I just thought I better post this. The things I write about will be scattered and out of order. I might talk about something that happened in may 1997 and the next post might be about something that happened in june 2003. I haven’t and I’m not sure I will be coming up with plan to deal timeline issues. I guess tags will serve that purpose for now.
I was sitting here thinking about how I have been making a conscious attempt to stay away from Facebook. I think about deactivating my profile but stop when I realize I have to start remembering my passwords to applications I use Facebook to long into. So I’ve stopped looking at my Facebook by deleting the app on my phone.
This was something I do a few times a year just to cleanse myself. Last November I took the month off to avoid the post election B.S. . I needed that time away.
I came back in mid December but started to get depressed. I used Facebook to stay in touch with my friends. I would send a message or post something to their walls. Little by little I started to realize that I was always the person trying to make contact. I even tried calling these friends of mine. I wanted to hang out. Get a drink. Maybe take a road trip. Nothing but silence. These were people that I’ve know most of My life. I felt abandoned by these people. People who I shared adventures with so many years ago. I want share more adventures but maybe they’ve outgrown me. I would ask them if they answered their phones.
I look at friends I made during my college time in the Midwest and how their friends have continued to stay close all these years. It makes me jealous because I thought I would have a crew like that. I’m getting married in 6 months and I don’t think anyone I want there will make it. I sent out invitations but I think it’s time realize that they might no show. Seeing these people on Facebook makes me sadder . Offline I feel good about my life, and family. We have fun all the time and I can’t let people online who don’t seem to appreciate me affect me. It’s time to cut people loose.
My daughter Katherine just got into a high school for the arts this past week. It was a reason to celebrate and be happy. Sixty people from across the state had applied with only 15 chosen to enter the visual arts program. She was one of those select few. This was the school that she wanted to go to because she thought that it would help become an animator . Her art mean so much to her that her mom, Marie, and I knew was an opportunity that Katherine had to try and get in. We want the best for her and Katherine staying in this area for high school was not it. Marie and I don’t come from privileged backgrounds but were both able to go to private high schools and receive quality educations because our families were willing to sacrifice and put in the effort to get for us the opportunities to do better. While this new school for Katherine is a public charter school it will require for us to sacrifice time, money and effort. The school is the state capital so I’ll have to drive into town just about every day. We’ll work it out.
I do worry about my daughter and how this new setting is going to be for her. 240 students from around the state . Some living close by and other leaving in the dorms. I saw some of the families at the Open House a few months ago and many of them were tax brackets way above us. I don’t want my daughter looked down on because her family lives in a double-wide trailer on an Native American reservation. She’ll survive because I know once she shows how talented she is , nothing else will matter.
I know for her it’s going to be strange. New people , new place, new everything. I try to tell her that I know what she is going through because I had to get used to new people, new place, new everything. I figured I would say something about when I had to get used to new place.
It was 1993 and I grew up in a small town in California. I was happy for the most part growing up. I played baseball and had an okay time in school. In middle school I was part of the G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education) program taking high school math and science classes. I had passed test some test that was giving to high school student so they graduate , while in the 7th grade. I was still getting 2.5 GPA mostly because I was doing enough to pass the class. I think my parents thought I could do better and a change was needed for me. I just wanted to do enough to pass , which is still a problem for me , yet my parents saw more in me.
They had talked to me about a boarding school in New Mexico that I might be interested in. I told them that would cool. I was starting a new high school if I stayed in California and I didn’t have the largest number of friends so I figured why not. I left California to spend the summer with my mom’s family on the Indian reservation she was from. Had fun with my cousins that summer and had forgotten about the boarding school. I was set to go back to California and start my freshman year.
The night before we were supposed to leave my parents ask me , ” Do you want to go that boarding school we talked about?”. I said that I was still interested , thinking that I would go my sophomore year. That’s when they told me that entrance exam was the next day early in the morning. We were going to have to get up and leave by 3:00 am to get the test. So that’s what we did. Got to the school and took the test. Finished the test and drove back to California.
I figured I wouldn’t get into the school and prepared to go the local high school. I still had four weeks until that school started. Then we got a letter saying that I had been accepted to the boarding school and that school started in one week. So we had to run around and start shopping for new school clothes, a footlocker to put my stuff in, a laundry bag, bathroom room supplies (shampoo, soap, towels, wash rags…..) and school supplies. We got it done and made the trip to New Mexico. The whole way there I listened to the two tapes that I had for my walkman, Siamese Dream-Smashing Pumpkins , and Freaky Styley– Red Hot Chili Peppers.
We get to what is my new school along with all the other students. The school was a 7th thru 12th grade Co-Ed Catholic school where some lived in town and the rest lived in the dorms. It was crazy that day as I took my stuff to my living space for the next year. I was in the 9th grade dorm room that consisted of a large room divided by a 5ft wall in the middle with about 16 beds on either side of the wall for a total of 32 person capacity. The bed had wooden drawers underneath them and were attached to the wooden dresser that had a few more drawers and a little closet to store your laundry and such.
