Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thank You, Very Much

One of the nice things about having a blog is that it occasionally makes someone aware of your continuing existence. For instance, I was contacted by an elementary school classmate, which led to this posting concerning a class photo. And that posting prompted me to contact another classmate, who I found through her blog.

The blog also lets me stay in touch with relatives. My Mom reads the thing - she sometimes wishes she didn't - and so does my Uncle Jim, who resides in a different part of the country and thus gains more contact through my writings than we might otherwise have.

I mentioned yesterday that my Cousin Joe was also a reader.

Sometimes, when writing something with the type of anger/love of yesterday's piece, you fail to take into consideration someone else who has contacted you and you fail to think about how what you've written may affect that person.

I received this e-mail:

Jimmy,

Sorry to hear about Joey. I wrote something for your blog, but it only accepts
less than 300 characters, so I cut and pasted it here:

I've been reading your blog ever since I stumbled upon it when checking out our
family crap. I haven't seen Joey since my sister Deb's wedding back in '91. At
the reception we reminisced about our common childhoods growing up in Hyde Park.
Joey was fun, but he was a bastard! My best friend Neil lived a few houses away
from Joey, so even tough our parents didn't have much contact due to my parents
divorce, we would see each other around the neighborhood on a regular basis. One
day Neil and I invited Joey down to the Pixie Cinema to see The Bad News Bears.
We spent the walk down Fairmount Ave. goofing around and giving each other shit.
By the time we got to the Neponset River bridge, Joey had enough of my crap and
decided that the best way to shut me up was to hang me over the Neponset River
bridge by my ankles! I was scared shitless, but being that we were ten all was
forgotten, until we were walking back home after the movie and he thought a
repeat performance would be hilarious. This time I fought him enough that he
only got me half way up the fence, but my jacket went over into the river. At
that point I started freaking out, because I knew my mother would be freaking
out over my loosing my jacket.

Joey had the idea to get a jacket from his house that kind of looked like my
jacket, so my mother wouldn't freak and that he wouldn't get beaten for dangling
me 50 feet in the air over a shopping carriage filled river. The ruse worked,
my mother didn't notice till a week later that it wasn't my jacket (I chalked it
up to getting it mixed up at recess) and he didn't get busted for almost killing
me.

I have pictures of you, me, Joey and Joanie at Uncle Jimmy's and Auntie Pat's
house over on Hyde Park Ave. Me and Joey are about three or four and in every
picture he has this cute, devilish smile on..cute and devilish sums it up.

David


That's from my Cousin David, whom I haven't seen in years and years, but who contacted me a couple of weeks back after finding my blog. And, as I was writing this very piece about people finding me, I received this:

Hey Jim,

This is your cousin Christine from western mass, My brother David called me yesterday and told me he read on your blog that Joey died this week end. I am so sorry.

I am glad you got to spend some time with him on friday. I feel for his sons. Nathaniel is the same age as my youngest son. I felt I had to write to you and let you know you are in our thoughts and prayers. In this family you can't escape the drugs it is on every side of our lives as well [edited] has been stuggling for many years... I feel for every one involved. Auntie Bah will have her son with her now and I guess that is what was meant to happen. Doesn't feel right though.

I have been trying to find you and Joan Marie since Auntie Bah's death and didn't have much luck my brother David found you a few weeks ago and of course called and asked me if he had the right person I was like yeah that is Jimmy.

Sorry to be in touch at such a hard time just know you are in my thoughts.

Christine


When I got the news about Joe's death, I contacted my Mom and my Uncle Jim, via phone, but failed to take into account that such news might be a shock to some - like David or Christine - when encountered in this space. My apologies for that.

Also, my apologies for some of the language in yesterday's piece. Not that I've exactly been reticent about using strong language before, but I didn't like the way that it may have detracted from the overall sentiment.

The overall sentiment is that I love my Cousin Joe, however his end may have come about. The end itself is what I was angry and confused about.

I made a conscious decision to publish it as I wrote it. It was written in one fell swoop, just pouring what I felt onto the keyboard and deliberately not edited (except for errors in spelling found by spellcheck) and I was more comfortable with that decision yesterday than I am today when re-reading it.

In any case, I again want to thank you all for your sympathies and your concerns. I received private e-mails beyond those in the "comments" section and those are also being held dearly in my heart.

That's about all for today. Thanks again.

11 comments:

Magazine Man said...

Jim,

So sorry to hear about your cousin, no matter what the autopsy results show. As you know, I have a cousin of my own with drug problems and this is the scenario I dread. I may not comment much, but I'm right here along with your other faithful readers, ready for whatever feelings you need to express. Whether it's a shoulder to punch, or to cry on, we're in your corner, brother.

mm

Peter N said...

And yes, we all care. And thank you for the link, as unimportant it is in the grand scheme of life. I'm adding you over at my place. Be well.

Stu said...

Sully,

I wouldn't change a word of yesterday's entry. It breathed sincerity. Thank you for sharing in that way, for not gating your emotions. I hope it was helpful to you.

James Cooper said...

As stu said, there are times when revision only lessens the sincerety and emotion of the piece. Your entry was very real and it spoke very honestly. It spoke volumes that a 'cleaned-up' version could not.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thanks for all the raw emotion you showed yesterday. Hope you and your family are holding up OK, especially Joe's sons.

Sharfa said...

Sully,

What Stu & JC said rigs true for me too. The language spoke to your frustration and, in my mind, enhanced the writing with true expression.

Sometimes raw is just better.

Lisa said...

I'm with Stu. A blog is a backup of your soul, and you should say what you feel moved to say. If we can't use a four letter word for untimely death, when can we use it? Better that than in traffic, or over some trivial thing.

[[hug]]

Suldog said...

You folks are truly outstanding. Much love.

Stu said...

To continue what Lisa said about the appropriate use of a four-letter word, indeed, Death seems a fine reason indeed. I'm someone who is happy with traditional (and non-traditional) curse words. They are fun and their use is therapeutic. I don't mind at all when Sully uses them to describe his softball team, let alone something far more weighty. But when I read his piece entitled Cuz, they were as elemental to the prose as any of the other words.

I am reminded of the Ben Folds song Rockin' The Suburbs, where he says, "You better look out because I'm gonna say fuck!"...

Sully, you go right ahead and keep bein' who you're bein'. And know that if you're ever in Redondo Beach, I owe you a California Special Part One at Paradise Sushi.

Peter N said...

Jim, thank you for changing my link. What a great quartet of Sox links, if I say so myself. We're here for you, forever.

Absolut Ruiness said...

As you might have noticed, I am going through your blog from start to finish and what a journey it has been. I couldn't say any thing to the post bout your cousins loss because i didn't feel myself worthy enough to bring any sort of consolation to you and anyways it had been so long that i felt silly saying any thing but i do hope that it has become easier for you to deal with the void and there has come some sort of clarity to the whole thing with time.