In the last post you read why Dad’s death solved Mom’s biggest problem. In this post you will read about my next step father and his cruelty.
Later, that same year, in 1955 while living with him at his
house in North Minneapolis, Uncle Jeremy sneezed on me. So close the spray covered the back of my neck.
Aunt Peg’s Kitchen
Just after that mess I can remember all of us standing in Aunt Meg’s kitchen. The kitchen floor in that big 2-story house was a checkerboard pattern with counter tops, painted wooden trim, an old electric mixer and bowl and an odd assortment of mismatched dishes that all appeared smeared with a nearly indistinguishable mixture of peanut-butter, oil and eggs that were several years old. I can recall the floors creaked under Aunt Meg’s weight. “Who do’s the cooking,” I asked, looking at Aunt Meg. “I do,” she said. “I’d sure like to try some of your cooking,” I said. “and, Aunt Meg, you ain’t fat either,” I said transparently.
I was lucky to have such a large extended family while
growing up in Minnesota, I guess. Lucky in the sense that after
Dad died in 1954, Folks could see Mom and I needed help and
sometimes took us in. My brother Dean and sisters Darla and
Pam also helped out Mom a lot, I am told. Mom remarried twice
during that time, I recall. Once to Curley and then Jim.
Mom’s Second Husband – Curley
Mom married Curley when I was about 6 years old. Supposedly, Curley was part Chippewa Indian. The rumor was Mom married the first available man who had both legs intact, which is nonsense. But I always wondered how the rumor got started.
And Three Disturbing Memories
One involved a fist-fight at our house on New Year’s eve. A small boy’s recollections are bigger than life, I suppose, but I can remember loud voices and bloody faces the next day – something like a scene from the movie “Gangs of New York”.
The second memory was when I was swimming in Shingle Creek and nearly drowning. I called Curley for help, since he was sitting on the bank of the creek. He didn’t help. I still recall the taste of the briny, fetid creek water as it raced down the back of my throat. The bastard never tried to help.
A third memory is when Curley held a shotgun on us for several hours. Apparently he didn’t like what Mom had served for dinner and with one motion, raked all of the plates full of food onto the floor. Curley held us at gunpoint for quite a while. It seemed like hours. As my brother Dean tells it, “I fought with Curley for control of the shotgun but he slammed the butt of the gun into my stomach and got the better of me.”
I didn’t hate my step father Curley. But I hate the memories.
Did you have a mean step father?
Next: Three Long-Term Effects of Childhood Loss of Father