Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Family In Trumpland

Image result for family icon

My family? You really want to know? Ok, I'll tell you, but this is absolutely my least favorite subject.

First, I don't think you'll be able to understand without being Jewish. Or you will, you'll understand if you understand the Bible's first books and the monstrous out of nowhere violence and deceptions they are filled with.

You ask if it's about money, this war I have with my family. Money moving from them to me. No.

My brothers never gave me one dollar. Nor did I ever give them any money.

Do I really have to go into details? People pay too much attention to money. My problem you'll say is that I don't. Fine. I'll do it. For you. My mother, for a short period, long long ago, decades, did give me money to pay for a place to live when her new husband didn't want me around. But that money came out of an investment fund, run by a friend of the family, and all the money in that fund was eventually lost due to the cheating of said family friend. (He vanished from L.A., only to reappear as a professor of business at Harvard where knowledge how to steal and get away with it is highly valued.) My mother lost 100,000 dollars. And made a point of telling me that the small amount of money she gave me to pay for the cheapest one room apartment in the neighborhood at the time would have been lost anyway. I didn't deplete family assets by so much as a cent.

The problem is different. Much of it is as you suggest, resentment.

But that's not it really, not the cause of the total disaster of my family. The attack began with my brothers taking charge of my father's estate when he died, not even bothering to tell me he died (I was in Europe), then by their putting my mother's property in their names (excluding mine) before she died.

All this, they explained to me in writing when I asked, was because I was in Europe and not there. Since I was not there they were entitled to use their position for themselves. They didn't consider me a member of the family (the words of my younger brother). The older said it was right to take the family property because of that small amount of money (maybe 5,000-10,000 dollars) my mother used to get me out of sight when she remarried. I told this older brother what my mother said about that money as lost in any case; he didn't respond.

When my mother died, she left me in her will no property, but 10,000 dollars. This my younger brother as executor of the will refused to pay. He claimed there was no money, or maybe a few thousand, and if I caused trouble he'd pay the entire estate as fees to his corporate lawyer to fight me. I wouldn't go along, and he claimed he did pay the entire estate to his lawyer to fight me.

Did I mention that the year before my mother died, I was visiting her when she got sick, went to the hospital, then got really sick. When she got out of the hospital she asked me if I wanted to stay longer and cook for her and do errands: she was going to hire a nurse, and I would save her money if I wanted to do it. I said yes.

Do you really want to hear this? (Reading optional from this point.)

I became a good cook, as I told you, cooking elaborate 3 course meals out of cookbooks, salads with 10 vegetables and dressings with 15 ingredients, etc. My mother got better. But all was not well. My brother who lived in the same New Jersey resort town didn't like me being there. One day, my mother asked which of her possessions I wanted when she died. I answered I didn't want anything. Except maybe my piano, which was at my brother's house at that time. This piano I played when I was a kid. My mother had told me hundreds of times it was meant to remain mine. Except not any more! She explained she had given it to my brother, in addition to the beach side luxury condominium she lived in. I said the piano was not hers to give away. She called my brother. My brother said, call the police. She did. I left before they arrived. I was lucky, in having met the previous week at Starbucks (of course) a woman who'd just thrown out her drug addict husband. She took me in. But two days later, when I was at the public library looking for a ticket back to Europe, someone taps me on the shoulder. Guess who? The police. Come outside with us, Mr Miller, we have something we want to talk to you about. / What's that?

We'll tell you outside.

Outside they told me I'd been accused of maybe wanting to destroy the world. They said I'd have to come with them. In fact, I'd be staying with them a while. Why was that? They'd tell me later. They'd talked to my brother who'd told them I was mysterious, he couldn't say anything certain about me. I wandered around Europe and didn't do anything. Apparently the day before, when I'd returned to my mother's place to get my bicycle, the manager got angry when I went out the front door with it - construction had blocked the side door - and called the police saying the building believed I was dangerous and didn't know what I would do. (This manager was a friend of my brother whose business, in a few months, was to be found moved into the building's ground floor.) 

Now, in spite of all this (which didn't close to end there) when I was back in New Jersey the next year, visiting the woman who'd invited me in after she'd thrown out her husband, I tried to see my brother to talk things over. He refused, absolutely.

I called my older brother, a doctor in Maine, - my younger brother is an architect - and talked to his secretary. I was going by train to Los Angeles on a 5 day ticket. I could go up to Maine to see him on the same ticket and then go on to L.A. I went to Maine. When I got there he wouldn't see me. The next morning, after hanging around a restaurant most of the night, I got back on the train.

In LA I told the story to more than a few people. Many offered to call my younger brother, the executor of the estate. Two did, and both were told he "wasn't interested in me any more". Two lawyers also called. Also 2 rabbis. My brother told the second rabbi that he was tired of me. The rabbi was shocked. This, he asked, was his brother he was talking about? Full brother? Raised by the same mother and father in the same house? Yes.

So, what is it all about?

They resent me, the way I live, yes, but that's not it. I didn't do anything to them or cost them anything. And both brothers are rich.

I take them at their words. They say they are not interested, and they aren't. Money is to be had. They took the money.

Brother Todd:   QMA Design + Build
Brother Garth:  Lincoln Medical Partners