I am being misrepresented by a few bloggers and I'd like to get the record straight for those that don't know me, My dad was born in Oakland. His mother was from Southern Illinois born to an Alsatian mother and an Irish father. My grandmother and her brother came to California because my grandmother's brother had gotten involved in the Irish mob. There were some arrests, my great uncle married a mobster's daughter and they came to Oakland. My grandmother had a scholarship to college, but became pregnant in 1942 by a married man. She had my father and never went to college. She always lauded the wonderful female teachers she had in High School. Those spinster ladies that dedicated themselves to their students, having few other chances for rewarding employment at the time.
My mother's mother's family were from Germany and came to Canada in the 1700's, moved to Albany and intermarried with a Dutchman and ended up with a Dutch name that stuck up until this day although there was only one Dutchman. My mother's father came from Cornwall with his family in the 1920's. They were granite miners and opened a granite quarry in Oklahoma in the 30's. They made gravestones and monuments. My mother's father came to the SF bay Area to work in the shipyards. He was an alcoholic wife beater. My mother's mother had 7 kids, my mom being the eldest. I have an uncle 4 years older than I and an aunt 7 years older than I. My maternal grandmother got MS when she was pregnant with her last child. My grandfather took off back to Oklahoma. My grandmother lived in the country in Northern California. My grandmother was cooking and cleaning house from a wheelchair I remember being in the car with her and she used to pick her paralyzed legs up with her hands and put them on and off the gas pedals to drive. She was boiling a pot of sweet potatoes from her wheelchair and she accidently dumped them in her lap when she went to take them off the stove. They put her in bed after that, and she didn't get out of bed for over 20 years, until the day she died. Although she looked at my father's mother as sort of a loose woman, and my father's mother knew this, my father's mother would never say a word against my mother's mother. She would always just say, "That woman suffered." My father's mother went through 4 marriages and had four kids. My dad was resentful at never having known his father. His father was Cajun French and he saw him once when his father came to look at him. My grandmother had twin girls, my father's sisters. They looked almost exactly like Catherine Zeta Jones and started drinking in their early teens. They were dead by the ages of 38 and 40 from alcoholism. My dad lived until 60 and died from the alcohol. My mom died of lung cancer at 56. My mom and dad divorced when I was 2.
My mom was an evil bitch and my dad ran off with the babysitter. He married her and they had 2 kids, my brother and sister. My dad ran off with a few more women and married a woman that commited suicide in front of a train after 18 years of being married to my alcoholic dad. My dad was a Master Machinist, One of the most brilliant men I have ever known, he squandered everything on the alcohol. My mom told me my dad was gay, but I have no way of knowing this for sure, as my dad seemed desperately involved with women most of his life. He could converse with anyone on any subject, Egyptology, art, classical music, science. He drew and painted, he designed jewelry he sculpted. He had a cool Jawa motorcycle and sidecar. He took me fishing and I grew to love fishing and the outdoors more than anything. I could hike everyday of my life. My mom married a Navy Engineman when I was 4. We lived in Chula Vista and National City and went to Tijuana every weekend for Bullfights and Mexican food. He got tickets from the Navy for Disneyland and we took all the sailors from out of the state to Disneyland. I went about 12 times. He was a rich kid who was named after a relative that signed the Declaration of Independance. His parents had old money and lived on a horse ranch in Maryland. My stepdad had been kicked out of all his prep schools and joined the navy at 17. he loved it. So, it's kind of funny when one of my enemy bloggers' commenters says I call all sailors "Daddy". There were a lot of sailors around when I was a kid. One time one of the sailors that was staying in my room, left some very dirty briefs in my doll house. I found them and showed them to my mom and she got really upset. Later as an adult, I wasn't sure if it had happened the way I thought it did, but I asked my mom about it and she said, "Yes, that did happen and I think I know who did it too."
My stepdad went to Vietnam and my mom and I went to Maryland to live with my step-grandparents. They were frugal, wealthy people and too classy to show us how beneath them they thought my mom and I were. They did not approve of my stepdad marrying a divorcee but did not let that show while we lived with them. My mom looked like Cher and my stepdad was attracted to her, but he really didn't like me either. When he was home on leave, they got rid of me regularly by sending me to stay with my mom's sisters the whole summer. While living on the ranch in Maryland, we hob nobbed with the rich and famous. Alistair Cooke came to one of the parties we had. I learned to ride English and Western style and got my own Welsh Mountain pony. I went fox hunting. This was the start of integration and busing. I was bused from the suburbs to Baltimore to go to school. My stepdad finally came back from Vietnam and we moved back to California. Before my stepdad got out of Vietnam, he got my dad a job as a civilian sniper in Vietnam. My dad had volunteered for the military but was turned down because he had severe asthma and food allergies. My dad never told us until much later, what he had done in Vietnam. My stepdad got out of the Navy and was working in Montgomery Ward's automotive dept. We lived in a small town. I was happy because I got to see my real dad again and he would pick me up and take me fishing and motorcycle riding. My stepdad and he were similar, both mechanics and artists and really smart and very good looking. They were both under the car a lot, but my stepdad liked American cars and my dad liked foreign cars. My stepdad raced his stock car and we went to the dragstrip every weekend. My dad loved Japanese movies and he would take us to see Yojimbo and Zatoichi. My stepdad didn't do well by being out of the military and joined the Coast Guard. We moved to Treasure Island Naval Base.
