By Way Of Autobiography… I’ll leave this 2007 entry right here
Only today did I realize the website Xanga saved my blog entries from 2007. I thought they were gone forever. I’m struggling to save them/upload them/ double check their worth. But since I haven’t posted in a while, I found this and decided to share it. From what I remember, this was me responding to an email my biological sister sent me after I vanished into radio silence. Her email lines are in bold, I responded below on that blog. Of course, I never sent this (what did I send?). I never expected her to read my email, never expected people to read that older blog, and don’t expect anyone to read this one. If you do read this, know that over the last few years, I have learned to let go. I let everything go.
What’s up with U? No, hear from, NO see.
When I stopped hanging around family, my life improved. I noticed the complex composition of birdcalls. I lost weight. I learned to dance. To enjoy sunlight. Hadn’t really called because I hadn’t missed you. You’d failed to give me anything to miss.
Heard U were on the pitty potty, struggling with an identity issue.
I spent that time weeping, realizing if this is family, I’m fucked.
Well just 2 let U know brother a little about your history. What ever year U were born, (if I was good with numbers, would be living N RENO)
1968. I won’t hold you to remembering the actual date or anything….
Our entire family had moved from Lousiana, Granny, Grandfather, Me, Daisy, Pete, Willie was a baby. Mom and Dad were the only ones working, struggling 2 provide food and basic esssentials.
I met Granny a year before she died. Small framed, Black with strong Native American features. Saw her once at the house where she lived in East Oakland, thereafter in the rest home where she stayed until her final days. She was fascinated by me, I think, because I resembled my father– whom I never met. He’d died of cancer before I found out I was adopted, and the man I called Father was actually a kind of permanent temp. Anyways: granny would look at me, reach out for my face as if it were a mirage and call my father’s name, “Henry. Henry.” Like me, he was an only child. Odd how many things connect with the people I was never raised around and never met.
One day Mom, had a baby, it wuZ U, mom worked all the time, nights, weekends, all D time. Grandfather diagnosed with CANCER and was dying, When U were born, you were a surprise and had various medical problems.
While watching Rosie bake bread–Rosie, the woman supposed to be my mother– she told me she’d gotten pregnant the year before I was born but the baby died in her womb. I took residence within her, within that damaged space and apparently was born carrying that child’s debris. My ‘mother’, Foster Mother I guess, told me I was born needing a hernia operation.
Ms. Cagney taught school where Mom learned 2 B a beautician, no children and had a lot more going than the situation all of us. Even though, U had medical problems, Grandfather dying, Mom and Dad working hard to support us, when U suddently came we all wanted to do what ever necessary to accomodate and keep U. Mom decided that you would have a better life with the Cagney’s. Basically U don’t know it but U did. Mom felt guilty, Granny and all of us were hurt that U had 2 live with the Cagney’s. However, Mom always kept N touch and visited U often. Even though I didn’t like her decision, I would accompany her on the visits.
Why I don’t remember this is a mystery. My first meeting with Rosie was when I was 19. She seemed vaguely familiar to me, but so did many of the old women who came thru the house to get their hair done in our kitchen. I will admit to remembering one time she visited with Avis, I think, whom ten years later turned out to be my sister. I just remember playing in the backyard with this girl and somehow getting her on the hood of my father’s truck in the backyard and dry humping her, looking up to see these two women come down the stairs. They asked what I was doing. I said: Playing family.
I could go on forever, about how hard life wuz for your other siblings and how life wuz growing up extremely poor, living in a four room TIN roof house in Louisiana.
Please do. I love the blues.
I’m saying all this, becuz U need 2 know, that life is short, what ever trip U R on, U need 2 let it go. U have family, MOM, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts that love U and we would love 2 b a part of your life. Believe me whatever U R going through, someone has already gone through.
I do want to let it go. You, your mom, your sisters and brothers. Your children. Your neices and nephews. I want to let go that any of this happened. I want to let go the confusion I had about who’s family I belonged to. I want to let go the sense of loneliness I feel when I’m around you. I want to let go everything associated with you. Were it possible I could remove you from my blood I’d do so happily.
Yes, James unfortunately U do have family. Even though going through the changes that life puts us through takes us through. We don’t reach out or communicate as often as we should.
“Unfortunately I do have a family.” Unfortunately. That lack of communication you mention has cost you our relationship.
With work, struggling to keep riding, food on the table, money N yo pocket, and most importantly a roof over yo head with d lights on.
One of the things I felt was that I’d joined the family much too late. Now folks have responsibilities and lives. They don’t need me. And I’ve been shown how true that is. I feel how true that is. My button says: Ask Me How It Feels To Be Unneeded.
I don’t see Mom or the group N Sacramento as often as I should, mostly because I’d rather take a beating than take D drive.
I’d rather take a beating, too– than seeing you or anyone in Sac.. But neither is really worth it.
Yo do have issues but we all do and none of us R happy with D way we grew up. However, you must REMEMBER one of GRANNY’s Say-N’s “U can’t live N this world alone.”
Granny must’ve said that to yawl. Not me. All I’ve had was The Alone.
Right now you’re on the PITTY POT. But u need 2 (LIGIT) LET IT GO.
I’m letting it and you and all of it go right now. LIGIT? ASAP! LOL!
Even though we don’t call. Plez know we R always there 4 U.
That… soothes me?
Never get soooo sick and not let anyone know.
And who will prepare my funeral? Will anyone even fry chicken?
Especially if U start seeing Auntie Alma, CALL SOMEBODY.
Aunt Alma was my favorite and she’s now dead. I remember three visits with her. The first was at her house in East Oakland. When I first met her, I wasn’t sure if it was okay to kiss her. Was I supposed to? Is that what folks here did? I sat at the fireplace, the first one I’d ever interacted with, and while the fire was dying I tossed the smallest twigs on it I saw and she giggled. Her son, my cousin? whom I thought looked remarkably like me, sat at the dining room table drinking beer from a pitcher. That was the first time I remember ever thinking I looked like somebody.
The second was after she’d moved to Sacramento, blocks away from where Rosie lived. I was asked to drive her to a few Doctor’s appointments and to the store. Something I actually enjoyed. It was good practice for me, driving. I remember doing as much for my foster mother before she died– though I wished I had a car during my foster mom’s illness. In Sac I was using Aunt Alma’s car.
The last time was when she’d been moved into a convelescent home in East Oakland. I lived in San Francisco at the time and it was a huge commute for me to get there, but I went to see her a few times. I don’t know if she even knew I was there. I remember she’d talk in her hazy sick-sleep. She’d call names of relatives I didn’t know. Once I panicked and called Rosie to get advice on reaching one of the people she’d called. But Rosie seemed unconcerned. I remember wiping Aunt Alma’s face with a rag. She sweated. I’d usually stay for an hour, until someone else would show up. One of her other sisters. Then, I’d go home. I thought about those who would never come visit her, those who were afraid of hospitals. You included, Carol. I’ve been blessed to’ve never lain in a hospital bed, but because of all the illness I’ve been around from my foster family… Aunt Mary, Cousin Johnny, Aunt Effie, Uncle Abe, Cousin Isaac, Cousin Jimmy, My Grandmother, My Grandfather, My Father, My Mother… I know what it feels like. To be truly alone with memories and spirits. You open an eye as if in a dream– look at the foot of the bed and see someone you haven’t seen in years standing there, waiting for you. I am standing next to you, and I look at the empty space into which you stare deeply and I ask the dust floating there in silence, “What am I supposed to do?”
#familyletter #backstory #2007 #adoption #openletter #family