My memories of my step Dad William F. O’Connor are as follows;
My Mom married my step Dad when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My impression of him as a child was a man that was quite a bit older than my birth dad (20 yrs older than my Mom) and a person that was not nearly as affectionate outwardly towards my sister and me. He was also one that taught me something that my birth Dad never did and that was manners. How to act, talk, eat, you name it, Dad O’Connor seemed to know the proper way to do everything. Although he seemed an expert how to act, he did not seem to know how to relate. My memories of him were of one that would come home late and Mom would have his chair and paper ready for him. My Mother seemed to have much stress over when he would arrive home due to an alcohol problem he had that was quite evident early on in the marriage. As children, my sister and I saw the stress this was growing within our Mom but were just kids and didn’t know how to help. We experienced stress also from this love of alcohol of my step Dad when he’d take us someplace in the car and he’d drift over into the other lane of traffic. This happened quite often and now feel that it was only the Grace of God that kept us alive while riding with him. Another incident I can remember of how close I came to death due to his drinking was when we were at Brookings, Ore for a vacation. Dad had a row boat that he had made which was of excellent construction and wanted to go out through the surf and take me along. I was about 10 years old or so and of course Bill (Dad O’Connor) had been drinking (to be honest with you I feel that there were very few times he wasn’t quite consumed with alcohol). Anytime I did anything with Him caused me much concern which shouldn’t have been with a boy and his Dad. Anyway I went with him and he was really enjoying it. Upon coming back in through the surf, a wave flip the boat which turned it right over on top of us, fortunately for me, I had taken swimming lessons and so was able to get out from underneath of the boat. One of the oars of the boat had poked a hole right through the side which was found upon dragging the boat back to shore. Bill then found a handkerchief or similar cloth and poked it in the hole and said let’s go back out. Being a 10 year old boy with a man 20 years older than your Mom who didn’t know how to relate with you, you feel pretty much helpless to say I’d rather not. So while we were in the boat way beyond the point of safety (well out of range of swimming back to shore) and seeing the cloth leaking like it was hardly even there, I managed enough fortitude to speak to Bill, “Bill, don’t you think we should be heading back?” Fortunately for him and I, he agreed and just as we entered water that was chest deep, the cloth popped out and we sank like a rock. I share this to help all those who read it to realize the terror that children are put through because of alcoholic parents. The children feel like they are prisoners to terrorizing events almost daily or are forced to see the parent that doesn’t drink live under incredible stress because of it. My Mom had almost left my step Dad because of it when I was about 10 and Bill would again promise not to but those times didn’t last long. I really feel that this marriage also would not have lasted long if it wasn’t for the Lord intervening and allowing my step Dad to acquire a disease of the sack that hold his heart. While being in the hospital for a very long time, it allowed him to dry out from the alcohol after which life was great. But, due to this physical condition, he was transferred to work in Portland, Oregon. So, our life was going through a major change when I was about 12 or 13years old. Bill seemed to stay pretty much dry from alcohol for the remaining 7 years or so until his retirement. But while he seemed to dry out from alcohol, that didn’t improve the other major problems within his soul. In fact, it may be because of those other dark areas of his heart that caused him to drink as heavy as he had. Step Dad was a very hard person who didn’t know how to relate with others plus had a problem with wanting to fondle children sexually. As a child about 10 yrs old, a friend of mine and I and Dad took a trip to the Williamson River to our lot to spend a weekend. The sleeping arrangements were for my friend, to get to sleep in the big bed with my Dad and I was to get the sleeping bag. Being 10 yr old boys, we never gave it a second thought. Then the next day my friend said to me “you wouldn’t believe what your step Dad tried to do to me last night!” He was right, I didn’t. That is, until he tried to fondle me also when I was about 12 years old. I was quite ticked and had he not stopped trying, I was at the point of getting up out of bed and confronting him right there but fortunately he did. When I was about 16 years old, The Lord Jesus began speaking to my heart about the importance of surrendering all of my hurts, anger, and resentments towards Bill and accept his name as my own. This was a good time of growth although Bill still didn’t know how to relate. I then joined the US Air Force on Oct. 6th 1975 and began my first tour of duty at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. While there, I had married Johna L Larley at about age 20 with her being 6 yrs my senior or age 26. My Dad had begun to drink so heavily again that my mother was living in continual torment. I was so very concerned about the home front and was very happy when the Lord provided the means for me to return home for a visit. It was about this time in my life when I was about 22 yrs old, that I learned that Bill not only had tried to molest my neighbor and myself but also my sister and my brother as well. So, upon arriving home, Bill and I spent a day and an evening up on a high mountain lake in Oregon on his houseboat. God knew the mountain of concern that had been growing in my heart not only for my Mom, but also for my step Dad and the condition of his soul. It seemed that the deepest time of relationship growing Bill and I had was while we played gin rummy (which wasn’t very deep