Home > Disturbing, My Dad, My Mom > The Time My Mom Bought a Cleaver With My Dad’s Name On It

The Time My Mom Bought a Cleaver With My Dad’s Name On It

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments


My dad went through a rather nasty divorce about 35 years ago.

I don’t know much about my dad’s first wife since I’ve never met her, and not talking about her seems to be an unspoken rule in my parents’ house.

I didn’t even know my dad had been previously married until I was around 13 years old, and discovered the inscription my paternal grandmother had written on a huge Random House dictionary we kept in the kitchen. I had never read the inscription before, but knew that it had been a wedding gift. I wasn’t until I realized that the happy couple mentioned did NOT include my mom that I got suspicious. I asked about it while setting the table for dinner, and there was suddenly a tense silence in the kitchen. “That was your dad’s first wife,” my mom muttered, and the subject was dropped, despite the 1000 questions I had. I later discovered that there was a whole lot more to this story than met the eye, but I think that’s for another blog post (assuming I can get my parents’ permission to write about it).

Anyway, during the divorce proceedings, my parents knew each other. Apparently, wife #1 was taking EVERYTHING in the house. None of this splitting down the middle business – she wanted the lot. Now, my dad is a pretty mild-mannered sort. While growing up, if he ever yelled at me, I’d retreat to my room to cry and mope. Within 15 minutes though, he would always come to my room and apologize. I had usually forgotten all about it by then and would be busy playing with my toys, but my dad would have spent 15 minutes wracked with guilt. He’d break down every time, which meant my mom ended up being the far more effective disciplinarian. No one can hold a grudge like my mom, and she would sooner die than back down in an argument.

This meek nature of my dad’s meant that he sat passively by while wife #1 stripped the house clean. My mom felt sorry for my dad, so decided to buy him a present that would have his name on it. Surely, wife #1 wouldn’t stoop so far as to steal something labeled so clearly with his name.

But I had to ask, why a CLEAVER? It’s a pretty ominous gift to give someone in the middle of a vicious divorce. It would certainly make policework easier after a gruesome murder. “Ah, I think I know who the culprit is. His name is right on the knife!” My mom claims it was simply because she and my dad enjoyed cooking together, and she wanted to give him a heavy knife that he could use to easily cut up whole chickens. She also conceded that she secretly hoped he might chop something (or rather someone) up a bit, but knew he was far too gentle for that.

Sure enough, that cleaver remains one of the only things in our house from my dad’s first marriage. Wife #1 didn’t take it, and my mom now uses it to savage chickens on a regular basis. But if you look closely at the blade, you’ll see written in fine, curly cursive script: “Greg’s Cleaver.”

Categories: Disturbing, My Dad, My Mom
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