Dad, I Hardly Knew Ye

I don’t know whether I’ve talked about my father here before or not. I suppose I could go back and look at my older posts to determine this, but that just seems like too much work. So, I’m going to talk about dad, James Michael Triggs.

I didn’t know him. Not at all. The story goes something like this: my mother and father married in the late sixties. I don’t know their actual wedding date, but it doesn’t matter much, because the marriage didn’t last very long. They divorced when I was about two years old and my younger brother was an infant. So, since I was born in 1968, I’m guessing their divorce happened around 1970 or so. I really don’t remember and have only a very few hazy memories of my father from when I was very young.

My stepfather came into the picture a few years later, probably 1973 or so. Him I remember just fine, cocksucker that he was. It is my sincerest wish that if there is a hell, he’s roasting in a specially reserved corner of it as we speak. That’s the truth.

So my parents split up and my mom took my brother and I to live with her parents. My earliest memories are of my grandparents’ house in East Meadow, NY. It was a little yellow house on Mulberry Street (I think that was it) and it had a pool table and a bar in the basement. Pretty cool.

I didn’t know this at the time, but my mother and grandparents went to great lengths to make sure my father stayed the hell out of our lives. I don’t remember him ever visiting (I’m pretty sure he would not have been welcome anyway) or coming around, and even all the photographs with him in them had been discarded.

Then my mom married my stepfather, we eventually moved to Phoenix, and I grew up essentially forgetting I ever had an actual father. My brother and I even took our stepfather’s surname for most of our school years. I’m still not sure how they was pulled off, since there were no official documents anywhere calling me “Perrini,” but that’s how it was most of my life. I kept that false name until my senior year of high school, when I decided I’d better go back to my legal name for the sake of a job and college and such.

Then I just did… Life. I got married and divorced a couple of times
and raised some kids of my own. Then, a few years ago (maybe more like ten or so, I’m not sure, but it may have been 2005), I get an email or possibly a call from my brother. He said he’d been doing some digging online and might have located our father. He’d left some messages about him on genealogy sites, hoping someone would help out. Someone did. My uncle Bob Triggs, who I did not know existed, responded to my brother and soon we had our father’s address, telephone, email, you name it. We both made contact through email and learned a lot.

My father had remarried a couple of times and had another child, a daughter. So I had another sister is never known about. Turns out she was married with a couple of kids at the time as well. So there’s some nieces and nephews to add to the family tree that had until recently been buried. She now has, I think, four kids. It’s terrible that I don’t know, isn’t it? Anyway. She has a bunch of rugrats.

Dad told my brother that he had spent some time trying to find us in the eighties. I’m not surprised he couldn’t. We were in a different state and living under a different surname. This was a time before the Internet too. He couldn’t just Google us, after all.

Another interesting thing happened just after I conversed with my dad for the first time ever, via email. Two days later, he was dead.

Apparently he’d had some advanced stage of bone cancer that he didn’t know about. He’d been experiencing considerable pain in his hip, and was being treated for bursitis. Leaving a restaurant one night, he collapsed in the parking lot and was hospitalized. He died shortly afterwards, due to the cancer he never knew he had.

I live in Las Vegas and dad was in Virginia. Attending the funeral was not financially fee single, but my new sister Tara did send me a DVD of the service, along with a few of my father’s personal belongings.

I found the service interesting in that it was clearly a religious service, but it was made clear that Dad was not a religious man. The preacher even insinuated that my father had s fairly strong dislike for preachers. Apparently Dad was an atheist. I can only imagine he’d have been proud. Of course that didn’t stop the minister from providing a religious ceremony, complete with an altar call. Cocksucker.

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