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  • I have two memories of my biological father. I have heard stories about him, of course, from my mother and grandmother, which never portrayed him in a good light (“You’re an addict just like your father!”). On my birth certificate he is nineteen years-old and his listed occupation is ‘gas station attendant’.

    One day, when I was, I don’t know, 5,6, he came to my family’s house on Rancho Rd. and picked me up. We went to his apartments, the ones on the corner of Cota St. and River Rd. I thought it was strange that he lived in an apartment, I thought everyone lived in houses. I met the woman who lived with him, I think it may have been his wife. I learned later he had remarried and had two boys. I remember getting in his car, I remember going to his apartment, I remember his black hair. I don’t remember what we talked about or how the day ended or anything. We did eat.

    The other memory was when I was in junior high, maybe 12,13. My ex-step-father had came to pick up his two sons plus us two older ones. I had stepped on a massive shard of glass while playing in a field by our house, and had dozens of stiches in my foot. My step-dad had found a pair of crutches for me, so we went to get them in the most obvious place for him, a low-rent dive bar. The Duck Pond in Home Gardens, truly a fine establishment in a fine neighborhood. We pulled into the parking lot and he ran in to grab the crutches, and when he came out he has a ragged drunk with him, the type he was always hanging out with. He called me and my older brother out of the car, and he said “David, this is your dad.” He was still skinny, still had the black hair, but his hair was disheveled and his beard scraggly and he was wearing a plain white t-shirt. He and my brother acknowledged each other, my brother had a different father but he remembered mine, and at that point my brother seemed so much older than me, that he could actually see this guy and recognize him. Then my biological looked at me and started to cry and gave me a hug. He seemed to be a messed-up drunk. My two dads talked like they were buddies – “Yeah, this is the guy who stole your mom form me, har har har.” Did they actually know each other? Did they hang out at the same crappy, moron-filled white-trash bars? My brother and I stood there speechless. Then we left.

    And that’s it.

    I heard stories that he actually lived nearby where I lived when I was in high school, divorced again. My mom said the reason I never saw him is that the two of them had struck a deal, he would never have to pay support if he disappeared. I’m sure he’s still out there somewhere. Back in our collective late 20s, a few friends of mine, as well as my older brother, decided they wanted to go find their fathers, and they did, and they were collectively disappointed. But I have never had the desire to do this. Maybe find those brothers, but not enough to really make an effort. The family I have is enough for me.

    Picture - dad holding brother, mother holding me. early 67.
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