Gary A. KISS
*0n Monday o2 March 2016,
it will be 20yrs since my father unexpectedly died in a fishing boat accident on the Umpqua River in Roseburg, Oregon.
He was 49yrs old,
exactly 1 week from his 50th Birthday.
And 18hrs away from leaving w/my stepmother for a cruise
to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary.
Which 'would have been' on Friday 08 March 1996.
I have now 'out-lived' my dad by 836 days.
*yes I keep track of 'shit like that'.
I get emotional sometimes knowing that he
passed-away at a time when he had
everything going for him:
an awesome house/property,
his work as an insulator was steady,
his health was exceptional,
and not knowing he had been a grandfather
*or what I was lucky enough to know about him.
Gary Antone Kiss
Gary Antone Kiss
was born on Saturday, 09 March 1946
to Albert J. & Louise S. Kiss
in El Cerrito, Ca.
He was the youngest of four siblings.
a 12yr older step-sister from his father's
and a 5yr older brother and 3yr older sister.
And from what I can remember being told
by my grandmother,
my dad was always getting into trouble as a youngster
from the moment he began to crawl.
And because he was 'the baby',
he got away with everything under the sun.
My dad was always a good student,
*or so I heard every single time I got my report card!!!
he was a little bit of a smart-ass in school.
And relied heavily on his older brother to get him out
of a few situations his mouth had gotten him into.
(Although my dad never backed down. Ever.)
*besides. having a 'last name' of KISS just entices 'little fucks'
in school to tease relentlessly. I know!
Also, he was very popular with all
the girls growing-up.
*as was his father, his brother, and yes... his son.
Which leads me to my next tidbit of info
about my father's life story;
the introduction of my mother.
My dad and mom met in Jr High School,
and continued their relationship
throughout High School.
And since I was born during their Senior year...
This is 'our' story...
*not your normal tribute,
more like my untold memories;
the good, the bad, the truth...
When I was born;
Sunday, November 24, 1963
both of my parents were Seniors in High School.
I was always told by dad that I was 'conceived' on
Thursday, February 14, 1963
at approx 4pm when both my mom & dad were 16.
*that's what he said to me anyway.
**of course he also would tell me;
"the best part of you ran down your mother's leg".
My dad and I never had a traditional
'Father - Son Relationship'
It was more of a brother/brother one...
We all lived w/my dad's parents in El Cerrito, Ca
*the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area...
until I turned 3.
Then moved into a house of our own.
My dad divorced my mother 2yrs later,
for having an affair w/the brother of my babysitter.
Who just happened to live across the street from of us.
I can still remember quite vividly the fist-fight
that ensued on our street between my father
and my mom's boyfriend,
when my father came home from a 'hunting trip'
sooner than had been expected.
*my dad's brother and father were even involved in the fracas...
(my uncle and grandfather)
And thus began my life in the late 1960's being
the child of divorced parents.
*I'm not sure when the term 'broken home' appeared,
but I hate that stupid shit!!!
During the separation/divorce proceedings,
I started school and dad and I then lived together
for about a year in an apartment.
You really have to give my dad some
serious 'father-credit' here.
He's 22yrs old, with a 5yr old kid,
going through a divorce, working full time,
and every night he cooked us dinner.
*but I hated that he made me eat tomatoes though.
And on the weekends,
we both loved to watch
'the Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Hour' together,
while we ate our cereal sitting on the floor.
The only reason I can remember this quite vividly is
because it was the best-of-times for my father and I.
As it was just 'us', nobody else.
No step-mothers, girlfriends, or one-nighter-bar-hoes,
My dad and I relocated to Anacortes, Wa
for my 3rd grade year,
where he met/married my 1st step-mother.
But divorced her a year or so later because she
also couldn't remain faithful.
Upon completion of 3rd grade,
I lived w/my mom in El Paso, Tx/Albuquerque, NM.
then moved to live w/my dad's sister
(my aunt) in Fawnskin, Ca.
Then 6th grade in El Cerrito, Ca
I didn't see my father for almost 3yrs during
this time period.
But I ended up moving to Fresno, Ca
to live with him for the next three years,
and life wasn't that great for me.
I was 'competing' for the affection/approval from
my father with a 'girl' who was only 7yrs older than I,
Everything that went wrong during that time frame was always blamed on me.
Even getting a flat tire during one of our
stupid camping/fishing trips was my fault.
Which led to my dad screaming at me the entire
time he was changing the tire.
