The Company One‘s Mind Keeps
―That is sand upon bedrock, and the bedrock is this: that there are still many, many men who feel, deep inside, that women as a group are just something –– not someone –– something to be used and humiliated. They grope on the
subway; they beat up at home. They rape and sodomize, male against female, the world‘s oldest bias crime.‖
--- Anna Quindlen, writing The Last Word for the 24 June 2000 Newsweek issue
Friendship, next to my Boys and Truth, is the third most important matter to me. Summers are a perfect, slower – paced time to plunge deep into strengthening the bonds people can develop for one another. Now that soccer assisting and the usually confining Iowa winter weather and darkness were long over, for myself, in the pineapple – iconic kitchen with a silver kettle on the electric range for boiling water suitable for thsipping tea with possible new friends? Well, it was most isolated out there on the edge of 13 Street miles
and miles from the classmates‘ mothers down in the Kate Mitchell district; but I determined that the Boys, besides their Little League participation, would have a very, very fun summer, really their first, whole one in Ames.
After all, Herry was now into healing and repair. Things between us would get better, much, much better I was sure. It was summer so high time for the rest of us four to concentrate on fortifying friendships with the folks we had been meeting the past several months. About all of us it could have been said then, or so it thwas I had been thinking, that which Thomas Bailey Aldrich, an Englishman of the 19 Century stated,
―A man is known by the company his mind keeps.‖ Instead of all of those other activities and types of women from his past, Herry was now keeping company, or so I in my naïveté so wanted to believe, with all manner of amends and renovation for his erstwhile transgressions. And we four? Relaxation, diversion and friendships were all so deservedly on tap and up for our taking.
The tiny bit of a vacation that the Boys had had the previous August – just after Zane‘s and Jesse‘s
finishing with their Manhattan zoo duties and finally getting ourselves all moved here and then immediately into their Iowa Games‘ participation – had been such a sorrowful one because of the almost
immediate and horrible passing of Sylvan in that damned and obviously deadly urban forest out back, Zane‘s wonderful, curious, three – or four – year – old, 29 – pound laprine. Sylvan, huge with such soft
and beautiful butterscotch fur, was so easy to take care of; but the tenth morning we were in town and settling in – when Zane found his hutch latch off its hook, the wire door swinging loosely and him missing from it – the epinephrine I felt surge was overwhelming. Zane‘s frightened yell came up the deck stairs to
me, and our search immediately ensued, just the two of us. I was worried Jesse and Mirzah would get lost the undergrowth was nearly impenetrable and we were all so new to this.
Some of the scrub bushes looked rather dead for mid summer actually. About midway down and about ten careful strides through the brush off south of the single beaten path to the Creek, one such pile was heaped up high with seemingly fallen, dead tree branches, leaves and other dried matter. Just a tinge of blue hue peeked through one lower edge which distinguished it from the few other similar piles in the general vicinity. Zane called through the forest to me hunting up in the small ravine, a gully really, washed out and down to the Creek from Othello Drive in front. This was the back part of our three neighbors‘ properties to the north. I came to him and together we threw off the dead growth to uncover a rather large, plastic tarp, large enough to completely conceal a yellow dirt bike – style motorcycle stashed and entirely beneath this
But no Sylvan. The two of us resolved to return to this matter of the motorcycle later, but first I went back to the pursuit of Sylvan again up north. Within seconds of resuming my earlier post and just as I had utterly feared would happen, I did not find him and Zane did. I would have given anything to have been the one to discover him. As much as I love the Truth, I know I absolutely would have hidden Sylvan‘s
tortured and mutilated carcass right then and there and come back to bury him later myself and never, ever told Zane or Mirzah or Jesse what something or someone had done to Sylvan‘s wonderful, big bunny head.
I truly believed then, and do so still today, that I would have lied about this whole thing long into my own as well as Sylvan‘s grave.
No little boys and girls who love animals and beasts and Things Natural as much as Zane and Jesse do should ever have to bury in a plain cardboard boot box their belovéd but murdered pet in a shallowly dug grave under the tall and beckoning pines just off the brown brick sidewalk south of the house as those two Boys had had to do for Sylvan that summer morning around 10:30. One of my most heart – breaking
moments in life ever; and I still weep just writing this, hearing in my mind‘s ear as I cry, the bloodcurdling scream that ripped up the ravine from out the throat of my most belovéd first – born Zane that terrible,
terrible, languid August day.
