Day Ninety-Seven (97): Honoring My Father

Day NinetySeven (97): Saturday, June 5th, 2010

97) Christian Mystics Understood The Law

The Law of Attraction works in the pursuit of spiritual desire just as it does for worldly things. Christianity emphasizes total submission of one’s will to the will of God. Christian mystics have understood how the twin engines of faith and belief could merge the spiritual self into alignment and even unity with its Source. Some say that through divine grace they entered transcendental realms and moved closer to God.

Mystics of all religions have exhibited paranormal powers, gained knowledge and perceived truth through an inner knowing. That is not to say that all mystical experiences are pleasant. However, the understanding that mystics come away with from time spent in transcendental states have sometimes enabled them to manifest or create from spiritual desires (often to help others).

Today, my Daddy, Michael Egic, would’ve turned 97yearsold

…he made it to 73-years-old, nevertheless. He died on February 4th, 1987. The same day as Liberace. My father died that morning, Liberace died that evening.

Get this…my father was born on June 5th, 1913 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. At that time, it was almost all immigrant families from Yugoslavia. Daddy’s family was no exception. Grandpa, Petrov Egic and Grandma, Anna Svilokos Egic spoke little, if any, English. In fact, whatever port they arrived on in 1912 or early in 1913 (we think Grandma was pregnant with my father on the ship) — our last name was changed by the English-only speaking port authorities.

As far as I understand, our last name, was Egich. And from what I learned from Daddy, he was the first-born American; we were from Belgrade, Yugoslavia. There’s rumor that one of my grandparents may have been Croatian. And look, with some geneology, we may even be Russian Jews somewhere in the line.

Nevertheless, Grandpa and Grandma were Serbian Orthodox (Christian) as was my father. In fact, that’s how my father met my mother … at the Serbian Hall in Phoenix, AZ in 1962.

My father was the first, as stated, of eventually eight (8) children: Peter (a real-life gold prospector), Samuel (yes, I had an Uncle Sam), Nick (ended up an NYC businessman), Violet, Mary (adored her, most of all), George (everyone’s favorite) and the youngest, Angelina (changed her name, though — to Dorothy).

I really didn’t get to know many of them well . . .with the exception of Peter, Mary and Violet. I barely met Nick and as a child, I spent some time with Dorothy, Sam and George (mostly on vacations).

In fact, Uncle Pete was the first death I experienced at a conscious level. I was only 7-years-old. Uncle Pete lived in the very rural, desert area of Wickenburg, AZ in a shack. My cousin, Vincent (we were raised together from 1965-1973), and I loved Uncle Pete. In his shack, I may have developed my phobia of old and dirty bathrooms — but, he had all sorts of animals; living animals in cages — rabbits, snakes, prairie dogs, etc. He generally let them free after a while. But, he collected them to show to Vince and I. We loved it.

Uncle Pete, on his gold-prospecting trips into the deep desert of Arizona, he also brought back lots of different rocks, stone, minerals, etc. including our favorite “fool’s gold” and some parts of Arizona’s famous “painted desert”. The stones turn colors due to pieces of crystal-like covers on them. All natural! Every now and again, Uncle Pete found real gold. Somewhere, all of us were given an ounce of real gold by my uncle. Still, I think in the 1970s one of my foster sisters stole it when she ran away.

In 1971 or 1972, Uncle Pete went prospecting, as he often did. On his trips, Pete would check in with his closest neighbor and tell him how long he’d be gone and to watch his shack. About two weeks after this trip, my father received a call from the neighbor saying that Uncle Pete was overdue by one whole week.

All I remember is both my parents being very upset that the neighbors waited so long to call them — and that, considering it was the desert, Uncle Pete was gone. Nevertheless, my family and I drove the two hours or so to Wickenburg — to an area Uncle Pete frequented on his trips — and Daddy and some area residents went on a search party for him.

