It was December 19, 1972, and my siblings and I were waiting for our dad to come home with our Christmas gifts to put under the tree. We were so excited that night; our mom was at her friend’s playing cards. My cousin and I were home babysitting my younger sister when there was a knock at the door. It was a friend of our father’s wanting to know where our mom was. We told them and they picked up the phone to call our mom. Being a curious kid back then, I was listening in. What I heard then was them telling my mom was that Peppy is dead (that was my dad’s nickname).
All I could remember was being so shocked that I don’t remember my cousin shaking me awake and out of what was an out-of-body experience — and on the other end of the phone, my mom had the same experience. Also, later, we both told each other what it felt like when we were told our father was shot and killed by a man that was mad my dad beat him in a poker game. My dad made a killing in that game. To top it off, the man who shot my father had escaped from the hospital and had robbed some people at gunpoint hours earlier. All I know is this person robbed me of my childhood. He took something from me that I wasn’t able to get back — a girl back then needed her dad. It defines who she will grow up to be. This man was caught and tried and spent the rest of his life in prison. It was a relief, but guns didn’t take my dad — a dangerous man did because he was a sore loser.