The funeral over and a day later Zane and I both remembered about the motorcycle still encased in its blue tarp beneath those disguising and weathered organic wrappings. I called the police about it. Amazing it was, simply wowing, just how fast Officer Charlie Gooding of Ames Finest made it over to our Othello driveway to check out this newly found piece of golden machinery.
Turns out it was stolen all right. Reported missing by its owner, another Ames cop‘s son no less, way back five months earlier during that March. Before we‘d moved in, this hiding of the loot of someone‘s heist would‘ve occurred just a short stone‘s toss beyond the southwest corner of our home; and it definitely got me to wondering all right about that teal – carpeted master boudoir there and those pale ivory draperies
which Herry would never keep closed when he and I were taking off all of our clothes. Did Herry already actually know so soon after we were all in residence at his bachelor pad that we were, indeed, being watched, surveilled from a point out there in those trees that was very conveniently in full view of anything and everything ... ‗interesting‘ … going on up in his bedroom?
thI was certain even with Herry gone off up there on 24 Street to take the cure from his exhibitionism and
from all of those other manifestations in him of his true and perversive addiction, that I could bring Mirzah, Zane and Jesse more joy this summer than they‘d had those couple of weeks finally off from their
scheduled responsibilities the previous one.
But. The phone rang along around the third week of June.
Mehitable announced that I was driving her and my Boys in AmTaham‘s baby blue Cadillac to the Dairy State over the Fourth of July holiday for three days of touring such sites as the Grotto, the House on the Rock, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s architectural marvel of a personal home and other Wisconsin Wonders, even the Dells if there was time. No, AmTaham wasn‘t coming along; it‘d just be the five of us since, ― … no doubt, Herry can‘t get away anyhow, can he?‖
As much as Mehitable True now loved having a son – in – law who was a physician and would, therefore,
be rich any day soon, she full well knew what Dr. Herod Edinsmaier‘s opinion of her was. No matter that just a short decade earlier her favorite and apt one – word title for Herry, we recall and then in his pre –
graduation days, had been that of ... milquetoast. Rather a far, far cry from the one of … doctor. Which is one reason why it was a very, very, wholly rare event when Herry and Mehitable and AmTaham were ever together with each other for longer than a grand total of five to ten minutes. So, no, Mehitable supposed Herry as well would not be joining us.
Gaaawd knows, I wished I wasn‘t going with Mehitable either. It was of no use to argue, though; and,
of course, I had not been consulted at all about this and, therefore, had had absolutely no prefatory time
in which to consider it, a most common tactic of Mehitable‘s when she wanted to manipulate some certain outcome to go exactly her own way, much less, disallow me any thinking time whatsoever in order to stop my coming up with reasons why her Truemaier grandsons and I just couldn‘t make this trip with her.
I had not intended to look for work just yet although my year off was certainly drawing rapidly to an end. Ames is, unequivocally, one of the finest spots in America to look for work as a practicing or research veterinarian or veterinary professor. Every third neighbor of yours is either a veterinarian or works at a veterinary installation around here in some vet – related capacity … nearly. Small in population though it
is at just an itty bitty bit over 50,000 six ... six of the entire World‘s most renowned and prestigious
institutions of veterinary endeavor of one nature or another are right here in or closely surrounding Ames, Iowa. Government agencies, both federal and state, include the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the National Animal Disease Center, the National Veterinary Biologics Laboratory, the Veterinary Medical Research Institute and the State of Iowa‘s Public Health Department a short 30 miles south on I – 35 nearby
to the Des Moines hospital where my friend Mona, the soccer mom of Mirzah‘s teammate BJ, is a peds intensive care nurse. Educational opportunities in the form of Iowa State University‘s College of
Veterinary Medicine with its major teaching animal hospital and outpatient clinics and its College of Agriculture and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as one of the state‘s premier community colleges with a fine biological and microbiological program requiring competent faculty are also right here. In the private sector, small animal and companion animal practices abound notwithstanding the Vet College‘s hospital and clinics which are somewhat of a competition but, truly, not as much as I would have
thought. There are probably a dozen such private practices — with approximately a dozen more based at
about one each in nearly all of the smaller, outlying county towns that specialize in the medical care of large farm animals and herd health as well as in the full services which go into horse – doctoring. Even
a couple of veterinary pharmaceutical companies and other related private industries maintain HQs or branches within fairly common commuting distances from Ames.
