Thurs. 9-27 (1979)
Hello my beautiful daughter,
I haven’t checked my mail at Steve & Etta’s in a couple days, so I don’t know if you’ve written or not. When I wrote you last and asked to hear whether you’d gotten it, that seemed important. When I’ve thought about it since, it hasn’t. That is, if you’re supposed to get my letters, you will; and if I’m supposed to/need to hear from you, I will. I love you, and one of the things that means is that I enjoy expressing myself to you. Don’t get me wrong: I also really like hearing from you, hearing you/listening to you expressing yourself to me. That’s what I want, and what I get will be what I need.
I hope you’re enjoying yourself and learning and growing. I know you’re doing the latter two; the first is the only thing I’m unsure about.
Things are really interesting & exciting for me: seeing some patterns in my life, some big ones, for the first time ever. They are really far out: mostly they have to do with my history of relationships with women (including your mother & going back further than her) and how I use/have used those relationships to work out my feelings about my mother & her inability to give me love, affection, respect, hugs, kisses, TLC… that kind of stuff. (I’m unclear about how much of this I “should” be sharing with you… when, if ever, should I relate to you like a peer? Or: when a father tells his child about his own emotional/psychological struggle/growth/insights/development, is that OK? I guess I should go with my feelings and it feels OK to go this far; I’ll go as far as it feels OK to. Part of my desire is for you to maybe learn a little something about your own psyche, and to know me as well as you can… given our… the way our relationship has gone (off the main point: I want you to know that I am not threatened or bothered at all, any more, by your relationship with your stepfather. I accept that he was your father, is your father, in many ways. And I think it’s beautiful that you have two of us. How many young women have a straight dad and an unconventional dad?) At any rate, the genesis of this recent big insight was George Oliver, from whose apartment I called you the other week. I was talking to Geo. about my feelings of longing for Barbara & he told me that what I was saying sounded just like what I’d said & been feeling right after separating the last time from your mom. That blew me away, because it was real true. In essence, my largely unconscious/subconscious need/wanting to “get back at” my mother for what some part of me sees as her deliberate refusal to give me what I wanted, love, has led me over the years to play the game with women (who I’ve viewed as mother-surrogates) of “when I’ve got you, I don’t want you; when I haven’t got you, then I want you back.”
All this realization is so new I’m still trying to get my mind around it. I’m pretty sure I want to stop playing it: it sure doesn’t feel good for those involved, myself included. (I realize that, at some level, it had to be satisfying some real deep need in me; otherwise why go on doing it for 30 plus years?)
Exciting and scary times. The prospect of opting out of the game is exciting. And scary: the game-playing part of me says, “gee, what will I do if I don=t play that game?” or “But that’s all I know how to do!”
Incidentally, I have no regrets about having come down to Florida & having been there 3 & 1/2 months. It all needed to happen, I’m sure of that. And our time together was beautiful.
And something else that needs to happen is going to the first part of next week: I’m heading south again. I’ll be driving in the van down Baja California to La Paz & taking the ferry across to mainland Mexico again. I’m going to revisit some of the places I raced through (e.g. 3 hours in Oaxaca) and visit some of the places I chose not to make side trips to. And drink in that delicious tropical sun & sea for a while. I guess I’m feeling that I’d rather go to Europe in the spring, warmer weather. (Sat.) A feeling that’s really been reinforced by the last couple days in LA, real cool here, rainy & overcast on the beach today.
My current thinking about my travelling is that I’ll do Mexico again until Dec. or Jan. then go to the Caribbean. I’d love to visit Jamaica, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, etc. And then in summer go to Europe. Rather than going to London now, then immediately to warm weather in Africa then going back to Europe next summer. But, it’s real hard to stay definite.. I don’t know what this does to our talking about travelling together, but if we’re supposed to, we will. And I would love to see the Caribbean with you.
I don’t know whether I’ve told you or not: when I came out here in Aug., my first stop was San Diego, where I talked to my Aunt Cecelia (who also was my godmother) & the lawyer that drew up my mother’s will. Cecelia, after hearing that I felt humiliated, hurt and angry about Mom’s will, said that Mom had felt all those same things & ways about what I’d done in living my life. Which is no doubt true. And sad, that my efforts to live & be happy were taken so personally by her, and that she chose to be so upset about them. There’s a lesson there, for sure.
I will write you from Mexico and I’ve decided to assume you will get my letters & stop worrying about whether Gail might intercept them.
My thoughts are with you a lot. Know that I love you. (The thunder outside seems to punctuate my writing with an exclamation point after that sentence!!) Allow yourself to be who you are; remember that if you were supposed to be different, you would be.
Incidentally, I asked Sheila’s lawyer how long before I get my money from the estate & he said he couldn’t be definite (you know how lawyers are) but he thought it’s be sooner than 6 mos.!
(You can write me in Mexico if you want. I’ll be stopping in La Paz, in the state of Baja Calif. Sur and mail will be held for me if you send it c/o Lista de Correos, for that city & state. La Paz is 1000 miles or so south of San Diego so I shouldn’t be there until at least a week or so, more like 2 weeks, after you get this.) I’ll let you know other cities later. The next one after La Paz will be Puerto Vallarta, but I forget the state name, but you can just check an atlas.
3 responses to “he didn’t know he would die on december 19, 1979. a beautiful letter, regardless. my daddy. i loved him.”
The only thing I can say is WOW! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing…
Thank you for reading it!
Thank you for sharing this. The family resemblance is striking. He would be very proud of you.