Yep, one day dad came home with a red ski boat (YuppieVille), and there was a lot of excitement around the house. Dad had built a carport for the boat in back of our house, and often he would be out there shining it up.
Now on our weekends (when it was nice!) we usually would take our boat out onto Lake Washington, and spend the days zooming around the lake – usually with mom water skiing from the back. When she would get tired she’d jump in the boat, and then either we’d tie up somewhere at a beach around the lake to have lunch, or just float aimlessly around the middle of the lake lazily sunbathing and swimming.
It seemed like this was a new spark-plug for mom and dad in their marriage, and there seemed to be a lot more laughter and fun times.
But, of course, some things just don’t seem to last. As time went on we started to venture farther on the lake to different locations, and sometimes we’d find ourselves in trouble. And, of course, during those not-too-good times the bickering between mom and dad got worse and worse.
One time I remember us taking our boat over into Seattle to tie up on a buoy to spend the day watching the Seafair hydroplane races which are a really big thing late summer. Then late afternoon the weather started getting stormy so we began to head home. But something was wrong with our boat! I remember the waves were really high, and it was getting cold. I was scared, and I’m sure everyone else was too. For some reason we could only go really slow, and it seemed like forever until we finally made it around the lake to where we launched our boat. Not a fun afternoon, let me tell you!
Then I remember one time we were towing our boat, and the boat slid right off the trailer into the middle of the street! Dad had evidently forgotten to lock some of the cables. That was certainly not a fun day as the condemnation came heavy from mother. I just couldn’t wait to get home…
Something else was starting to happen too that started to really frighten me. In our new home, my parent’s bedroom was right across from mine. I remember sometimes in the middle of the night all of a sudden I would hear dad start screaming – and yes I mean screaming! Now please know that my dad was a very quiet individual. Actually I don’t even remember him raising his voice very often. That’s why when I would hear him actually screaming I would lay in my bed terrified.
Sometimes I could hear mom saying something to him, but quite frankly I was just too scared to ask about it.
However I do remember him occasionally yelling the word “Japs.”
As I wrote about briefly in my post Such a Bitter Root, dad had fought in World War II. He had never talked to us about what he had gone through, but my sister and I were told years later by a dear uncle that dad at one point had gotten separated from his patrol, and had ended up on his own for a whole week trying to stay alive before he was finally reunited with his squadron.
So was he having nightmares about what he had gone through during those days? I knew that both he and my mom still struggled with bigotry towards the Japanese because of that war – and the war was back in the 1940’s. Why were these nightmares just starting now? Or, had he had them all along and I had just never heard them before because my bedroom previously was farther away from theirs?
All I knew was that it just wasn’t much fun living in this new house.
Then one day things really started going over the edge, which rocked my young world to its very core…