My brother Johnny and I were as close as brothers could possibly be, up until they buried our Mother that is. Let me explain. I was fifteen, and Johnny was six years old when Mom died. I have always said that at the time of her death, Johnny was young enough, that although her death did have an effect on him, he was young enough to just not quite understand it all emotionally or mentally for that matter, i.e., it went completely over his head, so to speak. Johnny’s issues that he had to deal with, and cope with, had absolutely nothing to do with our mother’s tragic death and everything to do with growing up with a lunatic for a father, although he did say that he missed our mom and felt that her death DID contribute to his overall personage/personality.
For myself it was a radically almost insane departure compared to Johnny’s coping mechanisms, because at just a few months past my fifteenth birthday, I WAS old enough to fully comprehend, but NOT old enough to cope, at all. I think anyone at that age would have suffered in the same way that I did, a suffering that stayed with me for a very long time.
We shared the same Mother, but we had different fathers. Mom had divorced my father when I was three and she married Johnny’s father, my step-father, when I was four. Eight years later she gave birth to my “Baby Brother”. I loved that little dude, however, it was a real “Love/Hate” relationship about the time he turned four, because he enjoyed watching me get a whipping, and he was always making shit up, “Tommy hit me Daddy”.
I never EVER touched a hair on his little head. Sometimes, something would get broken, like the time he tried to ram his little tricycle thru the back-porch screen door. Who can forget the time he took a shit in the middle of the kitchen? “I swear Dad, that’s NOT my poop”. Guess who got blamed for everything? Me of course. Many broken yardsticks……broken over my ass, (mom threw the “Razor-Strop” in the trash early on when I was about five).
After the funeral I was living with Ed and Johnny, but that only lasted about a month, as my English teacher, my first class of the day, was the first to notice how badly beaten I was, so she sent me to the Nurse’s office. Besides my dual black eyes, I had huge welts across my back, two cracked ribs, and a fractured left arm. Needless to say, I was escorted home by two deputy county sheriffs to pick up my shit. Luckily for them that Ed was at work. I ended up in three different Foster Homes, until the day after my 17th birthday, the day I stood with about 30 other dudes at the Hennepin County main courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, raising my right hand, swearing to defend the United States for enemies both foreign and domestic as I joined the U. S. Navy.
My real father, Harold Saxe, signed the paperwork at the Navy Recruiting Office since I was “under age”, and he died two years later, beaten to death by a few other bums, fighting over some woman is what I eventually was told. Although it was obvious that he was beaten to death, the coroner listed his “official” cause of death as Sclerosis of the Liver, that’s what they did back then and that’s what they still do, if you are just some “John Doe” homeless bum, and the evidence shows that you were murdered, they are NOT going to waste their time investigating your death, period.
I would later find out that he told the authorities that it was I that was abusing him and he was just defending himself, what a fucking joke. Ed was around six foot three, and I was about 5’10” at that time. Hears a “By the Way”, he lied about how mom was injured, telling the local constable, who was also an Elder at our church, that mom had fallen down the stairs, which were about 25 steps up to the second floor where Johnny’s and my bedroom were.
A little further with this “By the Way”. Over a period of eleven years, from the time I was four until I was just turning fifteen, Ed had put her in the hospital five different times. Spousal abuse back in the 1950’s was not prosecuted like it is today. He liked to hit mom in the stomach because it was easier to hide the damage as there usually wasn’t much to see as far as physical damage/evidence, unlike a black eye or two, or a bruised and swollen face.
Two of the times she was hospitalized, there was major internal damage. One time the doctors removed her Spleen, and another time her Gall Bladder. There certainly was damage to other organs as well, just not damaged beyond functionality like her Spleen and Gall Bladder. I wasn’t given the gruesome details for a few years, and it was Aunty Alice that had explained why mom had died at so young an age. She died at Saint Mary’s Hospital, the same hospital where she was born. Johnny and I both were also born there.
Basically what the doctors had told all my aunts and uncles, was due to the fact that mom had to have her Spleen and Gall Bladder removed years prior to this last “She fell down the stairs” bullshit, this time a Kidney was badly damaged, but the doctors could not operate or do any more “damage control” because due to the years of abuse, “Her insides had so many issues like massive blood-clotting, that they could not do anything to prevent her from dying. She died on the third day of her hospitalization.
I remember that night. Johnny and I were staying with our Great-Uncle Jim and Great-Aunty Erma. That third evening we were taken to the hospital to see Mom. It was late, like 10 in the evening, and as soon as Johnny and I walked into Mom’s room, I knew that something was up because EVERYONE was there in the room, aunts and uncles, some older cousins, and out Pastor was there.
There had to be twenty people crowded in there, assholes to belly-buttons as the saying goes. The room was dark and sort of surreal with only the light above Mom’s bed lit. Everyone else were like shadowy figures, and no one spoke a word. Johnny sat on one side of Mom’s bed, and I sat on the other.
My vivid Memory of her was a look of peace, almost Angelic. We talked, but the only part of the conversation that I remember, was my asking her, “Mom, when are you coming home?” To which she replied, “I’m going home tonight Tommy”. It would take me a few years to figure that one out. No, she wasn’t giving me false hope, which subconsciously for a few years angered me, she was telling me exactly how it was for her, that she WAS going home, to that magical, mystical, heaven that she believed in.
