Spell check complete but needs grammatical editing
Have Drum Will Travel
This is a rough draft & just the intro to my autobiography (50 years in the making)
For an Index of Stories I published go to: https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/stories-poems-and-art/
It’s always been interesting to me how a story starts and how it ends.
Biographies & auto-biographies always held my attention because I was fascinated to know that what I was reading really happen. I realize some of the facts may have been altered when being retold. Perhaps a good writer uses creative license at the cost of not automatically capturing the exactly accurate account of their lives or the bio of others; however it is no fairy tail.
My oldest daughter, Kyri, always seemed to prefer the world of make believe with it’s dragons and elves, magic & marvel. My younger daughters, Abbey, Madi & Olivia, request that I tell them stories off the top of my head, which are often whimsical and lack any true facts at all. My son Alexx could weave words with such deep, colorful emotion that you could chew on it for days and still be digesting what was said years later.
Although I like to pretend and elaborate or embellish the truth I’m still inclined to at least offer a metaphorical reason or rational to what ever story I am reading or writing.
I’ve thought a great deal about writing this autobiography & I came across this Psalm, this prayer, to encouraged me to get it done –
Psalms 71:15-18 NLT this is also my prayer,
“I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord . I will tell everyone that you alone are just. O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalms 71:15-18 NLT
So, how do I begin, not even when, or where, but HOW?
When I was 8 years old I recall a teacher encouraging all of us to write a journal. She inspired us to write anything and when we didn’t know what to write to simply write down what was around us, taking place at that very moment, our perspective of what we were experiencing, looking forward to or about things that took place in our past experiences.
That is where my story begins, in the past, as far back as I can remember.
Side note: I have a book shelf filled with my personal journalism from that very first one (when I was 8) up to the present.
Even while writing this I am inclined to question myself and hear statements of discouraging voices only I can hear in my head. They say, “Noone wants to read that! You don’t know how to write well. You don’t even read well. If you write it it won’t come out correctly, a waste of time.” To myself I say the opposite. I flip every discouraging thought & statement around, “Someone wants to read that! You know how to write well enough. You read fine. If you write it it will come out correctly, it is not a waste of time.”
The reality is,
writing is a very good way for me to document, process & share my life.
It doesn’t really matter who reads it or enjoys it. What matters is the end result, not how it started, not what happen in the beginning or middle but how it all ends and my faith is that it will never truly end.
There is a movement dedicated to the prevention of suicide. It is called Project Semicolon. The idea is that a writer uses a semicolon when he has more to say. The semicolon is used to continue the thoughts expresses in any particular statement; as opposed to a period ending that statement. Just when you think a statement is over that li’l semicolon allows the author to write more and the reader to read beyond what was stated. That punctuation marking, the semicolon, implies that,
The statement continues and my story is not over yet.
I felt like since I turned a half of a century old it’s a good time to write an autobiography.
This is my story, beginning, middle and the assurance that no matter how the written version ends it will carry on.
Life is hard and it might not get easier; however, just when you think it is at the end it has really only just begun because I believe in God and He has a plan that goes beyond this biological world, beyond biology all together; and thus, beyond my biography.
So I travel this road I am on, continue to write and attempt to look back to where I’ve come from, where I am and where I am going.
I was born February 3rd 1968. The day after groundhogs day. Little did I know the jokes my dad told about that would be picked up by me when my daughter Olivia Avery was born actually on ground hogs day 36 years later. “If she saw her shadow and went back into the womb does that mean we’ll have a longer winter or an early spring?”
I’ve noted that our earliest memories fade as we age and yet eventually our childhood becomes more clear to us than what happen yesterday or what we ate for breakfast.
