Thursday, October 04, 2012

Left Handed, Four Eyed, Small Town & Catholic - and they call me Lucky???


Part III.

If you were me how would you feel about having the four strikes against you at birth?  As you can see, my life was not just the four strikes against me but the fascinating DNA issues and the myriad of other factors dumped on me at birth and for a long time to come after.

I was born with a bulls eye on my back.

Before my mouth even opened confusion and torment already threatened my existence.  Back when I was still in the womb I'm sure I sensed the foreboding and when I was jerked out into the world the first thing I saw was a women doctor, quite uncommon back in those post war days.

And then there was my religion.  Of course I already mentioned I was really a misplaced Rothschild kid due to the screw up back at HQ.  That made me Jewish.

In my reality show family, remember the little discussion about my non-Catholic father's English family helping to drive my Catholic mother's family from their birthright, titles, castles and money in Scotland?

Now fast forward to my birth.  My father was a recent convert to Catholicism and when it comes to embracing religion there is nothing like a new convert for enthusiasm and a bad case of religious fervor.

That meant instead of going to church once a week for Sunday services, my fanatical father decided he needed to go to church every day, probably to make up for all those years he hadn't seen the light.  So he drug us kids along for the ride.

Sure don't know what he expected with the hyper-Catholic activity but it didn't seem to get us any more in God's favor.  No matter how hard I prayed I was never going to hit the game winning home run or score a date with the beautiful rich girl.

Unfortunately, my dad's family never got over the traitor, my dad, who would forgo the eternal security of being non-Catholic to switch sides and join the dreaded mackerel snappers.

When we would visit the rest of the Putnam family I always searched around for any signs of cross burning or voodoo dolls, knowing the deep seated conflict between these surrogate families for the English and Scottish/Irish causes.

Oddly, both sides of the family accepted me, perhaps because I reminded them often of my true Jewish heritage, which thus made me much less of a card carrying Catholic threat.

Now the fact they seemed to accept me thus cast suspicion on my motives by my mother's Campbell side of the family who seemed to think I had been spiritually hijacked by those dastardly Putnam's and was probably already indoctrinated into the Masonic 50th degree secret society.

I did nothing to discourage the rampant rumors and innuendo, choosing to remain silent.  I'm a great believer in the Tip O'Neill philosophy about saying little, "it is better people don't know what you know, than to know what you don't know."

On the other hand,  I could always strike terror into the hearts of those Putnam's by threatening to join their Moose Club Lodge or Masonic Order, also secret societies I suspected of having a rather negative view of Catholics.  They never had the heart to tell me I was ineligible.

Throughout my life I was a most curious person about everything, which was another of my many demonic virtues according to my mother, and especially according to those priests and nuns.

 Speaking of which, in spite of the Putnam pressure against it I actually joined a Catholic secret society, the Knights of the Alter.  God's army for Pete's sake.  Okay, okay, so it was just an alter boy, but I was armed to the teeth with bells and smoke bombs, oh yeah incense.

It was during my early Dark Ages, when the memory of my true Rothschild heritage was beginning to slip away in the chaos of growing up.  It was in the latter part of grade school.  At the time I actually harbored the thought of becoming a priest, which I soon rejected based on observing those of the faith I personally experienced.

Then I figured I should not waste all those pious years of training to be a priest and I decided to be a religious brother, but there were far too many rules for such a simple life.  My idea of saving the world was not learning how to weed a garden.  I was thinking of being more like Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine, theologians, not gardeners.

So my last grasp at retaining a link to all that Catholic education and training was to become a religious hermit because by this time having a conversation with myself in a cave would be far more intellectually stimulating than remaining in my environment.

What ever happened to those glorious dreams of thinking I could save the world?

I was drawn to a world of classical literature, Greek mythology, empires and kingdoms, warlords and dragons.  What I got were brothers who hated to read and abhorred the very thought of writing.  Intellectual stimulation was sticking your finger in a light socket.

