I was about to put my laptop on my nightstand when Ms. McRae began singing What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? and I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good. I thought that may be a clue to relate a short story about the great singer.
Music and nightclubs are in my blood bigtime. One day, I’ll be able to tell the whole story. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be until everyone who could go to prison is dead, which kind of sucks massively.
I was always a rather precocious child. At 4 years old I loved Carmen McRae when I heard her albums. (Young ‘uns, CDs were not always around. They are recent and vinyl does sound better in some ways, but that’s my opinion.) Well, through a set of circumstances not all that important, she, like most women, was crazy about my dad. Mommy and Daddy were separated, although I wasn’t sure what that meant. Daddy sent Ms. McRae to our house as a present for me while she was in town. The sucky part is that I wasn’t home. I was probably at nursery school or visiting my grandmother who, I might add, detested Daddy. Actually, it was only Mom’s three brothers who really liked him, that is, until someone needed something. Then, Daddy was great.
This is a great memory to go along with the autographed photos of The Temptations and either The Four Tops or The Supremes or both. I think I vaguely remember meeting the guy with the incredible bass/baritone from The Four Tops. Oh! I do remember having an autographed photo of Dionne Warrick, too. I’m hoping that all of those photos have been saved from water damage when our roof sprang a leak while I was in undergrad. My sofa is blocking the cubby and I barely have enough room to maneuver as it is. Moving that sofa is not feasible until I get the rest of the stuff out of there. It was all Mommy’s and may yet have discoveries to be made.
*OnX prays to the Lord above for another insurance policy buried in the file cabinets*
Anyway, my mother was fond of recalling the Carmen McRae story. She was impressed that Daddy had talked about me so much to this wonderful, celebrated woman I adored. I didn’t see my mother impressed with Daddy’s parenting skills until I was in my late teens through mid-20s when he died. I never told her, but he saved my life–the life she’d screwed up with her second husband, the pedophile/batterer. I can only imagine what he said to her when he I told him, which wasn’t until I was barely out of undergrad and Mom was driving me out of my tortured mind. When I did, he cried like a baby and I felt like crap. I told him because I wanted him to know me and what was going on. I needed support because I wasn’t exactly getting much at home. The reaction of those who are told is, I do believe, the biggest impediment to disclosure by the victims. They can’t become survivors unless they disclose.
There has not been a day that’s gone by since Daddy died in 1987 that I haven’t missed him terribly. He was one of my very, very best friends. I told him almost everything unless I knew he’d have apoplexy. Hmm, running into STFU territory now, so I’ll leave it at that.
I love you, Daddy. I don’t care what you did. No matter what you say, I will always, always love you for the man you were with me and the one you became. I especially liked teasing you when you were grumpy and making you smile. Save a seat for me because I plan to be right up there next to you one day listening to the Great Gig in the Sky. You died far too soon. There was so much I could have learned from you. I’m sorry I didn’t break free earlier. I will always regret letting Mommy make me afraid of you. Funny, I thought about putting her urn on the other side of my dresser, but you two would continually argue and add to the evil vibes already here. Somehow, I think you both prefer the arrangement I have for you.
Be well, Daddy, and be happy. You may have thought you were going elsewhere, but I know you’re in whatever passes for what we call “heaven.” Be nice to Mom. I tell her to be nice to you, too. Somehow, I think she’s probably still perturbed with you, but make your peace so that I don’t have to referee when I get up there. I’ll hug you until I make you give me one of your infamous belly laughs and take your baret off to kiss your incredibly cute bald head.
I could use your help in finding John. Can you whisper in his ear and tell him I’m looking for him? Alternatively, please tell me what last name he’s using. Otherwise, I’m going to have to make a whole lot of calls I don’t want to make to find him. Be proud of your son. I don’t care what Mom says. Yeah, you hurt her, but you did the right thing, too. Pat yourself on the back for once, ‘k?
Your little love,