Here's my rough plan for writing my book on how I was affected by my dad's abandonment of me as a baby

Me2 I'm not looking for sympathy in doing this.  I'm just trying to sort out the major parts of my life as I move into my 65th year of life and beyond.  Maybe somebody can learn from reading my story and use it to understand themselves, their kids or somebody they know.  I am a firm believer that we can learn from each other.

That's why I'm trying to write a book about being abandoned by my father when I was 18 months old.  In 1948, he just walked out on my mother and me and never came back.  He vanished and never wrote, called or sent word.  

The experience shaped my childhood and left an indelible imprint on who I am today.  I have some big scars and that's not a bad thing.  They can protect from wounds that never healed completely.

One wound from my background got a new dressing this past week when a half-nephew I never knew I had emailed me and asked me to call him.  His mom was a half-sister who I never met.  He seemed really happy to learn more about his grandfather, my dad.  

How is this all valuable for someone today?

  • Parents today, especially dads, have checked out all over the place.  They are no-shows in their children's lives.  What are the consequences?
  • Baby-boomers who span generations born from 1946 to 1964 have had all kinds of spotty experiences with parents, but, especially dads who have checked out of parenthood and are coping with attitudes and emotions that they don't understand and don't want to talk about.
  • Single-moms dot our landscape and are dealing alone with responsibilities meant for two fully-engaged parents.  They need to understand better how to deal with this.
  • Churches, at least in my experience, have stumbled in helping the fatherless and they need some understanding and direction.

It's time for me to write about my story and what I've learned.  Can my experiences and the lessons from them help somebody else?  If they can then there would be a positive result from being thrown to the curb figuratively by my father.

How am I going to do this?

I need to develop a "Table of Contents" for my book and to do this, I'll use this blog for a brain dump. I'll throw down thoughts, lessons learned and happenings from my personal history with the goal being to share something useful to others.

It may seem disorganized and fragmentary.  But my goal is to pull it all together.

I invite comments throughout this effort.  Can anybody relate to this need?  Anybody have a rugged father experience?  

Stay tuned.  More to come.


Movie Review: Take the family to see Evan The Almighty and feel good about it

My  wife  fresh  out of the third-grade classroom where she's a teacher and I snuck away from this afternoon's household duties and went to watch, Evan The Almighty.

We both enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody tired of movies dipped in a combination of sex, drugs, swearing and violence.  You could take your great-grandmother and your five-year-old and be comfortable that they would both like it.

In a nutshell, it's a story about a modern-day Noah who has been told by God to build an ark as a defense against a coming flood.  This reluctant ark-builder just happens to be a newly-elected U.S. Congressman who drives a Hummer. 

Just imagine telling your wife that God told you to rebuild the biblical ark.  Then check the reaction from the chair of the Congressional committee who believes that the only power comes from the art of the deal.

It's funny, but it's not slapstick funny.  You will leave with your sides intact.  But you will walk away with a smile on your face and with some key lessons from the movie.

Steve Carrell played the Noah character and Morgan Freeman played God again as he did in Bruce the Almighty.  This movie was from the same genre.

It's worth the price of the ticket. 


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Mrs. Frieda M. Thorp, my mother

My mother, Frieda M. Thorp, maiden name Moll, was a saint.

She was born in 1909 at her ancestral home in the Thumb of Michigan, in one of the small four corners, called Gagetown or Bach, one of those.  Her life revolved around her family of six brothers and five sisters, her family farm, the nearby Lutheran church and school and lots of lard work and hard times.

On this Mother's Day, the memories of her are still there in bold relief, but fading somewhat.

For me, she was a world-changer, a difference-maker.  She loved me unconditionally, always.  My father, Claude H. Thorp of New York, was an idiot.  He didn't love unconditionally.  I'm not sure he knew how to love.  But my mother sure did.

Continue reading "Mrs. Frieda M. Thorp, my mother" »

Part #5-Dad, you should know

There are lots of dads out there who have stepped out of their kid's lives.  They span the experiential continuum from desertion to apathy.  Mine chose desertion.  I never knew him. 

When I found him down in Florida, we talked for maybe two minutes through an open door.  That was it.  I've always wondered what he was thinking when he walked out and never came back, never contacted us, never provided any financial support.  It took me years to see the scars that were left by the whole experience.  Keep in mind that I'm not asking for any sympathy, maybe understanding for others, especially kids who are experiencing the same thing.

I would have never believed it, but . . .

Continue reading "Part #5-Dad, you should know" »

Part #1--My mother, a true hall of famer

There are Halls of Fame for all the things that belong in the toy department of life.  Think of it.  There's a baseball hall of fame, football and others.  These are things that really don't matter a whole lot in the scheme of the larger questions of life.

If there was a hall of fame for parents, my mother, Frieda M. Thorp, would be there.  There's no doubt in my mind.  She loved unconditionally and never accepted letting down or quitting as an option.

My mom met my dad while visiting my aunts then boyfriend turned husband at a Navy base out east.  This happened as World War II was ending.  My dad--Claude H. Thorpe--was a ship's carpenter.  He was from Duchess County, New York, lived in New York City and had been married once before.  My mom was born and raised on a farm in the Thumb of Michigan. 

Right after the war,, they married and settled in Bay City, Michigan where I was born in 1946.  My dad stuck around for 18 months and then he was gone.