Tough Love

Hello and welcome fellow space-time travelers!


Check out curated content from the personal collection of reflections, insights and firsthand accounts of my experiences as a research and experimental test subject for the elevation of consciousness.

This is my personal archive and is maintained as a service to the public.

As my symptoms subsided, I continued to document my efforts to understand and describe through artistic, esoteric and philosophical interpretations what actually happened.

February 12, 2020: The factual details of how the experimentation affected me and the public have now been assembled through investigative reports and can be found here:


Tightropes, a poem. Originally written 11-26-2016.

On the street as a little one finding my way, struggling to make it every day, the man takes me in trying to help, moms left behind to sink.

I'm too young to stop and think so I go; learning to know the only way I know, by trying to find and know love failing falling, hurting, feeling, believing, accepting, embracing, sharing.

We beat our drums every day, expectant, wanting, full of something to say, frustrations build, mounting hear me, see me! Believe what I say! we shout.

I have a drum too mine beats within, the sound of my heart syncopating within, yearning for day, light of my own, the light in you mom was the only light I'd known.

Mom. I'm sorry the man didn’t help you. I'm sorry that in saving me he missed the point of being human. While the man decided what the state of your mind was through fractal pieces of you, he used, as judgement.

Scored by his measures, his numbers, his questions. If you could answer, if you would answer, why you answered, how you answered, when you answered.

Mom the man decided you were wrong, the man decided that I was right, plucked through the garbage of our lives, kept me threw, you back into the night.

If you said it too right - things wouldn’t add up, if you said it too wrong - "well that's the bluff".

The pain of living life through the pain of separation, caused by judgement.

And so I attenuate, modulate and mediate, hoping I'll be ok, thinking about the tight ropes we walk every single day.


Tough Love a short story. Originally written 11-26-2016

For M.E.G.


This is not an easy topic to discuss publicly. Over the years, I have gained more insight into the events and fractal images of my early childhood experiences. My brothers and I have struggled to come to terms with our homelessness as children. I want to emphasize that this short story is a story of love. It’s tragic, yes. But within this tragedy is a lesson of love that I am finally learning. I have taken certain artistic and literary liberties, however the core story is the absolute truth.

My biological mother, Mary Elizabeth Catron Gregory, spent the latter part of her life attempting to find redemption in service to others. The story you are about to read, it’s important to note that as a six year old I didn’t understand what I was observing.

As I work my way back towards health and recovery I recognize that what I witnessed was a mother’s heart breaking in that courtroom that day. I realize that she didn't "abandon" me - she made sure I was cared for and loved and when she saw the judge truly acting with great care and thoughtfulness of how to help me - she got up and left. Not out of fear or cowardice - she left because she believed I deserved a better life and she put my needs ahead of her own. It has taken me a lifetime to come to terms with this and to accept it as the ultimate form of love. A mother with undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues who voluntarily relinquished her youngest son. Her treasure. I witnessed this.

I have repeatedly witnessed strength courage honor humility and love throughout my life be it on a football field, a boardroom, a classroom, a bedroom, a labor and delivery room or a battlefield. I am truly blessed and can honestly say that I now know what love is. My hero's - my biological brothers, my tribe of SEAL brothers, my mother and many others have burnished this into my psyche. I cannot turn away from it - I am allowing it to wash over me and I am learning to live with so many powerful and compelling experiences that I must share.


Tough Love, a short story about childhood adversity.

On a cold February night in 1977, two shivering silhouettes huddled close together trying to stay hidden by positioning themselves under the rear axle and in between the two rear tires of the 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The larger of the two silhouettes held the smaller of the two silhouettes close and wrapped a wool jacket around them both to stave off the bitter chill and dampness that an unprotected cold and wintery night can bring.

The sound of the soft Kentucky rain falling would ebb and flow with each drop of rain protesting every landing on the top of the car. She, the large silhouette wasn’t reflecting or worried about how precarious her situation was, she was simply focused on keeping herself and her small child dry and trying to provide as much warmth for them as she could manage.

From a rather humble beginning in a stable with a horse drawn hand operated fire engine and a handful of concerned citizens, the Erlanger Volunteer Fire Department evolved into a multi-station department, equipped with a wide variety of first-class fire apparatus and manned by a combination of volunteer and paid personnel.

The fire chief was returning home from a long trip where he took delivery of his station’s newest piece of equipment, the shiny red brand new 1977 GMC Rescue Truck was state of the art and would be put into service by his station to serve as their primary rescue operations vehicle. As he made his right turn onto Baker Street towards the Commonwealth Avenue station, the fire chief glanced towards the parking area across the street where he had parked his car, a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed movement underneath the back of the car off to his left. From what he could make there was movement from a silhouette underneath his car.

