Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from my manuscript detailing my own abuse. Please see “My Story of Abuse” under the category link.
Our Dad was a mean drunk. He would leave us in the car outside a bar for hours on end. I was thirteen at the time, and Dottie was 7 and traumatized on a regular basis. Dottie was always afraid he’d wreck the car on the way home and we’d all end up dead, or in the creek. Like I said, “I was thirteen years old when Dad decided to give me a crash course on driving and have me to drive home because he was too stinkin’ drunk to drive. I was never so afraid in all my life. He sat up front with me and Darcie and Dottie was in the back seat.
He’d scream out orders to me from time-to-time, “The light’s green—go stupid.” Or, “Get the hell over you’re going off the road.” I did get us home in one piece that night.
Mom screamed her guts out at him for letting me drive. Dottie told me after we got into bed that she wasn’t nearly as afraid of me driving than Dad.
I didn’t realize how difficult our lives were until some time after I left home. I knew I’d be a very different parent than mine were. With Dad spending all the money on booze, gambling and other women—there was little, or no money left for food or paying bills.
Mom always made me call the bill collectors. She’d have me to tell them some lie as to why she couldn’t pay the bill, promise to pay it in a week to keep the utilities on.
One day she sent me to a neighbor’s that had a small carry-out to ask him to borrow $10 to feed her kids. He said, “No.” Our lives were full of embarrassments and humiliation.
One morning I was searching for something to feed Dottie. I found some old bread and toasted it for her. I went to the refrigerator for butter, and the only thing in the fridge was mustard. So, she had toast with mustard on it for breakfast. Darcie and I had nothing.
I vividly recall the first memory of our Dad when I was 4 years old. We were at our grandma’s house for the weekend, and he got angry with my mother and slapped her and left. Another time, I was old enough to catch what had happened. Mom and Dad were sleeping in the same room as grandma. He wanted to have sex with her, with my grandma in the same room! Mom told him, “No, not with Mom in here.” He jumped straight up out of the bed and then flipped the bed over–throwing Mom on the floor. My grandmother knew what was going on too.
One of my most humiliating times with him was at the river. He had bought a small boat and we went almost every weekend to go skiing. This particular time, he invited my future in-laws. He backed the car toward the river to unload the boat. He was trying to get the boat off the trailer when he yelled at me to get in the car and pull it forward. It was a big car, and it was a standard. I didn’t know how to drive a standard, but he screamed at me again to get into the car. I tried to pull the car forward but it kept stalling out. He bellowed at me, “You stupid jackass—get the hell out of the god-damn car.” I could have died on the spot with my future in-laws staring at me with pathetic looks on their faces. I never went to the river again with him.