Thursday, January 8, 2009

Growing up with "Mom's" and gov'ment cheese.

My ma and pa divorced when I was one or so. Mom was an accountant back when you really didn't need higher learning to do that kind of thing. She just had a nack for it. We did move around a bit due to this but always stayed in the same general area. St. Helens, Portland, Marysville WA, Gresham, back to St Helens.

Growing up we were not "poor". We always had a roof over our heads. Mom always scrimped and saved to get us good Christmas toys. Clothes were sometimes second hand. We occasionally got some Gov'ment cheese. Governmental help with a house at one time. I was in 2nd or 3rd grade at the time and I have no idea the name of the agency that did the helping. It was a nice house with decent sized rooms. It was the first house we lived in that I can remember. Before that it was apartments. Playing in the courtyard with the other kids was cool but the house had a yard. At the time the street dead ended so little to no traffic.

I had a "step" dad throughout a lot of my earlier childhood. He fathered my sister. He is a Vietnam vet. I loved him then, since he was the only male that was really around. He was also abusive towards my mother. He would get drunk and come home and take out what ever frustrations were bothering him. Usually when he was out of work, or when he couldn't find drugs to complement his drinking habits.

At about 10 or 11 I realized how big of a bastard he was. Mom finally decided enough was enough and booted him out when I was in Jr. high. Right about the time I had gotten enough courage to sit my aluminum baseball bat next to my door. So that the next time mom had a black eye or bloody lip I could wait for him to pass out on the couch and bash his face to a pulp. I seriously thought about hitting him until he was dead. I was a kid. I wanted to protect the women in my life. Not sure if mom sensed this and decided it was time or not but that was the end. Oh their relationship was an on again off again type thing before that but this time it was for real. He would still come over to see us kids but now you could see the look of disgust on mom's face. He never abused my sister and I. So don't go thinking that. He was a firm disciplinarian but that was pretty common at the time.

I realized I never wanted to be like him. Wanted non of his racist, womanizing, drunkard, woman beating ways. Today he lives in a house, meth'ed out of his head with other drug users stealing his disability checks, eating his food, and he lets them because all the people who once loved him can't stand to be near him or those he chooses to call friends.

My sister still loves him even if she can't stand him. And I....Well there is a part of my that does still care for the man. I did call him dad. The love that I once had has mostly been replaced by pity. The hate has been replaced by sorrow. I don't visit because I'd have to run out as soon as I walked in. Crying. My hart hurting for the man that once was. The guy I remembered smiling and handing out the Christmas presents when I was 8, or letting me sit on his lap and "drive" to the store.

Mom was tough enough to get through all of this. To move on. To fall in love again. To fall out of love. To lose someone she loved due to hart failure. To almost have a mental breakdown like grandma use to have. To recover. To fall in love again.

This isn't the funny part or the narcissistic part It's the therapeutic part of what writing is about. Laying bare your soul.


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