Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More of the story

This is just history and musings, but it sets the scene as the story develops later.

Circumstances can take really good people and direct them towards a path that they would not ordinarily go. I believe there is a lesson to gain from going there, thus, circumstances can give basically good people an excuse to travel on a path they would not normally go to gain from the lesson they learn by traveling it. In a nut shell, that sums up my father, a good man on a path, he may not have otherwise traveled. The lessons come later and through other posts, this post is really just setting the stage.

My father was (long since passed away now) a good, loving and caring man. Most of his life however he battled and eventually lost the war with alcoholism. That colored much of my childhood. When he was sober he was amazing, smart, funny and made me feel as if I were the center of the universe, he was a good and loving parent. But when the pendulum swung, it swung equally to the other direction. I eventually came to think of my father as being two seperate people, drunk and sober. I had a love/hate relationship with my father depending on what condition he was in and found it surprisingly easy to transition between the two.
Largely because of the alcoholism my father had few relationships, we had minimal contact with anyone really, and money was sporadic at best.
My father often thought in black and white... The world was divided into the "have's" and the "have not's", we fell firmly and almost proudly into the latter. It was not until I was grown that I realized that there was benefit in growing up without, yet while I was growing up I really didn't feel deprived. I remember getting our first TV, a small black and white with two working channels and aluminum foil rabbit ears, I loved it that we had a television, it felt like such a privilege. Growing up without common items really makes you appreciate getting them. As spoiled as I am now, I still feel deep appreciation for having the most necessary of items.
When we had a car, and much of the time we did not, we drove for recreation. We drove all over Washington and Idaho, just to see what was there, usually without particular destination. If we saw an unfamiliar road we would take it just to see where it went, these were the best of times. I can remember him becoming concerned when gas reached 28 cents a gallon because it would limit our drives, and eventually it did.
As a child I did not realize that our family differed much from other families, you believe what you grow up with is what everyone grows up with, at least until school where kids will compare notes. School was difficult because we shopped at Good-Will (hence my strong dislike of used clothing now) throughout elementary school, I packed my own lunch (which was Ok, but I really had wanted a lunch box and thermos). The "have's" could tell that I was a "have not". I quickly learned that the trick in school was to appear to blend with peers without getting close to any of them, that way no one really knew where or how you lived. My goal was to be invisible. And mostly I was.

Looking back, I realize my father chose the paths he did to learn his own lessons and I traveled down that path with him. I don't know what his lessons meant for him, but for me, I have learned that what ever life throws my way that I can not only survive, but thrive. It is very empowering to know that no matter what, I will be OK.

This picture was taken just a few months before the state stepped in and I was moved into a foster home. I am 10 in the picture, we are about to go fishing in the wee morning hours. Times like this morning spent fishing are some of the best memories of my life. I was probably 20 before I realized that those were sheets hanging in the window for curtains and that I'd had no sheets on my bed back then...
But where the sheets are doesn't matter to kids nearly as much as a morning spent fishing.
More later...

posted by addict @ 6:12 PM |

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