Blogs

Jerry O’Dovero

Over the past year I’ve written more than dozen blogs. I just can’t seem to post them. I don’t want to tell you bad things about my family. A lot of who I am I owe to them. I wouldn’t be here living alone if it wasn’t for them. The O’Dovero family gave me the confidence to leave the house and venture out into a scary world. I remember the first time I went through a drive through to buy a hamburger. My hand are paralyzed, so preforming the simplest tasks can be a challenge. How do you feel when you embarrass yourself in public? If you’re like me, It’s not a fun feeling. The first two years after the accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down, arms half paralyzed and hands completely paralyzed, leaving the safety of the house was a scary thought. I have no control over the muscles in my back, stomach, abs or any of the muscles that provide balance, while sitting. So if I lean more than just a few inches forward, I’ll fall over. For the first several years, I wore a seat belt across my chest. Then one day I was talking to a girl I knew from my school days. She couldn’t stop looking the seat belt. It was in her eyes that she was feeling sorry for me. She quit talking. She suddenly started thinking about all the things I’m unable to do rather than what I can. Trying to write these blogs opened up my eyes to the world. And it’s not a pretty world. I feel, I’m writing this blog from my point of view, so you do have to agree with me. As as matter of fact, I’m not going to agree with everything I write. I’m going to ask you for your help! Help me change the world. I feel the world sees me and others like me as disabled! Do you think of me as disabled? Its not a trick question. You can say yes, or no or somewhere in between. I’ll get back to this.

From the moment I wakeup to the time I transfer from my wheelchair back into bed my life is physically challenging. I’ve been at it for 37 years, so I don’t think about it. I’m not embarrassed to go out into public and fail at the simplest things anymore. That first day I drove though the drive through, It was the Hardy’s by Northern. I parked in one of Norther’s parking lots. I I took the backpack off the back of my wheelchair and set it on the passenger seat. I fished out a $10 bill. I didn’t know the cost of anything and I didn’t want to deal with dropping any money, so I figured handing the young lady one bill would be safer than several. I put the G.T.O into drive, waited until all the drive through traffic was gone and drove into Hardy’s parking lot. The G.T.O had electric windows, so that part went easy. I ordered a double cheese burger something and then drove up to the window. I was thirsty, but I wasn’t going try a soda yet. I put up as close as I could to the building. The sidewalls of the tires even rubbed a little. As I put the shifter into park, I noticed a car pulling up behind me. Everything I do in life takes more time then most everyone else. I put a set of shelving together a while back that took me 8 hours. The shelves are 2′ by 4′ by 6′ high a d there are 4 shelves. The second one took me 4 hours. It took my buddy Steve 20 minutes on the third set. I reached down with both hands and pinched the $10 bill in between the two of them and then held both hands out the window until the young lady realized she’s going to have to reach the rest of the way. A couple of minutes later she came back with the change. I said, could you please put the change in the bag with the burger? While I was waiting for it to sink in, I said, that way I won’t drop it. Up until that moment, up until I started acting like the class clown, I was nervous. Back to the question, am I disabled? Yes, No, a little, a lot?

I’m not sure how many of you will believe this, but I’m the luckiest man on earth. I never get bored. My life is never routine. Everyday I live a fun and challenging life. All I have to do is do something! With my mostly paralyzed body, nearly everything I do is challenging. Kids now a days play those video games for hours and hours. Why? The challenge to reach level 49 or what ever the crap they are trying to do. I feel your day at work goes by a lot faster when its challenging. That’s my life everyday. A challenge!

I wasn’t born paralyzed. It happened when I was 17 years old. When a horse, a colt is born, its walking and able to survive, mostly on its own within minutes. When my twin sister, Jean and I were born, we didn’t leave the hospital for two months. We only stayed in the womb for seven months, we checked out two months early. From the day I was born, it was a learning process on how to survive without the help of others parents, family, etc On May 12, 1979, I was completely capable of surviving in this big bad world all by my lonesome. On May 12, 1979, I drove through the Togo’s drive through without a single thought, concern or fear. I had 17 years of leaning how to preform physical acts. On May 13, 1979, I had to start all over. I had to start learning the physical side of life all over again, only this time I only had control over just a few muscles. Am I disabled? Yes, No, a little, a lot?

