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John Palcewski's Journal

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Summer, 1954, Youngstown, Ohio.
forioscribe




I’m twelve, and I just learned my mother was not dead but living on the other side of town. That’s her, in the photo below the cut.






She was 32 and gorgeous, but her eyes always showed a chronic sadness. Bully, President Teddy Roosevelt's nickname, later became my step father. By trade he was an iron worker, and ran a weekend bookie operation out of his living room. In great contrast to my father Chester, Bully slowly nursed a single shot glass of Seagram’s 7 as he took calls from the three phones on his coffee table. He never took notes, he kept everything in his head. I never saw him drunk, not once. Never saw my mother drunk, either.





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My father told me my mother was dead when I was six or seven, and I was twelve when I finally learned--from a next door neighbor named Caroline--that she was still alive, and what's more regularly called Caroline to ask how I was doing. All this happened half a century ago, but now that I'm working on my memoir it seems like only yesterday.

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