The Sins of the Fathers

I remember where I was on November 22, 1963. I was at school. I was in the third grade at Clark school in Paducah, Kentucky. The teachers did not tell us what had happened. They left it to our parents to decide when and how to tell us that our president had been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas earlier in the day.

Consequently, I was unprepared to deal with the fact that my father, a teacher at Paducah Tilghman High School, would be so distracted by trying to change all the arrangements for the high school Fall play that was opening that evening.

My father was very strict about some things. He didn’t hit me and rarely spanked me but he did yell at me. He had told me in no uncertain terms where I was to wait for him. As soon as school let out I took my post where he had told me to wait for him. That was around three o’clock or maybe three fifteen.

As four o’clock rolled around and dad hadn’t shown up, I realized that I needed to pee. But I was afraid that if I went back inside the school, something that by itself was against the rules, I would not be where I was supposed to be when my dad finally showed up.

As it got close to five o’clock, I couldn’t hold my pee any longer. I peed down my leg like a baby. I was so ashamed. When dad finally showed up, I was crying. It took him a minute to figure out what I was so upset about. He was, of course, very sorry that he had forgotten that he was supposed to pick me up. It was one of only a few times in my life that he let me down.

In later years I was always the one who made arrangements for us to meet at a certain place and time any time I went somewhere with a group. It took me a number of years to realize that this was due to my anxiety of being abandoned by the group. It’s strange how little things like that reverberate through our lives.

It makes me wonder what other quirks that I have that can be traced to events that happened in my childhood. Common sense would suggest that many of our adult foibles are consequences of experiences from earlier in out lives. We just need to examine our memories and reflect upon them to start to understand ourselves better. This is the starting point for learning to deal with these foibles.

I’ll see you here, same time tomorrow.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.