who clearly wanted nothing to do with us. For a while, my mother had the delusional belief that her
husband had drowned in a boating accident in the Ottawa River, or that he was wandering around in a
state of amnesia.
Not only was my father alive and well, he was thriving; travelling around the world, photographing
celebrities and royalty, shopping for clothing at Marks and Spencer and Holt Renfrew, and engaged to
a woman who was the polar opposite of my mother.
Whenever my siblings visited my father, we were "greeted" at the door by his girlfriend, who had
a miserable expression on her face and said:
"We knew you children would find us".
"Did your mother send you here to spy on us?"
"All we want to do is live a quiet life".
"We can't give you any money, or let you live with us".
We didn't show up at their door to extract money from them, even though he owed thousands of dollars for unpaid child support.
I noticed that the walls and tabletops were adorned with pictures of his girlfriend and her family, and not one picture of his biological children. I felt like saying "You may have divorced Mom, but
you cannot divorce your own children" but I kept my mouth shut so that I wouldn't be booted out of their
I wanted answers. But the girlfriend planted herself on the sofa and wouldn't leave the room. I'm wouldn't be surprised if they were taping our conversation. My father asked me if I was on a "fact
finding mission" (during World War 11, he was in the Air Force and conducted fact finding missions
over occupied Europe.) I'm surprised that his girlfriend didn't follow me into the bathroom, or inspect my purse, which carried nothing more than cigarettes, makeup and prescription pain killers for my
They seemed very interested in what I did for a living, probably because they envisioned that I would end up:
-in a cult like the Moonies, the Children of God or Scientology.
-in a Charles Manson-type family.
-begging on the streets for money.
My father studied psychology, so he knew the trajectory or path followed by many girls who are
abandoned, rejected, and abused in every possible way.
I wanted to ask him the following questions:
Why did you not send us birthday, Christmas or Easter cards? You even rejected us when your biological grandchildren were born, my brother said "He didn't even send a card when my baby was born".
Why did you never attend a parent/teacher interview, a school play, a sporting event, visit us in the hospital when we were sick...My siblings and I were unprepared for adulthood, because we did not have a parent to teach us how to apply for a job, write a job resume, study, apply for college and
university loans and grants, interact with the opposite sex...My brothers, sister and I were like
weeds, unwanted and frequently uprooted.
Do you realize how humiliating it was, when I watched parents hug and kiss their children after a
school play or recital, and take their photographs? Not one person showed up to watch me, to tell me
how talented and beautiful I was. I remember one teacher in Smiths Falls who provided a lifeline, she was an elderly Grade 9 art teacher. God bless her, she told me I was a talented artist and should study
Why are pictures of your girlfriend and her family on every wall, and paintings created by your
"grandchild" taped to the fridge door. I was offered a soft drink and Dutch wafer cookies when I
visited, knowing full well that when my uncles, aunts and her relatives visited, they were entertained
in style---with trips to Parliament Hill and the Sparks Street Mall; lavish meals at their home and in the
finest restaurants in Ottawa...I felt so uncomforatable in their home, like I was an intruder preventing
them from doing something more important. What could be more important than conversing with your
own flesh and blood? Why did you take cheap, black-and-white Polaroid snapshots of me and my
siblings, while British royalty and movie stars rated Pentax cameras.
Do you realize the effect that growing up without a father has, on a young, impressionable girl. When teenaged boys realized that I did not have a father at home who would protect me, I became prey...they had to "watch their step" with girls from good families.
Because of you, Dad, I never expected flowers, cards or letters from my boyfriends.
Because of you, Dad, I never felt insulted when I wasn't invited to family barbecues, weddings, baby showers or any other family events by my boyfriends. My sister and I were never bridesmaids or
flower girls when we were growing up.
One young man, a beer drinking, deer hunting, chain-smoking, truck driving Albertan, swept me off my
feet and swept all the bad memories away. I realize now that he elevated the endorphins in my brain, which are 1,000 times more powerful than Morphine. This man invited me to a couple of weddings,
and I kept the invitations for years. His family welcomed me with open arms, and encouraged him to
As a final insult, Dad, you excluded your biological children from your will. You hurt us when you were alive, and even in death you have the power to reach out from the grave and hurt us.
|I am visiting my father and his wife in 1976.|