Where was my Mother while all this was going on?
This wouldn’t be the last time l wondered this reflecting on my childhood.
It came in variations.
Where were the parents?
Why weren’t any parents there?
One of my Mother’s favorite things to do was sit at the kitchen table talking on the phone, which was one of those vertical rectangular wall mounted hard installed rotary dail things, and smoke copious amounts of Cameo Menthol cigarettes, while my brother and I went about our business without her interference.
One day we were playing with matches in the front room while my mom was talking on the phone in the kitchen.
We caught the couch on fire.
I can remember trying desperately to get my Mother’s attention and warn her of the danger. Finally, I was able to attract her away from the phone and she raced to the living room where she knelt down and blew out the threatening flames.
It left a big hole in the couch.
The above is a pic of us on the couch in question just about where the hole was. I think I look quite innocent in this picture. I’m not sure about my brother. That’s a pretty mischevious grin on his face.
This was about the same time that the Bs moved in next door.
This was before their children were born, as C was born 3 1/2 months after my sister N, who was 6 years younger than me.
D.B. was born 2 years after C.
I remember seeing D.B. (their father) for the first time when…
he painted Hamish, our dog.
D (the father) was painting the fence between our two yards while Hamish, doing his normal border patrol of the yard, met with a suspicious man doing something strange with a brush and a sinister looking white liquid substance against the fence.
Hamish must have recognized D as he was wagging his tail and rubbing his body against the freshly wet pickets.
The obvious resolution, at least in D’s mind, was to brush a few experimental strokes around Hamish’s snout and front flanks causing our hero (Hamish) to recede from the fence.
D wasn’t without humor.
He didn’t really grow into his name (short for a man’s appendage) until much later, at least not in my mind.
L.B. (D’s much younger wife) became very instrumental in our growing up especially after she had her own children.
She had grown up on a farm in the Fraser Valley as a foster child. I don’t think she was ever properly adopted but she lived in on the one farm for most of her childhood. As far as I know, she never knew her biological parents.
It’s interesting that we never questioned her much about her growing up. I don’t think it was that surprising that she married a man much older than her or that she came to work for social services.
I can remember her providing us with milk and hamburger when we were short on food.
Again I don’t know why this was.
My father had started his business by then and he had rented an office. Perhaps he didn’t have enough clientele to sustain the extra expense. He must’ve just thought that was just the way things were done. It might not have occurred to him to work out of the house until he could afford the extra rent of an office.
I get all confused when talking and thinking about it as I don’t remember it in linear form.
Perhaps I should just list some points as I remember them and they will somehow turn into a story.
D and L moved in next door.
They used to come over for cocktail parties. My Mom didn’t like to drink much but my Dad did.
My Dad became an alcoholic.
My Dad had his own business.
My Mother didn’t want to work as she thought it wasn’t her job to do so.
They didn’t communicate very well.
My Dad said that when Mom wanted to have another child she just did it and she planned her children according to if her friends were having children.
Was this so we would have playmates or because she was in some kind of competition with her friends to bring forth prodigy?
Did my Dad really think he didn’t have anything to do with having us kids?
Did he seriously not know what a condom was or how to use it?
There’s not much point in this line of thinking as it tends to unthink my siblings and myself.
Then, of course, we’re not having this conversation, are we?