Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
Another unpredictable frustration for my parents was our smoking. For whatever reason, boredom, peer pressure, to be cool, etc., we found a way to partake. And so did many of our friends.
We had 3 underground forts (one was even outfitted with a lid from a washing machine as a door), and believed that escaping to these places severed us from the rest of the world. Here, we would smoke, laugh, scheme (not sure about what), and strategize where out next pack of cigarettes would come from. I mean, it was easy to finance this “disgusting” habit with lunch money. Who needed lunch when you could d have a new pack of cigarettes? .65 cents was all they cost back then.
All of our misbehaving took a toll on our mother. And Dad was going to do everything he could to protect her from us. That meant the development of more rules, more strictness, and a whole lot of attempts at enforcing them and controlling us.
This was a lose/lose scenario. The more he tried to control us, the more we resisted. It set up an adversarial relationship between parent and child. We, of course, were too young to “get it.”
Nota Bene: To give credit to Vincent, the oldest, he NEVER got into trouble. He didn’t smoke, back talk, or lie. Instead of following him, we made fun of him, calling him “dudley do-right.”