Friday, September 21, 2012

Turmoil 9-21-2012

We moved when I was in 8th grade.  Almost the end of the school year and I had to start all over in a new school, well myself and my three other sisters.  This was going to be a new beginning in a supposedly better neighborhood.  It was a better neighborhood, but it didn't mean that the children there would be any less mean or taunting.  Going into a new school right at the end of the year did not make it any easier.  I made one friend that was going to end up going to the same high school as me.  The middle school split and some kids went to one high school while the rest went to another depending on where you lived.  Those 3 or 4 months were hard, hard adjusting to the attitudes of a bunch of kids who were privileged, when I was clearly not.  Hand me down clothes and shoes did not help the situation, especially when the shoes were mail order shoes that your mother decided she didn't want.

I made it through and onto high school I went.  I had already had a regular babysitting job at our old house and was determined to find something now so that I could buy my own clothes.  Here and there and doing extra chores around the house and I would save up enough to go and buy a new shirt or pair of pants every once in a while.  I remember Ditto's were in back then and I must of had a pair in every color.

I was pretty shy, so I didn't have a lot of friends, but believed the friends that I did have were quality friends. I tumbled through high school, socially awkward and shy with most people thinking that I was stuck up.  Never really dating but trying to get involved, even running for publicity for ASB.  Didn't win, someone more popular did, but she knew I had talent and asked me to be on her team.  Fun times watching the football team run through our posters.  Going out for pizza after a game and just being a kid.

Just about my senior year my mom and step-father started having problems.  He liked to drink and wouldn't admit that he was an alcoholic.  The situation became tense and by that time I had a regular job and a car that I had bought and was so glad that I did.  If I wasn't at school I was working or would hang with my friends.  My two younger sisters weren't so lucky and lived in the middle of a war zone.  By the time I was 19 I had already moved out and right after that their relationship ended.  I certainly wasn't surprised, but I felt really bad for my mother.  Two kids to raise and get out of high school and on her own again.  She succeeded with one and the other dropped out.  For all of us this was a really bad time and then my father decided that it was time to come back into our lives after a 6 year hiatus.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

12. Friends

We moved a lot when I was little, and even the one friend that I did make that I thought would be my friend forever was lost a long, long time ago.  I had a couple of little boys that I was really good friends with when I was very young, but every time we moved that friendship was lost.  I remember one girl, when I was in first grade, that I was really good friends with as well, but alas that friendship died the minute we moved from that neighborhood.  When I was in second grade we moved to a house that we stayed at for almost 7 years.  That was when I met my friend, my best friend and we were almost inseparable.  She was a year younger, but we had the best time always.

I remember that her dad had a bunch of old army blankets that we would take and build forts with.  We used to pretend that we were movie stars and she was just the silliest person and we were always laughing.
She used to do imitations of Chucky Margolis from the Hudson Bros. Variety Show, it was so hilarious.  She was just the best.  I remember a time when a rabbit was chased into a rose bush and hurt pretty bad.  We caught the rabbit, how I have no idea, and brought it back to our fort.  We patched up the bunny,with a patch of course, hoping it would live through the night.  I do not know where I got the courage to actually sew a patch on that rabbit, but that is exactly what I did.  The poor thing never made it through the night, thus my thought of ever living up to Florence Nightingale, or a nurse period was gone.

I remember us getting in an argument about something, we were older then and she called me a bitch, that was the first time anyone had ever said anything like that to me.  We didn't talk for a while, and then finally got over it.  We moved when I was in eighth grade and we tried to keep in touch, but we lived so far away from each other that we eventually lost touch.

I have since made many friends.  And many of them have only lasted a season or more.  I'm thankful for all of them, they are what has helped shape my life and get me to the point at which I am right now.  Some I am still friends with and those are the ones I am the most thankful for.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

11. Flying

I used to dream that I could fly, up and down our street, I would hover and look over the neighborhood. When I dreamed of flying I always felt so happy and secure, like I was on top of the world.  I would wake up the next day so happy and refreshed, it was the best night of sleep.  Unless you have dreamed of flying you can't really know what it feels like other than being euphoric.  Those dreams stopped about the time my parents got divorced and I found out the ugly truth about my father, only to be replaced my nightmares that I can remember in detail to this day.

