My mother got pregnant when she was 15, by her older brother's best friend, he was almost 18. Grandmother forced her to marry "Jim". So after a quickie wedding at City Hall, she moved into Jim's room at his home. These were boom years, and right after graduation, Jim managed to find a job in construction that allowed them to move out of his mother's house. The baby boy was quickly followed by 3 more children. After only 5 years of wedded "bliss" Jim couldn't take her or her treatment of his children and divorced her, and was awarded custody of the children. Jim and his mother proved that she was an unfit mother.
Fast forward now to where my story picks up, 4 years later. One of my mother's favorite tales she loved to regale company with, and it never failed to make her laugh. I'm in my crib, and crying, I'm around 3-ish. After crying for the longest time, calling "Mommy! Mommy!" and getting no response I switched to calling, "Daddy! Daddy!" and because my dad wasn't home, he didn't come either. Finally in desperation I started to call out, "Help me someone!" And this caused my mother to laugh and finally come to see what it was I needed. Yes, I could crawl out of my crib, but wasn't allowed to, so I never did.
My dad would come home from work, and would ask where I was. "Oh! She's in bed sleeping." My dad would then go to peek in at me, only to find the crib empty. "Where is she?" Mother answered, "Ha ha! I must have forgot her at the babysitters."
Dad was a weak person, and couldn't deal with the craziness that surrounded my mother, and so he divorced her. Now, I don't hate him for divorcing her, but what I do hold a grudge against him for is that he left me with her.
My mother worked and so I had a succession of babysitters. Most of these ladies were really nice to me, and a few made me dresses and stuffed toys as we were very very poor. One Monday afternoon, I walk to the babysitters after school, had my snack and went out to play. Dinner time came, and I'm sitting on the sofa with my sweater on, my book bag by the door ready to go. If I wasn't ready the minute she pulled into the driveway, then she would usually spend the trip home slapping me all the way for making her wait. So, I sat and waited and refused supper. Then it was bath time for their children, and still no mother. Finally "Sally" coaxed me out of my dress and into a pair of pj's and I fell asleep on the sofa, waking up each time a car came down the road. The morning came and my lovely Sally had washed and ironed my dress and packed me a new lunch. This went on for a week, everyday sitting on the sofa waiting for mother to come and get me. Once during this long long week, I woke up to use the bathroom, and overheard Sally and her husband talking. He wanted to call the police to file charges against my mother, and Sally agreed that if she didn't appear that next afternoon, she would. Mother pulled into the driveway blared the horn and as soon as I got into the car, she raced off, yelling at me how I was an inconvenience and how she wished I had never been born.
One day after mom had remarried and no longer had to work, she was ironing my step-dads shirts while watching tv. She was grumbling and complaining about something, and called me over to the ironing board. She asked me a question, I no longer remember what she asked, and when I answered her, she called me a liar, and picked up the iron and burned me. I learned to dread her ironing, as she always managed to find a reason to burn me. I was so fearful of the iron that when my kids were little I would iron alone with the door shut, afraid that some thing would cause me to do the same thing to them.
She beat me for any, or really no reason at all. She used a belt on me, and as she always told me that it was more humane than using her hand. I'm not really sure when I realized it, but at some point I began to understand that my mother was/is mentally ill.
I was cleaning my room, and she came into check on my progress, I'm around 8-ish. She opened up my undies drawer, now the rule was that the undies were supposed to be lined up in such a way that only the top pair was visible. One pair wasn't quite lined up correctly and she ripped the drawer out and started beating me with it. The drawer broke which really fueled her anger, and the beating was one of the severest that I had ever received. The next morning I'm laying in bed trying to hold off going to the bathroom for two reasons. One, moving was almost unbearable, and two I feared waking her up as that was never a good idea to do. Finally unable to hold it any longer, I creep into the bath, and when I opened the door there was my mother, dread pooled in my stomach, as that was never a good sign to see her up early.
As I walked past her she questioned me about the bruises and cuts on my legs. I didn't have a clue what to say to her. Standing there in the hallway, frozen with indecision on how to answer her. Finally deciding it was a test, I said, "Well, I was bad and got into trouble for having messy drawers, so you spanked me." The look of anger that filled her face frightened me so that I backed up a step or two, something that I knew I wasn't allowed to do. Flinching or moving to avoid punishment always always caused more to be meted out. She began screaming at me, accusing me of lying to her about how I really got bruised and cut. As I backed into the room, again knowing that backing up always made her anger explode, she followed and then saw the drawer. Luckily, my step-dad came home then, he worked nights at the time, and stopped her from beating me. But, it backfired on him, as it was his turn to face her wrath and she really hurt him, which was his last straw and he later moved out.
