Randy Halprin

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Something So Pure

Randys Memoirs

SOMETHING SO PURE
(by Randy E. Halprin)
A memoir
Like a video tape, I often rewind my favorite memories and play them back in slow mo-tion, taking in every sound and every sight as it is projected against the inside of my closed eyelids. The voices of my past echoing in the chambers of a mind that has never forgotten. In one particular memory I see a little boy laughing in the arms of his father. The joy and unconditional love beaming across their faces.
The first four and a half years of my life were a blur of confusion, fright and abuse. I was placed up for adoption only after my biological mother and father realized, after already losing one child to the state, that they were too young and strung out on drugs to take care of me. My younger brother had been taken away from them as an infant. He was born with minor birth defects, arguably caused by drugs, and a severe case of asthma. Several trips to the hospital and a near death later, the state said, enough was enough and they took him away. Despite reports of abuse, I was left with them. So, I stayed in a perpetual state of confusion and loneliness. I didn't understand why the people who claimed to love me, the mom and dad who brought me into this world could cause so much harm to their only son. A scar from the physical abuse is still visible on my right wrist to this day.
Upon being placed up for adoption, I was shuffled around from foster home to foster home in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. I was never in any particular home for more than two to three months at a time. I doubted I would ever have a permanent family, like my social worker constantly promised. The worst of it was that I didn't even remember hav-ing a brother.
A year passed and my file was turned over to a new social worker from the Edna Gladney Adoption Agency in Ft. Worth. She reviewed my case and was horrified to see that I had been separated from my brother for so long. She immediately took action to rejoin me with my brother and tracked him down to a foster home in the Dallas country. The foster family he was with protested against me staying in their home at first. They had plans of adopting my brother, whom they practically raised from infancy. They had already devel-oped an emotional bond with him and I was interfering with their plans. This created a hostile environment.
Looking back, my memory has grown sharper as time has passed and I can see my brother in his crib. He's crying. In another room someone is yelling. I'm scared and con-fused, yet my first instinct is to run to his crib. A man, I don't remember if it was my fa-ther or not, comes barging into the room staggering drunk. I grab some sort of toy off the ground and stand guard like a pit-bull in front of the crib. The man yells for me to get out of the damn way. I stand my ground. I feel a hard slap against my face, it going numb as he reaches towards the crib. I swing the toy with all the might a three and a half year old has. It connects. I swing again, the man lunging for me a hard hit to the face. I can taste blood and see a tooth lying on the carpet. My mother, running in screaming, shouts at the man and grabs my brother out of the crib. Who knows, I could've saved my brothers life that day.
As I stood at the door of my new foster home, I was anxious to meet my brother. My social worker had shown me photos of him as an infant and current photos and I vaguely remembered him. Still, I couldn't wait to be reunited with him - a love only brothers could have for each other burned deep in my heart. I was told to push the door bell but-ton again, so I did. A second or two later, the door opened and I was looking into the blue eyes of a little boy. "Who you?" he asked. The social worker squeezed my hand and I said, "I'm your big brother." He was holding a small guitar behind his back and it ap-peared he would not hesitate to hit me with it if I was lying. He looked at me in skeptic-ism and he dropped the guitar. From that moment on we were brothers again.
As the social worker searched for a family for my brother and I, I was put through a ri-gorous educational boot camp. At five and a half years old, I couldn't count to ten or even say my ABC's. That summer I was also put through swim lessons that must have been taken from the NAVY SEAL's handbook. I had a fear of water at the time, and I also feared a Great White shark, named "Jaws", lurking behind my back each time I'd dive into the water. Soon my fears went away and with each stroke, I was closer to swimming into the arms of a new family.
A call was finally made to my brother's and my social worker saying a family had been all checked out and approved to adopt my brother and I. They would be coming from Arling-ton, Texas, to have a visit with us. A great buzz swarmed around the foster home and I believed the foster mom and dad conceded that they would not be adopting my brother. I think in that week of preparation, I hadn't ever done more chores in my short little life!
It was early August, 1983, when that joyous day came. I don't think my brother fully understood what was going on, or that we were reaching an apex in our young lives. Our foster mom and dad tried to explain that nothing was set in stone, but I believed in the depths of my heart this would be the final stop of a long journey.
My brother and I waited anxiously in the humid heat on our tricycles. I can see myself on my "Big Wheel", a big piece of molded plastic with one gigantic wheel in the front, and two smaller wheels in the back. The seat was bright yellow with fiery red flames trailing down the frame of black plastic. My brother was riding on his bright red Radio Flyer. He wore his favorite incredible shirt and I wore a multi striped tank top with matching red track shorts, and my favorite shoes that made me "run faster".
What seemed like forever to a five year old boy passed by. I'm sure a little doubt of whether they would come or not began to seep into my brain. I was excited and nervous and full of hope. As noon approached and the day grew hotter I began to sunburn a little, but refused to go back inside. I drove around on my big wheel doing figure eights on the hot drive way over and over, when in the distance I noticed a bright flash of light off something metallic. I stopped my bike and squinted my eyes, but could see nothing. For-tunately, I was staying in the country and the quietness allowed me to hear the distinct hum of a cars engine slowly approaching. My heart pounded as the hum turned into a growl as the car grew closer. Then, the sound of tires crunching on gravel.
The car slowed as it approached the house, and I watched breathlessly as a tinted win-dow rolled down. A hand extended from the passenger side window and pointed to the mail box. Then, the window went back up and the car turned onto the very drive way I was on!
The tan colored automobile stopped and there was a brief pause as my brother and I waited. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. The drivers side door opened with a great swing and a big foot stepped onto the pavement, following the head of a bald man, as it poked out into open. The man stepped around the door and shut it gently, almost as if he were afraid to scare my brother and I. He took off his dark glasses and replaced them with a clear pair. We stared at each other nervously and then I jumped off my big wheel and ran to him in a mad dash. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" I yelled jumping into his big bear like arms and he picked me up as if we had been father and son forever.
My brother bonded well with my mother. I can see him sitting in her lap offering her dough nuts. I spent the day and every day after that trying to make him proud, trying to impress him. I showed him I could read, I could write my name, that I could swim and dive into the deep end. By the end of the day everything felt natural. Everything felt real. Never in my life had I felt a love like this. Never had I felt something so pure.



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