Sunday, July 15, 2007

On the Road Again...

In addition to this song, my dad listened to the Allman Brothers "Ramblin' Man." Whenever he played these two songs too often, we knew he was headed out again. My mom still hates these songs. My dad couldn't stay with us for too long, and even when he did stay with us he worked away. We learned very young to not count on him being home too often or for too long. Most of the times it wans't too bad. When he came home, he'd bring money for us so we could eat and have heat. He liked me, so I'd get to cuddle with him and watch t.v. We'd spend the weekend eating Fruit Loops (his favorite ceral) and watching Star Trek. Then on Monday morning he'd be gone. It was harder for my brothers as he had less patience with them.

But sometimes,usually when he had found a woman to "shack up" with, he didn't come home. This meant that we had no money for the week. Those were rough weeks. Sometimes we'd have enough mac and cheese, pasta and butter, and potatoes to survive. But there were times when there was no food. We'd go to bedd to hungry, and then get up early to walk about 15 miles to my grandmother's house to get food or borrow money for food. My dad had moved us into a trailer far from town, and my mom didn't drive at that point. When he finally came home, he'd either do so with the news that he was leaving which would mean a lot of screaming and tears, or with presents. At least with the news that he was leaving my mom could reapply for welfare and foodstamps.

Eventually he actually married my mom. I was about 9 at the time. We lived in a shacky kind of house in a town called Moscow. I hated it there. The kids at the school in the Bingham school were mean and violent. There was nothing to do and the library was too far to ride my bike too (and on a busy highway). My dad still left all week. He'd come home, and was now mean to everyone including me. I hated him during that time. He'd kick me in the ass if I didn't do what he wanted or if he hated my attitude. I finally turned on him, and hissed "If you ever kick me again, I'll kick you back!" He never touched me after that. But he bitched to my mom about my attitude. The fights between my mom and him increased. I would lie in bed listening them to yell, and him calling my mom "crazy bitch" and wish he would go away forever. It was better when he wasn't there. My mom was sad sometimes but she ignored us and we could be loud.

Then he left. He stopped by on Christmas Eve with some presents. I don't know what he said to us but he left that night. We woke up and my mom was sitting in the living room sobbing. Christmases were pretty awful for all of us until Umberto came along. My middle brother was really just lost after that. My youngest brother didn't really know my dad but grew up to resent him and hate him. My mom was a mess during those first years after he left. She cried a lot. One of my vivid recollections is of her wrapped in a blanket, sopping hysterically. She stopped functioning for a while. Our house was a mess, and she didn't cook. I managed to make us sandwiches and sometimes cook mac and cheese. My brothers ran wild and I spent most of my time in my room reading.

Later I asked my dad why he always left. He answered "Well Ginger, I'm a ramblin man. I'm a gypsy. I can't take being in one place for very long."

1 comment:

Horacio said...

Lord I was born I ramblin' man... the Allman Brothers rule. Too bad for you that your dad wanted to live and act out the lyrics.