Prologue: A Little Backstory
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Who are they and why would they say such unprovable things? Because that is who they are and what they do. Let us just take the phrase as true for now, and blow holes in it later. This picture says that He, the man in black who isn't Johnny Cash, is young, a smoker, has friends (He is surrounded by others just off camera), is smiling (maybe he is happy), is unshaven, and has the patience to pose for a photo.
This young, friendly, happy, patient, smoker, who is not Johnny Cash, has not yet been married. He has not faced drug addiction and alcoholism. He is only vaguely aware he has problems with depression. In other words George W Bush has not yet taken the White House. This is pre 2000, when there was still a sense of goodness and hope in America. This is before planes became weapons of terrorists. This is before the 'Dark Ones' took control of the American dream and sold it to Haliburton. This is before the word ex-wife was frequent in his conversations. Finally, this is when 12 steps was merely a distance to walk, not a meeting topic for discussion and exploration.
Our 'Modern Man' whose rebirth you will read about here, had hope when this picture was taken. What went wrong that has given him the need to be reborn. Tune in next time for the beginning of the story.
Chapter 1: To Know A Man, Know His History...
In 1972, a blonde haired, blue eyed boy was born to an underage mother (14) and an 18 year old man. I don't know him, never met him, so I don't call him my faher. Sperm donor and poor pregnant girl will suffice. Other than the fact they were both children of Irish Catholic Immigrants, I know little else, and even this little tid bit I cannot prove.
This is the oral history I have been given and continue to pursue. This being all I was given, I choose to believe it as true. When I was 27, my adopted mother (the only mother I will ever want or need, truly a remarkable woman) gave me a letter, but we will get to that in a minute.
I have "always" known I was adopted. My parents lovingly told me from the minute they had me that I was special. They said that "they didn't just give birth to me, no they waited for and wanted me."
My mother was childless for several years into her marriage to my father. They tried countless times (work, work, work) and to no avail to conceive a child. Despite the desire they could not produce. I'm told endimetriosis was the culprit. So, these two eager "parents to be" living in Charleston, South Carolina, accepted the fact and registered with a Catholic adoption agency in hopes of being granted a yes and be blessed with a child.
Their prayers were answered in 1973, and a baby boy was added to the roles of the Family. No lie here, there is a very famous family I am related to on my Fathers Mothers side and my life is followed and printed about in this book, for the greater posterity; kind of cool and kind of creepy if you ask me.
Jerry and Lorraine, my Mother and Father, were given a child to call their very own and put on probation. Love this child and protect him, they were charged, and you may one day have him as your own. I was a prize to be had through meritous effort and something to be earned. Let me just say that this bit of knowledge can swell your head a bit. It has made me the ego-tastic man that I sometimes can be!
My parents named me Darrell Edward Collier and loved me as their own.
As to the protection part, well, somewhere between the delivery of their bundle of joy and the legal adoption I blackened my eye falling into the corner of the coffee table in the living room of our home. I must have cried like a baby (being a baby at the time seems to support this suggestion), but recovered with seemingly no permanent damage (except for the twitching and those pesky voices, blah-blah-blah take over the world blah-blah-blah do the dishes, anywho!)
To my parents horror, they were to present me before a judge and give a status report as to my well being, leading up to finalizing the adoption.
As my Mother tells it, there I was a healthy, happy, laughing baby boy on the judges bench, with the grandaddy of all shiners. My two parents to be nervously smiling up at his honor and the baby boy, felt a bit unsettled at asking for permanent custody.
I got lucky and the judge said yes. I wonder now at those sleepless nights my parents must have spent, wondering if the judge would have seen my black eye as abuse or neglect. Like my Mother says, I'm special, translation for our dear readers, trouble from the start. I blackened my own eye and made my prospective parents sweat. This is a trend I am noticing in my life when it comes to me and the people I love, a whole lot of nervous sweat!
I was given to them at thirteen months and this is something I didn't know until I was 27. Like I said my mother gave me a letter at 27. Why then? What prompted her to divulge this information? I honestly can say I don't know. Until now I haven't even thought to ask (note to self add this question to tomorrows to do list.)