Saturday, November 29, 2008
A Second Chance
With this in mind, he added an Epilogue to the publication part of which is included here:
One reason, I felt, concerned being given the time to finish writing my father’s diaries. I did start on this many years ago, however, when I asked my father at the time to go over what I had written and to make the necessary corrections. He found it too upsetting and declined to do so. Since then I have done nothing but maybe now is the time to go back and start again.
Another reason, I thought, concerned this journal and the belief that I survived so that I could finish it once and for all and give it to my kids, and possibly publish it, before it is too late to do so.
One of the things a heart attack does is show you how immortal you are not. I have been told that, in the first two years of my recovery, given what I went through, my physical condition and my health prior to my heart attack, I run a 20% risk of having a hic-cup. I have also been told that this rate will slowly decrease as time goes by, but that, nevertheless, I am still susceptible to further heart issues.
This wake-up call made me realise I couldn’t afford to put off until tomorrow something I should be doing today as, in my case, there is now the real chance that there might not be a tomorrow.
Accordingly, with the above in mind, I sought an outside opinion from a published author as to the worthiness of what I have written. Here are some comments she made:
“I have read the entire manuscript, and can’t see any reason why you should not publish. It is a raw account, but its rawness makes it real. It’s also very clear, given the journal format, that your feelings are expressed in the moment, confidentially to the ‘Janet’ in your journal more than to the Janet in real life. It’s written in the way that journals are – no holds barred, expressing things you might not otherwise express to anyone else, exploring the darker side without fear of committing it to paper, using the journal as a way to work through the stuff and to slowly – very slowly – get some insight and make small steps towards understanding some of the dynamics involved in the breakdown of the relationship. It captures the dynamics of the relationship breakdown very well.”
“As such, I don’t see anything you’ve written as being hurtful. You expose your own rawness, vulnerabilities, issues, and – between the lines – your own blind spots as well as your wife’s…”
“…No-one could read this account without gaining a deeper understanding into your experiences and feelings at the time, and this can only be enlightening in a helpful way, I believe, to your children (now that they are grown) and to others going through a relationship breakdown…”
“…At first glance I didn’t like the title. It didn’t grab me, but as I read your book I realised the title is perfect. Emasculation was at the heart … of all your experiences. The title drums it in.”
Taking her comments into account, I have now done some editing and proofreading and made corrections where necessary, however, it needs to be said, this journal was never intended to be a literary masterpiece with no grammar or vocab errors. It was meant to be an easy to read chronology of events, as seen through my eyes, that took place a number of years ago, regarding our marriage.
She also suggested I write an epilogue to put some context of where I am now around what I wrote about all those years ago. Hence, this final chapter. I am not sure what I have written here is what she meant, but it does reflect my current state of mind over what happened between us.
Having said this, and considering what I went through with my heart attack, I am pretty lucky, and now I am trying to make the most of my second chance.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005
Foreword - March, 2005
As might be expected, Mendl Chaimowicz is not the "known" name of the writer of this publication although in a different set of circumstances it very well could have been.
Born to a father from Poland who survived the Holocaust and a mother from Switzerland, Mendl chose to use the first name of his grandfather and the given family name of his father. Had he grown up in the shtetl (town) of his father, Mendl Chaimowicz may very well have been the name he would have been known by.
Mendl grew up in very much a working class environment, with both parents working. He was born in Ashfield, an inner western suburb of Sydney, NSW but grew up in Bondi where the family moved a year after he was born.
Primary school education was at the newly established Jewish Day School. From there he went to a local state high school (his parents simply could not afford the fees the Jewish day school were asking).
At this state school, Mendl's reasonably good levels saw him start off in the higher grade classes but within a year he was down to the lowest level - he had been "introduced" to anti-Semitism and had started to skip classes.
Early in his second year at the state school, having been "caught out" at wagging school, Mendl found himself undergoing all sorts of tests and assessments by the school counsellor to ascertain why his levels had dropped. The tests only confirmed Mendl's high academic aptitude, but he never spoke about the bashings and "stand-over" tactics he underwent on an almost daily basis at the hands of a group of non-Jewish students.
By the middle of his second year at the state school, Mendl had managed to get himself back into the middle level classes but his parents, realising he was not going to fulfil his academic potential where he was, decided for him to return to the Jewish day school (and to take on a fee payment schedule which they only completed after he finished high school).