By now I had experienced the mysterious Catholic world of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and Exorcism, I was ready to try something new.  It was time to experience rowing, croquet and polo instead of kick the can, cowboys and Indians.

By the time I reached the end of grade school it was obvious I had greatly miscalculated my potential and possibilities.  I needed a fresh start.

 In my 8th grade year I was playing football without a helmet in the big game against the 9th grade high school kids.  We were barely ahead but the 9th graders were driving for the goal line in the last seconds for the win.

The archangel was on their team.  Great incentive.  So when the big fullback came blasting toward the goal line and I was the only thing that stood between him and the score and thus win, I did what anyone would do, if they were crazy like me.

I threw my head toward the giant's legs and my head met his knee at full speed.  The two bodies were fused from the collision and rose in the air, hanging there for what seemed like eternity, then slowly we toppled over away from the goal line.

Victory was preserved.  A new legend had been discovered and a new hero had been born.  I remember being carried around the field, to the cheers of all the kids watching the spectacle.

Then everyone started leaving to go home.  I stood in the middle of the now empty field with no where to go.  To my astonishment, I had no idea who I was or where I lived.

A brain concussion is a most complex thing.  It can leave you knocked out cold or without any memory, but if you are still conscious as I was you can remember what happened to you during the time you lost your memory.

How odd.

I remembered nothing of my Hayseed life in Iowa or real life in Rothschild's London.  Someone led me home, I finally drifted off into a coma, and about three days later came back.

High school would bring better days.  For one, I was going to learn more about my Jewish culture.  After 9 years in Catholic schools I'd about given up finding out much about my Jewish people.  It was time I met a real life Jewish person to teach me the ancient ways.

So I grabbed my kippah and Torah and set out in search of a Jewish family to meet in the farm towns of Iowa.

It was a steel slide guitar incident that miraculously morphed into meeting my first real Jew in the summer of 1960.

Let me explain.

Once I discovered Elvis and Buddy Holly in the late 1950's moral decay and deterioration immediately set in from the cosmic exposure to rock and roll, the demon's tool of fatal addiction for the innocent and gullible minds of all those Christian virgins.

 Suddenly I discovered a replacement for all those stupid Spike Jones drum sets I used to get for Christmas that were always smashed to pieces by New Years.  Come to think of it, when you look at the drum it was a pretty demonic image to give a kid whose life was already filled with enough darkness.

Anyway, I wanted a rock and roll guitar like Elvis and Buddy.  My parents were more the Hit Parade types having been raised in the days of swing bands and hot jazz.  Oh they were into music big time, but the wrong kind for my rebellious nature.

While I listened to Teddy Bear and Peggy Sue they listened to all kinds of stuff like Hank Williams and the Andrews Sisters.  In fact my dad could never stop singing "Your Cheating Heart" which should have triggered all kinds of warning signs in terms of the family stability.

Still, they decided to give me a guitar, but a steel slide guitar like Hank used in his songs.  I didn't care what the Hell kind it was as long as I could learn rock and roll on it.

After a handful of lessons from a country purist who thought my learning style was some kind of punishment for his years of booze and women, and bloody fingers from picking those steel strings, I'd had it.

So I took the guitar back to the little shop where Santa had bought it, just outside the main downtown area along the railroad tracks.  Lo and behold, before me stood my long sought Jewish connection, Bernstein's Music Store.  I nearly burst into tears of joy.

Exploding through the doors of that old store I broke out in dazzling version of the "Hora", the traditional Jewish wedding dance, to the absolute astonishment of my new friend Mr. Bernstein, proprietor of the most important shop in Iowa.

The store was not nearly as big as I thought as I went careening off the counters along the narrow aisle nearly wiping out a full orchestra of instruments to the laughter of Mr. Bernstein.

When I told him I was there to trade in my stupid steel guitar and learn about my Jewish faith and culture he laughed so hard he had to go get a drink of water and dry his eyes.  It was the beginning of a long and trusting bond between me and my first Jewish mentor.

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