By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

My mom was a nurse, which was a good thing because my dad was the town drunk who jumped from job to job, took out loans and often disappeared, sometimes for years.


The realization of my mom’s occupation hit home when I was in first grade. My dad had started his drinking binges the year before after becoming involved in local politics. Reflecting back, that’s probably what forced my mom to return to her career as a nurse, since he was spending so much money on drink and travel.


My memory of those early years is a bit fuzzy, but I remember my mom hiring someone to teach her to drive so she could get a job at the hospital.


My memories of my later years in elementary school are much clearer and I remember her working rotating day, evening and night shifts that were two weeks long. That meant that once every four weeks, we’d have a normal routine with her working during the day and staying home at night the same as the mothers of my classmates, who were regular housewives.


I sometimes chuckle when I think about my younger sister and my upbringing. Since dad wasn’t around, the two of us would be home alone; something unthinkable in the America of the 21st Century. We lived with my grandparents through part of 4th grade, so they covered for my mom during that period, but after that we were pretty much on our own.


Things that were normal for the other kids, like having one of their parents attend PTA meetings were out of the question and I was the one who had to make the meals for myself and my sister when my mother was sleeping off her night shift.


I still have memories of mom coming home with blood and vomit on her uniform, smelling of disinfectant, with her nurse’s bandage scissors in her pocket. That’s where I learned that you need to wash blood out in cold water. Nurse’s uniforms, caps, and gauze masks hanging on the clothesline. Mom, half-asleep ironing her nurse’s uniform and starched cap. Sewing the black stripe onto her cap before folding it and ironing it to again to form it…


And shoes… Nurses did a lot of running and standing in those days and my mom’s one weakness was for nurse’s shoes. She was thrifty and wouldn’t spend too much money on herself, but she would make an exception for nurse’s shoes, choosing the most expensive and comfortable ones she could buy.

(to be continued…)


















By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)


English books published by AELS



I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers