Heere’s Daddy, the end
During that time we were going to court trying to prove mom unfit. The system was much different then. It’s not great now, but then if you could give birth you were considered the best guardian for your child no matter how poorly you treated them.
He had a tape recorder in his desk and played it back to my mother who denied ALL of it. Mom 1… kid 0. I’m pretty certain this was the beginning of my problem with authority.
During the court debacle it was suggested, to the people we were staying with, to contact my father and see if he would take me. The step-aunt and uncle were nice to me but had no interest in raising a teenage girl. They would gladly take the two year old boy, however.
One day we took a long car ride. No one said exactly where we were going. We pulled into the driveway of a small ranch style house. I saw a young girl playing in the yard and wondered aloud where we were.
“This is where your dad lives Barb. He wants you to come live with him.” Was the reply from the step-aunt.
I’m going to make this part short because it truly wasn’t a long visit. My step-mother invited us into the kitchen. We sat around the table in awkward silence for a while. Seems dad was out of town. Did he even know about this? I wasn’t sure. It all seemed a bit subversive and fishy to me.
The bottom line was this… they were willing to take me, but they had no responsibility to take my brother. Note… they were willing. Her enthusiasm was underwhelming.
I remember standing up (all 80lbs. of me) and saying that I had no intention whatsoever of being separated from my brother. Hell, he was more my child than anyone else’s. I had put myself in harm’s way to get him to a safe place and now they want to take him from me? Ah, NO.
That pretty much broke up the party. We got back in the car and drove away. It was never discussed again.
Ten years later I got a very long letter from my half-sister. It was quite a surprise. There had never been a word between us in our lives. I was 22, she was almost 18 years old and about to graduate from high school.
She had a half-brother who was close to my age. He was married with a son. She was curious to learn about the sister and nephews she’d never met.
I responded to her letter and answered all her questions. I must have included my phone number because she called a week or so later. She was getting engaged after graduation and had all these ‘girl’ things to talk about. I didn’t mind at all.
Then my dad got on the phone and said, “Hey, why don’t you come down here and visit?” Like we were going to be one big happy family….
My response was cordial, and in retrospect stupid. I just wanted to get over this awkwardness and say good-bye. I said, “Oh there’s nothing I’d like more than coming to Florida this time of year (they moved there after the last meeting with step-mom) but we can’t afford it.”
“I’ll send you the money!” was his response.
After a few days of back and forth I ended up flying to Florida with two toddlers. My husband was unable to get time off. Lucky him!
To hear my mother’s description of the step-mother you’d expect her to have warts on her nose, a green pallor and be sporting a pointy hat. She was, in fact, an attractive and lovely woman.
There’s something very innocent about her. She grew up in rural Michigan and left school at 15 years of age. Married, son, divorced, in short order. Her life, to that point, parallels my mother’s so closely it’s eerie.
I stayed a week and thoroughly enjoyed my sister and step-mother. My dad, on the other hand, was all about trying to impress me.
He had a horse… I’m afraid of horses. He had a boat… I can’t swim. He had an RV… anything resembling a trailer gives me hives.
The only common ground was golf. I had just taken lessons and he wanted to take me out for a round. It was an overcast day and I burned to a crisp.
He drove me around town showing me all the buildings he built… apparently single handedly! The cock of the walk was desperately trying to wow the daughter he knew nothing about and she was not interested.
I decided the distance would work to my advantage. It made it easier to control ‘visitation’ and maintain an aloof but cordial relationship with all of them for almost 30 years.
It’s been 11 years since we’ve had any communication. While my husband was in a coma, fighting lymphoma, my father called out of the blue.
When I told him Dave had cancer, and how dire the situation was, he immediately went into self absorbed mode… He knew what that was like… he had a melanoma removed once… uh no dad. That very day we were told the next 48hrs would determine if my husband was going to live or die. Little heavier than having a mole removed!
I hung-up on him. Later I called him back and told him how ridiculously selfish he was and I frankly never wanted to talk to him again.
A few months after my husband came home (still going through chemo) my step-mother called to apologize for my father. Not possible. She admitted he was selfish but he didn’t mean to be hurtful. I cut that call short and as I sat there steaming it occurred to me she NEVER asked if Dave was alive or dead!