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My father was addicted to alcohol; my brother to drugs; and me, to porn. In ancient Greece, a trilogy was a series of 3 tragedies in a play. It wasn't until the conclusion that you knew how bad (or good) the ending would be. It is the same in real life. Beyond the epilogue is eternity, and that can be awesome (or awful!).
These combined stories give a glimpse of what it is to grow up in a very normal dysfunctional family. What you come to nervously realize only later in life is that people, especially the family kind, take on an inquisitorial role as you endeavor to figure out your own life. It is in the figuring that you begin to reckon what was normal, or at least representative of the norm, that standards become either acceptable or unacceptable later in life. And, that is where the "fun" begins.
If ever there was a mixed-up man, it was my father. Oh sure, our family was just as normal as anyone else’s family – but what is normal? When you are a kid, everything you know is “normal.” Whatever you experience is “normal.” Even that which is abnormal is “normal.” Normal is what you know. It’s what you don’t know that’s peculiar.
James Chester Read was distinctly peculiar, in a normal sort of way. He was polished, but blemished. Knowledgeable, but uneducated. Smart, but naive. Levelheaded, but short-tempered. Planner, but poor manager. Visionary, but impractical. Wise, but asinine. No wonder he became an alcoholic! With all the conflicts in his life there seemed only one way to bottle it up, and that was to open the bottle. That he learned at a very early age.
Jim (or Chester to some) was one of six children born to William Philander Read and Julia Morris Read. Julia died soon after the last child was born, so the kids grew up without a mother. Even though his father re-married later on and had another son, Jim never lived at home with his stepmother. When he was thirteen, he and an older brother ran away from home. He had skipped forth grade, finished fifth grade and began sixth grade but decided to head south and seek his fortune. It was there that he discovered the bottle of maturity. Drinking, it seems, makes the man, and the man wants to drink.