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Some Unforgettable People

 
 
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 08:35 am
The first little tale I have concerns a man I met after I opened up a used book shop. The book shop specialized in collector's comics, but I had a good selection of used novels and a number of old record albums. It was in a poor neighborhood, the only one I could afford to take a gamble in. I would work my regular 40 hours and then rush to have the store open. Little kids came in and browsed and sometimes bought; a few stole the more valuable comics, since I was entirely too trusting. And, there was some traffic in the novels, particularly the ones by Louis Lamour.
One afternoon as I stood behind the counter, daydreaming that I had customers, a man about thirty years old came in. He stood around a minute or two and then produced a watch. "Will you buy this?"
I told him I had no interest in buying watches.
The man was insistent, and I knew intuitively he was dead broke.
I told him I couldn't buy it.
The man became beliggerent: "You people sit up there and don't help people like me -" Something to that effect.
While I was busy explaining that I am no better off than he (I was in fact broke myself), the man flipped through the record albums. He picked up the Stones' Beggar's Banquet and pitched it on the counter. "Here's your Beggar's Banquet."
I had been bracing for violence, but the man abruptly left.
Occasionally I wonder what the man went home to; how he solved his problem; if he had the strength of character to lift himself up. We'll never know.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 12,925 • Replies: 122
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:13 am
Edgar
Edgar, one of the benefits of being an A2K member is meeting folks like you with your big heart and great talent.

BBB
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:26 am
standing by the RR track, the summer of '68
I met a man with sparkling eyes
who said to me "My dinner's always late"
I said to him "I've a jug of wine and a loaf of bread
if you'll meet me by the gate."
He drank some wine and ate some bread
he gave me his shinny dime
and said to me "its about my time"
in the morning, I found him dead.
He had asked me for nothing and little did I give
He had nothing for which to live.
I did not measure his value then or what he had to offer
He was just a stranger when he came
and still a stranger when he died.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:32 am
Dys
And Dys ain't bad, either.

BBB
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 05:39 pm
A prominent citizen of his town found himself on top of the world in his gathering old age. He had a fine home, loving wife, and a few grown children, whom he had made rich. He was prepared to retire in comfort and splendor. Then, alzheimer's began an intrusion into his life, for both he and his wife.

As the disease progressed, he and his children had many arguments. The children placed the man and his wife in an apartment complex and essentially abandoned them. In the four years I knew the couple, I never saw a one of his children visit. A sister did, however, come by from time to time.

The man was very civil. He could speak intelligently of business and many issues without once betraying the fact that he was in mental decline. He spent much of his time making wooden plaques, which at first glance looked like long thin blocks of wood with some sticks glued on in a pattern that appeared to form Chinese characters, perhaps. But if one stood away from them the sticks suddenly spelled out the name "Jesus." The plaques each had a small cross on top.

The man would come out on the hottest days with Cokes for the men mowing and clipping the grounds.

He never forgot the power of money, and he freely gave $20 bills to the apartment staff members for trivial reasons.

While visiting in the apartments' office, I witnessed the man come in and write out a check for six months rent. He went half-way home, then came back and attempted to give the manager another check for six months rent. In fact, he repeated this action three or four times before finally going home.

His wife got in a habit of walking on the grounds a few minutes and getting lost. I escorted her home once. She looked up at me with the most trusting, grateful eyes I have ever seen. The man became so disturbed that this happened, he attempted to chew her out a second, but dropped it.

One day he and his wife went out driving. They had to ask directions home. His children learned of the incident and took their car away when they weren't looking. The man spent much of the next year scouring the parking lot for his car. He offered me some big money if I could get it back.

To keep the man from burning down the apartment, the children took the man and his wife to dinner - During their absence, the maintenance man disconnected the kitchen range.

In all of this time the man ws the perfect gentleman. I conversed with him often, because I respected him so. In one particularly heartbreaking incident, the wife got lost and that was the incident caused the children to move the man and his wife to a home where they could be taken care of and watched. The wife died shortly thereafter. When the man asked about her they would tell him she was out getting her hair done and he would forget.

The man had left his apartment in immaculate condition. I was disturbed to be there when the couple's children threw their cherished photos in the trash.

The last I heard concerning this man, he was living with a family for pay, just like any family guest, and he was surprisingly healthy and even happy. I have no point to make other than that I am proud that this person was my friend.
0 Replies
 
doglover
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 05:50 pm
edgarblythe wrote:
The man had left his apartment in immaculate condition. I was disturbed to be there when the couple's children threw their cherished photos in the trash.

