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“BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ": chapter 7 ~ page 2

Since Lito earned very good money as an artisan piano finisher/cabinet maker and Lita as a seamstress, Lito gave my mom all of the money that my dad had scammed.

He also seriously threatened to beat him with a ballpeen hammer should he ever show up again in San Francisco.

Before my father abandoned her and left to Puerto Rico, my Mom designed and sewed upscale doll dresses and baby clothes that she sold to haute couture I. Magnin.

This extra income was necessary to help my dad support the family and offset the money that he blew on his mistresses.

But now my Mom had to search for full-time employment to provide for herself, Tappy and me. Passing the Safeway Supermarket test, she was hired as a cashier in January 1957.

Cognizant that Tappy and I needed a full-time baby sitter since we were so young, Lita lovingly quit her job and assumed the role of our hands-on second mother.

Willing to lose her good income and union benefits as well as her personal and career independence, Lita chose love of family over money.

Their emotional pain still lingering, after dinner my mother and grandparents would often create a merry-go-round of hate, spewing vitriolic barbs at my father.

No matter the hurt that his leaving caused me, I still very much loved my dad.

Whenever I defended him in front of my family, I was immediately taken down the backyard stairs and locked in my mom’s garage sewing room.

A cold and dark unwelcoming space, I would holler at the top of my lungs as one of the 3 would slam the door shut, lock it and turn off the light.

Already scared of the dark thanks to always being threatened that if I misbehaved the devil would grab me from under the bed while sleeping, 10 years ago a spiritual psychologist described this situation plain and simple as TORTURE.

A HUGE shame that I needed to release and forgive ~ and thank God I quickly did.

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