Sunday, March 15, 2009




To understand more fully what's going on here, you might wish to read POP: PART ONE (Saturday March 14, '09...otherwise, (insert 'salute' here!) "CARRY ON, SHARGENT"!

The following is only as I, Rosanna Anna Dana--Oooops, I mean Steve E. (hope ya got that one?!) recall, and there may be inconsistencies...but I was present for some of this story.

My father, also Steve E., who I shall call Pop, was totally blind. Twenty-five years before he died, he suffered nerve deafness, and in a matter of a few years, became totally deaf. He used a Tellatouch, a device which helped end social isolation for hundreds of deaf-blind children and adults.

My parents and three siblings (I was the--ahem--oldest of us four) moved (down-sized) to a 25-acre farm with a nice pond, and new house, and quite a large barn. Being the 'free spirit' I was (did I hear "am"?), I had moved miles away from that group of people--my family--as soon as I could, somewhere around age 17, 18, or 19. A lot of my life is a bit hazy, due to my great friendship with the gang: Smirnoff, Bond and Lillard, Jack Daniels, Rot Gut, Thunderbird wine, etc. I was always...ALWAYS...surrounded with many of those kinds of friends--the only ones who "really cared". Frankly, they were all I cared about, to tell the truth.

Gobble Gobble Gobble:

It was in these 'digs' that Pop raised turkeys for a number of years. In the incubators he rolled the eggs daily. After the birds hatched he nurtured, fed, watered and talked to them, even though he could not hear them. Each year he raised upwards of 200 birds, slaughtered them, cleaned them, wrapped them, weighed them and retailed them, one at a time, mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some he froze for use throughout the year. All this while not seeing, or hearing a blessed thing, in complete isolation, except for that Tellatouch. He did have family help for these activities. We are products of a large German tribe.

I remember visiting my parents, and playing my violin. Of course, he could not hear it. He would put his hand right on the instrument grabbing it tightly, feel the vibrations, and give us a mile-wide smile. Those moments did give me a thrill. You see, I wasn't all bad--yet. But our disease--alcoholism--had me well-hooked years before.

After some time, six miles was not enough distance between "us and them" so wife number three and I moved 1,200 miles beyond, to Naples FL, in early 1965. Still ensconced in this village, I and wife number four, "Prayer Girl" live very active and (I think?) happy lives in Alcoholics Anonymous.

At the Beach:

Pop and Mom visited each winter for about seven years, lived in a 'mobile home' (hate that word also!). Using the Tellatouch seemed to be such a chore for adults, either not wanting to try something different, or shy of the "deaf-blind" guy, who knows.

Children however, LOVED to play with the little typewriter look-a-like, and they flocked around Pop whenever he was at a pool or the beach. He loved children--and children loved him. That's the way it was. They also enjoyed swimming with him, he was a good swimmer. Problem was that he'd go out in the Gulf, reach one of the barrier sand spits, and not know which was the way back to shore.

Imagine being out there, unable to hear a thing! Strangers often shouted to him that he was swimming toward (Houston?) Texas. They did not know he was deaf AND sightless. One of my sisters brought down to Naples a 100-yard boat line, tied it onto his swim trunks, and anchored it on my mother's chair. She tugged, and he returned to the beach.

At his deathbed--we had not realized he would be dead in three days--I wrote to him on the Tellatouch, "Pop, I love you, I have always loved you." He nodded that he understood, but did not respond. He did ask for a cup of water, and we 'talked' about some other things, before I left, with tears in my eyes. That's the last time I saw him alive. I was age forty-five.

Two nuns wrote a book about him after he died, title: "LIVING WITH JOY" That is the way everyone saw my father. He died in 1978, I was four years sober. NOTE: In our book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step 12 dissertation begins, "The Joy of Living is the theme of AA's Twelfth Step..."

I hope that one day when I have 'crossed over' it could be said of me, "He did live with Joy, No Matter What!" (And he lived with L.O.V.E. in his heart!) AND THAT WOULD ALL BE TRUE! -grin!

In love and service.
Steve E.


Mary Christine said...

He sounds like an amazing person. Such complicated lives we live, don't we?

Lou said...

What a story. The things we know about each other from the blogs can be quite superficial. I feel like you have shared something very special here.

Prayer Girl said...

I'm sorry I never knew your Pop. I met you a little too late for that. I did meet your Mom and I'm grateful for that.

I wonder what little 'widget' was broken inside your Pop that he never told you he loved you. I'm quite certain that he did. There is no way he couldn't have loved you.

I love you,

Queenneenee said...

I have enjoyed your "Pop" story. Someday I will write about mine, lost way before his time at 54. You were fortunate to have him and remember him with fond memories. What a blessing, huh? They live in our hearts forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your Pop with us. My dad is a 'Pop' too. The part about the 100 yard boat line is hilarious. And practical.

vicariousrising said...

I'm sad for your Pop for what he missed out on by holding back those three little words from you.

si tu veux said...

What a touching story. Thanks for sharing. I always find something so wonderful here in your world. Hugs to you. Thanks for spending so much time with us today. I appreciate your interest and insights. I can tell that you loved your father. He will be there waiting, and I know that he will be made whole and that you will both see all that you have lived for. Love to you and Prayer Girl..

Hope said...

My, you were young to lose your pop. I grew up not knowing if my parents loved me. I remember asking my younger brother, "Do you think they love us?" He shrugged and said he didn't know. It wasn't until I became a mom that I realized my parents did love me but didn't translate it in a language I could understand. For years and years and years I tried to get that validation from all over the place. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like had I had inner assurance that my parents loved me. And yet, here I am today, able to love myself. I don't know how to make sense of it all but I do relate to that inner hunger for a parent's love.

Shadow said...

who can figure out one's parents. my folks (also german, from the ww2 days) although they loved us in their fashion i'm sure, were just not the verbally, showy love kinda people. i wonder sometimes if it's a german thing... thank you for posting tyour story.

Ed G. said...

Thanx, Steve for sharing your relationship with your father - I hope it has helped you some...
What I found in a similar situation (others knew my father differently than I did) was that it changed considerably after I got honest as you have.
I wish that for you - that you can be complete and at peace with you as you are and he as he was.
It happened for me so I know it can happen for you.

Cat said...

I think you learned to live with joy through him, although perhaps you dont see it that way - you are a joyful soul and that comes through via your postings, emails and comments.

It was so nice getting to know you a little bit better today - thank you for sharing this here.

Syd said...

A great tribute to your father. And a great tribute to your love for him. I am sure that he loved you a lot as well.

Indigo said...

Sometimes it's in the knowing dear friend. My mother told me she loved me all the time when it was convenient...yet her kind of love was vicious and decimating.

As much as we yearn for our parents love, in the end it has to be enough that in our sobriety we find a way to learn to love ourselves. (Hugs)Indigo