If you cannot find work as a veterinarian of one sort of another in or right around Storm County, Iowa, why, you either come wickedly recommended or are grossly incompetent and consistently scored near failing in veterinary medical school. Or. You are crazy, hysterical, a fuck of a person with known evil repute such as a two – dollar whore or a long – gone meth junkie. Or –– you are just plain dead.
Little did I know. Just downright life – dumb I was. Unprotected. ―Thank you very much, Mother!‖
* * * *
Mirzah, Jesse, Zane and I hadn‘t seen AmTaham and Mehitable in a little while, maybe 2? months or more. It had not been since I rented the honkin‘ big black video camera for Zane to film his Grandpa AmTaham as his Kate Mitchell History Day project which he took to State later in Des Moines and actually there won second place with it! The theme for that last spring‘s event, really a rather big deal, in the fifth grades around the State of Iowa had been to develop with documentation a piece of some kind, like a video or a poster board or a picture album or an extensive report, about a very, very important person to you in history.
Well, this was right up the Ancestor – in – Training alley of mine although this was Zane‘s deal and
picking as his very, very important person his Grandpa AmTaham had entirely been all of his own thinking and choice. Others in the class, of course, picked Einstein or Gandhi or a few women, too, ... I should think – although I myself actually had heard of none selected.
But Zane had settled quite early on on making his History Day project submission a video in which he interviewed his Grandpa AmTaham who, to Zane and to Jesse, probably couldn‘t have been more interesting or more important in their lives if he had outright otherwise tried to be. Zane and Jesse, even youngest Mirzah, although Mirzah simply hadn‘t had as much time on the Planet to get to know his Grandpa AmTaham as had Jesse and Zane, completely and with abandon adored their Grandpa AmTaham. With us all finally living in Ames now, he and Mehitable resided only two hours down the interstate from us; and he and Zane and Jesse and I couldn‘t have been happier about this fact.
Herry, of course, ignored my daddy thinking him a bumbling country bumpkin idiot hayseed because he wasn‘t wealthy, not even at least by his elder years, like his own farmer father was. I say that that was Herry‘s opinion because, some time later, I actually read just about those exact words in Herry‘s own handwriting. I didn‘t need to read it somewhere, though; to me about his thinking on Ancestor AmTaham Dr. Herod Edinsmaier made no bones.
Usually, doesn‘t the husband always joke about himself and his mother – in – law –— with respect to their
relationships with one another? Particularly if that relationship is known to be sour or, in the very least of ways, unsatisfactory? Not with Herry. The entire time I knew the man both before and after I was married
to him and, later, divorced from him ... all of that time ... the one parent of mine whom Herry at all times
wholly loathed in every way possible was my father, AmTaham True.
I know now that all of Herod Edinsmaier‘s hatred of AmTaham was borne out of Dr. Edinsmaier‘s own incredible narcissistic need for attention and his quenchless insecurities. AmTaham simply threatened the beYesus out of Herry. True it was and couldn‘t have been truer: AmTaham was not rich in material fortune and booty – loot treasure and was never going to be. From off of the same scripted page as the bumpkin idiot hayseed comment of his, Dr. Edinsmaier deplored what he considered to be a coming ‗fact‘ in his future: that he, Herry, because he was married to me, would have to be responsible in some financial way, let alone, in actual physical elder care, for both Mehitable and AmTaham in their old, old age. And that thinking of his, that this actual work of taking care of his in – laws would, in some manner, be his fate
even before AmTaham or Mehitable were in any way at all either physically or financially incapacitated, vexed Herry no end.
While AmTaham was never going to roll in the dough, he did embody everything else –– and did so with
such ease, grace and honor –– that Herry himself was never, ever going to be. Simply for starters,
AmTaham was gorgeous even as an older man and, finally, an old man. And, as you can imagine then, too, as a young suitor of my mother and soldier in uniform or garbed in his usual rugged livery of blue jeans, flannel shirt and denim barn coat, AmTaham was a stunner. As a three – year – old and a 13 – year – old
and a 33 – year – old, I thought AmTaham True the awesomest composition of adult human maleness ever, ever orchestrated. He was tall, 6‘2‖. His were the always, always completely uncovered coal shocks of
thick, slightly wavy, long black hair, the chiseled and ruddy cheekbones, the magnificent nose and the confident countenance and bravura of a true Ancestor in the making. AmTaham True.
