- May 26th, 2009
This post is just really for me to read everything in one place, but also to allow others to read the missives and give their opinions. See, despite everything I still feel incredibly guilty over what has happened, and I feel like I should have done more. Then again, I read these emails and feel like I've done enough, and my guilt is assuaged. However, I also, like many human beings, need validation from my peers that I have done the right thing:
I sent this to him on August 11, 2003:
Hi there. It's been awhile. Three years. Long time.
Long time for me to be mad at you. Long time for me
to thing about what I want to say to you. Long time
that I've been wondering what the heck I did to piss
you off so much that you completely shut me out of
It's been a long time.
First of all...thanks for finding out about Peggy.
Obviously that's how I got your email. Peggy called
me some time ago, and we resumed our relationship. I
was hoping to get to go out there before too long, in
fact, at one point our honeymoon was going to be a
drive to Las Vegas, and we'd stop and see Peggy.
That's changed now...but still. When Annette emailed
me the other day I got concerned, and to an extent I
feel better. Annette doesn't want to call Setsu, but
I will probably do so.
Second, this will be my one, and last attempt to
contact you. If you really don't want to have
anything to do with me, then fine, just reply back to
that extent, and I will never, ever bother you again.
I will delete your email address, and I will destroy
your phone number. Peggy gave it to me because she
was also upset that we haven't talked. I've had it
for some time, but I haven't called, because knowing
you as I used to know you, you are going to tell me
what I don't want to hear, and that is that you don't
want to have anything to do with me. And that makes
me very sad.
I don't really know what I did to piss you off so
much. I guess maybe it was that I didn't come get the
train set that you were holding for me. I don't know.
Perhaps you think that I was taking advantage of Ruth
by moving in with her in September of 98, and that I
didn't contribute anything to the household. Again, I
don't know. Perhaps you think that I think I deserve
more of Ruth's money, again, I don't know. The fact
of the matter is, I don't know WHY at all you cut off
communication with me. Whatever it was that I did,
well, I don't know what that is. I can't atone for
something that I don't know I did. All I know is that
you stopped talking to me. I didn't want to come over
one Sunday morning when I had plans with Melissa, and
you stopped talking to me.
I don't know if you remember, but the last time we
spoke, I had just met Melissa, and we were just
starting to explore our relationship. Well, we're
getting married on October 4. I guess that says how
our relationship is going. The last three years have
been extremely interesting for me, and a huge period
One week after I met Melissa, I think right before we
had our falling out, I was laid off from MJW
INvestments with no warning whatsoever. I wasn't
given a severance, though I did get unemployment. I
started working again shortly thereafter for a
Security Systems company in a management capacity, but
I left there too. My most recent job was as
night/weekend manager at a Market Research company. I
left that too. The reason why I left these good, but
unrewarding jobs, was because I wasn't happy working
without a goal. Well, I have a goal. I'm graduating
SMC next Spring (hopefully) with my AA in Liberal
Arts, then I'm going to UCLA for my BA in English,
with which I hope to work as a journalist in a
progressive magazine type environment. I may have to
start it myself...but the main thing is that I'm in
school full time.
Melissa moved in here January 2002, and while it's
small, it's working fine. She is the manager of a
Women's Clothing Store in Beverly Hills, and earns
more than I have EVER made. She fully supports me
going to school full time.
Probably the biggest change was that I stopped
drinking alcohol, completely. My doctor told me
either I stopped drinking or I died. My liver was
starting to shut down, due to a fatty liver. It took
them 6 months to tell me this. Thus, I do not drink
at all. I didn't go to a 12 step, or anything like
that, and I still partake of the green stuff (more
than ever actually), but not drinking has given me a
good perspective on what has happened...that and I'm
now 32 years old, not 29...I've even got grey hairs!
