My quiet dad

Today I am going to talk more about my dad.

My dad has hardly had much of a look in regarding my past, but I thought I should share some things about him, because he wasn’t part of the problem when I was growing up – he was like a cushion to the blow I could have had – if that makes sense at all?

My dad was always fighting to get me better things, to get me better socialised, to get me better educated and he was almost always ignored – but my dad did have some small victories now and again in regards to having choices about what happened to his child.

My mum made no secret about why she married my father; she let it be known to both him and I that she married him purely to keep her boys safe in case she died, because she had a health scare about a year before I was born.

Her arrangement was, I shall marry you Tom if you ensure that you will raise my boys as your own if anything happens to me!  He agreed and he would have done so too, however my dad said he was sad he would never have children of his own and he sulked about it for a time – my mum was terrified in having another child because the child she had before me was a breach of which she was more or less forcing herself to have naturally and she suffered for three days in labour until she relented to have a caesarean.

However, she told me she felt sorry for my dad and said that she would give him only one child to seal the deal and he was happy with that!

So I was born before they got married, they married in the January after my birth. 

My dad was a sheet metal worker shortly after this and remained in that job until I was seven years old. Then stuck to his next job until retirement, pun intended a glue factory foreman – where I got my first job as a labeller at the age of 15.

Before he married my mum he was a chicken farmer and a train driver before he went into the army to get a HGV license, but he stayed in the army longer than he had planned.  There is a family rumour that my mum broke my dad’s leg deliberately to prevent him attending his duties in the Falklands, but it was never proven.

My dad was a quiet man, who hardly spoke about himself and so I don’t know much about him in his own words, only the rumours from other relatives who knew him.  He kept himself to himself and often shut himself away to play on consoles in other rooms away from family.

Sometimes dad would cook, but mostly I cooked for the family when mum was on nightshifts from the age of 7yrs onwards, dad was a less fussy eater than mum and would be more adventurous in the food he ate – he would have been a healthier person if mum wasn’t so dominant about the kinds of food she bought.  He had very little say on what happened to the money he bought into the family and he only ever had £25 a week to himself for betting on horses only.  She didn’t like him buy what she called junk to fill the house up with, because my dad was a bit of a retro head.

My dad always wanted to be an entertainer like his sisters, always wanted to do stand-up comedy and play the harmonica in public and create his own funny songs.  He liked making people laugh, but mum told he she wouldn’t let him do that as a side hobby, because he embarrasses her and it’s not fair to her that he should do that!

Mum was always telling him she was embarrassed by him and he just took it on the chin and obeyed, he tolerated it because he loved her.

My dad was a Tommy Cooper lookalike and he had his style of humour and my dad often imitated him a lot at family parties and weddings – in fact he looked so much like him and could remember all his jokes that his sisters tried heavens hard for years to make him be a lookalike act at special events where they honoured Tommy Cooper after he died – but mum simply wouldn’t allow it!

My dad would have been very successful doing that!  Especially as my dad could also do the special magic tricks that Tommy Cooper could too!  My dad was a bit of a magician!

My dad taught me how to act too; he would often play and relive our favourite movies together.  As a child I knew the lines to almost every Laurel and Hardy movie there was, because we played it together the most and also Blackbeard the pirate!  We also liked Norman Wisdom movies, Carry on movies and George Formby!

I don’t remember too much nowadays as it’s been almost twenty years since I saw a Laurel and Hardy movie last, but I do have recollections now and again.

But my dad and I were definitely entertainers for the family at family events, which is why mum started to refuse a lot of the invitations from the age of ten onwards – because we were both embarrassing her, my dad for simply being who he is and me being a fat funny girl who was too highly influenced in naughty humour bought about by my love for the Carry on team and comedians such as Frankie Howard and Julian Clary.

I like saucy and naughty humour, naughty is nice!

My dad paid for a while for me to have singing lessons (opera to be specific) but mum put a stop to it when they decided I had talent and needed to go to talent contests etc. around the country.  Plus she hated the idea of the amount of money she had to lose in order to hone my skills.  When I lost the singing lessons dad fought heavens hard to get me tutored in playing the piano, because of my addiction to my grandmother’s piano whenever we visited!

