Monday, February 28, 2011

Poppie, "I do have a Dad that helped make me who I am."

Poppie was a lost boy when I meant him at 19. He had been lost and looking to find himself most of his life. His parents knew each other for about two weeks when they married and had him nine months later. They separated when he was 4 months old, never really saw each other again and were divorced by the time Poppie was two. He and his mother returned home to her families farm. They lived on the last quarter section of land they had owned for three generations. They had, as a family migrated to their land from back east and his great uncle had actually been the first white child born in the county their land was in, so they had been there along time. They did not have electricity or indoor plumbing even thought they lived in an area where the neighbors had had it for generations. Poppie was potty trained with an outhouse and a slop bucket. His mother sort of brought him home to her parents and left him there with them and his bachelor uncle. She actually left him for over a year when he was eight and went to Arizona, when she returned she had a baby that she gave away to a cousin. She had a life to live and he was in the way. His grandparents loved him but in some ways let their resent of his mothers ways reflect on him. They were both in their seventies. The year Poppie turned 10 the cellar door fell on his grandfather and punctured his lung. He died a short time later in the hospital. Poppie got a new stepfather and went from living with his grandparents to his mother and her new husband. The husband liked to beat on Poppie, two weeks after the wedding Poppie got a half brother and 16 months later a half sister. Poppies grandmother died of a broken heart around the same time. Poppies stepdad had no extra money to take care of a kid that wasn't his. Poppie lived on scraps that were left over. Poppie actually fell out of the back of the pickup one time and they didn't take him to the hospital until he hadn't woken up for a whole day, he  had a fractured skill and had gravel in his back. Poppie made his escape when he turned 16 and got to enroll in job corp, he hadn't been in school since he was a freshman, as he had no clothes to wear to school. Poppie was a shy, reclusive child and Poppie never got angry at anyone or anything, it wasn't allowed.

I meant Poppie when I joined the YACC program in 1979, the moment I saw him I knew I would marry him, I think it was the lost scruffy puppy look that first drew me. He came around to the realization in the spring of 1980. We have been married 31 years this March. Shortly after we were married I found his dad for him, we got to meet him as he passed through are town in 1981, he was a truck driver and always on the road. In 1989 we spent a week with him and his fourth wife. She is a wonderful person and as we really got to know them both the same week was of equal importance in Poppies life. Two weeks after Poppie's accident with the tree his father called him and told him he was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. Poppie was still in bed when his father died two weeks later. He felt sadness for the friend that his father had become to him. His father never understood that Poppie couldn't feel a father son relationship for his dad, he didn't know what a father was and his father hadn't been that in his life. Shortly after his fathers dead Poppie was lamenting his father and said," you know he was never my father, however I did have one." I said "Oh?" He said "yes, your father is a close as I ever had."

Poppie had the knowing of it. My dad does treat him with all the love he has given all of his children, 12 plus the 8 in laws. Grandpa taught him things all along and helped him become the sensitive loving man he is today. Grandpa stood up for him and loved him as one of his own. I am glad Poppie has a dad. We all deserve one and some of us get really good time.

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