Reading my brother's email, which he allowed me to post, got me thinking about Dad. Lori mentioned in her comment that she does not recall me writing about him. I thought I had! I thought I'd talked about how he had ESP and saved us all from the 1959 Earthquake in Yellowstone, and how he also saved us from a grizzly bear in Glacier Park when we were camping there. How he was a poet..and encouraged me to write poetry. His poetry was published in a "Drilling Magazine".
Dad was a "tool pusher"...which means he was the main boss of the company who owned the drilling rigs. He worked in Canada (which is where my brother and I were born...and where my sister Glenna was already 4 years-old). He also was the boss of rigs in Montana and Wyoming. My mom used to say that he came home long enough to get her pregnant..and then was off again. I figure my mom was about 22 years old then..and my dad was 16 years older.
Mom told me that when John was about 2 years old, we moved to Roundup, Montana. I was a baby. She said dad had rented a house for her there..which she hated. He rented it for her.."sight unseen". She hated it because there was a floor furnace, it was winter, and she was scared that John would get injured . My grandma Lydia, from Romania, was with her...as she had been in Regina, Sask., Canada. Apparently... the first night, my brother John had fallen across the hot heater and burned his hands and legs. Mom took him to the hospital right away.
She told me that she was so angry with my dad. That is when mom found "our house" on 3rd street..in Roundup. I don't recall when Grandma left...but I know that I have faint memories of her rocking me. So does my sis Glenna. My sis Pat was born when we lived there...and my brother Michael and Lydia were buried there. One died shortly after birth..the other "stillborn".
Now know, my dad made big bucks back then. I have videos he made from that time..not many people could afford cameras like that then. Then, he broke his leg. No benefits then, no disability. That Christmas...mom shaped a meatloaf into a turkey....and we all loved it. I recall it vividly. We argued over who got the leg..and mom gingerly cut off "the leg" for the one of us who won it...probably by a coin toss. It was the only Christmas I recall not having lots of people there..it was just the family. I also remember moving to the poor side of town [queue Johnny Rivers]...but mom made that skating rink for us in the back yard, and there was that hill to sled off of.
Mom told me the story about John and the heater in 1995, on our trip to Oregon...after I'd moved back to Wyoming. If you've never taken a trip with your living parent...I suggest you do it..soon! I am glad I did. I waited too long to spend time with my father before he died, and when I finally did...he didn't know who I was. He asked John, "how's Melody doing?" I stood in front of him and said, "it's me dad..I'm right here". He had dementia. My parents divorced when I was 11 and dad moved back to his home state of Texas. They both remarried. Dad died 9/11/94 and mom died 9/11/01.
I moved back to Wyo. because I knew my mom was sick..and I knew she'd be dead within 5 or 6 years. I wanted to spend as much time talking to her as I could. It wasn't always easy..as she could be a horrid bitch...but am glad I took the trip to Oregon with her.
I'll never forget singing with her in the car...music up loud to Patsy Cline songs..and to Holly Smith's "Amazing Grace"...which she said she wanted at her funeral....and was played. We should have played "I Fall to Pieces." It was fun winding our way through the Idaho Mountains singing and talking. We stopped at the first resort-type place we saw..as we both had to pee like crazy. They opened the door and said they were closed..we could not pee there. So we both pulled down our pants and peed on their porch! It was dark out. We laughed afterwards..running toward the car like little kids...I love that memory of us. I just love it. I don't want to recall the bad times with mom...at least not now.