The Day My Father Shot My Mother

The Establishment
The Establishment
Published in
8 min readSep 8, 2016

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By Paula M. Fitzgibbons

Modified from flickr. Lipstick/lookcatalog | Gun/Don Stewart

My mother was a hero, someone I admired. And I could never become her, this part of her at least.

II had a quirky childhood habit of sitting sideways on the toilet. It began, I surmise, in our Southeast San Diego house on Manos Drive, sometime after I turned five. Sitting side-saddle allowed me to look in the mirror and lose myself awhile. Perched there, I often acted out scenes from the day’s All My Children. I did a perfect Susan Lucci — if Lucci were to act entirely from a toilet seat.

In our house on Cavalry Ct. — an hour north, where we moved when I was 10 — the bathrooms seemed palatial to me. The mirror extended nearly the entire length of one wall, plus another mirror hung on the wall opposite the toilet (useful if one was facing sideways, which I usually was). I could forget entirely that seven other people, my siblings and parents, lay claim to that bathroom as well. It was there, on that toilet, sitting sideways, that I tried to straighten my rapidly curling hair, perfected my circa-1977 Elvis impersonation, and planned my intended reign as the future Queen of Mexico, my dream career. It was also where I heard gunshots for the first time, coming from my mother’s dressing room next door.

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The Establishment
The Establishment

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