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Somewhere out there...

For some strange reason Tom referred to someone of TV as Fivel last week and today I noticed the CD for Steven Spielberg’s “An American Tail” on the kitchen table. It’s a movie who’s title brings back torrents of feelings and memories for me. It was a movie that changed my families lives although I doubt my mom and dad ever saw the movie. Growing up my dad always had a job and my mom worked part or fulltime to help ends meet. We were never poor but we also weren’t completely financially stable. I didn’t get to see the Fox and the Hound in the theatre even though it was the only thing I could talk about for the month before it came out. I would be ecstatic when I could talk my mom into buying me a fruit rollup. But my brother and I never went hungry or were forced to wear clothing with holes... patches maybe.

My dad had a couple of different jobs but when he started working with one of his best friends you could tell he was a lot happier about going to work. His friend Bob was his boss and everyone surprisingly there was never any drama. Everyone got along. Everyone worked well with each other. Business was going well. Then Bob took his youngest son to see the animated movie about an immigrant mouse. In the middle of the movie the tub size soda had the expected effect on Bob so he went to the restroom to relieve himself. After the movie ended his chair was still empty and his son was confused.

Bob had slipped on the wet floor in the restroom and had been laying unconscious for quite some time before anyone found him. Since he was such a big tall man when he fell his head hit with such force that a blood clot formed at the back of his head and began to crush his brain. The doctors said he would be dead within hours, but he stabilized. The doctors then said he would never wake up and if he did would be a complete vegetable, too much of his brain had been destroyed. His wife wasn’t ready to give up hope yet but, after a few weeks she finally gave in and she decided to pull the plug. Once again he stabilized, and then he actually woke up. He couldn’t talk but he seemed coherent. Eventually he regained the ability to speak and started to learn to walk and again.

I was freaked out to be around him. His movements were odd and I was unsure on how to talk to him. I was constantly updated with his brain level functions. “He is currently and a second grade level and will hopefully make it to the ninth grade level someday.” But by this time I was also having trouble because I strongly disliked his wife. My dad was doing his best to keep the company afloat. He was picking up as much slack as he could, working lots of overtime. I could see he was getting more and more stressed out. And then I found out that there were only two people left working for the company. Bob’s wife hadn’t been paying people’s paychecks, she hadn’t been paying the bills, but she had been making daily trips to Nordstrom's. The stress of it all cracked her and the only way she knew how to deal with the stress was with her daily dose of retail therapy. We would come to visit bob’s family and after having rice and chicken for the twentieth night in a row, seeing the bags still full of items from Nordstrom's really worked over my twelve year old nerves. I didn’t understand, I was twelve and I could see things clearer than she could. I’m sure my dad saw it too. Eventually he was the sole employee of the company and hadn’t received a paycheck in over a year. I still don’t understand how we lived of my mom’s salary. He must have asked or accepted money from his dad. Finally my dad gave up and baled ship to avoid going down with it. He did his best but the with the wife punching more holes in the bottom of the boat it was a losing battle.

Shortly after the company went under Bob’s wife divorced him and kicked him out. I didn’t think highly of her but I was still really shocked. I kept hearing about how he was functioning at grades levels lower than me and even I knew there was no way I could take care of myself. Lucky for bob a friend had a house near some lake that grew smaller and muddier each year.

So anytime I think of “An American Tail” I remember the year my dad taught me through his actions what kind of man I should become someday and that you can people show their truest colors during the hard times. I also feel bad for Bob who life was ruined because someone couldn't aim. I think of his son who probably cried himself to sleep wishing he didn’t want to see the movie with the immigrant mouse, maybe he still does. The wife by the way couldn’t pull herself together enough to sue the theater despite the suggestion from almost everyone. Bob hasn’t spoken to my dad in many years, he’s distanced himself from everything and everyone from his former life. My dad probably has given up calling him. He used to call and leave messages never to have them returned. That is the first thing that comes to my mind when An American Tail comes to my mind, I’m not sure if I’m going to post the second.

San Fran Chopin - The Who Boys - The Good, The Bad and The Who Boys


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)

Cuz I haven't seen you in foreveh. ;)
Jul. 18th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was devastating to read, let alone experience.

Your dad must have cared a lot to sacrifice so much of his own life to help his friend.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )