Updated: Jan 5, 2022
I went to bed this evening thinking about my children. Not as they are now but as they were THEN. My god they were sweet. My little daughter, Debby, was full of white curls and happiness. She was born smiling and never stopped. No matter what happened to her she looked on the brighter side of life. God she was precious. I could nuzzle her all day long and she would giggle forever. She loved her dolls but playing with Speed Racer her imaginary friend was her safe life, especially when her daddy was around. Speed Racer always had to get into the car first so he could get the best seat! She was amazing! Two, three, four years old and she was my queen! And Speed Racer was with us all those years.
And my son, Brian, OMG, he was my prince!! He was so sweet and gentle. He cared about everything! His white curls and curiosity followed me everywhere! He cared about Everyone! He was quiet. You could see he was thoughtful. Generous with his kindness. Once I was lying in the fetal position on the sofa wondering how long this desolation would be with me this time and he came over to me and stroked my forehead and asked me if I was okay. God he was a gentle caring child! His eyes spoke volumes even though his words were silent.
As he got older, I could not relate to him. We spoke different languages. He had so much to say but somehow, I felt I had prevented him from saying it! My personality was too big. Too loud. Too over the top for him. I was about words and feelings and thoughts, but I only understood them when they were spoken. He was more introspective. He expected me to understand without his telling me what he needed. I was incapable. He would throw tantrums and I had no idea why. We would be in a restaurant and he would refuse to eat and throw a “hissy fit.” I had no idea what he was thinking or feeling or anything. I would ask him, but he would not answer. So, I would remove him from the restaurant and put him in the car. When we got home, I would ask him why? Just, WHY? And he would refuse to answer and run to his room! He would throw tantrums and scream and yell and holler and slam doors. I would do all I could to understand. I would ask him. He would yell at me. I would tell him to go to his room. He would slam the door. I would let him throw his tantrum and ignore him. Nothing helped!!! He would try to throw a picture or plant and I told him he could destroy anything that was his in his room; but he was not entitled to destroy anything of mine or Debby’s. I tried to get him to talk. No success. He once told me that he “didn’t need to talk.” He was not like me and Debby, he did not need to talk. Naturally, I did not understand that since I talked incessantly. And believed, and still do, that if you talk things out you can not only understand yourself but hear the other person’s position. But I respected him and let him be who he was. I often wonder if I, as his mother, should have done more. But what... Now, as the mother of a 50+ year old I can only pray that he is happy. I know he is successful and funny, and he can even cook and if he is happy then what more could a mother ask?!
My children were gifts from God. They were my saving grace. They were my angels of protection and perfection! I think if I had not had my children, I would not have survived the 60s and 70s.
I married for the wrong reason. I overheard my mother tell her best friend one day after my dad did one of his Thursday night drunks that as soon as I graduated from high school and was out of the house, she would leave him. It just so happened that the guy I was dating at the time wanted to have sex with me. I was absolutely horrified of the idea of having sex. I could “pet”, but I had my limits!!! After going through the weekly nightmare, I had to deal with my father and his friends on Thursday nights I wanted nothing to do with Sex or anything like it from a guy. But I had learned to dance the dance and speak
double entendre. In fact, I could talk like a sailor and joke like a pirate with the best of them. I would twirl and joke and make sure not one of my dad’s drunk friends touched me while I cooked their bacon and eggs and potatoes on Friday mornings from 2:00 to 4:00 am.
The first time he woke me from my sleep was when I was 14. He demanded that I go down to the kitchen and fix his friends some breakfast. When I got to the bottom of the steps, I saw my mom asleep on the sofa in the living room. I went to her and begged her to wake up. I pleaded with her. She held her eyes tightly closed. She refused to acknowledge my pleas. I knew then that I was on my own. Only as an adult did I realize that she was more frightened of him than I was. But at the time, as a child, I felt deserted. Abandoned. I never again felt safe in my own home. I knew that no matter what, no one was going to protect me ever again. And they did not.
