Knights in Shining Armour

February 2, 2009 at 6:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

My parents divorced when I was three.

My father told me once that his decision to marry my mother was the first and only time he can remember going against his parents. It was the 50’s, he was just out of the Army from serving in Korea and he had a girl and he wanted to marry her. His father said he didn’t think it was a good idea…that it wasn’t a good match. But my dad said for once he was bull headed and did what he wanted to.

He said he knew within two weeks he had made a terrible mistake. But, again, it was the 50’s. No one in either of their families had ever divorced and he felt he was just stuck in the marriage. After nine years, I came along.

Three years later, in 1967, he said he walked out one day. He didn’t know when he left if he was leaving for an hour, the night, or forever, he  just knew if he didn’t walk out the door, he would kill her.

A bitter divorce followed. My mother moved herself and I 150 miles away, and proceeded to block attempts at visitation. My dad would travel to come get me for visitation, and she would meet him at the door and tell him her plans had changed and he couldn’t have me. He was struggling with income and couldn’t afford an attorney, and chose not to fight it. So I saw very little of my dad growing up.  A few days on odd spring breaks or a night or two during the summer.

My mom hated him for leaving her – the ultimate insult to her mind in those days. She wanted me to hate him too and told me many stories of how he had been cruel to her, cheated and lied, how he didn’t pay child support because he didn’t love me, didn’t want visitation with me etc. No matter what she said tho, in my heart I knew different. I knew my dad loved me. I didn’t know if those other things were true, but I knew he loved me, period.

One day when I was about 16, she called and told me to look in her dresser for something and call her back. In looking I found a bundle of envelopes – all with receipts for the child support he had paid over the years – The child support she claimed he never paid a dime of. I would never had the nerve to look in her room – there would have been swift punishment for such intrusion. I don’t know if she didn’t realize I might see them…I suspect she was upset over what she wanted me to be looking for and never considered what I might find.

In the late ’70’s, she finally allowed me to spend a month during the summer with him. It’s one of my cherished memories.

When the abuse/incest began, I was told “if you tell your dad, he’ll go crazy and he’ll kill Max (I’ll save Max for another day) and then he’ll go to jail and you’ll never see him again!” I was 5 years old. I believed it and I believed I had to protect my dad at all costs. So I never told him what was happening.

As an adult in my 30’s I did tell him, and he was greatly upset. He felt once my mom remarried she might have been more stable and there would have been someone to stand between us when she went over the edge.

Still, in honesty, I have to look at the situation with perspective. My father hated her so much, dreaded dealing with her, that he didn’t protest more about seeing me. He knew she was crazy….and he left me there. He thought she loved me and wouln’t hurt me. He was wrong.

In 1969, my mother remarried, to Max. Within weeks of their marriage, he asked her to bring me into their bed and he began molesting me. She participated the first few times, trying to please him. When she realized his attention was much more rivited by her 5 year old daughter… she argued the issue. When he insisted it continue, she no longer participated – she would take long, long baths on those nights he had me in the bed.

As a parent, I cannot fathom her behavior. To allow it? Not on my life. To participate to please him? It is incomprehensible to me.

Next:  Learning not to tell….

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