Memories of my Father written by Pason.
David Tenenbaum was the man I considered my father. He & my mom married each other 2 times, were married till I was 10, he never put me in harms way, he was a great business Jewish man, an Aries, the only person I spoke to from my past. He said I was a week old when he met me. My biological parents had gone to a David’s father-n-laws funeral. Mom and David’s wife where sitting talking & David’s wife wanted to hold me. David walked up and his wife said to him, “oh honey, lets have one! Just hold her. Please.” David, kept saying no, no, no. David had two daughters that didn’t live with him. Not long after, David’s wife was killed in a car accident. My parents divorce was final when I was 9 months old. David and my mom married when I was 3 yrs old, and little did he know that little infant he had said no, no, no & refused to hold would end up being his daughter forever. Like I say a redhead chooses you, you don’t choose them, lol.
While they were married David never treated Na (my whole brother) or I (Pason) any different from Shiloh. Shiloh was David’s 1st born son. Our house that my bio-dad gave my mom, which was filled with Victorian Antique Furniture & tiffany lamp burned the day Shiloh was born. David used the insurance money to buy land & build a new home.
We were spoiled! We celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas. We were raised Mormon (non-devout) & somewhat Jewish so Shiloh could decide which he wanted to be when he got older. David traveled a lot for business but showered us with gifts. At one point I had every Barbie and accessory made. When I set it all up to play with the Barbie’s, they would cover my room, on top of my bed down the hall into the living room. David would laugh when he would come home and it was time for me to put my Barbies away because I didn’t like to make multiple trips; I would gather up everything in one trip to the point that I couldn’t even see in front of me. Before David would leave for a business trip he would ask us what we wanted him to bring back. Every time he went to Florida, I would say a Seahorse! He would explain that they lived way down in the water, too far for him to get and would ask what else I would like. For some reason, I would say “smell good”. That was what I called mouth wash. I still don’t really know why I would ask for mouth wash maybe because he would bring me the travel size ones and I thought it was cute. He always brought us back toys and my “smell good”. We never asked for anything. On his way back from a Florida business trip he said he thought of the words Turkey Lips, started laughing & from that point on it’s what he called me. Turkey Lips!
He had a doom buggy for all of us to ride around in, eventually had it special painted with each of our names airbrushed on it. It was blue glitter paint. LOL! When he would come home from a business trip he would have my mom dress me in my Sunday best, he would get dressed up and he would take me to the better restaurants in town to show me how to order. I always looked forward to this! Though, I have never told him that.
David owned a pawn shop and flee market at one point. He and mom taught me at a young age about jewelry. Every girl and woman loves jewelry. They wanted me to be educated in the different stones, cut, colors, clarity, etc… Yes, this makes it hard for men now. David would design & have jewelry made as well. One day David had bought this cute, classy, simple, necklace for his daughter Jan who is only a year and a half older than me. Jan, denied the gift, which, David in turn gave to me. I was so excited!!! I still wear the necklace a lot! I have worn it since I was 6 yrs old. Every year for either my birthday or Christmas he would buy me a piece of jewelry and his rule was it had to have at least 1 diamond in it. He carried this tradition on till I was 21yrs old. I do believe the reason David made the tradition that I get one piece of jewelry per year for either Christmas or my birthday and it had to have at least one diamond in it is because my biological dad wouldn’t buy me anything for Christmas. My bio-dad always bought my brother gifts but for some reason not me. He had money. I would have to go over to our bio-dads house every year & watch my brother receive gifts which hurt deeply every time. After Na & I would leave mom would take us to the store & Na would return the gifts from our bio-dad, split the money with me or we would both get gifts at the store. I know there were times he really wanted to keep the gifts. Not many brothers would do something like this for their sister. One year as a teenager, it was the same ordeal, my brother received a gun cabinet. My mom was having a huge family Christmas dinner with over 50 people at our house & I told Na to keep the gift. He deserved it. I went to my room & was in tears. It was the last time I put myself threw that pain. I told mom I wasn’t going to anymore & she needed to figure out another way to get the child support check.
David called me every year on my Birthday as well on March 27th! I would call him on his April 5th for his birthday. My bio-dad didn’t even remember my birthday or how old I was. These are the reasons I believe David made the tradition with me, as a way to help me feel better & it did. I was special to him.
David was the only person that could control my mom when she lashed out at me. One time I was on the trampoline & had sat down when my mom came outside screaming at me that I was fat. I’ve never been chubby nor had baby fat. She just saw my skin on my abs folded, had one of her episodes & David pulled up. He grabbed her inside the house. I could see them yelling at each other threw the glass doors. He didn’t believe in arguing in front of kids. He brought her outside, told me to sit up straight, pointed out to her that I didn’t have a fat roll, explained to her about skin & made her apologize to me. My mom is physically beautiful but manic depressant/bi-polar.
Another of David’s business he dealt with exotic animals; mountain lions, cougars, blue foxes, monkeys, miniature deer, at one time a porky pine, and so on. He bought 194 acres on top of the mountain, built a big structure to keep the animals and bought each of us 4 wheelers to ride around the property. It was awesome! There was a lake on the property. He told us that we could each claim 5 acres as our own and I choose the clear piece of land across the lake that was sand stone. It had a stream that went from the lake across a part of the sand stone all the way off the mountain making a waterfall.
