many of their family and neighbors would murmer on how they would probably never marry or move out of their parents house or even drive a car (they did not know automatic transmissions were right around the corner). Neither one believed they would be dependent all their lives, my mother quietly (sometimes not so quietly) seethed in response to this sentiment and my father would display anger and be ready to fight anyone who suggested he was a cripple who would never be independent.

I was the firstborn and 2 years later my sister was born, we lived (but did not notice) very close to poverty those first few years and we also did not notice or have it brought to our attention that our parents were different. That came when we moved to a "better" neighborhood in 1961. There were some wild kids in that area even though the neighborhood was newer with parks and wider streets, bigger houses and fewer rental properties. At that time I was a studious kid more interested in my books and even the Catholic Church than I was into being one of the crowd.

My sister and I endured some taunts about our parents from some of the other kids, clever thngs like "retards" and "freaks" would come up but we usually just tried to ignore it (but I did not forget it) and hang around a more stable group of kids.

In January of 1963 my other sister was born and we were ecstatic with our new family member, Susan was a beautiful baby, born with a thick, full head of jet black hair and big blue eyes that would follow you all over, she was sweet and rarely cried except for letting us know she felt it was feeding time. She really seemed to make us complete and was constantly showered with attention from all of us.

Like most young boys from that era I was a cowboy deep down so you can imagine my joy when one of my friends told me about "Miss Marcy" who owned a horse farm out in the country, her daughter and son in law ran it for the most part but she would go there on weekends to help out with the customers who would rent horses to ride. What a fantastic thing to anticipate when my friend told me Miss Marcy finally gave in to his begging her for us to come and help out and even ride horses! We went with her early that Saturday and started shoveling the stalls upon our arrival, I will never forget her telling my friend that his stuffy nose would be cleared up in "one minute flat" once he got a few nosefulls of the stalls as we cleaned them, she was right! We worked cleaning up, throwing hay around all morning and then we finally got to ride, that may have been the happiest day in my life, at least for a while.

After that adventure was over my friend and I fell asleep on the ride home, Miss Marcy nudged me awake at my house but had to let me off a few houses away as our driveway was full of cars and cars were parked all over the street, she said it looks like you got a real shindig going on there, instictively I knew it wasn't any shindig, I knew something was wrong, terribly wrong.

I was right. When I walked (actually ran) into the house I saw women with tear streaked faces surrounding my mother and a group of uncles and family friends around my father as I raced past them upstairs to my little baby sister's room shrieking "where's Susan, where's Susan?" I got to her room and saw it was empty, my uncle brought me back downstairs as my parents told me what happened, my sister had her mid day meal and promptly went to sleep, my mother had heard a whimper a little while later, checked her out and things seemed to be alright, Susan was peacefully sleeping, or so she thought, when my mother checked on her a little later she was cold to the touch.

There is no way I can describe the feelings that overwhelmed me, helplessness, anger, rage, self pity, all horrible feelings. It was a nightmare.

Turns out that my little sister had a heart condition and it simply stopped beating, why us, why her? My feelings toward God had changed a bit, right then and there.

It is funny how kids are about some things, the death of my little sister made our family even "freakier" in some of their eyes, there was a bit of a different reaction though from me, this anger I felt at the loss of Susan being snatched away from us changed how I dealt with any insuations or taunts, instead of looking the other way I was on the attack, verbally, physically imposing real pain on these wise guys. My school work began to suffer and I went from a quiet, polite boy into what was being viewed by some other parents as a "bad influence."

We struggled as a family with this for over a year, my other sister a bit more withdrawn and me alot more aggressive, but my mother had a great announcement in the summer of '65, she was pregnant again! Hope was in the air, a positive vibe permeated the household, a new member of the family on the way!

My brother Billy was born in December and he was a chubby happy, smiling little guy, what a blessing he was to us. But a couple months later it was found he had some issues too, issues that required surgery, major surgery. He had some blockage in the fluid that surrounds the brain and he had pressure building up that had to be relieved, I will not go into all the details but the long and short of it is he survived the surgery and was back home with us apparently healthy, definitely happy once again.

Things were going very well for a year or so and in the meantime I had become smitten by a girl in the neighborhood, she was smart, beautiful, played the piano and had a great singing voice, we spent alot of time together playing our instruments (I played violin and guitar) singing, studying and I was returning to a more studious kid with a healthier outlook on life and God. I would spend much of my spare time at her house and even though we were very young (13 at the time) her parents had no problem with me being there so often.

One Friday night as I was watching the High School Basketball Tournament with Roberta's dad their phone rang and her mother told me my sister was on the phone and it was very important, when I got to the phone, slightly annoyed by the interruption I heard her scared voice saying "you better get home Joe, Billy is sick." No more questions, I dropped the phone and ran home as I got within a couple blocks I could see the emergency vehicles flashing lights reflecting on the houses, then the fireworks and flashing lights in my brain exploded, "no not again."

