Before the age of ten, I lived in a family filled with domestic violence. My father was not a kind man nor an affectionate one. Life had taken away his dreams and he was angry at the world and resentful and abusive towards those who had taken away from him other things he had wanted. He was in love with someone else, but because my mother was pregnant, he married her. When the first child came, he took a job he felt was beneath him. It entailed hard work and manual labor. He worked with men he did not like and was sent home often for fighting co-workers. He told any one who would listen that he hated kids, had too many of them, and wished they would just disappear from his life. It was a rule in his house that children were neither to be seen or heard. When he came home from work, the children had to be in bed asleep as soon as he came in the front door. While he was in the house, they were to be in bed. He would eat his supper of meat, potatoes, vegetables and bread. He would rest a while, drink some beer, and then head out to the beer joint to talk and drink with friends.
My mother loved my father but knew he was seeing other women when he left the house. She would come in the bedroom and give her children pills to knock them out, and then she would leave to go down to the beer joint. The children had no supper and often slept until the sounds of violence filled the bedrooms. The parents would come home drunk, get into arguments, and scream at each other. They would throw objects, and hit each other with wine or vodka bottles until they both would pass out. In the morning, the children would find blood or vomit on the floor and empty bottles tossed every where. Often they were beaten if they asked questions, or asked for food to eat. They would grab some saltines and run down the street toward school. The school lunch program for children in need would give them the only hot meal for that day. They rarely missed school because of that.
My mother would often leave for days or weeks at a time and not tell any one where she was going. She would just disappear. When she was home, she was abusive and she would sleep in bed for long periods of time. After a while, someone reported to the police what was going on and A Child In Need Of Care Hearing was held. My world was about to change in ways that would affect me for the rest of my life. (To be continued in part two.)