The last I heard concerning this man, he was living with a family for pay, just like any family guest, and he was surprisingly healthy and even happy. I have no point to make other than that I am proud that this person was my friend.


The first paragraph tells just how pathetic, uncaring and unloving human beings can be. The second paragraph tells just how uplifting, caring and loving human beings can be.

edgar...I'm sure that gentleman was proud to call YOU his friend too.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 06:04 pm
thank you, doglover.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 08:37 pm
I've been reflecting quite a bit on the fact that my two oldest children are now older than my big brother ever got. I think of all the years he's missed, while the rest of the brothers and sisters have gotten old enough to turn gray. He missed out on a lot in his short lifetime. He never had the chance to try his wings, first because of an overbearing stepfather, and later on because he ended up caring for our mom while the rest of us left the nest. I could tell he yearned to have the freedom to come and go without a responsibility that was thrust on him at the age of sixteen. He wanted me to slide in his place for a turn, but, I was too unstable to attempt it. So he stuck it out. Only a few months before his thirtieth birthday his life ended in a car crash.
Mom had wanted to name my brother Jimmy Rogers, for the country singer of the 30s and 40s. But, her sister-in-law took the name Jimmy for her own son, who was born first. So, Roger Hughlan became his given name. Roger was the sort of kid who loved to make his own bow and arrow, or a motorless go cart, or put together model airplanes. He was much beloved in school. About the time Roger became six, Mom married a man who proved to be a bully and an alcoholic - a man who took his paychecks and ran around until the money had all been spent before he came home, something that often required three or four days to accomplish. The family subsisted on welfare money payed to my two brothers and myself. Mom proceeded to give birth every year until she had twelve children. My stepfather and Roger developed a relationship in which they argued just to antagonize one another. This was actually better treatment than he afforded me and my brother who was younger than me by two years. With the three of us he was much like the cat with a mouse between its paws. One night when Roger was sixteen my stepfather came into the kitchen with his prized butcher knives - he was a cook. He announced that he and Roger were going to fight it out with the knives. Eventually the police came and arrested him. This precipitated the breakup of the marriage and caused Mom to sneak us out of the state. This is where Roger became the breadwinner. I quit school at age 15 to help with the family support. Roger was steadfast and always looked after Mom. As he became 29 he felt restless, having never gotten much of a chance to live the life of a young man. He met a woman who was in the process of leaving her husband. He told people, "She's just somebody to talk to." At this point the woman's husband had taken a girlfriend and resided in the girlfriend's home. One night Roger and the woman left a bar and he was driving her home in his Fiat Spyder. The woman's husband ran them down with a three quarter ton truck.
It would not be possible in this short space to tell all of my brother's wonderful qualities. Somehow I have lived twice the span of his years and my children have now lived longer than he did. It just isn't fair, but that's the way life is.
0 Replies
 
Individual
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 08:46 pm
Jesus edgar...I think I'm going to cry. No kidding...
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 08:48 pm
I'm sure your brother was a wonderful person whom you loved with all your heart, I know because that's the way that I love my brother. I would find it very hard to live without him.

Edgar, you really touch me. My throat is getting all dry and my eyes are getting blurry.

Thank you.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 08:53 pm
Yes, but he would have wanted the people he loved to carry on. He would just want us to reflect now and again in remembrance.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 08:58 pm
Edgar
Oh, Edgar. Sad and Smile

Sad for the loss of your beloved brother, and smiles for the memories you have of Roger.

