My stepfather was a punk rocker and his name was Allen Paulino. He died on Monday, February 6, 2006.
He was a great musician with a ferociously strong personality that made him popular, loved and hated. He was also an alcoholic and drug addict, and sober for many years. During the years he was clean he loved to play golf and worked to counsel other addicts, but still found no peace and seemed terribly sad sometimes. I remember seeing him lying on the couch after work, just looking at golf on the TV with his thoughts some place else...
Allen was also my father in the truest sense of the word. Even though he was not bound by blood to love me, he treated me better that my own father. Allen loved me as his daughter. And I loved him as the father I needed. Despite his own faults, Allen was an amazingly positive figure in my life. He never talked down to me or told me that I was 'bad' for acting rebellious. Rather, Allen encouraged my ways of self expression which helped me build my self esteem where my biological father has been unable to commend me. Allen may well have saved me with his approval from a life of hating men for the failings of my own father.
My stepfather made me feel good about being unique; being unique was his trademark. Allen helped me accept my immature teenage behavior as a stage of life that some of us needed, because he needed it so desperately when he was young. He believed in me, saw the best in me, and encouraged it. I will never forget this kindness. Allen was such a source of wisdom and encouragement for me, that I am sure I can credit much of my self acceptance to him.
There were also negative experiences in having Allen in my family. I have seen him with his guard down, broken and feeling alone. I was there when he opened his first bottle after the accident took his fingers. Actually I opened the bottle for him (in disgust) because he couldn't physically do it. I remember thinking that he may die for his addictions, but better that he be home and drunk than somewhere that he might get into a car again. It was Christmas time and he had just got home from the hospital. I left him with his bottle, hiding in the basement.
Allen affected a lot of my who I am in some less subtle ways. He lent me my first taste of Charles Bukowski, which I gobbled up in an afternoon. We then spent hours talking about the stories Bukowski wrote. He also gave me my first Aleister Crowley book, although I am not sure he knew what he was doing. To this day I am still involved in 'magical' groups that admire Crowley and perform his rituals. So much of what Allen did for me and the things he said to me remain in my life now. His strength is in my heart and the wisdom of his years is in my mind. He learned so much about life in his short time. And he had developed a gift for transforming that knowledge into words that could alter any listener.
I am a comforted by one thought as I sit in tears knowing I will never see him again: That he knows how much I appreciated him for who he was, because I told him. He is at peace now.
I love you.