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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hold Everything Lightly #6 {FIVE YEARS FOUND}

This installment was tougher than I thought it would be so I am re-stating what I said in part one.
 I do not intend to sully the memory of my parents but to tell the story as it was told to me and as I remember it. I am as imperfect as they were and I believe we are all damaged in some way. 
I loved my parents.
I love them still.

I did not see my mother in pants until she started working in the mid 1970's.
 It was a tumultuous time for our family. The thinly woven threads that she and daddy had made together had become unraveled. Mother, domineering as she was, never allowed daddy to participate in any parenting decisions. Daddy let her get away with that and missed out on my childhood and my siblings. As a result he found someone else.
Not that I approve of his affair, but she pushed him out the door. 

I remember being eleven years old sitting in the backseat of mama's car
and mama and big sis driving from motel to motel looking for daddy and his girlfriend. Eventually after an exhaustive search mama found them at a cheap, shady motel. My big sister, after being sent to a state girl's school, was tough and mean.  One really was best not messing with her.
Daddy had a bad day that day.

Not to be undone by daddy, mother got her a boyfriend.
 A hardscrabble type, big and muscular in contrast to my tall and skinny father. Mother's mantra was " all men are terrible, never trust a man, men will hurt you" and on and on she went. It was not a peaceful transition between men, if that is possible. I recall that man, Billy, banging my dad's head against a concrete wall.  Daddy moved back to our hometown of Jackson near the Savannah River Site, the nuclear plant where he worked. When I turned thirteen mother decided that I should live with daddy.
She dropped me off and that was that.  I felt abandoned and scared once again.
I had been told so many times how awful my father was.

Mother was completely and totally wrong about daddy as a parent.
 He was a wonderful father. He was quiet, kind, smart, and stern when required.  Daddy read three newspapers each day and watched the news every evening. He was informed about the world. I cooked for him most days. It was incredibly easy because he ate meat and potatoes and meat and potatoes. One of my duties was to drive daddy to work because he had lost his license due to drinking. Daddy was, at that time, a functional alcoholic. He drank on weekends and never lost his job. It was nothing for me to drive him to the plant in my robe. I didn't need my license because at thirteen I did not have one. After a while it got around in our small town that I was driving without a license. The Chief of Police eventually stopped me but it was the very week I obtained my license.
 He probably let it go all those years, a twisted version of small town justice.

 Daddy and I had five lovely years together.
I stayed out one night, with my church group, until the unwholesome hour of four AM bowling when I was sixteen. Daddy did not say one word he simply decided to hammer on the roof all day. He had a sense of humor like that. Daddy drove an El Camino, one of those silly half cars half trucks. After he retired (he got his license back and quit drinking) he would drive to the Savannah River and walk along the banks. I believe he found peace there. He often would dig up pottery and artifacts out of the clay banks of the river. He also had a love for the past. I graduated from our small town's high school as Salutatorian and daddy paid for my college education as a registered nurse.
He let me marry at age eighteen.
I wish he had said "No" to my marrying so young but he was not one to confront others.
Besides, we would not have my daughter CC and she is our special gift no matter what happened later.

My precious daddy died in 2006, after a long illness, but I am not finished with his story. 
Not yet.

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts, when God pries your fingers open."
---Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983 

To read other parts of this series click on Hold Everything Lightly at the top of the page.  
Nuclear tells of daddy's family history.
Bless you for reading


  1. another heart felt post...I am enjoying reading along with your life...there are some real places I identify with you here...I am hoping that my stepdaughter at some time in her life gets the time like you had with your Daddy so she can see what her mama has told her about her Daddy(my husband) is not true..again, you write with such grace that I am envious..I seem to write with a sledge hammer..LOL

  2. Olive you have lived an extraordinary life thus far. Thank you for sharing it. Ann

  3. Olive, you write so beautifully. I am so glad that you had 5 lovely years with your Daddy.
    Hugs, Barb

  4. I imagine when
    you return to walk
    along the Savannah
    River, you feel your
    dad walking alongside
    of you....what a precious
    five years together. I
    am looking forward to
    the rest of your story.
    ( So far, of course --
    you are still writing it!)


  5. I've always tried to teach my kids that you never know what someone has gone through or is going through and to be open and loving. This proves my point. People have incredible stories of resilience and strife, mixed in with their loving lives. Thank goodness you had that time with your dad to get to know him and love him.

  6. Another honest, compelling edition Olive. I agree with Razmataz above. We never know the trials that have brought each of us to where we are. I am glad you got to know your daddy as a loving man. Patty

  7. Hi Olive. I am loving these posts. Your writing really comes into its own when writing about your early childhood years and your mummy and daddy. It's good to hear that you loved your parents, and love them still. I look forward to reading more posts like these my friend. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Hugs.

  8. Dear Olive, I am so pleased that I got to read this post before I leave on holiday. You are a very, very forgiving, tolerant and kind person. I do not think that I would be so kindly disposed to your mother if I was you. In a way she did you a good turn, because you got to know the father you did not know properly, and apart from the drink, he sounds to have been a kindly man and he obviously loved you. I think you have taken on his good virtues.