The fire chief slowed down and pulled hard on the wheel towards the parked car, turning on high beams and floodlights to get a better vantage point of the back end of his cutlass. What he saw were two silhouettes, that appeared to be a mother and child huddled up and trying to stay out of sight, warm and dry.

The lights of the rescue truck lit up half the parking area revealing about a half a dozen parked cars with spaces in between as well as a row of trees, a sidewalk and several park benches along the tree lined parking area. The chief put the truck in neutral braking and coming to a stop. Pushing in the parking break leaving the truck on and idling and leaving the lights on as he exited his vehicle he approached the cutlass and could easily see that the silhouettes had been huddled up in a large grey wool blanket under his Olds Cutlass. Grabbing his flashlight from beneath the seat, he hopped out of the truck and walked towards the rear of the vehicle calling out to the silhouettes. As he approached and shone his flashlight under the vehicle, a woman in her early forties crawls out from beneath the car, followed by a small boy who was maybe six years old.

The chief asked the woman what she was doing with a small child out in this kind of weather and she seemed confused and afraid and all she could say was “we were just trying to stay warm!”. The chief went back to the truck and radioed the station dispatch to open the kitchen and set up two cots for some overnight visitors.

At the station, the firefighters entertained the small boy who was cold and a bit unkempt but in good spirits and enjoying the attention from the firefighters as they took turns showing the little boy around the fire station and letting him sit in the trucks, try on their equipment and smiling and laughing.

At some point, the little boy asked the question, “Do you know where my mommy went?”

One of the fire men remarked that she was talking to the fire chief and the little boy would see his mother soon.


The sound of the gavel was loud and the voice boomed, “Order in the court!” “All rise for the honorable Scott Reed!”. The black robed judge walks in and takes a seat and asks the court and gallery to take a seat. At this point, the little boy is taken to the stand and the bailiff, a nice man in a police officer’s uniform with a gun and badge holds up a five dollar bill and says to the little boy, “how would you like to earn a crisp five dollar bill today?” The little boy focuses on the five dollar bill and imagines how he could buy some bread and milk for himself and his mother and replies, “I’d like that very much!” The bailiff says, “OK all you have to do is do your best to answer the questions the judge is going to ask you and you’ll get your five dollar bill, ok?”

The little boy nods, “OK!”

The judge then asks the little boy questions many questions.

About where the fire chief found him, if he slept under cars very often, which he replied that every night he can remember he slept under cars or outside. if his mother was good to him, and the boy stated emphatically that his mother was very good to him and loved him dearly.

Did he have food to eat?

"Yes", the little boy said. Many times the little boy said he would steal food and bring it to his mother and they would eat.

How did they eat?

Sometimes they would find restaurants and wait out back and would be given leftovers or food that would be thrown away. Other times, the little boy would walk into the grocery store and find a loaf of bread and can of beans and put it under his coat and walk out.

Where did they go?

The little boy wasn't sure where they went or why they were going where they would go. The little boy just knew that his mother was always intent on "getting there" and he wanted to help her get there.

Did the little boy have any friends?

Yes! The little boy would say, he had imaginary friends and his mom was his best friend. His uncle who had cerebral palsy was also his best friend and his brothers were his hero's and he was always thrilled to see them, which wasn’t very often.

Did he go to school?

No. The boy didn't go to school, but his mother taught him what he needed to know.

The little boy answered honestly, because he wanted to earn and then give that crisp five dollar bill to his mother to help feed them both.

There was a moment in the back and forth questioning between the judge and the little boy where the judge asked the little boy to point out his mother if he could.

The little boy stood up and looked carefully out across the courtroom gallery and saw his mother. His eyes lit up and he smiled and waved his hands at her, with tears in her eyes and quietly sobbing she smiled back and waved back at him. “There she is, she’s right there sir!” “That’s my mother.”

The judge nodded in an understanding way.

There were lots of other things that the judge said, the little boy couldn’t quite remember or understand everything, but what the little boy did begin to understand was that his mother was somehow in trouble and the judge was not happy with her and the little boy began to be afraid and wonder if he had somehow made a mistake by being honest and trying to earn five dollars for the two of them. At some point, the little boy watched anxiously as his mother got up and left the courtroom, she didn’t look at him, she just got up and left.

That was the last time the little boy would ever see his mother.


About the author

Here is where I share my artistic impressions, insights and understandings in the spirit of artistic expression, love, appreciation and gratitude.

Long Live The Brotherhood


#love#help#research #share #strength#honor#wethepeople


John Surmont Copyright 2017-2022 All Rights Reserved


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