If you haven't read Installment I of my musings you can find it here, or not...the choice is yours.
The Hanover Papers
Welcome back to my freaky-deaky little corner of the world. I would like to fervently hope that those who are easily offended would have learned from my first foray into this project to buy a one-way ticket to GoDaFuckElsewhereville and leave me alone. I am not writing this for literary acclaim or social acceptance and really have not, as yet, decided, why I am writing it at all. You know, so far, just about as much about me as anybody not in my inner circle (which is really, to be fair, more of a small ovoid rather than a circle but hey…fuck it!). Benny informs me that I am going to need to employ a, seemingly, endless series of various literary devices throughout the course of this project. He informs me that we are still at the expository phase where I need to tell you more about who I am in order to “brand” myself in to your minds as a protagonist of interest. Please allow me to take this opportunity to express the sentiment, “What the fuck ever!!”
That’s just peachy with me. Let me begin by saying that I had, what could only be described in the broadest terms, as an unpleasant childhood. I was the son of a single mother whose dad was WELL beyond the reach of ANY agency responsible for matters of support. I should point out that my mother was, if not ignorant of matters monetary, simply indifferent. We lived in a shabby brownstone at 52nd and Hudson in the Big Apple. The irony of the fact that I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen is NOT lost on me. We, meaning mom, apparently owned the entire building, as my earliest recollections revolve around having a lot of room to run around in and very few interactions with people along the way. Ours was not a lifestyle inclined to monetary excess…okay, ya bastards, I grew up dirt fuckin’ poor.
To say that my mother was an unusual personage would be akin to saying that Joan Crawford had some negligible parental shortcomings. She was called Loretta. Now, notice I did not say she was named Loretta or that she preferred to be referred to by her middle name of Loretta; she simply refused to respond to any name other than Loretta. Given the fact that I stumbled upon a box of documents that included her birth certificate, it becomes truly odd. The name on said document was Eunice Marie Louise Hanover. Don’t ask me to explain it. I got nothin’ there. All I know is that, to me, she quickly and, for always, became simply Loretta
She raised me with the sure and certain knowledge that she was descended from untold generations of awesome practitioners of ancient magicks. I would be willing to lay good money on the fact that no matter how much of a numb nuts you are regarding things paranormal, you have heard about the old legend that the seventh son of a seventh son is imbued with exceptional magical abilities. I am not especially sure what bearing that may have on my own existence, since reality tends to rear its ugly head about now. In spite of whatever circumstances that Loretta may have claimed, amongst the documents in the shoebox was an obituary notice for Loretta’s father, my grandfather, which seemed to indicate that he was an only child of an only child and was survived by two daughters. No mention was made of my grandmother, which, I suppose, is fine by me.
While I may be making a rather sizeable jump to conclusions, I’m just gonna climb out to the end of that metaphorical tree limb and assume that one of the two surviving daughters was my mother…uhh...Loretta. I do recall, with crystal clarity, the day that I was ever so foolish as to point out to her that her awesomely inherited magical abilities did not prevent her from having drawn a flawed pentagram. Nor did those abilities prevent a demon (my dad) from crossing over to the material plane. Nor did it prevent said demon from taking corporeal form, bending her over her work table and banging her like a cheap gong, resulting in my birth.
While all of those observations were quite true, it did not prevent Loretta from punching me in the face so hard that it brought tears to my 6-year old eyes. She actually waxed poetic or, ironically, quasi-biblical and exhorted me to “judge not lest I get my cute little ass kicked until I coughed up my own blood.” On that day, I learned a very valuable life lesson. Not only is the truth unlikely to set you free, it may very well serve to get you an ass whuppin’…’nuff said eh?
As “normal” young children are wont to do, I was inclined to refer to her as Mom or Mother. Loretta had no desire for such. On one, otherwise average, day she curtly informed me that such was simply not, nor was it ever going to be acceptable. Stick with me here for a truly poignant example of the way that Loretta viewed the more mundane aspects of human existence. To her way of thinking, my referring to her as Mom or Mother was akin to a farmer wandering out to the yard every day, walking up to a pig, and addressing it as “pork chop”. While it may have been both an appropriate and realistic way for one refer to a pork product, to Loretta’s way of thinking , it was unnecessarily pigeon-holing her and establishing, for her, a set of behavioral and cultural expectations that she was simply unwilling to conform to.
