Midi: Wind Beneath My Wings
By Dick Anderson

1984- For weeks after Gaston's death, I'd imagine him looking like E.T. Half of his neck was all bones, with no flesh when he died and I kept on thinking what if he'd lived another month he would have had nothing but bones to hold his head up. I had nightmares about him bleeding and drowning in a swimming pool full of blood.

My mom, dad and my sister Rachel came down from Quebec with my brother Bernard and his wife to spend a week with us. It was the first time that my dad and Rachel had visited us, but my mom had been here once before. My sister Mona and her husband showed up a few days later. None of Gaston's family came or sent a sympathy card.

1984- Since André was still living here and had not been drinking for a few months, I left Jacques & Tania with him and took a train to Quebec for a couple of weeks. It was the longest trip of my life. 36 hours from Winsor, Ontario to my hometown.

André called me one evening with the news that Jacques (15) got in trouble with the law. He took my truck and ruined the front yard of a schoolmate he didn't like. On his way home, he got pulled over by a County Sheriff deputy. He told him he was 16 and left his driver's license at home. The deputy followed him home, and of course he had no driver's license, he was not old enough. I rode the train back home the next day. The Juvenile Judge let it go if he promised to fix the yard the following spring.

André asked me if I could help him find an apartment in Toledo. I gave him some furniture I had in the attic, dishes etc. to get him started and moved him back to Toledo in mid-october.

A few weeks after I got back from Canada, I became very lonely and depressed. I was still having bad dreams once in a while about Gaston's cruel death. I started going to bars and drinking with my daughter Chantal and her boyfriend. She even talked me into smoking dope with this guy named John. The evening after I met him, we went to bingo together. We shared a joint on the way there.

1984- I'd been going out with John for a while, and decided to let him move in with me. My girlfriend Ann came in one day and seen John and said "Who is THAT Guy?" He had a beard and long hair, really looked like he was on drugs and he was. Every time we'd hear a vehicle pull in the driveway, I'd get out my air freshener so she wouldn't smell the pot. I quit going to the bars and drinking, but was still smoking dope once in a while. I don't really know why I did it because I hate the feeling of being drunk or high.

1985- By the first of the year, I quit doing dope and drinking. John also cleaned up his act. Tania was now 10 yrs old and very spoiled. I had sworn never to let anyone touch my kids again and that included me. I let her and Jacques get away with just about everything.

1985- Goat show season started again. John, Tania and I were showing the goats every weekends from mid-may through september. We were doing real good, winning a bunch of ribbons and a few trophies. At open shows, there was no premiums to win, but at County Fairs we were making good money. Tania was in 4-H and she had Grand Champion Dairy and Market Goats. She had to sell her market goat and she was crying in the ring, and hugging it. The more she cried, the higher the bid went. She made enough money to buy all of her school clothes and money leftover.

1986- John bought me a ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes and we set August 30, 1986 for our wedding day.

Show season started in May again. John wasn't coming along with us very often, he prefered staying home. By mid-June, I came home a day early from a show and found him high. He swore to me he wasn't going to do it again, so I let it go. A few days later, I was driving him to the horse races and asked him if he smoked dope again, because he looked high. For the first and only time, he hit me in the mouth and we almost had an accident. As soon as we got home, I packed his clothes and sent him to his mom. The wedding was definitely off. We didn't talk to each other for a few months. I ran into him at bingo one evening, and he told me he quit the dope and I could tell he was telling the truth. We became just friends after that.

1986- Jacques (almost 17) got in real trouble this time. He, a few friends and Chantal's ex-boyfriend had been stealing car parts and stereos out of car lots. One of his friends got caught with some of the stolen merchandise and the deputies talked him into bugging his phone and get Jacques to talk. They came over to arrest him and one of the deputies called him "Little Frenchy" which was his step-dad Gaston's nickname. Jacques got so mad, he came in the house and got a rifle out and was going to shoot the officer. I finally got the gun away from him. I went to the police station and took him home. He was charged with theft. They didn't charge him for the rifle, it was empty anyway and Jacques knew that.

By the end of July, I let John move back in with me. We decided that we would not be getting married. My faith in men was completely gone.

1986- In late August, it was time to go in front of the Juvenile Judge with Jacques. He was to spend 60 days in Juvenile Hall, was allowed to go to school every day, and I was to pay $400.00 in fines and pay over $1500.00 in damages to the victim's insurance.

It was John's and my mother's birthday on September 1st, so we decided to take a trip to Quebec and surprise my mom. We arrived there early morning right on her birthday with a birthday cake. Boy did we surprise them all. Nobody had a clue that we were coming. We stayed about a week, then came back home.

1986- Chantal (20) announced that she was pregnant, due in mid-june. I was going to be a grandmother.

Edited: September 20, 2000.

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