Saturday, June 27, 2009
(two months after our visit with my father).
Seventeen Years Later
After our visit, he sends some ever-easy memorabilia and an index card with the following:
"For Michael David—my beloved son- I send this material because you should have it and realize what a dreadful mistake I made in marrying you’re mother! Thank you for your very polite, proper note—I did appreciate seeing you ALL. I love you all- Dad September 1984
This quote is from the East Indian philosopher Bhagavad-Gita- I think it describes your mother very well—Please keep it. “For the uncontrolled there is no wisdom, nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration, and for those without concentration there is no peace. And for the un-peaceful how can there be happiness.” Dad-- This is your Mother!!"
Both my parents would tell me: "What a dreadful mistake I made in marrying your......"
Hence Philip and I were 'mistakes'.........deep down, that's how I felt for years....it ruled every nook and cranny. Philip had made up his mind long ago.
Friday, June 26, 2009
In 1983 my father sends a cassette-compilation of his music.
The final number on the B-side was his Easter Sunday 1944 NBC Radio-Philco Hall of Fame performance of Malotte’s “The Lord’s Prayer” with The Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Emotion still wells when hearing this piece, beautiful. First time that I heard much of his music in one. collection. First time I was truly ‘awakened’ to my father’s talents. Proud of this cassette, proud of anything I guess.
Sally informs me that she’s **pregnant; “WHAT! How could that be, you promised me that…”
All remaining demons were let out of their holding pen. I raged, ”How could we ‘afford’ another kid?” Immediately began to plot my escape. Matter-of-fact there was no plot. I moved out. Leaving a pregnant Sally and Eric, like a dazed, steroid-dripping racehorse out of the box, I bolted to
**Brittney June Evans is now twenty five….and miraculously has become my incredible, loving, beautiful singing ‘Chestnut Jewel.’ Marrying her high school sweetheart on Sept 18, 2009. Thank God the Universe had ‘other’ plans.
Philip has now returned to
Just walking the sidewalks again was a thrill. The love of
My demons were in full slam dance and I knew it, sought comfort in any 'benign' way to cover my huge chronic angst.ever enlarging tortured soul..... hoping to keep me even (and legal ?). Then set out to re-book my shadow, my artist’s shadow. Got a job in the mail room of a dying Studio 54. Entertained free cocaine, a lonely lady and some mindless well-heeled disco lights. Hated it.
Village Voice classifieds found me a job as a dispatcher for ‘Prop Trucks’ on
Most of these galoots were on a carousel of pharmacopoeia, so it became that familiar match made in junkie heaven. ‘If you get me this job, I got some good…’ Whether it be the nose, lung or mouth it didn’t matter. Bartering Garbage Buckets of the Stupefied.
I would bus it back to
I thought I loved Sally, simply wanted our family to ‘work out.’ How could it possibly, we had already gathered a hoard of closeted skeletons that caught and gouged on everything and she was pregnant? How could I accept this new child through all the, confusion, narcissism and whirling tit for tat betrayal? From early on, my life was racking conundrum. Ye old familiar. Good, efficient stimulant for Victim Hood.
7lbs 8oz. Numb in more ways than one… was I.
Letter from Susanna to our confused little family-----
Letter from Susanna to our confused little family-----
Dear Sally, Michael and Eric! And Brittney!
How I wish I could have sent Xmas things but it seems I’ve become accident-prone! Plus other events. First of all, before I go into my dilemmas & ailments a word about yours.
I can imagine the pain you are going thru Sally, and believe me I pray for you and your well-being. Our beautiful addition to our families! That Brittney! If I may be so conceited as to say she looks like me in her pictures when I was little (Except she is a brunette)!
That made me tickled even if it isn’t true, because I have a very strong feeling she is going to be herself, just as I always wanted to be (you’ve seen where it’s gotten me!).
But we all have to get there somehow eventually so why not try to be yourself.
My arm was fractured by a maniac at the corner who wanted to use the phone (A big she). And said “Bitch get off the phone,” and twisted my wrist (of course I wouldn’t let go I have something in me) & I heard it snap (forearm). I had been calling the attorney because we had to make a settlement to get out of here (the guy has all the tricks for the Olympics) which we eventually made at the cost of my foot buckling for no reason at the attorney’s office which broke another bone (fell down three steps), then two days later the oven and broiler got on fire and I’m not afraid of fire but the rug caught too, and when I was smothering it I was stepping in it and burned my foot severely and was laid up for a week! Mamma Mia! We are moving too. Finally found a place. –I made a settlement that paid for me being driven around (by Chuck) for $100 etc. I made the owner pay for the moving, the first, last, cleaning and deposit on the dog. I did a pretty good job for an invalid but if you think Sam appreciates it, your dreaming! Al l free money and he’s so cheap. Also $50 for Ricky and Joey to move us—plus Philip and Sam moved for’ free.’ Beer free for all when it’s all over. Please Michael, after all that’s happened, please tell Philip he mustn’t take advantage of me.
