A Glimpse Into a Writer's Soul featuring Richard Roach, author of Scattered Dreams

Getting glimpses into authors' souls might be wonderfully entertaining for readers; but for the authors themselves, it's sometimes a difficult road they have traveled and I'm not talking the publishing road. I'm talking the life road.

What many readers do not realize is that it's that life road that molds the author and becomes the backbone of the writer's soul which makes him or her the writer he is today.

Richard Roach is the author of a brilliant novel called Scattered Leaves in which he is traveling all over the cyber world talking about his book on various blogs during his third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

While his publishing road has been a rough one like many new authors, his life road hasn't been exactly easy, either. For his virtual book tour stop at The Writer's Life, I asked Richard to open up his soul and tell us about something in his life that no one knows about. Richard didn't disappoint, but he certainly pulled on those heart strings.

I'm proud to present a piece written by Richard about his life as a child and the traumas that enveloped his life at such a young age.

The Dreadful Journey
by Richard Roach

Most of my memories start the winter of 1936-1937. I was five. My mother and father decided to get a divorce. In '37 my father turned fifty, and he was a helpless alcoholic. My mother turned thirty-nine that spring and she had decided to finish her education. The fact that she had three children did not alter the decision one whit. If you will insert Dick for Duke, you'll get my feelings of the divorce.

Duke's Grandfather said, “Get in the car, son. We’ve got to go to town.”

“Is daddy going to be there?” Duke asked.

“I don’t know. He should be.”

“Will mother be there?”

“Yes, Mora will definitely be there.”

“Where we going?” Duke asked his Grandfather Turner.

“To the courthouse.”

“What’s a courthouse, papa?” Like his mother, he called his grandfather, papa.

“Legal stuff’s done there.”

“What’s legal stuff, papa?”

“Hush, boy. You’ll see it soon enough.”

Duke Weaver’s mind flipped to the next scene, a big room with dark paneling, hardwood benches, wooden fences, empty chairs, and a man with a wooden hammer sitting behind a tall desk. His mother stood on Duke’s right with Grandfather Turner.

His father, William Weaver, dressed in a wrinkled, white shirt, blue tie, and jeans stood on Duke’s left. Duke could smell his father, and knew he had been drinking again. “It’s going to be all right, Duke. It’s going to be all right,” William said with a smile as he looked down at his son..

“Quiet! Quiet in the courtroom!” the judge ordered, banging the gavel. “Now… Anthony Paul Weaver, do you know what’s happening here?”

Duke looked up, but he couldn’t see the judge, and he certainly had no idea what was happening.

“Hold the boy up, so he can see me,” the judge roared.

Grandfather Turner picked up Duke. “Talk to the judge, boy. He wants to ask you some questions.”

“Do you understand that your mother is divorcing your father?” the judge asked.

The small boy nodded.

“You have to speak, Anthony. The court reporter has to have a verbal answer.”

Again Duke nodded.

“Speak out loud!”

“Okay.”

“Say yes, or no, Anthony. Whatever you prefer,” the judge said.

“Umm, yes,” Duke said

“That’s good, Anthony. Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s time to decide whether you live with your mother or father. Do you understand that?”

“Uh, yes.”

“That’s very good, Anthony. I know this is a difficult time in your life and I want to help you all I can. I want to take into consideration your desires. Would you rather live with your mother, or your father?”

“Uh, yes.”

“No, no, no! Anthony, work with me on this. You must choose between them.”

“Okay, no.”

“Do you prefer to live with your mother?” the judge asked.

“Yes.”

“Do you understand, your father will no longer be there with you?”

“My Daddy won’t be there,” Duke began to sob.

Mora took Duke from Grandfather Turner and hugged him. “Don’t cry, baby. Mother will see to it. You can see, Bill; he just won’t be living with us anymore,” she said patting Duke on the back.

“The boy’s too young to understand,” the judge said. “I’ll have to proceed . . . using my best judgment. As I understand it, Ms Weaver, you intend to live with your father for the foreseeable future.”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Mr. Turner, does that work a hardship on you and your wife?”

“No, your honor. Mora needs to get away from that damn drunk before he kills her. He’s already served ninety-days on the pea farm for beating her up! He done it—”

The judge banged his gavel and shouted, “Strike everything past, no, your honor. Try to maintain decorum, Mr. Turner.”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Are there any other children in the household?”

“No, your honor,” Turner said softly.