Around two weeks before the 4th of July weekend, I decided to travel back to Marquette for the 4th. Now, I’ve told my buddy Steve this so many times I couldn’t give you a number, but what ever number that just popped into your head, multiply it by 4 or just add a zero to the end of it. Because this is the truth! – I’m my own worst enemy! Just about everything that has gone wrong in my life is my fault! I have no one to blame but myself! Steve will verify that. Sometimes he just shakes his head when I tell him some of the dumb things I do. My attempt to drive to Marquette in my 1992 Ford van was so ill prepared for I’m lucky I’m still alive. This trip or the attempt at it is a perfect example of how I can be my own worst enemy. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I have a motor home. Why didn’t I take the motor home? I don’t have it anymore. It literally was falling apart. It was a 36′ coach on a Ford truck frame. That alone was pushing the very limits of its durability, but to cut a huge hole in the wall to add a very heavy door, add on top of that the very heavy wheelchair lift (hundreds of pounds over what the motor home was designed to carry by itself) and removing an interior support walls so I could get my wheelchair next to the bed so I could transfer into it at night was too much. The Mint Julep, as my brother Paul named it, was spiraling towards its end from the moment the dealership handed me the keys. A smart man would have started with a diesel pusher motor home. They are built on the semi truck frame, but that’s another story. The last trip in it was to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Another very challenging trip I’ll tell you about. Let just say, by the time I arrived back here to California, the motor was still running and it still drove, but not much else was still working. It’s easier to tell you what was still working rather than was wasn’t. But this trip first. This trip I was so ill prepared for I’m lucky I survived. Enough things were not in my favor that I really risked a lot more than I should have. This trip even scared me. I live alone. I often travel alone. I’m at the edge of my abilities everyday of my life. It wouldn’t take much of a mistake on my part and I wouldn’t be here writing this story. I’ve only been scared once since being paralyzed where I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. Amazingly, it was April 18, 2016. Don’t worry. I’ll tell you that story as well. But this story first. My ill fated attempt to travel to Marquette to ask Peter E. O’Dovero el Duce why I had to pay him $100,000 for his pain and suffering he said my becoming paralyzed caused him, why he embezzled the rest of the $700,000 of my insurance money and invested it for not just himself, but in a ready mix concrete business so my brothers would have jobs, a 25,000 sq ft building for his construction company and snow plowing business, again, so my brothers would have jobs and the Woodview Apartment complex which gave his new real estate business a huge shot of adrenaline. Why in 37 years he’s never invested a single penny for me?

I wanted to ask Lois O’Dovero Cleopatra why I had to pay her $100,000 of my insurance money? Why less than a year after I came home from the hospital she moved to Florida with my brothers Joey, Jay and Paul, and why she didn’t want me to go with her? It really hurt when she moved to Florida without me. I’ll never forget the morning she came to tell me. It was around 10 am. She came into my bedroom with the cleaning lady in tow. She said, Jerry, I’m moving to Florida in two weeks with Joey, Jay and Paul. I’m going to teach cleaning lady’s name how to to do your bowel programs. We’ll be in the laundry room, yell when you are on the shower chair and ready! Why she didn’t think it was just plain wrong to have an untrained cleaning lady assist my with my bowl programs when she moved to Florida rather than using the $540 per month the insurance money was paying her to hire a qualified health care professional to come in the three days a week I needed help in her absence? Why she never fought for me or protected me when Peter E. O’Dovero was stealing my insurance money an investing it so my brothers would have jobs and careers?

I wanted to ask my brothers and sisters why they never defended me or were there for me when our parents was stealing my insurance money? And what did I do to them that’s so terrible that they would all sign a registered that Medusa (my stepsister Connie told me to never write about her in my blogs. I just couldn’t give her a name without giving some of the other’s new names as well) so Medusa wrote me telling me I was disowned? Didn’t I sacrifice enough when I let the family have every penny of my insurance money not putting my parents in prison? Shouldn’t they be proud of me when I paid for my own college, worked for a living and kept the family’s name pure and innocent for decades by not telling anyone of their betrayal?

Finally I wanted to ask my nieces and nephews why they never thought to call me and thank me for the birthday presents I’d send them every year. I don’t remembering any of them calling and say thank you uncle Jerry for the birthday present.

That was the plan. But in my life my plans never seem to work out the way I plan them. I never made it to Marquette. But there’s good news. Even, or especially when things aren’t all hunky dory, I usually come out a better person by looking inward to understand what’s wrong or how I found myself a the low point and what I need to find happiness again. Spoiler alert! I’m going to tell you why I didn’t finish the journey to Marquette. I was beating myself up thinking I was going to fight for my insurance money. I wanted to ask the O’Dovero family for the millions and millions of dollars they made off of my unfortunate accident the night I went out with my older brother Pete, Mini Me!

Oh, the reason? I’m not a fighter!

Last time. Do you see me as disabled?

The O’Dovero Family is never going to give me back my $700,000 of insurance money or the $10,000,0000 that they’ve earned from the investments. The O’Dovero doesn’t see me as a man. To them, I’m a disabled son, a disabled brother and a disabled uncle. What’s the difference? You can’t steal from a disabled son, a disabled brother or a disabled uncle. If you go to the bank and take $700,000 from a man’s bank account, its embezzlement! If you go to the bank and take $700,000 from your disabled son, disabled brother or disabled uncle’s bank account, it’s money you earned because you did this for them, you did that for them, you did this and that for them. You took care of them.

