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JERRY LIBSTAFF
YURI KORZHEVSKY: RUSSIAN ARTIST
MIRACLE AT SAINT GERARD'S
SAGE GALLON!
LEON DUNN: WRITER
HELMUT NEWTON RETROSPECTIVE
SAM THE SPIRITS GEEK!
BLACK 1940'S AMERICA
INTERVIEW JOHN INGRAM DRUMMER OF THE CIRCLE JERKS
VITALLY KOSHLYAK, ARTIST, UKRAINE
MAMA TILA'S THAI HOME COOKING
DTLAL POET LAUREATE: GAYLE SLATEN
PHILIPPE MANIER FRENCH ARTIST
THE CONNECTICUT MUSE: SUZANNE CAREY
AMY STEWART HALE - ARTIST INTERVIEW
ARNO ANDREY: FRANCE
BY INVITATION: GUEST CREATIVES
HINDENBURG:
GUSTAV MAHLER
KOREATOWN
UK & EUROPEAN UNION BUREAU
NEAL TURNER, ARTIST - FRANCE
BEHZAD BAGHERI ARTIST IRAN
JENN VILETTA: FASCISM IS...
SAGA: UNAUTHORIZED DTLA HISTORY
HISTORICAL POSTER ART: Vietnamese Patriotic Front
WPA POSTER ART: LESSER KNOWN EXAMPLES
OUR RUSSIAN HISTORICAL HERITAGE
DPRK REVEALED
DAVID SKYRIE, ARTIST, CANADA
SLAVERY IN AMERICA
TOM STONE: A WITNESS IN PURGATORY
MAGAZINE COMMENTS
A NEW TASTE
EXHIBITS!
DTLAL MAGAZINE FAMILY ALBUM
CONTACTS
PAST PEEKS
ECOSPHERE RESOURCES
BRIAN BROWN: SOUTHERN HERITAGE
A KENTUCKY STORY
VICTORIAN WOMEN OF COLOR
MAPPLETHORPE & WAGSTAFF
SHARON MARIE TATE
NEW POETS! POETRY CONNECTION
CARNEGIE HALL
A GAY GANGSTERS' LIFE
REMEMBERING RAY BRADBURY
CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST


"Jerry is a rare find of a storyteller. He connects so many emotions and challenges of life. I am so grateful he has come our way!"
Dr. Don Noyes-More Ph.D.

AND THEN THERE IS POETRY!

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The World is How You View It


 

ONE:

I was born into a family as a surprise. They were four people subsisting on a meager income when they were suddenly faced with the costs of a fifth member. 

Mother had given up dreams of life away from the family she was born to, to return home and take care of her ailing mother after her father died. Her remaining six sisters and brothers refused to accept responsibility and my mother was forced to assume the duty. 

Yet, she was able to marry the man she loved. My father loved her as well but was forced spend 10 hour days on the road to support his family. Although he was home each evening, he continued doing his books as my mother prepared our dinner. His hours were compensated by pauper’s wages. 

My father gave up his own dreams of moving west to support his wife’s need to mind for her own mother. 

Due to his income, my father was forced to do necessary work on his car, build that which he wanted around the house and in his evenings, do odd jobs in the neighborhood. 

His only escape was taking us to the lake every Sunday where he could find some semblance of tranquility. While his children found their way through the lakes, parks and playgrounds, he and my mother relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.

My brother, eight years my senior, dropped out of high school and joined the Marines. While he was away, my parent’s lives were shattered one rainy night as they returned from a relative’s house.  The man who drove into them was drunk, taking a woman he’d met in a bar to a motel. He turned his car head on into my parents, killed my father and crushed my mother.

Although she survived, my mother was destined to spend seven months in the hospital. While she repaired, my sister and I stayed extensively with an aunt and uncle who lived in our school district. We were constantly reminded of their graciousness and to respect them for their charity. 

It was a huge relief when my mother was able to return home. Never expected to walk again, she came back on crutches. She existed in constant pain and spent years of follow up surgeries to rebuild her body and create a new face from parts grafted from her own skin.

The courts awarded her a financial settlement for her losses but the lawyer who represented her stole all her assets and escaped to Mexico. When he was captured years later he was broke and destitute.

After my sister graduated she married her boyfriend, a “Country and Western” singer and they moved south so he might become a star.

At eleven years of age I became the head of the household. We had a coal furnace and it was my job to shovel coal and stoke the fire before school each morning then carry tubs of ash and rebuild the fire each evening. I did the cleaning and laundry and although neighbors provided food for a month or two, I ended being the cook for a time.

