Patterson Family
Home Patterson Page Patterson Photos

My Perception

Charles L Patterson an Attempt to Remember Just What Happen or What I Thought Happened

"Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded"
Virginia Woolf, English author and critic (1882-1941)

My Way of Thinking

I am putting pen to paper or perhaps more appropriately, pixels to computer monitor to record my time on this planet.  I did a lot of things that weren't great and probably should remain buried in the sands of time.  However, there is one thing that I do know beyond a reasonable doubt, my wife and I created a wonderful child, our daughter Cassandra.  There is little doubt that I had a great life, which one hell of a lot of people would have killed for.  But, I was never satisfied.  Maybe I watched too many gunfighter movies and thought that you should accomplish something great- like save a small town from the bad guys, then ride off into the sunset on to the next big adventure.  Don't get me wrong, I was very happy with my life, but there was always a burr under my saddle.  I was always looking for what was over that next ridge.  My father had a little of this.  He was a wandering gambler, one of the last of a dying breed of cowboys in Texas at the early part of the last century.  My brother got the gambler in him, and I got the wanderer.  My brother seemed pretty happy with his gambling, but I was never completely satisfied with the wanderer in me. 
While in the Marines, I was interviewed for a job with the CIA. I always wonder what would have happened if I had taken that job or maybe even stayed in the Marines. I now realize that my life had no focus until I joined the Marines. A lot of that had to do with growing up and realizing that there was a life that didn’t include working for a news paper. I now realize that I was one dumb shit when I got to MCRD in San Diego. It is hard to explain how little I knew about life at that time in my development. I was like a boat without a rudder, whichever way the wind was blowing was ok with me.  I am not sure when I decided to focus on the rest of my life. The only thing that I can pin point was a discussion by Lt Little, an Annapolis graduate from Ft. Worth.  He told me to get out of the Marines and get an education. I think this may have been the first time that I thought I might be able to go to college. I must admit that I am not really sure why I decided to get out of the Marines and go to college.  I do remember that I did not want to be a bitter old man of 70 years and wondering if I could have gone to college. I felt that if I tried and failed, I could always be content with the fact that I simply couldn’t cut it.  When I enrolled in college I was like a sponge; I knew nothing and everyday there was an instructor that kept cramming thing into that empty bucket called my brain. I was a complete vacuum, but I had a friend, that thought that physics had something to do with government and he wanted to be an engineer.  Had there not been a law in Texas that a veteran could not be denied admission to a state school, I would have been shoveling shit in Texas today.   I may be over dramatizing this, but I think it is important in understanding just who I am. It seems that everything I say has a “but” in it. In the instants where I was placed in harms way, there was something exciting about it. Granted, it may have just been adrenaline. Maybe not everybody was like me, but, I would really like to thing that least a few were.  I would really hate to think that I am the only person that reacts this way.  When I was young I gave very little though to the future mainly because time refused to move.  One day became much like the day before. 
When you are about the same size as a goose you don’t worry about aging much past getting away from the goose. I could not fathom that some day I would be a grown man, but as we all find out time is relative.  Getting through the first 17 years was much like trying to put 3 pounds of shit in a one pound bag, it just wasn’t going to happen. I remember the “old” men sitting around talking about the big war, WW I.  I thought they were old men but they were only in their 40’s. Contrary to your belief that you shall remain a kid forever, one day you look around and you are 18 years old.  Childhood was over and time kicked into another gear.  The next years started moving along at a much faster clip.  All of a sudden I was married, had a child, and became an old man in the span of no time at all.  Then time took a quantum leap, I retired.  
Now that I am rapidly approaching the check out zone, I seem to have this great urge to leave some type record showing that for a time there tread this old world a person named Charles Lee Patterson.  Sprinkled in this urge is the reality that I am only one of 6.5 billion people living on this earth.  So who would really care what I did or thought?  There is no doubt that in the whole scheme of things one person is insignificant but, nevertheless, I felt like I was important at least to some people.  When I am gone, I will be missed by one person, which isn’t too bad when you think about it.  I know people that will be missed by no one.  I would suggest that you are a failure if your children don’t like you.  
Generally, I think my life was acceptable, not great but definitely not bad. I was not dealt five aces, but it was a pretty good hand. Unlike my sister, I don’t ever recall feeling sorry that my lot in life was bad because we were poor. Of course, I had much more money when I was young than she did. I did not have time growing up to get involved in the extra-curricular activities like kids that hung around the school house in the afternoon. I never really knew what they were doing; it was just a world not open to me. My life after school revolved around the other kids that worked for the Avalanche-Journal Newspaper. Some might say that this deprived me of tools in my development.  On the other hand maybe it deprived the other kids of the experience of running a business. We were educated in the ways of the street very fast, as we had to learn to coexist with winos, drunks, dope heads, prostitutes, homosexuals, crooks, bootleggers, beggars, muggers, and a few normal people.  We would band together for protection which discouraged the jocks and other bullies from giving us a hard time. This association would carry through my school years; later in life we would see each other and still be friends.  Maybe today we would be known as being in a gang. I would rather think of it as a brotherhood. I may not have had a great social life at school, but at work it was another thing.  
I have to admit that at times envy would raise its ugly head. I just knew that the life style of some of my classmates would be something that I would like to experience. I suppose that is a true statement for any kid regardless of their economic or social background.  The “rich kids” seemed to have it made when it came to popularity. As a side note, I realized in high school that most of the “rich kids” were just people that had parents that worked on a regular basic and were only lower middle class. Most of my friends were considered poor. Granted, a lot were poor because their dads were dead, old, gone, or just bums.  A term in the Marines says it best, “sick, lame and lazy”. I did realize that my income of $60 a week put me on the same level or higher than a lot of the “rich kids”.  I had a car and spending money, while a lot of them did not. A lot of what I felt was simply the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” syndrome. A web site of the 50th Year Reunion of Lubbock High School jogged my memory of fellow classmates.  I would catch myself looking at pictures realizing that certain people still irritated me. The difference is now I realize that they would have been pricks regardless of what side of the track they originated. The thing that really shocked me was that not one of my friends attended the reunions. Maybe, they haven’t got over whatever they perceive high school was like. There is no doubt that in a class of 500 there were a 499 that wished that they had been “Most Popular”.
At times I did think that playing sports would be nice, but since I did not have the time, it would pass. There is something else that I must consider; was I coordinated enough to play at sports? Later in life Paul Prester, a teacher of my daughters, was trying to diplomatically tell us that Cassandra tried hard but she didn’t seem to have great coordination. My wife responded with “I don’t doubt that because both of her parents couldn’t hit their own ass with both hands”.  Maybe, I was lucky that I was not given the opportunity to try out for sports and fail. I don’t recall ever getting involved in athletics in my early years. Starting in the 3rd grade, several of us made arrangements with the school to skip the athletics and get out of school about one hour before the rest of the school.  This would allow us to get to the newspaper just before the presses rolled.  Only once was I exposed to PE in my education process. At the time I started the 7th grade at O.L. Slaton Junior High School, crowded conditions made it necessary for everyone to go only a half day until Roscoe Wilson Junior High was completed. I had to take PE for about two months.  I remember that very vividly, as I knew nothing about baseball or football. The coach, Bennie McCollum, would put me on the side lines to keep up with downs.  Problem with that stroke of genius is that I didn’t even know how many downs there were in football.  The coach took me to task because I didn’t know sports instead of trying to teach.  That statement sure makes you wonder if my biggest disappointment was with teachers. You think? In the long run I probably did as well in life as most of my class mates. 

