Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The other side of the Sand Dune

Having now discussed my side with my mother's side and comparing notes (seeing as she didn't know that I was aware of whtat was going on), I have found it very interesting to discover what was being said and discussed between the two (or three) of them.

My mum and dad put us to bed for an afternoon nap and went for a walk on the beach to talk things over. On the way back, they saw Sam sitting on a sand dune with her head hanging between her knees. Dad asked if he could go and see if she was ok. Mum (clearly not realising the intimacy they still shared) said she would go too and Dad said, no - he would go alone and meet her back at the cabin. The two of them disappeared and after about 3 hours of no one seeing them, Dad came back and announced to Mum that he would be leaving her and marrying Sam. What they expected to happen next, I have no idea because our family of four and Sam's family of five are stuck in the back of beyond for another 2 days with half of the community.

Sam and Dad never got married. My mum tried to leave with my brother and I but the park we were staying in had closed. We left first thing in the morning and somehow they managed to work things out and I went to the local school with much excitement on my first day. However everytime we had a function, christmas party or birthday in the district - I would be terrified that Sam would be there. It was worse at the gatherings becasue she was such a flirt with everyone that Dad would then get grouchy.

This is something that I unknowingly struggled with - I was still learning right from wrong and good from bad but at the same time my Dad was my hero - parents seem perfect when we are young. So I also believed that what he was doing was simply done by all fathers. I remember Dad taking us to Sam's house to 'play' with her kids and I'd just been given an address book for my sixth birthday and it was my new favourite game to fill this book. We had been playing in the bedroom, I walked into the lounge to get Sam's address and they were kissing. I simply thought "Oh dear, they're busy - I'll have to come back later." How wrong is this??? Yet, I suppose I got off lucky after the previous time I caught them. So this is something I came to accept but like I say, as I grew older and began to learn right from wrong - my emotions and insides began their turmoil as something that I had grown up with seemed to be fundamentally wrong.

The district school began to let its affairs run amok so my mother decided to move us to the closest city school, a 50 minute drive from our farm. Our neighbour was teaching there so we were able to get a lift with her on a daily basis. After a year or two, my mother was offered a post at the school and accepted. This allowed my father plenty of time alone on the farm. The affair with Sam continued on and off for years - this was the general pattern. My mother would either notice something initially (eg once he highlighted his hair - very strange for a farmer! - or wore a new style of clothing) and Mum would phone her friends and say "Sam's back". Her friends tried to calm her and often told her she was overreacting or paranoid. A few months down the line we would go to family friends for drinks - for example we had some who were about ten years older than my parents and Ned would say, "Garry - what are you and Sam up to? I was driving back from the city the other day and I saw Sam driving in and a few cars back I saw you driving in."
"That's just a coincidence"
"Maybe a coincidence once every few months - but this is a few times a week - I'm not the only one who's seen it. Do you think we were born yesterday?"
It was blatent to the community and they despised him for treating my mother like he did but he defended it to the end. This is the major disadvantage to living in a small town community if you want to have an affair - people talk. My mother would be approached by people in the community often saying - "they're at it again." She would confront him and he would try to turn it around saying she was dilusional and paranoid. He would be furious with her and told her she had serious psychological problems. He swore there was nothing going on. These heated discussions would usually end with my mother in tears and feeling like she was losing her mind. A few months down the line - the news would come out and he'd confess to Mum, appologising profusely and promising it wouldn't happen again. It was all over. Of course it I said - this was the pattern - two or three years down the line my mother would call her friends..."She's back..."


  1. I think it is sad for us to have our lives tarnished at such an early age. And then to grow up and realize that our parents didn't do such a great job! As a parent of 3 children myself I now know this to be the case with my parents. And yes I know it's easy to throw stones, but I promise you I experienced things-abusive things-in my childhood which I would NEVER allow my kids to ever go through. I saw your coffee shop post. Check me out

  2. To be young and married (the circumstance not the above poster) can be an exciting and magical time, but when the kids come, more than ever, it should less about "me" and more about "all of us". Kids aren't stupid or pets to amuse us, they just can't figure everything out sometimes and need responsible adults as role models. You tell a story very well.

  3. Fantastic! i have gone through 100s of blog but did not see as powerful a writer as you are.believe me ,you are going to rock one day.i must follow you.
    ollow me too.. i can be of some use to you later.

  4. even in their many flaws, we still have to love our daddys... my heart goes out to your mom, though. she made the best of an awful situation, which is so hard to do. =/

  5. You were a courageous child, and you are courageous to share these stories as an adult.
    Thank you.