Tag Archives: Family

ARNOLD’S LOVE CHILD


Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2003 Cannes film festival

Also known as Conan the Barbarian

Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially announced, over ten years later, a love child with his housekeeper.

I don’t know why any kid is called a love child. Usually a love child is hidden from the other half-brothers and sisters, has a lower life style, limited access to the father and a different family name.

I have never read a plantation owner happily announcing the birth of a love child with his favorite slave.

A love child is a lad or gal shun, ostracized and unwanted by almost everyone except his real mother. A love child always calls for an “I am sorry” from the father. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger said “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”

Wow! No comfort there for the love child, he is the reason for the apology.

It must be the love child’s fault that Arnold’s strong sperms gave him existence inside his mother’s wombs causing so much stress to his family.

Somehow for  Arnold  to say “I take full responsibility” is a misdemeanor. I have not yet seen paparazzi taking pictures of Arnold together with his love child sharing good times at Disneyland. So where has he taken responsibility for his “illicit” affair.

In the media psychologists, psychiatrists and family philosophers have a field day giving their expert opinion about the situation which the Schwarzenegger family is enduring.

Not one says or is positive about the love child having a relationship with his half sisters and brother, have a big birthday bash at daddy’s house, have his father pick him after school or say that he is almost related to the Kennedy by marriage.

A love child is branded from birth with different rules. He is marginalized from any “normal” family set up.  Society treats him as a clinical case whose presence should be ablated like a malignant tumor.

The love child is a bastard, the child with a different status from his siblings, the one creating debate on simple subjects like “should we buy him a Christmas present.”

Public opinion bullies his privacy by showing picture of his house and of his mother with Arnold at her side.  The media thinks that privacy and respect is not mentioning his name and blurring his facial feature on photos. 

Does that mean that a love child does not attend school, is void of friends and social life? Maybe, it does not matter to these “good” people. They call him love child but cannot stop treating him like a bastard.

So, you know now that I do not think much of Arnold. I do not like the way he has robbed, for the past ten years, his child’s identity.  Anyone deserves to say look this is my father and that’s my mother. Yes, my birth created some family problems but I do exist and do have importance.

Patrick-Bernard

A RAINBOW TRIBE AT THE AIRPORT


Josephine Baker

It is 5 am and left Nairobi, Kenya, about 10 hours ago and to satisfy my nicotine craving I stand outside the departure of Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting to check in on my next flight to Durham, North Carolina.

The air is cool, like trained soldiers the taxis stop at the curb to let out passengers.
I can hear a bus stop nearby. It talks! Letting me know the schedule and the direction of its next bus. I am here for a few cigarettes, maybe next time I will take a ride.

A black taxi stops and let out a white couple and their children a girl and a boy of about 8 and 13 years old.
A little girl of about 5, with oriental features, bounces out of the vehicle too. The mother unfolds a carriage and scoop up the last child from inside the taxi, a black baby not older than 2 and a contrast to the rest of the family.

The husband pays the cab driver.  The wife sees me and smiles, her eyes tell me “we can all bond”, the baby stares my direction with a “mommy, that man resembles me” look. She proceeds pushing the carriage, husband, luggage and other children in tow, inside the terminal.

I have seen many white singles, couples or families in Nairobi with adopted black children. Their sight from the local population provokes either love or hate reactions.
I admire such people, blindly going against culture, stereotype, deciding to be human, caring, loving and worldly. 

It is the fad among stars to adopt children of various ethnicities, a chic and trendy thing to do.  That’s the way we look at it, forgetting the role played by the heart.

Paris in the 30’s belonged to Josephine Baker, the black American musical artist who gained famed, singing and dancing nude, in the famous entertaining places of the capital.  Also, from France, she heavily got involved in the US civil rights movements of the 50’s.  She had two loves, as she sung, her country and Paris

Josephine Baker and her children

Josephine Baker’s stories are of rags to riches, abuse to love, unknown to fame.  Her grandparents were free slaves; life took her to France and, herself childless, adopted 12 children of eclectic races and origins.
Her rainbow tribe as she called her family was from France, Korea, Japan, Columbia, Finland, Israel, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Venezuela. She heart for her children, even when her fortune dwindled down.

A feeling within me lingers, an uncomfortable feeling that our world is not better.  I am on my way to America and wonder if the moral white majority would leave unnoticed or create a row about a black childless couple adopting a white child.

I know that some Africans have cried out loud to the “injustice” of taking an African child from its roots.
I do not seem or may not want to understand. I cannot see the morality when a child’s priority is a home.

I have a friend in Kenya. He is Swiss, white like snow, and has a mentally challenged son black as charcoal.  His son calls him daddy and daddy refers to him as “my son”.

That’s divine. 

Patrick-Bernard

M & N


La Bamba (song)

Image via Wikipedia

M & N is my candy.  Well, let me explain; M stands for Miora and N for Nivo.

So correctly I should say that M & N are my candy.

They serve the same purpose as M&M.  They are colorful, sweet, comforting and delicious.  For the kinky out there, they are delicious in a platonic way. 

I met M (Miora) first. She had hair past her waist and eyes looking at me with a “where is this guy from?”  

Then N (Nivo), the sister, came much later with her permanently cast smile from ear to ear.
I really like both of them and consider them as my acquired family.

Even though, their mother always scares me.  I don’t know why, she reminds me of women, in B&W movie, slowly coming down long stairways with a stern face. I always expect bats spooking me out of nowhere when I see her. She is nice to me but I don’t know! When I see her I want to run away and fast.

M provided the best part of my adult life, as friends we would go out, chit-chat on politics and other non sense of life, drinks to the tipsy but not the drunk stage, share our secrets which remained secrets, enjoy nice restaurant and salsa danced in our favorite joints.
N is for funny stories, crazy ideas, the remote control zapping out the seriousness of life and the “who cares about the rest” we must go on.

Together with shared memorable moments even when a jealous ex of mine hit my forehead in public thinking that M or N was mine.  Which is absolutely not true and I don’t understand small mind, I think they must be quite small indeed, thinking that a man cannot have a platonic relationship with a woman or vice versa.

Now, still talking about memorable moments, the one which always stuck in my mind is when we decided to sing Karaoke.
A couple of drinks stimulated the courage for the three French-speaking “nous”*, to sing on stage, in front of an English-speaking audience, a Spanish song called “La Bamba”.

We sung horribly, but to this day, I vouch that we performed the best ever in the world version of “La Bamba”.
We sung it with happiness and ecstasy of being together.  We created our own joyful riot about life; our interpretation of “La Bamba” was firework!

I now and then see M & N is a “coucou” popping by surprise on my desktop screen.
M has acquired a husband and has two kids now.
N’s husband kept her and, wanting to be different, has three kids from two hits.  Yes, the last born are twins.

M & N are people who all lives need. Sorry, I’m getting nostalgic.

Patrick-Bernard

*” We” in French

MY MOTHER-IN-LAW IS COMING



MOTHER-IN-LAW …… WHAT ARE YOUR DESIRE FOR DINNER THIS EVENING?

My mother-in-law is coming to spend a few days with us. She is coming from Eldoret to Nairobi to bid farewell to one of her daughter heading to the US for study.

No problem, so far, except that she is coming to my house and I must adapt to her culture. It’s not like in Rome do like the Romans but for Rome to change for the un-Romans.

Technically, in her culture, the in-laws are forbidden to stay in the son-in-law’s house. Both my in-laws are nice but my mother-in-law is more avant-garde compared to her husband.
So much so that when my father-in-law comes to town he stays with his single daughter or even a hotel. The hotel is not at his cost but for the host. Yet, he is absolutely welcome to the comfort of my house.
Also, since I didn’t get married in accordance with the local practices, I do not exist. I am a non-existing reality in his life. Consequently, when he comes to Nairobi we do not see each other. I met him once at his home in Eldoret and sadly do not think it will go further than that.
Personally, on marriage, I am not in favor of the local practices which are interesting but quite tedious to my taste. You know, the long songs and dances and rituals which I don’t understand then the dowry bargaining. Don’t dare asking me to take part in dancing rituals too, I am not shy but the thought of being a tad embarrassed scares me.
I will not pay and refuse to pay dowry. My wife was not an item on a supermarket shelf or a bid at a bride’s auction. No metaphors and nice stories about the culture will make me change my mind and nor will I go through the motion of a local marriage to please anyone.

The most drastic change, according to my wife, is that I must stop smoking around my mother-in-law. I must smoke far away from her, far away from the inside of my house; in conclusion I must smoke outside.
So me, almost a Roman, must kick myself out to the sidewalk to satisfy my nasty habit.

Now, let’s go to the sleeping arrangement. We have three bedrooms as follows;
1) Our bedroom, by name only since we hardly use it, which is spacious but she cannot stay in because it is “our” bedroom.

2) She cannot stay in the TV room because the mattress is on the floor. Ok! The mattress is on the floor but you should see the room it’s like Arabian style, full of pillows and quite comfortable. That’s my favorite room to sleep in.

3) The last room has a smaller bed and that’s the one my wife wants to give her. But my desktop is in it!
The bed is smaller but we can manage and we have done it before. It’s no hardship for the few days she will be with us and it will be easier for me to access my computer.

Well, my wife says that she must have that room. This room has the smallest bed and her daughter, the one she has to bid farewell too, will be sleeping with her. Both of them are not so slim so the squeezing will be magical.
I bet you, at the end of the day common sense will conquer and they will be sleeping in different room.

The food arrangement is interesting. Who will cook? ….ME!
Lucky, I don’t mind, I love the kitchen but not to the point of being an “a la carte” chef to the visitor.
She is diabetic, me too, and need special meal. My wife says she must eat lots and lots of vegetable.
OK! But must I cook to the “lot” amount, vegetables which I am not too found of.
My mother, in my house, prepares her own breakfast and cook for the pleasure of all of us. Not here, due to culture, I understand, that she will not touch anything and be fed, and served properly.

I remember once, visiting my in-laws, I said once and I have done it only once, seeing my wife’s father sitting about one hundred meter from his house under a large shade tree with a table in front of him.
– What is he doing?
– He is waiting for breakfast.
I don’t understand! And what would I say to my father waiting for breakfast under a tree when he can do it himself? I cannot think of any nice words.

Extreme cultural hierarchy drives me crazy. I dislike taboos restrictive to one’s individuality. I cannot be molded into a robotic mass; I need to keep the me in me.
I know I am weird and probably somewhat of an embarrassment to them.

The paradox is that she cannot sleep in my bed, yet she will have to share my bathroom and toilet. If I was her I would relax, be free and enjoy doing things outside the box when the opportunity comes.
Seriously, I would love to taste her cooking.

Patrick-Bernard

MY FATHER’S E-MAIL


Outcast by yang_quo - Photo bucket

My father sent me an e-mail. My brother is spending a few days vacation with me, so it’s addressed to both of us.
The core of the forty words, I counted, corresponding to me reads, “You cannot solve problems by keeping quiet”. The rest was blah, blah, blah, duh!
Well, it’s true; I don’t know what to tell him. The few times we spoke, I was left with this heavy uncomfortable guilty feeling of having shared the privacy of my mind with someone I don’t know.
I mean, my father is someone I never recall living with. Ask me for his parent’s name and it’s a blank. I “featherly” know his family members.
I don’t understand he is the one who long disconnected me and now says am keeping quiet.
He has one brother and two sisters. I met them a couple of times, they’re all nice especially the quiet uncle and, his three children, my cousins.
Once, upon receiving an invitation, I crossed two continents for a cousin’s wedding. I enjoyed it and shook hands with members, in attendance, of the “family” and some others.
Yet, I always had this gut feeling of a leper with status.

Was the relationship with my father and the rest of his family good? I believe that all dysfunctional families are the same. They all have trashy emotional burdens carried a life time.
Which burdens? I don’t know, since I have never been privy to the secrets of the “family”.

Every year from mid November to early January I sink into the most horrendous depressive moods. I know it’s due to the anticipation, the time and aftershock of the Holiday season and my birthday which falls right in between.
According to “whatever” I get depress. Last year was the worst. I hate this season; it brings all the thoughts which I try so hard to erase. I wish I didn’t care but I do.

During the Holiday season every single person has a purpose and a place to go.
The familial anchors are the strongest and all public places punctuate jingle bells and the ho ho ho! From the big bellied white bearded man with red clothes called Santa. The jingle bells drive me mad and wish I could whip Santa in public.

I go nowhere and see no one. Loneliness is a lonely deep dark hole with no bottom. The only “I care for you” moments are the postcards and the few phone calls from my mother.
I don’t celebrate Christmas, my birthday and the New Year. I tried the Christmas tree rituals by laying gift under, sending postcards addressed to me and even the home dinner option with two plates on the table and me as my guest.
It’s awkward! It is useless being a token when your family slot has vanished.

So my father says I am keeping quiet. I was unaware the onus was on me to make noise for attention.
What is the protocol when you are five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years old?
Oh! Who are you? – Am Patrick, your grand-son. In true caustic fashion I never got a hug or a reply on this one.
What am I supposed to do, disappear for their well-being? Fat chance, I am an indelible stain and their ghost during Halloween. I am the quiet man from far away land whose silence and presence make them uncomfortable.
Is that guilt?

Patrick-Bernard

I’M HAPPY MY BROTHER IS COMING


Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Sorry, I must up the volume on that piece.

