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.”