Mom dealt with perhaps one on the greatest indignities that a woman can live with; my Dad’s infidelity.
When I graduated from Army basic training my wife and mother came to my graduation at Ft Dix, New Jersey.
They spent three days and we parted. I went to Ft. Devens, Massachusetts and my wife and mom drove back to Ohio.
As they neared the home of my mom and dad, mom suggested they drive through the small town of Beaverdam. A bar was there that my dad liked to frequent. Sure enough, my car was parked in the street in front of the bar. Dad was using my car.
My wife and mom walked in the bar. Dad’s back was to the door and did not see my wife and mom enter.
Dad was sitting with a woman and at the exact time of my wife’s and mom’s arrival Dad said, “Why don’t you just come home with me tonight?”
“Well what about your wife?” The woman said.
“Oh, she won’t be home till tomorrow,” Dad said.
“She’s standing right here,” Mom said.
Dad jumped up and began to babble, “Come on over here,” Dad said. “Let me introduce you.” Dad was nervous and acting like there was nothing wrong; as if he were joking and never meant it to be serious. At the very worst he was merely offering a woman a place to stay who had fallen on hard times.
Mom told dad to get into the car. They drove home together and my wife followed in our car. When they got home my wife said she would rather drive home than stay the night.
After my sister’s funeral in December of 2010 Mom told me about other infidelities of my dad.
I have seldom spoke back, contradicted, or corrected my mother. To me it was enough to be right in my mind. Arguments are seldom won by argumentation. Time and experience is most effective.
“Why did you stay with him?” I said.
I knew her reply. I had heard it before. “It was because of you.”
My answer was not calculated nor rehearsed. Although there were some issues within the family I was prepared to address that I allowed to lay dormant for forty years. If the occasion arose I was prepared, but for this one I was not.
I looked Mom in the eyes. “Dad’s infidelity started long before I came along. Don’t blame it on me. You stayed not for me, you stayed for yourself.”
Mom stared into my eyes and said, “I suppose so.”