Memories of my father are vague. In hindsight, he was merely the man who lived at my house... a non-participating parent. He was a stereotypical drunken Irishman. This tradition was unfortunately passed down throughout the generations and even reared its ugly head in the generation of his offspring. Three of his four children grew up to have substance abuse problems.

My mother was the "head" of the family and dished out the discipline in the family as we needed it usually in a very democratic way. If one of us did something, we all got in trouble! She never had the patience to investigate a wrongdoing and found punishing all of us was the easiest way of punishing the guilty party. My only memory of my father disciplining me was over an incident that happened while I was in 6th grade. This one time my three older brothers had nothing to worry about because I was the held accountable for my own actions. Any day now, I should be getting off restriction!

The neighborhood I grew up in was like many of that era. Generations lived in those neighborhoods without ever leaving. Each neighborhood had several features in common: a family-owned store (forerunner to a convenience store), a neighborhood bar, a local hang-out for the kids and teenagers (usually a pizza parlor with pinball machines) and a park. The young people of each neighborhood were very loyal to their "gang" of friends and mostly mingled only within the group they were born into until a little later in life when it was acceptable to have "outsiders" as friends. A definite code of silence was learned at a very young age and the rite of passage was simply acquired by showing loyalty when a situation arose requiring it.

One afternoon, 4 of us were out taking a walk. Before we knew it we were in the next neighborhood over from the one in which 3 of us lived. My 3 friends were thirsty and wanted to stop at the corner store for a Coke. While they were inside, I remained outside watching the world go by. My back was to the store, so as they exited from the store, I wasn't aware that they had come back outside. All of a sudden I heard a fire alarm go off and my natural "fight or flight" instinct put wings on my feet and I flew away from that location ASAP. Behind me were my 3 friends, laughing, running, and talking about pulling a false alarm.

When the fire trucks arrived and found no fire, they returned to the fire station, but the police scoured the neighborhood for the 4 girls who had fled. When they found us, we were brought to the police station and then subjected to a lecture about being responsible citizens. One by one, each of us were asked our names and addresses. One by one, each one of us were taken home in disgrace to face our families. I was the last one of the group to be questioned. When I revealed my name, the captain of the police department smiled and told me I wasn't going to go home. Instead, I was brought to the fire department where my father was working and had just gone out on a false alarm.

Gratitude statement: Forty-three years later, I am truly thankful to still be friends with the three bad influences mentioned in this post.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.


  1. I remember once while on vacation down in Mexico at Puerto Panasco, me and some friends I'd met who were also vacationing (all of us quite young) went to a bar on the beach to buy some beer and when we walked in the bar there was my dad sitting on a barstool. I froze and we all slowly backed out the door thinking the worst was about to happen. We had "Busted" written all over our faces.
    This just cracks me up.

  2. I am just as grateful...love the differences in all...especially sense I figured you died...so glad you are very much alive an kickin...