I am rushing this post – I’m not sure why…
First – an apology. I am sorry if my posts are upsetting anyone. I am being careful – but being too guarded and careful – and ashamed – did not serve George well – this does not serve anyone well. So I am being more forthcoming than George was able to be. I hope it helps to set him free – maybe by helping to set other people free. I hope it helps to set me free. I carry George’s pain forward. I have been told that is not helpful. I want it to be.
I am being careful. I will be as careful as I can be without losing meaning…I hope there is meaning…I want there to be…
George was – by stories – his and all of his family’s – high energy from the get go. This may help explain how he lived so many lives in such a relatively short time.
By her own account, his mother had no idea what to do with him when he was born. I think this reflected her inexperience – and a dearth of intuition – and he was apparently a bit of a handful. He described himself this way when we reconnected. He meant it then in negative ways. He was definitely a bit of a handful – in so many good ways.
At 3 or 4 George – as he told it – wandered or ran away from home and got on the NY subway by himself. I believe the story ended with an ice cream cone and George telling the police that “those people are all nuts” – referencing his family. And so his assessment skills began at an early age.
But it seems he gave up on explaining how bad it was…he couldn’t…He didn’t run away again until he graduated from high school – he left then and never turned back. He needed out. He talked about his guilt about abandoning his brothers.
George loved and cared in really big ways in spite of a childhood and adolescence filled with abuse – all kinds of abuse. Bad. Really bad.
He was born beautiful and smart – I’ve seen photos – and George was one of the sharpest brains I have ever known. I am very sure that George was a caring, sensitive and vulnerable child. I can imagine him this way. And he was apparently a whirlwind – this is what I’ve been told.
George’s father returned from the frontlines of WWII angry and troubled. This seems to be everyone’s thinking. Except George’s mom who doesn’t talk about her husband. George believed his father was not much different before the war. He had heard stories about his father as a child that gave him the chills.
George felt his father’s wrath and emotional barbs from the get go. George – smart and sensitive and beautiful – was a perennial open target for his father’s sadistic cruelty. I was not the first person George confided in about this – we talked about it intermittently. Never easily. My heart broke over and over again. I have walked away from this simple paragraph uncountable times. I wish…I cry…I shake my head…
The abuse at home left George vulnerable to further abuse…victims are easy for abusers to spot…we talked about this intermittently. Never easily. Never easily.
Yet – despite so much pain and suffering, George thrived. He thrived in school, on skates, and he loved.
George’s memories of childhood included so many rich, wonderful memories – interspersed with the horrors.
George saw his brother John, 21 months younger, as his protector, starting when they were young children. I never asked him why. This compounded the pain of John’s death – George lost his protector.
When George was 5 his father introduced him to professional hockey and George was instantly hooked – as he told it, just like the first time he tried his drug of choice – an experience he cursed over and over and over and over. Same reaction though he said – “this is for me”. Hockey became a central and enduring part of his life. He loved hockey.
Growing up, George was surrounded and adored by his aunts and uncles – the oldest of 10 very close cousins – 9 boys and a girl. They all loved hockey. George’s family and his Aunt M’s family lived practically next door. Between George and his two brothers and his aunt’s 5 sons, there were 8 boys – and a perpetual street hockey game. And an occasional brawl. And more funny stories than I can begin to tell – usually some boy doing something crazy. Or some boys. The stories are legendary.
George thrived in school – I never reconciled with him how he could be such a handful at home and such a successful student. By his account, he found his own way to a solid parochial high school and to college – the only college graduate in his immediate family. It took longer than 4 years between his high school and college graduation. I never really asked him why. Sometime during college, George started spending some time in Boston.
I’ve told how our paths first crossed there after George graduated from college. My next post about George will probably be about the 30 years between our first romance and our last. It may have to be a few posts. I don’t know. I’m back to wanting to tell the ending. But then I won’t know what’s next for sure…