Zane in his early 20s recently returned from a several months‘ – long, hiking Wanderjahr around
Guatemala bringing back with him a certain blackish marble statue of a Mayan which he had found there and produced out of his walkabout carryall to present to me for inspection. By chance, he handed it to me sideways; and, immediately, it was immeasurably unmistakable to us both when I pointed out the phenomenal resemblance. This was the bust of Z‘s late Grandpa AmTaham which, until that revelation,
Zane himself had not seen but was, no doubt, accountable at least in part for the pull behind his incentive to purchase the image in the first place!
Then there was the brain of this man. AmTaham knew everything. Everything important enough to be known before one was deceased and, therefore, truly a Righteous Ancestor, that‘s for sure. I mean that
most seriously. A steel trap. He spoke German at home before he did English. He read and read and read and never stopped reading until, literally, seconds before he dropped dead. This reading habit he started, too, long before he began walking to school. At age five, six or seven years when his own father, Great –
Grandpa Zebulon for the accomplishing of certain chores couldn‘t find AmTaham, the eldest of six children, next one in line being a brother, then four littler sisters, why, Great – Grandpa‘s first place to look
for AmTaham was the hayloft of the 80 – acre True homestead‘s great centerpiece, the colossal red barn
with the hayfork machinery which was so, so fascinating to watch in operation. AmTaham stockpiled a passel of books up in one corner of it just beneath the wide, wizened flap of a wooden loft door which allowed the great and warm light of the slowly setting sun to shed into the mow from the western sky in the late afternoons following school. The most prized and oft – examined book AmTaham devoured up there
day in and day out was certainly not any of the several bible versions or other scriptures of the surrounding christian neighborhood but, instead, Noah Webster‘s Dictionary.
AmTaham True owned a vocabulary that I, to this day, have never known any other to match. He not only knew the words‘ meanings but exercised the expressions, always, always in the manner of the Queen‘s own English, into his ordinary daily speech whether hand – milking Camel his forehead gently resting against
her right caramel – colored flank or climbing aboard the Oliver 88 to head out west across the fecund expanse hauling behind him the equally green 12 – row planter or saying grace and giving thanks to, for
him, a non – existent Allah over his family‘s entire supper of white breadcrumbs topped with Karo Syrup and Camel‘s milk. This praxis was not in the least meant to impress nor boast nor claim renown nor just to even engage another in conversation. AmTaham didn‘t possess the voracious neediness for others‘
attention and accolades that Herry Edinsmaier so desperately did.
AmTaham only wanted, for himself, to remember the things that he had studied. Therefore, to do that he
actually used those bits and pieces of knowledge in his everyday life as often as it took for him to not forget them. The same was true of his love for classical music. Two of his three tractors, both of the Olivers, each had a wooden shelf secured and wired through holes drilled into their green, left, back – wheel fenders
on which sat a large, black contraption that daily, as a matter of fact, captured the broadcast waves from the student – run radio station, WSUI, at the nearby university in Iowa City. So. During the decade that was the 1950s as he disked and plowed and harrowed and planted and cultivated, AmTaham True reeeallly ...
cultivated. That steel – trap mind of his. Out there on the plains at top decibel in order to be able to hear above the engine din, AmTaham, over half deaf himself anyhow from his participation in the pandemonium that had been World War II, harvested a whole agri – culture of Bach and Mozart and Beethoven and
Tchaikovsky and Liszt and Chopin or Brahms. He could name for you in the very first few opening bars and measures what work, what concerto, what symphony and what opus number the next piece playing on his funky audio contrivances was and which composer created it. Much in the same fashion that we four teenagers of his could identify all the pop songs and artists that blared out from the rock stations of the real radios we kept by our beds upstairs!
Speaking of teenagers, before we kids passed that infamous operator‘s examination and obtained our own independent drivers‘ licenses at 16 years of age here in Iowa, AmTaham had to do all of the lawful
chauffeuring of us to and from our activities when the schedules of all of them did not jive with the times the school bus could rurally deliver us home. Mehitable, legally blind, since that floor – varnishing
incident in my toddlerhood when her retinae one day suddenly and permanently detached bilaterally, could not drive me nor my friends anywhere. This was AmTaham‘s sole duty for all four of his children throughout our pre – driving junior high and high school years which, necessarily, put quite a time –
constraining burden on to him as a matter of fact.
Occasionally, but not at all too often, I would ask AmTaham to drive one, two or all three of my best girlfriends, Diana, Kirsten and Lorelee, home from play practice, our Troy Tip – Toppers 4 – H Club or the
Junior Achievement business meeting. When he did, his asking any of them for directions to their streets or the most rare of moments when he contributed to the conversations or offered up an initial comment from his chauffeur‘s seat about any topic such as on how the 4 – H or JA projects were progressing, Kirsten,
Lorelee and Diana ended up mute in short order. They very nearly hadn‘t a clue as to what the man had just asked them or stated to their thin air, the vocabulary used in making these general comments of his completely beyond them.
All four of us girls were almost always straight – A students and highly competitive so each was not
about to let the others of us in on her own personal secret, that is, that each one of us pretty much had no friggin‘ idea what Mr. True with his lexicon was saying up there in the front seat. Therefore, our best course of action to save face and ourselves from mortal embarrassment was to stay shut up! We might actually have learned something more, from him that is, if we did remain quiet anyway!
While AmTaham, I am sure, harbored no inkling nor intent to cause any of us girls shame in our ignorance, his lexis and elocution were always such – impeccable, that is – that our safest plan was to ride along
together rather proper – like for young ladies in those days, that is of course, voiceless I mean. It could also be said that I, Legion, rather reveled in my silence in this singular scenery inside the car instead of being at all discomfited by it. Lorelee‘s mama and daddy were farmers, too; but those other two friends of mine had suited and monied businessmen for fathers; and my pa‘s flawless eloquence only served to show them both that some folks whom they and their families may have, as a matter of course and classism, automatically written off as hickish, dullard – like grovelers in the ground ... weren‘t.
Though I knew better than to ever –– right out loud –– compare Herry to AmTaham and vice versa on any
of their mutual or exclusive attributes and was so careful to never do that when I was still in Herry‘s life, there was, at the least if not more, one more extraordinarily major difference between these two atheist men: their morals. Herry was, well, basically amoral. Without them at all. Looking back I believe that I must‘ve known this from the git – go. I now take full culpability for having – deep, deep down – known
this fact up front and for still wanting to have such an evil a man as he comport himself as my loving and
genuine husband and my most precious children‘s father.
So. AmTaham read. He read instead of viewing television or seeking out social conversation and interaction. Another disrelish of Herry‘s about AmTaham. Because whereas Herry read a lot himself all right, Herry also depended greatly and often, multiple times a day actually, upon the admiration and regard from others and, most especially, upon their engagement, the attention which he took from them –—
so borne out of that neediness and narcissism of his as witnessed by his ten hours a week in Alcoholics Anonymous in addition to all of the procrastinating away from actual and sometimes solitary pathology work which he did during the workday with a host of those subordinate co – workers, very many of them
female. Herry was basically Mr. Glib Guy. Loquacious. A popinjay.
‗Course, then, in the evenings, when all of the residents and other docs were home cooking supper or grocery – shopping or bathing their babes or washing the kids‘ and the spouse‘s laundry or even helping Zane with his first year of keyboard music practice in Hershey and then also Jesse and Mirzah, too, with all three of their Suzuki piano programs in Columbia a year later, Dr. Edinsmaier was either back at the lab at the hospital finishing the things he should‘ve completed during his daytimes there or else off somewhere with one or more of those other women either from work or from AA. Rosemarie, our most belovéd child caregiver, years later, had had many, many words to say to me about this – all of which she‘d kept to
herself until she learned, sometime after the fact, that we were no longer ‗a family‘. Herry‘s utter absence
from the Truemaier Boys those weekday evenings when I was out working the three different part – time
veterinary practices in Pennsylvania, she‘d always found consternating. Especially since Rosemarie knew
that the other children‘s parents, who lived right there in the same housing complex as did we and were also in pathology residencies, were themselves all at home nights and did not require caregivers whatsoever for their kids such as Dr. Edinsmaier, however, always seemed to have need of ... every single evening.
