We knew when Paddy was out of the Army because that’s when our allotment ended. After the war was over and he was back home, his family, meaning his mother and sisters at least, wanted him to go back home to his wife and children. In fact they were trying to come up with ideas to make this happen. I guess they did not want to be supporting him anymore.
So one day not long after Paddy was home, Mother got a call from her brother-in-law, who was married to one of Paddy’s sisters. The brother-in-law was one of the few in Paddy’s family that Mother actually liked. He wanted to set up a meeting between Paddy and Mother and I guess he was pretty convincing because a meeting was set up for the following week.
Now Mother, for some reason, did not disclose anything about the meeting with us kids. So we were completely in the dark. On the scheduled meeting day, which happened to be a Sunday when we were all at home, Paddy and his brother-in-law arrived. Paddy was in full regalia, his Army dress uniform no less.
I heard voices from downstairs drifting up to where I was doing my homework in my bedroom. Not recognizing the voices except Mothers, I just continued with what I was doing. Soon thereafter, I heard Mother come to the bottom of the staircase. She asked me to come down, saying there was someone she wanted me to meet. Now I had no idea it was Paddy, so I told her I was busy doing my homework.
But she kept insisting that I come down and I thought I’d better go down or else she would keep on insisting. I walked slowly down the steps and lo and behold, there was Himself in his Army get-up with a big smile on his face. My first inclination was to run back up the steps But Mother was saying, “It’s your Father, aren’t you going to say anything?” He approached me and planted a big kiss on my cheek. I put my hand to my face and wiped the kiss off and ran back up the steps. I could hear Mother making excuses for my behavior but I was too angry at the time to care. How could she do this to us?
A few weeks after Paddy had moved in with us, we kids were still not happy about it. At least we were warned beforehand but It was still really tense even though Mother tried to make everything seem normal. She started cooking big meals and had fresh coffee whenever Paddy wanted it. He and Mother took the back bedroom and us kids had to make do with whatever was left. He found a job at a defense plant on the night shift as a security guard. It was so very strange having him there and working; it took quite a while to get used to it.
But after a few months, I at least and the younger kids got used to having him around. In fact, he started having his buddies over on the weekends for poker and beer. Mother did not seem too happy about this. Soon I was joining Himself and his buddies, to listen to the war stories and maybe have a sip of beer once in a while. Anna at sixteen and in the tenth grade, decided to quit school to work in a factory and was earning a pretty good salary. She never became acclimated to having Himself there. She could not accept the fact he could tell her what to do!
So there was tension in the air between Paddy and Anna on a regular basis. Anna worked the late shift also, getting out at 10 pm. Father was home early that night; he usually did not get home from work until 12 midnight. When he noticed that Anna and her friends from work were standing outside the house talking and laughing, he sent me out to tell her to “get in the house right now!”
To be continued.