The house that I grew up in and the one my mother still lives in was purchased in April of 1963. I was born at the end of December 1961. So I was about 16 months old. But in my minds eye I can still see the kitchen of the house we lived in before that. I have described it to my mother and she tells me that that was the kitchen of the house on Blandin Street. That’s my only memory of that house. But you have to admit it seems like a very early memory.
I can remember the last time I ate a jelly sandwich. I don’t think I had even started school yet. But my mom was up early geting ready for work and I was hungry. So she put some jelly on a piece of bread, folded it over, and gave it to me. I started eating it on the fold and the jelly slid out all over my hands. When I was young I hated getting my hands dirty or sticky and I’ve never ate jelly since.
As I got older I didn’t like little ones with sticky yucky hands. I still remember my nieces and nephews running towards me and then coming to a complete stop as they remembered their hands hadn’t been washed. That’s really sort of sad, I guess. When Lindsey came into my life, she was no longer a toddler. She was already 9 and very rarely had sticky hands.
I remember getting my head stuck in the spare tire rack on my Dad’s Apache Chevrolet. I was maybe 5. I don’t know why I stuck my head in that triangle, but I did. Then I had problems. My Dad got me loose, but he laughed and laughed. Then he told me about getting his head stuck in a milk can when he was a little boy.
I have lots of random memories that just seem to pop into my mind out of nowhere and sometimes they are very vivid. Sometimes it almost seems that I’m back in that particular moment. A lot of them involve my Dad. Maybe its because I lost him in August of 1997.
I remember standing on the back porch in January of 1982 and he was in the back of the yard doing something. He asked me “I thought you were getting married today?” “I did”, I replied. He went back to what he was doing. I think that was the day I broke my Dad’s heart. He could see what I couldn’t see at the time.
I remember standing in the kitchen of that house on Blevins street about a year later. John and I were renting it from my parents. We paid $50 a month. My Dad was having a serious talk with me. He basically told me that his father had been an alcoholic and he had seen what it did to his mother and his sisters. That John was an addict and if that was the life I wanted to live I was going to have to find another place to live. We moved. I think another little piece of my Dad’s heart broke.
Another year passed. John was in jail again. I had had my fill. I told my Dad that I was done and ready to move on. He moved me from that dingy apartment to a duplex off Carroll Street. I didn’t have a car and needed to be close enough to work to walk. I remember him asking me if I wanted to take the broom. I told him I heard it was bad luck to move your broom from one place to another. He threw the broom to the floor and said “We’ve had enough of that.”
About 6 months later (maybe less) I had let John back in and wanted him out again. I remember my Dad cornering him in the bathroom of that little duplex and beating the crap out him. I didn’t see it, I had gone to work. But called my Dad because I knew he would take care of it. He broke some bones in this hand and I think he was just a little bit proud of that.
I remember standing in that house on Blevins street in the summer of 1986 and telling my parents that I had made him leave and it was over. I was getting a divorce. I was serious that time, and I think my Dad knew it. I didn’t have money for an attorney. He helped me with that. I think his heart was a little lighter after that.
Its funny how memories work. One thought moves you from one time to another. Before you know it you’re on a completely different train of thought. Pardon me while I get a tissue.