Life is not easy. We all have problems-even tragedies-to deal with, and luck has nothing to do with it. Bad luck is only the superstitious excuse for those who don’t have the wit to deal with the problems of life. ”
― Joan Lowery Nixon, In The Face of Danger
Problems? Yeah, I had a few. But let’s be real. My weird situations are nothing compared to many suffered by others.
Consider Denne Bart Petitclerc, journalist, author, producer. When he was 5 years old in 1934, his father took him to downtown Seattle to admire the holiday decorations. Stopping in front of the giant Christmas tree, his dad told him to “watch the angel (on top of the tree), I’ll be right back.” He didn’t return. He left his child there, abandoning him to be an orphan in the December night.
At least I had a Father to love, to admire, to tell me funny stories, to join in the family business, and then to, maddeningly, watch as he withered away. There were many good years, regardless.
I think we’ve all had pivotal moments like that, when everything changes. Today’s story, a repeat, is about my night when the sky was darkest, and most unfamiliar. Merry Christmas and don’t forget to count your blessings (and not boobies)!
In the spring of 1962, I turned 4 years old. Mom and Dad were living at 1050 Fifth Avenue and Central Park was my playground. In the evening, I would play in my room and when I heard the door open and Dad enter the apartment, I would thrust myself down the stairs, yelling “Daddy, Daddy!” One time I came down the stairs so fast, I tripped and fell. I arrived at the bottom in a tumbled mess.
My Dad would have a seat on the couch, maybe after turning on the hi-fi or plopping the Four Lads on the phonograph. Mom would serve him a Rheingold. “What’s that?” I asked. “Beer,” he said. “Can I try some?” “Sure.” I did, it was not to my taste.
I was oblivious to the fact that the marriage of my Mom and Dad was finished.