And as I said, I've been thinking about this for three
years. A lot of the time I've been mad. Mad because
it just didn't seem fair. You left without even
telling me what was going on. We never had a heart to
heart, we never talked at all. I guess I felt
completely and utterly betrayed. To an extent I still
After all the things that we shared, all the late
night conversations. All the things that you exposed
to me...all the things that you meant to me...hell I
idolized you...I became a vegetarian (and I still am),
because of you. There hasn't been a day that has gone
by where I don't think about my Uncle Dan, and what's
going on. I used to do google searches to see if I
could find you. I know you played in some chess
tournaments in Holland (I think). I've never hid from
you either. I stayed in the same apartment, my email
is the same as it ever was (BTW, WMNOE look familiar?
You know, getting married has shown me one thing...my
family is extremely small. Basically on my dad's side
I have you, Annette and her kids, Jeri and Bob. I
know there's some more cousins, but I really was never
around them. My mom's side is growing smaller and
smaller too. My side at the wedding is going to be
grossly underrepresented. Melissa has a HUGE family,
two sisters and a brother, and they're all married.
In fact, there's going to be 6 nieces and nephews that
I'm going to inherit. So It's going to be cool that
I'm going to be Uncle William. And when I think about
that, I can only hope that I can be as cool to my
neices and nephews as you and Harley were to me when I
was growing up.
I used to brag that both my Uncles were really cool
guys. And it's so damn hard for me to believe that
you can be so cold to me. I really truly do not
understand what happened, and I guess this is my last
plea for some forgiveness and understanding. I
really, truly miss you. What's past is past. I'd
like to have a good relationship with my uncle in the
future. I'd like to have him at my wedding, if for no
other reason, than that my father can't be there, but
that he should be represented.
However, I have done all that I can do at this point.
I have offered an olive branch of peace. It is up to
you to take it. Again, if you truly don't want to
have anything to do with me, well, that's your
decision. Please understand I want nothing from you
other than your friendship and love. I do not want
money or favors or anything else. If you really don't
want to have a relationship with your closest flesh
and blood, then so be it, and I will not bother you
I hope to hear from you soon.
This was the response I received on August 15, 2003
I don't want to keep you in suspense too long so
I'm willing to start over.
Family means nada or close to so I'm talking
elementary friendship i.e. AQUAINTENCE meaning we are
becoming aquainted not re-aquainted because frankly
our previous relationship is over. The only residual
good will I have towards you is evinced in this offer.
You sound bewildered by my behavior towards you.
And I am bewildered by your bewilderment. I was and
am up front with all my friends about what's
acceptable to me and what isn't. You knew and cared
I am absolutely unwilling to iterate the causes.
Either we put that behind us or say good-night.
I have been thinking about phrases and details but as
you said, you've had years to think about what you
wanted to say and I have had a few days.
If this offer isn't acceptable to you then you may
do the drastic if you want but the modicum of residual
good will I have will keep the door open for the
I'll leave it here for now.
My same day response:
I honestly don't know how to respond.
It's obvious that the "Uncle Dan" that I knew and
loved is long gone. Fine. As human beings the only
thing constant is change. I like to think that I do
thins to improve myself all the time, I realize that
there are some setbacks and some advances, but I'd
like to think that I'm a better human being now than I
was last month, last year or last decade.
Learning about myself and my place in the world is an
everyday thing for me. It helps that I finally have
some goals and good things happening, it makes me
forget about the harder times in the past.
I just got finished with an ecology class at SMC that
satisfied my science requirement. THe class was quite
interesting, in that it informed me about the damage
humans have done and continue to do to the
environment, and how we can work together to create
sustainable systems. What was interesting is that I
already knew a lot about the subject, because you
taught me quite a bit. Now I a much more aware of my
individual impact on the environment, and I'm taking
steps to reduce it. That is directly your influence.
I'm torn then. Since as I mentioned the person that I
knew and loved is obviously gone. I suppose then the
question is do I want to know the person that has
replaced him. I guess I don't know. I suppose we are
again at a acquantance level relationship, since I'm
sure you have the same attitude about me. With age
brings wisdom, and the hardships and good things that
have happened to me over the last three years have
humbled me quite a bit, but also made me wiser and
smarter. Not drinking has totally changed the way I
deal with people (for the better I think), and alcohol
doesn't poison my health anymore. I don't spend money
on alcohol like I used to. Regardless, I'm different,
you're different. I guess we need to see if we even
want to know each other anymore.
