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Grapevine : August 2011
I will never forget walking into that magical place with my big brother and watching everyone rush to greet us. They seemed to love him as much as I did. I had all the orange pop and candy bars a little girl could ever want. As I sat on that barstool, watching everyone drinking beer and laughing, I knew exactly what IwantedtodowhenIgrewup:I wanted to go to the beer joint. So there I was, planning my first drunk at the ripe old age of four. Sure enough, when I was old enough, I headed to the beer joint and that's how I spent most of my time. For many years, I had great fun and, just like my brother, I loved being there. By 24, I'd already been married twice, and then (and I still can't figure out how this happened), I became an unwed mother. I was ashamed and had no idea how to tell anyone. No one in my family had ever had a baby out of wedlock and none of the girls had even been divorced. My parents were very sup- portive, loving my little boy as much as I did. When my son was about two, I started going to church, which is where I met my third husband. Our families were friends, so my parents loved him. He was (and still is) a wonderful man and I managed to hold it together for a few years. I was PTA president mom, den mother mom, fundraiser mom ... anything that a mom could volun- teer for. When my son grew older, I went to work for a bank, then the school system. We tried to have an- other baby. By that time, I had start- ed to drink again, maintaining just enoughtodomyjobandputupa good front. Deep down, I knew I was up to no good so I lied and cheated to cover it up. After 18 years of marriage, my husband was fed up with my drink- ing, lying, and cheating and wanted a divorce. This was right after Thanks- giving, when my husband had gone deer hunting and somehow fallen out of a tree. He landed on his head, yet escaped without serious injury. I was sure he had gone crazy from the fall. There seemed no other explana- tion why he would treat me like that! Divorce me? After all those years! I found myself newly single, my son was already raised, and so I had even more opportunities to party. I had no interest in finding a man and tying myself down again. As long as I was fairly sober during the work week I could drink as much as I wanted on the weekend. A few years later, I got together with my fourth husband, who had just gotten out of prison. He treated me like royalty and I truly loved him, probably more than I have ever loved any man, but we both liked to drink. I took an early buyout from the school system, went to work part- time and had more time for what was important: Drinking. A few 36 August 2011