Mom's Black Eye
Mom came into the trailer sobbing as hard as I had ever seen or heard anyone cry. The side of Mom’s face was swollen. Her crying was so deep that the hurt came from way down deep inside; she could hardly speak. Amid her tears and crying, Mom said that Dad had hit her in the eye.
Seven of us lived in a trailer probably fourteen feet long. Friday was payday. Dad didn’t come home after work. Mom jumped in Dewey’s old truck to try to find Dad before he drank up his whole paycheck, like he had done so many times before. Mom was desperate to get some money from Dad to feed her five little children ages seven, six, five, four and three. I was four at the time.
Mom drove in front of all the bars in town to see if she could find Dad and Dewey; no success. Mom rounded the corner of 6th and F Street and saw Dad and a few of his drinking buddies ready to party; it was Friday night. Mom pulled up behind Dewey’s pride and joy, his brand new 1957 Pontiac Bonneville convertible. Mom went to apply the brakes to Dewey’s old clunker truck, but the brakes didn’t work. Mom, to her horror, plowed right into the back of Dewey’s brand new convertible. Dad was in a rage.
It was too early in the afternoon for them to be drunk, but they were on their way. Dad ran up to the window, reached in and grabbed Mom by the hair and hit her in the side of the face as hard as his position would allow. Mom fell over in the seat. Dad pushed Mom over to the other side of the truck, got in and drove her back to the trailer yelling and screaming at her all the way back home. Mom came into the trailer and fell on the bed and cried for more than an hour.
When she finally got up to try and find something to fix us for dinner, her eye was swollen shut and half of her face was distorted. Mom was under five feet tall and weighed about 115 pounds. Dad was Clark Gable type handsome, 6 feet 2 and about 195 pounds.
All the women in town thought my dad was Mr. Handsome. I was too young to hate my dad. We lived in fear of him. When I was a teenager, I told my Dad that I never wanted to be like him.
The next morning, as Dad and Mom lay in bed, I could hear my Dad telling my Mother how sorry he was for what he did the day before. Mom was giving him the silent treatment. Dad kept repeating his apology. I couldn’t understand why Mom wouldn’t acknowledge his apology so that everything would be all better. Tension filled the air for several days. Mom wore sunglasses for over a week. Dad kept insisting that he would never do that again. I came to learn why Mom didn’t believe his apology.
Author’s note: Fear, as other emotions, in many ways is a learned or at least a heightened reaction. As little children, our father’s explosive tantrums began to shape and teach us to act and react in like manner. As we grew we began to treat each other with similar contempt. I’ve often wondered how our lives could have been more emotionally healthy had our Father been nurtured in a healthy environment. My Dad’s Father was also an alcoholic. The cycle continues.
“Alcoholism is a disease of the whole person.” Maurice Gelinas
“A hangover is the wrath of grapes.” Unknown
“Wine is bottled poetry.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Bear is bottled poverty.” James Kroshus
“If drinking is interfering with your work, you are probably a heavy drinker. If work is interfering with your drinking, you are probably an alcoholic.” Unknown
“I have a drinking problem. I have two hands and only one mouth.” Rick Hammery
“It takes 8460 bolts to assemble an automobile and only one drunken nut to scatter it all over the road.” Unknown
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20;1
“When the wine is in, the wit is out”. God