My stepdad met another woman and called my mom and told her he wanted a divorce over the phone. My mom had had a hysterectomy and had been acting oddly and was getting quite neurotic, so I can't really blame him. My mom went nuts and called the emergency number on th base and the Military Police came and took her away. I had a friend that lived a few doors down and her father was an officer. They were Pentecostal Christians and charitable in nature. The officer came out and talked to the MP's. They told them that they would take me until my dad could come and get me.
My dad never did come get me. My stepmom didn't want him to. My mom was in the military hospital on the Psycho ward for months. I have no idea how long it was exactly, but it was at least 3 months. My friend's family took care of me and took me to church with them, where they spoke in tongues and writhed on the floor and cried. Every night after dinner we would read aloud from the Bible. Once the teenage son from the family opened the Bible and read aloud a chapter that told of a man that seduces and rapes his half sister. As he read I could see him getting redder and redder, but here he is thinking, well it's in the Bible, so I guess it must be OK. Then his mom attacked him and chased him up the stairs kicking and punching him and screaming that he did that on purpose. As if!!! I was freaked out!! But I am still grateful to them for taking care of me.
While I was in the military school on the base, a group of people, probably the CIA, came and tested the IQ's of the military kids only. The teacher showed me my score and it was 129, Clearly not Mensa material, but not stupid either. I have had a lot of migraines since then and they say that migraines damage your brain and I believe it. I really don't know what it's like to not have your head hurt all the time. I think my IQ is lower now. The thing I remember most is that they described my looks as well, saying, "average looking, wears glasses." At 9, I thought I was pretty good looking! I guess I was mistaken! Anyway, the teacher felt I was not working up to my potential as I was hopeless at math and only interested in drawing and reading. I read all night under the covers by my electric blanket light.
My mom got out of the hospital and was addicted to experimental tranquilizers that the military had been testing on her. She was practically comatose most of the time and I was scared of her because I knew that when she had called the MP's, she had told them she was going to kill herself and me, because nobody wanted us. So I thought that she was going to stab me, because she always kept my stepdad's dive knife under her pillow. I would push my bed against my bedroom door every night to keep her from coming in to kill me. After my stepdad divorced my mom we had to leave the military base. We moved to Oakland. My mom was on Supplemental Security Income and I was on Welfare and food stamps. My dad never paid one penny of support for me.
We happened to move a few blocks away from my father's ex-wife and my half brother and sister. My Ex-stepmom was actually a big help to me. She was jealous of me while married to my dad, but I thank God for her help after that. My mom was still hooked on tranqs and barely able to function. We didn't have a phone or a car and she rarely left the house. I was ten and I was more like her mother. The neighbors would ask why she was so sick looking and she lied and said she had leukemia. All the neighbors felt sorry for us and our upstairs neighbor, a total queen that worked for Lockheed, had me clean his house for money and he would run an extension cord over his balcony so we could watch TV or I could read. Wonderful, wonderful man. We had no electricity a lot ot the time. We got eviction notices constantly. Our landlord was a Chinese lady. I was in a class with her son and he would tell his mom how smart I was and she would always encourage me to do well in school. They took me out of that class and put me in a class with smarter kids, I was used to being the smartest kid in the class and that wasn't the case any more. The landlady put up with a lot from my mom and let us slide on the rent a lot and I thank God for her kindness too.
My mom wrote bad checks all over the neighborhood. We had angry business owners knocking on our door a lot. I grew to be very responsible about my bills because of the embarrassment I suffered. My best friend was a Chinese American girl whose parents still own a dry cleaners. I spent every moment with her over the dry cleaners and ate at her house a lot. That's were I saw my first duck cooked with it's head still on and learned to eat with chopsticks. I got a taste for salted dried fruits. I also learned bad Chinese words for white and Black people. My mom started sleeping with my friend's brother, which was beyond horrible. He was a Chinese American stoner and I hated his guts. The relationship with my friend got weird after that, as her parents were furious that their son was sleeping with my mom. He would do mechanic jobs though and gave my mom money. We had better food, electricity and a phone now. But he would beat her a lot.
