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family rules

Melissa comes to town

Melissa came to us after Mrs. Judy left.  I never saw Mrs. Judy again after she was wheeled out of our house into the waiting ambulance.  Melissa was her replacement.  She was five years older than me.  Two years older than John.  She was a godsend.  The three of us became close.  Melissa was mainly there to watch Brian and Hannah since they weren’t in school yet and to do laundry.  She would also babysit us on week nights when my parents had their weekly date night.  I enjoyed this evening immensely.  My parents were gone.  Melissa let us stay up late watching tv.  It was the only time during the week where we did get to watch television.  I know I am about to date myself here, but the three of us would stay up late watching Charlie’s Angels.  It was a great treat.  We had to keep an eye out because if my parents came home early then John and I would have to jump into bed and pretend to be sleeping when they walked to their bedroom.  Melissa and I got to talking about life.  She was fifteen and wanted to join the army.  She had to wait one more year to legally be allowed to drop out of high school and join the army.  It’s all she talked about.  It’s all she wanted.  I can’t remember her circumstances, but I know her home life was not good.  She was mostly an unhappy person.  That’s probably why we connected even though I was still a young girl.  My father would drive Melissa home after their date nights.  One day Melissa and I were sitting outside talking on a Thursday afternoon after I had gotten home from school.  She told me she did not like my father driving her home after he went out at night.  I asked her why.  She gave me a strange look, paused a very pregnant pause and said, “Don’t you know your father is an alcoholic? When he drives me home he is always drunk.”  I did not know until that moment my father was an alcoholic.  I did not know what it meant to be an alcoholic.  It would take me a few more years before I finally got what she had been trying to tell me.  

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