Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.

rOLLING WITH THE puNCHES

This is a preview to the chapter rOLLING WITH THE puNCHES from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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It was the eighties, also known as the Reagan years, the birth of an MTV nation and at the time I had everything I ever wished for. Michele and Michael were going two days a week
to a private nursery school, where Michael spent most of his time singing, painting and playing with the other children. Michele was busy learning her numbers and the alphabet. Missy was the baby and spoiled by all, she was an adorable child with porcelain skin and silky white hair. I spent my days doing household chores and some paper work for Tony once a week at the car lot. After getting married and having children of my own, my mother and I became even better friends. Mary Lou and Hans had moved out and she had only Ludvig left at home. We’d go out for a leisurely lunch or shopping at the mall, because I loved to shop. Tony was making good money and I liked nice things. I shopped at only the finest stores and the children and I wore only designer labels. My mother, who was always more careful with money than me, tagged along and seemed to enjoy her daughter’s success.

My shopping enraged Tony, he couldn’t understand the need for thirty pairs of shoes or four winter jackets but instead of cutting off my money supply, he let me continue and this way he had something to complain about. We seemed to always be arguing over something. I yelled because he went to work everyday at 9 am, and then didn’t come back before I called and told him dinner was ready. He’d speed home, eat and then go straight back to work until 9 pm. When he finally did come home for the night, he’d lie on the floor on a heating pad and fall asleep in front of the television. If I tried to wake him he’d yell, so I’d go to bed alone and he’d spend the rest of the night on the floor or come to bed in the wee hours of morning. He worked every other Saturday, and when he had time off there was always plenty to do around the house. Sundays were always dedicated to the children, he’d take them to the park, to the toy store or, as they got older, the movies, skating, bowling, whatever they wanted. I hardly ever went with them, because I had the children all week long and needed some time to myself on Sunday. We had different interests too, he liked to go to car shows and Yankee games, I liked Broadway shows and concerts. I wanted to travel and he only wanted to work. Despite it all, we trudged through the years.

As we approached the mid-eighties any attempts we made to improve our domestic life went completely unnoticed. We took our one and only family vacation to Florida in 1983. We flew to Miami, which was difficult for Tony since he was not a fan of flying. We rented a car and drove 160 miles to Key West, not easy with three young children in the car. We stayed a couple of days there before driving to Orlando, where we spent one day at Disneyland and then flew home. We were gone for one week and Tony complained about it for months. For me, there were only two memorable days from that trip. First was the day we spent in Disney with the children. Second was a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West. After hearing this is where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, I couldn’t resist peeking into the writing studio of the great Hemingway. After that, the only trips we ever took were an occasional weekend in the Pocono Mountains.

Our incessant bickering never seemed to stop, we squabbled over everything.

I hated that he was always bringing home a different car for me to drive. I would start getting used to one and another would show up in my driveway. I had so many different cars I sometimes had trouble remembering which car was mine in parking lots. He also parked repossessed cars in front of our house.

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