My dad had a pretty short fuse, an ex-military man who worked on aviation hydraulics in the Air Force at the end of WWII. He struggled with alcoholism but had beaten it in the early years of my parents' marriage. My mom was a nurse and she fell in love with my dad when they were dating. Mom was the youngest of three sisters with over ten years age difference to her closest sibling. I never met my grandparents on Mom's side. Dad had a younger sister and a much younger brother who are both still alive today, though elderly. What little I know about my father comes from stories I had heard from my uncle. For now, I am writing about what I do remember.
Mom was a teacher and was very loving. Dad seemed to be in charge of discipline and other things that made my mother yell at him. I remember my five year old self being rewarded for being a good boy, via my mother's report at the end of the day. My father would take me in his room and pull down a fishbowl of sorts that held his loose change and small bills. I was allowed to reach my little hand in there and close my fingers around as much money as I could grab.
I never had an occasion to spend money until much later, but I was able to get these little metal disks and crunchy paper out of his spare change bowl. My brother and sisters were able to do the same.
Bad reports would usually result in the belt coming off. Talk about being scared. That was a very stressful time in life. I remember trying to run and being told to come back. I do not remember being hit, but I do remember one incident where I had stopped to point at my father. His head was bleeding. I guess he had swung accidentally hit the top of his bald head. That ended the spanking. I also remember my mother saying things like, "Wait till your father gets home." I also remember bargaining with her not to tell him about the goofy childish thing we did on that particular day. As you might imagine, my children have never been hurt like that by me.
We saw Dad in the evenings and he would do a lot of tricks for us. He pulled a string through his neck for us, he had coin tricks that he could do and then there was his harmonica. He could play a lot of songs that we did not know, until we did know them from his playing.
He liked to spend time with us kids. He took all four of us out sometimes. Mom needed a break I guess. But then there were special dates. My older sisters got them one on one most times. My brother and I were a different matter. Nine times out of ten, we were a team for special dates. The name was made up by my mom I think. She went on dates with Dad way before we did. We had heard about their dates and when Dad took us out, they became special dates.
Whenever my dad was working on something, and he was always working on something, he would need screws, wood or supplies. My sisters hated going to the hardware store, so when he had those kinds of errands, he would grab the boys. It was time for a special date and off to the hardware store we went! I loved seeing all the men there. I asked what each and every tool was for until Dad lost patience. Then I would try not to ask. He had a limit. Most times, we had ice cream or a visit to the candy store en route.
If the special date did not include cool stuff like hardware, saws, hammers an the like, he would offer up the drive as the cool part of the date. I remember one of our dates was a grocery run. Boring! We were returning home, me and my brother in the back seat of my dad's Saab with paper bags of groceries. There was an S curve on the way about two blocks shy of our arrival home.
He took that S curve at blinding speeds. My brother and I would be thrown from one side to the other and then back again. Super fun! We would talk about it all day every time he did that. The car would lean so much, we swore it had gone up on two wheels. Speeding around those two turns became a tradition from then on. I remember we would anticipate the turns and start throwing ourselves from one side to the other.
I tried imitating that same thrill on the same S curve when I became a father. No fun with car seats. Besides, my child flew with me in airplanes starting as soon as he could walk. The S curve did not seem to thrill him at all after experiencing steep turns and two-G dives.
When we pulled in the driveway, my dad had to play "find the boys" under all the bags of groceries that had spilled over on us. No pain or injuries. Just a lot of fun.
It later became a tradition to hide ourselves under all the groceries so my dad could not find us - as usual. We were surprised one time when the S curve was driven at normal speeds. There we were under all the groceries with a mock mess that never occurred. We were kids. We did not know about bread and eggs and things that you should not lay on or dive under. I think there was a spanking in my stack of stories related to special dates.
It will take some time to get to how I got where I am. These articles are documenting the good, the funny, the hard knocks, love, heartbreaks, and successes of someone who thinks outside-the-box via trial and error.
Have a look at some of my other articles.