Born in 1931, my mother was one of 6 children born to parents to whom I have never known their names. I met one of her brothers at a family event when I was nine years old. I remember overhearing a potential brother calling her for money, I also heard alcoholic in the conversation. She rarely spoke about her youth.
I asked her about six months before she passed to write me a journal…something that would give me some insight as to where she came from…what happened to her…how did she get from there to here. She did.
“To My Darling Daughter…we moved to New York State when I was very young. My paternal grandmother and grandfather lived there with my grandfathers mother. My mother’s family were not familiar to us at this time in my life. We all lived within a five mile radius of each other”
As you read my stories, you will see how generations repeat behaviors without even knowing it. Estrangement is a thread that has weaved itself into the fabric of my life.
“When I was ten years old my mom and dad were killed in an accident. An Army truck struck their car”. She did tell me when I was in my twenties…just talking one afternoon..quite calmly..”someone took me to the hospital and I got to see my dad just before he died”. She got to say goodbye.
“I went to live with my father’s sister and her son. My grandmother had died of breast cancer and my grandfather lived with us. He took care of the horse and a few chickens. He was kind, a quiet man. My aunt directed him when to eat, drink, and sleep. My uncle worked in New York City so we were disciplined on the weekends. I guess I was naughty, but who cares, we had to do what he wanted and chores were done on time”.
“My aunt loved to have me stay at her house, as her husband also worked in the city. I was only allowed to stay once in awhile because the other kids were jealous. She had the best perfumes, linens and oriental rugs. The house was grand, neat and beautiful. The open balcony going upstairs was my favorite place. She died when I was sixteen, I knew I must go away to school and get out of my home environment and my domineering aunt. She was cruel. She was awarded money to take care of us. It was a subject that was never discussed. I guess I had enough money left for school. I went to live with my aunts brother. Uncle Woody and his wife Kay were my escape”. To be continued..