Heeere’s Daddy!

I’ve written a lot about my mother and our dysfunctional relationship but, today I thought I’d write a little bit about my father. 
My parents on their wedding day
I was two years old when they divorced so I don’t remember their marriage.  I do know she was sixteen when they married and my father was all of nineteen.  I was born two months after she turned seventeen.
As the story goes… they separated within the first year and mom and I moved in with my grandparents.  Living with my grandparents was an on again off again situation for much of my life… with and without my mother.
The first memory I have of my father was on my fifth birthday.  Mom was working the early shift at the factory and I was home with my step-father, her third husband.  We lived in a small garage apartment.
I remember my father brought me two games.  One was Uncle Wiggily and the other was Tiddlywinks.  The Tiddlywinks game I remember throwing at my mother in a temper tantrum a while later but that’s a story of its own for another day.
It struck me that both ‘dad’s’ seemed to get along.  They even had a beer together on the back step.  I wondered why they could get along but my mother couldn’t get along with either of them very well.
He didn’t stay long, my dad, but I clearly remember the day.  He mentioned his other daughter, which I knew nothing about and it surprised me.  He had remarried right after the divorce but my sister obviously came before the divorce.  She’s four years younger than I.
Fast forward five years to another surprise visit from dad
My mother had separated from her third husband (first of four times) and we were living in an old apartment building in the city.  It was hardly the Ritz.  There was an older lady downstairs who would watch my seven month old brother while I was in school and mom was at work.  When I came home she would leave.
Mom was working as a cocktail waitress in a bowling alley lounge.  She didn’t always come home immediately after her shift.  I was used to it and never counted on her to be home for dinner.  There was usually Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or something in a can, to eat.  
  
As I was feeding my brother his dinner I heard a knock at the door.  We didn’t have many visitors so I was curious about who would be behind the door.  
I put the chain on before I opened it.  In the semi-dark hallway I saw a man with a bag of groceries who looked vaguely familiar.  He said, “Aren’t you going to let your dear old dad in?”
I’d seen enough pictures to believe him, and he hadn’t changed much in five years, so I let him in.  I couldn’t imagine what brought on this surprise visit.  I also wondered how my mother would react when she found out.
Turned out he had stopped to see her at work before he came to the apartment.  How else would he have found us?
He brought the groceries into the cramped little kitchen.  With a small table in the corner and a high chair next to it there was barely room for two people to turn around. 
He was chattering about making a decent dinner for the three of us.  As I told him my brother was almost finished with his dinner I heard the door open and in came mom.
This night she had rushed home and was absolutely giddy.  I became skeptical about the entire scenario.  I’d been through enough with her that my radar was pretty keen and this had red flags all over it.
They stood in front of the kitchen sink under the one dim light fixture in the room and began kissing.  When she broke from their embrace she must have noticed the look of total shock on my face.  
She said, “It’s ok, honey, he’s your dad and we were married you know.”  
First of all, when she called me ‘honey’ I knew she was full of shit.  That was for show and I knew at that momentmy sense was correct.
To be continued.

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  1. Michele M Tremblay

    Dear Barbara, Thank you for sharing your story. It is powerful and it makes me feel feel sad for little Barbara.

  2. Annabel, Get In The Hot Spot

    Oh Barbara, I love reading your stories here but it is so sad. Your mum was a child herself and you, a child too became the real mother.

    Your dad looks very dishy:)

    Look forward to next installment even though it might make me cry!

  3. Barbara Hammond

    Oh MIchele don't feel sad for Barbara… this is what made me the woman I am today. I don't feel bad about any of it anymore.
    Thanks for caring tho… I truly appreciate it!
    b

  4. Barbara Hammond

    It's all good Annabel… you really understand the saying ' If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger." So true!
    Thanks for your comment and it will develop into quite a story, trust me.
    b

  5. ellajaknell

    I both look forward and don't to whats coming next, but I will read whatever you write. With two teenagers at home in about that age of your mothers marriage it sounds horrible to imagine my kids being married now.

  6. Joyce

    Ok, I'm hooked…..let's finish it! Joyce

  7. Hcdootsie

    My childhood doesn't seem so bad now. At least i had my mother who was a role model. When i think of some things she had to endur. makes me so sad.

  8. Barbara Hammond

    It's funny Ella, I don't think the fact that my parents were mere children really hit me until my own were in their teens. Puts it all in perspective.
    Thanks for saying you'll read whatever I write. You want to be my agent? lol!

  9. Barbara Hammond

    Funny Joyce! This will take a few posts. Then I'll leave it for a while before we get to the adult relationship. Too much.
    Glad you're hooked.
    b

  10. Barbara Hammond

    We're all a product of our upbringing and environment. It's how you choose to use it that makes all the difference. Thanks for the comment.

  11. The "Me" in madness

    You look like your Daddy, Barb…wow. Canned dinner? Yikes! I'm sure having meals like that as a child made you such a wonderful host & cook! (sorry, being Italian, I;m all about the food).

    Cannot wait for the next installment!
    xo
    Lee

  12. Barbara Hammond

    You crack me up Lee. Of course you're all about the food. My love of cooking comes from my grandmother… that gene skipped dear old mom. And, I do look a bit like my dad… which isn't all bad. As Annabel said, 'he's dishy'.

  13. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    For writing this stuff…you do it well and it's helpful.

  14. Barbara Hammond

    I'm truly glad it is helpful. thank YOU!

  15. Jotter Girl

    don't leave us hanging…..

  16. Countingducks

    I have to say, sometimes while reading through the blogs I follow the story which comes out is so raw and astonishing I can hardly believe it to be a real life. I am not saying I doubt you for one minute but that children should be left to hang on in such a dysfunctional situation is truely heartbreaking. Many of us have harrowing or uneven childhoods but this comes pretty high up the charts. That you seem to have come out of it so well, and with so balenced an outlook is enourmously to your credit. I can't say more than that until I see Part 2 .

  17. Barbara Hammond

    Thanks Peter. I think I may have invented the phrase, 'if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger.'
    Part 2 will be up later today.
    b

  18. BryceC

    Such a sad story. You are a great example of endurance and succeeding despite rough circumstances.

    Thanks for letting your heart come through in your writing. It's very appreciated to read genuine stories these days.

  19. Barbara Hammond

    Thanks Bryce, I appreciate that.

  20. Michele M Tremblay

    I still feel sad for little Barbara,
    Big Barbara should be proud!

  21. ElizOF

    Every time I read one of your installments I marvel at the decent, strong and caring person you are… Thank God for your guardian angels and more… Barb, you're amazing.