I came across this photo of my parents dated 1937. My birth date is October 1, 1935, which means I would have been about a year and a half old at the time, so I haven’t the slightest memory of this event. I was going through some old photo albums; many pictures I did remember, and remembered the events too, but not this one. I don’t remember ever seeing this photo, but it struck me today because they look so young and filled with the curiosity and vigor of young adulthood.
Their relationship was always a little distant, mostly because my dad had a wandering disposition and would be gone for months at a time. Off on jobs at some distant place I was told, and as a child believed, but looking back on those days it doesn’t seem so reasonable. He was always fair to me, and I never heard them exchange a harsh word. In 1945 they did purchase a house together (3425 Park Boulevard, Spokane, WA). It seemed an idyllic life, but within a few years my dad was off again on a distant job. They got divorced, and that didn’t work either, so they got back together, and immediately sold the house. My dad bought a brand new pickup with the money, but a couple of months later my mom and I were living in a travel trailer in North Richland, Washington, more or less abandoned again. Soon, she remarried to a wonderful man and lived happily with him until his death twenty-five years later. My dad went on and remarried about six times — I lost count.
I always liked my dad — everyone did — he was a wonderful conversationalist, and it wasn’t until decades later that I realized how his frequent abandonment of my mother and me screwed up both our lives.
For my dad there was always another woman in the background, just like the picture above.