 I have since learned that dreaming about flying is supposed to be about how secure you feel at that time in your life.  And before all the crap happened that happened, I thought that our little family was perfect.  I haven't dreamed about flying since.  I wish I could, it's like a lost part of me, a piece stolen never to be returned.  I wonder sometimes if my sister ever had a chance to fly like I did, or if her sleep time was filled as was her awake time with constant nightmares.  I don't have nightmares anymore and I hope that hers have subsided, but I sure do miss going to sleep and dreaming of flying all over the world.                                      

Monday, August 13, 2012

10. Anonymity

Sometimes it's nice that no one knows you and what you are about, other times it's horrid that no one does.  The times when you think that somebody should have known that something was going on and been there to help you and they're not.  Didn't someone see that the behavior of my sister was not in the norm.  She hid things well from us, even tried to protect us on those occasions when my mom let us go see my dad at my grandmothers house.  My grandmother had no idea what was going on, she should have, but my mother never said anything to my father's side of the family.  Yet, I can't believe that there wasn't another adult out there that didn't see that something was wrong.  Back then, as it is today, people mind their own business, but for the sake of a child, I can't understand that nobody noticed anything at all.

This set her, as well as the rest of us on a destruction course of our lives.  And when my mother finally did do something about it, she then remarried a man who had no idea how to deal with children period, especially one who had been damaged so severely.  At a time in my sisters life when she needed a father figure that could show her the right way to be a dad, he belittled her and mentally abused her.  Pushing her further into a deep, dark hole of desperation.  Sometimes I think that it's a miracle that she is the person she is today, a loving, giving mother and wife, an asset to society.  I see the course that could have been followed and I am so glad that she took a detour.  Not that her life as been peaches and cream, not in the least, it has taken her 50 years to be "okay" with herself.  But there are others that are not so lucky.  They have been spent by their abusers and thrown out like a piece of trash.

I don't remember anything happening to me and I don't want to remember anything.  I'm positive that something happened, but I don't see any details.  And I know that most of the reason is that the rest of us were younger and my sister tried to protect us.  When on occasion we did stay at my grandmothers house, my sister would put us all toward the wall and sleep on the outside so my dad  couldn't get to the rest of us.  At age 11 to 13 she was already our protector.  I can't even imagine the pressure she must have endured and how terrified she must have been everytime we went to go visit my dad.  I don't know what my mother was thinking by letting us go, but she perpetuated the pain that my sister was already enduring.

The visits stopped only for my sisters pain to be replaced by a different kind of abuse.  At the age of 15 she could take it no more and ran away from home.  This was a difficult time for the rest of us, this is the only time I remember my mother ever being absolutely frantic.  She loved us, I could tell, but she had endured so much pain as a child that she didn't know how to be there for us.  But this hurt her, really bad, I think that she knew that this was her fault, she was not there for my sister the way she should have been, as a mother who would do anything for her children, and she knew it now.  It was a few months before they found her and in the mean time my mother had forgotten that she had three other girls to raise.  She was there, and cooked and got us to school, but she wasn't really there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

9. My Grandfathers

When I was very young my grandfather on my dad's side passed away.  I don't have a lot of memories of him because he wasn't around that much.  My grandmother had separated from him and raised my father and his sisters on her own.  We did occasionally see him, but the only memory I have is of him giving us a nickle if we would empty is ashtray.  He was a tall man at over 6 feet tall and he loomed over us kids.  I don't ever remember him being mean to us, just most of all I don't remember him.

My grandfather on my mother's side was very different, he was active, he read, he invented things and even though sometimes he couldn't handle four little girls, we knew he loved us.  There were many times when my grandmother and grandfather would take us places. Most of the time it was to the Moose Lodge ( that they belonged to.  They always had some event going on and children were always a big part of it.  Christmas parties, Halloween parties, Fourth of July parties, and we went to them all with our grandparents.  It is one of my favorite memories of them.  Summers out here can reach triple digits and all my grandparents had in their house was an old swamp cooler that my grandfather had rigged up.  So to beat the heat he used to hang the hose off the back of the patio roof and let us kids run through it.  It wasn't much, but us kids thought is was great and at least we were'nt hot.  Always in the garage inventing this or that, he was a master machinist and was always working on something.  

