Hello to all!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday.
Yesterday was a good day for Juanjohn and the ‘gigs’ tour! Here in town I had a short but sweet news story about this adventure. It was barley a minute long, but it reached many more people I than ever could have with just word of mouth or my Facebook page. I was hoping for some air time and we got it! There is a possibility of some national exposures just around the corner, so we’ll keep our toes crossed!
With the link they activated at ABC affiliate KGUN 9, I was able to post it on my FB page and it blew up! Also with the help of my FB friends and family who shared the link, my phone didn’t stop buzzing all evening! So thank you guys and ladies, and welcome to all you brand new followers.
The countdown is now at 15 days until I depart. If you are new to my blog page, I am in the middle of my mini autobiographical walk through of times past. I suggest you go back and read some prior posts to catch up, if you like. To reiterate, I wanted to spend some days talking about me, my childhood and my adult life. Leading up to the point that brought me here with you today, days away from this unique journey that we’ll take together! My aim is to give all you good people a better insight as to what the ‘Johnny man’ is all about. What makes me tick, or explains my distorted humor! People either hate me, or love me! I just can’t find too many of the latter! Now back to my past.
By January of 89’ the smoke had cleared from the separation and divorce. My wife was well on her way to a new life and so were the three of us. It had been almost five months since she departed and had only seen the kids a couple times. I never kept her from seeing them, they just were not a priority for her at that point of her life. She didn’t exercise her custodial visits and never showed up even when she promised. Nothing in this world was more painful than watching two kids waiting to get pick up, watching for every car from the window that passed by, looking at the clock as the minutes past, only to be called and told that plans had changed. It was a kick in the stomach for me, seeing them agonize every time they got stood up. I know they wondered what they did to be so loved, then so rejected by the person they loved the most. I didn’t want to intervene too much with that arrangement, feeling that my ex was sowing seeds she would one day reap. But you can bet she got an earful from me every time she pulled those shenanigans! The papa bear in me roared.
Still they pressed on. Being the good kids they had always been. They hide they’re pain very well from most people, but I knew it was killing them inside. Especially since they’re mother lived but a few blocks away for most of this era. To their credit, they excelled in school and adjusted to their new found responsibilities. After a year at my mothers, we rented an apartment down the street. My mother was not to happy, feeling that I couldn’t handle work and being a ‘Mr. Mom’. She wanted to keep us there until they graduated. Typical Mexican momma! But I wanted us to have our own space and privacy.
Early on I taught them how to do their shores, how to use the washing machine and fold their clothes. How to help me prep dinner and how to clean the kitchen afterwards. They never complained or fidgeted about their lot in life. They learned all this all before the age of ten. My mother would tell me to bring our clothes so she could wash them, or to let her cook for us. She just wanted to make our life easier and to feel like she was helping. I would take the food at times, since mom was a hell of a cook! But I never allowed her to wash our clothes or clean our house. To this day I still do it myself!
Still we felt incomplete at times. And it manifested in different ways. Anthony was and is the more sensitive of the two. Vanessa was the harder nut to crack. I would see Anthony melancholy at times and would try to comfort him the best way I knew how. Which probably wasn’t too good. He kept busy with friends and cousins and loved playing sports like most normal kids. He kept his distance from his mom, even after she settled down and tried to make amends with them years later. He held back his true feelings from her, out of respect, but I knew it would take years for her to rebuild that trust again. He was older, and was more aware of the things that went down when she left. He harbored resentment for many years after. But eventually as he grew, he soften his attitude towards her. He possesses a silent strength, even to this day. He is genuinely a good egg.
Vanessa on the other hand, seemed to build a wall around the fact that her mom was gone. She always seemed happy and didn’t seem to care about her one way or another. I knew it was just a front. It was her built in defense mechanism. She got along with everyone one and always kept busy with friends and sports. She really excelled in the class room and made it look easy. I would often ask her how she was doing, feeling or thinking. I always got the same response: “Im okay dad, really.”
At 10 years old, her mother, who by then had become more regular with her court appointed visits started to plant seeds in her head. She told her that when she turned 12, she would be able to make her own choice about who she wanted to live with. She promised her the world if she would come and stay with her. I never worried for a minute. I knew my kids well. After a year of drilling that into her head, Vanessa responded her bluntly, the only way she knew how: “Mom, I love you, but I am never leaving my dad. So quit asking.” I felt vindicated. A lot of bad memories were erased from my heart after she came home from her visit and told me as much. I slept like a baby that night!
By 1991 I had completed my meat cutters apprenticeship at the store. My income doubled and we bought our first home with my sister’s co-signature! We were elated! No more apartments or living with relatives, we had a home all to ourselves. We felt so fortunate and blessed, we didn’t want to leave the house the first few days! Once again, we still thought of what could have been. But the pain was now easier to cope with. My sister’s words spoken to me in my sorrow years earlier would prove prophetic. We were a complete family, wife or not.
Now the kids were entering their teens and I my thirties. They seemed to have done well despite the loss of their mother. How did I do in the aftermath of my failed marriage? Hang on!
Tomorrow is the Pink Floyd laser show, so I will resume on Thursday.
Thanks again to you good people who take the time from your busy lives to indulge my passion of writing, if only for a few minutes.