If we do great.
If we don't, great, at least we'll have made an
effort. I've had falling outs with many of my friends
over the years, I'm concerned that it's something in
my character that makes people not want to know me. I
don't know what that is, and every day I'm trying to
figure it out. This will be a good step towards
Let's see what happens next, with no expectations.
Whatever happens happens.
I look forward to your response though. Take your
time, I'm in no hurry.
This was the next real message I got from him; in the interium my Great Aunt (his Aunt) passed away, she was my Grandfather William Zook Noetling's sister, Margaret Jones.
> I've emerged from the cluster cycle, mostly, and
> though I'm not as clear headed as I'd like I am
> enough to pick up our conversation , such as it is.
> Truth to tell I am not especially upbeat these days
> and don't have anything positive to tell you. I'm
> responding to your letter below for that was written
> sometime ago and I have lost that thread.
> Peggy dying sounds like an echo from my past. I had
> family once.
> Happy Halloween
I responded 10-11-03, a day after I got back from our Honeymoon:
Well, OK. I just got back from my honeymoon, so I'm
in a great place. Not as good as last week when we
were on the cruise, but still a good place.
Anyway, I hope you will be doing better soon, and I do
hope to talk to you in person, for lunch or something.
I saw Annette, Mark and Jeri at the wedding. Annette
doesn't look like she's doing all that well, but she
was in great spirits.
Well, keep in touch, if you want to.
We did not hear from him again for a couple of years.
IN 2006 I informed him that we were pregnant with Kaylee:
>Don't know if you care, but you're going to be a great-uncle in late September or October.
Received this response:
Care is kind of a fluffy word. Easy to say, hard to
Families aren't something I value a lot.
Still, I'm happy for you and Melissa (providing you
both want a child
of course) and hopefully wish she/he/they are healthy.
I have moved to South Pasadena.
I'm glad you wrote because I've been thinking about
what sort of relations I'd like to have with you.
Though my family values are weak they exist so
whereas I don't think of you as a friend I do wish to
have some contact so as to maintain family ties. For a
childs sake I think it's god to have uncles. And
aunts and grand parents. And our family is pretty
So this is a good year to create some kind of social
footing 'tween us.
If you'd like, dining is traditional.
where are you living ?
My response of March 8, 2006
I'm glad you responded as well. We're living near the
Beverly Center at the moment, though we'll probably be
moving within the next six months, as we have a
one-bedroom, and it's not big enough.
The baby was definitely well planned out, and the
timing is near perfect. As for getting together, that
may be a bit difficult in the next few weeks/months.
I have two more weeks of classes at UCLA for this
quarter, and they're going to be VERY hectic with
papers and finals. Then we're going to San Francisco
to see Robin and James for a week. In April we'll
have more free time to get together.
Oh and I'm graduating from UCLA with my degree in
English in June.
We did not get together, but kept in touch. His emails became a bit more upbeat, he was moving in January of 2008:
I have maybe 200 LP's. 2/3 of which belonged toPete
Peters my parents and your father. A lot are from the
40's and 50's and I think some of them may be rare.
Vinyl LP's themselves are valuable for recycling.
I also have a ton of family photos.
If you want the LP's and the photos you are welcome
to them. Where I am moving I will not need most of my
belongings so I will be putting that in storage. No
point storing LP's or family documents.There are some
antiques and Noetling historical items.
Would you like to come pick them up ?
There may be other things here which might catch your
Tons of art books too. Of course you may not have the
space but you have my permission to sell any of it.
You can consider it a Birthday present . I will be
moving towards the end of the month so you would need
to drive over here no later than your birthday because
I have to empty the house so i can have the place
Please respond so I'll know what I have to do.I may
have a nice gift for your wife also.
Hope 2008 is a good year for you and your family.
We did get together a bit later that month, and resumed our relationship. Thought at that point it was clear to me that he had already undergone a drastic personality change.