My family didnít drink much. On holidays, we had red wine at the dinner table like it was no big deal. So it was no big deal.
My first memory of an alcohol problem was at Raul LeBlancís birthday party. We were in second grade.
As I look back at it, his mother was nervously going from stage to stage. Welcome the kids. Get them settled. Get them seated. Happy Birthday!!! Blow out candles. None of the kids came with presents due to socioeconomic circumstances so Raul got a few presents from his Mom. And the cake was sweet. I thought everything was going OK.
Then Raulís Mom quickly said ďHeís on his way home!Ē
I felt a sense of panic because she seemed upset. Soon I knew what all the fuss was about.
A bunch of kids got up and went outside. It was an instinctive thing. We all knew trouble was starting and wanted to see what was coming our way.
Here comes Raulís Dad stumbling down the street from the corner bar. It didnít look the way my Dad walked down the street. Raulís Dad looked crazy. He approached in an irregular motion. He was vomiting as he walked. Some kids starting saying that he vomited a lot. That if we looked at the old wallpaper in the house we could see vomit stains on the walls.
For tens of years later I thought about those vomit waterfall marks on the walls of my second grade friendís house.
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."