All Night Long

This is a day in the life from when I was 10 years old and lived with my grandparents. Every morning my grandfather would get up early to drive my grandmother to her shitty job. Then he would drive to his shitty job. After a long day at work he would pick her up on the way home. On the way back to the house they would pick up a 12 pack of 16 ounce cans of Narragansett beer for him and a bottle of Jenkins whisky for her. (bottom shelf)

My grandmother enjoyed “Hi-ball’s” which in her vernacular was three fingers of Jenkins over an ice cube. My grandfather must have chugged the beer because that was a lot of liquid and he would finish it by the end of the night. (Every night)

In the evenings my brother (7) and I were only allowed to sit on the couch in the living room or to get something from the kitchen. My grandparents would sit on the other couch and start drinking. Back then there was no cable television. There were only 3 broadcast networks on VHF (Very High Frequency), 4 if you counted PBS. Those were the channels that came in clear if the rotary antenna on the roof was adjusted correctly. We also had UHF (Ultra High Frequency), which sounds better but it’s not. The picture would be full of static. That is where my brother and I would find “Creature Double Feature” and Texas Wrestling on Saturday mornings.

My grandparents would start the night in a good mood; Watching the news first and then moving on to prime time television. After that they were drunk enough to start arguing with each other. That was a sign for my brother and I to go to bed. It didn’t help much. I think my brother fell asleep quickly most nights but I never slept as a child and I stayed up listening to them yelling loudly at each other. Even from upstairs I could hear them clearly. By this time my mom had already slipped out the downstairs window to hitchhike to the bar where her sister worked. (My mom was almost 30)

They didn’t fight over normal things like money etc… They fought about things that happened years before. I don’t know if they looked at the clock but they always seemed to finish up around midnight. Then they would fight over who got the last word. My grandmother would be going upstairs and yell, “You want the last word, you got it!” and he would yell something similar. Both of them telling the other to take the last word but they were taking the last word by saying that. My grandfather stayed downstairs. They didn’t sleep in the same room.

The next morning would be the same day all over again.

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