I wanted very much to with Daddy. I felt I could find Pete, because, even then, I had this psychic connection to people. In fact, I remember telling Daddy I knew where Pete was waiting. Of course, not sure I understood he was dead. Dad wouldn’t let me go as I was only a small child. Mom, Vince and I sat in the car — with lots of water and drinks — while Dad went out walking.

Vince and I did love playing out in the desert — throwing rocks at the Jumping Chola Cactuses. Jumping Chola’s are fun — they will actually jump at you, if you come too close — and insert the needles under your skin like a fishhook. Painful as hell. If you throw rocks at them, you can hear the needles trying to lodge into the stone! It’s like a Venus Fly Trap! Vince and I thought that was so much fun.

And you know, we both had our share of needles in our arms, etc. Mom would have to pull them out as we screamed and cried.

Dad came back, not too long, really, with tears in his eyes. I remember this because it was the first time I saw Daddy cry. They found him, only about a mile from the nearest ranch. Apparently, Uncle Pete left his van (mistake #1) and tried to make his way to this ranch he knew about. Pete had forgotten his water (mistake #2). As Uncle Pete walked in the right direction — he must’ve grown tired and decided to sit underneath a tree (mistake #3) for a minute. He died of exposure.

As I listed those mistakes, let me tell you why. When you grow up in Arizona, in school, they teach us desert survival. Desert survival comes with rules — 1) If you are with your vehicle: NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. It’s easier for rescue to find a car than a person, in the desert. 2) NEVER FORGET WATER (brings jugs and jugs for you and jugs and jugs for your car) and 3) Once you are walking — NEVER STOP UNTIL YOU FIND WATER and/or PEOPLE.

Uncle Pete knew all these rules too well. Why he forgot his water or why he left his vehicle, we’ll never know. Or even why he stopped only a mile from his destination.

A short while later, I attended my first funeral. A Serbian Orthodox funeral in the middle of a desert cemetary in Wickenburg, AZ. Uncle Pete loved the desert. I remember kissing the cross on the casket (closed) and feeling like Uncle Pete was watching us and told him “I’ll see you later.” My father was devastated. My father inherited Uncle Pete’s purple heart from World War II. Today, I have that purple heart and it’s very dear to me.

After that, I was closer to my Daddy than ever. I wanted him to never hurt again and I wished Uncle Pete would come back. We also inherited his panel van. My Dad put our little rocking chair in the back of it and Vince and I loved riding in them. We’d flip the rocking chairs on purpose while on the road.

As I think back to the 1970s, when that was illegal and there were no laws about child seats, etc. — it’s amazing we never were injured in that van! LOL! This is also before safety equipment was used while riding our bikes or roller skating on the cement. I have plenty of scars to show how dangerous our world was then . . . and lived to talk about it, as you can see!

As the years went by, I tried to learn more about my father. He married my mother when he was already 49-years-old and only knew her a year or so. Thus, he had some sort of life for 47 years before Mom and me and Vince.

My father never really went to school — yet, he could read and he loved to write and take pictures. Daddy was an avid photographer and I still have camera’s of his dating back to the 1920s! By the time Daddy was 12 or so years old, in McKeesport, PA, he went to work in the coal mines with his father. The family was poor and my father may have attended a school for a short while. He never could remember if he did or not.

Daddy had severe asthma or developed it in the coal mines. At some point, probably before he was even 18 and having no diploma, he was still able to join the Army. In those days it didn’t require any formal education. By the time he joined the Army, maybe he was 16 or 17-years-old, he could read and write. He served during peace time and had his honorable discharge.

In this interim, he attended Air Conditioning School. Then, a doctor told him, if he didn’t leave Pennsylvania, his asthma and the air would kill him ten to twenty years early. My father was told he had to move to Death Valley, California or Phoenix, AZ. This was probably in the 1940s.

I have a picture here, of my father with a radio microphone in his hand. This may be from the Army days or the 1930s. But, he once told me, he worked at a radio station. I think it was in Pennsylvania.

