“I learned a lot about the type of man my biological father Charles Manson Jr was more as I got older. The things I was told growing up – it was hard for me to grasp and understand why he was the way he was. It was all too much for a young mind to be able to comprehend.
My father lived a hard life. He seemingly owned the role that the world saw him as … a victim of his father’s crimes. He grew up being rejected by everyone, even his own family. He watched as his mother ( my grandma Rosie) marry and divorce many different men. He could never seem to get along with any of them and he was kicked out of his home several times for getting into physical fights with them. For a long time, he lived on the streets and it seemed everywhere he went, people knew who he was and would test him. He always ended up in some kind of trouble.”
” At one point in my father’s early life, I was told he did quite a bit of drug dealing and stealing. Upon learning this … it was easy for me to see somewhat of a pattern. It seemed the Manson men all started out on the path of self destruction and breaking the law. It started with my grandfather, Charles Manson, then my father, and on to me.”
|Charles Jr and Jason’s Mom “Shawn”
” My father’s fast paced lifestyle didn’t seem to change much after he met my mother and even didn’t after I was born. My mother told me that Jr was always on the go, never held a job and was barely able to make ends meet.”
“When I was 6 months old, we all moved to St. Clairsville, Ohio. My mother was hoping that this would be the change my father needed. Unfortunately, things got worse pretty quickly. My mom’s eyes were finally being opened to the fact that he wasn’t going to change and that it was pretty much up to her if she wanted a better life for us.
A few weeks after the move, we left my father and went to live with her mom, my grandma Shirley. My father would pop his head in every couple of weeks with promises of change but eventually, he would always go back to this old ways. Eventually he stopped trying all together until many years later.”
“After some time passed, my mother met a man who would soon become my stepfather and the only father figure I have ever known. I called him my Dad and never referred to him as my stepdad. When speaking of Jr… I called him either Jay or my Father.
My dad loved my mother and wanted to be there for us when he saw that there was not a man of the house. I was too young to understand back then but I remember him telling me that my father just had too many issues. He would always assure me that things would be okay and that he would always be there for us and never leave. He ruled our home with a strong hand. He was a military man and had served in the Air Force.
“Things didn’t get easier for my father throughout the years. His mind became increasingly twisted and he felt beaten from society. He still wasn’t welcome to family events and couldn’t seem to get an honest job despite changing his name to “Jay White.” He was often judged by others as if he had been right there involved in all the things his father was accused of back in 1969.”
“As I stated in my Interview, I was 11 years old the first and only time I ever met my father face to face. Other than that, there were a few voice calls over the years, many letters and sometimes gifts during the holidays.”
“I was 16 years old and enjoying the summer before 10th grade when my mother told me the news that my father had killed himself. It was June 29, 1993 to be exact. He was found in his car on the side of a highway in Burlington, Colorado. It was indicated that he died from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
I was shocked. I remember my heart feeling crushed because we still had not gotten the chance to bond the way I had always hoped we someday would. I also felt angry. I wanted to immediately burn all the letters and cards I had ever received from him. I was able to suppress this angry urge thankfully. I think I knew deep down that these things I had from him were the only memories I would ever have from that point on.
I remember my dad telling me how sorry he was that this had happened and told me that he among many others had been trying to help him for years.
I remember feeling such dread when my grandma Rosie called with details about the funeral and arrangements to meet up so that we could go together. I just didn’t know how I was suppose to pay my last respects to a man I barely knew but with my family beside me.. I got through it.
For the next few weeks I tried my best to move on. When school started in the fall, I dove head first when wrestling season came around. I was battling for the 152 position and it was important to me that I earn that spot. I can recall focusing all of my pent up angry, energy and “Never Give Up” attitude on winning and I’m proud to say … I got it. I remember immediately thinking of my father and how strong of an urge I had to scream at him that he gave up too early in life and that I NEVER WOULD.”
“I didn’t learn just all bad things about my father. My uncle, William Freeman, told me more about the kind of loving and cheerful man that Charles Jr could be. He told me that he was humble, very comical and fun to be around.”
“In one of the letters I received from my dad he told me that he wrote Charlie for years and never got a response from him during those times. The first and only contact made by my grandfather to Jr happened fairly close to the time that my father committed suicide. It makes me wonder if it all just became too much for him at that point. Who truly knows of the demons he had been running from all of his life and just got tired of running.
“I believe that going through this experience is what helped mold together my unrelenting “Never Give Up” attitude. I have said this many times in my life and I mean it more each time I say it: Failure is not an option for me.
Those in Remembrance:
Gary Hinman: 7/29/69
Donald “Shorty” Shea: 8/26/69