BBB
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 09:12 pm
Thanks, BBB and Individual.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 May, 2004 11:27 pm
I have known a certain child for more than a year. She is twelve, with a severe bipolar disorder. She likes to spend her time scouring the apt. complex for lizards and turtles. She attaches herself to strangers. The first time I met her out on the property, she was perhaps eleven. She declared herself my friend and hugged me. I tried after that to avoid her. After all, a sixty year old man befriending a girl that young is sure to rouse some suspicion among ones in moral straight jackets, as well as others who would rightly want an accounting.
As time progressed she began to mature physically, somewhat. I had already been worried she would take up with the wrong stranger. Now I worried more. I began to discover her far from the apartments, playing along different streets. I alerted her mother. The mother, weak and with a disabling condition, could do little.
When this child got in trouble around the apartments, most people knew to speak gently with her, to guide her to want to do right. One cross word, one sign of treachery, and she would become dangerous. And she is incredibly strong. I once witnessed three police trying to subdue her. She very nearly fought them off. Once she argued with an elderly woman about a plant growing outside the woman's apartment. Because the woman's language was confrontational, the little girl pushed her down.
The few times I found myself alone on the grounds with her, I found her to want very badly to be helpful and to be needed. I noted that her mother spoke to her in every instance that I am familiar with through shouting rather than addressing her as a fellow human. Once, when she figured out that I went to her door to ask her mother to make her stay away from me, she berated me and threw dirt on the front of my shirt. But in the course of the past year and a half I have become fond of her and have worried about her future.
Lately, new families with children have moved in near her apartment. Now the child began to get into trouble through conflicts with the other children and their mothers. These mothers knew only to chase her and yell, which only prolonged conflicts.
One evening, the little girl was in a fight with some children and their mother. The police came and very nearly had to subdue her again. But one cop stepped up and said, "I'll show you how to handle her. __________ would you like to take a ride in my police car?" "Ride in that big thing? Yes!" The girl was taken away. She was gone close to a week.
Now, during much of this past year in time, the mother had managed to arrange for the girl to be boarded on week days at an institution, where she was given support and help. The mother was concerned, just too weak to be effective.
Almost two weeks after the incident with the police, the girl walked to the home of an eighteen year old man, several blocks into a bordering neighborhood. The man tried to send her away. This made the little girl angry enough to stand in the street screaming at him until the police came. They followed her home and this time handcuffed the girl and her mother and took them away. Now the mother is home and the little girl is being held in some sort of institution. After a few weeks there, she will be flown to Arizona, where her father will take custody. I sincerely hope he is able to do the right thing by this poor child.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 May, 2004 10:24 am
I changed the name of this thread, because there is a thread with a too similar name.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:10 pm
Re. the last story: While in the custody of the authorities the girl told of being sexually assaulted by a man living in the nearby neighborhood. The only physical evidence is long gone and there is really nothing to be done about it now. I had tried for over a year to get this child's plight noticed and handled. I had expected her to be abducted and worse. I have become dubious about the father, since it seems to be a family of dope addicts. The girl's older sister had gone to him to live, but he ended running her off, back to her mother in Texas. Hopefully my suspicion will prove unfounded.
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drom et reve
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 09:30 am
I've been reading this thread since it started, and it is amazing, both in the good and the bad... thank you so much for sharing, Edgar.

And I'll come back to this when I have written something that is not truly pale in comparison with your descriptions.


0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2004 08:42 pm
The twelve year old girl I've been writing about has a sister. A few years back the sister went to Arizona to live with her father. I don't know any details, but he very quickly sent her back to her mother. Starting at least a year ago, this girl became sexually active - publicly. She and her boyfriend parked in front of the apartment and were in the heat of the act when the neighbors discovered them. Once it was all over, the mother tried to tell them they were just talking in there. "Funny way to be talking," said one woman, "with her naked butt in the window." For some odd reason, the girl just doesn't care who she is active with and being seen may be a part of the thrill. A few weeks back, she was caught in a neighbor's bed and was chased home by a knife wielding wife. Then a week later she and a man were actively engaged while a cop beat on the window. For a pretty good while they ignored the officer and continued to do it. To me it's a cry for help, though the cynical might call it simple exhibitionism. I don't really know her, so all is conjecture on my part.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2004 10:58 pm
Seems a mix to me, but not for ordinary channels to help... re the exhibitionist, uh, thrust, and I don't mean that thrust all so deliciously, more that it is a push, a punch for help mixed with a real sexual flare.

Wish she could get some smart help (whistling in wind again...).
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 09:35 pm
I have my life through admired the native American Indian and have been outraged that encroaching whites committed their crimes against them. I reverenced a vision of the wise old Indian, a man in tune with the Earth and his past and felt I had perchance met one that day in New Mexico, when I the hitcher got let out at a restaurant. He was standing beside the door, his greeting scarcely a grunt. I felt honored that he followed me in and sat next to me at the counter. "Give my friend a hamburger," he told the waitress, who frowned.
"Give my friend a hamburger," he repeated.
She scolded the old Indian, who broke into a fit of coughing.
I got a cup of coffee. As I sipped the tepid liquid, the Indian decided to impart a great wisdom upon me. "Don't ball up," he said between fits of coughing. "Don't ball up," he said several times.
I gulped the last of my coffee, paid hurriedly, and got the hell out of there.
 

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