12 Good Men

Meet Uther! My uncut calvarium. 12 Good MenHe's a beautiful brute, clocking in at just shy of 12lb (without a brain, so that's HUGE...if I had a brain!). He was dug up in the chalky, limestone earth of the Jurassic coast in the 1950's. All I really know about him is that he's old (pre-dental), was crowning a wisdom tooth and had a nasty infection of a molar:

He may well have been a Roman Soldier for all I know. No, he didn't have syphilis. It was Phillip Hubbell great buzz A Misappropriation of Normal that got me onto this (I know, sorry Phillip...bit of a stretch).

The point being is that after my father died, we had a bit of a problem: skeletons in the closets. My father himself had a separate closet (he was an undisclosed but brilliant tyrant) which I may get into another time. But, he had '12 Good Men' and counting. Lots of skulls; some purposely disarticulated, some in bits. Full skeletons, half peeps; (cervical) neck to coccyx including ribs & pelvis, long bones, feet, hands - bits and Bobs (or Babs). And lots of jars containing various blobs (humanoid?) in formaldehyde. Hell, you couldn't rummage through his shaving drawer even without coming across a phalanges or two....

Here's where the increasingly weak link to Phillip comes in; this sort of thing was 'normal' for us, but not for others, clearly. Getting shot of those treasured family-members was a pain in the gluteus maximus! My step-mother, tiring of the problem, suggest we bury them in the back yard. Plenty of space! Tempting though it was, I did mention that should she ever sell the family home (actually - all our father's off-spring were ditched in a magnificent legal final move by him), that she would be hauled-up on possible murder charges. Of course, they wouldn't stick, but it crossed my mind. Anyway, I quite loved the woman, even though it's not particularly reciprocated. Just so's you don't see me as 'fiscally motivated', my very damaged, adorable BFF,  soul-mate and sister - and a shut-in, found out she was to die at aged 57. Because she was trying to get her ducks lined up for her kids, we were saddened (but really not surprised) to find out our father who art 'playing harp with stupid people' (his words), had gone to some length to make his will inaccessible to his blood-grandchildren. Back to de bones!

I finally managed to sell them to a company in Canada - fabulous fun at Mail-Box! Monies returned to my step-mom's coffers. They couldn't take non-medical 'kosher' specimens, hence why I got Uther. My [then] dying sister had Igraine - her teeth kept falling out.

Once dead, it was so easy to get rid of dad - he sunk like a stone in his biodegradable sea pillow; a huff of 'fu** you' that was part of the package. We also took out our eldest sister, who had committed suicide 25 years ago. She didn't go quietly: we had to squeeze the life outta her!

Why am I telling you this? Now that's a VERY good question. I think the answer is that I can!  I've never said it before - quite refreshing! I'm no longer emotionally involved, but I am damaged. Truth be told, I rather like my gimp - it's all I've ever known. We never had help or counselling; even as children any friends we may have had did not see him as he was - as adults, they chose nowt to 'believe us' so we lost those friends. It wasn't until a couple of weeks before his death (I was helping my step-mother care for him...out of AGAPE love: choice), that a Physiologist interviewed me separately. She asked about his 'manipulative side', so I told her he was always like that - could walk into a room as one person, but if anyone outside of his kids were there, he was charming. She told me he was most likely a psychopath. Huh....no surprise. 

It was 'my night'; the night he died. First time in his hospital bed at home, first teeny-weeny bit of morphine. My husband and our kids came to visit early eve. He slept after my step-mother gave him his opiate, which was probably a relief for her as he'd been berating her for being 'stupid and fat' the last few months (she's neither). I told her to go sleep. He woke during the night and was trying to get out of his bed but his leg got stuck in the railing. I tried to calm him; reason with him. He was always terrifyingly intelligent and, even in his situation, a force of nature! I explained quickly and calmly that if he allowed me to remove his leg that we could get him out and sitting up. He wouldn't have any of it. His last words before his eyes rolled back were 'oh, SHUT UP woman!!' Funny guy....