Across from the dorm room was the bathroom.It was a few urinals and a line of stall on one wall and a line of sinks and mirror on the other that was broken up in the middle by the entrance to the showers. It was made to serve the 50 odd boys in the downstairs dorms. The shower was the most shocking thing to some students. It wasn’t a series of stalls but was a large shower room that had a large shower in the middle of the room with 4 shower heads on opposite sides of the shower pipe.
here are the dorm beds
this is a photo of the shower
As I settled in that first day in the dorms many thoughts came into my mind. Was I going to make friends here? Can I really handle being away from my family (my brother did live an hour away but it felt so much further away)? Would they think my music was weird? I didn’t know anyone at this new school and some of these people came to boarding school with siblings, cousins and friends.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t the only one going through this. A lot of the guys were like me , hundreds of miles away from home and with no one they knew there at the school. The idea of getting away from your parents at 13 years old is exciting then the reality set in that you truly have start being more independent. It’s scary. Most kids are 18 and going off to college when they leave the house and here I was about to start a new adventure along with a lot of guys here. It would be a four year adventure where I would meet people from all over the place. I would get to know a whole new city. See things I would have never saw if I stayed in small town California. Made friends that I still talk to now. I had my first foray in the world of dating , it didn’t end well. I learned more about who I was.
While my Katharine isn’t going to boarding at the new school I hope she realizes that this new school is a way for her to meet people that she wouldn’t have ever met if she stayed at the local school. She is an artist and being around artist and sharing ideas in a language I don’t understand will be so worth the intial nervousness of this new school. I hope she takes advantage of the oppurtunity.
this blog isn’t up to the best start. I started working on some things but it seems that the past month I’ve been sick or just tired. When I feel like continuing my writing I keep getting interrupted by life. Nothing major personally in my life yet but things around me that I’ll write about later.
I have had for a while this idea of writing down some of the thoughts that popped into my head. One reason was to just get the ideas out of my head. I keep saying that I should write “this” down. I should right down the stories from my life not for anyone but maybe my kids. It wouldn’t be the most exciting but it would be my story. It would give them a sense of who I am someday.Nothing profound. Chances are they may never read them. Right now “Katharine” is 14, “Ann” is 10 and “Allen” is 5. They are the joy of my life, as they should be.
This idea actually started in employee break room in April of 2002. I had just got the news that I was going to be a father 24 hours before and had returned that day from a road trip to see “Marie”, the mother of just revealed unborn child who be named Katharine.
I get a phone call at work.I thought something was up because there wasn’t anyone I could think of that would call me in the middle of my shift. I pick the phone and it’s Marie. She says , “James, I’m pregnant”. This I follow up with a slow ten second , “Wowwww…..”. Marie hung up me. I hung up the phone thinking to myself, “This really happen?”
This was a total shock. I had just found a new job after being unemployed a few months, moved into a new apartment with my brother and most importantly I had just ended a what at the time was a 2 year on/off relationship with the Marie a month before.
I hadn’t talked to Marie for a while. We had tried to make it work between us but things never seemed to fit. I was 22, only lasted a year in college and still trying to grow up . Marie had just turned 19 and was a month away from high school graduation with sights set on going out of state for school. She had been accepted at Loyola University in Chicago, Arizona State, Xavier University in New Orleans among other schools. She had an idea of doing something , while I was content to float along. Now I feel like an asshole. I might have screwed up her life with a “This will be the last time we probably talk to each other because we live 90 miles away from each others so let’s just do this one last time but unprotected because I just ran out of condoms” hook up. I was scared.
I told my boss I had a family emergency , a family I didn’t realize I was about to having, and I had to take for the day. My boss was cool and told be if I needed another day just to call or leave a message.So race to the time clock , clock out and quick step it to the parking lot. That’s when I remember that my brother dropped me off at work and had my car. I had no way to get a hold of my brother so I figured I would just take a cab home and hope that he was there or would get home soon. I sat on the couch thinking what was I going to do. Finally my brother gets home at 10 pm and I jump in the car and start the 90 mile drive north for see Marie.
The whole way I’m speeding and trying to make it to Marie’s house quickly as I can. The drive is a blur and I see that everyone is gone from her house and I knock on her window and she wakes up an lets me. She seemed surprised to see me. I didn’t say that I was coming up and other than say “wow” like an idiot on the phone she hadn’t heard how I was handling the news. She took me back to her bedroom and we laid on the bed and I held her. I knew I had to be there with her at that moment. I can’t remember where the rest of her family was but she was there by herself in the house when she found out she was about to be a mother. I could let that happen. We talked about the news. We were both scared. The next day I drove straight to work. I tried to figure out what to do. I was trying to process this new information. That’s when I figured out at least one thing. I found a notebook that wasn’t being used and started writing, “Dear Baby…….”.
I wanted my child to be able to see that I was thinking of her from the moment I found out about her. I wrote about how doctor appointments. The way me and Marie were getting along or not getting along. How thing were going in the world while she grew in the womb.
I wrote at least a few times a week. This was cool until during the move to a new apartment I lost the notebook. I keep saying I would start again but could never get the motivation so the idea of restarting was there just nothing happened of it. I was asked to help developing content for another website. I wrote some articles and I thought it would be cool if my kids stumbled across some of the things I wrote in a few years. I had fun. Some of the articles had to do with my kids and being a father. Some talked about music and sports.
I didn’t feel what I was writing meshed with the other things the website was publishing. I wasn’t getting paid but I started to feel like an employee rather than a partner in something. The unfortunate breaking point was when something I had wrote, a very personal post on Facebook to help a friend who was dealing with heartbreak. That post \ ended up on being published on website I was writing for. This was done without my knowledge and without crediting me . I found out only because I went to post something new and saw it. I decided if I was going to write I was going to have to do it myself.
So now we will see what this page evolves into. The purpose might change but I’m going to try.