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James Stack

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Epilogue)

James Stack | Posted 12.14.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

All I could think about was Daddy. Not the man who had held the gun, but the man who used to come into my room and tuck me in at night, the man who would talk to me until I fell asleep, the man who would help me in my times of worry and distress.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 24)

James Stack | Posted 12.13.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Daddy was going deeper and deeper into his own imaginary world -- a world where alcohol made him a man, gave him a sense of wealth, and provided him with something no human would ever be able to give him.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 23)

James Stack | Posted 12.07.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

I kept thinking about what had happened. Daddy had tried to kill Matthew and Mark, and we had kicked him out of the camper and left him in Canada. I'd been left behind once and had had to walk home. What if Daddy had to walk all the way to South Carolina?

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 22)

James Stack | Posted 12.06.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

We were rocking out as we pulled up to the United States border. And then I was suddenly afraid. Daddy wasn't with us, it was after midnight, and our leaving at this hour was, to my mind, a little suspicious.

'Daddy Pulled Out One Of The Pistols'... Fearless Memoir: 'World's Fair,' Chapter 21

James Stack | Posted 11.30.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Daddy's expression was twisted with fury and madness. Suddenly the fiend in him focused in on the drawer beside the sink. With his one free hand, he reached over, opened the drawer, and pulled out one of the pistols.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 20)

James Stack | Posted 11.29.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

There we were, torn down the middle, loving our father but hating his drinking. We'd all seen the movie Days of Wine and Roses. Jack Lemmon had been able to quit drinking in the movie. Why not Daddy?

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 19)

James Stack | Posted 11.23.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

"Daddy's been arrested for public drunkenness," Gee said finally. "The security man told me Daddy was sleeping it off, and that he'll be returned to us at the campsite in the morning."

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 18)

James Stack | Posted 11.22.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

My feet refused to move; they were glued to the ground. I looked down at them and said out loud, "Move, damn it! Why won't you move?" But they wouldn't budge. It was at this moment that I realized I was terror-stricken -- gripped in the claws of fear.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 17)

James Stack | Posted 11.16.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Daddy walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. "Wait till you're older to try and smoke," he said. "There's no need to rush it. And please, whatever you do, don't smoke oval cigarettes in pink paper with a silver filter."

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 16)

James Stack | Posted 11.15.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Gee and I found ourselves in the camper with Matthew, who had assumed a prissy attitude. He restated that we had come to the World's Fair as a family and that we should go to the exhibits as a family. We agreed, but what could we do? None of us wanted to spend the day in a bar.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 15)

James Stack | Posted 11.09.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

I loved I Dream of Jeannie and always thought it would be great to have a genie in a bottle who would grant me three wishes. I'd probably end up forfeiting one of my wishes to get Daddy to stop drinking, because all that came out of his bottle was the devil.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 14)

James Stack | Posted 11.08.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Daddy wanted to go back to the Brewers' Pavilion because they'd seemed to like people who drank, so he knew he wouldn't be cut off the booze chain.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 13)

James Stack | Posted 11.02.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Daddy ordered a beer as soon as we were seated, and a second one before we had ordered. He was on his fifth by the time we had finished eating. As he tapped on his empty glass, Gee said, "Daddy, I think you've had enough."

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 12)

James Stack | Posted 11.01.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

I let my pants drop to the floor and stepped out of them as I wrapped my towel around my waist and slid out of my boxers. I looked over to my right and there was a man with a big smile on his face. I was screwed. Even the adults were going to laugh at me.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 11)

James Stack | Posted 10.26.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

"How would you like a beer?" Daddy asked Gee. Then, before she could answer, he said, "Well, if you want one we'll have to stop 'cause there aren't any." Here he was, one minute being belligerent and the next being Mr. Nice Guy now that he needed someone to provide him with alcohol.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 10)

James Stack | Posted 10.25.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Gee had kept her eyes on Daddy, who was now smiling and licking his lips. It hadn't taken his nose long to smell alcohol. In fact, not too far from the United States Pavilion was, of all things, the Canadian Brewer's Pavilion. Daddy had a nose for hops because he started off in that direction. Gee motioned for us to follow.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 9)

James Stack | Posted 10.19.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

While we were in the United States pavilion, I would look over at Daddy and see him grinning and looking at me. It was his silly grin -- at least, I always thought it made him look silly. I knew he hadn't had anything to drink, so I suppose he was trying to see all the things in the pavilion through my eyes.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 8)

James Stack | Posted 10.18.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

We had to make sure Daddy didn't get drunk and belligerent and abusive because then the fun would end. So we had to decide who would be in charge of him. Would we take turns? Was I old enough to have such a delicate responsibility thrust upon me? At the tender age of 15 should I have had to be my daddy's keeper?

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 7)

James Stack | Posted 10.12.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

One thing was clear: Daddy shouldn't drive. He wasn't acting mad about anything, but he did say something about World War II, which he sometimes did when he'd had too much to drink. It was up to us to be the adults and do the grownup things.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 6)

James Stack | Posted 10.11.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Gee shot me an All About Eve glance that said, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." She had discovered that Daddy had already been drinking. His morning alcohol consumption had made him docile. But now he was getting fidgety because he wanted more.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 5)

James Stack | Posted 03.21.2013 | Healthy Living
James Stack

As the night dragged on, Dan kept refilling Daddy's glass. I wanted to get away, to go to the camper and into the bed, to my safe place. There was no telling what Daddy might do if he drank too much. And here Dan was, plying him and Bunnie Ann with alcohol.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 4)

James Stack | Posted 10.04.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

When Daddy found out there was no liquor in the camper, he wasn't angry at first. Instead, he acted confused. He turned to Gee and the twins with squinty eyes and furrowed brow and asked, "Did ya'll see any of the whisky bottles I packed?"

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 3)

James Stack | Posted 09.28.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

When I was eight, and Momma and I were home alone, she grabbed me out of the house and dragged me to where the woman who worked in Daddy's office as the receptionist lived. Momma told me to stay in the car and not to get out no matter who I saw or what happened.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 2)

James Stack | Posted 09.27.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

Whenever anyone asked, "Who is the best EENT doctor in Spartanburg?" they were told, "Dr. Stack." When they asked, "Who is the second best EENT doctor in Spartanburg?" they were told, "Dr. Stack drunk." That was my daddy.

FEARLESS MEMOIR: 'World's Fair' (Chapter 1)

James Stack | Posted 09.22.2012 | Healthy Living
James Stack

'World's Fair' is the raw and witty true story of a dysfunctional Southern family's harrowing motor-home roadtrip from South Carolina to the Montreal World's Fair in 1967 (aka "The Summer of Love"). Told from the point of view of the author -- who was 15 at the time -- this intimate coming-of-age story shines a bright light on the issues of alcoholism, adolescent sexual confusion, family violence and the universal need to love those who hurt us, despite their frailties.