[Left: My first red wagon.]
There were occasional parties at the house. There had to be parties among the Army officers. It was a rule. One happened after Christmas '51, maybe in the following January. The house was packed. My parents showed off one of their Christmas presents to each other, a boxed set of Bing Crosby classics. I remember a lot of smoking. By my bedtime my parents were getting fairly drunk. The smoke cloud, which hung over the good air, had descended to my level. I had to stoop to get under it.
My Mother called me over to her to tell me to go to bed. She was drunk enough to show her viciousness in front of all the party-goers. She smiled and said, "Go to bed now, you know Mommy loves you don't you?" When I smiled back she leaned forward and deliberately blew smoke in my face, still smiling.
So I slapped her. She grabbed my wrist and put her cigarette out in my hand, while everyone watched. Someone said it was wrong, and she snapped, "Don't tell me how to handle my own kid." And that was the end of that. Nobody else defended me.