As soon as we are settled—we have good sized rooms, large living room, dining room, big kitchen, bathroom, bedroom (SAM!) and linen closet. Balcony for all my plants (I’m growing tomatoes—wild man!!) Chica loves the balcony and decent neighborhood, near everything, $375 a month plus utilities, AND we’re getting a phone put in Friday. Laundry at the foot of the stairs.
NOW!! I’ve thought and thought as to what to get Eric (it will be his birthday and Xmas). I don’t go for these video, electronic toys unless it helps them in math and reading. Please write and tell me what he has. AND Brittney!! Did you know that I was going to write you and suggest the name I was going to name Michael had he been a girl, it was ‘Bronwyn’ from the book ‘How Green Was My Valley’—it’s a Welsh name. I loved the book and the film. And then you named her a name that began with BR! I, (of course) never got off the letter. But she’s so adorable, a doll. A big baby for a little one like you, Sally. I think her name is beautiful and different and Eric! How he’s going to take car of her!
Now has she been gifted with a Cabbage-Patch doll? I know you live in
Letter from my father-----
My Dear Michael David and his love Sally---
I am now 79 yrs and “the days grow short when you reach September.”
This past week I have been updating my will and am sending my instructions to you while I am able!
First: You must come down here to see me and tell you what I want you to have—that is after Masako’s passing! We must be very careful in our talks before Masako—She is a strong-headed lady and arguments will not accomplish anything positive! However I do not want anything of value to me and you to end up in
Second: How to get here;--NJ Turnpike south to Exit 2—off and drive to Mullica Hill about 7 miles—when you come to Route 45 turn right (south) and thru the small village (2to3 miles)—
Do you remember Aunt Ethel Evans—my brother’s wife? Well she was on a cruise to Africa—had a heart attack—finally got back to her (old folks) apartment and died on May 9—she left a small amount of money to Masako and me—not enough to buy a new car!! I want you to have whatever is left. I have planned to have my attorney:
Edgar Hathaway Jr. ESQ.
To call you—inform you to come down here—he has a key to our house and will let you enter—in case Masako and I go off together! Advise you to rent a truck to take all this furniture etc with you!! Mr. Hathaway will help you in any way you ask. Hope your job is still secure!!
We send our big love to Eric and BJ and you both, Dad.
In my ‘want to believe’ abnormalcy, this letter charged me up. I read it as, “I have money and things for you, come down and we will make it right.” I don’t rent a truck, I rent a car and the four of us head down to
I would get nothing....and by the Universe's plan, would find and BUY everything on E-bay fifteen years after his death in 1987.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Formed a band with some fine
Sunday, June 7, 2009
New York- 1982
Hot, humid and smog-encrusted Port Authority Bus Terminal: My son sets his eyes on
Six weeks go by, Sally is overwhelmed and struggling in
I hope this letter finds you and Mrs. Evans’ in good spirits. I’ve moved back to
I had to get out of
I guess Philip and Susanna are doing OK but they have a lot of things to work out within themselves and it just made it worse with me being near them, I guess we both know something about that!
Please write me and if you can I’d like to know about our family tree especially the Evans’ side which I don’t know much about. I hope one day to pass on to Eric.
All my love, Michael
particular? Jobs? Turnover? Why is it your fault?”
25 Jan 83
Well, finally hear from you and I was very happy to know that your out of zany
Now you really understand the fine value of education-in any field. So settle down in a job you like and learn all you can about it! Only this way can you secure your future!
Consider night schools-theatrical schools etc. Your days of drifting and dreaming should be over! YOU have a wife and son so become a responsible man now!
Why did you go to
Where do you meet worthwhile people? Well, the first place is to look for a successful and wealthy CHURCH.
I don’t like Catholics—but the priests are usually men with great political and business contacts—only you have to become a Catholic before they help you! One more notch in their gun of conversion—they love to convert! If you can become successful—convert. It means no difference!
Next-usually the Episcopalians are solid and wealthy and educated! Their ministers have good contact with social and big leaders—I call them Republican Catholics! (They don’t convert!)
So get dressed up in your best Sunday clothes and start exploring the best churches in
How far in school did your Sally go? Is she socially oriented?
but I’ll tell you when I see you! No written record will exist! We are now less than 150 miles apart—easy to keep in touch!! Write soon and reveal all your progress in life! Love Always Dad
The family tree thing; in my letter I was referring to the hearsay that his grandfather was a Dupont. Was not specific, only mentioned “family tree,” but he knew what I was talking about. At his funeral five and half years later, seven people attended which included the minister and myself. I met his eighty- something year old cousin Greta Petermann. We stayed connected, ended up forwarding me THE Evans family tree dating back to the early 1700 Quakers. Benjamin Hazel from
Thanks for the great letter advice. I will always welcome especially from you.
One of the reasons I came back to
One of the reasons I have had so many jobs is maybe because I’ve held on so hard to my music. Dad, I can stun people when I sing and perform but your right my days of dreaming have subsided and a little more wisdom has settled in. I have always been very proud of you and mom, I think true artists! I think it’s genetically ingrained in me at least I’d like to think so.
You can’t believe how many times I’d meet people that knew you or knew of you—complete praise. When I was a security officer with A.B.C. studios, for the
Charles Nelson Reilly, you might know him he’s the fellow who played the landlord on the Ghost and Mrs. Muir and many other TV shows he said he worked with you and knew of no other performer who could move people the way you did.
Sally does two things very well bar tending and nursing believe it or not! Unfortunately she makes more money bar tending… Rest of letter missing…
My dear Son,
I was so happy to receive your letter and your understanding and accepting my fatherly advice. During all of your formative years I have not had any opportunity to offer my thoughts on any of your problems. You know who caused this dreadful separation., but I’m still grateful that we can “talk” to each other!
I too came back to
Ma-SA-KO (all even syllables) is the name of my wife. A TRUE ANGEL!
Of course you have music in your blood—that’s good and bad! Good while you can work—bad when you cannot perform—to wit: Your father and your mother!! I had a solid performing record from 1928 to 1967—Man of La Mancha was my last Broadway show—I was wise—I saw the future of my life—trying to find work. I had an old buddy from
When General Abrams—the Boss commander learned of my professional background, was impressed and kept me in
Only my brother’s death in 1971 was responsible for my departure. My old buddy was back at Fort Bliss, Texas as chief and he got me a civil service job as Executive chief of Music and Theatre—main job producing and directing musicals. Not bad—What? I had great success in this job—why—because of my past theatrical experience!
What would I have had if I stayed on performing? When I did make good money, your mother’s extravagance ruined me!! It is wonderful your Sally is willing to work and learn nursing.
Masako works as a seamstress and her checks buy our food!! Fortunately I get Social Security and a Civil Service Annuity and that’s all.
Let me know if you’re still in Cable TV—What are your prospects there?? Or Where?
I do hope and pray you will settle down into a solid position—make worthwhile friends.
Our love to you all, Dad
Things for a while remained fairly stable for Sally, Eric and I. Although with me, there was the constant thrum of angst…always ready for the next shoe to drop, be it my shoe, another’s or the collective. I was ingrained with The Doom… from way back. Perhaps sensing the faint, distant wails of that familiar freight train of insanity. I see now the seeds of my self-loathing were reliably stowed and germinating on this bruiser. Feral weeds primed to choke, throttle and take out. If I was lucky, maybe a life sentence.
We lived on
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Sam Lieberman was a mildly retarded fellow from
Several years after these photos were taken, Susanna would care for Sam as he lost his sight and life to a brain tumor. In the same apartment her son Philip lapsed into fatal hepatic-coma two years prior.
Monday, June 1, 2009
A friend of a friend named 'Charlie' wrote the following 'Exploring my Mind'.....it very much reminds me of Michael and Philip's confusing fear-filled world:
Exploring my Mind
Flashlight in hand
Searching cobweb covered corners
Discarded memories in dusty cardboard boxes
On one box are the words 'Do Not Open'
Written by the hand of a child
Shining my light inside the box
I open the note marked 'Confidence'
It is filled to the top
Bulging and much too heavy to lift
Feeling uneasy about looking inside
I shine my light on the third bag
This one is marked 'Dreams'
Written in colorful letters
Slowly opening the bag
I suddenly hear the most beautiful music
My ears have ever heard
By the wonder of it's contents
Visions of hope, love, understanding, happiness, and peace
All of the things that dreams are made of
I know now that there is no reason to look inside the bag marked 'Fear'
I know full well what is inside
Nightmares, broken dreams, disappointment, all- kinds-of abuse, and despairThe weight of the world on a child's shoulders
I understand the emptiness that is felt when self-confidence is stripped away
The heaviness of fear and what it does to a child
The lightness and hope that dreams bring, and just how important dreams are
I turn out my light and awaken
With only a vague memory of a journey
-Charles R. James