The condition set down by the Jewish school on accepting Mendl back was that he would have to repeat the second year in order for him to reach the same level that the school had for its students. Repeating would also allow him to catch up on subjects he had fallen behind in whilst at the public school.
By the fourth year, Mendl had improved his levels sufficiently enough to be awarded a Commonwealth Bursary which certainly came in handy for his parents as it offset some of the school fees for his last two years at high school.
Mendl often tells of his best years being whilst at school. He was a popular student amongst both the staff and fellow students and was elected school captain in his final year - his matriculation year.
Vindication of his going back to the Jewish day school and repeating a year, if necessary, came in his being awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to university.
Mendl continued his studies at the University of NSW. Despite scoring grades high enough to get him into Law, Mendl elected to do an Arts course concentrating on History and Sociology which in his own words "would give me the chance to decide on what I really want to do".
After two years at Uni, Mendl took a year off (1974) - he had decided to go to Israel to volunteer to work on a kibbutz. Soon after making this decision, he saw an advertisement in a local newspaper calling for applicants to work in the American Summer Camp programme so he applied.
To get enough money for his year off, the year in which he would turn 21, Mendl took on a full time job at Kentucky Fried chicken in Double Bay.
As someone who had been very heavily involved in youth groups in his local community (Mendl had been very active within the youth section of the B'nai B'rith organisation where he had been National chairman for two years) he saw this as an opportunity to further his interests in community work. His application was successful and he was chosen to work in Omaha, Nebraska with the local Jewish Community Summer Camp programme.
Having completed the mandatory commitment of working with two camps as a hut leader, he was asked to extend his stay to work with a camp for blind (non-Jewish) children that the local Jewish community sponsored each year - an experience that helped him decide that his future lay in working either within his own local Jewish community or in the area of social welfare.
At the end of his time in Omaha, Mendl travelled with some other camp leaders to Montreal and New York before visiting family in London. In England, he was able to learn a bit more about his father's family and the time his father spent in various Nazi concentration camps.
From England he went to Israel where he spent a number of months as a volunteer on Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra located on the far north coast of Israel on the border with Lebanon. He was on the kibbutz at the time of the terrorist attack that took place only a couple of hundred meters from where he and his fellow volunteers were sleeping.
On returning to Australia, Mendl completed his Bachelor of Arts (1975) with distinctions/ honours in Sociology and History and then went on to do a Diploma in Education (1976) - "to make the BA worth something" and to allow him to teach if this indeed was the direction he would take.
Whilst doing his practical teaching, he made the decision "not to teach" - he felt the way the education system was set up was wrong and that students were being "forced" to learn rather than "wanting" to learn and Mendl did not feel comfortable with this.
Having become more and more involved in his local community and having been selected to take a student tour to Israel, Mendl felt more deeply that his future lay in community work either locally or in Israel. With this realisation, he enrolled in a Masters course in Social Work in Melbourne. He believed this course would allow him to work in the local community be it in Australia or Israel.
Shortly after moving to Melbourne in 1977 and starting the Social Work course, he found himself more involved in community affairs and within a short time was elected vice-President of the national Jewish student body.
This new position saw Mendl devoting more time to the "job" than to his studies and after returning from an international conference in Washington and following a discussion with the Dean of the faculty of Social Work (who was also Jewish), Mendl made the decision to leave the course and took on a full-time job with the local community - he had already made the decision that within a year or two he would move to Israel.
In December, 1977, Mendl met Janet (the circumstances are included in this journal) and shortly after they were engaged. In August, 1978 they were married and they moved to Israel in May, 1979.
The above in part goes some way to background Mendl's past and helps to put in perspective what you, the reader, will find in the pages to come.
At my time of writing, Mendl still suffers on an almost daily basis from not being with his children. He goes through a lot of self-imposed "guilt trips" on having not been around whilst his children were growing up and during their formative years. Mendl also anguishes over the standards they have been imbued with which he feels are not those that he would have chosen.
His greatest concern and cause for distress is the almost total lack of communication or care that his children have had for his own parents - their grand-parents, who still live in Sydney.
Presently, Mendl is undergoing his own health concerns - a number of years ago he was diagnosed with Graves Disease and thyroid gland burnt out and was put on thyroid replacement medication for the rest of his life. Soon after this he found out he had a cholesterol problem and was put on medication for this.
