Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Parental Units~ AKA Mom and Dad

Dad was born in 29, in Louisiana.  Ran crazy at LSU after graduating got thrown out and finally graduated after a stint in the US Navy (nothing to spectacular... mail clerk if I remember correctly) he graduated from Centnary College in Shreveport.  He became one of the top salesmen of IBM in the mid 50's and stayed there until he retired in 1980.
Mom was born in 34, in Georgia.  She made honor roll graduated top of her class in high school and went on to UGA where she pledged and graduated in 56.
Dad met Mom in 1962 through a mutual friend in the IBM office in Atlanta where Dad would come from DC to have meetings and Mom was a secretary.  In 1963, they married and by 1965 moved to Jacksonville, Florida.  They fell in love with a brick ranch in an upper middle class neighborhood called Grove Park.  I sprang along in February of 71 and that was all it took. Daddy had his princess.
Things went along fairly well from 73-77 (can't remember much before 73 as I was only 2) but I remember mowing the lawn with dad and begging him to play wiffle golf with me after he finished.  I had this big wheel I'd chase after him on if he was edging the sidewalks.  Then there was the Gold Cadillac.  I didn't care if we were just going around the block, I had to ride in the Cadi... (I see my taste in fine cars has not faltered).  I loved that thing.  I'd go sailing from one side of the car to the other depending on how silly I was being at the time.  The older I got the more I saw things really weren't perfect.
Dad's drinking became more and more profound, Mom's hatred became more noticeable to the point it was violent.  And times I was caught in the middle.  Mom would yell at Dad, Dad would jump in the family sedan (yep the gold cadi) and me in tow head to the ABC store for a dry vodka martini, or if it were a really bad night, bourbon and coke.  I never knew what he was doing was saving me, and putting me in harms way at the same time.  We'd get back late because Dad would just go to his office downtown or his own business later after he retired.
Mom would yell and scream for hours after we returned because I should have been able to go, or I was out too late for a school night... there seemed to always be an excuse why I wasn't allowed to be with my dad.  God for bid should I want to escape too.
In 1981 Dad couldn't do it any more.  I was 10 at the time and I knew what was going on. I knew how bad things were and could see dad not coming home because he didn't want to deal with her but that left me with her at the same time.  Time for the dreaded    D-I-V-O-R-C-E.  Oh well, that wasn't that bad, I still would have either parent just alternating weekends right? WRONG! OH how brutally wrong this would be.  The manipulating and the pulling on my emotional strings began.
Mom got custody first (oh fun)  Don't get me wrong I love her but she was so verbally abusive to the point that I ignored my own mother.  I began resenting who she was because of who she made me think  I was.  The anger continued to mount week after week until I would visit the judge and say I want my Dad.  Finally I thought my wish.  I am going to show them I can be a straight A student, I am going to keep the house clean, cook for Dad and me it will be great.  Nope, no such luck.
Dad went into the hospital on September 13, a week after I began my school.  He told me it was nothing he would be home in a couple of days and we would be golfing by the weekend.  Dad had exploratory surgery on Wednesday and was gone by Sunday.  Sunday the 19th of September 1982 was the day my life ended.
We all say that we are expected to bury our parents but never our children, well I think there needs to be an additional statement added to that which should be as follows
We are expected to bury our parents not our children, but a child should never have to unwillingly bury her parent.  I could accept an accident, I could accept knowing he was going to die, but thinking that I was going to be able to see him again and never doing so will be something even at 40 I will forgive or forget.
My thoughts were who's going to walk me down the isle when I get married?  Who will stand at my graduation 7 years from now and be yelling at the top of their lungs because I graduated?  Who will ship me off to FSU to earn my degree as an OBGYN (such silly ambitions an 11 year old had)?  Who is going to teach me how to drive?  The answer to that question was ME.
After the family left Mom and I the week following, my hell began. I learned in a matter of 7 days that I now had to take care of myself, teach myself, and love me.  What big responsibilities for a child to hold at that age.

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