Excerpt from CHAPTER 3 BOY IS FATHER TO THE MAN page 39Published July 1, 2017
I learned that adults live in worlds of lies and secrets. The first
violation children experience occurs when parents force them to
doubt what they actually see in adult behavior. Children want to be
open and honest about their lives and the events that surround them.
Adults curb and stifle their impulses to seek truth when it conflicts
with the images they wish to project.
When my brother, Jasper, was getting close to school age, one of
my friends asked me why my brother was called Junior instead of me,
as I was the oldest. Being the firstborn, my pal explained, meant that
I should have been Jasper Jr. I had already reasoned that out. With
innocent candor, I told my friend that I honestly believed that my
brother was nicknamed Junior, because he looked more like daddy
than I did. I wanted desperately to believe my twisted, childish logic.
The lengthening shadow of doubt that Jasper Rose was my father
darkened my thoughts. The question my friend asked out loud was
one I dared not verbalize. Then, one day, I discovered a laminated
newspaper clipping on our piano. It was the announcement of my
mother’s wedding to Jasper Rose in New Rochelle in 1952. By that
time, as a seven- or eight-year-old, I could read and do the math. I
was born in February 1949. The wedding announcement was September
1952. Things weren’t adding up right. Why had the clipping
suddenly appeared for me to see when I came home from school?
“Could a woman have a baby without being married?” I wondered.
“Who was I? If daddy wasn’t my father; then, who was?”
I didn’t know anything about the proverbial “birds and the bees”
or where babies really came from. With a better than two-year gap
between my birth and their marriage, I strongly suspected that daddy
wasn’t my father. Had mother left out the article on purpose for me
to see? Was it her way of confirming my growing suspicions without