The house I was born into was one of sadness. (Part 3 of 4) View in browser
I Couldn't Believe My Dad Was Crying

My dad was overcome by sadness.

In this newsletter I want to:

  1. Share Part 3 of a story about the 110 year old house I was born into more than 60 years ago.
  2. Share some book discovery opportunities.
  3. Give you links to Parts 1 & 2 - ICMYI (More Books!)
  4. Final Thoughts
Discover Something New to Read

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14 Books That Happened at the Academy

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Or just read.

I Grew Up in a Spooky House (Part 3 of 4 - 1,102 words)

This excerpt is a first draft of a chapter from the book I am working on. 

Readers of this newsletter get first look.

The whole story is over 5,000 words.

If you are in a hurry, now might not be the best time to read this part 3

Read Part 1 - What Kind of House Did You Grow Up in?

Read Part 2 - Have You Ever Happened Upon a Dead Person?

Your Mother's Gone

What about me and my baby sister? What did the house have in its bag of tricks for us? Was there no reprieve?

I was the odd boy out when I was born, unevening the sides. 

My little sister came along and made the sides even again - 3 boys and 3 girls. But she was cute … and a baby, too. I was now 6-years and a couple of weeks old and still completely off the radar.

“Chrissy! Lennie! Della! Jerry! Time for dinner! Oh, and bring what’s his name?”

My WWII Vet Dad was Crying

My baby sister was about a week old when my brother and I came home from school that day to find our father wet-eyed, though not sobbing uncontrollably. The 60s was a time when ‘real men’ didn’t cry. My dad was 44 years old and a veteran of World War II having served in the South Pacific.

There were rooms on either side of the long hallway. Bedrooms and guest rooms were on one side, the side where my dad was sitting and behind him. The dining room, living room and kitchen were on the opposite side from my dad. The staircase with the banister that we didn’t slide on anymore was to the right of the hallway as we walked entered the house. Pop sat near the bottom of the staircase but on the other side of the hallway.

“Your mother’s gone,” he whispered to us.

We didn’t understand completely. I should say, I didn’t understand completely, I really don’t know about my brother, Jerry. But, it didn’t seem to me that she was so gone that she couldn’t come back. I mean, I didn’t think she was dead. Whatever ‘dead’ might have meant to a six year old.

He went on. “Your mother has left us.” Short pauses seem longer to little people who haven’t lived very long. He continued, “And she isn’t coming back. But don’t worry. I will NEVER leave you.”

Worry about what? I never worried as long as Pop was around. There was never any cause to worry. Maybe I should have worried. It turns out that indeed I should have.

Mom Had Abandoned Us

As I write this, I am older now and I understand better. My mother had abandoned us, all of us, but especially my little sister. I want to blame unhappiness on someone or something. I want to say there was wickedness in that house or maybe it was in my mother. I don’t know but I won’t accuse her or the house. People, me included, are dumb enough to make our own mistakes. We don’t need to dumb up the issue by trying to skirt what is our own fault.

It was the devil’s fault. Yeah, right. The devil was busy with the hippie movement in the 60s. He didn’t have time to spend just on us.

Our house was undeniably spooky. I know that having lived in that house, something went terribly wrong and it would not leave our family alone while we lived there and maybe for many years afterwards. Or not.

My baby sister was a week old and motherless.

“Dad! Can I have something to eat?”

Our lives went on with Pop doing all the parenting.

More Tears

It was just a couple of weeks after my brother and I found him in the hallway when there were more tears and another first took place —- a family meeting. We all, Chrissy, Lennie, Della, Jerry, me and little Pammy, were called into the dining room where we sat around the table. I don’t know what deep sorrow and distress looks like but I suppose it shows itself with deep breaths and very slow speaking. And being left uninvited to meals.

“Kids, I will tell you again. Don’t worry. I am not leaving you. NEVER!”

I wonder now, was he trying to reassure us by repeating this mantra or to convince himself? It’s no matter now. He kept his word.

“I don’t know how I can raise all of you kids by myself. It’s too hard for me to do alone and I don’t know what to do.” A very long pregnant pause followed. I hoped we weren’t going to get another kid and uneven the sides again.

Pop continued, “But, I have an idea. And, I need all of you kids to help.”

We waited impatiently for his suggestion.

He said, “Let’s pray your momma comes back.”

“Huh!?” We all said in unison.

“Let’s pray your momma comes back. Maybe that’ll work.”

We had never done that sort of thing before and no one quite knew what to do or say. To make matters worse since I was the youngest, at least the youngest who could talk, Pop decided to start with me.

Pop looked me in the eyes and asked, “Willy, will you go first?”

I’d have done anything for Pop. Any of us kids would. Because he would do anything for us kids.

The Impossible Dream

The song, The Impossible Dream has a phrase that goes, “to try when your arms are too weary…” I saw this lived out in my dad once.

Pop was a truck mechanic. At times he had to lie on his back under big tractor trailers. One day I was with him at work and watched as he was reaching up to fix something on the underside of one of the beasts. His arms fell, flopped down is more precise.

“What’s wrong, Pop?” I asked worriedly.

“My arms are so tired.”

“Why don’t you take a rest?”

“I gotta finish this job.”

“Take a break, Pop,” I urged.

“Can’t. It’s gotta be finished today. I promised you kids we’d go to the river this weekend.”

His impossible dream was to take care of his family, us, the kids. He did the impossible, simply by never giving up, and in this case even calling for Help when necessary. We loved him; I loved him more than life itself. And he asked me to pray.

Now, he was asking me to do the impossible. Pray. I had no idea what to say.

Why start with me? Even today I can’t figure it out. And Pop is long gone.

I thought hard and long and then mustered all a six year old could think of to pray. What I remember praying is, “Dear God, Please bring mommy back.”

That’s it. No more. To my surprise, each older brother and sister, in turn, prayed the same thing, “Dear God, please bring mommy back.”

Finally Pop prayed the same simple prayer. And we went to bed.

Final thoughts:

I deeply appreciate having you as part of the GUW world.

Thank you for following along as I write The Story of You.

If you want to become an Advanced Reader of the WHOLE BOOK while I write, HIT REPLY and tell me why. 

I will get back to you if you can be included in the Advanced Reader Group.

Have a great summer!

111 W. Arques Ave, Sunnyvale
CA 94085 United States

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