Small towns are made for children. When we lived in the small town of Taylorville, It was relatively safe for a five year old to go wandering around with no worries. This town – or at least the block where we lived – was also made for our mother. We lived in an apartment with a bar a few doors down. This was a dream come true for our mother.
While our dad worked, my sister was in school, and I was out on another solitary adventure, Mother would spend hours on a bar-stool in her favorite new hangout. The fact she was the only woman there did not seem to bother her. Her new-found friends kept her laughing (and many of the men bought her drinks). As the liquor poured freely for Mother, her mean demeanor mellowed. Sometimes she would stay late into the afternoon and my sister and I would go into the bar looking for her. She appeared to be happy, smiling at all of her new friends. If we were lucky, one of the men there would buy us a “Bubble Up” and a big pretzel. Our time in the bar was relaxing and enjoyable. However, upon our return home, Mother would begin her rage as the alcohol wore off and reality came rushing back to her.
It seemed she had become another personality. Pulling this new-found energy and bravado from the alcohol’s high and then the lows as it receded, she would begin her tirade. It mostly consisted of high pitch yelling and screaming and usually would end with her needing to lie down and rest due to utter exhaustion and the effects of a full day of drinking. My sister and I would usually entertain ourselves by going out on the roof and throwing our dolls off with the hopes of beating the doll to the ground so we could catch them before they were smashed on the concrete below. We were young and did not fathom the ideas of physics and Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries. We lost many dolls but it entertained us while our mother slept away the afternoon in her alcohol-induced nap. Just another day in paradise!