What are the chances of having two of the most amazing men on the planet living in the same town, and on the same street? The funny thing, I don’t think they met. These two men are and were a rare breed. They were the silent heroes you never hear about.  

They did not get women pregnant, but they were exceptional fathers. They didn’t have the breed-ownership men love to pound their chest about when they talk about their offspring. “My boy. My girl. That’s mine.” These men took on children that they didn’t create, but they treated them better than most real parents. They deserve to be recognized.

Kind of a Brady Bunch story, but it’s not. My mother shot my dad when I was just finishing my fifth-grade year. Whatever her next move was always changed life for us a bit. The shooting was on May 21. Less than two months later, July 4, she married Roy.

He had a fake ID when they met at the country Dancehall. He wasn’t there to drink, he was there to dance, and most likely meet the ladies. And he did. One who was 12 years older than him.

I didn’t do the math when I was young, but looking back, I don’t know how my mom pulled off half of the things she did. She shot a man on May 21. She spent a few days in jail until my deposition cleared her. And then she married Roy on July 5. Meanwhile, our real father was still in the hospital trying to figure out how to live with no legs. I know there was no divorce proceeding during this time. But somehow, this was Las Vegas, she got married again. The fifth time. She was a brain-game.

Before she married our real father as daddy number four (the one she shot), she asked us for permission as she was already zero for three. He gave us toys. He had a house. We might be stable. Of course, we said yes.

After this one ended tragically, she promised us she would never marry again. I think the way to avoid breaking this promise is to stay away from men. When you keep going back to the bar, you are going to bring home another stray. You always did.

Before she married this young man, she asked us again. This guy was not like any of the previous four. His addictions were coffee and cigarettes. He was a bucket of fun, and fun was what we needed in our life. We never even knew it was missing until we blended with him. His antics were like that of a playful big brother. Life with Roy was a dream come true. Food fights. Music. Shared birthdays. It was special. We desperately needed these years. We needed something to look forward to.

What hit me hard maybe ten years ago as I was driving to work in Washington was the realization of how much this man changed our lives. I knew I had to find his address and send a letter. I wanted to thank him for saving us. I realized he had absolutely no idea about what he took on. Our mother wouldn’t allow us to rehash our experiences with her man-choices with her. We had to suck it up and not rip off her poor little Band aid. We were always on our own. Many experiences happened to me and my sisters and our mother was the only connection between how we felt about this, and what happened. We were not allowed to open up our wounds. Hers had to remain protected. She was a princess.

Since I reconnected with Roy, we’ve been in touch. I realized I am the only link between our life with him, and him understanding where we came from. He knew he took on a challenge, but he took it on without question. He was an angel. I can’t imagine any other 21-year-old man taking on such a responsibility. He came here with this intention. I am grateful they found each other. Not a doubt he came to be our angel. Especially when I realize where I ended up.

Roy and I were the most alike. He played guitar and sang, and I loved to sing. Our birthdays are back-to-back. I was with him the longest. Life with Roy started for me the summer before sixth grade. Donna going into seventh, and Lynn into ninth.

I realize now that this eccentric young man who had an incredible imagination just may be the only living soul on this planet who may understand me. He dabbled in Scientology early on. I know he always knew he was more than his body. I am excited about the future conversations we will have.

This young man gave us a reality we couldn’t recognize. It was always calm with him around. Not so much our mother. It depended on when she was due for her hormone shot.

With our history, we were always waiting for the other shoe to drop. With Roy, that was never going to happen. We just couldn’t own that reality quite yet. We were well trained.

Not only did he put a roof over our heads, he kept us stable, fed, and clothed. He made sure I knew how to work on a car before I was able to own one. The training saved me when I broke down in the middle of nowhere. I was prepared, and I repaired and drove home.

We had stability for the first time ever. We didn’t have to wonder if we were going to have enough money for food. We did budget. Things were tight at times, But the house was full of fun, love, and music. We had so much with him that we never experienced. He gave us so much joy, and laughter, and happy energy for those very important years post abuse, and before we went into the world.

I realized he had no idea how extreme our lives were. What he saw was a woman who was very broken, and she was dragging three kids with her. He knew what he had to do. He saved us. He came in and gave us a chance of survival. All of the years before were tumultuous. Finally, we had stability, friends, and we stayed in the same school for the rest of our school years. We had some form of a base to latch onto. Our life had been relocation, struggle, and protecting our mother. Here at least we were where we all had a few friends. It was our “hometown” … where it all started.

