No One Really Knows What Dad Was Doing From 1985 To 1988

The Murphy siblings speculate their father dated women, and perhaps even had a girlfriend, at some point between the ages of 22 and 25, but noted that any such women remained entirely shrouded in secrecy.
The Murphy siblings speculate their father dated women, and perhaps even had a girlfriend, at some point between the ages of 22 and 25, but noted that any such women remained entirely shrouded in secrecy.

BOSTON—Unable to recall a single instance in which their father mentioned any details about his early adulthood, the children of local man Alan Murphy confirmed Monday they had no idea what he was doing between the years of 1985 and 1988.

Advertisement

During a conversation between siblings Sarah, Mark, and Jess Murphy, all now in their 20s, it reportedly became apparent that none of them had ever known their dad to discuss any jobs, friends, living arrangements, cars, or personal interests he might have had in the years between graduating from the University of California, Davis, in 1985 and meeting their mother in Boston in the fall of 1988.

“Yeah, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve even heard him tell one story about that time in his life,” said Jess Murphy, who acknowledged it hadn’t occurred to her until just now that the nearly four-year period of her father’s life was an absolute mystery to her. “It’s strange, because he talks about his childhood friends, his college friends, and the friends he and Mom have had over the years, but I can’t remember him ever mentioning anyone from that period. You know, I’ve never seen any photos from back then, either.”

“I don’t think he went to grad school,” she continued. “That seems like something we’d know about, right?”

The siblings agreed that their father must have been doing something to earn a living during the latter half of the 1980s, but each of them failed to recall even an offhand mention of a particular workplace, any colleagues, or even a line of work he might have been engaged in at the time. While Sarah Murphy remarked that their dad “might have just been waiting tables and stuff like that” during the 1985-1988 period, she and her siblings conceded it would be kind of strange for him not to have mentioned it, considering all the anecdotes he had told them about the paper route he had as a boy, the movie theater where he worked in high school, and even his work-study job at his college library.

“I know that on his 21st birthday, he and some buddies took a road trip to Tahoe and went skiing, so maybe he just bummed around there for a while?” said Mark Murphy, recalling how his father was fond of repeating that particular story. “Wait, no—he was born in ’63, so I guess that trip must have happened in 1984, which means he still had a whole year of school left. I guess he could have stuck around Davis for a bit after graduation, but it doesn’t sound like the kind of place you’d stick around in at that age. It’s just weird how the next thing I know about him is that he started dating Mom four years later in Boston.”

“Wait, why did he move all the way here in the first place?” Mark continued. “You’d think there would have to be some reason.”

Advertisement

The siblings reportedly spent several minutes deep in thought, scouring their memories of long-ago dinner table conversations, stray comments, and funny stories they overheard their father telling his friends in hopes he may have divulged information about the gap in his life. Sarah Murphy is then said to have told her brother and sister she recalled having once seen, in the attic of their parents’ house, a helmet that appeared to be for a motorcycle rider, which they all acknowledged as odd, considering they had never known their father to ride motorcycles or ever mention any fondness for them in particular, ultimately leading them to question whether the helmet provided a clue to their father’s missing years at all or if it had somehow come into the family’s possession through happenstance.

Each of the Murphy children reportedly concurred that they had heard their father mention how he hitchhiked one time, though none could state whether such an incident occurred during the four-year window in question, while further acknowledging that if it did, such an episode posed far more questions than it answered.

Advertisement

“I remember this one time, Dad took me to a Celtics game, and I asked him what it was like living in the city back when they won the championship in 1986,” said Mark Murphy, adding that he had just assumed his father would fondly recall watching the NBA Finals or attending the ensuing victory parade. “But he just told me that he wasn’t living in Boston yet and left it at that. He didn’t say anything else and went back to watching the game.”

“Huh,” he added.

When the three siblings later asked their mother if she knew anything about their father’s activities from 1985 to 1988, she reportedly changed the subject to ask about their plans for Thanksgiving this year.

Advertisement