Today I see that my autobiography “My lfe, a life story of a man infected” is actually doing pretty good. I was thinking maybe its not gonna fly but since its been getting some good ratings on Audible 4 and 5 stars, I guess more people are figuring wtf Ill read it, it’s cheap and an interesting subject.. So that’s a good thing and now I figured…hell why not listen to my own book on Audible. So yea I listened to it and its not that bad, pretty wacky story but interesting to say the least. I walked 7 miles today on the treadmill at Hall of Fitness in Durham NC. Tough because I set the incline at 10 instead of my usual 4. So it beat me down pretty good. Ive been eating oatmeal alot….not the instant stuff but the stuff in the barrel. Quaker Oats. cheap ass stuff too. I was thinking before if I’m a poor person Ill eat top ramen so told my doc that since I am so poor can I just eat ramen and peanut butter sandwiches? He said no deal…I need to eat that low glycemic stuff so Ive looked for the stuff in the store and yea…its not cheap but then I realized that what I put or we put in our bodies makes all the difference in how we feel act and function. So Ive been watching it real close. I do get a Subway sandwich on sometimes but maybe once a week. My autobiography has gotten some decent ratings and comments and I see one person thinks or subconsciously suggest that I write a second book or follow up. So maybe, once I finish editing the first an for the upteeth time. Here is an excerpt from the book.
When Kathy moved into the house, the problems began. She had a temper, smoked a lot of pot and was extremely moody. I disliked her from day one. Nevertheless, she had her own agenda and was not about to let anyone get in her way. She ruled the house with an iron fist, and my dad was no match for her. She would show her temper daily and in some pretty evil ways. Bathing was brutal and consisted of her washing us with a scratchy washcloth that would hurt particularly when she washed the groin area being especially rough. She also would cut our fingernails until they bled and the hairbrush was her weapon of choice when it came to punishment. It was brutal and unnecessary, but it was what it was. In hindsight, I think there may have been extreme enjoyment for her in the beatings she gave us. There were never any incestuous acts but the violence in which she portrayed daily makes me believe she may have been abused as a child herself. I never found out who she really was, she did have a father who died from an electrocution in the mid 70s and fell off a house he was working on but other than that her past is mysterious. It was like one of those people who just shows up and never leave. No past no real future, just there, being and raising Cain. In 2nd grade as me and my brother went to school one morning we stopped off at the Safeway market. We browsed through the Isles, and I saw my brother snatch some M&Ms and put them in his back pocket. I followed suit and stole some Bazooka Bubble Gum (six pack). Upon exiting the store we started walking up the parking lot to the school when we heard a loud “Hey!” It was the store manager, and he was coming up on us quick. My brother grabbed the M&Ms in his pocket and threw them under a car. The store manager saw this and informed us that if someone didn’t pick the candy up he would call the police. Cautiously, I went and picked them up and the manager shuttled me into the store to a back room. My parents were called and as he hung up I was told I had five minutes to get home. I left the store with a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and ran back home throwing the gum I had stolen on the ground. This was not good, and I was in for it. I was greeted by my step mother’s evil face and whipped with belt in the garage until my ass was covered with welts. This was the first of many more beatings to come in the next 10 years. In hindsight, I think she had a thing for the whole sadistic thing. She would do peculiar things like cut her hair almost crew cut style. Her clothes were always ratty with torn levis, and I remember seeing her wear pants with her ass showing from the rips in the back. She was and is a peculiar woman. The beatings would go on for years whenever me or my brother got in trouble. We were not angels, but we were deserving of love which we rarely got. The constant instability of our family kept me in a nervous state continually. Although I managed to pass my classes in school, I was often humiliated by situations. In the beginning of my school year’s metal lunch boxes were popular. However, my lunch box was a large brown bag, a grocery bag which was usually filled with strange foods. When I went to private school, everything was harsh and had to be done according to the nuns. My dad was also a severe parent himself but was somewhat civil in his punishments. Our school was in the heart of Ocean Beach California and had asphalt for a playground. They would call it the blacktop. It had four square and hopscotch games chalked onto it, and I remember we also had tetherball. Lunch time was embarrassing for me. We would store our lunches in a closet designated, and every time it was opened at lunch time I could smell the banana sandwich or hard boiled eggs that had been heating up through the early-morning hours. The other kids would invariably say, “Eww, something stinks.” I knew it was my lunch and consistently hid when I ate it, not wanting the other kids to know I was eating a banana sandwich or whatever odd meal my stepmother would prepare and send off in a humongous grocery bag. Eventually, it was public knowledge that I was eating banana sandwiches, Graham crackers and prunes. I was laughed at and called poor, which further affected my self-esteem. Most kids then had nice metal lunch boxes with Spiderman or something etched on the surface. They also had sandwiches that were to me normal, bologna with cheese and a Snak Pak pudding as a dessert. My hair was cut short, almost a crew cut and this was a time when many people were favoring longer hair. In the early 70s our fun consisted of rummaging for cans in trash cans around the blocks in Ocean Beach that we would trade in for cash. With that money, we would go and get candy. Our weekly allowance from my father was a quarter. Even in the early seventies this was not a lot. Carwashes were places we would go looking for change as well as the trash cans where people would throw out all their junk. Marathon Bars and Starburst were hot back then and there was always a coupon for a free marathon bar that we would get out of newspapers. Our refrigerator at home was off limits until dinner time so there was a lock put on the kitchen door. My own bedroom was off to the left of the kitchen. The house itself was very old, built at the turn of the century. It had a plaster ceiling and had that old feel to it that so many people today think is cool. Back then it wasn’t. We had hardwood floors, which had to be buffed weekly and the amount of time and effort put into cleaning and polishing these floors was insane. I or my brother were usually assigned the task of doing the floors, and my knees and arms were sore for days after spending so much time waxing and polishing. I also remember having an old statue of a Dracula that sat way up on the ledge towards the ceiling of my bedroom. I don’t know how it got there just that it was there, and it always scared me. It was old, probably from the 40s and 50s and the detail was amazing. It had the Dracula standing next to a tree. It was also at this time I started having nightmares. They usually came when I was sick, and it seemed they were always the same dream. I would be asleep and a strange-looking head would be looking at me, just a head and nobody. It would be far way and seem like it was a mile off, and then it would start gliding towards me ever faster until finally when close to my face it would smile at a nasty toothed smile and shoot off back to where it came from. I would have this same dream often, and it always scared me a lot. At times, I would do everything I could not fall asleep when I was sick, just so I didn’t have to see that dreaded face…but it wouldn’t help, and the inevitable wicked face would come back when I fell asleep. In around 1974, I finally went to a doctor because I was having perhaps with my hearing. I had been having problems with my balance and hearing, so I was sent to an ear nose and throat doc. They discovered a bony growth growing over my eardrums in both ears, and I had to have surgery to remove the growths. I had almost lost my hearing and my eardrum was in danger of dying. I was operated on and told not to submerse my head in water for a year. Luckily, even though I’m sure I was exposed to water a few times I managed to heal and the crazy dreams stopped.
Mid-1970s to late 70s
By 4th grade,I developed a crush on a girl, her name was Elizabeth Montgomery, like the show but no relationship. She was cute with long blonde hair and had the sweetest smile. I really fell hard for her, and I think I may have walked her home once. It was a constant distraction, and I didn’t know how to ask a girl out so eventually I acted on it and wrote her a note saying ‘I like you, do you like me?” I know sounds corny but not as cheesy as the dollar bill I tucked inside the note. What can I say first crushes make a person do weird stuff? Needless to say she wrote back saying no but thanked me for the dollar bill. Sucker born every minute. That was fine with me, it gave me the courage I needed to at least be able to approach girls. I found out later that women played a huge role throughout my life, and I wasn’t even aware it was happening. One of those things I guess. I was pulled out of public school in after 4th grade because my grades were failing. I just wasn’t grasping things and was put into a private Catholic school called Sacred Heart Academy. It was close to the public school but had nun’s teaching, and the focus was more on discipline than on the education itself. This was around 1974 and corporal punishment was the norm, especially in private Catholic schools. It was not easy either, along with continual beatings at home for coming home late or getting in trouble for something trivial I was now subject to the ruler at the hands of nuns in private school. I remember one nun, who particular, who seemed to love kicking kids on the playground with her big heeled shoes and smacking us with rulers if we were doing something deemed inappropriate, over the next couple years I managed to pass my classes, but it was difficult and my grades were marginal. My father was working a lot too playing piano at private parties. He was a good honest man, and although he had an Irish temper he really tried hard to keep things going. He was aware of my stepmother’s wicked ways but felt stuck. He was in his late 30s and felt his options were limited as to other methods of raising me and my brother. My stepsister Melissa was the pride and joy of my stepmother, but she had her own ways too. She was vindictive, manipulative and knew how to get her way. It didn’t bother me until I realized my brother, and I were just scapegoats in a bigger scheme which annoyed me. I have seen this behavior in people all my life even when working construction when one person tried to climb the ladder quickly I took hard jobs my whole life and took pride in working hard, but I could tell my sister used words to get what and where she needed to be and this was annoying. I myself from early on knew no other way than working physically for it. In the end, it beat me down but instilled a strong work ethic in me.
High School Years
In 1977, I started 9th grade a Saint Augustine High School in North Park San Diego. It was a Catholic School and was beginning to surf a lot when I would come home from school. My grades were getting better, but I also found myself wanting to surf all the time, and I was getting good at it. It was my release from the real world having had to grow up so fast, I would get in the ocean and feel fully free. I became in later years undaunted by large waves and grew a reputation and the name big wave Dave. It came naturally to me, I guess I felt some-odd connection to the water, even though it was, in fact, just nature. Becoming part of a wave, feeling the wave wrap around me and being able to come out unscathed was exciting and exhilarating. Surfing me was what truly living actually meant. It wasn’t cars or houses or problems. It was just me and a surfboard and a wave, Simple yet so exciting. My dad was a surfer and introduced me to the sport in 1971 by throwing me on a long board and letting me learn the hard way. I also started hanging out with local kids in Ocean Beach. One of them was David Wells who eventually went on to become a professional baseball player for the Yankees. He was an awesome pitcher in the little league at Robb Field Park and pitched for Point Loma High school. In 1978, I was attending a private school named Saint Augustine High School. The school located in North Park San Diego was a long-time fixture of San Diego. Unfortunately, in September, there was a horrible plane crash close to the it. I remember helicopters going over head the classroom and eventually our class was told to go out to the courtyard, and we were informed a PSA airliner had crashed. It was flight 182 and had suffered a midair collision with a Cessna. We were dismissed and later learned they used our gym as a make ship morgue for the victims. This was a traumatic event that impacted a lot of lives and families. There were looters that were stealing jewelry and money off the deceased people who died in the crash. In all there were 150 lives lost, and it is an event which has become a staple of San Diego history. Out in the courtyard of the school, prayer was said for the victims of the crash. My brother who had been outside during the time saw the plane coming down. I never really thought about this either until I got sick myself and had time to think about the events of life I’ve witnessed or been a part of. It was also at this time that my father suffered an injury to his leg, which would cause him much to suffer over the next two years. He was a marathoner and had run a marathon with a pebble in his shoe. A nerve was pinched, and his leg developed a tumor which caused it to shrink to half the size of the other leg. He went to numerous doctors throughout this time, trying to run on his leg, which was failing him. It was heartbreaking to see this man, my own father who was relatively young to go through so much pain. He would sit caressing his foot, and the scars from the procedures showed through. He always wore jeans and T-shirts and usually a hat to cover his head. I’m not sure if it was because he was balding or just to protect it from the sun. He was about my height five’10 and weighed around 170 lbs. Up until his injury he was very healthy, and I think his inability to keep running and functioning optimally is what drove him deeper into depression. Towards the end of 1980, I remember going out to the backyard and seeing my dad crying, holding his leg with his hands. He looked old for his age. The constant pain had drained him over the last couple years. His once fiery red hair had turned completely gray and the man I had looked up to looked frail and weak. I know he had tried so hard, had sacrificed so much, and now he was being tested. His hair was receding even more, and he was in obvious pain. I tried to console him as I left for the afternoon to go to a school function, and he just nodded and looked down and his withered leg. Naturally, his will and zest for life was giving way. Because he was unable to set up his piano and amplifiers on his own, he started having me go to his piano gigs with him. He was working at the hotel Del Coronado in San Diego making the nightly drives back and forth across the Coronado Bay Bridge to get to his jobs. He would usually return by 2:00 am in the morning. It was in 1980 that I started doing these jobs with him, setting up his Fender Rhoades Piano and sleeping in the Econoline van he had until he finished work. Then I would go in and take down the piano for him. We would get back in the 1961 Econoline and head home in the early-morning hours. I liked helping him, but it was tiring. On one occasion in early July, we were driving across the Bay Bridge, and he told me his leg hurt so bad he felt like jumping off the bridge. I made a joke and said, “Yea right dad.That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.” One week later one of the nights I stayed home, he went to work as usual. I had an argument with my stepmother that evening and told here “Wait until dad gets home.” Her reply was, “He isn’t coming home” At 4:00 am; I heard crying in the kitchen and went in from my room. The phone had been ringing and woke me up, and I heard my stepmother hang up the phone crying. “Your father is dead” she said matter of fact The coroner had called and apparently they had found my dad’s body in the Coronado Bay. He went to work, came across the bridge, parked the van on the highest part, put his license in his back pocket and jumped 200 feet to his death. In hindsight, I realize that my stepmother probably knew he had this planned and had six months earlier had the property put into a joint tenancy. This meant upon the event of his death, she would get all personal and real property. My dad at that time owned three houses. The wicked witch got her way. This was devastating to me and my brother who at the time was in the Air Force Academy and stationed at Norton Air Force Base. The funeral for my father was help at El Cajon Cemetery and consisted of my dad being buried in a pine box. The casket was built by members of his band the “Bill Greens Orchestra.” I think my stepmother was so unbelievably cheap that she talked to the guys my dad worked with to build a casket for him. In theory, it sounds cool to have a manmade casket, but I think her motives were more about saving money than truly honoring him and his life and achievements. At the funeral, my father’s sister who he rarely had contact with due to her mental issues, clawed at the ground when he was being buried. The band played jazz music as my father’s body was lowered into the ground with her screaming his name. It completely freaked me out, and although I eventually visited his grave 20 years later I was emotionally scarred by her outburst on that day. After he was gone for a while, there was a dispute between the stepmother and my dad’s sister. She and the stepmother fought over rights to the property. It was a feud that lasted for a long time, and his sister was in and out of mental institutions for years.