When I got to the house my mother and brother were in an ambulance she was holding him but an emergency worker was holding an oxygen mask to his tiny face, my mother looked in my direction but her eyes were blank and I knew she did not see me.

We spent practically all of our time at the hospital for a few days after my brother's seizure, he was in a coma, his right arm and leg twitching on every heartbeat, just like my mom exactly 40 years earlier he was paralized on his right side.

On the 3rd or 4th day he stopped twitching and he opened his eyes, smiling at us once again, the doctors were amazed at this and were not shy about exclaiming their pleasant surprise at this turn of events, Billy had to go through some tests but it looked like he might very well be home in a day or two. I remember heading off to school with my mother in the kitchen as I told her I couldn't wait to come home and see Billy here again, she smiled and said it will be great, won't it?

It wasn't.
Billy had another seizure that very afternoon at the hospital and this time there was no reviving.
Hello Joe, welcome to the world of insane rage and self destructiveness.

I was numb for weeks, thankfully Roberta and her family were in my life at the time because I could not stand being at my own house anymore, everything reminded me of Billy, Susan, my freaky family. I was drifting without a rudder, I did not know anything except I hated God. That much I knew.

Slowly I drifted away from Roberta and her family, I knew I was screwed up and did not want to infect them, I was a hater and I sought the other misfits in the neighborhood who could hate everything with me, fighting was my new hobby, anything for a thrill, vandalism, theft, soon will be booze and drugs, big time.

Every now and then I would visit Roberta or call her, we remained friends but her family was a bit wary of me, she actually liked listening to some of my adventures but my one area of sanity was keeping her away from it all.

Sports was something I had some ability in and the grades required to play them kept me at least minimally interested in school, along with that I got a weekend job bussing tables and washing dishes so my time to act the wild man was severely curtailed, I actually started thinking life wasn't so bad after all and just maybe I could be "normal" I hadn't thought that in a while. It had now been about 3 years since my brother died and the intense sting had morphed into a dull void, that was slowly filling up with school, sports, work and the wine and weed I would occasionally indulge in, less than before but more than a person of that age should even know about. At least I was staying (barely) out of reform school or prison.

As a late birthday present (Roberta's birthday was Jan. 16, same as my sister Susan's) I wanted to take Roberta to the Chicago concert on the 29th as we both loved their music, she agreed and looked forward to it, so with good intentions in place I made a date with her for the evening of the 29th of January. Well good intentions don't always make good results, especially in my case. I procrastinated on buying the tickets, started drinking and drugging with a slightly older crowd and by the time I got my act together the concert was sold out. Bummer, a real bummer, no idea how big a bummer was just around the corner.

Roberta had not heard from me for a couple weeks so she called me a day or two before the concert asking if we were still going to the concert, after slapping myself in the face for being such a loser I told her no, couldn't get the tickets. She told me "okay, that's what I thought." I wish she would have called me every name in the book but instead she said, "no problem, I was asked to babysit that night so I guess I will take the job, if you want you can come over."
These were the last words I heard her speak.

I elected to hang out with my "druggie, boozer buddies instead, waking up on the floor of a friend's seedy apartment that unforgetable Saturday morning, the phone rang and it was one of my other friends who had managed to stumble home the night before, he told me, "Joe, did you here the news? Roberta is dead!"

Lights out.

Joe     

 

 
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iris

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 07:28:15 PM »

Joe,

That was so powerful!!!
I had tears running down my cheeks.  :'(


Peace and Love,
Iris
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PKnowler

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 08:15:04 PM »

Oh Joe! :o That has got to be the saddest story I've ever heard. :'( I kept waiting for a punch line that it was all just some parable or something. My heart goes out to you!  :'(  I am on the edge of my seat waiting for part 2. I've just got to know what happened to Roberta. Surely things got better for you. How did you ever come to love and trust the Lord after all that? 

How are you spiritually today? How do you feel about God with all that has gone in your life?

I await part 2.

Bless you Bro!
~Paula
« Last Edit: February 24, 2007, 08:15:50 PM by PKnowler »
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hebrewroots98

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 08:30:27 PM »

Joe,
I am speechless and saddened for you.  How adversities drove you to that extreme;  how an innocent little boy who tried to be the big brother to his little siblings had to learn how to face life's adversitites and did well occasionally and really had no direction or copings skills,  so he blew it at other times; (that is the nature of the beast/satan; to use our flesh and human weaknesses against oursleves when the chips are down.)  I am eager to hear the rest of the story.  We know that in your past,  what satan had meant for bad, that God turned it into good for you Joe!  (I forget what your name is in Hebrew...but, I know that yoseph has ablessed and a special meaning!)  Preaise God that ther will be a part 2...some good news that comes out of these tradgeties. (Like one day you will know these little ones AGAIN!!!!!!! :D  AND ALL IS NOT LOST.

