I was 6 years old, growing up in Cleveland. It was Christmas Eve. The traditional Slovak dinner was ready on the stove — mushroom soup and pierogies. My mom, my younger brother, and I were waiting for my dad to get home so we could eat.
The waiting part was no surprise.
My dad was an alcoholic. During the Korean War, he enlisted and was assigned to a paratrooper unit. He was wounded during a mission. My mom said the experience changed him. He brought some demons home with him.