737 words (2 minute read)


All that I know about truth and love took me a long time to comprehend, yet the bulk of it came to me in a single flash, the moment I first held my daughter. Seeing her sweet face close to mine, the same face that I had dreamt about since I was a small girl first toying with the idea of motherhood, melted and chiseled that face into my heart, making her a part of me. It was at that moment that I became something larger than a single person. I became a part of an incredible story, the start of which had been set into motion a lifetime before.

This book is an homage to my father, a complex and at times heart-wrenching story of a man’s life. He was a man in search of himself when he got lost in addiction, a lover who lost his family while wrapped up in the arms of a young girl, and a lonely old man left to live on his own when his luck finally ran out. Fighting for survival every step of the way, he endured a tormented childhood, abused at the hands of practically every adult who came his way. Emerging mostly unscathed he became an air traffic control operator, who had a problem with authority and a penchant for trouble. Fate intervened when he needed it the most and he found himself directionless and running with the wrong crowd. Searching for something better he began to try his hand playing different parts. He was a hippie, a drug addict, a prisoner, a chef, a teacher, a husband and a father. And it was in this last role that of a father, where he truly achieved what he had been searching for the whole time, the ability to love and to be loved.

The relationship that existed between my father and myself, wasn’t a typical one. He wasn’t my protector and provider; he wasn’t where I would turn when someone or something was giving me a hard time. Rather, he was my larger than life story teller, constantly there to remind me that no matter what life had to throw at me, he had already survived something much worse. He spent hours recounting life’s lessons hoping against hope that even a single piece of information he shared would suffice for me to consider a difficult lesson already learned; to save me from the pain that he had endured. When I first held my daughter, I felt the surge of love that he must’ve felt when he looked into my eyes and suddenly I understood what he had tried to do for me. In some ways it was too late when I learned what he had been trying to teach me and I realized the only way I could go on, was by recording his painful existence, sharing his life, for the world to see. While these stories were important for me, I hope that in watching his trials, tribulations, and inevitably, his mistakes unfold, that you too may find the will to keep fighting for yourself, against all odds.

His story doesn’t begin with me, or with the loving gaze of a mother to their first -born child; it goes back to a cabin in the hills of Appalachia. That was where he learned his first, and most important lesson, how to survive in the worst of circumstances, and developed his knack for hiding, even in the midst of a crowded room. I’m looking for the best way to tell the story and probably, we should start at the beginning.


"Sometimes I think I should just try to stop writing. But it’s the only thing I have left. Write until it comes out right. Or wrong! Just so long as it comes out. Thanks for letting it out."

-John Wagner

Next Chapter: A Change is Gonna Come