My mother owned and operated a magic shop which doubled as a voodoo supply store and a tarot reading lounge. Now before one of you classically-trained college-edjumacated grammatical types informs me that doubled does not include three things…fuck you too!! I have no recollection of ever having seen anyone enter the premises for any of the previously-mentioned reasons but they must have since we DID always seem to have money when it mattered. We never went to restaurants; we never ordered out, we never attended a church potluck supper. Everything that I consumed, mom produced. In retrospect, that MAY explain my predilection to microwaveable foods. I am not picky about what constitutes a meal as long as it supplies me with calories.
I did not have friends as a child. This is not to suggest that I did not develop lasting social bonds with children of my own age. It means that I had NO friends. I was home-schooled…by my mother, of course, since, as I said, don’t recall anyone ever crossing our doorstep as a kid. I was educated thusly because my mother didn’t believe in teachers. Now, when I say this I don’t mean to imply that my mother had a lack of faith in the relative ability of the public school system to adequately educate me. I mean that my mother refused to acknowledge that such things as telephone booths, dental floss and teachers actually existed. I tried, in vain, to convince her that I had seen television programs including said things, but such fell on deaf ears.
So, most of my interaction (okay my ONLY interaction) with humans, as a child, came by way of my mother. Now, for most kids, this is not unheard of. Dad was at work, or golfing, or busy…but not, generally on an entirely different plane of reality. Previous female acquaintances in my life suggest that this may have somehow altered my ability to commit to a relationship. This is NOT the case. I simply hate sharing bathroom or closet space with anyone/anything. So, stop leaving me bitchy voicemails girls!! It’s over…move on. Sharing living space with someone pre-disposed to a belief/knowledge of other world beings can be a bit…challenging. With my mom, it made life more than a bit…surreal.
Other kids grew up taking chalk and using it to draw the lines to play hopscotch. I was in the basement using it to draw pentagrams and sigils to restrain demonic and other less savory otherworld beings. To her credit, mom always provided me with very nicely handwritten lesson plans and diagrams to work from. To this day, I do not hold her responsible for the imp I summoned that took off a noticeable chunk of my left ear. Bad lesson plan, bad chalk skills on my part seems, in retrospect, to be a bit petty.
Other kids might have grown up with a different version of art/craft/hobby skills. Some kids get to learn to make ships in a bottle. Mom assisted me in the creation of a homonculis. To those not well-versed in the alchemical arts, a homonculis is…aww…fuck it!! Find a search engine and educate yourself a bit. Fuzzy is not your paranormal Elmo. Invest a bit of time in learning a bit more about the world you live in and MORE importantly, the vast array of worlds that you do NOT live in. The simple, irrefutable fact is that it is quite unlikely that said skills will ever have any practical application for most of you and that is a GOOD thing…trust me kiddies.
All things being equal I could have done worse than being raised by Loretta. There was a certain level of comfort to be gained from her casual indifference. I ate what and when I wanted. I stayed up until I felt like sleeping. I got out of bed when I felt like it. These gifts that Loretta gave me by her sheer lack of caring remain some of my fondest memories of the crazy old bitch. All of the things that any child has a reasonable right to expect from a parent were either overlooked or denied to me. Cookies and milk, bedtime stories, the pleasures of a Sunday dinner at a tableful of laughing relatives…these things were not in the cards for me. And that’s okay…really.
Now, for all of you loving mommies out there and you pencil-dicked daddy wannabes out there who feel a sudden inclination to reach out and to comfort and hug me…piss off you smarmy bastards!! I am the product of my environment most definitely. If I am a flawed product, then take a look at your own house before you start pissing on mine. I have been and will always remain true to the only creature in existence upon whom I have ALWAYS been able to trust and count on. And if you have any doubts as to who that might be, then let me leave you with this. That being in whom I place all my trust and confidence is none other than the amazing and totally awesome Fuzzy…Fuzzy Hanover. Peace out you lesser species and beware the things that go bump in the night…for I am one of them.
If you feel inclined to read on, the next installment can be found here
copyright 2011 Jeffrey Hollar. All rights reserved.