Just wanted to thank all those who visited my blog these last 30 days either to Like, Comment or to Follow. Appreciate it! I was certainly kept hopping writing and rewriting all those stories I had been working on to one degree or another. It allowed me to get them out and see what if any reaction I would get. Happy to say I got a lot of positive reactions. So I may continue to write more stories in addition to doing sketching and painting for Illustration Friday.
I also read a few blogs which I found interesting and am following a few. So all in all it was a positive experience! Thanks to BlogHer and Word Press and again to all those who visited my Blog!
HAPPY WRITING AND BLOGGING EVERYBODY!
As the weeks went by things did not go smoothly with Mom either. She complained about having to cook big meals every night and she didn’t like all the beer drinking with the loud men taking up her kitchen several nights a week. Dad seemed happy enough or maybe he was just unaware of the all the controversy swirling around him. He went off to his job at the defense plant where he was on the night shift now and did not run into Kate very often.
Meanwhile Kate and Jenny were hatching a plan to sow a little more discord into his and Mom’s relationship. Kate’s Sweet Sixteen birthday was coming up and they had cajoled and sweet talked Mom into letting them have a party and invite a bunch of their friends. The party was to be downstairs in the now vacant shop, which was just big enough to fit a fairly large crowd of their mutual friends. Kate and Jenny were only two years apart in high school and knew a lot of the same people or their brothers and sisters. There was enough room for dancing and someone had promised to bring a record player with Tommy Dorsey and Harry James’ Records. Everyone was supposed to bring a snack food and Kate and Jenny would provide the sandwiches and cokes.
And since Kate was popular and had a lot of friends, the party promised to be well attended. Saturday at nine pm was the designated day and time for the party since it didn’t get dark until nine pm. Mom was on board and was even going to make the sandwiches. Dad would be at work so he wouldn’t be there to throw a wet blanket on everything. Jenny had taken the night off from work to help with setting up everything for the party.
When nine o’clock rolled around, the party goers started arriving and everything was set up and waiting. The balloons and crepe paper decorations made the room look festive and the table was loaded with goodies to eat and drink. Mom was the chaperone and managed to peek in every now and then but not enough to be intrusive. The dancing had started and before long everyone was having a fun time. Between the dancing and the eating, drinking and laughing, time flew by and it seemed no time before it was 11 pm. With only an hour to go, everyone seemed to get louder.
All of a sudden Dad appeared at the top of the stairs and glared at all the happy teens, his face was red as a beet. He looked at Jenny as though to say, “How could you?” For some reason Jenny felt guilty about that look. Then he turned on his heel and went back to the kitchen where soon there was the sound of loud voices raised in anger. Kate said to everyone, “Oh that’s just my Dad, don’t worry about him, Mom will handle him. Let’s continue with the party!” She grabbed the nearest guy and started dancing again and soon everyone joined in. Jenny still felt guilty but she didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun so she joined the dancers. No more was heard from Dad that night.
The next morning when Jenny came down to breakfast she noticed Dad was missing from his usual chair. He was always up early and never missed breakfast, especially his morning coffee.
“Mom where’s Dad, how come he’s not up yet,” she asked?
“Oh, he’s up alright. Up and gone.”
“What do you mean, gone?” Jenny was taken aback.
“I mean he’s left again, couldn’t get his own way, so he left!”
“You mean he’s not coming back?” Jenny was really feeling guilty now.
“That’s what I mean alright. He didn’t want your sister having a party and he thought I would call it off. Imagine his surprise when he got home from work to find the party in full swing.” Mom had a strange lilt in her voice. “He said your sister was too snippy and didn’t show him the proper respect. Well I told him if he didn’t like it, he could just leave.”
“And he left, just like that? He didn’t even say goodby to us?”
“Well you know how men are. If you don’t, Lord knows it’s not my fault.”
Jenny didn’t know why she had expected anything more from Dad. After all, Mom was right about men. You certainly couldn’t trust any of them.”
At first when Dad moved in things were strained and this lasted for several weeks before the thaw began at least between Jenny and Dad. He seemed to be making a real effort to win her over. She still didn’t trust him by any stretch of the imagination but at least she was civil to him and even downright friendly sometimes. Kate began noticing this and called Jenny on it. They actually quarreled about it a few times. Kate was very independent and did not want to quit her job and go back to school. She had more independence this way working and bringing in money to help out. If she went back to school she would have no leverage in the situation and Dad would be in charge. Mom sure was being nice to him, letting him make all the decisions about pretty much everything. It wasn’t like Mom. She was pretty independent and no one told her what to do but with Dad here things changed dramatically.