He taught me how to dive.  It was funny because sometimes he had so much patience and other times he just couldn't tolerate anything.  We were all at my grandparents place, and us girls were playing and bickering and giggling and he'd just had enough and stuck us each in a corner with a piece of tape over our mouths.  My mom to this day can't believe he did it, but I think we got the better of him that day. I'm sure that I got my love of reading from him and my mother.  His favorites were country and science fiction and he loved Isaac Asimov the most.  It seemed his mind never stopped working, but he had a weak heart and he passed away right after my mother and step-father got together.  But I will always remember our times together.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

8. The Truth

It was hard to go on with this new part of my life and even harder to write about it.  Even though I had gotten along swimmingly with my step-father, not all of my sisters did.  And there was a lot of tension in the family.  Things that I found out about our past life and the hurt and pain that followed, it was not an easy path to take.  And when I did find out what really happened, it was painful to ask my mother, because I thought that she would lie to protect me.  So I let that pain go for two years before I broached the subject and asked her.  She of course did not lie, but it did not make it any easier to finally face the truth about my father.

For a while it was fun because he was the "Disneyland Dad".  He had slowly stopped coming and seeing us.  I don't know what possessed my mother to even let us go and stay with him in the first place, but there was always supposed to be someone else with us.  It was usually my grandmother, she was the sweetest soul and it pains me to know how she must have felt after my father quit coming to see us.  Our visits to her stopped as well, I didn't get to see her again until I was a young adult.  She had memories of us, but the dementia had set in so bad that even though she remembered all of her grandchildren, she didn't recognize any of us.  She would talk to us and recognize a voice and then keep asking where we were.  That was such a hard time, for her as well as all of us girls. 

I think it was even years later before my two younger sisters found out about my dad.  We all knew then the horrid truth of why my parents had divorced, my father had been molesting my older sister.  It had been going on since she was probably six or seven and she was 11 when my parents finally separated.  The man that I had idolized and wanted to be just like was a monster.  There were times when I just thought that if I retreated far enough into a hole and was a good little girl that nothing else bad would happen.  I hated him and when in the midst of our high school years he came back wanting to reestablish a family tie, I was very guarded.  Some of my other sisters welcomed him back with open arms, but I could not.  This man that had practically shattered my existence wanted back into my life.  My sisters talked me into seeing him so finally I went and met with him one day.  He tried to explain why it had happened, he told me it was my mothers fault because she was not as physical with him as he had wanted.  I wasn't one to make a scene, so I didn't say much.  I wanted to tell him that I could have forgave him more if he had cheated on my mother with a whore.  I was seething inside and wanted to scream at him, I wish that I had had the guts to tell him how I felt and I regret it to this day.  The pain that he had caused and now he was going to blame it on someone else.  I almost hated him even more at that point in my life.  Why couldn't he just apologize and say that he had gotten some help.  None of that ever happened which made me even more gaurded of him. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

7. My Grandmother

And so my mother remarried, nothing fancy, they went to Las Vegas and got hitched while us four girls stayed at home with my grandmother.  I never had any really bad memories of my grandmother, but my older sister does remember a couple of times when my grandmother and grandfather had us girls and they would go to the local watering hole and leave us in the car while they had a couple of drinks.  But when my grandfather was alive they would take us to the local Moose Lodge whenever there was anything going on.  We went to Halloween parties where the apples were hung from the ceiling and the first one to finish eating the apple won.  I would have much rather dunked my head for an apple though.  Bobbing for apples always seemed way more appealing to me.  There was always something going on at the Moose Lodge so we were grateful for that.

My grandmother baked a lot, she made fried doughnuts, bread and a wonderful dish that I later found out they called Danish Apple Pudding, and she made a wonderful little candy called divinity.  I have never had any that compared to what my grandmother made and alas, besides the apple pudding recipe, everything else was lost.  She never learned to drive, I don't know if my grandfather just didn't have the patience, or if she was just afraid to drive.  But I'm sure that this closed her life in even more.  She just loved all of her grand kids, and would do almost anything my mom or aunt wanted if it involved us kids. 

She called me her "Dolly" and I miss her to this day.  I wish that her life had been different and more of an adventure for her.  Losing her son at such an early age, 16, right when his life would become his own, devastated both of my grandparents.  My grandfather died right around when I was 8 or 9.  That was it, she had nothing else to live for.  She didn't do much but sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee and smoking  a cigarette.  Her only vice at that point in her life was to go play bingo, and she loved bingo.   I really wish that she would have remembered that she had two daughters and between them 7 grand kids.  That is when I really started missing her, although  I was grateful that she was around to see me get married, she died the very next year.  My older sister had two children before my grandmother passed away, I'm so glad she got to see that.