Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing a life story.

After always saying "I want to write my Dad's story", I decided today, that in 2010, I will finally start the first steps of this project.  I went to the book store and bought three books on writing: The Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles of Structure, Style, & ReadabilityThe Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction,  Painless Grammar.  I just used the book Painless Grammar  to remind myself that books are not surrounded by quotation marks, but rather underlined or Italicized.  Oh, how I wish I had focused more in English class! 
I will talk to Grandpa Bonds, Dad, Grandma Sandy and all the others I can talk to about this. Maybe I will even go to the state pen where my "uncle" John Chandler is and interview him... scary!!  I am very nervous to write a book.  I am sure it will take a few years at least, and many many revisions.  I am not even sure what style I want to write it in, but I will figure all this out this year!
Just for those who don't know the story... here is a short version that I wrote in 2006. (I added a few revisions in italicized letters!)

I am here in Payson, AZ, where I met up with my Grandpa John Voss Bonds, my dad's biological father.  He is my newly found Grandpa as of six years ago.   (It's been nine years now!)  My Dad was adopted as a baby and finally found him after a few years of searching.  While visiting in Payson, I finally got the correct story of how my father came into this life, and what happened to my Grandpa after his birth.
John Voss Bonds was young and "going" with a girl named Sandra (Sandy)Webb.  Soon after John left to Korea for the war, Sandy found out she was pregnant.  She sent him a telegram telling him that she was pregnant and asking for guidance.  Grandpa mailed a letter back to her.  The letter told her to go to his mothers house, have the baby, and when he came back from war, they would marry.  Sandy never got this letter.  She then went to Alaska, where my Dad was adopted by Thomas and Morag (Mogie) Chandler, and named John Thomas Chandler.
Grandpa Bonds came back to America and was told by many of Sandy's friends that she had a little girl.  Sandy was no where to be found.  So all of Grandpa Bonds life, he searched for a little red headed girl.
Grandpa Bonds first wife was Patty Clarke.  They had a son and named him John.  (My Grandpa wants his family name of John to live on.  His father was John and his father's father was named John etc.)  Shortly after their son was born, they divorced, and Patty remarried a man with the last name Chandler.  That man decided to adopt John and had his last name changed to Chandler.  (Is this getting weird or what?)  So Grandpa Bonds now has two sons named John Chandler, one who he doesn't know exists, and the other he let another man adopt.  Well this second boy, John Chandler, got into a lot of drugs.  At the age of 18, he was so messed up with drugs and crazy that he murdered his own mother, Patty!!!!!  He threatened to kill his entire family, and is now in maximum security prison in California.  Craziness!
Grandpa remarried to Mildred (Micky) and they had a son.  Guess what they named him?  John Bonds Jr.  He is alive, well, and hasn't killed anyone.  He worked for Warner Brothers in LA, and won an Emmy for the sounds in ET.   He currently lives in Cottage Grove, OR and has three kids, my new cousins!. 
Marriage with Micky didn't work out with Grandpa Bonds, so they divorced and he remarried to Jan.  Jan was a lovely woman, and unfortunately passed away two years ago.  During their marriage  my Dad found Grandpa Bonds.  He called him up one day and the conversation went something like this:
Grandpa picks up the phone, "Hello."
Dad says "Hi, is this John Bonds?"
"Did you know a Sandy Webb?"
"aah yeah, we used to go together, who is this?"
"well, this is your son, John Chandler!"
Grandpa immediately thought it was his son in prison and shouted "how the hell did you get out?" and hung up the phone.
Grandpa of course called the prison to find him still there with no phone access.  My Dad later called back and luckily got it all straightened out.  Not even a few days later, my Grandpa was up in Boise, and in our family for life.
So, lets recap.  I now have a Grandpa John Bonds, a dad named John Chandler, an insane Uncle named John Chandler, and another normal Uncle John Bonds.
Grandpa Bonds has remarried again to a lovely woman named Bertha.  They built a wonderful home in the mountains near Boise and I love going to visit them!

Here is some recent photos my Dad just emailed me.

From left to right, my Cousins Bradly and John Jr., Uncle John, Grandpa John,
my dad John and my two brothers, Parker and Preston.

My step sister Kayla, my dad's wife Jodie, Grandma Bertha,
my Aunt Debbie and cousin Alysa.

What a project this will be in 2010.
I also made some other goals.
  • Study Spanish bidaily (every other day).
  • Make a plan to get out of Skagway, either by selling the business, having a new manager run it or by some other means.
  • Fitness as a priority again in my life.
  • TEFL certification so I have the option of getting a job teaching English internationally.
The end!


susanwall said...

Sweet Mother of God!! I had NO idea your Dad's history. And yeah, I had to re-read alot. I have to say however...Grandpa Bond is quite the lady's man huh?? I want to know where the letter is from Grandpa Bonds to Sandy. That part just breaks my heart. Can you imagine being in Sandy's position during that time??? Then Grandpa coming home to no child, no Sandy. This is good kid!! Just write the book! LYMTC - xoxox sue

Michelle said...

Is Sandy still alive? Has your dad tried to find her? You might have more relatives on that side of the family (but hopefully no felons!!) haha... Good Luck with the book!

Alisa and Jared said...

What a story! I'd be happy to read the story as you're working on it ;-) And Sandy still alive?

SO...your goals sound great. I wish you the BEST OF SUCCESS this coming year. I know you'll be able to nail every one of those!

Nicholle said...

yes.. Sandy is still alive. My dad found her first!! :) I have two an aunt and an uncle on her side.

Alisa and Jared said...

So cool! So, do every get together with Sandy?

Nicholle said...

no not really. She isn't as open with us as Grandpa bonds was. We try, but it's been a little harder with her. :(