When you are young you notice that people seemed to get old and fall of the face of the earth.  Now and again you would wonder what happen to them.  As time tramps through the vineyard of life you start losing friends and relatives as they pass on to the after life.  After closing up my mother-in-laws house I was shocked to find out just how much was left to remind you that she was once a viable part of the community of life. A lifetime of collecting things came down to a small Uhaul truck.  Everything else was gone except for what she left in the minds her children. I think god that my daughter doesn’t have the same feeling that still haunts the children of the Nadeau family.  I suppose I will always think about her asking Dr Cook to get hold of Cassandra and me just before she died.  She had no desire to communicate with her own children that she was ready to meet her maker.  After she was gone her children did not want any of her possession for keepsakes.  To me that is sad. I told them it was time to bury their parents.  I don’t know if they did.
There is a time in everyone’s life when you feel you must come to grip with what happens after death.  While you have mulled it over your whole life, it becomes a very critical issue when you are old enough to hear the train pulling into the station. The after life is a trip to the great unknown that no one has yet prepared a very detailed itinerary. When I was a young lad the preachers told us that everyone but Baptists were going to hell. That was real scary because 33% of the world are Christian and according to the preacher only the Baptists are going to heaven.  That meant that only around 10% of the world will make it to heaven mainly because of where they were born.  I sure hope that God has a good sense of humor and will let some of us confused individuals into heaven. All of this leaves you with a nagging feeling that someone has screwed up what God originally said.  So who’s right? I suppose all you can do is get deep into your heart and try and resolve all the teaching and beliefs that your religion has given you and try to resolve the conflicts.  I don’t believe that there is anyone that really does not believe in a God when it comes down to the bitter end.  The saying that “there are no atheists in a fox hole” can in my opinion be applied to life. We all hope that what we believe will be enough to get us on the train before it pulls out of the station. 
The bottom line in life is that the only thing that you have any grasp on is a short period of time that you are allowed to grace this planet.  You know nothing about being born and definitely nothing about dying. Yet most people fail to invest much time in analyzing the short period they are allotted for planning and implementing their life.  You get up before the chickens and go to work and come home late at night leaving very little time for your family.  Somewhere along the road of life you have to stop and ask yourself just what you really want out of the time between birth and death.  Sadly, most people wait until someone comes around and kicks them out of their cubical because they are too old.  Ironically, your family has grown up and out there trying to figure out the same thing. The sad situation is we can’t tell them how to run their life, even if they would listen. I doubt that I figured everything out about the living but, did reach a happy median. My wife and daughter seemed to like me, so I guess I got some of it right. 
I believe that very few people are completely happy or satisfied with life in general. We all covet something that we know beyond a reasonable doubt would make our life a Utopia. Tiger Woods has all the money that anyone could hope for, yet he still plays golf. Even the Tiger needs something else to make his little Eden on Earth. As a result of this itch that can’t be scratched, it is necessary to develop a method of getting through life.  Some successfully devise a plan while other just can’t seem to come up with anything that helps them cope with the many miles of bad road in life.  My wife was one of the people that just could not come up with a working plan for life. She had a great life in terms of economics and love, but she was never satisfied.  I decided very early in life that feeling sorry for your self would only make the bad road real muddy.  When you figure out that most people around you could care less about your problem and wish you would just keep quiet, you realize that you have to dig deep for your own solution. I developed a method of withdrawing deep into myself so that I could ponder the problem until I developed a solution, downgraded the problem, or in some cases I would simply fall asleep.  Many of my problems were solved in the cold gray of morning. 
I knew without really knowing that if anything was going to happen in my life, I would have to come up with a working plan to accomplish it. Exactly how I came up with my operating plan is beyond me, probably blind luck; which seemed to be one of prime things that got me through life.   All I really wanted to get done was make some more money and move up in the food chain. Maybe just being on the bottom of the food chain  makes the decisions easier.  At least you know that everything is up and you don’t have to worry about falling below your current level. Somehow I realized that I was poor so I had to get over it and get up off my ass.  I soon realized that if a person is willing to work someone will give him a job.  It would amaze you how many ways a kid could make legal money back then. Maybe this gave me the direction that I need to start up the food chain.  I can’t think of anyone that was a role model, so it must have been self preservation. No, I never sat down and made a formal plan about what I wanted in five years. It was more like what I wanted in two days. As I said above, blind luck or maybe divine help from God got me through most of my life.  The way I lived my life is best described by an incident in the life of Eric Sevareid and the movie Raider of the Lost Ark.