David, was also over Raccoon Mountain; where they had a cave, cave tours, camping, water slide, pool, go carts, hang gliding, video arcade, and a house on top of the arcade/gift store. We loved it there! We also had, pin ball machine, gumball machine, at one point I had 7 ponys, which I only saw once because mom freaked out to hear that David wanted me to take riding lessons so that I could be a jockey. LOL! He loved to gamble! I always had beautiful dresses “fluffy dresses” is what I called them.
When I was 10 yrs old they had divorced for the last time. I had to have a massive reconstructive, exploratory ear surgery on my right ear. They cut my whole ear off, down my neck & dissected my facial nerve. My bio-dad had dropped the insurance on me & my brother just before my surgery because he was mad at our mom & he refused to pay for even my prescription drugs. David was the one that gave her the money for my prescriptions. I was treated for an ear infection for 12 weeks while I was being sent to specialists, cat scans, etc… they were trying to figure out what was wrong. It never affected my hearing. My ear would bleed from the inside out & felt like a butcher knife was stabbing me in the side of the head over & over. They said I had an extra hole in my ear that was about to hit my facial nerve which is why they dissected it, did some other stuff, plastic surgeon came in & did a skin graft as well. I was in the hospital for a week before the surgery, few weeks after the surgery & then wearing my huge bandage spent time with David & his new wife at Raccoon Mtn.. My bio-dad ended up having to pay for the surgery which he said came to over $100,000. My bio-dad quickly added Na & I back to his health insurance after that.
David asked my mom to marry him a 3rd time. She asked if he was going to stop cheating (I learned about STD’s when in elementary school because my mom didn’t hold back information & I looked it up in the medical book we had) & if he would stop gambling. His answer was “Barbara, I am who I am.” She said she couldn’t live that way. I always gave him credit for being honest with her. When my mom re-married I refused to go to her wedding. Instead I stayed with David & his girlfriend. Always glad I made that choice.
It took David over 30 yrs. To track down his 1st daughter. Her mom had her & it’s a long story which isn’t mine to tell. He had a private investigator for that long to find out where & what happened to his daughter. How many fathers would do that?
First time he took us fishing he brought the fish home to gut & grill. I had a cat named Fruitcake at the time. I was outside watching him cut the heads off & as he cut one off, it landed on the ground where Fruitcake started to eat it. I was grossed out & started gagging so bad David told me to go inside. We had French glass doors, I was still watching threw the glass doors, gagging which made David gag to the point he couldn’t continue & he had to come inside. We always laughed about that story.
He was the one that got me to eat shrimp, oysters, crab, fish & he said it was important to eat a salad. Funny it’s still how I mostly eat. He loved jewelry. He built his own houses. Our house was modest because he told me rule in business is keep your overhead low & invest in your business. Which he did. He did things his way. He was a people person, outgoing, fun, safe, caring, stubburn. He had great calf muscles. He struggled with his weight but had a personal trainer for my mom. He always had nice cars. One year he bought a white Lexus & I made it a goal to own a Lexus when I grew up. Now I’ve owned 2. He had a cell phone when they first came out & CD player. He & I thought a lot alike. He loved to be married & was actually married 12 times, lol! He wasn’t perfect but to me he was a great guy & I’m so thankful that he was in my life.
When I was on tour, if I was performing a few hours away from where he was he would drive to me & take me to lunch. After he & my mom divorced he moved to Gulfport-Biloxi, MS. He drove almost every weekend from there to Ringgold, GA (close to Chattanooga, TN) to come see Shiloh. As a kid I thought, damn, my real dad only lives about 10 mins away & doesn’t make an effort to see us. We were not affectionate. He laughed & said the closest I ever got to anyone was one time he came home, sat on the couch, I walked over to him, climbed up on the couch, sat next to him, said hi, scooted off the couch & left. After I became an adult I finally understood & worked on my issue with hugging. A few years ago I finally gave him a hug just before he left after taking me to lunch.
He was a free spirit!
About a month ago he had surgery & they removed one of his toes. He went home, had a heart attack, back to the hospital & he had developed an infection in his blood they were trying to clear up before they could do heart surgery. At this time Shiloh & he went over arrangements. I had never heard or seen David cry till a phone call we had when all this was going on. He said he knew he wasn’t going to make it. I told him to rest & heal. He’s a strong man. He said he didn’t like making the arrangements. I said well I don’t think it’s something anyone wants to do but at least you’ve done it, let Shiloh handle things & let Jan help take care of him. A few weeks later he called & said he decided not to have the heart surgery. He was feeling better & he wanted to be able to live his life the way he was use to. I told him you have to do what you feel is best for you.
Our last conversation we spoke for over an hour & a half. He also apologized to me & said he was sorry that I went threw things I should had never been through especially after age 10. I told him it wasn’t his fault. He told me he loved me like his own. He said “I’m not just your father I would like for you to call me dad. Because I am both & have always been.” I love him! He kept his promise & didn’t let people know that we spoke for all these years. I blacklisted my bio-family in 2008 for good healthy reasons. He had me make 2 promises to him. 1. Stay focused on my acting career. 2. Marry someone nice & rich, lol! I will easily keep both promises. I wish I could of seen him one more time. Kept praying that he would heal completely. Our last conversation was fantastic.! I’ll miss calling him to tell him about business & hear about his but decided I’ll continue to tell him because I know he’s now watching over everyone.
He passed away in the morning on 8-25-2013 of a pulmonary embolism in Galveston, TX where he was living & owned a go Kart track.