Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dirty Laundry

With apologies to my Mamaw who I loved more than anyone on earth, I will, with this post reveal some family dirty laundry. It's only peripherally stitching related but since this may be the only public memorial to my dad's wife, I'm going to tell the tale here and I plan to tell it true. I will start with a progress picture of my Mouline Rouge. I haven't worked on this project in a month of Sundays. When I pulled it out of it's hidey hole, I remembered that I was stitching it using a wooden hoop my dad and his wife brought me back from Germany when they went to visit her crackhead idiot son who was being "kept" by a rich German woman. I think at the time she owned nail salons. They have since gotten married and it's entirely possible they were married at the time my dad and his wife went for their visit.
Jean asked me what I would like from Germany and I said "Oh some stitching stuff". When they came back they brought me this hoop and some Anchor threads and I think a big hunk of fabric to make into a tablecloth.

Here is MR out of the hoop. I'm stitching it on 40ct lambswool with DMC 498.

At the same time I am wandering down memory lane, looking at the hoop and wondering how Jean is, I get a call from my brother that our uncle had called him and said that Jean, my daddy's widow, passed away last Tuesday. This was the following Monday. So I call my uncle and try to figure out what's going on, there's no obituary, nothing online, except I ran across where her house had been foreclosed on and auctioned off on April 15. When my dad died her idiot son and his wife moved back here from Germany to live with her, to take care of her. She got my dad's pension, her pension from the Sheriff's Dept and I believe she got some SS disability because of a degenerative back disease but I'm not 100% sure about that but she was not hurting for money. She had been sick for many years with lymphoma, when my dad passed away and my brother and I got nothing and had to beg for the few things of my dad's we did get, well, we felt bad for her because she was ill. My brother mowed her lawn, did her grocery shopping and took care of the "Honey Do" list for her. I called regularly. My brother discovered while trying to help her manage her bills that she had been wiring her idiot son money by the thousands, double digit thousands, so that he and his wife could get out of Germany, I guess the rich nail salon proprietress had fallen on hard times. Anyway, it was her money, not ours so let her send it all to the idiot crackhead doofus.

Eventually they arrive, at this point my brother and I can no longer get through to her on the phone as crackhead goober doofus wants to chat us up. We know his mother's schedule better than him, we know when to call, but both of us finally gave up. My brother quit going over doing chores because he and the doofus goober crackhead would get into fights. So we both went on disconnect with her which is how we ended up out of the loop at the time of her death.

I have known Jean for most of my life. Her first husband and my parents were best couple friends. They rode motorcycles together, we went camping together as families. We spent a lot of time with them for several years. Then one day, they are gone. Their house is empty, they vanished. A few years later my dad gets a call from her husband and they are living in some middle of nowhere place in Mississippi. They want to see us. We head down there and they are living on a farm and telling stories of their time in South America. I never got the true story of how and why they ended up there, if they were running from something or to something but they did come back quietly and in the shadows. Well Jean eventually divorced her first husband, got on the Sheriff's Department, I think she was a sargeant at the time she retired but I'm not sure about that. She had remarried to another Sheriff's Deputy. She divorced him. And now I'm not sure if she had a third husband or if my dad was number three. So we will go with my dad being husband number three but how does my mother's former best friend in the whole wide world end up being married to my dad? Well, as best as I can tell, Jean's oldest son committed suicide and somehow she got a hold of my dad and they started talking, renewing the friendship. My dad, God love him, was always chasing the dream and unfortunately the dream was never my mother. Any woman that wasn't my mother seemed to be who he wanted to be with. Other kids other than me and my brother were kids he wanted to be around. I don't think he could help it. But he and Jean reconnected, apparently on many levels and when he and my mother finally divorced, curiously right about the time my brother turned 18 and child support would no longer be an issue, they married.

As far as I can tell they had a happy marriage and were probably soulmates. They indulged each other's whims, neither one could do any wrong in the other's eyes and in a weird crazy kind of way they embraced each other's conspiracy theories and had guns all over the house and bought groceries like they were buying for an army because what if Armageddon arrives and we can't get to the store and they were extremely private and guarded and in this whole wide world is there anything else anyone can ask of a marriage and a partnership?

My daddy and Jean

Jean was always good to me. She had known me most of my life and while I wanted to hold her accountable for my parents horrible marriage, it was horrible way before she came along. My dad, he just never met a woman he didn't like. It's a sad thing but it's true. Over the years I've come to accept this part of him and forgive him because while his choices hurt us, he was a dreamer. I loved my dad, I loved his kooky, wonderful artist side. I loved how quiet he could be and then out of the blue be so unexpectedly funny. He grew his hair long, got his ear pierced, was covered in tattoos, grew a fu manchu, and rode motorcycles until his health wouldn't let him do that any more. He was my dad, and I loved him, so I loved Jean.

I spent a week with them when my Mamaw passed away. The room I stayed in looked like Marie Antoinette threw up all over it. Their doberman slept with me(probably to make sure I didn't try to steal anything) and I was surrounded by Jean's collection of dolls. Some Marie Osmond dolls, some very fine porcelain dolls, I'm not up on my collectibles, but there were dolls every where. She had a little log cabin in the front yard, the size of a child's playhouse, set up like a life size doll house. She loved her collection, they made her happy, maybe filled that void for the little girl she never had. Everything was very feminine and ruffledy all over the house except for the few spaces that housed my dad's odd collection of things.

Daddy and Jean and Harrison

November 1995

I don't know how Jean's life has been since her son and his wife moved in with her. We lost contact. When he(doofus, crackhead son) called my uncle he didn't know what to do about burying her. She had been gone a week and was still laying on a slab in the morgue. She had wanted to donate her body to science but it was so full of disease they turned her down. There was some nonsense about a cemetary and it being underconstruction, and then "I want to cremate her but don't have the money, but it's okay the county will bury her". That is so very wrong. She had her life together before all this. She had money, her house was almost paid for if not paid for, good insurance, and to end up like this. My brother talked to some people at the Sheriff's Department and they told him if her son would contact them they would take care of her. My brother was going to tell my uncle who could then maybe contact her son and hopefully she will get a proper burial.

Jean, may you R.I.P., tell my daddy hi and give him a hug for me and I hope that you are now at peace and pain free for the first time in many, many years.


Katrina said...

Isn't it funny how pulling out Moulin Rouge and seeing that hoop made you think. I am sorry about your step-mother's death and that you didn't know. Sometimes it's therapy to just write it all down.

Sandy said...

Melissa, I'm so sorry about Jean. Sometimes people we love make bad choices for themselves, and there's really not much you can do. Such a sad story, and I know you're hurting. You had to let go once, and I'm sure it feels as though you're going through it again. I hope you can find some peace.

Sylvia said...

Oh Melissa, I am sorry to read about Jean. Its hard when all these memories come up like that. You tried your best in this relationship. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Siobhan said...

(((((((((((((((((Melissa))))))))))))))) I'm sorry about Jean. The crackhead son--well, karma is a b*tch.

Your MR looks great--love the red!

cauchy09 said...

wow, what a story! great stitching, btw...

Michelle said...

Your 13 Colonies looks fantastic as your blog header. And MR is looking lovely. It is interesting the way our minds work - pulling out that hoop and thinking about them bringing it back to you. Sorry to hear about Jean as well. It's so hard.

mdgtjulie said...

Wow, you're so understanding of you dad and his vices. I don't know if I could forgive that in my dad. I'm glad you're at peace with the whole situation. It must have been hard on you growing up!!