The Divorced Son: Part Seven | Reflections

    So, I can’t really talk about my grandpa on my mother’s side until I talk about my dad. He is a good guy, and I can’t really explain how good, because of all the complexities that have happened.

    When I was growing up my dad was super sweet to me. He was everything to me. I looked up to him, literally and figuratively. One reason I became a teacher is because of him, probably the biggest reason. My dad was a vice principal at a juvenile facility. Yes, the one where if the kids ran off, they sent dogs out to help find them. I was taken to work sometimes. I watched these older kids say “Hi Mr. Wolfe.” And I heard respect and honor toward him. He always knew how to talk to tough kids.

    I knew he loved me and did not want to punish me, so I grew up a little spoiled… okay a lot. I would ‘run away’ and he would come try to find me outside, I never ran far. My mom on the other hand would give me a clear bag with flowers on it and send me off, not really, but it was enough to get me to stop.

    He taught me how to be a good man. I remember when we were in the theater once, he asked me to look under my seat for a wallet. I found it and gave it to him. Later, when we left, he told me a lady had lost her wallet and when I got it for her, she wanted to reward me. I asked why he didn’t let me get rewarded. He told me that sometimes we do things just to be good. That advice set me on my path.

    My dad was broken by the divorce. It was sudden. At 8 years old, I was smart enough to know something was fishy when Randy suddenly showed up with my mom. I had so much anger at him. I lost my father, really, and gained someone who would cause fear in me all of my childhood, probably because I never gave him a chance, but mostly because he was evil.

    My mom tells me that when they went to court, my dad’s attorney seemed to be working for her. I believe my dad told him to give her what she wanted. I know now in my 50s that my dad wanted to fight for us, he asked his parents if they could help raise us, they said ‘no’. They were too old. That is where my dad gave up on being my dad. My mom got total control, and my dad got us every month for about 2 days. At least that’s what it became.

    Before my mom moved us to Arizona, we stayed with my dad in Ohio. We lived in the same apartments that we had lived in with my mom and Randy. We were latch-key kids. We would walk home from school and nobody would be home, so we would have a key to open the door. My brother and I were left to our own devices. Not good, especially me. I remember I got interested in fire and lit a plate on fire, I didn’t know where to throw it, so I threw it in the trash can. It melted the trash can some, so I put in a new liner and faced it so it couldn’t be seen. My dad saw it a few days later. I got grounded, but he never hit me. He would never hit me.

    Over the years, he met Karen, she saw how good he was with us and wanted that for her sons, which she had 2 that were our ages. I am pretty sure Karen is where they got the definition of Karen. She was super controlling. She forced everyone to eat her food, that had no spices on it. One time she was serving beans with the scum still on them over mashed potatoes. I asked her if she would put the beans on one side and the potatoes separately, and I would eat it all. She put the beans on top, I sat at the table until it was time for bed. I was so blessed with step-parents, they were both annoying and stealing my parents.

    Eventually, we didn’t even go out to California to see my dad anymore. He consolidated his life around Karen and her boys, which I can’t blame him. We ended up not wanting him around because we were teenagers. We loved him, but he came at the worst times, and I don’t think my mom really warned us early enough.

    I found out later in life, the thing I knew in the back of my mind all my life. Something revealed by asking my dad, who wouldn’t tell me when I was younger. I thank him for that. Now I deal with that angst, but it’s easier, because I forgive them all, because of Jesus. When I look back, I get sad, but I know one thing. I am the man I am today, because of all of this. I deal with my anger, because it has lived with me since the divorce. I try to THINK before I act with my mouth. I took my time in marriage to find a true wife. I gave all of myself to my nephew and I am called his ‘agent’ because I always work for him. I do anything for my students because they need to know they are loved as well. That THINK thing is from my grandpa on my mother’s side. I’ll talk about him next.

Ready for Part Eight?

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