Praying For D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Being that my Dad was an alcoholic – most of the time after he came home – he would fight with Mom or one of us and then spruce himself up in his best duds and hit the road to go to his friend’s house to drink. That’s where the parties were. He was in his 30’s now and we were holding him down. Personally, I was fine with this because if he wasn’t home, no one was being beaten or having to bear the brunt of his breath or brutality. But my Mom on the other hand, was usually hurt. I know my Mom loved my Dad, or else why would she stay? Why would she put us through all this torment and torture from this man? Why would she let him beat me with, not only his belt, his belt buckle, why would it take so long for scars to heal? All these things rush through your mind over and over as a kid.  I may have been young but I knew what divorce was (thanks to those paper route days and hearing Tammy Wynette’s song ” D.I.V.O.R.C.E” on the radio quite a few times while in the car with my Mom) and I used to pray that my parents would get one every day. Then my Mom, Linda and I could go away and Dad could keep Bruce (he didn’t seem to ever get in the arguments with Dad like I did, even at six or seven I would hear him yelling at my Mom and I would always be the one to try to get in the middle, which in turn would get me pretty severely knocked around, but nothing like my poor Mother.

I remember one time when I was little and my Dad came home drunk, the dishes were flying across the house, the brooms, the plants, the pillows…..in short, if it were in our personal home’s inventory it was being thrown that day. Mom told us to all go to our rooms. That’s easy enough when you see this type of violence and it scares the living shit out of you, but remember we lived in a 5 room shack and none of our rooms had doors on them. So even though we were “safely” hidden in our room – we were still very much involved in detail with the beatings my Mom sometimes endured.  I remember curling up in bed in fetal position and listening to each slap and each painful scream my Mom let out as my Dad would hit her. Sometimes so loud the pillow couldn’t even muffle the noise. I remember hearing my sister in the next room screaming for Daddy to “STOP” while she was hidden under some piece of furniture. This is where I learned about SEX and RAPE, the noices and screamings got so loud that I couldn’t stand it anymore, the thoughts of Daddy just going over the top and seriously hurting my Mommy to where she couldn’t take care of us anymore was torture in my mind. “What if my Daddy hurt my poor Mommy to where she was no longer here on the earth to protect me?” “What if that happens and I’m left here with Dad, Bruce and Linda?” “What do I do?” “What’s going to happen to me?” “Where am I going to go?” “Will Daddy do that THAT badly to all of us when Mommy is gone?”, so many questions and the anxiety building and building and with each scream and hearing “Dale, Don’t You Dare”, “Dale, Please Stop”, “Dale, the kids are listening to you do this to me!”, “Dale, why don’t you just leave?” “Dale that hurts!” “Dale, Get Off Of Me!” “Dale, go be with one of those girls you are fucking behind my back!” – over and over and over and over again. Something came over me, I’m not sure what it was but I knew that my Mommy had had enough. SO I leaped from my bed and I went into their room where my Mom’s face was just bleeding profusiously – she was laying on her back – my Dad had her arms pinned down on the bed – his clothes were in tatters – his back was bleeding just as bad from my Mom’s fingernails slicing into his back whenever she would get a free hand to try to get away from him. And he had his pants down to his ankles. I walked in and I stopped. I saw something that I had never really seen before. “What was this all about? Why is my Dad violently jumping up and down on my Mom. Why? She doesn’t like it! Daddy STOP!! PLEASE STOP!!”  When I walked into the room, Mom cried for me to get out! Honey go to your room! ROGER go to your GOD DAMN ROOM!”  Dad on the other hand would say “Roger you little pussy, you’re just like your sister and your filthy mother”, “Get the hell out of here!” – I didn’t know what “pussy” meant at that time. But I knew that I could do something to stop my Dad from doing what he was doing to my Mother. So I looked around the room to see what I could see, the first thing I saw was a picture I believe to be around 8×10 or so, I whaled it across the room and cold cocked my Dad in the head – glass shattered from that – he was hurt! I wounded him.  I thought to myself “That will teach you!” And I started looking for something else to throw, I saw it! I saw his belt on the floor, I went to grab that and before I could get to it my Dad had me in his arms. Needless to say, I lost my first couple of teeth that day,  my Dad grabbed me by my hair and ground my face onto the wooden floor so hard they just popped out. My nose felt like it had fallen off my face. The blood-shot out of me like a fountain. When all this happened, the Calvary came in, not only was my Mom now on top of my Dad beating him, but my brother and my sister were there beating and pounding too. It was time that Daddy got some of his own medicine. Eventually he worked his way clear of each of us. But, HE and WE all learned a valuable lesson that day. It was HE could not defeat US all together! Dad got free and out the back door he went. Where we do not know. But we didn’t see him for a few days and I know I didn’t care! I don’t think my sister cared either. But, I don’t know about Mom and Bruce. I was happy. The house was peaceful. My Mom was sad, but she would get over it. Right?

Wrong! Eventually, he came back home. it would be fine for a couple of days then it would happen again and again and again………..

It was during these times that I basically learned what the words “Bitch, Drunk Ass, Son Of A Bitch, Asshole, Bastard, Queer, Whore, Skank, Alcoholic etc.” all meant. If you were fighting, those words were apparently essential and needed to be used in order to get your point across that you were upset. My brother Bruce definitely took all these words into context and was quite good at using them when he fought with Linda and I, he was a chip all the ole block!

Now even though my memories at this age (44) in my life are the ones that seem to stick out in my mind the most; I suppose these memories have blocked some of the more pleasant memories, I was a funny kid, I was creative, I played mainly by myself growing up because I got to watch my brother and sister reach adulthood before I did and I knew I didn’t want to be like either one of them. I knew I was different and I just couldn’t pin point what made me who I was, but I was determined NOT to follow in either of their foot steps and definitely be nothing like my Dad.

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