This dad was unpredictable. Barry moved us to Alaska and the wedding he and mum had was amazing. Even for the barely 5 yr old girl I was! I found out later, (although I’m not positive this is accurate because it seems so crazy), Mum was engaged to this man and married my real dad and eventually went back to this man. I am not exactly sure what Barry did. I remember him fishing. Playing funny jokes. And drinking. And being scary at times.
When we moved to AK rules were not like they are today. I spent my early elementary years in bars. I would dance on the tiled dance floor, get Shirley Temples, and fall to sleep on coats with my sister. Mum did take us home more often than not. We’d sleep while they were away. (the bar was really close to our house. REALLY close) Other times we’d stay with friends as our parents partied, sometimes for days at a time. Us kids never noticed. The lot of us were having our own fun! We’d just asked whatever parent was nearest for whatever we needed and it was all good. We played on the beaches of Cook Inlet, ran in the trailer park with gangs of kids, had our first pets (rabbits and cats), discovered ice skating, and I learned to read. I also learned how to lose wooden spoons and hide things which needed hidden.
I was left in charge of my sister one day and saw a note on the table. I might have been in Kindergarten, I don’t know, it was a note and there were hard words in it. One wasreally long. I ignored the note and we played outside. When our parents got home, I got in trouble. It appeared the hardest word in the note was ‘Promise’. I think it said something like promising not to go outside. I learned that word at Barry’s knee with his palm on my tiny ass. It has always been a scary word. BUT, because of not knowing words, I learned to read. This was a lifeline I’ll always be grateful for.
I remember another night, mum and dad had gone out drinking and we were left at the house. I had gotten us to bed, but wasn’t asleep yet. I hated to go to sleep when no one was home, I could see lights from my top bunk and it was kind of creepy. Barry came in drunk and I squeezed my eyes shut, but well, I was only a kid! He saw me and I got whaled on for being awake. He wasn’t very nice sometimes. Another night, mum had to go to the bar to get a six pack (us kids knew beer. Shoot, our cat was named Rainier and the neighbor had a fluffy feline named Budweiser!). It was nasty out and she fell on ice, messing up her knee. I’ll never forget that. And she broke the beer bottles when she fell…..
I don’t know what happened to Barry. He was just one day gone. There is a bit of a blur in time between that dad and the next one. Which is kind of strange as it was only a year or less!!!!
I found out he married again and raised strawberries. He died a few years ago, but after we parted ways, our paths never crossed. Thank goodness!!! And people wonder why I am a cynic, especially about ‘love’.