For those of you who bought and read my book, I thought you might find this interesting. I was looking through pages 43 and 44 of my book a few days ago and I just now noticed something.
My father’s mother was killed in that motorcycle accident at age 46 and he was age 46 when he took the motorcycle down the road and let go of the handlebars and stood straight up on the seat with his arms out (with no helmet and no protective leathers). Was that just a coincidence? I think not.
His mother died June 15. If my memory serves me right, our mother was about seven months pregnant with my youngest sister at the time Pa stood up on that motorcycle. “Missy” was born Aug. 9 so that means it was June. Therefore, I now strongly suspect that Pa did on the anniversary of his mother’s death June 15. This makes me even more convinced that Pa’s anger control issues must have been caused from his feelings of guilt over his mother’s death.
Usually, the first thing people want to know whenever someone abuses children is whether or not he or she was abused as a child, too. However, that was not at all true in my father’s case. After going through his hand-written life story with a fine-tooth comb, I could not find one shred of evidence that Pa was abused as a child. In fact, it appeared he got away with a lot of things that he should have been punished for but was not. He never even got spanked for shooting a hole in the living room floor of his parent’s house or for setting his bedroom curtains on fire. He did work hard on his father’s farm but instead of constantly berating him for not working hard enough, good enough or fast enough, his own father complimented him for “doing such a good job of milking the cows.”
So that left me with the question of what caused Pa to have so many angry outbursts and beat the living daylights out of us kids? I always suspected that Pa lived with a terrible guilt knowing he bore responsibility for his mother’s death through his own recklessness.
As a kid I thought it was neat Pa could do such a neat trick. As an adult looking back I feel it was a very foolish and dangerous thing for him to do when he had all us kids to support and a farm to run. Perhaps he subconsciously thought he did not deserve to live any longer than his mother did and should die in a motorcycle accident, too? Why else would he have done this dangerous motorcycle trick at the same age she was when she died … and especially on the anniversary date of his mother’s death? Wow! As a newspaper journalist and editor I was trained to notice detail, but it wasn’t until a few days ago when I was looking over my own written pages that I made this connection.