Another little thing I've learned is that it's very difficult to know ones parents in the same way one knows ones friends. The difference in age and roles prevents the normal 'one on one' acceptance, give and take and equality we experience in typical peer relationships. With that in mind, I'll share what I know of my parents but I've realized that a great deal of it really is speculation and due to circumstances, I'll never really know if my perceptions are on target.
Both my mother and father were married once before they met one another. Both had children as well. My older brother, Russ, is 9 years my senior and was born to my mother and her first husband in 1963, in 1966, they added my sister Kim as well. I've never heard why exactly, but they split up somewhere around 1969. My father says that her first husband reported it was due to Mom's mental illness.
My father had been married to Joan before my mother, for 12 years. Their union brought about my older sister Valerie in 1963 also. My father says he left her because of her addiction to perscription drugs. My sister says he left her because he met my mother. I was always inclined to believe that his explanation was the accurate one of the two, but in recent years, I've finally realized that his lifestyle has been to lie to make himself look good and so I've wondered if Valerie is right on.
At any rate, they met somewhere in the neighborhood of late 1971 in a club in Miami, FL. My father says he was attracted to my mom's beauty and vivacity. He always said that she 'used to be full of fun'. Interestingly, I can't recall my mother ever speaking of their beginnings much, other than that they met in a club. My guess is that it didn't take long for her to regret the affair and so, why talk about it?
This photo was taken around the time when they met. I get the feeling my mom was a pretty sexy lady. I never knew her that way. By the time I got to know her, she'd become very committed to Jesus and her focus had changed dramatically. But we had a few photos of her from her younger days and she was always posed like a model and looking alluring.
I suppose I ought to tell a little of my parents early story too. My mother was born and raised in Bombay, India to a Ceylonese Father and an English mother. She was the oldest of four children, all of whom were extensively abused by those who cared for them. I've never been clear on exactly who that was. Her father was an alchoholic who was also the engineer for a locomotive. Her mother moved back to England somewhere during her childhood and she was left as the main caregiver for her family along with some local aunts. Her education was at a Catholic boarding school where she reigned supreme and generally got herself into trouble. When she was 19 she moved to England and soon after married her American Marine husband, Russ and Kim's father.
The only thing I know about their marriage is that he never wanted any daughters and made that very clear to Kim. Soon after he divorced my mother, he remarried a woman named Ada who was reputed to leave my brother and sister in her car all day in Miami while she worked with no food. When they arrived home, the story is that she required Kim to make her a martini. Kim used to tell me that she and Russ would get out of the car while she was at work and go scrounging for food in trash bins. Custody had been awarded to their father due to my mother's apparent mental illness.
My father, who was exactly two weeks older than mom, also married around the same time as she had. He married in Massechusetts where he was raised but they soon moved to Miami. While there, he was in the Coast Guard. My father is a very large man, 6"4 and 220lbs made him rather formidable. He also was a man who enjoyed a good fist fight. In high school, he'd been the popular guy. Captain of the football and basketball team and Prom King. All those characteristics caused him to be chosen for his leadership and strength to be part of some special ops during his CG career.
He only told us some of those stories in the last few years and from what he shared, I believe they must have left him very scarred.
I've never met Joan so I couldn't say a thing about her. My sister Valerie and I never had the opportunity to know one another either and so the background of what happened with them is rather fuzzy for me. My father says Joan had significant issues with prescription medication and that is why he left her. I really couldn't say. However, she was awarded custody and Valerie only ever saw our father for the first year of my own parents marriage and then after that, he never made any effort to see her again. He said that was because if he tried, Joan would come after him in court and he didn't have the money to be able to afford fighting that.
I swallowed all of his stories about such things as the gospel truth and always thought Joan to be the Wicked Witch of the East herself. Hindsight might be a little less clear on the issue. For myself, I am sad for poor Valerie that she missed out on having a father during such a huge part of her childhood..
I'll leave it there until Monday. Have a blessed day.