I know what my parents remember about my birth and what my two older sisters (Pauline and Collene) tell me. I know they wanted to name me “Casper” (The Friendly Ghost). He was popular in 1968 and the hooded clothing I was swaddled in added that familiar wisp to the top of my head. My dad (Ed) says that my mom (Aileen Faye) recommended we have my name rhyme with Aileen, Collene & Pauline. With that in mind he says they considered naming me Eugene. Apparently he doesn’t particularly like that name and the joke only works when not telling someone who cherishes that name. As I grew older I learned of the great drummer, Gene Krupa, and if they were to name me Eugene I would have shortened it to Gene, just as I shortened Thomas to just Tom. My mother’s dad, who died before I was born, was named Thomas so they officially named me Thomas. My dad’s dad was Frank. The name Frank was already taken by one of my 1st cousins. Robert was already taken by my dad’s brother and his brother’s son.
So, they gave me my dad’s 1st name as my middle name. 26 years later I gave my 1st and only son the same middle name.
My mother was concerned with my birth. She had experienced the death of so many people in her life, including witnessing the tragic death of her 2 year old sister who tragically fell from a two story window.
Apparently I had no complications and they, shortly after my birth, took me to see my grand mother on my mom’s side. My mom proudly laid me on her mother’s chest. Shortly after that she (my grandmother on my mom’s side) died. I obviously don’t recall that but it is a meaningful recollection my parents share with me.
I ask myself,
What do I recall? How did my life go at the start? What was it like? How much can be written about my life just after I was born? Do the things that happen as soon as I took my first breath of air on earth have anything to do with my autobiography?
The point is I took that first breath & was blessed to continue to breathe. What can I write about this life that has been 50 years in the making? I believe God’s vastness of all creation is beyond what we can take in & put into words. He knew us before we were born & if we trust Him He will preserve us after we die. Can we capture in words a documentary about His work? Well, I think we should try.
Again, writing an autobiography is no small task. How do I capture & describe who I was & who I want to be remembered as?
The rhetorical question is, “How can I write anything about life, the breaths, the steps, the experience I have on this planet without giving Glory to God, my creator?” I cannot leave Him out.
My dad insists that I remember people I met when I was two or three but I only know what they tell me. We lived in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
We were packed into a row-house with busy streets. This was back when a street car with rails below it and an electric wire above it traveled down the center of the main roads. Automobiles from the 50’s & 60’s had to maneuver around those bulky prehistorical obsolete creatures. As I write this autobiography I recognize and acknowledge the changes over the past 5 decades, how I survived all those changes, progressions, ramifications and historical victories.
My parents recall that I somehow wandered off one day and walk by myself to a corner store to get some ice cream. It was a time period in history when you could walk to the corner store located on a busy urban street without the fear of cross fire bullets. Back then, as the ’60’s were ending and the ’70’s were beginning we still had trustworthy neighbors. It was one of those friendly neighbors in that city that didn’t just bare the name “the city of brotherly love” but lived it out who found me & brought me back home. That is not something I relate from my own memory.
This raises the questions,
“How far back can we remember?”
“What was it really like back then?”
“Is my perspective accurate?”
For me I don’t think my memory receptors started really working until we moved to Jacksonville Florida, when I was 2 or 3. Our view of the past is only relative to how each of our minds process things. I believe our past experiences can play a major role in building our character, a backstory if you will. As I write I’m gaining a better picture of how I developed into who I am today and why I live as I do.
Pictures help me recall PA & my grandparents home, sitting on my “Pop pop’s” lap. Frequent visits back there allowed him to be in my life, for me to know him before he died. We received the news of his death while in Florida and I was too young to comprehend it. I do remember my mom explaining, “You know your daddy? Well, his daddy died.” I still couldn’t comprehend. I didn’t know what death was. I didn’t even know where life came from, let alone that people died. I recently had to ask my mom for dates on when certain things took place. We moved to Jacksonville in 1970. She remembers that I use to throw my bottle out of my crib when I was done & on the drive down to FL from PA I threw my bottle out the (manually rolled down) open car window & that is how they broke me away from the bottle. They just said, “It’s gone!”
