When she was ten years old, her parents were divorced. Her father wasn't living with them very much the past couple years and when he was home, he was drinking with his buddies. Two or three of his friends would drop by when they felt like it and ignore the fact that there was a wife and two kids living there. The men would pour beer down the cat's throat and set its tail on fire. The jeering wasted little boys were impersonating grown men.
Right after the divorce she was informed that her father had remarried. But in a year he had divorced his second wife and married a young nightclub dancer who lived in Ensenada, Mexico.
It wasn't until she graduated from high school and was married herself that she and her husband moved back to southern California. They spent weekends driving to Ensenada to see her father. The young couple would sleep on her father's fishing boat while he stayed with his wife and their little girl in an apartment in town.
Her father had many friends in Ensenada. The wives took her under their wing and taught her to cook good Mexican dishes. They spoke only Spanish so she dusted off her two years of high school Spanish and made friends with them, accepting their tutelage in cooking and their good natured advice on keeping her new husband.
Most weekend nights she and her husband spent walking behind her father as he roamed from bar to bar, sometimes stopping in to watch the exotic dancing his wife performed.
When she became pregnant, she and her husband stopped going to Ensenada on weekends and began preparing for their first child. Not long after their child was born her father divorced his second wife, remarried his second wife and they moved to Chapala, Mexico. It was many years later that she saw her father again on the occasion of her first child's high school graduation. By that time her father's daily drinking and three pack a day cigarette smoking habit had taken its toll. He could not be without his oxygen tank. The emphysema had progressed to where he fought for each breath but he continued to smoke three packs of unfiltered Camels every day. He flew to be in town for the graduation of her daughter and also her nephew but her father was unable to attend the ceremonies. He lasted two more years. He was found sitting at his kitchen table with his face in his food. He was 64 years old.
Photo is of my father next to his fishing boat. He was 45 years old in the picture. I wonder if my brother has this picture. I doubt it. It surprises me how much my brother looks like our father. My brother is older now that our father was when he died.