Rosenet

The father of Anisse and the husband of Pyridee, Rosenet is the son of Atlas and Circe, and a former unicorn to boot.  As a unicorn, he grows up in fear of his world, and unsure of where to go, or what to do.

I patterned Rosenet after myself. 

As a child, I grew up in a very strict household.  If I did anything wrong, justice was doled out by my father as swiftly and surely as lightning in an electrical storm.  My mother constantly complained that she could not handle me, and would complain to my father about what I did when he came home.  My mother’s favorite statement when I was growing up was “wait until your father comes home”.  That meant that I was going to get the beating of my life after my father came home from work.  Dad was in the Air Force, and had a nasty habit of using his metal buckle on me to drive his point home at times.  Other times, he would remove it, and slap me with it doubled over.  It only took a few years for me to dread my father coming home, or even spending any time with him.  My father also used “the corner” as a means of keeping me in check.  He would have me stand in the corner, facing a wall with my hands behind my back.  I can remember hours, facing the wall, a couple of times actually falling asleep standing up — other times my feet becoming numb as a result of standing for such a long time. 

As I grew older, my father gave up using his belt, and by the time I was in Junior High School (Middle School), he had resorted to using his hands and fists instead.  My father’s favorite statement was that I was going to be a “ditch digger” because he felt I did not apply myself.  My mother, on the other hand, always asked me why I couldn’t be like her friend’s son, or my sister, or anyone else that I knew.  It was questions such as these by my parents, that fostered a loathing for both of them.  My mother would not accept me for the myself, warts and all, and my father had given up on me long ago.

The household that I grew up in was very violent.  Dad just didn’t know how to react to what I did, and in frustration, lashed out the only way he knew how.  My mother already saw herself as weak and insignificant in those days.  Between the two of them, I grew insolent and unruly, to the point of having to leave home at the age of 14.

I spent 2 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It was in Ann Arbor that I learned more about the world than I cared to know.  I lost my best friend in the winter of 1973.  He fell three stories into a cement stairwell, striking his head against a cement wall that surrounded the stair.  He had taken 6 thorazine, 7 stellazine, and 4 qualudes prior to his fall.  We were told that he probably did not feel a thing.  His funeral felt like a farce to me.  No one cried for him, even me.  I cried for him as the van I was riding in pulled away from the mortuary, feeling sad for the fact that his family did not even seem to care that he died.  His mother was dressed in a low-cut black dress, and fainted every few minutes.  His father, while busy catching his mother, did not seem fazed by anything going on, while his brother and sister played the entire length of the funeral.

Ann Arbor was a party town, and I learned how to party.  I experimented with psychotropic drugs in those days, not as an escape, but as an attempt to open my mind up to new experiences.  What I found was that I despised losing control of my thoughts, feelings and actions, only to become mired in trying to figure out what was reality and what was not.  I began smoking at 14, since my family was not with me to influence any behaviors.  I learned the gospel according to Doctor Eric Berne, and the New Testament as told by Fanita English, Thom Harris, and Jackie Schiff.  I took and passed written tests normally taken by college juniors and seniors for psychotherapy.  I was ready in one year for my degree at 16.  Ann Arbor had permanently changed my life; preparing me for the most turbulent years of my life.

By the time I was 19, I was responsible for getting my girlfriend pregnant, and I was on my way down a dark path.  I was afraid, not knowing what to do with my life.  My only recourse at the time was to join the military.  It was the military that gave me a course to steer by.  My problem was that I had a tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again.  I ended up staying in the military for 20 years, a veteran of numerous conflicts, and 3 failed marriages with 4 children from those unions.

If a person has never been in the military, they do not know how many of us (military) feel when we leave the service.  Many of us have problems adjusting to civilian life.  For many of us, the military is akin to being institutionalized for the major part of our life.  We don’t know how to take care of ourselves.  For those of us who spent a lot of time aboard ships, we don’t know how to cook very well, because we had food served to us.  Unless we were cooks, we might know how to fry eggs, toast bread, etc.  Finding employment is difficult as well.  I was a Radar Navigator/Intelligence Specialist/Missile Specialist.  I found out that I suck at sales.  The only thing I could do well at the time was type or teach.

Like the Rosenet, the character that I describe in “When the Cranes Return Again in Spring”, he is looking for a path in his life.  He does not know quite where he fits.  He thinks he has a family, but he is not certain of any facts.  He feels that he is being hunted by something, that he is constantly being shadowed, and that in short, his life sucks.  The character Rosenet, is a lesson in personal growth. He has to find himself, discover love, relationships, and how to survive in life.  It is not until the end of the book, that the reader discovers what fate has in store for him, and like the story of my life that I described, he must learn how to grow and blossom in a world that becomes very different for him, affecting not only himself, but everyone around him.

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