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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 17:52

05- Jim Tarbert


It seems like there was a crises one time when we were living in Escondido, when Jim's wife, Danise, came to visit. She had just had their second daughter, Deanna, and their first daughter, Kathy, was a toddler. Gail was visting at the time too. Maybe this was around the same time that Darlene had got married but I am not sure of that. I just dont' remember many of the details. I think that it is possible that it might have been around the time that Jim got a new job somewhere and it was a matter of relocation? I don't think that Deanna and the kids stayed with us very long. 

As I think more about this and talk to others, I think the only crises was that Jim had gotten a new job somewhere and everyone seemed to think that he needed to go there by himself of something to get settled before sending for Danise and the girls.

I barely remember Jim being in the military and serving in Korea. I remember a beautiful jewelry box that he brought Darlene. I barely remember him becoming involved with Danise. I think it might have been between getting out of the military and going to school in Pullman, Washington. I seem to remember visiting them there briefly from Palouse. 

Jim certainly rescued me a few times when he and Danise lived in Hayward California and I came for The Summer of Love in 1967 and I was only 16. He picked me up from the airport when I returned from Europe in my early twenties and only had a dollar in my pocket. There were several times that he was there for me when I was young. 

Jim was part of what is called "The Silent Generation," while Darlene, Roger and I were "Baby Boomers." In my mind, The Silent Generation was defined by conservative conformity, authoritarianism, and paternalism, while Baby Boomers were non-conformist protestors throwing off the shackles of paternalism. Jim was always more conservative than Darlene, Roger and I and even my mom, who voted Republican. 

Jim was much closer to our cousins in the Moore families. They were also part of The Silent Generation and many were very far to the right, politically. Some were also religious fundamentalists. They believed communists were everywhere and that there was a communist plot or conspiracy to take over the government. Some belonged to the John Birch Society. 

Jim's politics didn't really make much difference most of our lives. As I have said before, my own Mother was a Republican. There actually was a time that Republicans in this country and Democrats could actually have conversations that didn't end in name calling. After the eighties, and the Ronald Reagan debacle, Republicans moved further and further to the right and became less compromising and less reasonable and much more shrill, blatantly racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Many in the Republican Party started to take pride in being anti-government altogether and anti-democracy. Some even seemed to want a theocracy. 

When we were young, I never realized how much Jim disliked my Mother. He rarely said anything negative about her when we were kids but as he got older, he seemed to become more bitter toward her. She was hurt by this and I never really understood why he felt the way he did. Possibly he resented her for not staying married to his father, Lee Tarbert. My understanding was that Lee was kind of a back woods kind of guy and my Mom wanted more out of life. I believe that she married Lee for the same reason that so many women get married- to get away from her parents and the hard live she had lived with them. I don't know this for sure but it is the impression I get from things my Mother said and things others have said. 

Even though my Mother was a Republican, she was a reasonable women and she tried to be logical. In many ways, she taught Darlene, Roger and I what might be called "liberal values." Even though my Mom had grown up with racists in her generation, she taught her children not to be racists. She would always stress the importance of "critical thinking." She hated fundamentalist preachers and fundamentalist religion. She believed in science. Some of these positions alienated her from her more far right wing relatives and possibly Jim resented some of her positions as well. 

For whatever reason only known to Jim, when my Mother was on her death bed, requesting to see him, he refused to come. Where he had been there for me earlier in my life, at that most critical time, he was not there for Darlene, Roger, or me. I had always thought that he respected my Mother's husband, George, but he wasn't there for George, either. I finally realized, as my Mother was dying, just how much Jim disliked my Mother. 

After my Mother died, the handwritten will in which she divided her estate equally between Jim, Darlene, Roger and I, was dismissed for some flimsy legality. Instead, a more formal will that had been written in a time of crises at least ten years previously was used. When that will was written, Darlene had many problems and was having much difficulty raising her kids, Chris, Misty and Rocky. She was barely getting by. Mom was having gallbladder surgery and so wrote a will that would protect Chris, Misty and Rocky in case something happened to her. Of course, Jim's kids Kathi and Deanna had always had a stable, secure life so there was no need for Mom to have to worry about what would happen to them. Jim was a good provider.

Jim became more vitriolic toward my Mother after she had passed away. I don't remember that he even attended her funeral. I think that Danise and the kids were there but I don't remember Jim. When I did see him again, he had taken the incident of the old will out of context and had apparently told his girls that my Mother didn't love them as much as she loved Darlene's kids. This was ridiculous and a hateful thing to do to his own kids but Jim had become quite a curmudgeon in his old age.

In later life, after Jim had moved back to Washington from Hayward, we tried to have some email conversations but by that time, Jim had become more hardened in his political positions and could not handle anyone that didn't agree with everything he said. I was amused by some of his far right positions but he had no sense of humor by this time. When he couldn't make a convincing argument, like many on the far right, he would just resort to name calling. He called me a "socialist," told me off and then quit responding to my emails altogether. 

After this, Jim seemed to become more of a religious fundamentalist. Maybe he had become fearful of his own impending demise by this time. He worshiped an angry, wrathful God. He just seemed so full of hate in his old age. I never saw him again after that. 

I know my Mother loved him until the day she died and loved his girls, Kathi and Deanna. It is sad that they were convinced otherwise. 








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