at all). And after dinner that night on his house boat while playing cards, I finally vented and told him right where I felt his soul was at and confronted him about his fondling of me, my friend, my brother, my sis and his putting Mom through torment from his drinking. I was quite amazed at how he just listened. I knew that God had ordained that moment in time due to my boldness to finally confront him and his willingness to just listen. The next morning I wondered how we would start the day out together seeing how passionately the Lord had used me to share with him the brokenness of his past. I was quite blown away when he walked over to me and gave me a big hug and said thanks for the talk we had last night! WOW! Before I had left for home in Arkansas from this vacation which occurred about 1981, Bill had stated to me, “Son, I’ve saved up a lot of money to take care of your Mom when I’m gone and I’ve got three very important things I’d like to say to you.” I thought “Wow, we are finally going to go into a deeper relationship with each other!” It is then he said “You’re never going to amount to anything and so I don’t want you living with Mom, or Borrowing from her” He may have said more but I was in such shock and blown away I don’t remember anything else that was said. Believe it or not, even though Bill just ripped out my heart and stomped on it, he thought he was being a responsible Father and Husband by saying what he did. Never the less, I was determined to seek out my birth Dad Loren Williamson and reestablish a Father-son relationship with him and did and it was great!!! While continuing to call and talk with my step Dad and my Mom over the next several years, Bill treated me very crudely and rudely each time I’d call due to the fact that I had been readopted by my birth Dad and had taken back the Williamson name. I really believe that having a boy with his name was much more important to him than I have ever understood. So anyway each time Bill was rude to me when I would call home, I would just let it go (no credit to me, all to Christ). The result of continuing to love him over the next three years in spite of the way he had treated me with the statement that so wiped me out which he was honestly unaware of, caused the following actions to happen. One day as my Mom and step Dad had driven up on a tragic car accident, Bill who rarely opened his heart very deep said to Mom, I guess I need to make it right with Kevin (myself). I believe it was shortly after this I noticed a definite softening of Bill’s heart. In fact we were growing quite close together. I was so overjoyed with growing deeper and deeper in a Father and son relationship with the only other man I had ever known in that capacity for such a length of time (my birth Dad left my Mom when I was only 6 yrs old), that one day the following had happened when he and Mom visited my while they were on a vacation in southern California. Bill and I actually got to the point of relationship where I was able to share with him how very much he had hurt me with the before mentioned hurtful statement. He then had shared with me how he was so very sorry and that was not his intention. Bill may have been a very, very hard man who was extremely intelligent, but I honestly believe he meant what he saying and that he truly didn’t know how to communicate with others. The end result is that Bill and I had finally grown into a deeper relationship with each other that neither one of us had known before and both of us were quite happy because of it. I am one who tends to think more with my heart than with my head and so seeing that 90% of my memories from childhood up were with him and not my birth Dad and seeing that he and I were finally growing within a Father-son relationship, I decided to legally take back the O’Connor name and try with great care and love to express to my birth Father that this time, the reason for changing my name was not out of being hurt but just because of what was happening between Bill and me. The result of this action caused my birth Dad so much pain that he then stopped communicating with me. Oh, the pains of divorce and the pains that it sows all through our lifetimes. Fortunately, I’m very grateful that God is even now doing a work between my birth Dad and me as well. I’ve even considered returning to the Williamson name and talked with my wife about it and here’s what was said to me. “Bill learned how to love and accept you even though you had left the O’Connor name and began developing a relationship with you. You’re birth Dad on the other hand allowed the hurt of returning to the O’Connor name to stifle any communication since that time. And, even though the relationship between you’re birth Dad and you are now growing, you’ve had to reach out to him after your step Dad has passed on.” Well, I couldn’t argue with that and I guess sooner or later we need to accept the paths that we’ve taken and live within them. I continue to hope that even though now my birth Dad has cancer of his kidney’s we can use the remaining days God has given us on this earth to grow in relationship with each other.
My memories of my Mom Ella L. O’Connor are as follows;
I remember my Mom to be one who worked hard to provide for her kids after her divorce when I was about 6 yrs old. A mother who was initially happy to be married to William F. O’Connor and then whose life was filled with stress due to his drinking. A Mom who didn’t put up with her second born (myself) teasing the life out of my sister and so knew how to apply the rod of discipline very, very well. A woman, whose life was filled with tension and stress because of Bill’s drinking and later revealed sexual tendencies, chose to live with the pain and not put us children through another broken home experience. Mom O’Connor who now has found a person in her life that loves her and whom she has grown to love and will soon be Mom Robinson, was the one that led me into a personal living wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ while sitting on the couch with her one day. So, needless to say, my Mom has been pretty special!!!
Date: August 31, 2002