Confessions/This Is Where Another Story Begins

Part 1
Confessions

I
have a lot to confess – again.

My
mother
and stepfather
drank,
driving
me
to despair,
I
thought.

Did my
parents’ drinking
slow down?
Yes, those
were
tranquil years.
I’m
not saying they
never drank again,
just that their
drinking
slowed down.

So were they
alcoholics
like I
have
asserted in other essays?

I
don’t know.
Maybe
for a while – maybe.

Let’s
just say there was
a time they
drank
heavily. Were they
violent in these states of drunken
stupor?

I can only remember twice when my
father
was rough with my mother
in my
presence.

Late one night – when they
were first married- my mother
came into my
bedroom, and climbed into my
bed with me.
The next thing I
remember, my
father
is entering the bedroom. He
had on a white pair of navy underwear.
He came over to my
bed and pulled my
mother
out of the bed with a force I
can feel even to this day. As my
father
was pulling her,
she fell to the ground. He
picked her
up and marched her out.
I was probably
four years
old.

That can’t be considered good
under any circumstance. My
father’s
show of physical
force
frightened me.
It was my
first experience witnessing
any type of violence between adults,
or at least male
on Female violence.

More than five decades later I
have had this insight about my
mother
when she
was drunk.

More than most people,
my mother
was extremely vulnerable when she
had been drinking
heavily. It was hard for her
to walk, her
sentences were slurred to the point of not being coherent, at least I
could never understand her.

She
was elegant sober, but in a trance like stupor when flat out drunk.
She
was easily
compromised
In this condition, and as I
grew into
my teenage years, nothing would put me
on edge more than to be around her
when she
was drinking
heavily.

Looking back on that moment in my
bedroom, I’ve concluded it was a big
moment for me.
Maybe my father
had kicked her
out of their
bed. Maybe in her
stupor – yes, she was drunk- she
wandered into my
bedroom and climbed into the only other bed
available to her.

Children
lack the ability to develop
context when they
are very young. They
can see very clearly what is taking
place in front of them.
What comes before and after an event
alludes them.

Children
are in an ever present
present.

One quality I
came to admire about my
Parents’ drunken
forays, was they
never apologized to me
for their drinking.

One time at breakfast  when I
was five or six, I
asked them why they
weren’t mad at each other
when the night before they
argued and fought
with one another
while they
were drinking?

They were honest and upfront.
“We don’t remember last night,”
they would say.

Their
lapse of memory was reassuring to  me.
It was like starting over.
The past  was over and the future
would be full of hope.

It didn’t work that way.

The past was merely a prelude to the future.

It gradually dawned on me,
my desires to have them
stop drinking , did not enter into their
equations on how they
were going to live their
lives.

They
were quite a pair those
two.
My mother
bouncing off walls
walking down the halls
of our home, and my father’s
eye brows
moving  up and down to the point
of looking like a comedian.

Were my
parents
violent with me
during these times? No.
I can only
remember being spanked once by my
father. I was very
young, maybe four at the most. I
cried. It was a hard
whipping, but nothing after that – ever.
My mother
never whipped me.
I was never afraid of being beaten or slapped by my parents.

Pt 2
This is where another story begins.

My mother was an attractive
blond haired, blue eyed
Dane.

She had migrated from Utah
To California
in her early
twenties.

It was during
The Great Depression

She married, divorced,
and started investing
In real estate.

She was successful
and gained the reputation
for being good
at business.

She was stylish
in dress,
and humble
In manner.

She never lost her talent
for managing money.
She invested
the profits
from her real estate
deals.

She would make sure
there was equality
of sacrifice if she felt
we needed to “tighten our belts”,
and be more frugal
in our spending.

She made a sharp distinction
Between friendship and business.
To friends who asked for money
she would say,
“No, your friendship is more important than money
to me. Private loans
end up
dividing
friends”.

When investing money,
she included me in discussions
she would go through,
as she made decisions.
Even as we listened to investment proposals,
she wouldn’t silence
me when I would pop off.

She
didn’t drink
during the week
come to think of it. Neither did my father.
They drank
on the week-ends.
Sometimes they
slipped, but not a lot.

I
think my
dad
drank
beer during the week,
but not enough for the eye brows
to start moving up and down.

My mother was protective
of me, especially if she thought
I was getting
too intimate
with girlfriends.
She intervened
a time or two to ensure
I wasn’t.

My stepfather stuck
with me. He played catch
with me. He took me camping.
He decorated
my scooter and helped me win
an award
for the best
Fourth of July scooter.

I led
the parade
at the recreational park where I played
during the  summer. I was seven
years
old.

He also made a marvelous
display case
for my collection of shells
when I was in fifth grade.
It stayed on display for an entire month
in the elementary school library.
I felt very smart
that month.

Part 3
Insights

I am relieved that the telling of my story
can be told once more.

The more I write the story, the clearer
the story becomes.

As the seasons have passed, the
more reflective I have become.

It’s a miracle a child’s memory of past
events is right the first time.

If I tell the story with  a child’s eyes, It
will be seen with exaggerated eyes.

If I tell the story with adult eyes, context
begins to soften the edges

If I tell the story with the eyes of old age,
truth is a mere tale told.