My dad would not compromise on one thing in his life and that was visiting his side of the family, something my mother really loathed bout him.  She hated every Sunday, because that would be the chosen day each week my dad would take me visiting his side of the family!

She rarely went with us because most of the family were outside of her 3 mile limit and the anxiety of travelling was just too much for her!  My gran lived 25 miles away in Bedfordshire.

Other relatives lived in Berkshire, Luton, Cheshire, Wales, Southend and Canvey Island or West London, far too far for my mum – so she stayed at home most of the time.

My dad and I would often go rowing in the lake at Alexander Palace in the summer with my cousins and have a large picnic, mum hated us doing that because she didn’t like my cousins being called cousins – as despite my mum having a mixed religious and mixed race background herself (third generation), she hated the concept of me calling my mixed race cousins, cousin and was quite racist about it, to the extent my aunt who is very passive was pinned up against the wall by my mother and threatened simply because she felt that she was putting ideas into my head that were against her own!

My dad never tried to control my mum behaviour, never tried to apologise for it or make any comment or even seemed to notice it – sometimes he would sigh and look downwards and wait for her to finish so we can all quietly leave again and hear the rants in the car about how victimised my mother felt for her own actions!

My dad was bullied by my mum and sometimes that did include physically being bullied too, though he’ll deny it, because he loves her.  But I remember lots of times where my mum has slapped him, kicked him, pushed him out of the way, called him names and dragged him physically off somewhere!

I do believe that domestic violence can affect both genders; I have witnessed it growing up!

Whenever my dad was pushed to the limits and he would rarely stand up for himself and say something, mum always won because she would say she is going to leave him right then and there and would often storm out of the house and stay with her friends for the night to try and scare him back into submission.  I remember those times, she would come back in the house with a smile on her face and carry on like nothing happened and dad would be thankful she is back, but she would pretend she wouldn’t know what he was on about!

Even when someone proved to dad my mum was having an affair with a bouncer at a nightclub my dad’s reaction was a shrug and well she comes home to me doesn’t she?  He wouldn’t challenge her on it.

My dad was submissive and unassuming and incredibly patient.

I often questioned his reactions and said you are not often happy dad, why stay?  He would make all kinds of excuses, but the one that stood out the most was hearing at the age of nine your dad confessing that if your mother did die of her heart troubles, you’d lose two parents at once, because he told me at the tender age of nine he’d commit suicide if she died.  Which shocked me, because he promised my mum he’d look after her sons if she did!  His reply is, they are adults now Tina, done my bit.  I said to him, well what about me?  I was shocked and hurt to hear him reply, the deal didn’t say anything about me!

I told him, I am your daughter, and surely you’d think about me wouldn’t you? What would happen to me then dad? 

He said I would be alright with my gran!

It was a scary time for me, because this was the time mum left for two weeks to go on  holiday in Great Yarmouth with her sister and friends because of another argument, one of which my dad tried to prepare me to pack to go and live with gran with him.  So suicide was lurking around the house for too long, mum came back, no smiles this time and she was asking if he had packed yet and he said no, but Tina has – then that’s when mum sent me off again to another aunt for a while and the whole time I was scared dad would be dead!

Other than gardening and playing darts with me from time to time, there isn’t really much else to say about my dad, other than his addiction to horse racing and online casinos.

He is a teetotaller, a good honest man who works hard and got obese living with my mum on the diet she provided him and he has very little self-esteem.

He is funny, a good entertainer, but she knocked him off his pedestal as much as she did me.

That’s all there is really to my dad.

He tried hard to get me into clubs and learn things – singing lessons, music lessons, pushing me in my sports, but mum always stopped us.

Dad always wanted to take me on holidays, but mum didn’t like it, didn’t like travelling unless she was with her sister and so we never had a family holiday together ever!  Not once.

I had no birthday parties after the age of 7yrs, nothing special for my landmark birthdays and that hurts when you see your mother go all out on landmark birthdays for your brothers, 16, 18 and 21.  It was always made clear to me, I was not important, I was not really supposed to be part of her family and so I don’t get those things!

That was my life, she lives for her boys, I got the scraps.

My dad never hit me unless he was bullied by her, she would literally lay into him to force him – but outside of her, he never laid a finger on me, even when he was at his most angry! 

Thanks for reading!

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