APRIL 1979: “Fallout Boy 1” …

Artwork by The Phoenix Collaborative

… and so it began, that the real story behind the fallout of my own life kind of started like this …

It was a gloomy Sunday afternoon in mid-April of 1979. My sister and I were two blissfully ignorant little girls playing in our front yard. Mom was in the house, more than likely preparing Sunday dinner, while my dad was elsewhere but presumably at my grandparents’ home just a few short miles across town having the standing “Sunday coffee” with his brothers. The next thing you know, he came barreling into our driveway at a screeching halt, engine running, driver’s door wide open, as he ran inside the house then came running right back out with a lead pipe in his hand, at which point he jumped back into the car and peeled out headed to “somewhere”.

The next thing you know, my mother came running out the front door while frantically directing me and my sister and me to hurry and get into her car, which we of course did without question, thence we were flying down the street at only God knows how many miles per hour headed to “somewhere” we weren’t sure of, but from what we could tell, we were headed in the direction of my grandparents.

Yup, that’s where we were headed, as were what appeared to be the entire fleet of Johnston, Rhode Island, police cars, firetrucks, and ambulances also headed in that same direction. Yup, that’s where they were going, too!

Upon arriving at my grandparents’ plat, she realized the chaos that had ensued, such that she had to park her car more than a block away, jump out of the car, and start running towards my grandparents. When we finally made it to their driveway, this is what I remember …

My father and all of his brothers were at fists literally beating each other half to death in my grandparents’ front yard while my Grandpa was standing in the middle of it all hollering for them to stop and trying desperately to pull them apart.

Meanwhile, there was Ida, inside their house but just behind the screen door, dawning the consummate Italian grandmother’s kitchen smock, a smirk upon her face, standing staunchly with her arms crossed and resting on her midsection.

My mother was screaming as the police, too, were trying to break the brothers apart. And of course, the many nosy neighbors who had all come out of their houses were standing amidst the breaks between all the emergency vehicles just watching it all go down.

Me and my sister? We just stood there watching everything, not at all realizing that life as we’d ever known it had just come to a bloody and embattled end.

By the time it was over, my father and his brothers had been separated into their own corners, and although I’m not 100% certain of this fact, I do believe that each of them had been arrested and taken to jail. Well, at least I know my father was.

My mother ended up bailing him out that night and the rest is but my “New England history”. Within a short couple of weeks our house went on the market and sold, then my parents packed themselves, me, my sister, our two Doberman’s, and what small amount of belongings they could fit into a very small U-Haul trailer that followed us down the road to “Goodbye Rhode Island … goodbye home … goodbye family … goodbye Grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, church, school, teachers, friends … Goodbye EVERYTHING we had ever known … don’t know where the FUCK we’re actually going, but we’re DONE!”

And then? It was done, and all I can remember was driving for the next few days … and driving and driving and driving. I think the plan was to just keep going towards California, but my mother had family in Texas at the time who we stopped in to visit, rest, and reboot from the long haul.

So, we stopped in for what were only supposed to be “a couple of days”, and? We never left. Texas was our home now. Like it or not. Love it or leave it. This was the way it was. We’d run away from everything with the very first of the fallout kids to proceed the line of “fallouts” that would come …


Another rebel runs against the grain. A loner is born. He’s filled with anguish but deep within he’s dying every day to find his way. He is lost. So consumed. Can you feel him somewhere in the fallout? He’s someone just like you who’s lost to find the truth. Can you hear him? From the fire he cries out for the answer to be shown as he dares to walk the fallout on his own. So frustrated. He walks the line alone. Courage sets him apart. He is so faithless. All he once embraced he now disowns. He let it go. All the while he still waits. Can you feel him somewhere in the fallout? He’s someone just like you who’s lost to find the truth. Can you hear him? From the fire he cries out for the answer to be shown as he dares to walk the fallout on his own. {Alter Bridge}