It was a beautiful spring day, June 11th to be exact. My sister and I were up early and ready to go to the pool. Ready to see our friends and play in the water, I was excited to go because she was old enough to watch me now. Mom was going to drop us off and we were going to have so much fun.
I came out of my room and Sis was sitting at the top of the stairs. I sat down next to her and asked her what she was doing, she said to be quiet and watch. I saw my dad coming up from the basement with clothes he took straight out of the closet still on their hangers and walk out the front door to his old Ford truck. Then his friend Pete also came up the stairs with some paper bags full of things. I had no idea what they were doing, I thought maybe Pete was helping dad with a project like he usually did.
Then I realized it was a work day, daddy was supposed to have been at work. I asked my sis “What’s daddy doing?” She replied “He’s moving out. They’re getting a divorce.”
Divorce? What? Why? Where’s he going to live? Are we going to? Where’s mom? I don’t understand! All of these thoughts and questions were flying through my mind, I may have even been asking out loud, it was a blur. It was like watching the world go by in warp speed yet I was still in normal speed. Surreal.
Then he was gone. He didn’t come back in and say goodbye. He didn’t leave me a note. He just drove off.
Soon mom came in through the back door, went to the bathroom and came out grabbed her purse and said “c’mon girls, grab your things so I can take you to the pool.” We drove to the pool and didn’t speak the whole way, she gave us cash for admission and food, said she’d be back at 3:00 pm and she left.
We went inside and found our favorite spot, we were there by 10am so we had the whole place to ourselves. My sis and I waited for a bit and some of her friends showed up, then she told me she was going with them over to McDonald’s to get us some food and would be right back. I swam for a little bit by myself, kept watching where our towels were laid out for my sis to return. I was getting really hungry, so I went to get some money and maybe buy some chips, but sis had all of the money.
Soon it was 1:30 in the afternoon, Sis was still gone, I was starving and I was all alone. I asked a nice lady for .20 cents to call my mom, told her I was alone and my sis left and took all the money for food 2 hours ago and hadn’t come back. She was a nice lady, she even bought me a hot dog and chips. I called my mom but she didn’t answer. I didn’t know anyone else’s phone number and I started to become really scared and then the reality of what happened that morning hit me.
My daddy, my rock, my go to person, the parent that actually loved me moved out of our house and I don’t know where he is. My mom dropped us off and didn’t say where she was going. My sis left to buy us food and didn’t come back. I was all alone at the pool and no one to help me. I started crying and ran into the showers and hid in a changing stall and cried so hard, shaking and shivering from being wet.
I could see the clock on the wall and mom said she’d be back by 3:00pm and it was 2:55pm, I grabbed all of our stuff and waited outside sitting on the brick planter. I saw our red pinto station wagon pulling in and I ran and got into the back seat. Told mom what had happened and that Sis left me. Soon Sis walked up and she and mom fought and yelled all the way home.
I went to bed that night still in the emotional darkness I started off with that day. Mom never told me what was happening, daddy didn’t call and Sis was ignoring me because she got in trouble for leaving me alone at the pool.
Abandoned, scared, alone, confused, punished and ignored is how the rest of my childhood went until the day I moved out. This negative view fed the “pig” of my formative years.
To this day I don’t blame my daddy or how it was handled. He was younger at that time, then I am now. He had no idea what to do or how to do this. Divorce wasn’t talked about in the 70’s nor how to handle it. I know now it broke his heart leaving me and he knew taking me away from the home I grew up in was not what he wanted for me. Didn’t want me to leave my friends. Dads didn’t have rights then anyways. He did what he thought was best and I understand it now, even if he told me then this information, I was too young to understand it.
He’s still my hero, he’s still my best friend and he’ll always be my daddy and I his little girl.