When Will I Learn, Stories about Anger

Oh my anger has gotten me into trouble many a time, oh back to the seven-year-old boy, slumped in the kitchen, weeping, daddy, please come home, don’t leave us…this boy began to gain weight, stuffed anger, and the last vestige of California beauty, that trip to the top of Pine Mountain, above seven thousand feet in the Coastal Range above Ojai, California, the beauty collecting pine cones to burn in our rented fireplace, with no dad, with brother Dougie looking perplexed, me making friends with Walter, riding atop an orange harvest truck with crop headed to market, to Sunkist, Walter an me expecting a wad of bills for helping out, by golly we got in the way, laughter, an almond joy as present. Oh, we were boys, and I was Mr. Smartie Pants, wondering about dinosaurs, and rocks, and even ruination, or rebuilding. And wondering about getting a slide of blood to look at with my kid’s microscope to see the blood cells, telling the doctors as I was going to get my tonsils out that someday I would be a doctor, too. That’s about the big complaining my dad had for sticking him with the $700 hospital bill. Well, that spring was the last time I would see my dad for a long time, and he took me back up the mountains to Lion’s Camp, and way back into the woods to his secret fishing hole, and I caught my limit, as dad helped, of fresh trout, good eating I never tasted because my dad kept my limit, and his limit, so I guess he had 12 trout. I didn’t think too much about my dad, because he was not taking care of us, and there had been a settlement of land which my grandfather Al bought from my mom for $6,000. Then my uncle George from Iowa arriving to take my mom, my brother, and me all the way back to Iowa, and the three of us ending up at grandma Arieta’s apartment, our cat Tinker, black long-haired tabby, our dog Pokey, full-blood beagle both making the long trip back to Iowa, a place called Des Moines, capital city of Iowa, where I began Willard Elementary, Mrs. Riggs in the fourth grade, and how mean she was, so circumstances were teaching me about anger, but I didn’t know it, and Dougie brother in school, too. The school which was going to give me a new beginning, and like me, all new and shiny, I started 5th grade. The teachers decided I was to get special attention, and the other boys were mean, there were fights. I had a big paper route, made money for all my own clothes, and two new bicycles. I had money, my money, and I blew it. I spent it willy-nilly, pop, candy, trips to town on the bus all by myself. Ridding the public buses just for fun. Not doing homework, and hating my dad, my stomach gets all tied up in knots while I think of the word hate. That’s not the right word, thinking dad would come and take us home to California, threatening my cousins that I was better than they were, that their mother was a horrid housekeeper, all tied up in anger, where was the dad? That was the beginning of the anger, there was a dad, why didn’t he come and take us back to California, me and mom suing for child support. Getting only half what was expected, he showed us, $25 a month, but sometimes that was the difference of a week’s groceries. That was the beginning of anger, everyone but mom and teachers, school classes became a safe haven, and the work was easy, and I didn’t even have to study, good grades came my way, all except English because I didn’t know how to study. Someday I showed them–MFA creative writing/poetry 3.9 GPA and even sober, but now I’m 66, and finally, I’m getting a handle on that anger. I visit dad once or twice a year, and maybe this year I’ll fly to California twice, in the fall, and right after Christmas to be with my 88-year-old dad who I love, and I call him every day, oh God, thank you for letting me find him, I’m crying, Oh, God, thank you!!!

Published by elgwyn

I was a University and community college instructor before retiring. I also worked in fast food restaurants, and retail stores. I am an ordinary man writing for because I want to write and because my education prepared me to write; BA English lit, MA English, EdS higher education, and MFA creative writing, free verse poetry and essays. Blogs are an answer to high-priced self-publishing. Walt Whitman had to self-publish his first 1000 copies of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass because in 1855 poetry did not sell. Most poets make a living in other ways than writing. Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive, and TS Eliot was a banker. Many writers teach, and always there have been writers who have written because they needed to express their thoughts and feelings. They wrote not necessarily to make money but to express "the old universal truths of the human heart" according to Faulkner. Here I reach a wider audience I missed than by self-publishing, and I stand a better chance to reach a wider audience for less expense than self-publishing. I self-published my first books, Winter from Spring, and Meditations on Gratitude; poetry and photo books which were easier to self-publish than to seek a not to seek a publisher company. This blog allows me to write for an interested audience because I write poetry and personal essays. I write for a friendly audience and present to you a slice of my writing. Perhaps you will enjoy what you read.

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