As I have said multiple times in these stories, my life was extremely chaotic. We were constantly being shuffled from here to there without much regard for what was best for us kids. Dad and Irene’s lives revolved around Dad’s business, The Brunswick, and their three kids, Donna, David and Hebert. Mom’s life revolved around what George needed and wanted. She was always playing “buffer” between us kids and George and made it clear that we were an unfair burden on George. She was often encouraging us kids to call our Dad and beg for child support. She seemed embarrassed that George was left to pay most of our financial support since Dad would never send child support regularly as ordered by the court.
We finally had a brief moment of stability when we lived in the Barn House in Escondido. Us kids loved that house. We lived there about two years which was the longest we had ever lived anywhere. After my 8th grade year, we moved to Poway for a few months and then Mom and George went off to Georgia. Roger and I had got our own place briefly before Social Services caught up with us and put us in a foster home. That didn’t work out and I ended up in a “receiving home” and Roger went to live with Allen Green’s family. At some point, Mom flew out from Georgia and got me out of the receiving home. It is all pretty sketchy in my memory at that point but somewhere along the line, I ended up living with a guy named Steve Castle and his Mother.
All I really remember about Steve was that he liked music and I think he wanted to play guitar. His Mom left us alone most of the time and sat in front of the television, drinking wine every night. It was when I was living with Steve that I read “Catcher in the Rye.” That is the extent of my memories. The following is a scanned letter from that time from me to my Mom. Apparently there had been quite a rain storm and Steve drove his car into a ditch. I have no recollection of that at all.
The letter must have been written in late November or early December as I mention George’s birthday which was in November and as for a typewriter for Christmas. Apparently my Mother had already told us that she was planning not to buy any of us kids anything for Christmas. On reflection, my guess is that she probably didn’t really have money of her own and would have been reluctant to ask George for any to buy anything for us. Eventually, she would buy me a typewriter for my 18th birthday a few years later.
In this letter, I mention someone named “Polly.” I have no idea of who that might have been. I also talk about a story that I want to write. In the story, I mention a child that discovers that he is “negro” at age 14. I must be in a typing class and writing this letter instead of doing whatever the assignment is. I think that Roger and I must have still been attending Poway High School.
In page 2 of this letter, I mention “our band.” That would have been “The Luv Please.” We were supposed to have played at a place called “The Italian Kitchen” but one of our band members, Barry, apparently had to go to L.A. instead.
I also say in the letter that Steve and I go see Gail about three times a week. Apparently she was living with Ole in Escondido at that time. I mention that they had recently moved closer to where I was living with Steve. I also mention going to Balboa Park in San Diego with Steve, someone named “Jim,” that I don’t remember, and Kathy which would have surely been Kathy Zaddock, my girlfriend of several years.
At the end, I ask my Mom to write me at 1050 E. Ohio Street. That must have been Steve’s address.
This next letter seems to be in response to the letter above as it mentions my having a cold. It discusses the possibility of my going up to Toppenish and storing my drums. It discusses Ole and Gail and admonishing me not to be a burden on them or cause them any expense. Mom blames Roger and I for an increase in Gail’s insulin because of the upheaval we caused. Of course, the real upheaval was her and George going off to Georgia and being so disruptive to our lives!
On the second page of this letter, Mom implores me to beg Dad for more money. Dad never wanted to pay child support. Mom could not get him to much of the time. We were put in the middle and always made to feel we were imposing on the world, George, Ole or whoever else it might have been and the responsibility for our own childhood expenses was put on us. I think that this made us feel like unworthy burdens much of the time.