I became disconnected and withdrawn from the world. I took to walking the streets alone at night and found peace, secluded in the darkness.  That same darkness, however, teamed with danger so I gathered a few friends and we created a gang for support. We formed a foundation each of us could feel secure in. I was fortunate enough to escape most encounters and intelligent enough to become an advocate during skirmishes so the police bypassed me for the agitators.

During the Viet Nam War, my lottery number was low. In my world, the war was inevitable so I chose to set my own direction and joined. I found myself in a constant battle with the system and the war. When threatened with six months at hard labor for refusing to carry a rifle, I spent every penny I could acquire for legal support. Many friends and even family members abandoned me. After more than four years I was ultimately given an honorable discharge and told to never return to the military. 

I took a job with a corporation solely for the money. After bouncing around for 13 years I met my future wife during a company project. We were married a year later. For most of 28 years at that company, I hated going to work each morning. I despised the corporate contempt and their disdain for their customers and the employees. When I finally reached a point where I became eligible to retire, I left that very week and my wife and I left the city and moved to the country. 

A short five years later, a neighbor seized and destroyed a portion of our property.  An ongoing battle for four more years, several thousand dollars and untold misery were required to recover what I owned. Then three years later another neighbor intended to turn our bay into an industrial area, teaming with filth, toxins, all night generators and workmen defecating on the beach. The area, designated as one of the last remaining pristine waterways in the nation was about to be destroyed along with several wild species. Thousands more dollars were required to stop the destruction and protect the environment. Our finances were beginning to thin.

Two years ago the economy turned, the corporation we worked for bankrupted our retirement and medical funds and we are now starting over as nearly senior citizens in a world that sees us as invaluable volunteers sharing our knowledge but not worth a paid position.

God help us.

 

 

TWO:

 

At my outset, I chose to join with a charmed family. Their youngest was six years my senior and I was somewhat of a surprise to them. Strange thing, five other marriages in the extended family all were visited by “surprise packages” later that year, allowing me a team of boys to grow close to and grow up with. 

My brother and sister were far enough removed that I experienced none of the childhood rivalry visited by those more closely born. I received the love of my parents as well as the support and love of my siblings. 

Mother was a strong woman and she was known for her beauty. She had traveled and lived the life she’d wanted prior to settling. When she made the decision to marry she became a dedicated and loving wife who had a heart of gold. 

Father was the central inspiration of both the extended family and our neighborhood. He was a renaissance man who drew everyone together. The organizer, the attractor: he held that charm that everyone wanted to be around. Father was a poet, an artist, a builder, a mechanic a sportsman. Everything he did, he did well.

Secure in my family’s assurance, I found my first love at age four. Though only a child, the passion burned with such intensity I can still feel it today. Susan and I talked of running away together to marry. I began school that year and took her with me for “show and tell”.  Unfortunately, her family moved the following year.

All the while I was surrounded by family and friends. Summers were idyllic.  We spent every weekend swimming, boating and playing sports at local lakes.  Each year we traveled to exotic places for several weeks to live free and become tanned. 

School was easy and enjoyable. I held a position in the neighborhood and through the years, developed a strong standing. I enjoyed a wonderful, dynamic youth.

After High School, the draft blew strong and cold so I chose to take a different path. Although I had an opportunity to avoid military duty, it was a duty, so I turned down the prospect of a career and joined the military as all the men in my family had done before. 

However, in Basic Training I took a stand against the Drill Instructor about which, for me, was a moral issue. After an entire evening of intimidation, alone with him and his assistant in the office, I refused to concede.  For four years I battled the military on moral grounds.  At one point a Captain who was an attorney, confided that as a bombardier in the war, he believed he might have killed people. He asked if I thought he would go to Hell for his actions. I explained I couldn’t know, it was not up to me.  In the end the Military succumbed and I left with honor and my principles intact.

For the following decade I built a career, growing and progressing along the way. During that time I worked no more than 10 months in any year, at times only six, opting for summers of freedom and experience. 

My company housed me at the Warwick Hotel in Seattle, at their expense for seven months. I was chosen to develop and carry out a project I’d been hand-picked for. There, I met my future wife and when the project ended I stayed in Seattle and married the love of my life.  

We had two beautiful children and as hard as it might be to believe, we never experienced the “terrible twos”. When they were teens, their friends often chose to call our house their home. 

Both my wife and I were reasonably successful in our work, recruited for promotions and better positions; we were both able to retire young. With that and several fortunate real estate transactions through the years, we ended living in a beautiful waterfront country retreat. 

We now share our home with authors and artists, singers and songwriters from across the country and around the world. 

Our world is whole and our lives are beautiful. How could one ask for more?

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