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Damon Mays Mr. Neuberger ENG 101-135 12 September 5 Narrative Closing the Rift I was born September 18, 1974 in Springfield, Missouri. My mom and dad were quite young when they married. Mom was eighteen, Dad was nineteen, but they were very much in love. I entered the picture a couple years later. During this time my dad joined the Marines, and Mom said he was very gung ho about being one. In 1977 we moved to Yuma, Arizona because that‟s where the Marines wanted my dad. I have a few memories of this time and remember playing with my Batman motorcycle in the drive way and Mom and Dad laughing and smiling a lot. I know I was happy, we were happy. In 1978 the Marines shipped my dad to Japan, and that‟s when things started to go awry. Dad kept telling mom he would send for us or would send us money but it never happened. I also remember him being bigger than life and incredibly strong. I was in awe. However, in the fall of 1979, Mom filed for divorce which was finalized in the spring of 1980. I didn‟t see my dad again until the summer of „82 in Colorado Springs, and man that was a great year. My dad would take me to the zoo and carry me on his shoulders. I felt awesome. During that time he was like a super hero to me and I was his side kick. The man could do no wrong, but then he left again and I wouldn‟t hear from him again till eleven years later and I was 19.

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It was winter and I was working at Super Cuts in Flagstaff Arizona. It was a crisp clear day, and the snow blanketed the ground from the winter storm from the night before. I was having a great morning. Then I received a phone call, it was my dad; at first I was excited to hear from him, but then the dark clouds rolled in. You see, he didn‟t call me to catch up and ask me how I‟ve been after all this time, without a word from him. No, instead, he called to tell me how disappointed he was in me for dropping out of high school; I was crushed, devastated, and hurt. I wanted to hurt him back so I told him, “I may have dropped out of school but at least I didn‟t walk out on my family, asshole!” and I slammed the phone down. Needless to say, that conversation would be the last one we would have for the next 16 years. Time moved on, I left Flagstaff for West Plains, Missouri where I met my wife; we were married in April of 2000. We moved to Springfield, Missouri, and all the past heart ache of not knowing my dad had passed. I was starting a new life and family; all was good in my world. In April of 2004 my daughter Brooke was born it was the greatest day of my life. All my family was there mom, my step dad, my aunts and uncles, as well as my grandparents. This was wonderful, and I passed my daughter around to my family. Everyone was so excited to welcome her to the world. I was a very proud father, and yet something was still missing. My dad had missed the birth of his granddaughter. Why this upset me I don‟t really know as it‟s not like he had been there in the past, but it still did, I suppose because this was such a big event in my life, and I wanted to share it with him. When, Brooke old was enough for her to start kindergarten, my mom called me one afternoon to let me know that my grandfather on my dad‟s side was ill and didn‟t have much longer to live; he wanted to talk to me. I‟m not going to lie I was scared to talk to Grandpa Joel; I had lost my other grandfather the previous year. What do you say to someone who knows their

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time is short in this world? The next day I gave Joel a call we talked for a couple of hours laughing about things I did when I was a kid. Towards the end of the conversation his tone turns serious with a hint of remorse. Joel started telling me all the mistakes he had made with my dad when he was raising him, how they didn‟t have any real kind of relationship until my dad was in his 30‟s, even then it was strained at best. I couldn‟t help but see the similarities between their relationship and my dad‟s and mine. He went on his voice thick with sadness telling me that my father and I had to close this rift between us. “I don‟t want what happened with me and your dad to happen with you too.” I told my grandpa that I would call him at give it a try. I did have a million questions for him that I hoped helped complete me also. A week later I rang my dad and talked to him for an hour. I asked my questions, he gave me his answers. I told him I had some things to think over and I would call him in two weeks. Two weeks went by, I called him again, and I told him I didn‟t agree with all the choices he made regarding me but that we could at least start to get to know each other. I am truly happy that I chose to let him be a part of my daughter‟s and my life; because of him I now know my sister and I have a great relationship with her. My dad turned out to be a wonderful grandfather to my daughter. My relationship with him has grown, we talk weekly for hours. I‟m learning about my family history which I find fascinating. The void that was missing in my life has been filled. It‟s taken some time but I can honestly say that I‟m proud to call him Dad and I am truly happy that the rift between us has been closed.