Despite having been on a two week vacation with them, I had no understanding of my new family or how I was going to fit into it. The first thing I noticed is that both siblings were much younger than I was. Sissy was four years younger than me; however, she and my sister Lindy were only one year apart in school. You could see that they had lots in common especially since they both attended the same junior high while I was at the high school. Kevin was eight years younger and seemed like a typical little boy.
As for our stepmother Beatrice, she was as uneasy around me as I was around her. A fifteen year old girl who paid absolutely no attention to her own mother was not going to be a picnic. I was accustomed to driving the family car–a brand new red convertible–whenever I wanted. Yes, I was only fifteen, but I was a better driver than most of the people on the road.
Dad insisted we come over to his house every night (after all, he didn’t want to leave us with the out-of-control Mother we had). Often he would even stop by on his way home from work. You can imagine how our stepmother took to all this family togetherness.
Dad and our stepmother (Beatrice) were living in her house–a small three bedroom number on a dead end. There was no place for my sister Lindy and I to stay over-night which I am sure my dad regretted. He decided to “fix up” the basement so that we would all have a gathering place. Although he put in a downstairs bathroom, we never stayed over night at this house.
Dad thought the six of us would be doing lots of fun things together as a family. He loved to go to Lake of the Woods and swim, and so did we. We would all pile in Dad’s station wagon and hold our breath. We were waiting to see if anything was displeasing to Queen Beatrice. If even the slightest thing was wrong (in her mind), the trip was off and it was back inside for the four passengers.
Dad put up with all this for longer than I could imagine. Eventually, he quit inviting his new wife and just took the four children by himself. Shades of his previous wife!