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It was a glorious, early Spring morning in our little mid-western town. The sun was shining and the light breeze was tickling the green grass all around the blankets we sat on. It had rained earlier and the air smelled fresh and clean. A few tiny pillow soft, white clouds were visible. It was peaceful. But we were crying, my three sisters and I.
We were outside because Mommy and Daddy were inside fighting. Again. Words. Hurting words. How long did it go on? Too long. Then they were outside. Daddy was still yelling. Mommy was crying.
What is that in Daddy's hand? A suitcase? Why? Where are you going Daddy? What? Say goodbye? To who? Mommy? No! There were no hugs or kisses. They just got in our little white Corvair with its red interior and they drove away.
When Daddy came back he was alone. All he said was, "Girls, your mother is moving to California."
That was all we were told and it was like Mommy had never been there. Debbi was 13. I was 11. Donna was 8 and Bobbi was 6. Four lost little waifs who needed their faces washed and their hair brushed.
No one seemed surprised. None but us, her children.
Just two weeks after Dad took Mom away, Spring school pictures were taken. I wore my favorite dress. It had a light green skirt and a cream colored bodice and I wore a matching green ribbon in my strawberry blonde hair. Green is my favorite color.
After school I hurried home. I wanted to show my daddy how pretty I was. He wasn't there. I was afraid he had left me too. I cried myself to sleep on the couch while waiting for him. When I woke up Daddy was hurting me! I cried and told him it hurt. He got up and walked away.
I started wetting the bed. I was so embarrassed. I couldn't tell anyone. Daddy yelled at me and said, "You're just like your mother!" I didn't understand, so I blamed Mommy.
No one but me to keep things going. I shop and cook. I clean and bathe. I launder and stop thinking.
Eight months go by. It’s cold and I’m cold. Inside more that out but I don’t feel it. I feel nothing.
"We’re going out for supper. Get your coats girls," Daddy said. I want to take my history book but Daddy makes me leave it. As I eat my open-face roast beef, mashed potatoes, and peas at Lucy’s Café a telephone rings. Lucy says, "Don, it’s for you. Your house is on fire."
My sister’s and I are left behind as Daddy leaves. We finish our meals and go home with a sympathetic middle school teacher.
Mrs. Stanley had polio when she was a little girl. Her left arm and hand are small and she can’t use them. Still, she sits and crochets and tells us everything will be O.K. Evening is gone and we are put in beds.
Morning comes. It’s a school day. As I eat my cold cereal I think of my history book. "I hope it didn’t burn up. If only Daddy had let me take it."
A very difficult time for you at a very difficult age. The hardest thing must have been not knowing or understanding. It sounds like there was a lack of communication. A very well written piece of pain on various levels. You are a wonderful person for writing about that time.