Third time was NOT the charm.

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Donald

This dad was the most scary bastard ever! I was always terrified of him. He was (not sure for real, but I was pretty small!!) super tall and had a red/blonde handlebar mustache. He picked us up in Anchorage from the airport one time. I drew a picture of him, but managed to put the stache on TOP of his nose. He and mum thought it was funny. I think that is the only time I recall him laughing. He and mum ‘dated’ for a while and then they got married. They always fought when they were married. After their divorce, they ‘dated’ again and were friends. Crazy. When we were married to Donald, we had the most fun outside. He lived way out in the middle of nowhere and we had an outhouse (there was indoor plumbing, but we were not allowed to use the toilet) and a creek for water. It was so cold and even now, I can remember how delicious it was coming out from that piece of black PVC pipe stuck in the moss! The hike to the bus was pretty long, but I did it. I don’t remember my sister going to school, she was probably in K by that time. I was 7 or 8.

There were some good things about this dad. His mom wanted us to come and visit her in Mass. It would have been lots of fun, she sent us United carry-on bags, but we never went. I often wonder what it would have been like if we had gone. She wasn’t very famous then, but she had made a name for herself in cooking in an inn. Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Cookies. She also sent us books. Or me. I’m pretty sure this is the dad where those books came from. Rainbow edition of stories from around the world. I treasure them. When the old neighbor man (he was really a sweet old guy I visited all the time) got drunk and was shooting at the world, we were made to stay inside and Donald protected us. I got super sick a couple of times when we lived with him. I had mono. Third grade and mononucleosis. Stupid? Yes. I also had chicken pox.

Drinking was the name of the game with this dad, too. He was freaking frightening when he got drunk. He peed in our closet one night when he thought it was his bathroom. We didn’t spend as much time in bars with this dad. We stayed outside in the car. We had pillows and stuff to read and games to play and blankets. And the woods, if we needed to go to the bathroom. The sweet old neighbor guy took us to town once and we tipped over into a water filled ditch. I remember having to climb out the jeep door on the driver side. He had been drinking. Donald beat mum up when he was drunk, he even broke her arm. He never hurt us kids, not physically. I remember him saying he’d nail his couch to the wall above the kitchen alcove if we didn’t behave and we’d have to sit there. Scary bastard, oh..I said that. I hated him for years.

Then, one day, I was in HS and wearing a new long fitted coat. I was at the dr and basking in being admired (yeah, vain teen chick) by everyone. One absolutely broken down man glanced at me and looked away as if he was ashamed. I was annoyed and only months later, when I thought about it again, wondered if it had been Donald. All my anger vanished. That man I saw was a derelict and if it was my former dad, my anger turned to pity and then to forgiveness. This dad taught me a little bit about forgiveness. Eventually!

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