Ancient History 101 B:
I must have stayed with Dad for about a year then Mom came and took me back to Saskatoon with her while Dad stayed there alone for awhile longer. I don’t know why, seeing she worked full-time and had no means of looking after me except to leave me with babysitters. Did she get wind of some abuse she wanted to get me away from? I never asked her –and she likely wouldn’t have said, either.
I remember being alone a lot, usually left with older ladies trying to earn a little income from babysitting. I remember one old lady giving me a big spoon and putting me in her back yard, where I dug around in her garden for hours on end. Mom told me that at one point Verne was “babysitting” me by taking me to his job in a garage and leaving me in his car all day. When you were poor you did what you had to do, I guess. Probably this was where I developed my great imagination!
Some months later Dad rented the farm to a neighbour and came to Saskatoon, too. We all lived together with a relative for a few months until we got our own place. Verne had a job; I don’t remember him being around much.
One day when I was five and Verne was 17, he and Dad got into an argument over which TV channel to watch and there was a little scuffle that ended by Dad throwing Verne out of the house. I never saw or heard any negative reaction from Mom over the incident, but it must have broken her heart. And Verne didn’t enter our home again for seven years! He was married the next year; Mom and I went to the wedding but Dad wouldn’t go.
My Mom and Dad F were so opposite. Mom was an easy-going, have a good time sort of person and a very loving mother to her son. Dad has no use for boys; Verne got a lot of lickings and I’m sure they were delivered with the same fury I remember when it came my turn to get one. Dad “boxed my ears” constantly, but never spanked until he’d exploded.
Mom could get along with almost anyone, perhaps didn’t feel responsibility like she should have, especially in spending. On the other hand she was a hard worker, she put up with a lot and didn’t contradict Dad very often.
Dad was moody, sullen, a perfectionist by nature, seemingly never satisfied. Hard-headed, very WASP, somewhat bitter about life and disgusted with all the yoyos around him! His Dad had never showed him any love and he never really reconciled himself to that, plus he went away to war (though not as a combatant) and Mom says he was worse when he got home. Dad had only a few good friends – until/unless they said or did something that annoyed him. That was usually the end of the friendship
His health wasn’t good and he had to be hospitalized a few times because of his ulcers, plus his work as a carpenter was scarce during the winter, so Mom was the main bread-winner during those first years. Perhaps this all frustrated Dad? I don’t know‒but living with him was far from pleasant.
Looking back now, I’m sure he just wanted to correct the error of my ways but at the time it felt like he hated me. He told me constantly how pitifully stupid and useless I was and how “You’re going to end up a lazy old sow like your mother.” Perhaps his own father talked to him this way all the time and he was simply passing it on. Quite likely I was an overly-sensitive child, which made things worse. My sister Donna stayed with us a few months and she just let his growling bounce off, but I found that verbal abuse very destructive.