all right, that gives you some idea of what my mom was like.
now for my dad.
that sounds like he is just something to get out of the way and move on, doesn’t it?
i can’t help that, i am going to take one thing at a time in my sincere effort to tell my story.
“one at a time is good fishing, doctor.” i heard that on an old black and white movie i saw on tv at around four o’clock in the morning and it stuck in my brain.
i never remembered anything else about the movie, but years later i discovered it was “the black sleep” with basil rathbone and bela lugosi, if you are interested. basil rathbone is the mad scientist and he says the line.
back to dad.
i wouldn’t say people wanted to get him out of the way, when he was around, but they didn’t pay much attention to him either.
like i said, we were “walkers” and we lived in walkerville, but that was not something i ever thought of much until i went to school, and regina and her crew started pointing it out to me.
but even then it was not that big a deal, because they thought i was rich and i was not, so i put it away in the same part of my brain.
william hadley martin walker founded the town of walkerville in 1823.
isn’t that interesting?
no, i never thought so either.
william married petunia carson and they had fourteen children, twelve of whom lived past childhood.
that was a lot of walkers. pretty soon there were walkers everywhere.
“they own this town.” i wonder if anybody ever actually said that except in a movie or a tv show.
and then after some time there were not so many walkers any more.
that is the way it goes.
there used to be a lot of “ancient egyptians”. and then after a while there were no more “ancient egyptians.”
there used to be a lot of “ancient romans”. and then after a while there were no more “ancient romans.”
the same with the walkers.
nobody really cares. and why should they?
nothing ever changes.
there are people like mom - spending their whole lives wanting to be someone else.
there are people like regina molesworth - who light up the world. the people that people like mom want to be.
there are people like cooley - who get admitted to the circle of regina molesworth’s brilliance and serve them faithfully.
there are people like me, who stand outside the circle with trembling lashes and softly beating hearts.
and there are people like dad, who just sit around and wait to get life over with.
i was trying to think of one word to describe dad and i came up with “ineffectual”.
then i thought about it.
it is not much of a word.
is anybody really “effectual”? even the regina molesworths?
have you ever heard someone described as “effectual’?
like, “she’s a very effectual person. we all can’t wait for her effects”?
so it seems unfair to single out poor dad as “ineffectual’, if you get my drift.
if i come up with a better word i will get back to you.
it seems kind of harsh to describe anybody with just one word anyway, don’t you think?
all right. let’s not get too philosophical here - not yet anyway.
back to day to day existence.
we were so poor we only had one television - in america!
mom watched what she wanted to watch. it was just nature’s way. she was the strongest of the three of us (for a while, the four of us - i will get to that later).
so if dad or i didn’t want to watch what mom wanted to watch - while we were digesting our hamburger patties or hot dogs or tuna casseroles or western omelets - we had no choice but to amuse ourselves, by staring into space or playing solitaire (dad) or playing with matches (me) or as a last resort reading books.
the books we had were dad’s - mystery novels mostly by erle stanley gardner or agatha christie or john dickson carr.
i should not be too hard on these books, as they formed my mimd. (especially john dickson carr).
in looking over my notes i see i wrote that dad “hated” me because he “hated the whole human race”.
i think now maybe that is a bit extreme - it is hard to say he hated anything or anybody because he hardly existed.
sometimes after mom went to bed - either to sleep or to read one of her books about audrey hepburn or grace kelly - dad and i would sit and watch the tv.
never saying anything. we watched what i wanted - remember we didn’t have cable so the choices were limited - because he absolutely did not care what he watched.
my great regret is that we didn’t have more snacks. we could hardly afford one bag of wise potato chips for a whole week!
sometimes i would try to make popcorn but i was not very good at it.
so we would watch the talk shows and if we - or i - stayed up later i would watch old black and white movies.
and these movies, along with playing with matches and reading john dickson carr novels and wishing regina molesworth liked me, formed my mind.
that is enough for now. i see i did not actually say much about dad.