The Ark

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My sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was about 8 years old. In order to pay for the medical/mental help she needed, Dad worked 3 jobs and Mom worked 2. I was one of the original latch key kids. 

Dad was stationed at Millington for a tour of Instructor's duty, worked at the enlisted men's club on base as a bartender and managed a pizza hut on weekends. I would often go with them to pizza hut. At that time, they still had bars and bar stools in the Pizza Hut. I would get a pitcher of Root Beer, a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza and a bar stool and there I'd sit and entertain myself for 6 or 7 hours. People started coming in and hanging out while placing bets as to whether or not I'd finish an entire large pizza on my own. It would take me all night, and it was thin crust, but most nights I'd give that large pizza a beat down. That may explain the stringent culinary rehab in which I find myself currently. But that's another story for another day. 

On the nights that I didn't go to Pizza Hut or have school the next day, I'd wait up for Dad to get home. He'd roll in from the Enlisted Club around midnight which was just in time for the Friday/Saturday night Double Feature with Sivad (which I later discovered was Davis spelled backward. I was disappointed by that particular revelation. Davis was sooo NOT scary.) Anyway, it was a double feature of scary movies which I LOVED but could not watch alone. So, after having gotten up before birds and sunlight and working 18 to 20 hours a day, Dad would come home, put on his pj's and lay on the couch. He'd lay on his side. Then, I would crawl up and sit on his side and watch both scary movies, generally while peeking through my fingers as soon as the scary music started. I'd watch both features while Dad sawed logs. His snoring was a comfort and reassurance that he was there to protect me from the evils of the world and the monsters on the screen. When the second movie was over, I'd climb down, wake up Dad and he'd go get a couple more hours of sleep before he had to get up and do it all over again.  If I tried to watch a scary movie alone, I'd have nightmares and hear every creak and rattle in the house. But as long as Dad was in the room, I was safe. No nightmares or sleepless nights. 

Till the day he died, even though I didn't hear it nearly as often, whether it was a soft rumble or a roof rattle, I was comforted by the sound of him sleeping. On the rare occasions when he slept silently, I'd barely sleep at all. The silence was deafening. Once I moved out of the house, it took me a long while to get used to the sounds of night without Dad's rumbles. 

I can watch scary movies alone now, sometimes peeking through my fingers,  but I still have trouble sleeping if it's too quiet. 

Sleep well Papa.

Views: 32

Comment by JustAnotherUserName on February 28, 2012 at 9:20am

Beautiful...keep 'em coming :-)

Comment by Pypermarru1 on February 28, 2012 at 12:45pm

WOW - I really love this story.  What a cool dude he was. 

I love your stories because they remind me of some of my own - your stories provoke good memories for me as well as show me who you and your people are.  Great stuff, Dana.

My mom used to have a Saturday night ritual of watching Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island.  She would curl up on the couch and relax.  I would often snuggle with her by resting my head on her butt and folding my then little body in the triangle of her butt, knees and feet - it was a perfect nest of comfort for me - I would laugh at the parts she would laugh at just to seem older... what a dork I was.

Great vlogg.  Please keep them coming!

Comment by Dana (scribblers sanctuary) on April 18, 2012 at 9:40pm
Ruth - thanks...I have more in the works
Pyper - and thank you. I did the same thing with my mom.:c) And yes, Papa was a cool dude!


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