“Yes, they both left the stage
Soon as their solo’s were over
And if you figure it out
Their groove I’d like to help you
Their groove I’ve help you
SO WHAT !!!”

I love Jazz and “so what” by Miles Davis is among my favorite.

Anyway, I’m happy; tomorrow my brother, Jean- Marc, is coming. We do not see each other a lot, but he is the one, in my family, I see the most. In three years it will be the fourth time to meet. He will stay with me for about four days and it’s my intention to sip, like good wine, every seconds of his presence.

He is coming with Pascal, his partner in life. Actually, the best description is his partner for life. They are joined under the “Pacte civil de solidarité” which is in English the Civil Union. They are coming to Kenya, where I stay, to celebrate their 10 years anniversary together.

I am ready. I will cook, introduce them to acquaintances, take them places and then both will take off to Maisai Mara, Mount Kenya, Mombasa and other places.

Aaaaaah! Notice, I said, I will introduce them to acquaintances.
I will, but whom?
I intend to be very selective, I have no intention to circus them in front of a gossip seeker, narrow minded strictly heterosexual crowd.
So why will I be selective? Because, I live in Kenya!
For the one who do not know, Kenya is in Africa and Africa is the most booby trap continent in respect of gay rights. The exception is South Africa which has laws more progressive than its citizen.

In Kenya, only gay women are safe but with caution. Meaning the law is not interested in women humping each other but men, watch out!
If caught they are frog-marched, humiliated and finger pointed, considered cursed and, bringing disease. Then, a judge may hammer down up to a 14 years vacation in a jail.

African society does not understand gray areas. The society dictates that you must be white or black, contaminated by the West or Africa and it decides if your ways are African or un-African. Anything in between is heresy.
Africa, surely, has lots of famous gays; probably the same percentage as African-American. But here, talk about it and the response are a wide-eyed stance and a….humph!

So that’s why, I will introduce them to the crème de la crème of Kenya gray areas; I said gray and the all spectrum of it. The gorgeous and beautiful Kenyan with open mind, individuality, sensibility, in touch with their emotions, non conformist, eccentric, unique, aware, receptive….. phew! Let me stop here the list is too long.

“Yes, they both left the stage
Soon as their solo’s were over
And if you figure it out
Their groove I’d like to help you
Their groove I’ve help you
SO WHAT !!!”

Woah! I love Jazz.

Patrick-Bernard

I WISH YOU HELD MY HAND


 

I am on the first row.

 

It is amazing how childhood memories or the lack of it can stain adulthood.
My parents separated then divorced when I was very young, I do not remember my age when it happens maybe plus or minus five. I don’t know and don’t care so much anymore.

My parents, each with their distinctive emotional pain emigrated to other partner, lifestyle and even country.
Me, I stayed with my maternal grandmother, a huggable looking woman with a withdrawn personality and a serious ailment consuming her days and thoughts. She lived in the same building; same floor a couple doors down from my grandfather with whom she was separated.

My grandfather was a well educated man with a sciatic problem in his legs which prompted him, while walking in the street, to stop and kick walls to mute the pain. Also, drinking red wine was his favorite pass time from the time I knew him.

My maternal grandparents provided me with lots of comfort while growing. My grandmother took the role of my father and mother in all aspects but she was not so good with my school work since she was semi-illiterate. Actually, I wrote the “parents” school notes on her behalf.
One particular teacher would entertain the whole class by reading and pointing out aloud all “her” grammatical errors. I laughed, for my protection, at the mistakes too.

My grandfather was the entertainment director. He took me for walks in the park, carrousel’s ride and outdoor marionette shows.
The public indoor swimming pool was a treat during winter time. His skinny body was pale in contrast to his funny underwear looking swimming costume and when he laughed his dentures would come out of his mouth.

Both grandparents are long passed away. My grand mother lies in a sky blue tomb; my grand father no longer has a mark on his grave.

My mother is the one with whom I have rekindled attachment. She will be eighty soon and with time has regained my honor with her words of love and care. She calls me at least once a month to hear my voice. She says that I am her only family and only child.

My father flashes. He flashes in and out of my life with no commitment or attachment. The intervals between flashes can last years; one lasted more than 15 years. He still attracts my respects but at a different level.

I do not have ill feelings towards my parents. It is unfortunate that we are now scattered over three continents. But in a couple of years I will be sixty and still wish that, as a child, one of them had held my hand to cross the street, pick me up when I fell, be with me for my birthdays, carry me on top of their shoulders or help me open the holiday presents.

I wish my parents had given me an identity, a family tree with my name on it, ,positioned where I belong.

Patrick-Bernard