Just as a refresher, when we moved from Iowa to Washington State, dad was fortunate enough to find a good job as an engineer at Boeing after a few weeks (Seattle, Here We Come!). Thanks to this great job – as well as whatever money our parents had saved up previously – after about a year we were able to move into a new home that dad built in Bellevue, a/k/a YuppieVille.
However things started getting rocky between mom and dad, and then dad began having nightmares at night that would wake me up, scaring me (We Gotta New Boat!).
Things got even worse when one day my sister and I got home from school and we were informed that dad had lost his job at Boeing in a huge layoff that came about in the early 1970’s. So, what did this mean? As a young teenager, it just didn’t make much sense. All I knew was that the fighting between mom and dad at home seemed to get worse and worse, and dad’s whole demeanor got quieter and quieter. He seemed to spend more and more time when he was home just sitting in his rocking chair.
One day we were informed that dad had finally gotten a job as a security guard, but he had to carry a gun when he went to work, and mom used to get really frightened about that. The in-house bickering seemed to intensify with mom continually asking him, Why can’t you find another job?
Then one day I got home from school and dad showed me that he had bought an old used typewriter. Now oftentimes when I was home I would hear him sitting at his desk click, click, clicking away on the typewriter. What was he doing? One time when he wasn’t around I went in and snooped at what he was writing. It was long – it looked like a story of some kind!
As time passed, things got stranger and stranger around the house. Mom and dad hardly would talk to each other without arguing, and all I wanted to do was stay in my room or head down to my playhouse outside. It was breaking my heart to see dad withdrawing from a lot of the things that he used to do at home.
Where we lived at that time had undeveloped acres of land across the street from our house. And to get to where my sister and I had to catch our school bus, we had to walk up the street for a couple blocks way out of site from home.
One morning out of the blue dad came in my room as I was getting ready to walk with my sister up to the bus stop. He closed my door and there was an excited look on his face.
Linda, guess what? Something great has happened! I want you to do something for me. When you and your sister get out of site up the street on your way to the bus, I want you to sneak back around through the woods across the street and wait for me to give you a signal. MAKE SURE YOUR MOTHER DOESN’T SEE YOU! She doesn’t believe this, but a Hollywood producer is on his way here, and he is going to produce the screenplay I’ve been writing. Get a good vantage point, and when he finally gets here I’ll flag you down through the bedroom window and you and your sister can come in to meet him!
Wow – could anything be more exciting? I quickly went through with the plan, hiding with my sister Sonja across the street across from our house.
But time started to drag on and on – how long before this producer was going to show up? What was taking so long?
My sister and I got bored, and we decided to start playing hide-and-seek through the trees to pass the time. All of a sudden – OH NO – mother had spotted us through the window! She was furious. She called us and told us to get into the house immediately.
We came home and entered through the front door. And there was dad, just sitting and rocking in his chair.
Dad? I asked. When is the producer for your play going to get here?
Not the right words to say, because mother came unglued. Producer? There’s no producer! Your dad’s crazy! I’m taking you girls out of this house right now!
But there was no possible way that I was leaving my dad. I’m staying, I said, and there’s no way you can make me come with you!
Even back then stubbornness was a virtue very ingrained within me, and mother knew that besides brute force there was no way I was going to get in the car with her and my sister.
Finally she left without me, and that was when I noticed that dad really didn’t look like “dad” anymore…