AmTaham didn‘t give a damn if he did or he didn‘t talk with someone else; and he certainly never gave one hang what anyone else thought of him so, often, preferred the sole company for days upon days that could stretch into weeks of that particular friend of his who lived right inside his own skin to that of anyone else. AmTaham was by no means antisocial nor did he loathe or shun social interaction. He loved it. So long as … once others knew that he was quite deaf … AmTaham was given by them the respect due him to actively engage him –– because of the way that he heard differently from most of them –– in their
This though was, of course, work that Herod Edinsmaier, all of the time during which he was a part of the True family, just up and completely refused whatsoever to do for either AmTaham or for me in our deafness. Herry loathed our physical challenges and Mehitable‘s legal blindness, too, and simply would have none of it
nor the remembering of it so, by his own purposeful design, decidedly distanced himself from us.
Besides the Trues‘ assertiveness, convictions and willingness to do hard work being a threat to Herry, we were also … less than. We were an embarrassment. All of us. A classic classist shame we Trues were.
Why should he, the Good and Wonderful Doctor Herod Edinsmaier, have to interact and put up with folks less than himself in stature or status, either one.
AmTaham thought his inability to hear well no handicap at all. On the contrary, anyone reasonable could easily understand why another so deaf would, therefore, read all of the time to entertain himself. AmTaham read nearly all of the great authors on the topics of anthropology and culture, ancient history and recorded history, the world‘s philosophies and religions, economics, agronomy, animal science, biology and medicine, political science, travel, international relations and foreign policy. And nature. Anything and absolutely everything on Things Natural. Especially on evolution. From hunting and aquaculture in landlocked areas to forestry and water conservation, from weather and precipitation patterns to geological changes and habitat encroachment. Anywhere in the World.
He was, bar none, the most progressive farmer in his own county; and on Sundays in my youth when folks took to their weekly afternoon rides around the spring and summer countryside, why, the gravel roads beside AmTaham‘s and Mehitable‘s fields were almost always the dustiest. AmTaham was the first to
plant 30 – inch corn rows and fly in the face of the ages – old system of 40 – inch ones, the width of a
workhorse‘s ass, of course. That, alone, brought hoards out; but when he insisted on sustainable land practices and the resource management of Ol‘ Man‘s Creek that ran the entire length of our and many other
folks‘ farms, why, that really brought them out to have a look – see at what good ol‘, quirky AmTaham was
up to next. A sort of agronomy barometer he was for the others in the community.
AmTaham passionately did not want Mehitable‘s and his children attending parochial school either. Every August the local lutheran school principal paid AmTaham and Mehitable a visit to try to convince them to send us four, of course, with tuition that Mr. and Mrs. True would have to come up with, to that specific religious school in the Burg. It wasn‘t until just two years before AmTaham passed into Ancestral Status and that certain and so memorable conversation which he and I alone had had while cleaning those paintbrushes, that I realized fully why he was so adamantly against us four children ever submitting ourselves to a private and formal religion – based educational system.
Not that I minded one bit! I wholeheartedly did not want to go there. It would have been utterly god – this
and god – that, the almighty – this and our good lord and savior – that. Fuck! Anyhow the school itself
was also old, staid, had no funky playground and absolutely, unequivocally, the worst thing of all …
no cute boys my age. I knew all of the boys there since I, of course, already attended sunday school and church with all of them; and there were nooooo cute ones, believe me! Besides I was since first grade, the year when all of the country kids finally joined up with the town kids after our having been separated throughout kindergarten into the morning group and the afternoon gang, fervently faithful to Larry; and Larry was, ah, umm, O JYeah, Larry was presbyterian. So. The last thing I wanted to do was go to that
religious school and miss out on Larry; and, of course, every year I thought it was a matter of tuition money and the fact that AmTaham and Mehitable believed the public school uptown to be a much better one for obtaining an actual education that AmTaham always kindly turned down the pastoral principal and showed him the door after their politely partaking of something together like mocha cake and coffee. No, the True kids wouldn‘t be enrolling next week, nope. I never knew until my early 40s and that wonderful
conversation over turpentine, scrub water and leftover paint in the condo basement on Havencourt Avenue why we, all of us four, throughout every single elementary grade and junior high and high school levels, always, always went to public school.
* * * *
Loyal, compassionate and feminist would have to be the last three adjectives I would use to singly characterize AmTaham True. The man had three daughters. At no time in my recent nor remote memory of him, not even one time, do I know him to have made a vulgar, let alone, sexist comment, done an
objectifying deed or initiated or participated in any blatant or subtle acts of female suppression including
humor or the many, many forms of pornography. How dare he – and call himself … father? Morally,
how dare he?
AmTaham wouldn‘t‘ve anyhow – buttressing an ancient and well – known, but conveniently and so, so
purposefully ignored, point: men do not innately have to. They do not get to. Because they‘re men and
because for 12,000 years or so they have brutalized and suppressed the majority of human beings that there are on Earth because they‘ve simply been able to, they do not have to. All of their lives men can live and
never, not ever, think up and then actually go ahead and say or do something that somehow, in their sphere, projects them to be dominant over or better than or able to put down girls and women.
Sand upon rather literal bedrock it is that AmTaham True, among what appears, however, to comparatively be only a very, very few other men, documented that what was so, that which was in existence 10,000 BCE to at least 70,000 BCE, that is, for at least 60,000 years, is still true after the last 12,000 years, or a period of only one – fifth as long as that entire previous time span, have elapsed: that the female and things feminine are as worthy of everything as is the male and things masculine. Things such as will, reverence, honor, recognition, voice, freedom, peace, independence, power – and humanization – throughout …
our entire lives.
And trust. Along with all of the other examples of how AmTaham True never, not one time, did or said or
even thought up something wrong against females and, specifically against his daughters, he never ever, not one time, betrayed me. Most of all, AmTaham True never sold me out to Herry.
As did Mehitable. As did Mehitable time and time and time again. As also did Dr. Herod Edinsmaier know – always know – that she would.
AmTaham True knew, instead, what Herod Edinsmaier has never acknowledged. AmTaham always
knew just exactly what he had in us three girls. As a man of the soil, he knew what gift he‘d been given in siring … daughters: the Earth‘s Future. Righteous Ancestor that he would too, too soon become, not ths of his immediate progeny walking around the World as only did AmTaham True not ―despair‖ over ?
us Not Males, AmTaham True actively and outwardly and often acknowledged his massive good fortune
in fathering so many daughters as his children. We girls held his Future. We women are his Future.
AmTaham was nothing at all if he wasn‘t loyal – including to his own kids, probably from the time they
were first conceived. Certainly up to the very moment he drew his last breath. AmTaham already had two middle names, hence one of the two reasons that Mirzah did, too; and while neither of them was ‗Loyal‘,
at least one of them should‘ve been. To friends he had had since his childhood, particularly to his little brother Wilbert, and some since the war years. But, especially to those from his college days when he‘d begun again undergraduate work at the age of 40 years – alongside Rufus Adegboi, a colleague of his and
probable Ancestor now also, who‘d walked nearly 900 miles from his tribe and lands of the back – country
to the west coast of Africa to sail to America to study agricultural economics, I guess a walking effort on behalf and in the interests of educating one‘s self that AmTaham could really relate to, his having also
walked all of his youth into a parochial school in town from the outlying lands that were his mother‘s and father‘s fields.
AmTaham never, as regards the three children of his that were female, sold them out to the holocaustic domination of the male – supremacist society that he so very, very easily could have. And, specifically, he did not, for the sake of his own glorification in their eyes or his colossal desire to be in his Truemaier grandsons‘ lives, betray me, his own child, to the man Herry, who held the keys, literally, to AmTaham‘s
access to Zane, Jesse and Mirzah. He up and fell down dead, AmTaham did, on Monday, 30 March 1992, crossing into his so well – earned role of Righteous Ancestor without ever seeing or touching his Truemaier grandsons one last, promised time mid October 1991– rather than break his stance and pledge of loyalty to
me, his own belovéd daughter.
So when Zane declared to us all that his History Day film subject was to be his most revered and belovéd Grandpa AmTaham, you can believe I was not at all surprised. Yet so, so pleased. And you can imagine that the Good and Wonderful Doctor Herod Edinsmaier was nowhere to be seen on the scene helping Zane to get any of this project‘s undertaking accomplished either.
