Monday, October 29, 2007
Wow…now that Jenna gave me a shout out I feel like I have to write something incredibly inspiring or thought provoking. This is not easy for me. While at times I can be delightfully witty and charming, a good portion of my life is spent in the whirring of thoughts that spin through my brain. I have opinions on just about everything and while that can be a good thing, it can also be confusing. I think my life was more destined to be a UN ambassador because I am one of those annoying people that can usually see both sides of an argument, with the exception of my arguments with BigD, because then I am right and he is always wrong. In looking back over my life so far I am sometimes amazed at the amount of struggles I have overcome. If I were to watch a lifetime movie of my life I would walk away thinking that it was a fabrication of a writers imagination. There are so many things that just seemed insurmountable at the time and yet, here I am, alive and kicking to tell you about these events. I just don’t know where to start. My early years were spent in a very violent home. I was adored by my mother but she had her own struggles. My father was a very abusive alcoholic and when he was around nothing was stable. There are 3 times that I know I should have died because of him. Actually his feelings toward me were rather indifferent. I was more of a pawn in the game he played in terrorizing my mom. When I was 5 mom decided that she couldn’t take it any more and divorced. This was not an easy thing for a woman in a small, very Catholic, town (think seminary school, Catholic university, large mother house (this is where the nuns lived), and just about everything Catholic you can imagine. My grandmother went to mass every morning at 5 am her entire life. Even after they took her keys away, she used the one she had hidden to drive herself. As you can imagine a divorce was a scandal then (the early 1960’s) in that town. One of the reasons that I refer to myself as a "recovering Catholic" is because of the way the church handled the abuse my mom was suffering. At one visit with her priest, asking for help, with a broken arm, a body covered with bruises and a heart broken, she was told "this is your cross to bear" by her church counsel. She walked away, helpless. The defining moment that caused mom to divorce was the time that my father had beaten her and I was in the house. I walked into the kitchen and saw my mother, lying on the floor, there was blood, and my father standing over her. I remember it as though it happened this morning. At that moment, she wasn’t afraid of what people thought any longer, her only thought was to protect me from such horrible sights in the future. After word got around that she was divorcing, people told her they couldn’t believe she had stayed married so long. If she had known she had their support, she may have divorced him earlier. In those days, domestic violence was not talked about. It was kept behind closed doors and nobody interfered, though they knew what was going on. I often wonder what course my life would have taken had someone reached out to my mom years before. But then again, I probably wouldn’t have been born so life apparently worked out the way it was destined. There are stories of abuse, kidnapping, and terror all in my little girl life. If any of the things that happened were to happen to a child today, the father would be in jail. I have too many memories to put into one post but the most vivid were the times he took me for a court ordered weekly dinner visit and we would end up 150 miles from home, at his families house, where he would dump me on cousins and aunts that wanted nothing to do with me, and would disappear to the local pub. I never felt welcome in his family’s home. I was always left to sit by myself and wait for him to return. To a child, those hours were like years. On one of the most memorable visits, I was to be returned home by 8 pm and that was when we were well into our drive to upstate New York. Finally at midnight, on our way home, my father decided he needed another one for the road. We stopped at an obscure bowling alley somewhere between where we were and my home. I was ordered to sit and wait till dear dad came out of the bar for me. I had finally had enough and mustered up all my courage to go to the phone and try to call my mom. This was back in the day where you could call the operator and tell her who you wanted to talk to and she could place the call and would wait on the line till your call was answered. When my mom answered, I told her I wanted to come home, I was crying, and now as an adult, I can only imagine the terror she was feeling. She asked me if there were any women near me and told me to go get one. I found a lady changing her shoes ready to leave and she came to the phone and spoke with my mom. I couldn’t really understand what they were talking about but just then my father appeared from the bar and grabbed the phone from the kind lady. There were very angry words exchanged and the ride home was terrifying. My father was drunk, the roads were winding and very dark and he was very angry. Later I found out that was the night that my mom decided that she would never let me leave with my father again. She called the court the next day and his visitations were stopped. I honestly think the saddest part of the whole story is that my father was a very handsome, incredibly intelligent man that built and lost several businesses because of alcohol. Well…I have no idea where that all came from this morning but there you have it. A small snippet of my life’s beginnings and I managed to survive and thrive even with all the ghosts in my past. There are more stories that I will post off and on but for now, I have to return to work.