The O’Dovero family is one of the richest families in Marquette County, yet not a single member of the O’Dovero family feels ashamed they have a 54 year old son, brother and uncle living on Social Security even though they’re all millionaires from the money they stole from me.

I’m not a fighter. The O’Dovero family earned that money because they’re not ashamed to take it. It won’t take long after Peter and Lois are gone before there are three classes of O’Doveros. The haves, the have nots, and the sucks to be you club.

Peter and Lois established the business plan 37 years ago. The fastest and easiest way to make Millions is to steal from family. If you steal from a bank, a business partner or the guy on the street, you’ll end up in prison. But stealing from family? Would you put a family member in prison? Well, we’ll see in a few years how many of the O’Dovero’s meet up for a family picture!

I’ve have lot of stories to tell you. Don’t worry! I’m not going to dwell on the negative. It’s not my style. I’m more the class clown. I’m proud of my life and what I’ve done. One thing I love to do is make things. I make my own wheelie mitts, can holder, back pack, painted my wheelchair and did several tweaks to make it more user friendly (which includes a cell phone holder, business card holder and wallet holder). There’s several more but I’m tired. My idea is to tell you step by step how I (with paralyzed hands) make these things. My thoughts are for you to make your own. Its a lot more rewarding to do things for yourself then to sit on your ass watching Judge Judy. Don’t watch daytime TV. Do something with your life that you can be proud of. And, making it to level 47 on a video game isn’t something to be proud of. Here’s how I look at it, I imagine I’m going to meet (oh crap, I’m making this up as I go, so who do I say?) I’m a big Detroit Redwings fan, so anyone of many, oh or Bruce Willis (When someone writes the book about me and then a movie, I hope Bruce Willis plays me) but lets say the President to keep it simple. Let’s say you’re going to meet the President. The President asks you how do you spend your day? I hope your answer isn’t watching daytime TV or playing video games. Like I said, I hope you make your own stuff, but since not everyone is mechanically inclined like me, or doesn’t have a shop to make these things, I’m going to offer them for sale. I’m living on Social Security, so a $100 or $200 a month extra wouldn’t suck. Oh, I really think my pill bottles will be a big hit. If you have parents or grandparents with arthritis, my pill bottles will make taking pills a lot easier. Again, I’ll tell you how I make them, so you can make your own, but again, should you want to buy mine, I won’t say no.

OK now I’m going to bed. Oh, I’m not a mean, vengeful or a cold hearted man. If anyone in the O’Dovero Family wants to be my friend, all they need to do is – tell me they’re sorry for not being there for me when I needed them to believe in me, support me and fight for me to get my insurance money back. I’m not a fighter. I needed someone in my corner to fight for me when el Duce and then Medusa was making me the Enemy of the State. From now on I’m calling the insurance money blood money!

One last thing, then its bedtime. Thank you Medusa for showing me how the family thinks of me, a disabled son, a disabled brother, a disabled uncle, but more importantly, a disabled child. Someone that you can steal from, lie too, order around and worst of all, Ostracized me.

Ostracize! It’s from the Greek. Broken Pottery. The cities of ancient Greek had a large clay pot in the center square. If you didn’t like someone in the town, you would write their name on a broken piece of pottery. If their name came up too many times, they were ostracized from town. If you were ostracized, you had to leave town for 10 years. If you stepped a single foot back in town before ten years , you were put to death. There was no trial, there were no charges, no court or being judged by your piers, you didn’t get to defend yourself.

The entire O’Dovero family had meetings to disown me and not one member of the O’Dovero thought I should be at that meeting. That’s why I say a disabled child. Parents and adult family members don’t discuss adult things like disowning a child with that child.

I’m disowned! Thanks Medusa. Now I have nothing to lose by telling GOD and the WORLD the good, the bad and the ugly of my life.

OK this is the last thing and this time I mean it. Crap. I forgot it. Oh, the O’Dovero family must not think too much of you, the reader of my blog. I’ll let you think about that while I go to bed.

