After Father left things actually got better for us. We started receiving Welfare and had access to commodities which is now referred to as Food Stamps. So we were eating on a regular basis and thanks to our Pastor at the Catholic Church we had milk delivered daily. And we certainly did not miss all the arguing and fighting. Our closest neighbor Mrs. D. became good friends with my Mother and because of her we had fresh vegetables most every day from her garden. So between that and getting a lunch provided by the Catholic school for low income students, we were growing up healthy.
Mother and Mrs. D. started going to the movies once a week and to bingo on some other nights. It was good for both of them to get out and have a few laughs once in awhile. Mrs. D. had a husband but in addition to having a mistress, he also used to beat Mrs. D. up on occasion. Good Catholic man that he was, never missing a Sunday Mass.
Mr. and Mrs. D. had three boys and a girl. The girl at thirteen being the oldest, she was also big and stocky, taking after her father. Mrs. D. was a little slip of a thing weighing about a hundred and five pounds. The girl was older than Anna so we didn’t have much in common with her but she was friendly with my Mother. She used to hang around our house a lot during the Summer when school was out. She liked to eat the freshly baked sweet treats my Mother always had on hand. The older boys who were eleven and twelve were always getting into trouble. They would steal a bike and bring it home and Mrs. D. would have them paint the bike another color. After doing this several times, they were caught and sent to a home for delinquents. Mrs. D. claimed her hair had turned gray overnight because of the boys.
So things for us were going along relatively well. At least we had a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. It seemed no time before both Anna and I were in school. Catholic school of course. Father insisted we go to Catholic school even though he wasn’t living with us or contributing to our support. He had gone there and he insisted that one got a better education in Catholic school. I guess he should know having been a teacher in the Public school.
Even though we were receiving Welfare, it still didn’t cover things like clothes and pay all of the bills like coal for the fire to heat the house and cook, etc, even to warm the water. We only had cold running water and a toilet in a porch off the kitchen, no bathroom to speak of. So Mother tried to get a few odd jobs cleaning homes and cooking for people, to help us survive. So things were running smoothly. Paddy put an end to that though!
To be continued.