My Mother was a sincere, and humble Christian, Sunday School Teacher, and loved by EVERYBODY in our little farming community around Ham Lake. When she was buried at the Glen Cary Lutheran Church cemetery, there had to be two hundred people in attendance. Of course, all my relatives were there, which had to be thirty or forty of them, so I figure the entire community was there to pay their respect. Mom WAS loved, as I said. What happened to Ed, my Step-Father you might ask. His parents ended up committing him to a mental institution for about the fifth time for what they called in those days, “Shock Treatments”, goggle that, it’s just a mild form of electrocution. The parts of the brain they fry, the brain tissue, is destroyed and never re-generate. It’s not wonder he got crazier and crazier over the years.
Back to the earlier part of the story. That day that I was escorted home to get my “stuff” as I said earlier, Ed was at work. Johnny was at school, so the last time I saw him was breakfast several hours earlier, before school, and we did not see each other again for twenty years. We both had parted company abruptly, and we took different paths. I survived in my own way, and learned how to cope, spending the next few years in three different Foster Homes.
The amazing part for me which I have described in other essays, is that twenty years after Mom’s death, somehow, someway, overnight, I found forgiveness in my heart for my Step-Father, Edward John Elavsky. For two decades, I had sworn to myself, vowed, that if I ever saw him on the street, I would kill him with my bare hands, (and I had added a couple of inches to my height, and beefed up a bit). I would have torn him apart. He died, drunken and froze to death up in the snow-covered mountains above Lake Elsinore, “Popsicle Ed, Frozen til Dead”.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! One day I woke up from a deep night’s sleep, and the first thing that popped in my head, and stayed there all day, FORGIVENESS! Go figure! There IS more to that story, but you will have to just go looking for the rest of that story in one of my previous essays. It’s Ed’s story of how he was tortured by the Nazi’s in WW2 for being a spy behind enemy lines, (actually discovered and captured in Berlin). Too long a story for this post, about a true American Hero, you’ll find it elsewhere on my website.
Back to Johnny, well, this next part is also about Ed. Twenty years had gone by, and I found Johnny. He was living in Orange County, and I was in Ventura County (California), so we were within driving distance. I drove down one day around lunch time to his apartment in the city of Orange, and we talked, and we talked, AND we talked, for hours, and hours, AND hours, emptying a bottle of Yukon Jack and smoking about three bong-loads. We talked into the evening, thru the night, until the Sun came up the following morning. Of course, we reminisced about our childhood, that’s all we had, other than “What kind of work do you do”…..”What do YOU do for a living, Tommy?” I could share the entire conversation with my readers, but that would take a whole other chapter.
I started this essay with a description of our very different coping mechanisms, and how we managed to survive other Mother’s horrific life and death, our own horror stories, although at his young age, and me filling in as the ultimate example of a “Scapegoat”, the ending of this brief story IS about Johnny. I’ll make it brief so you, as the reader, can fill in the blanks.
Although Johnny was pampered and spoiled by his father as a child, he did not escape his own bout with evil. That night when Johnny and I met for the first time in twenty years, fueled, and liberated by a few bong-loads and an entire fifth of Yukon Jack, one of the stories Johnny shared with me in gruesome detail was how he and his dad had been living in their car at some park in Long Beach, when Ed had dropped him off at some friends house, telling him that he would return for him in a few weeks. Johnny was twelve years old at the time.
The two weeks turned into two months which eventually turned into two years. That’s two years as a captive. “Kid, your dad is not coming back for you. Bob and I bought you. We paid your father $250 for you”. Yes, they were a couple of scumbag pedophiles, sharing my Baby Brother, in every way. He was never allowed out of the house, and there was always one of them home while the other asswipe was out shopping or whatever.
Johnny told me that he was a few weeks shy of his fourteenth birthday when he finally escaped. No need here to describe how he was able to escape, but I can guarantee you that my brother shared enough of a detailed story to convince me. Use your imagination folks.
Bottom line for me is not who, what, and why, of the pedophiles, it’s the fact that Johnny had an equally horrific experience compared to our Mother’s life and death, and he survived. Johnny died twenty years ago of a sudden Aortic Aneurysm. Moral of the story, a vast portion of our species has had to deal with terrible, horrific chapters in their life, and for many, the suffering continues.
Many, like my brother and I, had absolutely no help in trying to cope AND survive. In spite of my own horror story, I was able to cope, and overcome. Without any help, Johnny was able to cope, somewhat. When he died, the Riverside County Coroner told me that along with his obesity, (he weighed 390 pounds), his habitual use of illegal drugs also contributed to his sudden death.
If you feel like you cannot cope with whatever you are dealing with, reach out for help, because going it alone much of the time, fails. For me? I guess I was just one of the fortunate ones, my grief and anger was so intense, I was blind to those around me that were reaching out to ME. So, if you are able to recognize that you DO need help, reach out to those who already have their hand reaching out for yours.
P.S. What kind of father would sell his own child to a Pedophile? In Ed’s case, there IS more to his story, and the end of HIS story will partially examine why I was able to forgive him. Look for the answer in other essays that I have published here on my website.
For those who have been keeping up with my progress with “The Dead Armadillo” story, here’s my latest:
Peace & Abide, La paz y la morada, السلام والالتزام , שלום ושמירה, Paix et Demeure, Խաղաղությունը եւ մնալը, Мир и пребывание,, 平和と遵守, 和平與恪守, Aştî û Abad, صلح و عبید, Fred och Abide, Kapayapaan at Patuloy, Frieden und Bleiben, Mir i Ostanite, शांति और निवास, Hòa bình và ở lại, Мир и Абиде, שלום און בלייַבן, สันติภาพและการปฏิบัติ, Mir in bivanje,
Yadhum oore yaavarum kelir, “The World Is One Family”
Dr. T. C. Saxe, DD, RSISHE
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