Friday, November 03, 2006

Chip's Wrinkles

When I started this, I wanted to go male/female/male/female... you get the idea. But after I talked with Chip today, his story was so compelling that I couldn't write about anyone else.

Chip went to vote yesterday. Luckily he only waited 20 minutes, but in that short time he was jolted when he saw his reflection in a window. In that reflection was his Dad. Chip never wanted to look like his father, so he grew a goatee and moustache to try to change that spitting image. He has chosen to not have a relationship with his father, although his Dad tried to come back into his life after Chip became an adult. His Dad realized he had missed seeing his children grow up, so tried to be a part of their lives. But for Chip, it was too little, too late.

When Chip was young, the only time he felt his Dad was there was when he was drunk. His Dad tried to call him on the phone, but was a crying drunk during every conversation. Chip remembers holding the phone away from his ear and mouthing a plea to his Mom to take the phone away. Once when Chip was 10 or 11, his Dad broke the front door and violently entered the trailer home where they lived. He cornered Chip, his sister, and his Mom in the back bedroom. His Dad threw his Mom down on the floor and had her pinned down when Chip pushed him off of her. Then his Dad came after him and his sister. Chip threw his sister out the window and he managed to crawl out, too. He was embarrassed to run to his neighbor's house to call 911 because he was only wearing his underwear. His Dad ran into the woods when the police came, but they did capture him. He served about a week in jail.

After that, his Dad was a little more respectful of the restraining order, but he still managed to break it. He somehow held on to visitation rights, but wasn't allowed in the driveway. As a result, Chip and his sister had to go look for their Dad somewhere on the street when it was his weekend to have the children.

Chip earned every wrinkle on his still-youthful looking face. He lost his Mom, who he dearly loved, in 2000 when she was only 43-years old. She died suddenly of heart disease just a few short months after she moved to Tennessee to be with Chip. He said the suddenness of her death was very difficult. If you look at Chip and he's not smiling or has a faraway look, he's probably thinking about his mother. After living with an alcoholic, his Mom did make a new life for herself and again found love. Unfortunately, she lost her common-law husband to leukemia about one and a half years before she died.

Chip's Mom did live long enough to see her first granddaughter, Alexis. Alexis is now 8 and Chip calls her his "Little Giggle Butt." He has another niece, Erin, who is 3 and is his "Princess." His "Pride and Joy" is his nephew, Jordan, who is 5. They call him "Uncle Wayne" even though his name is DeWayne. He never corrected them when they dropped the "De" from "Wayne" so Wayne is a special name reserved for those children who are such an important part of his life. Chip doesn't see them often enough, but they did spend a week with him this past summer. He is hoping to see them over the holidays.

Chip moved here from Alabama (Edit: I had Texas first) to drive a bus and to attend MTSU. He is currently a student at Motlow College studying business administration. He still drives a bus and works in the cafeteria at LaVergne Middle School. His worst bus memory occurred when a child care bus hit his bus on the skinny, windy Blair Road. I thought it was cute that Chip remembers screaming "Oh Shit!" before the impact. Even though the other driver hollered and screamed that it was Chip's fault and blamed him for being on her side of the road, the police report said it was her.

I used to wave at "Mr. DeWayne" when he picked up my daughter on the bus. I am still shocked when I consider it's been less than a year since I figured out my blogging buddy "Chip" was actually a neighbor and my girl's bus driver! He's is definitely one of the reasons I adore blogging... you have the opportunity to get to know people who would have otherwise just been another ship passing in the night. I'm glad we were both able to put down anchors and get to know each other.


Blogger John H said...

Wow. I knew some of that story, but not the details. You are onto a great thing here, KT.

That story would've broken the spirit of many folks. I'm glad to have met Dewayne (Chip) and had a chance to get to know him, and to realize that he really is a survivor.


3:35 PM  
Anonymous Chip said...

That's great Kathy! Just a small detail, I'm originally from Alabama. My sister moved with her husband to Texas and that's where they reside.
You really have a knack for this. :)

6:49 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

This is incredible. Absolutely incredible.
I'm going to praise you with tons of joy and admiration. You are doing this so well.
Helping me heal and I thank you,

7:38 PM  
Anonymous sista smiff said...

Love it. Absolutely love it.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

It's a really beautiful story, Chip, and beautifully written, Kathy. :)

1:18 AM  

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