My 1st Stepfather

My mother met Kerry in the summer of 1988. They worked together for an assisted living service for the mentally ill. Kerry was a house manager at one of the residences and my mother at another. He was only 19 years old and dating his high-school sweetheart. He was more than six-feet tall and I loved when he put me on his shoulders so I could see the world! My mother was dating a much shorter bearded man at the time. He was always nice to me, but he wasn’t very kid friendly. The only real memory I have of him is running into their bedroom during a thunderstorm and seeing him in my mother’s underwear! I ran right back to my bedroom as fast as I could!
Most of the time my mother and I lived with the same three mentally disabled people. There was a women named Erin, who was a schizophrenic. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I remember her telling me that it was really important that she take her medication. When we first moved in, Erin would try to hide her pills in her pillow instead of taking them. According to my mother she came walking in to her room one night with a butcher’s knife and held it over her head! She kept a much closer eye on her after that. At least, that is what she told me when it was evident of the fear she had just unleashed in my eyes. It must have been true though because Erin always seemed normal enough to me.
There was another older man named Orin. He didn’t say much but I remember that he would always pick his nose, roll the buggers in a ball and flick them across the room. Occasionally, he would have a “fit” at the dinner table and my mother would yell, “Everybody clear the room, Orin’s going to blow!”
He would get all riled up, waive his index finger around in circles and start throwing anything he could get his hands on. We lost plates, silverware, you name it! They were usually able to calm him down soon after that and he would go back to picking his nose and flicking it across the room.
Then there was the most interesting of the three. I can’t recall her name, but she was a handful! Once, we were kicked out of a department store because she flipped out and started banging on the glass case where all the jewelry was stored. My mother sent me outside with Erin and we waited for what seemed like forever. Once they made it outside, the lady got into someone elses’ car and wouldn’t get out. My mother screamed at her, but she wouldn’t budge. The owners of the car, a man and a woman, walked up to find my mother yelling at what appeared to be an empty backseat. I bet they thought she was crazy! By the time they made it up to the car and realized what was going on, she jumped out and ran to where I was standing. My mother apologized to the very lost looking couple and shuffled all of us in to the car. We lived with these folks at a few different places and it was always entertaining.
Over time, my mother and Kerry grew close and eventually broke off their current relationships to be with each other. Young and nieve, my mother had Kerry wrapped around her little finger. At this moment in his life, he longed for independence and saw a life with us as just what he had been searching for. He plunged head first and didn’t look back.
In the early stages of their relationships we lived in many different places around Pennsylvania. There was the small apartment where we shared our first Christmas and a neat little lake house in the Poconos. In the beginning I loved it, but I remember at some points feeling very jealous of him. I wasn’t used to sharing my mother with anyone. For the last five years it was just us, so this was a big adjustment for me. An adjustment I grew very thankful I had to make.


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