And now he was here for our mother. Even though it was our programming, I knew I could let her go, but I still felt responsible for her. I know we all did. She trained us well. He had six years of children and then he had her all to himself. He stood by her side and experienced “life with Ginger” until the day she died. He is a great, and very patient man.

Roy took on three girls who were challenged. We had deep issues and he would witness this reality. Our guard was up. But he did it. And he gave us life. I look forward to sharing some of the stories of what he did to us. They are more fun in person. More fun if he is there laughing. He has a great laugh.

Meanwhile, right up the street was another human who didn’t have to be great, but he was. Paul. He was raising three boys who weren’t his own children, but you would never know it. He loved them better than if they were his own.

When I was in ninth grade, I met Ricky. He was quite a handsome young man. His family just moved in up the street. He was with his mom, his twin, his little brother, and stepdad. They were a family created by choice. I don’t know how long they were together, it seemed like eternity. They were naturally a family.

Because it is what we think we do at a young age, Ricky and I became a couple quickly. That meant virtually nothing in ninth grade but holding hands and kissing. To me anyway. I was not normal.

But the biggest blessing of all was I got to know his family. They were fifteen, maybe twenty houses up the street. I don’t think I ever counted. But when I walked into that house, I felt an energy I never felt in any of the houses where I lived. You felt trust. You felt openness. You felt love. You felt connection. You felt equality. You knew they were all sparks of the same star. Not one of them stood out as the ‘special’ one. They were all equal parts of the same whole. I’ve never seen a family so beautifully blended. It really touched my soul. I saw promise. I saw what life could be like. I’ve never forgotten how that family made me feel. I have been connected to them on and off my entire life.

I had to meet them. They were my angels. They taught me what love could look and feel like. They were all encouraged to be the best self that they are. They were all encouraged to unfold to be whatever they were. Whatever that was. There was no question. There was no judgment. There was no insistence or insertion of what they should do. Everybody was encouraged to be who they were.

Everyone who knew this family knew how special they all were. I don’t think they realized how loved they were until tragedy struck.

We lost Ricky our senior year of high school. It was an accident, but it unfolded something the family needed to know about an allergy.

School closed the day of his funeral. The entire town was there. I have never seen an outpouring of more love in my life. This family touched everybody who passed by them.

They don’t have a clue what they did for me. I was the youngest of three girls. I was fat. I had huge boobs. I had horrible teeth. My self-esteem was less than pond scum. The fact that Ricky even thought about being attracted to me for a minute, I believe changed my life. I had a little better feeling about myself. And then his little brother, Randy would flirt with me when I was working the band contest at the University in Las Vegas. I never had people flirting with me, especially looking the way I did. The family lifted me in many ways. I will forever be grateful.

Paul lost his foot flying a glider plane. That man kept flying. He had me in the passenger seat of a four person Cessna-type plane over Hoover dam. I just remember looking down, being excited about the view, when he mentioned I might want to pull up on the controls. I was sending us into a nose dive.

Of course, they have had their share of ups and downs, but they have been family strong since I’ve known them. I’ve never known a family who rallies and loves each other and supports each other more than they do. It was an honor to be connected with them, and introduced to them at a time when I needed it. I needed some good examples. I certainly didn’t have any before sixth grade.

I lived down the street with a dad that at the time I didn’t realize was an angel. And a few houses away, I got to see what life with an angel looked like. I guess this family was like looking into a mirror. My life was great down the road, but I wasn’t able to see it yet. They were an example of the love that was happening in my world when I couldn’t see it. This is why it is wonderful to bless and release your back story. In my head I was still in the little house of horrors. In reality, my house is where my friends wanted to come and hang out. I had the coolest parents in town. I didn’t see any of this then.

When you release any story that is finished and send it love, you will see the love that you thought didn’t exist.

From this beautiful and welcoming family, I always took the little pieces and crumbs that I could along the way that made me feel good. I put them in my pocket and I kept walking. I learned over a very long life what it took to feel good. And now that is the only way I feel. I choose it every day.

Paul recently lost his life. I know them, they are still family strong. I know his energy left such an imprint in their lives and in their home that they will forever feel his presence. He will forever be strong in their hearts.  

To Paul who is now transitioned back to the non-physical world… He is back in his youthful essence. He’s like a puppy dog that sees the snow or sand for the first time. He is in heaven; whatever heaven was for him. And the family knows he is with them. He will always be there to shine his light. They are a blessing. I hope they will always be my family.