A challenge was made… I’m going to do my best to follow through.
YOUR FIRST LOVE
Given my life story; this really is a difficult question to answer. I decided to look up the definition of LOVE (it didn’t help).
Tender Affection – I honestly believe I felt this way about the woman I married and who is the mother of my children.
Desire – A boy named Doug at Oregon State. He was as closeted as I was. Meaning, we both had “girlfriends” and were very careful how we acknowledged each other in public.
Unconditional – The first time I held each of my kids I knew what unconditional love is all about. Now that they are teenagers, I’ve learned that unconditional love hurts.
My mom was born in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas and raised through her mid-teens there. My grandparents moved the family to Salem, OR in the mid-50’s where she graduated from North Salem HS and Salem Business college (now Chemeketa CC) and became and early keypunch operator on the computer systems of the State Welfare Department. How she got hooked up with my father, I have no idea.
My dad was born in the Salem area, he didn’t get his GED until he was in the Army. Through the late 50’s and 60’s he was stationed around the country before serving a tour in Vietnam. In the early 70’s he worked for the Oregon Dept. of Transportation in those little scale shacks you see along the freeway. By this time, my mom had become the supervisor of the data entry section at the central office of the Welfare Department. Her office was in the building just to the NE of the Capitol building. I have memories of playing on the Capitol Mall, waiting for her to get off work.
Apparently this arc was too positive and a decision was made where mom quit her job and the family was packed up and moved to Buttfuck, Eastern Oregon (picture circa 1978). Mom didn’t work outside of the home again until I was in high school. When she was dying of cancer in 1990, she told me how disappointed she was in the path her life had taken. All my sister and I can do is wonder how different life would have been if we would have stayed in Salem. My upbringing was steeped in abuse; my dad’s chief means of communication was verbal and physical aggression. I used to dream of my mom taking my sister and I back to Salem and leaving him in his misery. That never happened; they say “misery loves company” for a reason. Her death certificate says she died of cancer, but I feel she died of hopelessness. What did she have to live for?
In the 20 years since, I’ve attempted to relate to my dad as an adult. But he usually returns to emotional manipulation and triangulation between my sister and I. He will most likely die a miserable, lonely man… apparently this is what he spent his life working towards.
A SONG TO MATCH YOUR MOOD