I’ve always thought of my Dad as two different people. There was Dad during his drinking years, and Dad after he quit.
He grew up with alcoholic parents. His father would send him to buy bread, and his mother would make him take it back so she would have money for booze. He didn’t talk much about his early family life, only about the times he would live with his grandmother on the farm. Those were happy times for him. His grandmother loved him well.
My Dad was a real charmer. Six foot two, sparkling blue eyes, dark hair, and a wicked sense of humor, and grin. During one period when he was dating my Mom, they had a fight and broke up. Dad asked another girl to a dance during this time, and then him and Mom got back together. So Dad, being the honorable soul that he was, took them both to the dance. 🙂
Not long after my 20 year old Dad married my 16 year old, five foot two Mom they moved up to Michigan so he could get into the pipefitters union. Pretty soon my oldest sister was on the way, and Dad started drinking. Once he passed out in the hall in front of their apartment. Mom didn’t want the neighbor kids to see him in the morning, so she kicked the shit out of his ribs to get him up and inside. He woke up the next day not knowing what he had done to his sides, but they sure hurt. When they had 3 kids he blew out the pilot light on the oven trying to gas everyone. Mom packed up the kids and went to the train station. He came after her, and quit drinking for a little while.