The family often went for long stretches without heat and food. Isaiah can remember eating popcorn for weeks at a time. "I have very strong memories of not having enough food and searching garbage cans," his sister Catherine says.
To make matters worse, Isaiah says his father, David, was an alcoholic who would "flip out at the drop of a dime." Isaiah remembers even being afraid to tell his father when he was sick. "We would walk around on eggshells all day. I remember playing around the house, if something would break, it didn't matter what kid it was, we all had to line up, drop [our] pants, and he would just whip us," he says. "I remember not being able to sit for a week at a time, just in so much pain."