Jaime Lee Moyer: Midnight Secrets and Lies
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Don’t you remember it was rain that drowned you

Father’s Day…for some reason this year I miss my father.

I don’t remember when I started prefacing any discussion or stories about my dad with “He did the best he could.” My father was deeply flawed, problematic in his attitudes and beliefs, often angry and exhausted from working overtime–and did the best he could as a father. As a person.

Pop never finished high school. He went to work as a pressman in L.A., married my mother, and had four little kids before the age of 26. They lost a child before me, or there would have been five of us. A combination of paper dust, ink dust, and the cigarettes he’d smoked since the age of fifteen caused the lung cancer that killed him.

He was still young. I was younger.

While my dad had uncles, he never had a relationship with his own father. He had no one to model what a father should be, or how a father interacts with his children. My grandmother wasn’t an easy woman to deal with, or live with, or even love, something I was keenly aware of even as a little kid. The fact my father never talked about his childhood–as in never my whole life–is a clue that growing up was difficult. I know lots of stories from my mom’s childhood, not a single one from my dad’s.

In my teens I started to see his flaws, the cracks, and Pop’s own terrors. He wanted his four children to be perfect, to be the best, to excel in school, and most of all, he didn’t want us to struggle with life as much as he did.

And he did struggle. I shouldn’t say he was never comfortable in his own skin, but he was most alive and happiest on fishing or hunting trips to the mountains. Los Angeles suffocated him, and he escaped as often as he could. My mom always said Pop was born 100 years too late; he should have been a mountain man.

One of my earliest memories is of my father telling me stories about the full moon visible through the bedroom window, and talking until I fell asleep. He was a giant at 6’4 1/2″ to seven-year-old me, and he taught me to dance–and to love music–by having me stand on his feet while he moved through the steps.My dad introduced me to Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, and Lena Horn.

Twice he managed to save up enough money to take the whole family camping in the Sierras. Listening to the wind in the pines and aspens, and the rush of water in the creek that looped the campground, I fell in love with the mountains, birdsong, trees and sky.

I understood why he went back to the mountains so often. And I began to understand why concrete and steel suffocate me, and make me so restless.

My dad was far from the perfect parent, but he did the best he could. I never doubted he loved me.

That’s a rare thing, never having to doubt you’re loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. John Borneman
    Posted June 22, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Very nice posting. It is odd how fathers (and mothers) insinuate themselves into our being. Coming out at surprising times, reminding us that for better and for worse, that they were there, they had an effect. Consider this a very belated sorry for your loss, but happy for your memories.

    • stillnotbored
      Posted June 23, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Now I’ve found the comment. :)

      Thank you, John. Fathers and mothers help shape the people we are today, but once they’re gone, all we’re left with are memories. I’m really glad the happy memories out number the bad.

  2. Katherine
    Posted June 22, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Lovely. Dads are special people, no matter their flaws. I’m glad he left you with some fine memories.

    I think the older we get the better we understand our parents (and grandparents) for the human beings they were.

    • stillnotbored
      Posted June 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Oh lord yes. What’s that saying about walking a hundred miles in someone’s shoes?

      You don’t understand the pressures and stresses and responsibilities, and the fears, of being an adult until you’re grown. Being an adult is hard. Being an adult responsible for the welfare of other small humans? A zillion times harder.

  3. Posted June 23, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Recently, I read “Delia’s Shadow” as an ebook and loved it, so yesterday I got “A Barracade in Hell” and noted same in my blog today, which is how I found your blog (and linked to it) and started reading it and read about how Tor treated you, which sucked big time. Today I went back and got “Against a Brightening Sky” so I can binge read both of them while “Delia’s Shadow” is still fresh in my mind.

    I’m a native Texan and have lived here most of my life. I hope Texas starts treating you better than hailing on your car, but I have to say up in the Panhandle where I live, that’s kinda par for the course. But I also have to say there are some great places and good people in Texas, and I hope you get to discover them, especially the people.

    I’m glad you were able to get shut of that guy you were living with. I divorced my husband because I found out he was *dealing* out of our apartment. You are well rid of the bum. You don’t need that kind of grief.

    I really hope you start getting some breaks, like, right this very instant, starting with a job that pays well and that doesn’t exhaust you and suck out your soul, and,especially, a publisher who will treat you right.

    As others have commented, I have a hard time finding books I like, too, and when I find an author I like, I make a point to read everything they’ve written that I can get hold of. I’ll be looking for your next book.

    • stillnotbored
      Posted June 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for liking my books, telling me you liked them, and especially for posting on your blog. You just made my day. Maybe my week.

      I’m working on new things as fast as I can. Then I have to sell them, but I’ll leap that hurtle when I come to it.

      Texas and I have a conflicted relationship. I’ve met some awesome, wonderful people here. Moving to a different part of the city has made a huge difference in my quality of life.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that I will never be comfortable here, but I’m not actively miserable–most of the time. 😉 This state has been trying to kill me for six years now. It’s a good thing I’m tough.

      Thank you for your well wishes and good thoughts. You’ve no idea how much I appreciate them.

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