Editor’s Note: As part of my continuing effort to blog my memoir, I will be sharing a glimpse of a character/description that focuses on a person in my life each week during the month of January. I hope you enjoy this January character series…
I could sense someone was there. I could hear the heavy inhale and exhale. I opened my eyes just enough to see the dimly lit hallway. The smoke swirled and danced in the air. I could see his shadow at the doorway of my bedroom door. He leaned to the side of the doorway with one leg crossed over the other like a cowboy at the O.K. Corral.
Realizing it was not a dream, I recognized the figure as my dad.
Even at the age of 10, the scene was apropos for this misunderstood man.
The man who was stuck in the wrong century. The man who couldn’t make sense of the complexities and darkness of the world. The man who yearned for simplicity in life, but found himself here in the 20th and 21st centuries.
He wanted nothing more than life on his own terms. His terms would have been living an isolated life on a prairie, or tucked away in the mountains. Of course, there would be occasional interludes with the opposite sex.
He would have used tin plates and cups over an open fire. His daily diet would consist of black tar-like coffee and hand-rolled cigarettes. Like a true hunter, the planning and catching of meals would be the highlight of the day. Unless, of course he found gold.
But my dad was not alone.
He had three children, a wife and mortgage payment living in the suburbs. He drowned his sorrows of life in liquid poison.
The pain behind the man can be seen by taking a glance back in time during the 1950s.
He had always been a quiet child. Living in a small town in Central California, he was known as a shy loner with streaks of rebel actor James Dean boiling in his blood. His strick German father would record my father’s every move in a small black book. Lining my father up against the wall like a Jewish prisoner, he would interrogate this frightened child in his thick guttural German language.
By age 10, he escaped in the pages of books, cigarettes and alcohol..
Read more about my Dad in these past posts: