Christmas With Daddy

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Janice Kennedy
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Christmas With Daddy

Post by Janice Kennedy » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:41 pm




Christmas With Daddy



(I remember only one Christmas I ever spent with my dad. I will start with some background history first; my dad suffered with Paranoid Schizophrenia.)

I was born on Sept. 13, 1944. My first home was a small, one-room travel trailer. The trailer was parked on the side of a riverbank in Modesto, California. There was an outhouse about half way down the side of the bank. I remember being afraid to use it. I would slide down the hill sitting on my bottom because I was afraid of falling in the river. If I were by myself, as I often was because Mom was busy with the baby when I went, I would squat down and pee in the dirt, as I was afraid to climb up on the seat.

My dad and his brother had built a small cabin, right next to our trailer. His brother and family lived in the cabin—Today, it is against the law for people to live on a riverbank, or any other place in this way. Back then, you were known as a squatter if you did. So, in a way, I guess you could say I was born a squatter.

I wasn't quite three when Mom left Dad. My mom’s mother and her nephew came and got Mom, me, and two younger sisters one day when Dad was gone. I remember Mom had wet clothes on the line she had just washed on a scrub-board. She took the wet clothes off the line, and wrapped them in a sheet, then put them in the back seat of the car. The three adults rode in front, one driving, and the other two holding one of my baby sisters. I sat in the back seat on top of the sheet with wet clothes bundled inside. That was in June, my next birthday in September was when I turned three.

I remember some other things that happened during that time. None of them were pleasant. My dad worked very little, and drank a lot. At times, he was violent. Living in such a small space, I was always exposed to it. As a baby, if I cried, he would spank me trying to make me hush. My mother was the one who got the brunt of his anger though. He would beat her, sometimes trying to strangle her. And he always slept with a knife under his pillow.

I remember once when my mom's parents brought us a box of food, and a watermelon, my dad picked it up, and was headed for the river to throw it in, when I started to cry. Mom begged him not too. He was mad at her, but with my grandparents there, he put the box down.

I also remember how my little cousins and me sat on the hood of a car, and tore open a loaf of bread, and ate it. There was a bag of candy in the box, and Mother gave each one of us a piece, then, put the rest away for later. The next day, when I went to get another piece, it was gone. I ask Mom where it was, and I remember to this day her telling me my dad had thrown it in the river.

Dad liked to swim in the canal. One time, I remember well, he was standing in the middle of the canal, holding me. The water was very clear. You could see the bottom though water was up to his waist. He told me he was going to put me in the water so I could stand beside him. I knew if he did it would cover my head, and I wouldn't be able to breath. He held me there for sometime, making me think he was going to put me in that swirling water. As I said, the few memories I have of that time, scare me to this day.

I only saw him a couple of times after that until I was older. We were living in Tracy, California when my mother decided to take me, and my sisters to see Dad's Mother. I was 13 at the time.

After we arrived in Modesto, we found out Grandma was in the hospital. A week before, she had been hit by a speeding car as she was crossing the street. Both of her arms had been broken. That was the first time I remember having seen her. I did not remember seeing her at all when we still lived on the riverbank.

When we got to the hospital, the first person we saw was Dad. It had been so long since we had seen him, Mom had to tell me, and my sisters who he was. We spent the day visiting with our grandmother, and the rest of his side of the family.

My aunt, Elsie, invited us to spend Christmas with her. It was in just three weeks. Mom agreed to bring us girls over to her house, and spend the holiday. It was a Christmas I would never forget for many reasons.

My mother was an only child, so I was not use to having aunts and uncles. My dad had five sisters, and three brothers, all grown with spouses and children of their own. They were all at my aunt Elsie's that Christmas Eve. We had, had Christmas trees before, but they were nothing like my aunt's tree. It was in a corner, and reached clear to the ceiling. It was decorated like no tree I had ever seen before. There were so many gifts underneath it, I thought there must be a thousand.

We were in a house that to us was full of strangers, yet somehow felt familiar. That's the only Christmas I ever remember being with Dad and his entire family. My sisters and I mostly just sat quietly. When they started passing out presents, all three of us knew there were no presents there for us, or so we thought.

After a while, my aunt brought one present over to each of us. It was only one, but it was one more than we expected. Each gift-wrapped box contained the most beautiful sweater any of us girls had ever owned. My youngest sister's was a soft baby pink color, my middle sister's was pale creamy green, and mine was the prettiest baby blue. We all three wore them until they were completely threadbare.


We thought our aunt had gotten them for us, but Christmas day, she told us our dad had given her the money, and ask her to pick something nice out for each of us.

That was my only Christmas with my daddy I can remember. I know there were a couple of Christmas' with him before Mom left, but I don't remember them.

***************

Dad passed away with lung cancer when I was 24, just three days before my daughter's first birthday. She was the joy of his life. . . .

A photo of me and my two sisters, taken a few months after my Mom left my Dad.



Janice J. Kennedy
This is a true story.
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JESUS MESSIAH, NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES. JESUS MESSIAH, LORD OF ALL.
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DeaconSteve
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Re: Christmas With Daddy

Post by DeaconSteve » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:31 pm

A very sad story Jan, sad that your dad was the way he was. Back in those days, he wouldn't have been called sick, but today he just might be called that, as Paranoid Schizophrenia is one of the worse of mental illnesses, but fortunately today, it is somewhat treatable. Probably wouldn't have made any difference then, as you may not have understood it anyway, that your dad was a very sick man. Thankfully you were blessed with a few good memories of Christmas, though the giving of your dad, through grandma. He probably wasn't all that bad of a person, just sick. I cannot remember that far back, but to only four years old, and most of those memories were not so good either, but then that is a different story. Yes, a bit sad, but your story doesn't seem to be completely void of any love, and some love is better than no love. God bless.
Live today as if it were your last, for tomorrow it will be your past, but live it with peace in mind, joy to find, and for God divine!

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DeaconSteve
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Re: Christmas With Daddy

Post by DeaconSteve » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:33 pm

Forgot to tell you that I did read your story about the shopping in the store and talking to that man who left the $20. That one you will also remember for a long time to come. Later.
Live today as if it were your last, for tomorrow it will be your past, but live it with peace in mind, joy to find, and for God divine!

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Brenda Pike
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Re: Christmas With Daddy

Post by Brenda Pike » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:47 pm

CHRISTMAS CHEER.gif
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DEAR JAN, HOW SAD THIS STORY IS FOR ALL INVOLVED. BACK THEN THEY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO TREAT MANY MENTAL DISORDERS, EXCEPT FOR SHOCK TREATMENTS. BEING A CHILD YOU TRUSTED YOUR DAD, UNTIL REASON NOT TOO AND I CAN UNDERSTAND HOW FRIGHTENED YOU WERE OF GOING TO THE TOILET AND YOUR DAD THEATENING TO DROP YOU IN THE WATER. YOUR MOM DID THE RIGHT THING FOR ALL OF YOU BY LEAVING AND HAVING A LIFE OF PEACE. THE SWEATER WAS A NICE GESTER ON YOUR DAD'S PART AND I'M SURE THAT ONE GIFT GAVE YOU THE ASSURES HE DID LOVE YOU ALL. I'M GLAD THE WOUND WAS CLOSED AND YOU HAD PEACE WITH YOUR DAD. BLESS YOUR SWEET HEART DEAR FRIEND AND GOD BE WITH YOU ALWAYS. LOVE YOU BRENDA

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B.J.Morbitzer
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Re: Christmas With Daddy

Post by B.J.Morbitzer » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:49 am

Dear Jan.,
How very sad this story you have shared with us all.
I shed a few tears my friend reading this one you shared about your younger days.
Way back then .
Your Christmas long,long ago.
Thank God for your dear Mother, Giving you a better life.
But yes even though your Father,Being ill for so many years.
And giving you the sweater was a kind gift to give to you after all.
Thank you for sharing this so very true but sad story my friend.
And yes also you later having your peace with your Father.
GLYASDI
B.J.

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Hope
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Re: Christmas With Daddy

Post by Hope » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:49 am

Jan,
Thank you so much for sharing a part of your life with us, I know these things are not easy to write. This has brought back some memories for me also but Thank God I am understanding things more because of Him. I want to say you and your sisters were Beautiful! I have two sisters also I am the middle child. I am so sorry you had to go throught this but also so happy you had a strong Mom who left and gave you a better life. With your dad being sick I am sure he loved you as much as he was capable of even though he hurt you in so many ways. I am so grateful you have that memory of that wonderful christmas with the Beautiful sweater then to find out it was a gift from your dad made it all the more special. You are an Amazing lady who God loves so much, and you are so valuable to Him and so many others. That Beautiful little girl grew up through everything to become one of the most compassionate caring people I know, because her Father God loved her!
God Bless You Love Eva

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