loracs: (Default)
 You know how you think you know someone - especially someone you've know all your life and then something pushes that image out of shape? In my clean and purge, I came across some photos and papers I didn't know I had. There are two letters of recommendation for my dad. He worked for a construction company as a foreman. He worked on the acid pipeline at an ammunition plant. They both praised his ability as a leader. At one point, he had a couple hundred construction workers under him. There was also a thank you letter from a civil engineer, who complimented my dad for leading his team in the emergency repair of 800 feet of an acid pipeline that broke. They replaced it all in less than 48 hours. This was in 1954, about a year before my dad met my mother. The man I knew was a loner, didn't have much use for most of humanity. As part of that, he owned his own business (a gas station) and usually worked it 7 days a week from open to close. Occasionally, he would pay someone to work a few hours on Sunday afternoon, so he could come home for Sunday dinner with the family.
By my teen years, I realized he was an alcoholic. Once he retired in 1979, he didn't have anything to stop him from drinking before noon. I moved to California in 1981. He made mom's life pretty miserable, chasing away most of her friends from before they were married. One day in 1996, he got sick and couldn't get out of bed for a couple of days. He went into alcohol withdraw, and when he was so disoriented my mom finally call my sister. Mom was scared to call 911, scared that when he came back to himself, he would be furious with her. My sister didn't have any such fear and off he went to the hospital. He had had a small stroke and he had memory loss from pickling his brain for so many years. He never came home again - spending the last 3 years in a nursing home, walking the locked ward among other patients. 
That's the man I knew - a loner, not a leader.
loracs: (Girl with Pearl Earring)
I didn't mean to write this much about my father. It's not a happy story. )

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February 2017

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