Born William Joseph Krischel (I think…or it could have been Joseph William Krischel), William Joseph Solomon died in Wheeling, Illinois on January 24, 2014, shortly before his 64th birthday. He was my biological father, and he shamed our family by betraying his mother’s trust and destroying a lifetime’s work of building security for my retarded uncle Tony, who now lives in a small apartment in Corpus Christi, Texas, far from the Bridgeport, Connecticut home and community he had planned to live his life out in.
William Joseph Solomon never learned what it meant to be a man, and left a trail of neglect and destruction behind him that his mother, Juana Krischel, could not stop from consuming him after her passing. He was a liar, a thief, a bully, a coward, and although I may never learn the true details of his depravity over the years, I will always know that it is more bizarre than I could possibly imagine.
I know of four wives he had, although he only had children with two of them. I know he was put into the federal witness protection program, but I have no idea what case he testified in, or what kind of crimes he may have gotten immunity from in return for his testimony. I know he lied about serving in Vietnam, and that in fact his mother got him an exemption from military service before he could be shipped overseas. I know his mother paid child support for him, and bought him two houses. I know that he loved the idea of golf, and the high society vibe it gave him, but that he couldn’t swing a club to save his life, and he cheated whenever possible. I know he got power of attorney over my grandmother’s affairs, and left his brother high and dry after her death. I know he lost his leg to diabetes, and died of diabetic ketoacidosis.
I’m pretty sure he burnt down his house in Burnsville, Minnesota for the insurance money, but didn’t realize that he lost claim to the policy when he failed to make his mortgage payments before he burnt the place down. I’m pretty sure he had an abusive relationship with an underage girl after he joined the witness protection program. I’m also pretty sure that if there is a Hell, and he’s not in it right now, it’s only because of the sheer mass of prayers my grandmother did for him during his lifetime.
I’ve heard condolences from my friends and family who I’ve told the news to, but my mourning and grieving for the man happened many, many years ago, and all I know is that he can no longer hurt anyone anymore, and in the end, that’s a good thing. The last I saw him, at my grandmother’s funeral many years ago, I gave him the somber advice, “just stop fucking up”. He was at a crossroads, and although he had already done damage to the legacy my grandmother wanted to leave behind, I thought that there was a chance, however slight, that he could turn things around and finally learn how to be a man. I knew that day that if he succeeded, I’d be there to celebrate his success, but that if he continued down the path he had chosen before, I would not let myself feel any more sorrow. He heard the advice with what seemed like it could have been regret and penitence, but in the end, he simply couldn’t stop himself.
William Joseph Solomon is dead, and I will not follow in his footsteps, and that makes the world a better place.