I had started hanging out with the kids that partied, the “cool” crowd. In retrospect, I think that this was my way of being the antithesis to my older brother. He was a straight A student, in various clubs and on the football team. I needed to find my own niche, so I chose drugs and drinking. (Good choice!)
It was easy for me to get my hands on alcohol. After we moved to our new home in the northeast, my mother went to work, and we became latch key kids. My parents had a fabulous liquor cabinet, full of anything and everything. My father bought ten cases of beer at a time. So many that the clerk at the liquor store needed to use a two wheel dolly to get them to the car. All of this alcohol was ripe for the picking, and the fact that no one was home all afternoon, it was easy to steal and stash.
The bottom shelf of our refrigerator was designated for my father’s beer. It was my chore after school to replenish the stock from the cases stacked in the basement. Easy pickings, two six packs for the ‘fridge, one stashed in the woods behind our house for the party on the weekend. It was warm, but it did the trick. I never got turned away at the door when I showed up with a six pack in my hand.
Many of my partying friends mother’s also worked. I had my first screwdriver at my friend Lisa’s house. Her mother worked overnights, so we had freedom all evening. We were novices, we made our screwdrivers with gin.
This lifestyle carried me through my high school years. My parents knew that something was going on, but never figured it out, or most likely, just weren’t interested.
My mother found rolling papers hidden in my room. I burnt a hole in my brand new jacket with my marijuana pipe, I got kicked off the school bus for smoking and lighting fires. My grades were abysmal, and my SAT scores were horrific. All red flags that no one paid attention to.
No one but my older brother. He cornered me when I came home high after school one day and told me I was disgusting. Coming from “Mr. Perfect”, I couldn’t have cared less.
My parents were enablers. We used to have huge blow out parties at our house. My father would purchase the keg, and we would invite the whole school, and they would come. We thought that the parties were great, and my parents loved them too. They stayed, hung out, and drank with all of our schoolmates. We were cool, our parents partied, and let the kids come to party too. They would be arrested for this today, but in the 70’s, it gave us cache.
It was during this time that my parents marriage started to go sour. My father was drinking a lot. He was also having an affair. He also became extremely verbally and often physically abusive. I have to surmise he was in a lot of pain, unfortunately he wanted to spread the pain around.
We all suffered. My father would get inebriated, and would become enraged about a previous event from the evening, He would come upstairs, throw open our bedroom doors at 11pm and roll the offenders sleeping body onto the floor and start drunkenly yelling and swearing.
Other times, the verbal abuse was interminable. I was called a whore, slut, and a loser. I never knew what was going to set him off.
I had a boy over, and we were in my room, the tirade went on for hours.
He took me to get my ears pierced, although he was against “putting holes in my head”, and didn’t speak to me for a week. He then came home with opal earring.
I would get home from a date (read partying) and he would be sitting in the dark in the front hall waiting to start the tongue lashing.
I would go away for a weekend, with his permission, and then be subjected to hours of verbal detritus about how I didn’t help with chores around the house that weekend.
It was like living in a field of land mines.
To get through it, I drank, got high, and partied like a rock star.