While covering the Burmese-China Theater during World War II Eric Sevareid and 19 others were forced to bail out of a damaged aircraft just before it crashed behind Japanese lines in the Burmese jungle. Discovered by a tribe of headhunters, the group emerged from the jungle a month later. When he landed he found that a nail had been driven through his foot.  Once the survivors got organized, they started on a 200 mile trek out of the jungle.  Eric said he knew beyond a reasonable doubt that he could not walk 200 miles with his injury.  The alternative was to die in the Burmese jungle.  That was when he decided that he could walk to the next village or camp. Taking one step at a time, he did in fact walk out of the jungle.  This was also the philosophy of a First Sgt that I knew in the Marines.  He always told us that you could walk around the world in you just take one more step.
When you get old you tend to start remembering what the “good ole days” were like; at least what you thought it was like.  When you undertake to write your history you have to really scratch you head about exactly how your life unfolded.  Did you remember certain events or did someone tell you about it or maybe you made it up?  Quiet possibly as time progressed you may have embellished how it actually occurred.  Someone once said every student should take history in several countries just to see how many interpretations you can get with the same set of facts.
Well I am going to try and fill in the time between born and death. Maybe years from now my daughter will pull this out and be reminded about me.  She now thinks that I am great.  Hopefully this great work of literature won’t show her that I was just a run of the mill Dad.
There were a lot of people in the past that got together to create my DNA.  I have been able to trace a lot of them back to the time that this nation was trying to decide whether they wanted to eat haggis and shepherds pie or move on to BBQ and hamburgers.  Apparently, all my ancestors chose to go the BBQ pit route.  My group of DNA decided that their gene pool was full so they pulled up stakes, piled everything in a wagon and headed for Texas.  My father’s family lived in Monroe County, Tennessee until moving to Johnson County, Texas after the Civil War. My mother’s family lived in Lee County, Virginia until they moved to Brown County, Texas after the Civil War. With the passage of time my DNA developed until my parent met in Jones County, Texas in 1920 for the final phase.

Chapter 1 My Way of Thinking
Chapter 2 My Father and Mother Became Sharecroppers
Chapter 3 Conception to Awareness
Chapter 4 Now I Know That I Remember -- I Think
Chapter 5 Things That We Did on The Farm
Chapter 6 Life on Jackson's Place
Chapter 7 My Education Begins
Chapter 8 Life on the Farm

Chapter 9 Move to the Metropolis of Lubbock, Texas