My pop pop Bailey died in 1972. I was only 4. That is my earliest memory.
That gives me a starting point.
I do remember things around that age, I’m not sure if those things happen before or after my grandfather’s death but there is no question that his death & my family’s reaction to it stands out. We gathered around a piece of furniture called, a “vanity.” It was a small stool-like chair that sat in front of a mirror with connecting draws & side tables. That vanity became a humble alter of prayer as my dad fell to his knees and cried in prayer as he grieved the death of his dad. We all surrounded him in support. My mom told me her sister died around that same time and I don’t recall that at all. I’m not sure why. I know we took a train up to Philly for my grandfather’s funeral but my mother traveled alone to her sister funeral. My beginnings were a milestone for generations before me. As they received a tomb stone I was just achieving milestones; but who was truly better off, those gaining new life in their eternal home or those of us enduring the temporary strife we face every day here in our temporary dwelling place? I say what we see as the end and our loss is heaven’s gain and we can’t compare this life with what in store for us after our bodies die. Being human and thriving with newborn life, as splendid as it can be, has nothing on the journey & victory over sin & death that Christ made possible. May we always remember the price He paid and live as part of His kingdom come here & now. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.
He has gotten me this far and most recently I acknowledge in faith that He is completely in control of all life, all living things; through Him we can truly live & develop a biography that is sure to end with rejoicing & shouts of praise. We witness as one person dies others are born but my faith is challenged to accept Him at His Word that although some die, in Him they are made alive & welcomed into a new place where death, dyeing, tears, sorrow, and loss have no place. Again, there is no end to our story; just a new beginning.
So, I think age 4 is my earliest recollection. For me that is where I can really start with writing my autobiography.
Living in Jacksonville was great.
Picture from a USO function. Me with my dad, Ed. Ruth Marrow next to me & my sisters, Pauline & Collene behind me.
My parents were buying a house and I think we planned on living out the rest of our lives as a family there. Little did any of us know what would come in the future years. We lived in the now, as we all should. We all strive toward the future but we weren’t so distracted with that to the point of not enjoying the journey we were presently on. We focused on the present progression knowing we can’t predict the future.
Having said that, my dad was always driving toward a better future and pushed himself & the family to take the steps necessary so we’d develop skills, education and connections that would pay off later in life.
As our lives unfolded we were faced with various opportunities & oppositions; however, we lived life together as a family unit. I had, and still have, an amazing support system because our family binds & commitments are so strong. My parents had a book called, “When 2 or 3 Are Gathered In My Name Some One Spills The Milk.” It was a book devoted to small portions of Scripture designed to let God’s Word speak to the whole family. We never did read it on a regular basis as a family once a day as designed but we did always share meals together, attend Church together & we were taught Biblical morals & standards. I think that helped develop our moral compass and gave us a good solid foundation that would help us as we all grew and matured.
I was the youngest of 3. Each of us were about 5 years apart. I got along with Collene, who was the oldest, better than I got along with Pauline, the middle child in our family.
Let me first talk about my parents before I get too carried away and jump around from subject to subject, after all, there would be no me without them.
As I write this off the top of my head I think one way of me trying to keep my thoughts organized and on course would be to title a section, a chapter, & stay on that particular subject for that section of my autobiography.
Writing it all out is allowing me to discover more and more about myself, those around me, and how the environment, culture and time periods I’ve lived in have effected my progression, my personal journey.
1968 has now, 50 years later, been pin pointed as one of the most tragic and yet positively pivotal times in history. That is year that I was born and here I will share the past 50 decades from my perspective.
Now that I’ve gone back as far as I can remember to give an introduction I invite you to travel along with me… (I’ll be placing links to the other chapters here as I finish writing them).
“Mom, Dad & Elementary My Dear Tommy”
Link to “About section” (https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/about/)
Link to Pod Cast Interview (https://youtu.be/gRbMeYdIWdU)