Usually after dinner was over now and the dishes were cleared away, Dad would open a beer, and settle down to tell his war stories to anyone willing to listen. Mom was not interested after the first few times so he would invite his brother Joe over with the promise of a few beers and regale him with the stories. Jenny had taken to sitting with them and listening to the stories, some of which she found fascinating. Once in a while Dad would even offer her a small glass of beer. She of course never refused it and even began to like it. And as time went on she became “one of the boys.”
Jenny found herself liking him in spite of herself but she could see that Kate was not happy about the situation. She had her own friends and a boyfriend who didn’t come around so much now that Dad was here. Dad started inviting a few more friends over and they even started playing cards. This was one or two nights a week now and even Mom seemed to be bothered by having the “boys” over so much. Jenny it seemed was the only one who liked sitting in and being considered one of the gang.
One night when Kate came home from work, she worked until 10 pm, she stayed out in front of the house and was talking and laughing with her friends. She was out there about 30 minutes when Dad told Jenny to go out and tell Kate that it was time to come into the house now as it was late and to send her friends home. So Jenny thinking nothing about it went out and said to Kate, “Dad said that you were to come in now as it is late and tell your friends to leave.”
“Well you can tell him I will do whatever I want and will come in whenever I want. I don’t have to listen to him!” Kate turned and motioned to her friends to follow as they started walking away from the house.
Of course Jenny went back into the house and told Dad exactly what Kate had said. As she was telling him she noticed the vein in his temple was pulsating. He went to get Mom and she could hear them arguing in the other room.
To be continued
Her Mother kept calling her so Jenny finally decided she had better go downstairs and get it over with. She slowly walked downstairs and into the living room and there was a strange man bending down and kissing her sisters. He was wearing an Army uniform and for a moment she didn’t know who he was. His voice seemed familiar and he was bald and Jenny remembered him being taller, but of course she was younger then and much shorter. When he straightened up and saw Jenny standing there he said, “Well who do we have here? Don’t tell me this is Jenny and so tall and pretty?” He bent down to kiss her and Jenny sidestepped so that she missed the kiss. Dad was a little flustered at this and didn’t know quite how to take it.
“This is your Father aren’t you going to say anything?” Her Mother’s voice sounded very strange.
Jenny hadn’t seen her Dad in a long time and the emotions welling up in her were almost too much, so she gave way to the most compelling one. Anger. She wiped away his kiss with a haughty gesture, hoping to pay him back for leaving them. He noticed the gesture and yet he kept smiling. Mom pretended not to notice. And Jenny turned and ran back upstairs to the safety of her bedroom. She stayed upstairs and brooded while the laughter downstairs only served to made her angrier.
Uncle Mike had come with Dad, and Mom had prepared a lunch for them and Jenny wondered why they were even there. And why was everyone so friendly? Last she heard her Father was not exactly popular around the house. Now Mom was happy and going out of her way to be nice to Dad. Jenny didn’t want him back under any circumstances. Didn’t her opinion count for anything anymore?
After Dad and Uncle Mike left Mom called them all together and announced that Dad would be coming back to live with them now that he was out of the Army. He had a good job in town with one of the defense plants and things would be just fine. Kate had arrived in time for this announcement, and she and Jenny expressed their dismay at the prospect of Dad coming back. But Mom it seemed would have none of it and told them it was her decision to make and she had made it.
Less than a week later Dad came with his belongings while Jenny was at work and he and Mom had taken a bedroom and so all four girls would have to sleep in the same room. ‘Well that does it.’ Jenny thought. ‘I really don’t want him here, all of us sleeping in the same room, no privacy and a man telling us what to do. It’s horrible. What’s come over Mom? Why is she doing this?’
She slept fitfully that night and upon awakening felt no better. At breakfast she asked Mom why Dad was coming back after all this time? Mom smiled and said things would be just fine. “He’s changed, he has a job now and we certainly need the money. We will all be happier, you won’t have to work now and maybe Kate can go back and graduate from High School and both of you can even go to college. You’d like that wouldn’t you?” Jenny agreed that she would like to go to college but she liked her job and didn’t want to quit. She enjoyed being there. So as time went on she and Kate continued to grumble to each other about “himself” being there and how much they hated it, and wondered to each other what they could do to make him leave.
To be continued.
