parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006
    A memory has been triggered
    When I was young, my mother worked nights on the weekends in a hospital. She's a nurse. She worked from either 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., I can't remember which. She would get home around 7:30 or 8 a.m. on Saturdays, and my father would then go to work. He's always worked at least 6 days a week.

    One particular Saturday morning, when I was approx Thing One's age (I think I was 10, going on 11, so one year older than her), the phone rang before Mom got home. I was at the kitchen table, eating cereal. I think it was Frosted Flakes. My father came into the kitchen and yelled at me to drink the milk from the bowl. It always bugged him that I used a lot of milk in my cereal, and then dumped it down the drain. My dad was the type that it was perfectly okay (i.e., not dangerous in any way) to get up, walk to the sink, dump the milk -- all while rolling my eyes and listening to him harp. This morning, however, he YELLED at me to drink the milk. I drank it. I even remember the disgusting sweet taste of it. I didn't know why he was acting this way.

    Mom came home, and he met her in the garage before she came into the house. She came in running up the stairs, and told us that we needed to get dressed and get a few things together, we were going to a friend's house. I didn't know what was going on, but this was strange. Usually, when Mom came home, she went to bed. Usually, she was the one to rant and rave at us -- but now Dad was ranting and raving, and Mom was changing into clothes, not jammies, and we were going to our friend's house? (Dad's friends, who had two kids, that none of us 3 got along with, but we liked the parents.)

    I don't remember much about the day. I remember talking to the Mom of the family much later in the day (I'm guessing 2 or 3 p.m.) and asking her what the HECK was going on. She told me that something bad had happened, but my parents would talk to me when they returned, which would be soon.

    My parents came back, and before they brought us home, they sat us down in the living room of the friend's house -- powder blue rug, fancy furniture, a piano -- and told us that my Uncle Bobby had died.

    Uncle Bobby was my father's youngest brother (Dad was, at one point, the oldest of 5). He was 25 when he died. He was the "wild one" who had recently been in trouble with "the law." (While we were away, I believe for that previous Thanksgiving, he had gone to a bar with some friends and gotten drunk - not atypical in hte slightest - his friends dared him to swipe a case of beer from the backroom of the bar. he accepted. He was arrested. The police beat him up pretty badly while he was in jail.) He was relatively irresponsible, and what I suspected then but had confirmed since - slightly disturbed (i.e., depressed and unhappy, at the most). He had been living with us, although, he was rarely at the house.

    When I was 6 (so 5 years previous), my paternal grandmother died. I think she was 50. Perhaps 55. Either way, she was young, and her sudden heart attack was a surprise. This hit Uncle Bobby, who was her baby, pretty hard. When he lived with us, he and I both slept in the downstairs, which is sort of a basement, sort of not. I used to stay up late, b/c I thought that the Hand (from a horror movie I saw when I was 9) was going to crawl out from the slats in my closet door and choke me to death while I slept. I would read until 2 a.m. sometimes (at Thing One's age, so perhaps I should stop yelling at her for being up so late), and would hear him come home. One night, I heard him sobbing in his bed, and I knew it was about his mom.

    How did he die? Apparently, he and a friend had gone out drinking (see the theme?) and Uncle Bobby was too drunk to drive home. We do not know why he did not go into his friend's house, and sleep on the couch. He instead, slept in his car. Before sleeping, however, he lit up a cigarette. Then, he passed out.

    17 years previous, on the same street, but around a corner, my Dad's just younger brother hit a tree while driving home, and died. My dad was driving home behind him (Dad was 18, his brother was 17 - and they were out on a double date), and so he was on the scene. As the story goes, one of the police officers that came to the scene made a comment that Michael (the brother) was a "troublemaker" and that it was for the best that he had died. My father punched the police officer. He was not arrested. Michael WAS a troublemaker. He used to get in knife fights, and once, he called in a bomb threat to his school during the prom, b/c he had been banned from attending due to prior bad acts. It was a big deal. he was not a good boy.

    Obviously, either was Uncle Bobby.

    When Uncle Bobby died, my paternal grandfather was living in Florida with his second wife. My dad flew down to Florida to get him. His wife, however, refused to leave their new Mercedes in Florida for an extended period of time, and insisted that they drive back up to New England. My father was upset, but he drove them up. He was gone for a few days.

    I don't remember my brother and sister during these few days, I remember just myself, and my mother. My mother asked me to sleep with her while my dad was gone, and I did. I remember having a dream, while sleeping in my parents' room, that I heard Uncle Bobby's truck coming up the driveway, and I got up, and looked, and there it was coming up the hill and around the corner. It was all a mistake - he was alive. That, however, was a dream.

    My birthday came during those days that my dad was gone. I turned 11. My Mom gave me an Atari Game - QBert. There was no party, no cake. I wasn't upset about that. i was upset that Uncle Bobby died, and I appreciated the mindless escape into the pyramid of changing colors. I played my game for hours while mom lay in bed depressed and unhappy (also angry at my grandfather's wife for making them drive up from Florida, which was stupid).

    I don't remember if it was this funeral, or the one some years later when my paternal grandfather died, where I have the clear memory of my father and my Uncle Stan hugging on hte lawn of the church, crying. It was one of the first (and only) times I'd ever seen my dad cry. These brothers are of a rough sort. They are not the crying types. So it was a very moving sight.

    Another Uncle died in 2002. He had a heart attack at the age of 45. My father used to be the oldest of 5 brothers, and the oldest son in a family of 7. Only himself and one brother remain - except, of course, all of us offspring, and our offspring. how odd that these 2 remaining brothers are the ones with all the offspring.

    I have so few memories, I figured I'd write this down, since it came to me.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:25 AM  
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