Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Memories, Histories

This was going to be at the end of the previous post but when I got going I could see this deserved it's own section. Read the end of the other post cause I was waxing eloquent.

I suppose I should post some of the pictures. The ones here are of my brother and I. Strangely enough I remember this sweater. I suppose I am eight or something. It is strange that memories from this early in my life are still there and clear but they become more fragmented as time moves on. I have clear memories of the twenty four hour day care our mother put us in when we were three or four years old. Not good ones at all. I remember taking the now empty bowl back up to see if I could have more cause I was hungry. That got me a “Go back and sit down” coupled with a smack upside the head. My grandmother told me years later that when they rescued us out of their they took us to a place that served hot dogs and ice cream. When our food came I put my arm around it to guard it from anyone who might try and steal it. She said it shocked her and Rudy to see that and how quickly Larry and I ate our food. They knew things were bad but this let them know how bad it was.

Among the pictures were this one showing my brother and I with mother. I don’t remember this at all. I suppose I should but it’s not there.

This picture is from when Lee and Rudy took us to Carlsbad Caverns. That I do remember. Cool place that I think Cherie and I will go to when we get settled in Texas. It is in New Mexico, which is not at all far from where we will be in Texas. At least I don’t think it is but can’t say I know for sure.

Another place Lee and Rudy took us was on the border with Mexico. It was an old Indian gathering point for it had a spring of water gushing out of the hillside. I mean lots of water, a column the diameter of a fire hydrant that was five feet long shooting sideways out of the cliff side. They had constructed several dams to create large ponds that were stocked with catfish. These fish were fed at the same time each day. It was a sight to see as the water came alive with the hundreds of fish that gathered on cue.

We would catch fish anytime we put a hook in the water. In fact we had to not fish so as to be able to eat what we caught. I still remember how good these grain and malt fed fish were. Lee would just peel the bones out in one motion and fry them up.

I climbed on top of one of the mesas just to do it. When I finally reached the top, which was ten times farther and harder than it looked from the bottom, I was astounded at what I saw. For the whole journey to that place we were weaving through canyons with the flat topped mesas always towering over us. Now I looked out and saw only a flat plain with the curve of the earth clearly visible. There is no doubt that this had one time been the bottom of a sea. This portion of the ocean was drained by some cataclysm eons ago that violently emptied thousands of square miles of land that extended at least to the Permian Basin where our farm is. The exiting waters carved out the canyons leaving behind the mesas who’s tops were all uniformly at the same level.

There was much of my history revealed in the boxes and pictures we found at the farm. This is my drivers license that expired while I was in the Texas prison system.

I look at this and find it hard to imagine that this is the kid who was going to be pushed into the service by a judge and…well there’s no room here for this part of the tale. Military service, streets, prison, all this in just three or four years.

A picture of me with my grandmother. I am wearing my Texas prison uniform. I’m a skinny little kid and prison is hard when your not big and strong. Lee was a source of strength for me and integral to my survival. I had been selling ground up aspirin as cocaine and a small amount wrapped in tin foil was found when we were pulled over. Secure in the knowledge it was aspirin I took the blame despite the packet being in another’s possession. The detective said it tested positive as cocaine and I was given a ten year sentence. This would follow me the rest of my life, giving me the stigma of “Ex-Con”. The legal system would interpret that as me being a hardened criminal. It made it harder to find a good job and getting a fair shake in court was near to impossible.

This Mustang was mine but my grandmother gave it to Larry here while I was in the joint. It was fine with me. Larry later told me how he broke out the window when he went to throw a beer bottle he had just emptied out. Unfortunately the window was rolled up. The car would later mysteriously catch on fire as he drove it. At least that’s how the story is told. Good for some insurance money.

In prison I got religious. There are lots of pictures of me with a bible. I went to bible college upon my release where I met and would later marry Cherie the first time. That is detailed in the love story that has yet to make it out to the blog.

This picture is a puzzle. It is my brother smoking a joint in the farm house. Who took the picture and how it got into grandmother’s collection I will probably never know. I do know she would have never allowed such a thing.

There are many pictures of my grandfather Rudy. He was a decorated veteran of the pacific theatre during world war two. I remember him telling me that he earned his purple heart when he got shot in the ass on some tropical island. The war was hard on him as it is hard on everyone who must be in the thick of it. He would wake up from a dream screaming and once put his fist through the window.

One time, when I had come to live with them after leaving my fathers when I was fourteen or so, he got irritated at my continually changing the radio station in his truck as we were going fishing at Moss Creek Lake. I blubbered like a baby but needed it. Unlike the regular beatings my father gave me Rudy’s one little smack did much good. Kind of woke me up a little and taught me to show some respect. It didn’t take me long to forget that lesson with others but he always had my respect.

Here is a picture of Rudy shortly before he died of lung cancer. I remember sitting with him at the farm and taking a break from the work we did building the garage. We would smoke together and he would sometimes let me have a beer.

Lee and Rudy are a love story in their own right. Sure they had their problems as we all do but they stuck by and supported each other. The farm is a dream they built just as we will. The cast iron cookware collection you see on the wall is one of the many things that has disappeared over the years.

In my mind we are carrying on the legacy they left. There are pictures that show the many trees they planted and cared for. Here is a picture of Lee harvesting apricots. Most of the trees are gone now but we will remedy that.

You can see how the front porch used to be. I could tell it had been enclosed later on so was glad to find this picture.

This picture may show part of the farm house. I am really sure but the doors and window appear to be in the right place. If it is it reveals some interesting details as to the construction. It looks like the place had been gutted from what you can see through the window. Just like we are going to have to gut it ourselves.

One of the chickens on the farm hatched and raised eleven quail. I have a picture of the mother quail with the hen both sitting on the eggs. There are still many quail around the farm house. They would run or fly off many times when we went around the corner.

This is a West Texas Jackrabbit. Rudy had brought it home after a farmer had plowed over the hole it was in. They named it Baby. Baby’s hind legs had been a bit mangled by the plow. It was still a baby at the time and became Lee’s house pet. Kind of messy cause you couldn’t potty train it. The back of one of the pictures says Baby lived six years. I remember him hobbling all over the house. Lee was the only person Baby would allow to touch him though on rare occasions I could.

So many memories are released with these pictures. It adds to the sense of us continuing what they originally founded here at the farm. Like they passed the baton to us. If Lee and Rudy are watching us I want to make them proud and imagine them together, shaking their heads in approval. I know that’s allot of huey but don’t care. It feels right and good.


ByronB said...

Ah, nice pics.

It's good to have something solid to remind you of times that are past.

Cameras are a brilliant invention!

Bob said...

Thanks Byron. For me some of these pictures helps me restore memories lost in the wreck. My older memories are more intact though so these are reminders of where I come from.