Memories of my father are vague. In hindsight, he was merely the man who lived at my house... a non-participating parent. He was a stereotypical drunken Irishman who possessed virtually no parenting skills. I'm sure he had good qualities, but those qualities weren't shared with his children. This tradition was unfortunately passed down throughout the generations on his side of the family and even reared its ugly head in the generation of his offspring. Three of his four children grew up to have substance abuse problems, but we all managed to fight that demon and to break the cycle so history wouldn't repeat itself.
My mother was the "head" of the family and dished out the discipline in the family as we needed it usually in a very democratic way. If one of us did something, we all got in trouble! She never had the patience to investigate a wrongdoing and found punishing all of us was the easiest way of punishing the guilty party. My only memory of my father disciplining me was over an incident that happened while I was in 6th grade. This one time my three older brothers had nothing to worry about because I was the held accountable for my own actions.
The neighborhood I grew up in was like many of that era. Generations lived in those neighborhoods without ever leaving. Each neighborhood had several features in common: a family-owned store (forerunner to a convenience store), a neighborhood bar, a local hang-out for the kids and teenagers (usually a pizza parlor with pinball machines) and a park. The young people of each neighborhood were very loyal to their "gang" of friends and mostly mingled only within the group they were born into until a little later in life when it was acceptable to have "outsiders" as friends. A definite code of silence was learned at a very young age and the rite of passage was simply acquired by showing loyalty when a situation arose requiring it.
One afternoon, 4 of us (Noreen, Lisa, Margie and I) were out taking a walk. Before we knew it we were in the next neighborhood over (Noreen's corner of the universe) from the one in which 3 of us lived. My 3 friends were thirsty and wanted to stop at the store located on the corner of Cedar Street and Second Street for a Coke. While they were inside, I remained outside half daydreaming and half watching the world go by. My back was to the store, so as the other 3 exited from the store, I wasn't aware that they had come back outside. All of a sudden I heard a fire alarm go off and my natural "fight or flight" instinct put wings on my feet and I flew away from that location ASAP. Behind me were my 3 friends, laughing, running, and talking about pulling a false alarm.
When the fire trucks arrived and found no fire, they returned to the fire station, but the police scoured the neighborhood for the 4 girls who had fled. When they found us hiding in some bushes close by, we were brought to the police station and then subjected to a rather lengthy lecture about being responsible citizens. One by one, each of us were asked our names and addresses. One by one, each one of us were taken home in disgrace to face our families. I was the last one of the group to be questioned. When I revealed my name, the captain of the police department smiled and told me I wasn't going to go home. Instead, I was brought to the fire department where my father was working and had just gone out on that false alarm call. I'm pleased to announce I'll be getting off restriction any day now!