I had to pray and seek the Lord for a long time in order to get the courage to share these things with my readers, in the hope of helping others find help. This is my first attempt to share my story in public. It’s going to have gaps, because I still have gaps in my memory. I’m missing a lot of time.
I need to share my own memories interspersed with those of witnesses I trust(ed) (most of whom are dead now) in order to try to make sense of things. I’m afraid the narrative is rather lurching and disjointed, and takes on a disturbing shape. But I have to start somewhere. *sigh*
There used to be a family album at my grandma’s house (G. June, my maternal grandma) with a picture of my mother holding me when I was about one year old. My mother, being a former beauty queen, always played for the camera; in this photo, she was wearing a Spanish dancer dress and she was smiling beautifully as she held me up in the air. I had the look of terror on my face – a wild horse stare that showed the whites of my eyes. It is clear that even at such a young age I feared her.
My Nana (my paternal grandma) told me that when I was 18 months old, my father came home from work one day to find me covered with black and blue bruises. My mother apparently told him the babysitter had done this. Nana told me Daddy fired the babysitter, but later he found out that it was my mother who beat me up.
I have a scar in the very center of my forehead, and when I asked about it, my mother claimed it happened when I stood up and fell out of my stroller as she was crossing the street.
I have a large scar just above my right eyebrow (1.5″ wide) that I can’t account for. Neither could anyone else in my family, though I had proof from earlier photographs that it must have happened after I was seven years old – a fact that indicates that I should be able to remember something like this, or at least someone else in my family should.
My first memories are from when I was three years old. We lived in Wichita, Kansas. The house was at least two stories tall with a basement. I had a sister, Christi, who was 15 months younger than I, and a baby brother named Cameron.
My sister and I were upstairs in our bedroom as usual. We were playing with our blow-up reindeer Rudolf. There was a thunderstorm, and lightning hit our chimney and blew a hole in our bedroom wall; I was standing directly in front if it, and by some miracle neither of us were physically harmed. I remember the fire department sent a truck and a crew over the next day to clean up the bricks and debris from the chimney and the plaster mess in my bedroom. Mom, Christi, Cameron and I sat outside on a bench by the side of the house while the men worked.
The lightning strike traumatized me; I became terrified of the dark and of all thunderstorms, and I began wetting the bed. I remember one morning my mother came into our room, and we were both still sleeping. She uncovered me to find that I had wet the bed. She reached into the closet for a wire coat hanger, grabbed me by my ankle to keep me from getting away, and beat me on my bare thighs. There were stinging marks and bruises, but my clothes covered them, and I guess Daddy never knew.
We had a parlor downstairs with a big bay window and seat cushions around it where I loved to sit whenever I was allowed to. There was also a grand piano that my dad liked to play. I don’t remember actually ever seeing Daddy at the house, but I know he was home sometimes because he played Moonlight Sonata at night, and I would sneak out into the hall on the landing so I could listen to the beautiful music.
I remember the house across the street burned down and I was told it was because the man who lived there had been smoking in bed.I was very troubled by this and felt sorry for the man who died.
There were other storms, too, and I asked if there were witches in Wichita. I question what a three-year-old child in 1960 would know about witches?! I don’t recall seeing a television set, but I doubt I learned about witches from t.v. I wonder how I had developed an understanding of witches at my age, and why I though storms and darkness were also connected somehow.
During that time, I had a strange fascination with electricity. We had a lamp without a bulb in it on the dresser in our room. It was plugged in, though I think it was switched off. I put my finger down inside the socket because it gave me a dizzy, swirling feeling that tickled in the pit of my tummy and I liked it. I also stuck a bobby pin in the wall outlet (one side only) but I got caught and punished, so I never did it again.
One night I was looking out the window opposite my bedroom at the top of the stairs. It was pitch dark and raining. I clearly remember the triangle formation of lights that landed in the lot next to our house. My father was away on a business trip, and I thought it was his airplane landing. I called down to my mom, “Mommy, Daddy’s plane just landed!” She yelled up that this was nonsense and I should get back in bed. She never investigated and I do not know what those lights were.
After Wichita we packed up and moved to the new state of Alaska.
To be continued…