When my brother, Paul, was single and dating, before he married and moved away, all the girls were smitten with him, because he was so handsome, just like Father. He never knew just how crazy they were over him, and that made him even more special. He named his boy after Father. He is probably the only one in our family who understood Father because he himself served time in the army when he came of age. He says Father saw too much killing at a young age and that changes people. Father was only a young boy when he enlisted in the army. He lied about his age because he was fifteen and you had to be seventeen to join the army. Father was small, making the required height and weight requirements by putting lifts in his shoes and rocks in his pockets. Paul says Father was not a bad man, just another victim of the war.
Life was getting back to normal, and when I look back at that day I can’t help but remember why it all had to end. But thank goodness it was over, the fear, the hiding, the lying and covering up, the fighting, it was over for good.
People never treated us the same, they looked at us with inquisitive eyes. Some even acted like they were frightened. Well, that’s what it felt like. When we would come from church, they would flock around us and say hello to Mother, as she introduced us to everyone. I remember knowing people would just want to be close to us. Almost like they were thinking ‘they look normal, they certainly are dressed well, they are different, yet the same in many ways, but somehow they must be damaged, they have to be.’
My youngest sister, Maisy, was only a baby, in her crib, the day Father died. We all thought, with her being so young, it was better to spare her the sadness of telling her how Father died, so we didn’t. So for most of her young life she knew nothing, only that people were distant and inquisitive and watched her every move as if she was some kind of celebrity in a strange sort of way. She felt as though she had done something wrong or she was not good enough. She was hurt when she found out what our story was because that would mean there was nothing wrong with her after-all, and at that moment, sadly, it all made sense to her.
It wasn’t long before things got back to normal. No more fighting in the house. If my younger sister, who Mother spoilt the most, wanted a goat, then she got her goat. It was born five weeks earlier on our cousin’s farm outside of town. She named him ‘Bucky’, he was friendly and thought he was one of the family. One day he went missing only to be found hidden under the bedclothes upstairs in my sister’s bed.