My father was a traveling salesman. In the 1960s, in department stores and even five-dimes, there was a lot of sewing stuff – zippers and bobbins and threads. That’s what she sold out of the trunk of her car. He called in customers and moved from city to city, living in motels. Like many men of his generation, his work was apt. I mean, he became a college football player and Marine in the Pacific during World War II in the bloodiest, most horrific battle of the war. After we dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, his battalion was dispatched to city police.
He never talked about what he saw, but he was only 23 years old and I’m sure it was tough for him then the war was over and this big, feisty, hot-tempered, Scots-Irish kind of skin on his J.C. She was making a living by chatting with a little Southern woman at Penny’s store and she had to contain herself. He did this to support his family and I salute him for it.
But when he came home for the weekend, he was ready to blow, especially when he had a large crowd. My father was deadly golf, and he always hit the 19th hole, powerfully, on Saturday and Sunday. So in our house there was always a lot of shouting, lots of door slamming on the kitchen table and a fist being thrown. Our house smelled strange. We were happy to see him go around on Monday morning.
I remember watching him pull out of the driveway, and my sister and brother and I and my mom were also going, “Whoa, we survived another weekend.” Then as the week went on, Thursday turned into a Friday, we all wished that moment when his car was back on the driveway and it was time to give it a cover.
But there was an important moment in his life and in our lives as a family. My mother came down with Alzheimer’s when she was 4 years old. Dad was 65৫ and after all these years he was drunk on this fun weekend, he stopped drinking, gave up golf and dedicated his life to my mom, where we were like kids, “Daddy you have to take care of yourself. Hit the golf ball. We’ll slaughter He ‘He tried a few, but he didn’t have a heart in it. She really wanted to go back home to care for her mother.