Jenny flopped back on the bed and started daydreaming again. Mom worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people and was usually exhausted when she got home after traveling on the bus and then walking several blocks. She put Jenny in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house. Jenny liked being in charge because she could then boss her younger sisters around whenever she felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. Jane was eleven and Mary was nine years old and they clashed loudly with Jenny over who was in charge. Their older sister Kate was mostly out, either at work or on a date. She and Jenny got along fine as long as Kate did not have to do any of the housework.
The house they rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop so Jenny and Kate shared a bedroom and Mary and Jane shared the other room. Mom had to sleep on the couch but claimed she didn’t mind because she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves to make sure they didn’t go out. If that happened in the Winter, they would freeze. Kate had to quit high school to work and help support the family and as a result of bringing money in she assumed no duties at home and paid little attention to Mom. The younger girls really didn’t remember their Father or if they did, it was just a fuzzy memory. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.
Jenny had a part time job at a local soda fountain not far from home. It was for the Summer and when school started, she would work a few hours after school each day. So it didn’t interfere with her school work. The owner was a friend of Mom’s so that way Mom could keep an eye on Jenny and she usually came and walked Jenny home after work. Between the job and going to school Jenny was kept quite busy. She even managed to do the cooking and some cleaning at home because if she didn’t then Mom would have to do it.
She did love the job though, because all the school kids gathered there after school and the basketball games. It was a gathering place for all the teens in town from different schools. So Jenny got to meet more kids her own age and older whom she otherwise wouldn’t have met. And she got to drink all the cokes and eat all the ice cream she wanted, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing because she was beginning to gain weight.
Her reverie was interrupted suddenly when she heard her Mom’s voice coming from the bottom of the steps.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you.” Mom’s voice sounded strange.
Jane and Mary bolted down the stairs but for some reason Jenny was hesitant about going down and joining them.
To be continued.
When Jenny came home that day the family was all a twitter about something. Mom, who was usually in an old house dress, was wearing her Sunday best. It was a black rayon dress with big pink flowers splashed all over it. It was one of Jenny’s favorites. It was one of the two dresses that Mom had for special occasions like going to church or to weddings. Her Mother was a good looking woman and she had just started dating recently.
“Jenny, go upstairs and make the beds, we are having company.” Her Mother’s voice was shrill.
“What’s all the commotion about Mom,” she asked?
“It’s a surprise, will you please do what I asked?”
“Okay, okay, but I don’t know what the big deal is? We have had company before and the beds did not have to be made. And what’s with the mystery? Is the Pope coming or what?”
With that Jenny ran upstairs before her Mother would get mad and give her a slap. Her two younger sisters were in the bathroom giggling. She hoped maybe they could shed a little light on what was going on. But when she asked them, they just ignored her and kept giggling. ‘What can you expect from kids,’ she thought? Jenny was all of fourteen and as second oldest in the family was very much in control of things. She was blonde and blue eyed and rather scrawny looking yet the boys were beginning to notice her. Her Mother encouraged her in her independence because she needed Jenny to help at home while she was working. Since Dad left, she needed every penny she could get to raise her four girls. He never willingly sent any money home from his allotment while in the Army. But the Army took money out of his allotment and sent it to us in spite of him. He was a real winner!
Jenny finished making the beds and as she entered her own room, the smells of Summer drifted in through the open window. The watering of lawns and the wet grass smell, coupled with the aroma of the lilac bushes outside made Jenny feel lazy and she flopped on the bed and soon was snoozing. Only a few moments later, the noise of the front door slamming jolted her awake.
She still daydreamed not wanting to leave the bed, which was happening more and more lately. It was a way to close out the real world. Her Dad had deserted them when she was seven and Mom said that fate had caught up with him when he was drafted into the Army. It was 1943 and they were taking anybody and everybody. As long as you were a warm body and male of course. He never expected that to happen and he finally had to get off his duff and do something. At least that’s what Mom said.
Whenever Mom spoke of him, her voice was bitter so Jenny learned to despise his memory even though she didn’t remember all that much about him. Mom filled in the blanks of her memory with all the rotten things he had done. As if just refusing to send money home to his family wasn’t enough.
Jenny often wondered if her father would come back and how she would feel if he ever did. She knew however, with her Mom’s attitude there was slim chance of that happening. As she stubbed out the cigarette she had stolen from Mom’s purse, a train whistle blew in the distance and she wondered what it would be like to be on that train going to New York and maybe studying to be an artist or a dancer.
She was drawn out of her daydream by her Mother’s voice, “Are you finished yet, if so I want you to come down here.”
“I am all done and I will be right down.” She wondered what all the fuss was about.
To be continued.