MY DAD: A Troubled Man

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.


9 thoughts on “MY DAD: A Troubled Man

  1. The problem is that abuse and neglect is something that can pass from generation to generation. Love and caring is not genetic, it has to be learnt through experiential action. People can break the chain by learning it from someone giving them that love.


    • That’s how my dad learned it, but thankfully his son chose a different way and was not at all like his dad. Mom’s influence, no doubt.

      God is always working to counteract the negative patterns in a person’s life, sending us people that give us demonstrations, however small, of love and kindness. That’s why it’s so important for Christian people to obey those small nudges when the Holy Spirit wants us to speak and offer hope to someone.

      Rick Langlais’ life story (Dysfunctional, written by Andrew Fehr) is a terrific testimony to the miracles God can perform on someone who came from about the worst home situation imaginable. Today he operates a street mission to children, trying to give them a hope he never had. The book Untwisted by Serge Leclerc is much the same; thankfully he didn’t suffer nor describe such graphic details of abuse.


    • I don’t know if I’d say that. And they usually aren’t separated; a parent will usually start yelling and then start hitting. (Though my dad usually whacked you first and then told you what it was about. “You left a mess on the counter” etc.) But when Dad lost his temper one time and gave me a spanking I’ll never forget (more like a beating), it was terrifying to be in the hands of someone who was so out of control. To live with that constantly would have driven me crazy.


      • Oh Christine Please don’t think I take it lightly what you went through. You are an amazing Lady to have come through it all. I was just trying to say that physical abuse can heal where verbal abuse can stay with you for a long, long time. hugs. Renee 🙂


  2. Wow! Thank you! I always needed to write on my website something like that. Can I take a part of your post to my website?


    • If you wish to use my material and my name, please send me a copy of the article you have used it in — before you publish it.
      Post this article as a comment on “My Dad–A Troubled Man”; once I have read it, I will e-mail permission.
      Thank you for respecting my copyright. Christine


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