Herry, on the other hand, was up to next to nothing honorable, ― … sand upon bedrock.‖ ―Some things‖ such as the apparently disembodied vaginas and breasts, the procrastination during and actual absence from his doctoring job, the procrastination during or, rather, the outright daily disappearance of his physique altogether from any of his labors of the fathering job, the neediness of his narcissism although of pillared prominence as a physician in the community, the passive aggressive silences, the intransigence and contrariness, the smutty and sluttish language alongside his voyeuristic use of pornography not to mention the vulgar, sexual spin Herry implied or actually verbally put onto everything including ordinary poems, perfectly correct vocabulary words on TV and in ordinary conversation, even on the verbiage with which he chose to address me or spitefully spewed in the spit that was his mother – fucking, spousal pillow talk
and foreplay, his incessant smirks and snide, sarcastic retorts, his exhibitionism through the deliberate opening of the bedroom draperies, the wearing of blue jeans on the weekends with large butt or crotch holes in them and without any underwear on so that his hairy scrotum hung through as he walked or sat legs apart, his answering the Othello doorbell clad only in his equally holey skivvies and nothing else –
without regard to who may be on the other side, his loathing of anything that smacked the least way sideways of homosexuality or lesbian and gay issues, his writings, the company he constantly kept who were both women and men with minds in as much need of repetitious, around – the – clock adulation and
insatiable ego buildup as Herry‘s head was. Herry groped (at least) Grace; an indecent liberty the frottage, his frotteurism is concealingly and subtly termed in ‗therapeutic‘ circles. The fondling incestuously – and
probably worse – of three little sisters, the bestiality.
I was just … some thing to be consumed, to be ― … used and humiliated.‖ Then – … then there was
Herry‘s crime of supplying pornography to kids, – to my Truemaier Boys! And, finally of course, the
terrorism and torture of ― … the world‘s oldest bias crime … ‖ –– the ultimate mother – fucking: the Good
and Wonderful Doctor Herod Edinsmaier went after – and threatened them all with death – my Sons!
Dr. Herod Edinsmaier‘s associations, companionships and behaviors are, indeed, sand upon bedrock. Of the most ancient, evil and diseased sort.
* * * *
I? I was accountable for turning the other cheek faaaaaar too far. A blind eye and two deaf ears, instead of just my usual entirely dead one, is really more of what it was I turned. A terribly common and often fatal female thing to do. Also a sand upon bedrock deal that may be changing somewhat.
Perhaps we women, as over half the human race that we are, are getting a little bit better about not permitting this to happen to us as much – particularly as we all finally acquire and really, really take inside ourselves the knowledge that forgiveness –— just like hope –— ain‘t all it‘s cracked up to be. As it has,
for so damned long, been hauled out and hailed by the world‘s male theologians as being. Gradually now, because of calamitous and deadly experiences such as being mother – fucked, not – forgiving but still
living long, great and so – fulfilled lives is siphoning out onto the general populace, especially that majority portion of it which is female. Reference, for instance, the sagas and sentiment of Must You Forgive?
Psychology Today, July / August 1999, recounted by Jeanne Safer, PhD.
What a mistake it‘d been of mine to agree in June 1988, to let Herry have visitation with the Boys at his place every single weekend. Grievous, ‗permitting‘ error on my part. Now I was living with this consequential experience once again – where I‘d tried to be fair, to be kind, to ‗let‘ shit just happen
because I thought I should be ‗good‘.
What is ‗good‘ is now redefined. I wish someone‘d‘ve tutored me on this sooner so that I wouldn‘t‘ve screwed up quite so much all through the legalities that were to follow. Geesh, if I‘d only known aforehand an itty bitty fraction of the generalities regarding legal stuff that I now know in hindsight! This is much of the matter – of – course, self – protection knowledge that Mehitable should have taught me as the Ancestor – in – Training mother that she was during my childhood, youthful adolescence and young adulthood. And did not. O, as a matter of fact, ferociously and zealously and specifically, it seems to me now, did not teach
any of her female children!
And yet. We were about to embark to Wisconsin together on a family outing of vacation – like proportions
but both sans Herry and sans AmTaham. O yippee, skippee!