My grandfather died young (heart attack or black lung from the coal mines?), in Pennsylvania, maybe in his 40s. So, after that, my father had to support his mother and the seven remaining children.

Somewhere in there, Daddy moved to Phoenix, AZ and applied for and was hired by the United States Post Office. A job he would hold from 1940-something until 1985. He was hired as a Letter Carrier, a job he loved and kept him going his whole life, really.

In Phoenix, and remember he never had a high school education or diploma; he was smart enough to land a job with the postal service. He once told me he probably learned to read at the coal mine or someone taught him somewhere along the line. My father loved words, reading and writing. He kept journals for years, which Mom and I have in storage in Florida.

Late in the 1940s, my father met a woman named Jeannie. She was a divorced woman with two children. She was American Indian. My father went to a place for Army veteran’s, called “The American Cantina” — but she had TB (tuberculosis) when it was still incurable. Jeannie was placed in an asylum, as they were in those days, to die. What we would call a hospice, now. Although, these asylum’s were quarantined and no visitors that were healthy could get close w/touching or kissing — TB is much too contagious.

Somehow, my father married Jeannie. Jeannie died eight months later in the asylum. My mother and I do not believe there was any way for that marriage to have been consummated in the time they knew one another. Of course, there’s no way to know previous to Jeannie’s illness. Sex was not spoken up in those days. 

In the storage, of my father’s life, there were dozens of letters that my father wrote to Jeannie while she was in the asylum. At some point, I think my mother threw most of them away — but there’s a couple that were saved.

In fact, a year after my parents married, my mother discovered that every year, since Jeannie’s death — my father placed an ad in the Phoenix Gazette saying “We miss you, Jeannie.” My mother made him stop when she found out.

Mom and Dad met at the Serbian Hall. My mother had gone from the Roman Catholic Church to Serbian Hall because they would let her sing solo. She had to learn how to sing in Serbian by sounding out the words, though! She did well! Daddy was the only single guy left, so she kept putting herself in the front seat when Dad drove all the single ladies home.

According to Mom, Dad was not a romantic or very smooth. In fact, she really set everything up. The way he proposed was interesting . . . not necessarily romantic. Mom and Dad had been doing the “driving home from choir” thing and had dinners. She said Dad would drive her to her apartment and on occasion tried to get together with her — but Mom, at the time in her late 20s, wanted to wait until marriage for that and would stop Dad’s advances. He respected her (he would often say that as the years went by — that he respected my mother) and didn’t try again.

One day, they were walking in downtown Phoenix and were walking by a jewelry store. Not sure, but Mom may have stopped to admire the engagement rings or look at something. Anyway, while looking in the window with Dad, he said, “Which one do you want?”

That was his proposal.

They were married on October 13, 1962 in the Catholic Church (St. Mary’s, I think) in downtown Phoenix. Dad was 49-years-old, which Mom did not discover until they were filling out their marriage license! She had never asked his age . . . Mom was 30-years-old and would be 31-years-old on December 23rd of that year. 

For years and years Mom told me she was 29-years-old, but her math was off — because she was born on December 23, 1931; thus, she was already 30-years-old in October 1962.

I was born 11 months later, on September 28th, 1963. My father was 50-years-old and I would be his first and only child.

Today, I honor him by saying “Happy Birthday, Daddy“. And I wonder what he would be like if he had made it here to his 97th birthday. 

On another note — Today, in email, I heard from my cousin, Clara Collins. . .

A few years ago, Clara lost all four of her children to foster care. It’s a long messy story. Anyway, her two oldest were adopted out by the state of Arizona. She contacted me and said she found those children on the internet and send me updated photographs.

Her oldest child, Sadie and her 2nd child, Tyson. I have a photograph of Tyson and my mother together from when Clara still had him.

Love, Light & Laughter,

Angela Theresa

 

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