After my 3yrs in Fresno,
I again lived w/my mother in Albuquerque, NM
for my Sophomore year of High School.
Then my dad wanted me to come live with him
and my step-monster again,
this time in Arlington, Wa.
for my 11th-12th grade years.
Again the entire situation was toxic at best.
It was a mixture of a lot of things I guess.
I wasn't a bad teenager, I always got very good grades.
but I did eat things I wasn't supposed to tho.
(I was always fucking starving)
Getting into special dishes and such that had been
specially prepared for 'dad only'.
I moved-out of dad's house during my Senior year
during my Christmas break,
and lived with a High School friend and his mom.
Afterwards, my father and I did become a 'little closer',
but it wasn't that great.
I know for a fact my father cheated-on
my step-monster numerous times,
as he told me so when I became an adult.
But those times were rough to be around him!
my father was a 'hot head',
and would 'blow' at a moments notice.
His 'nickname' at work was 'the Kiss Monster'.
(he worked w/fiberglass his entire career, as an installer) Yes my dad beat my ass with a belt,
yes he hit me across my chest a few times with his fist,
yes he would scream at me for coming home late,
or when he and his wife would argue.
And yes, I was scared-shit-less of him while growing-up.
Things started to change between us after
I joined the Marines.
He came to my Boot Camp graduation with his wife,
which made me very uncomfortable because my mother
and her boyfriend were there also.
*the first time the 3 of us were within 20ft
of one-another in over 13yrs.
I only saw my dad 4 times during my 6yrs in the Corps,
with one of those times being at my grandfathers funeral.
After my stint in the corps,
I didn't talk to my dad for over 2yrs because of
something my 'step-monster'did that affected
(I'd rather not talk about it)
It wasn't until I was living in Reno, Nv that one day he
and his wife just showed-up 'out of the blue' to visit.
My dad was out of work at the time,
and had found a construction job in Reno.
We became room-mates for nearly 10mo
in a 900sq ft studio,
and that is when we 'finally became friends'.
It was nice having my dad around without his wife.
It was a 'stress-free' environment.
We never really went anywhere.
but we cooked together, drank together, watch tv shows, and even went to a few movies together.
Those 10mo were the best days I ever shared with my dad, and thos are the memories I normally 'go to' when
thinking about my father.
And during that time,
'the Kiss Monster' apologized on numerous occasions
for his lack of fatherly skills,
and for not really being there for me while
I was growing-up.
So ya, we cried together too.
During our 10mo together as room-mates,
his wife (my step-monster) would come visit for a week
every month or so. I hated those weeks.
After our sharing of a domicile had ended (1990),
I didn't see my dad again for nearly 4yrs.
I had relocated to Las Vegas during that time frame,
so he and his wife came to Vegas to celebrate their
20th wedding anniversary, 08 March 1994.
It was actually a very good time had by all.
After that visit, my father and I started to talk
'every' Sunday afternoon.
Sometimes I'd call, sometimes he would.
It was our 'best of times'.
The next time I saw my dad was 16mo later,
July '95 at my Aunt's funeral.
(his older brother's wife)
It would be the last time I would see my dad alive.
I can vividly remember the day my 'crying' step-mother called me to tell me the news of the 'accident'.
It was saturday, 02 March 1996 at 4:30pm-ish.
when I learned of the death of the man who had
help create me and had given me life.
I have given four eulogies in my life:
a fellow Marine in 1984,
a former 'best-friend' in 1991,
and a subordinate from my work in 1997
(my ex-wife's husband-ironic).
But giving the eulogy for my father
was absolutely surreal.
Standing on a stage in front
of 400+/- people whom I had never met,
and talk about a man who I had just had a conversation with a few days earlier was the toughest and most emotional moment of my life.
For almost 4mo prior I had been looking forward to
seeing my dad in march '96 in Vegas to celebrate
his 5oth birthday.
I never thought I'd be seeing him after life had
already left his body.
Him laying there on a table covered w/cardboard in the clothing my step-mom had chosen
for this 'private viewing'.
his lips and eyes sewn shut,
(my step-monster had graciously donated his eyes)
with his long hair ( to his shoulders)
and nicely manicured beard were perfectly groomed.
Even in death,
my dad was a good lookin' mother-fucker!
(women of ALL ages always loved my dad, ALWAYS)
He was cremated a few hours after I saw him.
the one he kept in tremendous shape, GONE!!!
