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Did you become the sort of parent your parents warned you about? Are you surprised?

We had stern warnings growing up about kids from unsupervised homes, which meant anyone different than us. Those were houses we weren’t allowed to visit.

It was supposed to be a vaccine against hard partying high school nights.

The plan was good. We were trusted children in a happy family. Our parents knew we’d be civilized and caring on our own.

Then they left town for the New Years weekend.

Nothing changed when they returned. Nothing out of place, at least nothing would have been if someone had mentioned puking in the fireplace, or butting cigarettes out on the coffee table and covering it with a doily, or wearing my mom’s jumpsuit.

Nothing obvious jumped our right away, but time revealed the truth, that and the smell when the old man started a fire and the earring my mom found under her pillow.

As youths I thought anyone collecting the sort of evidence left from the party would be right to punish and ban. But nothing happened after the truth came out. The truth was enough.

Fast forward a few decades and my own small fry wanted to have a New Years party. I looked my place over and said yes. Gas insert in the fireplace, covered table tops, and enough room for the party to take shape.

What took shape was hard alcohol poisoning, also known as shit housed drunk and puking here in the states, which might be a normal night out in the middle of the week in other places.

The next morning the house floor was littered with passed out teenagers sleeping in their clothes with wadded up packing blankets for covers and little puke buckets near them. It was so sweet for the party boys to tuck the girls in at the end of the night.

I liked to think I took my parents’ vaccine idea one extra step. Instead of demonizing small town home life to prepare for high school, I supervised heavy boozing to get high school kids ready for college and dorm life.

  • Not all parties descend into senseless rage.
  • Not every teen is a hormone driven danger to themselves.
  • A happy family is more than a menu item.
  • Children raised with intolerance can raise the bar.
About David Gillaspie
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