“Will the mother and child have a separate bedroom?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“What about transportation to and from school? Anthony will start school this fall.”

“Adams Elementary’s only a few blocks from where I live, your honor. One of us will walk with him,” Turner said.

“Very well. Keeping in mind my previous ruling, before the child was brought into the courtroom, there will be a probationary period of six months. After that, we’ll meet again and see how things are progressing. In the meantime, Mora Turner Weaver, you are temporarily awarded the custody of Anthony Paul Weaver. Do you have any questions?”

“No, your honor.”

“Mr. William A. Weaver, you may see your son each Saturday for a period of four-hours. This will be during daylight. No night visits. Do you have any questions?”

“No, your honor.”

Some minutes later, on the sidewalk alongside the Turner Chevrolet, Mora pulled the squalling child from William’s arms. “Wait, Daddy, wait a minute! Don’t leave me, Daddy. Don’t leave me, Daddy!” Duke cried.

“I’m not going to leave you, Duke. I’ll come to see you every Saturday. I’ll take you to the show and we can play catch, go swimming, and all that good stuff. You’ll see! I’ll write you letters and everything,” Weaver said as he stepped away from Duke.

Mora shoved the boy into the backseat and said, “Hush, Duke! You’re acting like a baby!”

“Git outta my sight, Weaver, before I take a tire-iron to you,” Turner said. “Shut the damned doors.” Turner slammed down on the gas and drove away. Duke stood on the backseat and waved, but his father watched the car fade from sight with his hands shoved deep into his pockets.

Yeah, I remember all that shit, Duke said to himself as he listened carefully for sounds on the porch. I never saw my dear, sweet Daddy Bill again . . . except for the time Papa Turner and I went to Liberty to get a sack of sweet potatoes. Let’s see, I was eleven. Daddy Bill was hitch-hiking down U. S. Highway 90. I know he saw me, but he didn’t wave.
He said he was gonna write me letters, but he lied about that, too. In all those years, let’s see . . . I was thirteen when he died—I got him back a little bit by not going to his funeral—the only letter I got had two, thin dimes in the envelope and a one sentence note . . . “Do you love your Daddy Bill?”

The End

From this you can see I didn't know doodly about what was going on. The next thing I found myself "on the road" with my Father and ten-year-old brother. Jim was a kind man who always wore a suit with a tie, white shirt, and kangaroo, black shoes. He never cursed me, yelled at me or hit me; he was a perfect father, but he was an alcoholic. After a few months of traveling Texas (hitchhiking, of course, can you imagine this?) daddy decided to park us in a room above the drug store in Alvin, Texas.

At this point father left. Where? I know nothing about where he went or what he did. My brother was a resourceful lad (he later, after the war, graduated first in the geology school at A & M, class of 1949) and built a shine box and started shining shoes on the streets of Alvin. My job was to watch. I took it all in, believe me, I was too frightened to say anything. Kids in war zones do not tend to talk and I was in a war of survival. I learned to keep my mouth shut! I understood that if the authorities happened to pick us up, my bother and I would be separated, this was my biggest fear.

After nine months of this fun, father returned and carried us (via the bus, this time) to our Grandparents in Livingston. It was here that I learned about telling the truth, honoring women, being kind to babies, working hard, and beating the hell out of any male person who crossed my trail. The tougher you act (and are), the less likely you're liable to get beat on. It is better to be the beater than the beatee.

I lived a wonderful life with my Grandparents until mother finished college, returned home and got a job teaching school. She meant well and wanted to take care of me, but what the hell, the first rattle of the box I'm gone again with my closet of fears. I was twelve. Son (my brother) was in Europe fightening the Germans and I was left, alone again, to fight the black nights with their horrors, monster horses as big as a tree that can crush a courthouse with one mighty hoof, trains that run over you when you go to sleep, but the worst dream of all was falling off the earth and tumbling endlessly through space.

I believe the worst fear of all is not knowing what you're afraid of. I've been afraid all my life, butterflys, and anxiety, that sort of thing. My palms don't sweat and I don't shake like a dog at the vet's and it isn't money. I thought money would cure my fear until I had a million in the bank and found that didn't help. Winning battles, physical and mental, may help but the terror stays with you. Death will come some day soon with its sweet kiss and that will sooth the jangled nerves, quiet the endless brain searching, and put to rest the ills of old age.

Richard Roach is the author of SCATTERED DREAMS. You can visit his website at www.richarderoach.com.
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