I’ve mentioned in earlier posts how I’ve longed to write my memoirs, but there is a problem, several problems actually. If I were to write them chronologically it could take longer than I have left here on this planet. There is also the problem of belief. So much has happened in my life, that it sounds “unreal”, unbelievable even, like some freaky movie. There are also many missing pieces, and with both of my parents deceased I’m not sure how I would fill in the details, or if the details I have are even right. I guess since they are my memories, that in itself makes the details mine, and thus, right.
My first therapist (2004), an intern, quit after her first session with me. She went home sobbing, saying she didn’t think that these things happened in “real” life, to “real” people. I envied her “sheltered” life. The psychiatrist I saw for 6 years after that, told me after just two weeks with her, that she could put ten patients in one room and not have as much trauma and pain in there than I had suffered. On a good note, she added that she was surprised at how well-adjusted, and “put together” I was after having dealt with so much.
Mom was at home alone with the three boys, Kenny 31/2, Kevin 1, and Keith, the baby. Kevin and Keith were the first of the three to wake up that morning, Kenny, the oldest stayed asleep. Mom had fed and bathed the two youngest when she began to wonder why Kenny hadn’t come out of the bedroom yet. Kenny and Kevin shared a “youth bunk bed” popular in the late 50s. It was a smaller version of regular bunk beds, but with crib-like bars to keep the kids from falling out. She walked down the trailer hall to the boy’s bedroom……What she found would change all of our lives forever.
Kenny had tried to climb down from the top bunk, through the “safety” bars and got caught between the mattress and the bars………..she found him hanging by his neck…..dead. I never heard more of that day…I am left to imagine her panic, trying to release him, screaming as she ran from the trailer holding his lifeless body. I wasn’t born yet, I can only picture this horror in my mind by what I have been told. He died in April of 1959.
I figure that’s about the time my father starting beating my mother. He blamed her for the death of his first-born son. I know she spent the rest of her life blaming herself. I know I would. I don’t know how she went on from there, but I was born at the end of the following year. I realized later why my mother and I were so close during my life. You see… she slept with me beside her bed, her hand on my chest for the first year of my life. This closeness would bond us throughout my life, and would become too close for my mental well-being later on. If you notice in the picture of her holding me at one week old, there is an overwhelming look of sadness and defeat on her face. Not one of joy. First she lost Kenny, then a week before that picture was taken, she almost lost me as I was coming into this world. Her life never got better from there, it was a long, sad story of pain and loss. I’m sure there is much about my mother that I don’t even know, and never will.
When we were living in Germany a couple of years later. I was either 2 or 3 years old, and my sister Kristin had been born in 1963, so now there were four of us kids. Even at that young age, I knew there was something “wrong” between Mom and Dad…and it had to do with fear of my father. I was just too young to understand it. I only knew there was always a sense of “danger” in the air when he was home. I recalled this memory many years later, in therapy….. Me and my two older brothers were sitting on a bed. All of us were sobbing and watching my mother put on her coat…All I remember is the fear of her leaving, and telling her that,..”we’ll be good Mommy, don’t leave, we’ll be good!”…I sobbed and looked down at my little feet swinging, my heels hitting the bed, unable to touch the floor.
I realized when I got older, and knew of my father’s abuse, that she wasn’t trying to leave us that time, she was trying to save herself.
See what I mean? We haven’t even left Germany yet, which we would do when I was 4 or 5. I guess I will just have to tell my story/stories in pieces. It is all too much to go into one story, and I’m not sure I can handle more than bits and pieces.
Maybe I should make it a series, like they do with some novels, part one, part two…etc.
I guess some of them will have to start like the old “Dragnet” show from the 60s …”The story you are about to read is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent..or not so innocent.
P.S. I just noticed the date on this photo…it was taken December 20, 1960, exactly 53 years to the day. Wow.