Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blowing Off Steam

October, 1988

Dear MaryJanes,

I feel like a rotating door as your father has asked me to once again get back together and see if we can make it work. He tells me he will do his best to be a better man. My traditional values of marriage make me yield to his request. I want so desperately to believe his words. We now have two VW camper vans and so my own father has asked to purchase one of them. He said he needed one for the nights that his job has union meetings that run late and since he is the union VP, he is obligated to stay till the end. We sell him your fathers van and everyone is happy. My folks had purchased a second house about an hour away and have been fixing it up for their retirement home. The house that my sister, brother and I grew up in is too big for their needs and has since been turned into two living quarters. The three of us will rent and live in the larger part of the house, while a young couple will be renting the other half. Everything goes along well until we decided to visit my folks at their new house. Something was very wrong about them, I could sense trouble in the air from their actions and communication. We made our visit short and left for home. I called my sister to tell her that something just wasn't right with our parents. I told her that trouble was brewing. My instincts proved to be right a couple of days later when my mom stopped in unexpectedly. She looked worried and asked if we could talk. We went into the living room and sat down as she began to speak, " your father has been having an affair with a younger woman." She then told me she confronted him as to why he has been coming home so late and acting so different. Apparently the VW van was the cheap hotel for his short comings. I feel like I was blind sided for selling him that van. I was making his affair easy to get away with. That van's status went from hippie mobile to the love shack for a cheap fling. I am going to divorce him she told me. In a half second I said to her, "I know you won't understand this now, but I am happy for you" I went on to say, "Dad is a controlling man and it makes it hard for you to be able to spend time with your grand kids." "In time" I tell her, "you will see that your life will be fuller and happier on your own." "I am sorry that you hurt right now, but trust me when I tell you I am really happy for you and this new direction your life will take" I explain. My mother looked at me in disbelief. I am sure she must have thought I was insensitive to her loss. Frankly I was ecstatic about the whole situation. Be rid of him I thought, a thought I am sure that the rest of my family thinks for me, regarding your father.
Galoshes and her Mother

It was two days later when there a knock at the door. It was him, that man I privately refer to in many words other than dad. " Am I allowed to come in?" he asks. "Yes" your father responds. Funny, it is his house and he is asking permission to enter, I like this arrangement. I invite him to the living room to sit on one of his chairs that was left behind for us to use. I place myself directly a crossed from him on the couch, his couch. and then I blow off steam...26 years of bent up steam. I let him have it like I have never let anyone have it before. I start with telling him how low he has stooped and that if he given my mother anything health wise that she would need to worry about he would have hell to pay. He tells me that this is none of my business. I tell him that all of my life I have played the role of the good girl, always being silly and acting goofy to break the tension of the house. I have kept my mouth shut and let him insult me, call me stupid, tell me that, "only someone with half of a brain would do something that stupid." And now it was my turn, he stands up and says he does not have to take this. I stand up and yell, "Sit down, I am not done telling you how I feel about you yet!" He sits down, he actually sits down. Who's the stupid one now, I wonder? Oh my goodness, letting this steam go is better than a pound of chocolate. I never spoke back to him or gave him lip. I held it all in and now I switched the pressure gauge valve. I have nothing to loose, he can not use my mother as collateral and I do not need to worry about stepping on any egg shells. I have turned a page to a new chapter of my life. As he leaves and walks out the door, it suddenly occurs to me that he is a mean, shallow stupid, little man. He will not have an influence on your life and I feel really good about that.
"The Good Girls"
From left to right, Galoshes, Sister, Mother

The following week, our family is all reunited back to the family house. Discussions are made about the division of property. My father is being a jerk and I say to him, "I despise you!" He turns to me and as if with no feelings at all and says, "Lisa, I have lived 26 years without you in my life, I can easily live the remainder of my life without you."

And so he will, good reddens to him.
The tune Ding dong the witch is dead plays in my head as I write this.

And so some day, I will let you read this letter, so that you will know what happened to that man that got so mad at you when you accidentally touched him with the frozen fish that we had put in the freezer to show off your first catch. The man that in turn took that fish and rubbed it onto you as punishment for touching him with it. All of this happened as I sat frozen in fear like a 3 year old child myself.
You will be better off without him and I will now heal from his words, well, I hope I heal.

Now know why.

Love, Galoshes


  1. Wow...I needed to take this in and think...such a powerful post. I am absolutely amazed that at such a young age and with the hurtful things you had been through, that you were able to stand up for yourself with such an empowering, elemental catharsis. You are embodied with real strength. I hope you put these letters in book have an important message~ thank you for sharing it!

  2. It hurt my heart to read his reaction to the fish. For an adult to act that way towards a child says very much about his character. Good for you for seeing through him and cutting off his negative emanation from MaryJanes.


  3. PS Adore the photo of you with your lengthy locks and your rosy cheeks.

  4. Linda & Katy,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to jot a note! Some times I see little kids with a parent, and I can see the look in the child's eyes that I had when I was little. It's a submissive, bewildered look. I am pretty out spoken about things, but when I base my thoughts on a mere look, it's inappropriate to jump in and say, "hey, are you ok?" But you can see it, not real often, but it's there. As far as the long hair, that's a whole other story in itself. I have kept it long and have a real phobia about cutting it. And trust me, MaryJanes has has scissors in hand several times wanting to experiment on me. It all goes back to having very long hair just before kindergarten and then one day my mother got out the scissors and chopped it all of despite my plea not to. It was cut to the check bones and then high, uneven bangs. I looked like an orphan child! When I was little I always said, "I will ALWAYS have long hair and lots of big dogs!" I have kept true those words. Sometimes I question the long hair by asking myself if I am too old to get away with it. But then I remember I am young at heart.