My stepdad came over drunk and tried to take some of the antique furniture my mom had gotten from his parents.My mom was begging him to leave the stuff. She was crying and pleading and pounding on his chest. I was pissed because she had gone to the bedroom with him and they had sex. I felt ashamed of her for trying to get him back that way. He took all his racing trophies and his art and left his record albums. Lots of good Beatles and folk music. Later he called and wanted to come get them but he couldn't remember our address. I told him he couldn't have them as I listened to them and they were mine now. He was so low as to say, "Good, it might give you a little class." They never gave him any!
My new best friend was a half Irish, half Sioux girl. She was on Welfare too and her mom was a schizophrenic, so we had a lot in common. Her dad was from Pine Ridge reservation and her mom was from Arkansas We started going to Pow Wows all over California on Greyhound and local buses. We spent the rest of the time in the hills getting high on the pot my mom's boyfriend gave us. My friend is now a paranoid schizophrenic herself.
I started Junior High. I was one of a very few white students in the school. The Black kids were disruptive and had serious behavoral problems. I felt like I knew more than most of the teachers. There was a poetry contest at school and I told my dad about it. He asked if I was going to enter it. I said it was stupid and I didn't want to. My dad said, "If you think you are so fucking smart, then enter it!" I did and I won first prize. Shut him up like a clam!
I had a typing class and there was a retarded girl that sat next to me. Some of the Black girls would ask to see the retarded girl's purse and steal stuff from it. We were all using this fruit flavored lip gloss at the time and the Black girls would steal this and her lunch money too. So one day they ask her and I say, "Karen, don't give them your purse." I feel someone behind me rip the rubberband from my hair and I turn around and go down fighting. The teacher just sat there, doing nothing as most inner city teachers do. So then I had enemies. I had a lot of fights. In those days nobody killed anybody. I started to get suspended. Then I stopped going to school. I got home tutors. Then I got put in an alternative high school for smart kids bored by regular school. The classes were taught by UC Berkeley students. I dropped out of that school as well. I took the High School Proficiency Exam at 17 and graduated early.
My Native American friend was a very spiritual kind of girl and she had always felt that she was born to Belly Dance. She decided that we should take lessons. We started them at 17. We would catch a bus a long way to another city to take these lessons. The teacher thought that we were both promising so she let up work in her boutique in exchange for lessons. She worked at a Morroccan restaurant. She had a student night there and we danced, although I don't remember dancing, I was so scared. The owner had an Arab night club with a live band. He saw me and my friend and hired us to dance at the club. My friend was 10 times the dancer I was. We were 18. My friend and I danced at a party for nuclear engineers that were being sent to Three Mile Island after the accident. I was not much for trusting men and had never dated as a teen. I started dating a really cool Egyptian drummer and kanoon player, that worked at the night club. He helped me with my dancing. I never really enjoyed dancing in front of people. I prefered the music of the Gulf Arabs and danced better to the folk style music. I was very popular with the Saudis. I learned a little Arabic with an Egyptian accent. I also grew to like Arabs very much. One of the coolest things that ever happened to me is two of my friends and I went to an Arab restaurant one night. They were actually closed for a party for a 90 year old Arab guy. They let us in at the door anyway as they were in a generous mood. We were sitting at a table near the 90 year old guy for a while and he kept smiling at me and so did his wife. The man's grandson came and said "Grandfather you can dance with any woman here, which one do you want to dance with?" and the old guy pointed at me! His wife grabbed my hand and said, "He is my husband, please bring him back to me when you are through!" So I got up on the stage and danced with him. It was so cool!
The Egyptian broke up with me because I was being a bitch (blood will tell) and I started dating a Kuwaiti. He was insanely jealous and crazy. He was also very good looking and very rich. He didn't want me to dance, so I stopped. I really miss live Arabic music. We just went out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and clubs all night and slept all day, although he was supposed to be going to college. Neither one of us drank. Before he would leave for school he would always tell me not to touch his Koran, I never even thought of touching it. He would tell me that if I was raped I should kill myself and I would say, I am not a virgin, so why should I, and he would say I should still do it, and that my bother should do it for me if I couldn't. He would tell me if I had a daughter he was going to send her to live with his mother so she would not be a whore like American women. I had no intention of having a kid with this lunatic anyway. I am not the kind of person to spend other peoples money, so I never took money from him, but my mom did. He was always currying favors with my mom. My friends called this guy, "The Baby." He drove way too fast and almost killed us a number of times and was always threatening to beat up anyone that looked at me. It was hard to get away from him, but I did it. He epitomizes the crazy, unreasonable Arabs I think of when I think of crazy Islamic fascists. His mom was Palestinian, he would brag about killing Jews and stringing their ears and tell me he and his brother raped their nanny and she set her hair on fire to try to kill herself and get away from them, but they put her out and called her a bitch for daring to try to kill herself in their house. He once wrote a paper on why he loved Hitler and compared Hitler to Ben Franklin! He was upset at not getting a good grade on it.
My mom got a job selling plants, her first job ever! She started dating a Vietnamese guy They were together in a secret relationship for over 15 years. He took care of her while she was dying of cancer. He never could tell his family about his older caucasian girlfriend, although he refused their attempts at setting him up with women for years. He spent 4 days a week at my mom's house watching football and eating American food He taught her to drive and cleaned her mouth out when she was dying and comatose from morphine. True love like that I have never known, nor am likely to ever know. They went on a few road trips together and saw America. I have the pictures, because he lives with his family and can't keep them at home. He never liked me much and thought I was a bad daughter for telling my mom what do do a lot. This is unheard of in Vietnamese culture. He had his illusions about her and that's fine. He was also correct that I was not her mother, but was used to feeling as if I was.
I have never learned to drive and couldn't afford to make a house payment and a car payment, so I take public transit everywhere. I am a very good cook, because my dad and his mother taught me. My dad's mom was an Anglophile and got me into reading Georgette Heyer regency novels. She watched tons of British television and cooking shows (not British, thank God!) and I would stay with her and we would cook something from one of the shows. I used to bake Xmas cookies with her every year. One year I went to her house on the bus in the rain to bake cookies and found her dead. She was the person that loved me most in all the world and I miss her.
I dated a few more Arab guys. I got a job at a pizza parlor working for an Iranian. I started to date an Iranian Nuclear engineering student. He was a delivery driver while he went to UC Berkeley. He loved every hair on my head, but I didn't trust men and treated him badly. He owns a Radio Shack now and is happy and plump. I lived with a Maltese-American guy that was a taxidermist and big game hunter. I married a Pakistani for a short time. I dated a professional poker player and a cop. I got a City job when I was 25 and have been working there ever since. I work with people from all races and from all over the world. My last boyfriend was 14 years younger and a Mexican-American from Texas that grew up on a cattle ranch, his dad was a rodeo rider. I mean last boyfriend too, I have given up, I am telling you. My boyfriend before him was Black and Native-American and helped me buy and fix up a small house, even though he was an executive headhunter and had never done handy work before. My closest friend is a Black woman from Panama, she doesn't see race at all. I went to Community college and majored in Spanish and Anthropology. I have had a Chinese American punk rocker friend for 15 years, she was born in Oklahoma. I just went to my friend from Mexico's autistic son's confirmation, where I was one of about 4 whites among over a 100 Mexicans. I went there with my Jordanian-Palestinian-American ex-boyfriend and we danced to an African band and watched ballet folklorico dances and ate pipian. I go to crab feeds with my black co-workers, where I am about 1 of 2 whites in 500 Blacks. I go to birthday parties in the projects. So you see, when you are making assumptions about my friends, and my feelings about people of color it makes me angry.
I doubt that any of the people acusing me of racism are as involved in the cultures of others as I have been. My one other conservative co-worker and I were laughing the other day, because the most Liberal people we work with always gravitate to us. Hard core union reps and socialists file in to talk to us everyday. They stare in puzzlement at the pics I have of Bush and my Reagan calender. They come to talk to us because we are cool and funny and smart and know a hell of a lot about politics. They just can't believe that we're Conservatives, because they don't know any, and stereotype them.. My communist co-worker is starting to sound a lot like me after going to lunch with me for 18 years. He is getting tired of the behavior of inner-city youths. The constant spitting and anti-social behavior of these teens is getting on his nerves.
As for me being a racist, that's pure nonsense. I love many people of other races. If I make statements about Fundamentalist Muslims it is on account of their actions and not their race. Most Arabs I know consider themselves white anyway. I have always been attracted to the exotic and unusual and the truth is of course I am pretty odd myself, so there you have it. I like guys with a different life story than my own. It makes them more interesting to me. Not only that, I grew up in a truly multicultural society and am very familiar with other cultures. My Chinese-American baptist co-worker will sometimes defer to me questions about Chinese culture, because she feels like she is more American than Chinese. The other day her dad gave her dog soup, as a curative, sans dog, of course, and I told her it wouldn't work anyway unless she took it with a little liquor. She said she'd tell her dad next time to give her a drink, as well! Then when I told her I had a headache, she told me the Chinese would say it was because I went to bed with my hair wet and I said yes, I did!