After my parents divorced, my mom remarried a man named Bus. I think I was around 6 at the time. My step-dad was a wonderful man. He was also divorced and had 5 children who all lived with him. (His ex-wife was in and out of a mental hospital, so he was left to raise the kids.)
I don’t remember their wedding, but I remember him moving in with his kids. Things were not very smooth at first, which is to be expected in blended families. The first thing I thought when I saw the other kids was that I didn’t want them to live with us. Fortunately we all learned to live together peacefully (for the most part). In fact, as we grew up we never referred to one another as step-siblings… we were all just siblings.
The new siblings were Rich, Carole, Patty, Jeannie and Millie. Rich had already joined the Marines and was stationed overseas when Mom and Dad got married. Carole was in high school, Patty was a few years older than Sharon, Jeannie was my age and Millie was the same age as Carl.
I don’t think I ever called Bus anything but “Dad.” He was a wonderful man. He never treated any of us differently than the rest. To him we were all his kids and we were all equal. He worked at a youth detention center as the head of security. There were times we’d go to the prison for Christmas parties, but it never scared me or bothered me to go there.
Dad had a great sense of humor. He was famous for coming up with different ways of answering the phone. Two of them that I remember most was when he would answer the phone by saying, “It’s your dime, start talking!” and “Floyd’s mortuary. You stab ’em, we slab ’em.”
There was one time when as a teenager I had asked if I could go hang out with my friend for the evening. Dad had a pair of leg irons and handcuffs he had brought home from work that day. When I asked if I could go out, he told me no and put me in a chair with the leg irons and handcuffs on. I know… that seems kind of mean, but it was all in fun.
One time Jeannie, Brenda and I had gone to the mountains with some guys for the day. Mom and Dad were gone when we got home, so we all had dinner and went downstairs to watch t.v. We heard Mom and Dad come in after a while. It was the first time Dave (the guy I was with) had ever come over to our house. Dad came downstairs and looked in on us. He didn’t say a word, just continued walking through the basement to his work bench. He came back and looked at us as he was sharpening a machete. He still never said a word, just looked at the guys. It was at that point that Dave said he needed to get home.
Life at our house was never dull, and never lonely. There was always someone to talk to and hang out with.