The year I was 8, was the worst year of my life. I was beaten constantly, left places, and belittled no-stop. I'm not sure why, but I never fit in with the girls at school, they bullied me constantly made fun of me, and several of my teachers egged this behavior on. Unable to stand this any longer, I decided to show my teacher my legs. Now my mother might have been crazy but she knew not to leave marks that would show. I pulled down my knee socks and lifted the hem of my skirt to show her my bruises. The teacher curled her lip, and told me to stop trying to play on her sympathy for a better grade. That was the last and only time I tried to get help from a teacher.
My grandmother, mother's mom, took me as much as possible, always giving me a bath as soon as I got there. I really wasn't very clean usually, and my clothes were normally rather grubby too. She wasn't only looking to clean me up however. When ever she saw bruises she would yell at my mother and would keep me with her as long as possible. But the year I was was 8 was the year my grandmother passed, and my mother no longer had to fear the anger of grandmother. I tried to get help from my relatives, and I usually got told to try not to anger her.......
It was around this time period that she "convinced" me that I was to old for a babysitter while she was working as a waitress on the weekends. So, I was left alone more or less all weekend. At first she would buy me tv dinners to bake in the oven, but then decided they were to expensive and made me cook my own dinners. I was broiling hot dogs one night, I had placed foil down to keep it from dirtying up the broiler pan. Of course the captured grease caught fire, and i heard a WHOOSH! Running to the oven, I ripped the door open the rest of the way. The sight of fire scared me to death, I slammed the door shut and ran outside screaming. A neighbor was sitting out on his back stoop and came running. After seeing that I was ok, and what had happened, he explained to me why it occurred. However the damage was done, and I feared using the stove for a very long time, and ate only sandwiches for months, as my mother had stopped cooking even when she was home. Finally my other grandmother took me in hand and taught me to not be afraid of the stove.
I didn't get to spend a great deal of time with my dad's side of the family, as they would try to make her behave. Which was nice in some regards, but would often cause her to blame me for their actions. Saying that I had lied to them about her etc......
When I was around 12 or so, our financial status became very shaky as she wasn't paying the bills with her paychecks, but wasting the money on stupid stuff. At one point she owned 27 white shirts. By this time of my life, all housework and meals were my responsibility. She would drive me to the grocery store and give me money to shop for our weekly meals, while she sat in the car doing crossword puzzles. And when I returned to the car she always asked me if I got her a surprise.
When ever we went some where in her car, I wouldn't get out unless I had her car keys. I knew that the car was important to her, and she would aways come back for it. She thought that little "quirk" of mine was funny, and that was also a story she told that never failed to cause her to laugh.
Things got kinda odd when I started junior high. She started wobbling between a small child and an adult. My life was so off kilter that I never knew where or who I was supposed to be. I laid out the bills for her to pay, cleaned, cooked, washed laundry so was functionally the adult. Then something would set her off, and she would begin beating me. And after going to her room for bed, I would hear her quavery little child voice crying out to turn on her nightlight and tuck her in.
When I was 15 she got me a job at a private club as a bus boy. Well, I did start out dressed as a girl, but got tired of the old men putting their hands up my skirt, so I started wearing the boy uniform. One of the cooks was very kind to me, and would tease and play with me. The few times my mother would yell at me at work, he would always be there to hold my hand, and wipe my tears away. One night i told him about needing a ride the next day, and he offered to pick me up and take me home. On the way home he got me to talk about my life, and of course I began to cry, he came into the house with me, and sat down on the sofa and cuddled me telling me how sweet and pretty I was. He began to come over, and the cuddling became more and more, physical. Being told I was sweet and pretty was like water to a desert, I bloomed under his words. And then one day, he talked me out of my clothes, I was so scared, but was so very eager to please him. At the moment when he was beginning to push into me, I changed my mind, and he ended up forcing me. He kept coming back for almost a month, and I vacillated between wanting him to come, and hating for him to come. I liked his sweet words, but hated what he did to me. Then one day, he stopped coming. I later found out that his favourite past time was popping virgins.
This was a turning point for me, causing me to really stop caring what happened to me. I spent a year drunk, carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels in my purse. I had figured out how to keep a constant buzz so that everything wouldn't hurt so bad. It was still a see saw with my mother flowing between adult and child, the fact that the one person I thought loved me didn't.
My Angel Uncle stepped into the breach at this time, and kept pulling me back from the edge. I began spending more and more time with him, and when I was with him, the world made sense. His boyfriend never got used to me being there, as he was very afraid of being known as being known as gay.
It was Angel Uncle who convinced me to go to college, where I had an epiphany where If my mother wanted me dead, she was going to have to actually do the deed herself. I stopped drinking and using drugs, and being promiscuous, and began to see that I might have some worth after all.
But it wasn't until I fell in love with my husband that I truly believed that someone could care for me, and I learned what love really was. It took him a while to teach me that he wouldn't ever hit me, for any reason, and that he wouldn't take me some place and leave me, that he would always return for me. When we had children, a priority was to make sure that we didn't repeat our childhoods onto our children.
You can get to know Biki better at - Into the Great Wide Open