Preface: Wendy’s Angel

I was strolling near my home in downtown San Diego and admiring America’s Finest City when I answered my phone and learned that my mother was dying in a hospital 3,000 miles away. I hung up and purchased the next airplane ticket to Baton Rouge. Two days later, my plane began its decent and I stared out the window, but I couldn’t see my childhood home through the darkness and my reflection in the window looked sad and exhausted and older than I was. It had been a long two days without any clarification, and I hadn’t slept well and the only seat available was small and cramped for someone my size and the flight had been long and I was fatigued.

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Introduction

FBI reports say that one year before President Kennedy was assassinated, my grandfather, Edward Grady Partin, and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa plotted to kill the president’s little brother, US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy by either plastic explosives tossed into his family’s home or recruiting a lone sniper that would shoot him as he rode through a southern town in his convertible. Hoffa said that if they used a sniper, they must ensure he couldn’t be connected to the Teamsters. Almost 12 months later, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by a sniper rifle as he rode through Dallas, Texas, in his convertible.

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The War on Drugs

In July of 1984, seventeen armed men surrounded our partially completed cabin, and demanded our surrender. My dad and I heard them after turning off the table saw, and we surrendered peacefully. They allowed my dad to put on a shirt that was draped across the porch, near the door. I was fully clothed, which is a good thing to do when operating a table saw, I had I had thought, especially after making an “A” on safety protocols in my woodshop class in middle school earlier that year.

My dad always had done things his own way.

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Introduction

My grandfather, Edward Grady Partin, was a big man with a small part in history. FBI reports say that one year before President Kennedy was assassinated, he and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa plotted to kill the president’s little brother, US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy by tossing plastic explosives tossed into his family’s home or by recruiting a sniper with a rifle and long-distance scope to shoot him as he rode through a southern town in his convertible. The report says that Hoffa said that if they used a sniper they must ensure he couldn’t be connected to the Teamsters. Less than 12 months later, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by a sniper rifle in his convertible as he rode through Dallas, Texas, a southern city a few hours north of my family’s home. Bobby Kennedy and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover suspected Hoffa, but they couldn’t prove anything and kept most of the 1962 report classified except for the part used to make my grandfather out to be a hero before Hoffa’s trial in an unrelated and relatively minor Teamsters trial.

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Introduction to JipBook

I was emancipated in 1989 by a Louisiana family court judge who declared me a legal adult and allowed to join the United States Army at age 16, two years before the age most people are considered an adult and five years before I’d be able to legally buy a beer in all states except, coincidently, Louisiana, which was the only state that hadn’t raised the legal drinking from 18 to 21. The Louisiana justice system is unique, based on the French Napoleonic code from before the Louisiana purchase, and gives more freedoms to judges than in the system common to all other states in The United States of America. Because of one Louisiana judge, a 16 year old kid was allowed to join the army and make life or death decisions, and I’ve always thought that was remarkable, especially after I learned that 85% of emancipated foster youths end up in jail, partially because most of them had challenging families and lived without mentors to help them improve themselves. Ironically, the emancipation process led me to learn more about my family, the Partins, because the judge wanted to know what had led me to make my request.

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Wendy was WARPed

My mom used to joke that she was born Wendy Anne Rothdram, WAR, and that marrying a Partin WARP’ed her. I never understood that joke as a kid, and I didn’t even know Wendy was my mom for many years.

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Stevie Nicks is Fine

My first memory of my grandfather was a few weeks after my first memory of my dad. I was four years old, the first year that Stretch Armstrong toys were advertised on color television, and I had been in a hospital, Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recovering from a head laceration and severe loss of blood after falling from a fence at my foster father’s farm. He, my PawPaw, and my Uncle Kieth had rushed me to Our Lady of The Lake where I stayed for a few days. Before then, I didn’t know who Stretch Armstrong was; but, after watching  television in the kids’ communal playroom- the first time I had seen color television, and the first time I had played with other kids so it was remarkable – I was enthralled by the commercial of kids pulling Stretch Armstrong across him across their chest like an exercise band and laughing when he sprang back to normal size. I had to have one! I must have told everyone I met about Stretch Armstrong, and a few weeks later, my dad brought one to me at PawPaw’s farm.

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Wendy’s Angel

When I learned that mother was dying, I flew to Baton Rouge and went straight to her hospital. The night receptionist told me her room number, and, after I asked, directed me to a room dedicated to prayer and meditation. A few minutes later, I left the small chapel and rode the elevator to Wendy’s room in intensive care.

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Wendy’s Little Angel

Introduction to JipBook

A year before President Kennedy was assassinated, my grandfather and Jimmy Hoffa plotted to kill the president’s little brother, U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, by recruiting someone to shoot him with a sniper rifle as he rode through a southern town in his convertible. The FBI told the president about this, but he chose to ride through downtown Dallas in his convertible anyway, and was shot and killed by a sniper rifle on November 22nd, 1963. A year later, Bobby Kennedy had my grandfather, Edward Grady Partin, released from a jail cell, and purged his criminal record in exchange for him infiltrating the Teamsters to find a way to send Hoffa to prison. Soon after, Hoffa was sentenced to 11 years in prison for jury tampering, based solely on my grandfather’s testimony and a lie detector test overseen by the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. For the next decade, my family was one of America’s first “paid informants,” and we would receive homes and money and federal protection for as long as Hoffa was in prison. Soon after Hoffa was released and disappeared, my grandfather was sent to prison for eight years, but was released early due to poor health. He returned to Baton Rouge to live out his final days.

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