  9. I am going back to read the other installments that I missed. WOW Olive, can you write!

  10. Beautifully written Olive! Once again, your series touches my heart deeply.

  11. "Not that I approve of his affair, but she pushed him out the door." It always takes two. I know that from personal experience and I know that from watching to of my sibs....I am glad you do not place blame at either one's doorstep alone. I am so glad you had those good years with your Dad...

  12. Yes, you must write a book! Wow! It's amazing our view from a child's eye, isn't it. Glad you got some precious time with your dad to find out the truth.

  13. I'm enjoying reading your "story", Olive.
    Very brave of you to share with us, I know it isn't always easy!

  14. I'm glad that the things your mother said didn't cause you to steer away from your father. Oh the stories of our past... I come with a story too...

    When I was eight I carried the world on my shoulders as my family broke apart and it was my fault. I later learned it wasn't but people made me feel that way. There was physical abuse of my mom, sexual abuse of me and he was caught coming from my room... I was only 7 and he had been messing with me for 4 years. After most of my life spent in therapy and counseling and other stuff and hating my daddy... I finally forgave him and we now have a relationship even if it is strained. Both of my parents are still alive and my dad is a minister of the Church of Christ. He was a minister when all this happened way back then. I had to forgive and find a way to communicate even if to say 'how are you doing' in order for me to get over what happened. You are brave to write about your family and you will help other people to tell a story they might not otherwise have me. I am going to read your other installments...

    1. Becca, people never know what is going on in a family be they a preacher or total chaos as we were. Thank you for sharing this comment my friend. I did not fully forgive my parents for all of this wreckage until I was about 33 years old and could not have done so without knowing the love of God and his mercy.

  15. Olive this story is so tender. Thank you so much for finding the courage to share it with us.

  16. Olive, I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, you are a walking example of Amazing Grace!!
    Thank you for continuing to open your heart and soul to us.
    Mary Alice

  17. I am so glad you are putting this out here for the world to read. I was told once to write things down that it will help and it helped me.

    No matter what you lived though as a child look what a wonderful person you are now

    You have made it

  18. Such a beautifully written story. I get lost in the story when reading this series. In a good way, like when I'm reading a good book and am envisioning the characters in my mind. Except these are real people, not imaginary characters. I'm sorry that your mother wasn't all that she could have been.

  19. As other comments have said, we never know what someone is going through or has gone through so we must always try to keep an open heart and mind. I am so glad you had a chance to really get to know your dad and share some good times with him. I am quite certain there are times when memories flood your heart about both of your parents.
    Your strength and courage has made you a very loving and understanding person. I am glad you are sharing your story with us. I think it helps us all when we examine the hurt in our own lives. Thank you, Olive. XO

  20. On Tuesday's I sit with a good friend while she has chemo. I think you wouldn't mind to know I read her your series. We are both inspired by your strength and courage. Everyone has a story. Not many are brave enough to share it honestly. Ann

  21. I love the spareness of your prose! You ease us along in your story without battering us over the head. It gives me space to picture the people and feel what I think you felt. Thanks, again, for sharing. ~ Maureen

  22. I am so happy you found peace with your dad. Everyone needs that. Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs, Marty

  23. Memories! Richard from My Old Historic House.

  24. We miss our daddys no matter how long it maybe....

  25. You are an amazing lady! I am so glad I found your blog.
    Blessings to you.

  26. So beautifully written Olive. What a gift your story will be to others who have had a similar life. Isn't it interesting that we all come from so many different backgrounds and yet have found each other here? It is no accident!
    sending big hugs your way...

  27. You get me every time with your stories of our family. I've missed so much these last few weeks. Brave is probably not the right word but you know what I mean. I get too emotional when I talk about my parents. They were not perfect either but I loved them just the same.
    Love the new puppy....we just got a rescue dog...a 11 month pit bull we renamed Petey. He's a doll but the cats aren't too thrilled either:( lets just say we're working on


  28. Another very engaging post, Olive. I'm so glad you had nice memories of the time you spent with your dad. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  29. You tell your story so well, have been through some hard things...XO

  30. I just went back and started from the beginning to get caught up with this series. You relay your memories in such a way that it's easy to feel the emotions and see the setting of each one, and imagine the people you describe. As you say, we are all imperfect and damaged in some way; each of these installments illustrates that point perfectly. Thank you for sharing this with us, it must be so difficult for you to relive it all over again. I well know that memories like this get pushed to a dark corner and locked away somewhere in our head in an effort to forget them. Kudos to you for pulling them out, dusting them off and sharing them with others. We can all learn from this.

  31. I think a lot of women sell their husbands short as parents - I've seen this a lot among the folks in my life. I am glad you got to know your Dad as a parent. Despite the drinking, he sounds like he was an interesting, informed, caring man.



I adore your comments. They are like finding unexpected chocolates. olive