End of childhood

(originally posted in 2017)

Time does slow down.

Dad was on the top rung and then his body slowly drifted left. By the time the cement stopped his fall he was nearly parallel to the ground. Blood spewed from every orifice ~ nose, ears, mouth. He was babbling a bit. I was at his side, frozen.

Dad had been painting houses in the summer to supplement his teaching/coaching income. I was his assistant and he paid me well $10/hr. This is how I spent my summers and I loved it ~ time with dad and money in my pocket. And painting is very gratifying actually. I was 13 and we were working on Holy Rosary, the church and school we had attended in Edmonds.

I rode in the ambulance with him while my mom followed in the car. When we arrived the short doctor with dark curly hair let us know - he was not going to make it. Mom told me to keep this to myself.

Every bone in his face was shattered. He had blood clots in his brain. His shoulder was pulp. He was not going to make it.

There are truths about my dads life that I cannot quite comprehend because it was before my time. I wasn’t alive in his glory days so for me its all pictures and stories that play out like super 8 films in my mind.

He and Ben Davidson training on the football field and on the wrestling mat. The time Ben had diarrhea durning practice ~ which was more like boot camp coined the Death March under Jim Owens, and to his own amusement, kept practicing making all his Husky brothers gag.

A superior athlete who could easily move his mass into action my dad, Dave Enslow #79 was nicknamed, The Bear. As a child he had survived polio, but by this time it was joked that "even his turds had muscles". He had played with the legendary team that won two Rose Bowls and, decades later, were declared National Champs; they are known as The Band of Brothers. He was also a great wrestler and a mathematician. Dad would tend to the homeless in the middle of the night with The Mission.

After his college career, he had gone on to play Semi Pro in Canada for the Roughriders because he thought this would lead to paid play. After that didn’t pan out he started investing. My dad owned a house between 10th and Broadway on old Capital Hill along with two apartment buildings in Seattle when he met my mom, a petite woman from Anaconda. He was nearly 40 and they met in prayer group. Life had become seemingly grand but that was all before my time. We didn’t grow up in the historic posh neighborhood on Capital Hill or on Mercer Island because all of that had been lost.

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Dad never talks too much and is so easy to be around. There is something deep inside of him that carries a sadness and makes him mellow and compassionate. His humorous spark is charming. Anyone who ever met him became a friend. With the chaos of my childhood he stood as the only constant and the only one who made some sense. Part of me did die. I couldn’t handle losing him.

Over several weeks and many surgeries, dad was healing. The bones in his face recovered the clots were removed, he began to make some sense. He often wanted to chat about the shoes in the village. He was so stubborn always explaining why he needed to go. He cried for his momma often. Oh my god…. The bear was so small. Every day was a week and I just stayed by his side.

My dad recovered enough to come back. He had brain damage and was put on permanent disability. He moved to a recovery center and lived there until he had finished re-learning how to read, write and grocery shop.

For years after I dreamed about him going. I would say goodbye and experience the agony of losing him. In the morning I would be grateful that he was still there. My family was destroyed. Dad moved out. Nobody talked and we just went through the motions until we were able to grow up. It's been 25 years. He will be 80 next year ❤️.

(Marg and Dad in San Diego for Ben's funeral, 2012/ with his team, 1960)


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