It’s been over a week since I wrote those words. I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep writing blogs and not posting them. Here are some of my concerns. First, this is my life and my challenges. I don’t want you thinking that every person sitting in wheelchair is as screwed up as I am. I say screwed up, but don’t get me wrong, I love my life. If God, my Guardian Angel, Michael J. Fox in a time machine came to me and said I could go back in time and stop the accident or at least prevent becoming paralyzed, I wouldn’t do it. While my life maybe who’s to say? maybe more physically challenging than most? In a lot of ways other than
the physical challenge, it’s easier than most. I’m not a Physical threat to anyone. Because of that, people I’ve never met before, especially women, are not afraid to talk to me. And once you get me talking, I’ve actually felt sorry for some, because its hard to get me to stop. Oh, when they make the movie about me my movie my first choice is Bruce Willis. But I was thinking, in case he’s not available, Matt Damon would be a good choice. He has a new Jason Bourne movie coming out. I read the first two Jason Bourne books back in 1994. 99% of the time I don’t like the movies based on books that I’ve read, but the Jason Bourne movies are very loosely based on the books and Matt Damon nails the one theme from the book. He improvises with what he has around him to solve his problems, which is usually saving his life by getting away from people trying to kill him.

Lets get back on track, this is a song written by the late, great John Lennon.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Back in the 70s there was a sitcom call, WKRP in Cincinnati. It was about a small radio station trying to make it in the big city. There was the station manager, no clue on his name, but he played the nice guy. The beautiful blond bombshell Lonni Anderson receptionist that wore tight sweaters. She played the role of an intelligent and common sense woman that was glue when needed to keep things together. Tim Reed played the ultra cool guy Venus Fly trap. I seen him in an interview once where he said the producers didn’t think he was playing his role as black enough – his words. Then finally the 30 plus year old that was a card carrying hippy from the 60s. The other DJ Howard Hesseman?

The episode that pops in my head as the station owner, the older bald guy again no clue on name that lets the inmates run the insane asylum until there is a very difficult decision to be made. He then uses his fatherly persona and does the right thing rather than what makes the most money. In this episode the station owner is talking to the head of a large church organization that spends a large amount of church money on radio adds. The Jerry Falwell looking guy says he’ll quit buying add space if the radio station doesn’t stop playing several songs they don’t agree with.

Our hero, the station owner starts reading the lyrics to a song the hippy guy asked if he was allowed to play. The song, Imagine by John Lennon. The Jerry Falwell guy comments after each saying NO GOD, NO HEAVEN or HELL! NO COUNTRIES or RELIGION! Its terrible. Its anti-GOD, its anti government, its evil thoughts! The Jerry Falwell guy can’t believe someone could write a song telling the world we shouldn’t have any of these things.

Our hero asks if he plays this song, would the church stop advertising on his radio station? The Jerry Falwell guy says of course they would stop. Oh hero stands up and extends his hand out to the Jerry Falwell guy and says it been a great 30 year friendship. He tells him that the song never said a bad word about anything. It just says imagine!

My father, el Duce, as he will now be called hasn’t talked to me since I left Marquette. I don’t know why he stole my insurance money or why he hates me. So when I tell you my thoughts on why he did it, its just my thoughts. My imagine if you will! The same goes for the rest of the family. No one in my family will talk to me either. Most of the family hasn’t talked to me since I asked them to help me get some of the stolen money back into my name in 2004. I’ve received several letters and emails from Medusa, which she also copied the rest of the brothers, sister and spouses, telling me the family will never talk to me about money, health or family, so I can only imagine why they hate me as well.

Here’s what I think, because I’m physically challenged and my family did this for me, did that for me and did this and that for me (mostly in the first couple of years), I feel they all believe I should be eternally indented to them for eternity. I feel the entire family thinks they are better than me because they did this for me, did that for me and did this and that for me their disabled son, disabled brother and disabled uncle and I feel they believe I’ve done nothing for them. I feel like the family doesn’t think of me as a man, but as a disabled son, disabled brother and disabled uncle and because I’m physically challenged and need the help of others from time to time, like a child would, they think of me as a disabled child.

I feel this way because the entire O’Dovero family disowned me and not one member of the family told me why, talked to me about the things they don’t liked about me or things they would like me to do different. They had meetings after meetings about me and no one told me about them. I was never asked for my input about anything. I feel like I was treated like a 4 year old child. Its OK to steal your disabled son’s, disabled brother’s and disabled uncle’s insurance money and invest it for themselves, but I’m not allowed to ask why or question them. I feel I’m supposed to accept my lot in life as a disabled son, disabled brother and disabled uncle that lives on the few thousand dollar allowance they give me and leave the important decisions to the grownups. And if I disagree with any of their decisions I’m ungrateful and I should be punished like an unruly child, again, because they did this for me, did that for me and did this and that for me like adults do for children.

Its midnight again. I’m going to review this in the morning and then post it. I’m going have to write more about the family, because they need to know what I’ve done for them. The most important thing was not putting el Duce in prison!

Its hard for me to write about them, so I’m going to write about me for a while. I want you to know who I am. I want to save the world with this blog. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

I hope you don’t think of me as disabled. I’m physically challenged. No! I’m a MAN that’s physically challenged. Please don’t think of me and other’s as disabled. When you do that, you’re looking at what we are unable to do.

Speaking of dreaming, goodnight sports fans.