Since my mother was in a tough spot and wouldn’t escape this drunk until I was on my own, I unwittingly fell into marriage the way God meant for me to. That’s the only answer I have on this. I didn’t think of getting married. I had no idea what I was going to do. In fact, I vaguely remember thinking thought I would go to Philadelphia and take some classes and get a good job. But the guy wanted sex and one night I said I’d only do it when I was married. So, he proposed, President Kennedy said married men didn’t have to go to the draft and the guy’s mother planned our wedding to keep him out of the draft. TA DA! Married. I graduated on June 17th and was married on July 10th! The wedding was originally planned for September 9th but he got drafted so his mother spoke to Father O’Brien who had the wedding moved up to July so he wouldn’t have to go into the army. I was very disappointed. I thought it was great when he got drafted. He could go off to the army. I could work and get things together and when he got back, we could see if we still wanted to get married. Obviously, I really was not ready for marriage. But married we got! It lasted from July 10th, 1965 at 11:00 am to 4PM on February 4th, 1972. It was the most horrendous and most violent years of my life. The physical abuse was bad but the psychological and verbal abuse almost destroyed me. It took years to rebuild my self esteem after I left that marriage. And I can’t say leaving was even a plan. After much abuse and speaking with a doctor it was recommended, I get a job outside of the home. The first day of my first job I was working with someone who happened to live near my mother. Since my mother was watching my children while I worked that day, I asked Nancy if she’d like a ride home instead of taking the bus. My husband was picking me up and we’d give her a lift. As we got into the car, I introduced Nancy by saying this is “my husband” and he replied “ex-husband” and hit the gas, so we went almost 90 mph for three blocks. At the red light, I opened the door, told Nancy to get out of the car, and then I leaned into the front seat and said “Fine, EX Husband” and never ever looked back. I left him that night at 6: 02 pm at the corner of 6th and Market in Wilmington, DE. The first day of my job. The first day I took a fresh clean air breath since July 10, 1965. Nancy and I walked up to 10th Street and Market and got a bus to Bellefonte.
But my kids. They were the closest things to God I ever knew. I did not own them. They were not possessions as my husband acted with them. I had brought them into this world because God wanted me to. I was merely the vessel. Their father had no interest in them. He did things that made me question if he even knew they were alive and human and breathing. It was up to me to protect them and love them as they loved me. We were three children trying to survive in an ugly world of horrible selfish people. After the kids and I were on our own, we had left their father after he abused me for the final time (in my opinion.) But the three of us were together. We had each other. Now all I had to do was make enough money that we could live on our own. So, I had to find a way.
For the next ten years I took every job I could to advance myself. I had some wild flings and crazy life for a few years. I drank and partied but eventually I realized that I didn’t like myself very much so why in God’s name would I expect anyone else to love me. I stopped going out to date, but I still went out drinking. I needed to see people living. I’m not sure why. Never understood why I was out there. I would sit at bars thinking of how I was wasting my time and money (of which I had very little) but would still sit and watch. Men would try to pick me up and I would walk away. I wasn’t interested in sex or men. But I needed to be out. I had trouble staying home. But eventually I got through that as well. I had no social life; but my friends and family thought I was a real party girl. In fact, it was my friends who were having all the parties and telling everyone they were with me. Meanwhile I was sitting home watching TV and enjoying my life.
But I let my kids down. As hard as I tried to be the best mother ever, I failed them. I wanted to be the best mother in the world. I was never going to do to my children what my mother did to me. I was never going to abandon them. I would never let them think they were alone. But despite my dreams that is exactly what happened to my children. They were deserted and left to their own devices to survive. Thrown into a world without me, without a safety net, without love wrapped around them and listening to my empty echoing voice telling them on a phone that I loved them and to be strong. As I lay with my heart breaking and too weak to reach out and hold and love them, I could hear their heart break and pain and I was helpless to do anything. I had no body. I had no soul. I had no purpose. I had no strength. I had no worth. I had nothing for them to want, need or love. They were better off without me. I was a detriment to the ones I loved the most. I had no present. I had no future. Their future would be better without me. I would only cause them to be more unhappy.