My Dad was truly a larger than life character on this planet. I would have to categorize him as one of the great mysteries if I were the casting director of his life story. After yesterday’s post you might want to hold onto your chair for this one. For the record, the side of Dad that I will describe to you today is who I believe he actually was meant to be in this life mental illness aside.
I am the oldest of four siblings, and the only child with a different biological mother. Eleven years older than my next sibling so there was a span of time after my mother’s death (6 years) where I actually lived with Dad’s sister during the school year,and alone with my dad one month out of the summer after his tour of duty in Vietnam. My aunt was a traditional mom figure, and she was completely aware of my Dad’s darker side. I am told that my grandfather was exactly like my Dad in every aspect. So for that one month where my aunt had to turn me back over to Dad I knew that she felt a great deal of anxiety over doing so.
Dad could be very charming, and was rarely without a very attractive woman by his side. Let’s just say that Dad was a bit like Charlie Sheen’s character on the television show “Two And A Half Men” without the beach house, and a potentially much darker side. Women were drawn to him ,and men secretly wished to possess his total ability to be a complete”badass”. He played hard, and lived life like it was a huge never-ending party making no excuses along the way. During my one month out of the summer I would tag along with him, and his other drinking buddies (really decent guys who wanted to be with this man who knew how to party), and treated me like their beloved little mascot. We went to baseball games, site seeing, fishing trips, pitched pennies into Tupperware bowls set up all over the living room, made beer tab chains (the tabs that use to come on beer cans back in the day), and played cards till the sun came up. I was a frequent patron of the toy store, and ate whatever I wanted. If on the very rare occasion someone would express to Dad this may not be the most suitable life style for a little girl they very quickly learned not to do it again!
After my father remarried in 1975, (I moved back in with my Dad),and my next two siblings were born. Dad transformed from playboy, to come home after work family guy. He clearly loved my new Mom, but looking back now I realize this was a huge change for him, a complete make over that probably never felt completely natural to his nature. Dad loved babies! He was a hands on dad that changed diapers, walked the floor in the middle of the night, he was a great provider, he told us often that he loved us so when his darker side reared it’s ugly head it was mind fucking to say the least. Dad to this day is the most generous person I have ever known. He imparted his love of reading to all of us.He would wake you up in the morning with a song, and was a magical storyteller. We knew he would die before he would let someone hurts us, and yet ironically he was the very person who violated our safety.
You take all of his incredible larger than life qualities combine them with his mental illness issues, and you what you have ladies & gentlemen is one of the planet’s greatest mysteries. A man who was very much loved by his wife, his children, his grandchildren (he was an amazing grandfather), my husband and his own family. Perhaps one of the strangest love stories around, but make no mistake about it he was, and continues to be loved! 😉