At the end of the summer Mom started packing for me and Brother's annual visit with Dad and Stepmother.   

Even though I tried not to show my excitement over our upcoming trip in front of Mom, sometimes my heart overflowed with such joy and excitement, I couldn't help but run around the house yelling, "We're going to see Dad!  We're going to see Dad!"

"Goddamn it, SHUT UP!  Your dad is a horrible father!  Now, go watch TV and be quiet!" was Mom's angry reply when she heard my shouting.

I immediately quieted down when I saw how angry Mom was. 

This year Mom was going to fly to Wisconsin with us, and that made me very happy.  While Brother and I were visiting Dad and Stepmother, she was going to travel over the road in a semi with a friend of Grandma's, a truck driver named Elaine.

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Finally the day came when we were to leave for Wisconsin.   After we loaded our suitcases into the car, Fred drove us to the airport.

When we got to the airport, we said goodbye to Fred, grabbed our luggage and walked to the counter to check in.

After we got to our gate, we boarded the airplane.  I settled into my seat next to Mom and Brother and prepared for the long trip ahead.

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Several hours later we landed in Wisconsin.  When we got off the airplane, Dad and Stepmother were once again waiting for us at the gate.  When Brother and I saw them, we eagerly ran into their arms for hugs and kisses. 

Mom had a short conversation with Dad confirming that we would meet at the airport in two weeks to catch our flight home.  Afterwards she gave me and Brother a hug and walked away to go meet Elaine.

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Brother and I spent two weeks with Dad and Stepmother much like we did the year before, going to the local beaches, swimming and picnicking, visiting our cousins and friends.  Brother continued to go to work with Dad and spent hours in the repair shop learning how to fix cars.  Brother and Dad had a lot in common, and they were very close.

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That summer Grandma again picked me up on her motorcycle and took me to her house for visits.  Before we went back to her house, we always stopped to eat.  Sometimes we went to Mickey Lou's and ate hamburgers and chocolate milk shakes or we went to the A&W and had hamburgers and root beer.    

One day Grandma picked me up in her car instead of her motorcycle.  After we ate, Grandma drove to the Piggly Wiggly and bought groceries for another one of our favorite meals, Swedish meatballs.

After we got to her house, we went to Grandpa's shop so I could say hi and see the car that he was restoring.  Then we went in the house, and Grandma got dinner ready and put it in the oven.  When she was done, we went outside to go fishing.   

This year Grandma decided to teach me how to fly fish.  After she gathered up all of the fishing gear, we got in the boat, and she rowed us a little ways from the shore.  

Grandma got her pole ready and demonstrated for me how to cast the line and use the little lever on the handle of the pole to control how far the line would go before it went into the water.  When she was done, Grandma gave me the pole so I could give it a try.

I took Grandma's fishing pole in my hands and awkwardly tried to mimic her movements.  Unfortunately, I forgot to use the little lever on the handle to control how far the line went after I cast it, and it flew far and landed in a tree near the shore. 

With a frustrated sigh, Grandma rowed us over to the tree and slowly stood up in the wobbling boat and untangled the lure.  Then Grandma rowed us back to shore, and we went in the house.   Thankfully, we were through fishing for the day.

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Towards the end of our visit, Dad and Stepmother took me and Brother to Mackinaw Island for the weekend. 

Before we could get on the island, Dad had to drive over a long and scary bridge.  As I looked out the window, I felt my stomach jump in fear.  That bridge seemed to go for miles far up into the sky.  Once we reached the top, we descended down towards the island.   

When we got on the island, Dad parked his car in a big parking lot.  Cars were not allowed to be driven on Mackinaw Island, so Dad rented a golf cart and drove us to our hotel. 

We spent two wonderful days swimming in the hotel pool, eating in restaurants, eating their famous fudge, walking around the island and riding bikes.  And best of all, we got to ride in a horse-drawn carriage!

On Sunday Dad drove us back to Peshtigo, and Stepmother started packing for us to go home.  Before we left, she once again took us shopping for school clothes.

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While Brother and I visited Dad and Stepmother, Mom traveled with Elaine in her semi throughout Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin picking up and delivering load after load of goods. 

Sometime during that first week Elaine introduced Mom to a co-worker of hers, a truck driver named Emil. When Mom and Emil met, they were immediately attracted to each other, and she started riding with him in his semi.    

By the end of the following week Mom and Emil had fallen in love.  Before Mom left to go to the airport to fly home with me and Brother, she and Emil made plans to get married and move us back to Wisconsin.

But first Mom had to go home and get rid of Fred. 

Mom did not tell me and Brother about Emil, and we had no idea of the big changes that were in store for us.

To be continued….