(btw, it is ironic that I have a brother named Billy and I was Susie when we were growing up...those were very popular names in that era...he was born in 1960 and I in 1961. )  
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Deborah-Leigh

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2007, 07:05:39 AM »

....no words Joe.....just tears......
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Redbird

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 09:16:45 AM »

Dear Joe,

My heart goes out to you.  I always tell my sons not to judge a bitter person, because you do not know what they have been through, or are going through in this life.  As a little girl, I'll always remember driving on a long road trip, just staring out the window, looking at all the different people in cars, thinking - WE ARE ALL THE SAME - just passing through this world.........

Thank you for sharing your story.......Joseph, in hebrew, means: HE SHALL ADD.

Prayers are with you.
Lisa
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Sorin

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 12:33:20 PM »

Joe,

That was truly a sad story, and what makes it even sadder is that it's not a 'story' but your life. I too await part two. And in many ways [rebelling, being a trouble maker, stealing, drugs, alcohol, anger towards God to the point of cursing Him with just about every foul word imaginable, etc...] I can relate. 

Now I want to know what changed it for you, or rather, how did the change come about. So much death everywhere, I can't blame you for hating God.

Take care,
Sorin
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gmik

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 12:55:19 PM »

Joe, thank you for trusting us with your pain.  It seemed like a Hollywood script and not real life.  Real life can't be like that.  I, too, was waiting for a punch line.  When you can, please continue. This is how God works and is truly inspiring.  Can you bring up your testimony that you had posted before?? I bet all the newbies haven't read it.
God Bless Brother.
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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2007, 08:53:41 AM »

I waited to complete this testimony before responding to all of your kind comments.

Iris,

Your empathetic spirit reveals itself in all of your posts, I know I am speaking for many when I say I truly appreciate your fellowship here.

Thank you,

Paula,

You know that we all have had a unique journey that led and leads us to Him, I did not respond to your post earlier as I knew many of your questions would be answered in the subsequent installments. Thank you for all the uplifting and encouraging fellowship you bring here.

Dear Susan,

Susan was not only my sister's name but also is my wife's name, she also despises the name "Sue" preferring Susan and tolerating "Suzy" which her brother and sister call her. Her Mom used "Suz" she wasn't overjoyed about that name either.

I would say that the period I covered in part one was easily the most painful period because of my youth, it did prepare me for the roller coaster ride He put me on but it was it indeed a dark and gloomy experience when you have no clue as to its purpose. The Light of His Word and Promise melt away the clouds of despair.

Thank you,

Arcturus,

Thank you also for your empathy, your well thought out posts and your way with words, they are inspiring and thought provoking, you are a valued Sister.
 
Lisa,

You are so right, one of the things I have learned through all this is empathy, it is true the bitter or self destructive type of person may have issues that we have absolutely no clue about, there may be things beneath the surface that explain even justify certain actions but without knowing this firsthand we must always remember the Lord is leading us through these experiences as He forms us in His image, I believe empathy is a form of godliness, especially when it is unconditional.

Thank you,


 
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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2007, 10:46:52 AM »

Joe,

Hi Sorin,

That was truly a sad story, and what makes it even sadder is that it's not a 'story' but your life. I too await part two. And in many ways [rebelling, being a trouble maker, stealing, drugs, alcohol, anger towards God to the point of cursing Him with just about every foul word imaginable, etc...] I can relate.

Instinctively I recognized that you would be able to relate to more than a few of my experiences as many of your posts would (and will) remind me of things I might have said when I was your age. I feel though that you are light years ahead of where I was (when I was in my 20's) because of the things you are contemplating and learning on Bible truths.  


Now I want to know what changed it for you, or rather, how did the change come about. So much death everywhere, I can't blame you for hating God.

Hopefully that has been answered in the later parts.

Take care,
Sorin

His Peace to you Brother,

Joe

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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2007, 10:54:57 AM »

Joe, thank you for trusting us with your pain.  It seemed like a Hollywood script and not real life.  Real life can't be like that.

Hi Gena, your are right, some of the things we go through seem impossibly bizarre. I have noticed through the years that fact is indeed stranger than fiction, you just couldn't make some of this stuff up.

  I, too, was waiting for a punch line.  When you can, please continue. This is how God works and is truly inspiring.  Can you bring up your testimony that you had posted before?? I bet all the newbies haven't read it.

My previous Testimony (Prayer answered after 34 years) I deleted because in rereading I felt I glamorized a few of my experiences unintentionally, when I attempted to edit it better it seemed choppy and frenetic so I decided to start fresh and get a clearer picture painted.

I want to thank you Sister for your fellowship and thoughtfulness, it is also nice having another person from our generation who can perhaps relate to some of the things many of our younger Brothers and Sisters may be scratching their heads over. 

God Bless Brother.

His Peace to you Sister,

Joe


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hebrewroots98

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Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 01:15:27 PM »

WE LOVE YOU JOE! :D
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Dean Peterman

  • Guest
Re: What got me here, Part 1
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2007, 08:33:51 PM »

Thanks for sharing Joe.
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