Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Daddy Lost


image from fr.redmp3.su


Daddy Lost

Papa, please get the moon for me.”
--Eric Carle.

In 1954,
when I was ten, 
a fifth grader attending
my 7th elementary school,
I was watching
THE HIT PARADE
on our 13” B&W TV--

Eddie Fisher was hosting,
Coca Cola was the sponsor.
He sang his #1 hit,
OH! MY PAPA,
& every time I heard the song
I was reduced to inexplicable tears;

perhaps it was the poignant trumpet solo,
or maybe the saccharine lyrics:
                Oh, my Papa;
                to me he was so wonderful,
                                       so good,
                                       so funny,
                                       so adorable,
                                       so gentle,
                                       so lovable.

Damn, somehow this song highlighted a
mysterious loss in my life, the lyrics vibrated
like cello strings, & emotions exploded.

My mother’s first husband, my “father”, was a
liar, a wife beater who cheated on her routinely.

Her second husband was a pedophile, who had
molested neighborhood children.

Her third husband was a handsome felon, who 
rode a motorcycle, drove hot rods, & had potential
for fatherhood, before he started molesting my
sister & beating my mother.

So the song was a trigger, & my adolescent
instincts became a voice that announced I had
no father, just a succession of stepfathers. Oh,
how I missed this lost phantom father that my
mother never mentioned. Years later my odd
suspicions  were confirmed, & I had to own them.

Papa was not a
term I ever embraced, for

it was a ghost’s name.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub



14 comments:

Kim Russell said...

Wonderfully nostalgic, Glenn!

Frank Hubeny said...

Look on the bright side: they can't all be your father. Besides there is always the stork. Nice remembrance.

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

Oh I do remember this song ---- "Oh my papa....to me he was so wonderful...." And I also remember Eddie Fisher. I think I've mentioned the memory I have of a vacation with my mother and father....hot hot hot weather and my mother hated the heat. We went to Cape Cod (and now I go there every September!) -- drove all the way from Waukegan, Illinois. Those were the days of cabins. My dad would get out of the car and go "see if the room/cabin was clean" and heaven help him if he booked it then, and it wasn't! Anyway, he'd rolled down his window when the proprieter, I suppose, came down the dirt driveway to "help." My dad asked about a cabin and the only thing I remember is the man saying that Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had stayed there the night before~ Not that that has anything to do with you poem...but it does come to my mind when I see this record jacket cover. And yes -- I can imagine how hearing this song....if one had the background you describe here....would make even a young teen or preteen boy very very upset. "Papa" was a ghost.........an very striking ending here. You have led an interesting life, my friend. And somehow, you came out on the other side of all this. Thank you for sharing.

Toni Spencer said...

So very sad. But yiu learned and am I sure an excellent father and grandfather.

Grace said...

I am very sad to hear this side of your family history Glenn ~ Every child deserves a good father and mother but sometimes life does not give us this opportunity ~ A phantom father indeed ~

paulscribbles said...

Shit Glenn. You got a bum deal when it came to the deck marked 'father' but seems like it's all come to be grist for the mill and you came out shining. Don't know the song...bit before my time ;)

emilie jung said...

My favorite sections are:

the indented so's,

"somehow this song highlighted a
mysterious loss in my life, the lyrics vibrated,"

"Her second husband was a pedophile, who had
molested neighborhood children." ... Yeah. Me too.

"Oh,
how I missed this lost phantom father that my
mother never mentioned."

You poor baby. Obviously you made me cry ... I'm sure you made everyone cry, but especially the ones who have been in similar places.

Basically you're still that kid inside, wanting your daddy ... any daddy ... anyone who will show you consistent, dependable love. I guess that's the human race, but there's an even deeper need when you've been through abusive and neglectful situations.

I'm so sorry, Glenn.

indybev said...

Your mum certainly had unfortunate taste in men ... and yet you've managed to find poetry in your soul. I admire you for that. I was a big Eddie Fisher fan -- but then so was Elizabeth Taylor! I am sorry for the boyhood you endured.

paul mortimer said...

Just wow ... what a heartbreak narrative Glenn. A bold and brave poem .. and those last three lines are simply amazingly powerful. Kudos.

Mark Walters said...

That's really sad Frank. Sometimes parents choose the worst person in the world for a mate. I know my mom took at least 3 times to get to someone close to being a father image. You know, that song always reminds me of the Godfather movie. I don't know why. I've heard it sung by Country singers and it still doesn't resonate with me. Your words were most expressive, though sad. It is a sad chapter in our world today. God Bless You!

Wolfsrosebud said...

... and despite all you grew to be a man. Hope there's now joy.

Cedar Wind said...

A powerful poem Glenn.

rhymeswithbug.com said...

I loved that song and had quite a crush on Eddie Fisher until he married Debbie Reynolds.
Songs have a powerful impact on us.

Kathy Reed said...

I have a similar reaction to that particularly poignant song...I never lived up to my father's expectations and it affected my entire life. He was present, yes, unlike yours,
but a daughter needs unconditional love. We all do. You deserved so much more. I was hoping you were going to mention an uncle or other male figure in your life who was there for you.
You made it through, albeit with much pain; that song is hauntingly beautiful and a forever reminder of that pain you suffered. The age you were when you first heard it makes it even
more of a wound that leaves a big deep scar. ;( Your writing and theater involvement no doubt helped to save you. ;)