“The Adventures Of Little Diego - Former Child Star” Chapter 1 - Part 1 of 2 - 'The Beginning'
I guess to try and sort this whole thing out I need to start at the beginning. It’s as good a place to start as any. Apparently I had great difficulties entering this world. My mother had eight miscarriages before me. I’m certain that it was my soul trying to enter on each and everyone of those occasions. As much as my spirit felt I needed to be in this world, I've never felt to be part of it. I've always felt to be a bit alien. Perhaps my soul was being so persistent because there were certain lessons needed to be learned here. However, there was another part of my soul that was most reluctant. My ninth attempt turned out to be the charm. Upon arrival i had continued difficulties and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital as an incubator baby.
Entering The World
My mother and father were both actors who went out regularly on auditions but it was my father that was responsible for getting me involved in the entertainment business.
I have limited recollections of my mother as my father and she separated when I was two. Upon their divorce she was awarded legal custody, which was typical in those days, but it was my Uncle Bob, her brother, and his family that I stayed with and who took care of me if you could call it that. My Uncle Bob was not the nicest man.
My mother lived there too, but was seldom home, and when she was, she was often ‘entertaining’ one of her various gentleman friends.
My mother had a very high sexual appetite. When she knew her brother and his family would be away for any extended period of time she would often invite various gentleman friends over. I’d show you a picture of my mother, but I don’t have one. Truth be told, I wouldn’t recognize my mother if I were to bump into her at the local 7/11. I can vividly still see the images in my mind though of her legs dangling up in the air as they wrapped around some guys waist while I watched from my crib. It’s mainly those legs that I remember. She had the most beautiful legs.
She was a professional dancer as well as an actress. Those are the first and only recollections I have of her. I suspect my mother and fathers relationship was purely sexual. After all, that’s a lot of miscarriages to go thru in a relatively short period of time. I’m surprised they stayed together as long as they did, but I guess divorce was not as prevalent at the time. I like to think that perhaps on some level they stayed together just to have me as I am a genetic combination of the two of them and for whatever reasons this is how it was supposed to be.
As long as I’ve lived I have never heard my father speak favorably of my mother or say a kind word about her. Perhaps there just wasn’t a kind word to be said.
My mother and father were both entertainers when they met. He was a musician and an actor and she was a dancer and an actress. They met filming a Chrysler television car commercial.
It was a strong physical attraction that kept them together for as long as they were. Both of them being highly attractive people.
Living with Uncle Bob, I’d be given his older children's ‘hand me down’ clothes and shoes to wear, none of which fit properly. Despite my father giving my mother more than enough money to make sure I was properly clothed and fed, I would only eat after Bob and his family had finished their meal, and then be given the evenings leftovers which sometimes wouldn’t be much as Bob was a rather large man who tended to eat quite a bit.
My father eventually got wind from the neighbors that I wasn’t getting properly clothed and fed, so he unexpectedly dropped in one day, kidnapped me, and brought me back to live with him. He was eventually awarded legal custody.
My Father And I
My father is a good man, though a man filled with many issues and flaws as most of us humans are filled with. We had a rather unusual relationship. Perhaps amplified by the fact that we spent so much time together during my childhood stardom days. He spent much of his time on set with me. We traveled the country together as the studio would send me out on weekends to promote the TV show. Also being a single parent I spent much of my time riding around with him in lieu of a sitter.
Marc Copage and John Copage
My father grew up on the south side of Chicago in an extremely tough and violent gang and drug infested neighborhood where beatings, shootings, stabbings robberies and killings occurred on a daily bases. It wasn't an accident that he was able to survive all that. He could easily turn into a man to be feared.
My father has said to me on more than a handful of occasions, “Boy, I brought you into this world, and I can just as easily take you out!”
Considering where he came from and how he grew up, it’s actually quite amazing when you think about it, that my father was able to become the extremely articulate and well spoken individual that he is. Anybody that knows him would never imagine that he grew up under those conditions. There were very limited opportunities and resources for most African American males, or African Americans in general during the times that he grew up in.
My father never attended college, but was self taught in many different areas. He once built a car motor by himself just from reading a book on it. My father wielded a great deal of influence over me throughout most of my life. He often told me that he was the only true friend I have. That nobody else cared about me. Not even my own mother. This tended to make me rather distrustful of people in general growing up. I once had a longtime and very dear friend say to me, “Marc, I’ve known you for over twenty years, but I feel that I don’t really know you.” It’s true, though I have many friends that I’ve come to know and love dearly, it’s always been very difficult for me to open up to anybody on a really intimate bases. My friends only know me to a certain degree.