sphoto number 6

          This glass marble reminds me of my stepfather.
          My first memory of him:  He was dating my mother.  I was seven.  We were all "going out" as a family to an event (I vaguely remember The Ice Capades but that may have been a different night) I think it was a celebration because I recall all the adults...her, him, Nana, and Papa...were happy and full of loud smiles.  He asked if I'd help him get a tool box from his backseat.
          I accompanied him out to his sky blue 1964 Lincoln Continental in the driveway, he opened the backdoor, and I commented that it was backward.  He laughed and said it was a suicide further explanation.  I'm seven.  Why's it called that?  Because it's backwards.  I didn't think to myself at this point:  Oh boy, living the rest of my childhood with this motherfucker is going to be a real treat if he thinks that's an explanation.  But I did the third-grader's equivalent (shoulder shrug or eye-roll or head shake) and thought "adults sure are stupid".
          Seeing the size of the metal box, painted the same color as the car, I thought he was testing me to either see how strong I was or to see how willing I was to try to pick up something I knew I couldn't lift.  I couldn't tell which test it was by his smile, so I went along with it...grabbed the handle, gave it a tug (it didn't budge) and then watched as he oompfed and grunted it into the house.  It was filled with his coin collection...and probably weighed as much me.
          In 1995 he died of heart disease complicated by diabetes and exacerbated by being an obstinate asshole.  I've written about my stepdad before.  Because he was divorced from my mother, after his funeral I took a month off from my military duties, slept in his house, and spent hundreds of hours sorting through and throwing away decades of junk, files, and papers (he wasn't a full-blown hoarder but he kept unnecessary thirty years of credit card receipts).
          This 1¾" (46mm) marble was on a shelf in his bedroom surrounded by other last memory of him.


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