Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gauging My Father's Moods was a Survival Skill

Coffee Bay - the scene of many crimes against women and children
I think my mom did the best she could given her set of circumstances, loving a man who was more cruel than good, a mother-in-law who interfered and disliked her, having no parents of her own and a brood of children.   Most of her energy went into trying to appease my father, to make him happy so that we could have a happy home and trying to provide the necessities for all these children because she had an entrepreneur husband that went from riches to rags as quickly as the moon changed phases.    She too was a victim of her time, a victim of her circumstances.

As I got older I became her protector, her mother, her friend.  I remember once when my father lifted his hand to her I jumped up and put a coke bottle into her hand and said, “If he hits you, hit him back!” and then told him to go and “Pick on someone your own size in the pub”.  

I could measure his moods and became very astute to what his next move would be.  If he was going to beat my mother, I would put myself in a position that he would look at me to find something to hit me about.   Then I would feel like I had protected her again.   Her life depended on my skill at judging his moods.


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