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  • When Dad began to compile his family stories, he began with a series of stories about me. His dialogue introducing the stories were my first clue that he actually did love me - he'd just had a hard time showing it. Story-telling is a most beautiful way of showing love, and after reading his stories about me, I did feel loved. This was one of his favorite stories about me. I will tell it from my perspective, though.

    In the summertime, I used to love to sleep on the glider on the front porch. I'd get up with the sun and go deliver my newspapers to my 70 customers on my 3-mile route. One morning, I was awoken by a lady struggling to open the front door. Half awake, I mumbled "You just have to turn the knob to the right, and push". "Thanks" she mumbled back, and entered the house.

    "Wait a minute!" thought I. "Who is that lady?" I jumped up and ran into the house, where I found her looking somewhat disoriented as she groped her way towards the stairs. "Who are you?" I challenged. "Who the hell are you?" She shot back. "I live here!" "No you don't! You need to leave." I didn't want to be responsible for letting a stranger into the house.

    This one was a beautiful, though quite disheveled looking, blonde, late 20's, and she was a lot bigger than me. I was 11 at the time, and hadn't had my growth spurt yet. She pushed past me and started up the stairs to the 2nd floor. I kept getting in front of her to try to impede her progress, arguing with her every step of the way, but she was bound and determined to make it to her bed, which she was just sure was up those stairs, and her determination was greater than my resistance.

    "Pete! What's going on here?" Dad, at the top of the stairs. All 6' 3" of him, with that big, booming voice. Oh man, now I'm really in for it! How am I going to explain this one? "She thinks she lives here, Dad! She won't listen...I tried to stop her...she just kept coming." She took one look at Dad, towering over us at the top of the stairs, and just kind of shrank into herself and collapsed to a sitting position on a stair, and started sobbing.

    What a strange scene I had awoken to! Dad, in his shorty pajama bottoms and no shirt, made his way down to her and gently helped her up and brought her down to the living room, where she sat down, looking even more disoriented. Dad determined that she'd been dropped off, after a wild night, at the wrong address. She lived at 524 Brentwood Ave, not Berkshire Ave - she lived on the other end of town.

    Dad called for a cab. I continued to hover over her while he fixed coffee in the kitchen, making sure she didn't fall asleep or try to steal anything. She still felt very much like an intruder to me, and I felt responsible for her being here - after all, I'd let her in!

    The taxi cab finally arrived. Dad helped her out to the front porch, and watched as she started to negotiate the long flight of concrete steps down to the street. As she wobbled and swayed, he quickly went out and grabbed a hold of her arm and began to escort her down those steps.

    About halfway down, he saw the cabbie at the bottom of the steps, ready to catch her if she fell, and looking at him with a look of scorn and disgust. That's when he realized what it must look like to the cabbie - Dad, bare-chested and in his shorty pajamas, with this disheveled, drunken, pretty little blonde tart. He was mortified! I went out to deliver my papers - just another day in the Bridgeman household!
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