On top of this, a routine endoscopy five years ago found a severe ulcer in the stomach that meant more medication and last year he found out he was diabetic.
A further problem that now needs immediate attention relates to an incident Mendl never talks about - when he was inappropriately "fondled" and "touched" by a teacher in primary school. Suffice to say he often has problems sitting and being a courier driving around all day does not help.
Oh how Mendl would have liked to have had his children around him during some of the difficult personal times he has had in recent years.
Despite all this, Mendl is now very happily remarried to someone who helped him get through his early years of depression following his separation/divorce.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Purchase your copy of THE EMASCULATED MALE
This link will take you to where you can buy a copy of this publication using one of the methods listed.
Please note all buyers outside of Australia must use Paypal to purchase this publication.
Comments from the Publisher of the Ebook Version
The writing is frank, open and often blunt - not much is held back and may offend some. Understanding the pressure and mental anguish at the time of writing is paramount and goes some way to understanding comments made regarding in-laws, religion, physical relations, professional help etc.
There will be those who will empathise with the author and there will be those who won't, however, unless you have been in the same or a similar situation, making a judgement call on the feelings and emotions of someone going through a harrowing time would be most unfair.
This, in fact, is one of the reasons the author of this publication decided to release the material - to try and fill a gap in the literature of material that relates to the effects of a marriage breaking down and the loss of a family from a male perspective.
The author is not looking for sympathy, but rather understanding of how such a situation as related in this publication can affect the mental state of a man - a mental state that often can lead to tragedy and in the case of this writer could very well have resulted the same way but for the caring support of family and close friends who helped him through the initial period of despair and depression.
Read this publication with an open mind and try and understand that there are always two sides to a marriage breakdown - this happens to be a husband's/father's side.
Katz Workz is privileged to have been asked to publish and promote this work and is currently investigating a print version. Initial quotes indicate that a soft-cover version would cost $30.00 plus which would put this out of the reach of the average reader. With this in mind it has been agreed to release this for sale for a limited time on the internet as an e-book with a view to publishing as a soft-cover at a later date.
Click here to see how you can purchase a copy of THE EMASCULATED MALE now:
Background to this Publication
At a later date, when I thought about publishing what I had written, the following was prepared as a synopsis for the book to be used when submitting this work to a publisher - never really got that far, but thought I would include it here by way of background.
This draft synopsis was actually written in late 1994, just over a year after I left the marriage home and helps explain much of the background to how and why this book came about.
I am submitting this manuscript 13 months after I left my marriage home (in Melbourne) for what I then thought would be a three week break to give my wife the 'breathing space' she has been asking for and to spare my children any further discomfort from the tension in the home. I left at the behest of the counsellor we were seeing and at no stage did I feel my leaving would be for more than a short period.
When I started writing my manuscript I was 40 years of age, married with six children and had been unemployed for most of the previous 18 months as a result of a business closure. During that period I had to contend with an investigation into the failed business (since cleared) and a change in role in the family from being the principal provider to being the 'housewife'. At the same time I watched my wife throw herself more and more into her work and looked on as her career developed and she advanced whilst my life appeared to disintegrate around me.
Also during this period I faced the real possibility of a marriage breakdown. It was due to this that I took pen to paper.
Initially, as things began to worsen at home, I decided to try and keep a record of what was happening in the form of a diary/journal. I thought it may be useful to keep a list of events as I saw them for future reference - events that had taken place during 15 years of a marriage which was now heading towards breakdown.
I saw writing such a journal as an opportunity to try and express my feelings and opinions on these events and at the same time try and explain the effect these had (have) on a middle aged male - a topic which the literature apparently has ignored during the age of feminism and equality of the sexes.
Once I started writing, I realised that possibly many of the things I had written about were more than likely not in fact unique to my own situation. Marriages break-up every day and businesses close down regularly especially nowadays given the current economic situation in Australia. My situation probably is (was) no different to thousands of others.
In my opinion, what was different was that possibly my marriage could have been saved and would not have deteriorated to the level that it did if I had paid attention and acted on the various warning signs that, with hindsight, were evident early on.
