In recent times I have shared a Father’s Day Tribute in which I mentioned there were others in my life who were very influential besides my own Dad. A few posts later I opened up a bit about learning positively what my brothers and I went through in dealing with what I know was mostly our father’s mental health issues did constitute abuse, whether or not it was intended or done wholly in a rational or reasoning state. Then in yet another post I shared some drawings I made of some of my teenage “heroes” and crushes without going into a lot of detail about the subjects.
Most of them were not significant in the overall run of things and there isn’t much to be said about them, really. From about age sixteen into my early twenties, I had little social life outside of school, which I completed with my graduation in 1962. I was working as a “cowboy girl” part time during the last two yeas of high school and then full time—like about twelve-sixteen hours a day, 24/7/365—after that until I finally left home and started college in September 1966.
From 1964 until I began to keep company with my future husband in the spring of 1971, there were two men who were mentors, true friends and at times lovers. I credit them both with my survival through some very trying and difficult times. Without the rocks they became for me to cling to, I would have been swept away into some kind of tragedy, either suicide or another now unthinkable end. Yes, they were both older by a number of years and were certainly “father figures” to some degree, but also more and less than that.
I like to think my devotion to each in turn and the deep, basically unconditional caring I offered filled some needs for them even as their bond sustained me. I still feel I had a connection with each of them that went back well before the current lifetime and that I will see them both again in a future incarnation. I also thank my guardian angel that I did not fall into a connection with someone who was abusive, violent and further degraded me and eroded my very shaky confidence and sense of self worth. In that I was so very blessed. Both were completely opposite of that! For the privacy of any surviving family each may have still in this world, I will not use their names and only a general description or identification--and the portraits I drew of each of them.
|Lines and shades too harsh|
I wasn't happy with this!
“Dusty” was a skilled carpenter and in construction. The work took him in and out of the Verde Valley for several years. We met somewhat by accident and did nothing except talk for about a year during which time we built a deep respect and affection for each other. I knew he was separated from his Catholic wife who was fighting divorce and that he was trying to win the custody of his young son. Of course my parents did not approve since they deemed separated equal to not single, but that really did not matter to me. We remained close until after I had started college. About that time he lost a job and had to go elsewhere to find work and we were never able to get back together although we had planned at one point to get married once he got his life straightened out. At times I have regretted that never happened, so I wrote a novel, Relative Dangers, to give us the happy ending that life did not. Much later I leaned he had passed away in 1993 after suffering from asthma much of his life, a condition not helped by dusty environments and the irritants of his work.
|One of my better sketches...|
The other man was a professor at
. I will call
him Tuan Perak a phrase in
the Indonesian language a bit difficult to translate. I became his protégée and
enjoyed a great deal of advice, assistance, encouragement, support and simple
friendship from him. I became casual friends with his wife and often babysat
their daughter who told me she was adopted and became very fond of me—and I of
her. We were actually quite circumspect although there were many on campus who
believed we were carrying on an affair. That only happened very briefly after I
had graduated and left campus and was more accidental than planned. Still he had a profound influence on my life
and indirectly caused me to go into Civil Service. At his urging I attempted to
get into the Foreign Service, passed the written exam and went to an oral
interview in Los Angeles. They turned me down due to lack of experience and probably the needed poise and assurance; I was better but still lacking there! So I went into US Civil Service instead, my second choice. We kept in causal contact for many years and I remained a friend of the family. He died from lung cancer, very suddenly, in 1996. Northern Arizona
So on a day of no particular significance, I just want to publicly thank both of them for the invaluable help and support they gave me. You two will always be heroes to me and I truly do hope to see you “on the other side” and perhaps have a chance to continue the relationships again in some future life. In this one, I cannot repay either of you but I hope the rest of your lives after we parted was perhaps happier than what part of it had been before. Know you are thought of often and very fondly by one who was once a lost, confused and troubled young woman to whom you showed great patience, kindness and a special kind of love. Go in peace and harmony wherever you now walk.