*I had refused to see 'him' the 3days prior,
but my aunt (his sister), and his wife (the step-monster)
made me feel guilty as shit until I finally succumbed to their wishes.
Assholes, both of them!!!
over 400 people showed to pay 'last respects' to my father,
I knew none of them.
His 2 older sisters, older brother,
(who had just buried his wife 7mo earlier)
his mother, 1 nephew, 1 niece, his wife, and myself; represented the entire kiss family.
one of the reasons I will never have anything to do w/the other 35 who didn't pay their respects to my father.
*Yes. I hold a grudge... forever!
I left the following day,
I tired of listening to everyone's bullshit stories.
I did see my 'former' step-monster the following year
on the '1st anniversary' of my dad's death;
she came to Las Vegas and took me out
to dinner to Red Lobster.
And I listened to stories of 'her cruises', the cabana-boys,
her new convertible, among other things.
After that dinner, she was out of my life.
And I have not seen or talked with her since.
*I did learn at a later date that she had brought a
'male friend' along to Vegas with her that visit,
that really did hurt my feelings.
Not that she had found someone else,
but that she had brought along another when
her and I were going to visit and talk of the memories
we had of my father.
And because she said she wasn't feeling well after dinner,
We never did, or ever will.
Those are my memories of Gary A. Kiss.
my grandfather, my father, myself
The following are my thoughts of the 'same man'.
My dad was great looking,
and he knew it.
He had long hair his entire life, shoulder length, styled.
And also a short beard, always trimmed.
He stood roughly 6ft tall, and never weighed more than 185.
He was a ladies man.
and the women loved him.
younger than me, older than him, it didn't matter.
And he loved them back every chance he got.
He should have never been married.
Even though my dad had a semi-privileged life
*my grandfather owned a very successful demolition company
from 1930 - 1967
he never acted like a spoiled-adult.
Always working very hard for whatever
he wanted from life.
He was a very hard worker, never calling in sick.
My dad was a union member his entire life,
and was responsible for laying asbestos insulation
at work sites he was attached to. (over 30yrs)
He also worked on the 'Alaskan Pipeline' for 3 separate stints of 4mo each in the mid 70's.
He was a 'Freemason' and a self described 'survivalist'.
He loved camping, fishing, hunting,
and was very talented with tools.
*everything I'm not...
He had a wicked sense of humor,
and loved to play practical-jokes on the unsuspecting.
*once he 'silently' told the husband of a friend of my step-mother
that he could kill him and sell his 'body parts'
in Canada for big money. omg!
He loved to read,
and introduced me to the 'World of Tolkien'
back in 1975.
*Before the masses became fans of the movies.
**My dad would have loved those damn movies.
He wasn't an alcoholic, or a drug abuser.
He never hit a woman, or abused me.
He did drink a few sudz every day after work,
and 'hit the pipe' a few times daily.
*When he was 'high' he was cool.
When he was 'straight, he was sometimes an asshole!
He was very protective of me when I was very young,
even organizing a 'search party' the day my mother 'kidnapped me' from the grasp of my 2nd grade teacher.
*they were divorcing at the time, and my mom wasn't allowed to see me.
As fathers are supposed to be,
he was a provider for me.
Food on the table, a bed, and a home.
Paying for my braces,
buying me a new 10-speed,
and even making sure I knew what cigarettes
taste like when I was young.
*I don't smoke because of that incident!!!
Unbeknownst to my father and I at the time of his death,
he had been a grandfather for 27days.
For those 27days he had a beautiful grand-daughter,
and he never knew it.
*everytime I think of that, my heart hurts... badly.
he would have loved Ash just as much as I do.
I could see him being a wonderful 'pops',
even more protective of her than I am.
My father was not perfect, nor did he ever claim to be.
He had his faults and weaknesses,
But he also had his strong points too.
I learned a lot from him.
Sadly, most of which is how 'not' to be a father.
But I can't blame him totally for this,
as my grandfather was not the greatest role model
while he was growing-up.
Maybe that explains why I am the way I am w/Ash.
During the past 20yrs a day has not gone by
that I have not thought of him.
I miss him, and I love him.
We had finally become very close friends before
his untimely death.
I would like to think that my life would have been totally different had he lived.
I'll never know.
I love you dad.
I always have, and I always will.
I just wish I would have told you more often,
when I had had the chance.
Gregory Allen Kiss
'Gary A. Kiss, my dad'
is protected under the previous copyright:
Original Copyright © 2010 by G. A. KISS
All rights reserved.