I strongly feel that what I have written would make an interesting read of one person's perception of marriage and of events during a marriage breakdown involving six children. More importantly, from an educational standpoint, such a publication could possibly be used as a source/reference manual or guide for both counsellors and social workers dealing with marriage guidance. It also occurred to me that possibly what I have to say could be of interest for young couples about to take the 'plunge'.
I also feel that what I have written would make a sound basis for a play or film on marriage and problems in marriage, but that is not why I am writing to you.
I make no apologies for the fact that everything I have related in the journal is from my viewpoint and is based on my interpretation of my marriage. I am fully aware that what is presented is not objective and that my wife more than likely would tell a totally different story. I have no problem with this. Possibly her recounting of events I talk about from her viewpoint would be most enlightening and furthermore of additional use to counsellors and those about to get married.
My wife is aware of what I have written and in fact was sent a copy of the manuscript.
Topics I have covered in the journal include:
* marriage and compromise in marriage
* physical relations and sexual contact in marriage
* love and trust in marriage
* respect for each other's past - professional and social
* marriage and the mother-in-law
* raising children and teaching them respect and responsibility
* the changing role of the male head of a house-hold as the socio-economic situation of the family changes
* business and the affects of a failed business on a marriage
* buying a house
* meeting with a social worker to try an save a marriage
I have purposely changed the names of people referred to including those of my children. I do not feel that I have the right nor do I have the desire to publicise them in such a publication but believe that when they are of the right age, they should read what I have written. Hopefully, this may explain to them what happened to their father and why I was not around while they were growing up.
In the event that what I have written is found to be worthy of publishing, I would ask that I be allowed to use a pseudonym, again to protect not only my children but also my wife. No matter what hurt I may have felt as a result of all that has happened, I still do care for my wife and again would not want to harm her in anyway or cause her any embarrassment.
The bottom line is that while obviously it takes 'two to tango', it is my opinion many of the difficulties in my marriage had their roots in behavioural and attitudinal problems associated with my wife. Problems which should have been addressed a long time ago by both family and professionals but which for whatever reason were left unattended. Problems which when broached by me with my wife's family and professionals were either ignored or denied as existing. Having said this, I am not for one minute saying that I have been totally innocent but that is something for another time and possibly for another journal.
Given that I was not able to get any support or help in my attempts to save my marriage from either my in-law's and/or from professionals, I have turned to the idea of publishing what I have gone through with the hope that this may spare others the pain and frustration I have been through these past years.
Assuming that there is some substance in what I have written, as I obviously believe there is, it is my opinion that this bears recounting in the form of a journal or book. I say this not out of spite or vengeance but because apart from being an interesting read, such a publication may help others in a similar situation or at least highlight certain things that otherwise may be overlooked in a marriage going through difficulties.
Undoubtedly, there will be those who feel that what I have written is without substance, contrived and written for no other purpose but to make it look as if I am totally blameless for the failure of my marriage. I accept this as a possible scenario but would dispute this to the end. Even if this line was accepted, I still believe that what I have written bears publication as the issues I have raised are relevant and I would say are real and present in many marriages today.
The way I have ended this journal allows me to continue if I so choose at a later date. My intention is to do so some time down the track.
As far as a title for such a publication is concerned, this still remains to be finalised. Possibilities include:
"Year of the Family, but where's my Daddy"
"Married in the First Degree"
"Death of a Husband"
"The Emasculated Male"
Just as I hope you do not feel I am being pretentious in writing to you to have my journal published, I am also not presumptuous enough to believe that you will want to publish what I have written.
Finally I would like to thank you for your time and patience. I do believe that many of the subjects I have raised in my journal are both contentious and important and hopefully I will find a way to have them published and read by others.
Click here to see how you can purchase a copy of THE EMASCULATED MALE now:
Because of the delay, I have asked a close friend who sells on the internet and ebay to prepare a copy of this book for selling on the internet as an ebook and this has now been completed - it is now available as a PDF file and will be sent by email.
Click here to see how you can purchase a copy of THE EMASCULATED MALE now:
Delays due to illness
Having said this, I have managed to get our ISBN number registered for the publication, website registered and hope to have more details about the publication in the coming weeks - depending on how fast I recover from tomorrow's surgery. 25/05/05
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Events leading up to a marriage breakdown
As a male, I thought I would publish these events as I have found very little in the literature that actually depicts what a male goes through as they watch their marriage breaking down.