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Alan D Busch

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Thank you to all who have been following the story.

Chapter 3

Growing Up Together Without Dad

“How would you boys feel about changing your last name

to ‘Grossman’?” my mother inquired of me and my brother

Ron. It seemed to have come out of nowhere.

Two years passed since our parents had divorced. Our mother, at

thirty-one years of age, very pretty and quite available, attracted

the attention of several suitors. One was a Mr. Harold

Grossman, a fine gentleman and successful businessman, to

whom she  had just recently announced her engagement.

“Do what, Mom?” Ron asked incredulously. As my older brother,

I let him take the lead here.

“Well,” she began, taken aback by the abruptness of Ron’s

response, ‘I thought it might be a good idea if Mr. Grossman

adopted you boys after we’re married.”

“Well, we have Dad and it’s a terrible idea,” Ron retorted,

 an opinion with which I was in complete accord.                   

“I just thought …” Mom said defensively, backing off at Ron’s

vehemence.  Before she could complete her sentence, Ron had

grabbed me by the arm.

“Ronald, where are you taking him?’ Mom demanded to


“We’ll be back later before dinner, Mom!  Come on,” he

whisked me away.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Got any money? Ron grinned mischievously.

“I got a quarter.”

“Good enough for a couple of games of pinball.”

“Hey yea!” I happily agreed. “What was Mom talking about?”

“You got me,” Ron answered, holding on to my shirt sleeve.

We loved Mom then as we do now forty-five years later. What

she was thinking that day I really can’t say.

We stopped and looked both ways before crossing

Olive Street to Nelson Burton’s Bowling Alley where we

spent the remainder of the afternoon. You could get an

entire day’s worth of entertainment from a quarter in those

days. Besides we knew how to rig the pinball machines to win

free games. As for Mom, she never said another word about

it, thankfully.

We lived in St. Louis and Dad in Chicago. While true we saw him

much too infrequently, it would have been an act of betrayal of 

our own father had we assented to Mom’s idea. To this day, I

cannot fathom how Mom thought such a notion a good idea.

Can you imagine how it would have crushed him? Do you see? A

father’s presence, even if only periodic, makes a positive


 As unlikely as it may seem, Dad’s absence didn’t cause the positive

influence he exercised in my life to wane. On a daily

basis, however, I credit my brother Ron for the important role he

played in this respect. Though only eighteen months older than I,

Ron stepped into some pretty big shoes. Before we moved to St.

Louis, Dad had spent a lot of time at work, building up his new

dental practice for our sake.

This, Ron explained, accounted for his absence at home.  

“You got that? So no sad face if he forgets to load up his trunk,

okay?” Ron admonished me, referring to Dad’s previous visit

when he had forgotten to bring down his usual stash of toys.

“Okay, okay I got it,” I said resignedly. Ron understood earlier

than I that we were, in fact, doubly fortunate because our loving

mother and grandmother worked hard to make it less painful for

us to adapt to our daily lives without Dad. While Dad’s absence

was not  the worst thing imaginable, we would have certainly

welcomed a reconciliation.

spoiled us terribly when he made the trip down. We did, after

all, have a lot of catching up to do in fewer than forty-eight


Besides the indispensable stuff like eating and our Sunday

morning driving lessons, Ron, Dad and I adhered to a fairly

set routine. Saturdays were always rough and tumble, two kids

against one dad, It was simply loads of fun. I mean what kid

couldn’t enjoy giant kosher pickles packaged in brine-filled 

plastic bags, drive-in movies, wrestling in Holiday Inn

motel rooms, pocket billiards, bowling and go-carts?

We even sat through four showings of “Sergeants Three”, a full-

length feature starring Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank

Sinatra and Dean Martin.  The old Esquire Theatre, back in the

days when movie theaters, were architectural pieces of art, was, I

believe the only movie house in the greater St. Louis area 

featuring the movie. I was quite pleased to discover that my dad,

when I questioned him about it forty-five years later, recalled

every detail of that long afternoon together.

As enjoyable as our time was with Dad, being with him fewer than

forty-eight hours once every three to four months wasn’t

enough.  My parents spoke together over a cup of coffee in

Mom’s kitchen on those Sunday mornings just before Dad would

head back to Chicago.

“Do you think they’re talking about getting married again?” I

asked Ron.

That’s ‘gotta’ be the dumbest question in the world,” he

indelicately responded.  God, I hated those meetings. This one,

however, was the preface to something very different and exciting

because we were about to do what a contemporary crooner

advised in a popular song of the day.

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Reader Reviews for "Chapter 3 Between Father And Son (my second book)"

Reviewed by Micki Peluso 1/1/2010
Dear alan,

Very lively reading and great dialogue. When is the book on the market?

all the best,


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