I guess we were 'middle-class'? Dunno. The upper-4 kids (I was the youngest of those) were privately schooled in the UK. (I think he did this as a way to cajolle his bank-manager into a big-house loan, as out house in Iowa...? The realtor ran off with the lot). Alas, the wimmin-side of these numbered three (and the other sisters are now dead), and I guess we had some sort of Stockholm syndrome. The  lower 4 - again; one boy, were less damaged. I think that's because he re-married a girl 15 years his junior and has lots of 'naps' between his Practice. Our birth-mother was voted off the island at an age-inappropriate time (I was 7): cast your vote but God help you if you tick the wrong box: only our father was in attendance (as always), and there was only one box. What our sire was good at was 'divide and conquer', so we couldn't be anywhere near each other or it may give us something (under duress) to bargain for when it came to the daily line-up. Even as kids, we lived alone.

I could go on for hours, but hell...you've probably clocked out by now :)

At my age now: 58, I have learned that: I am what I became: a performer. I hate it. We don't go out - it's exhausting. I was the deflector to stop a whoopin' on one of my 4. Didn't work much. Just made me his 'favorite', so I could hear about his sex life and death-demands and, at age 8 he held me accountable for our two Great Danes; they didn't fair with the top-4 being at school and the lower-4 being at home. He made me come with him (age 13) and hold their heads as he had them 'put-down'.



I acknowledge that this life holds no sway but sorrow. 
Author in Source Title

I yearn for what I lost still (my potential), but moreover for my sisters.


I will never be sane/normal. Who the hell cares anyhoo...such is 'diversity'!

My plate is full. Can't wait to get to the finish :)

What I thought was love was slavery (so far as my father was concerned - but...he deserves love, as all others). At aged 40, I discovered it's possible to not love, hate, be indifferent, but CHOOSE....

I can't get y head 'round this blasted quoty thingie 
Gerald Hecht


There's worse - always. I don't have a monopoly....far from it.

Lisa 🐝 Gallagher Ay-oop, love! For you; for lovely lady! For Deb 🐝 Helfrich Deb🐝 Lange, Cyndi wilkins, Gerald Hecht and Ali Anani, Max🐝 J. Carter....that's why I ain't you...Nuns be damned :)


Cyndi wilkins 10/2/2017 · #38

#36 LOL @Deb🐝 Lange! I figured you were either on your iPhone or had a severe case of the hiccups while you were typing;-)

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Lisa Vanderburg 10/2/2017 · #37

#36 haha...I actually googled that thinking it was local colloquialism; just came up with 'good returns.' Just look at all the oopsies I've made! Even when I reread I'm looking at context not grammar - I don't even have the excuse of using a phone!! It got me going :)

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#35 oops _ i went back in and saw all my spelling mistakes! I was on my iphone! and I can not edit them - "gaddcoeturncrs" - I think was supposed to be "we have all had experiences"!!!!???

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Lisa Vanderburg 9/2/2017 · #35

#31 to #34 monkey see, monkey do...I'm learning, YAY! (Except I tried to highlight the other ladies in my comments with the @..?)
Pertinent point about learning what to do with our own damaged selves rather than being told by the conventional rote behavioral approach. Much more proactive - like it!!
I'll visit your site and find the conversations. Very grateful for all you help @Deb🐝 Lange - a treasure trove!

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What I intended for ng book was to share what worked for me and how I have helped other people discover useful stuff for themselves. I love that Deb Helfrich has used my book
Like a recipe book. She duos in finds something beneficial and adapts it to work for her and her life. Wd have been doing a series of conversations - havd a listen . Lots of love to you for this stage - keep on learning to care and love yourself . Be kind to you do things that nourish you. Xxc

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I believe we have all gaddcoeturncrs and we have learnt some things about creating our lives. Some of those things work well for us. Some of those don't work so well for us, as over time we have events and experiences and we make them mean something g about ourselves and others that isimiti g, of judgemental of inhibiting. Those events often carry psychological, emotional Etc pain. We have not Been taught how to be with our suffering, how to give ourselves the care and love we need to heal. We have not been taught how to create loving kind boundaries for ourselves and what is love and kindness anyway.

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And with my belief in the potential of people I followed and developed practices based on cocreating learning environments that enabled people to discover what they needed in partnership with me and others and for themselves. This is basically the philosophy of my work and my book.

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With deep respect to psychologists and psychiatrists in the least century I do believe we are learning other ways to learn about ourselves #30 we have done the best that we could at the time and we are getting better at understanding how to "help" each other. 40 years ago when looking at what career to choose I decided not to do psychology as at the time it was all behavioural, i would have studied rats and I would have studied therapeutic models that had ideas based on people being flawed or having something wrong with them. I did not believe in those models. So studied education as I believed in the potential of people.

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