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Saturday, March 21, 2015

How a Jewish Spirit Transported Me Into a Halfway House As a Teenager

The 1975 PVHS Orchestra
Andrea Stein second row, third from left, I'm first row, fifth from left
(Click to enlarge)
Yesterday morning in a twilight sleep God brought to my memory a disturbing time in my teenage years I wanted to share here because it involved a Jewish religious spirit.

Back in 1977 I was in my junior year of high school when our conductor Don Marino of the Palos Verdes High School orchestra arranged to bring over a violinist, Andrea Stein, into the viola section on a voluntary basis because I was the only violist that year.  Andrea took the initiative to learn the viola and we were greatly encouraged to have sectional practice for the transition.

Since I was the lead violist, I invited Andrea over to my home a few blocks away to a sectional rehearsal.  When Andrea arrived, I explained the reason I wasn't introducing her to my family in the living room watching television was because they were being mean to me. Immediately Andrea jumped on the opportunity to get out of sectional rehearsal and very quickly without a second thought overreacted to what I had said by insisting I come with her over to her home.

In 1975 I had a great debut with the PVHS orchestra and continued to win awards the following year in spite of my halfway house homeless situation.

Being emotionally vulnerable, dominated and unaware of where they were leading me, the Stein single parent family took me in for a week, providing food and shelter while teaching me about their Jewish heritage while making it seem I had run away from home. I was under the belief they were helping me so I fully cooperated unaware I was being manipulated.  I wouldn't have agreed to any of this had I known where it was leading, I just thought it was a nice break from my stressful family environment.  My father, Buddy Merrill, had recently retired from the Lawrence Welk Show in 1975 having no direction in life.  He and my mother were in a power struggle in their marriage with loud late night arguments.  That year my mother told me I had come into the world unwanted (illegitimate) under a mountain of angry emotions due to her failed marriage.

After contacting my mother to arrange for my clothing and necessary items, the Stein family must have been appalled that they didn't want me back making me out to be the problem. The attitude was likely "you can have her." All I had done was arrange for a sectional string rehearsal and mention my parents were being mean that ended up in my being severely traumatized in what followed. The Stein's contacted social services having had me sent to a half way home for shelter and a counseling evaluation where I became officially homeless!  

I stayed at the half way home in Hermosa Beach for a week back in 1977 and was prevented from attending school, leaving Andrea as the sole violist of the orchestra.  The counselors at the halfway house couldn't find any reason why I was removed from my home so they contacted my parents who came down for a mediator counseling session having agreed to pick me up.  My parents knew they had a legal obligation to care for me that I had done nothing warranting their refusal to allow me to reconcile and come home so I could attend class.

I've thought about this traumatic experience a few times over the years always with appreciation for what this kind Jewish family did for me but that I'm a little wiser in years I see things differently. The PVHS orchestra where this problem originated knew I was having family problems from my very first rehearsal at the summer musical Oklahoma in 1974. One evening my mother showed up in the orchestra pit rehearsal interrupting the conductor for me to pack up my instrument and leave with her. All I had done was talk back to her standing up for myself prior to leaving for rehearsal,  I really had done nothing wrong.  Teenagers talk back to their parents occasionally. The way my mother handled it spoke of the red headed tyrant she truly was.  In 1975 my father, Buddy Merrill of the Lawrence Welk Show was about to  retire from the program approving of my mother yanking me out of my very first orchestra rehearsal.  It was humiliating what they did to me and a glimpse of things to come.

Did removing me from my home and taking me out of school for a week help my situation?  No, it was just another way of humiliating me. Andrea would have had to endure my conducting a viola sectional so she preferred my submission to her to show how much better her family was. My privacy was completely violated by the Stein family and I was made homeless within a week sent to social services.  One day some lady just picked me up in a car and took me to a halfway house without discussion or forewarning.

When I returned to orchestra class a week later, it was clear no one missed me, no one cared I was gone and Andrea had been the only violist.. I now realize I was being usurped by a Jewish religious spirit and I'm sure Andrea wasn't alone in encouraging my early departure from the orchestra class where I had received two awards in 1975 and 1976.  Andrea had nothing to lose since she was leaving school early that year.  Sheila Rogers, who later became a talent scout and producer for David Letterman was also in that class while claiming she was Jewish as well. It is duly noted Sheila Rogers was sent on a two week trip to Israel, Greece and Spain by her caring parents, while I was completely trashed and abused by my own.  My own family looked for every opportunity to trash, hurt and humiliate me while using me as a slave to do most all the chores. 

My parents even tried to prevent me from attending the USC music camp  scholarship the orchestra provided me in 1976 because they had planned a vacation to Yosemite. (They were quite miserable to spend time with since the Hollywood television based marriage was an unhappy depraved one from the very start being born from adultery and illegitimate birth.)  I ended up staying at a musician's home starving for two days waiting to be driven up to the music camp because my parents didn't give me food money.  

Let The Jewish People Have Their Awards - They Can Have Them!
I've learned that winning awards causes people, especially Jewish musicians, to hate you and it's not worth it. That's why the last year of orchestra class I didn't bother to attend the awards dinner opting out for the jazz choir awards.  I also learned having a sports car early in life such as I had at 23 years of age causes people to hate you and it's not worth it.

Wise people never cause others to covet their talents or possessions!  I was just a kid back then and didn't fully recognize I was inadvertently causing others to covet through my musicianship and awards and later through a beautiful sports car I purchased.

Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,”(and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself."
I never want to win an award again and am glad I don't have to be concerned that will ever happen. My reward's in heaven through what Jesus did for me at the cross forgiving my sins. His gifts of grace love and patience are a real blessing, God restores!  He just wants our prayers to ask Him for such restoration.  Ask and you shall receive. Matthew 7:7-8