Reality Check

I did learn to keepmy hands up and to keep moving. Eventually, however, I tired of getting smacked around and I moved on to other interesting sports, like swimming, running—-and chasing after girls.


On the rebound from Henry Sperling, my mother walked straight into trouble. She fell in love.

She fell for a big, beefy, good-looking boilermaker with a devilish smile, unending passion and the unlikely name of Stanley Wentworth.

He worked the day shift at the Soule Steel Company and he worked his own -night shift, playing around town with my mother. She was totally infatuated
with this smoldering stud.

She told my grandparents, frankly, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone,” or something to that effect. I wasn’t listening closely at the time. I was probably heading for my room, head up in the clouds.

Wentworth called my mother constantly—sometimes long after midnight. He told her she was the perfect woman for him. That she met his needs. She also told us afterwards that he pushed her for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

On the other hand, Wentworth and I were wary of each other from the start. He never had much to say to me. I never had much to say to him. I was growing into that exasperating, adolescent age where I craved my privacy. Whenever I came home, I would raid the ice box and go hole up in my room.

Only weeks after they started running around together, my mother married Stanley Wentworth! Agnes (Peterson) and Eddie Daniels accompanied them to the simple ceremony in Portland’s ornate City Hall. I think it was early 1936. I can’t remember why, but for some reason, I couldn’t attend.

So my mother became Della Wentworth—the new Mrs. Stanley Wentworth. And the three of us moved into a rambling, two-bedroom flat on the second floor of an old, wooden building at the corner of Southeast 10th and Clay. We had the upper flat on the left.

The location was only three blocks from the noisy Gilmore Gasoline truck stop where the Oregon Journal van dumped my afternoon newspapers. That I liked.


The marriage was doomed to failure from the very beginning. A matrimonial disaster. My mother soon discovered that she had rushed into marriage with a heavy-drinking, ego-driven, muscle man whose passion could turn in a matter of minutes into biting sarcasm and explosive violence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *