Trail of a Heart 6 – Working Parents

 In Autobiography

After the café, Daddy went to work for a Wholesale business where he was a bookkeeper. What I remember most is that Daddy drove a van, presumably that belonged to the company. I also have fond images of what would happen when he would get his once a year bonuses. He would line us all up by age and give us a share in his bonus, according to age. By the time he got to me, it might be a quarter, but it was great. We felt like we were a big part of his success.

It seems that our life during that time settled into a routine surrounding his work there and Mother’s as a switchboard operator at a motel. Mother worked the night shifts, coming home in the early morning before we woke to go to school.  She would go through the house at the appointed hour, whistling and calling for us to get up. I never quite understood why she whistled. It’s not like she had a lot of space to cover. Our house was only a two bedroom. All of us girls slept in the one big bedroom, with my parents in the other smaller one and our little brother sleeping on the living room couch. Nevertheless, whistle she did, every morning.

I was usually pretty difficult to rouse as I stayed up late every night. For some reason I would get scared every night, thinking I was going to die. I would habitually read myself to sleep. Mother would come home to find the light on and my glasses skewed on my face. Often she would receive my phone calls at about midnight when I would call her and ask her to convince me I wasn’t going to die in my sleep. I am not sure where I got that notion, but I was terrible about watching the horror movies at our weekly outing to the movie theater. I don’t remember ever waking up Daddy, who was sleeping in the next room, for reassurance.

It was interesting that my mother had this job. Their intention after selling the café was for her to be home with us. My memory is it all centered around her having opened a charge account at a local department store. The story goes that Carol needed a dress for a dance. There was not really money for it. Somehow, Carol or Mother charged the dress.  When Daddy found out, he told Mother she would just have to go to work until she got it paid off.  Mother always worked after that.

Watch for the next installment.

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