Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Summer of 1962 Visit to My Dad's

The story I posted on April 20th should have followed this one, but I'd forgotten I'd even written this one. These two stories will join the others I've started organizing as part of my memoirs for my son. I'll fill in the blanks with more stories about my life whenever the mood strikes me.

Hmmmm, I think smell another blog organized like the one I made just for my army stories. It makes reading about those time a a lot easier than randomly browsing this blog for those stories.


My parents were divorced when I was about 12 and my mother was given custody of the three of us. I was very close to my father and when he left, it hit me very hard. Sure, he'd come back for a visit once in a while, but that wasn't very often. He never stuck around very long, because my mom and him didn't get a long at all. Then when he moved to New York, I almost never saw him. One day my mom told us my dad had remarried to someone we always knew as Aunt Ruth. I think like most children of divorced parents, they never stop hoping that their parents will get back together. My father's remarriage burst that bubble. From then on I resented Aunt Ruth, because I just knew she was responsible for breaking up my mom and dad. Many years later my mom told me that wasn't true. Her and my dad had drifted apart and had planned on separating, but when my little sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor, they decided to stay together for now.

It dawned on me how my father's and Aunt Ruth's relationship developed. My father met Ruth at the Spudnut Shop she owned. Spudnuts are just like donuts, but are made from potato flour instead of wheat flower. They struck up a friendship and it wasn't long before Ruth and her husband and my mom and dad were good friends. We used to go over to Ruth and Frank's house and visit them a lot. Those were fun times. Ruth had two boys the same age as my older brother and me, Eddie and Rickie. We always had a ball.

They didn't live that far from us so sometimes I'd ride my bike over to visit my pal Eddie. I remember one time when I went over to visit Eddie, his cousin Sandy was staying with them. Sandy was in her late teens and a very pretty girl. She was taller than us and had beautiful sandy blond hair. A real looker as they say. Sandy came out of her room with a back massager on her hand in. The vibrating part was on the back of her hand and it was held on by two springs you that you stuck your hand through. She turned it on and touched our hand to show us how it felt. We giggled because it tickled. Then she touched Eddie's balls and he jumped a mile high. I laughed, so she reached for my balls, but I pulled away and ran out of the room. So did Eddie. It only worked when it was plugged in, so she couldn't chase us with it. She just stood in the door way laughing at how much of a chicken we were. We were such idiots for running away. Hindsight of what might have been still haunts me to this day.

During the summer break from school before I started the ninth grade, I took a Greyhound Bus from Jacksonville, Florida to New York to visit my father. He picked me up at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York City. In the beginning of the 18 hour trip, it was exciting to see all the new sites. The stops for meals at the rest stops was an adventure in itself. It soon became very boring watching mile after mile of the same old crap. That bus ride became the longest 18 hours of my young life.

Sometime the next day we got close to New York City. I remember being in awe when I saw the bridges, tall buildings and all those people. They really were amazing sights to see. Pretty soon the bus pulled into the Port Authority and we got off. Boy did the air stink! I couldn't believe how bad the City smelled. It didn't dawn on me that most of what I smelled were the fumes from the buses exhaust.

I got my bag from the bus driver and followed the other passengers through the door and into the terminal. I saw my father immediately. My dad was over six feet tall with the same white hair I have now, so was easy to spot. Next to him was Aunt Ruth and Eddie. We were together again, just like the old times when the four of us went fishing together.

My father drove us around the City for a while and then we stopped at a Horn & Hardart's automate for something to eat. That was the coolest place. They had all kinds of food and drinks. You put a few coins in the slot, opened the door and pulled out what ever your heart desired.

After we ate, we took the 60 mile drive to their house in Smithtown out on Long Island. Wherever that was? I stayed with them for most of the summer. I resented Aunt Ruth for breaking up my parents marriage, so I didn't treat her very well while I was there. I refused to call her mom or anything close, because I already had a mom, and Aunt Ruth sure wasn't it. No one let me know that it bothered her so much, but even if they did, I wouldn't have cared.

When summer was almost over, I took the Greyhound bus back down to Florida in time to start the ninth grade. My mom and sister had moved into the city of Jacksonville while I was away, so I didn't even have my old friends around anymore. My life had completely changed. Just like so many other times while I was growing up in Florida, I would be living in a new place and attending a new school. I wouldn't be staying here for that long though. Sometime in February I would be moving again. This time it would be back to New York to live with my father and my step mother, Aunt Ruth and this time it would be for good.


Patti said...

What turmoil you must have been going through Tony. My heart aches for the young you. How did Ruth & Frank split up? Just wondering...

BTExpress said...

I have always been a "go with the flow" kind of guy, even when I was young, so I tried not to let things get to me too much.

Ruth never told me why they broke up and I've never asked.