When I was a small child, I remember living in Akron,Ohio. I cannot remember the name of the street, I want to say it was something like Neimen St? But I am not sure. I know we lived on a street that was a hill. And all I remember is i think it was Mom, who parked the car facing downhill and forgot to turn the wheels into the curb, but then again I am not sure she even had her driver’s license then, so it could have been my Daddy. Anyhow at the time, it was nothing funny to him, but as my childhood memories come back, I think it was quite entertaining to watch Dad running down the hill to catch the car. I don’t even remember what color or type of car it was.
From there we moved to Stow, Ohio. Again I have no clue what year it was, but I do know my Mom went out and bought a 1963 Pontiac Lemans, and it was a bronze color. I must have been about 5 at the time.
Another heart wrenching time was not too far ahead, Sitting on the arm chair with my Dad watching Presidents Kennedy’s Motorcade in Dallas, and then next things i remember was hearing people on the new black and white television we had going frantic, and my Dad started crying. I was a bit young to put together all that was going on, but my Dad broke out crying and I wasn’t quite sure, he couldn’t speak. After a few moments of trying to compose himself, he explained to me with tears streaming again, “someone just shot our President”. I think that’s where so many things in the world went wrong, but that’s just my thoughts.
Living there in the new house to me was really nice, we had lots of neighborhood friends, and all Parents were able to parent each other’s children. Now I remember times were rocky with Mom and Dad,she was always mad telling us he was out running with other women because he wasn’t home as much as she thought, and maybe he was. But I do know Mom was not the all faithful one either. I remember at night leaving the bedroom I shared with my 2 sisters, to use bathroom, and through dim lights in the house could see my Mom on the sofa with other men. At the time i was a bit young to realize how wrong things were going. Well next thing I remember is Mom and Dad divorcing. My first reality of trauma and drama at the same time. I was devastated, but by gosh, my Dad was there every week with the child support and to pick us up every Wednesday and every other weekend.
So that’s about all my mind let’s me remember except the time my Dad caught me riding a 2 wheel bike, that was so wrong and I never knew why he spanked my butt, he wanted us to stay on 3 wheel bikes, but when he and Mom divorced, the first Christmas he went out and bought us all the biggest 2 wheel bike I had ever seen. Again I am not sure what year that was, for some reason things in my young years are not any place in my memory.
But I still remember desegregation. I remember many times coming to Florida to vacation with my Grandparents on my Mother’s side when Webb City was still in St.Petersburg, Florida. Was sad to me as I again was young and didn’t understand. All I know is that Black people were not allowed anywhere but downstairs, and couldn’t use bathrooms. I had never been put in that type of scenario, because the city I grew up in we never interacted with Black people as they were discouraged at the time to live within city limits. I always heard they belong in East Akron. Again something I didn’t understand. I know we had 3 families on the very edge of town, I would almost guess On Stow/Kent borders. If I remember correctly, they were very nice structured folks and again I didn’t understand. I think I remember someone saying they were lawyers, a doctor and i think a dentist. But I was young and when in my home town never interacted or went to school with any other children than those of white skin.
My next memorable tragedy was when I was in Ashtabula, Ohio with my Grandmother and Grandfather Beck. Grandpa Beck and I were buddies, when they were not Wintering in other states such as Florida, they would either be at our house or Ashtabula, or maybe at My Aunt or Uncle’s house. But this trip I got to be with them alone, which was nice, my Grandpa liked to fix things, he would take his railroad hat and stick it on my head backwards, and he would say, “ok pal let’s go fix something”. I so loved my time with him. He was a very stern man, but tried to show us to the best of his abilities how to do things right the first time, and what the existing world at the time expected us to be. Well let me say this, I loved Grama a lot too, but she had her favorite and made it very clear it was my older sister Jennifer which was another story, i may get into later on.But this trip was everything to me as I was with my Grandparents all by myself.
One morning at the breakfast table with them so so many years ago, I remember Grandpa was eating peaches. He was so very particular about his physical appearance and usually always had on a dress shirt, slacks and sometimes a tie, but that’s the way men did things back so long ago. Anyhow as he was eating his breakfast I remember Grandma’s words…….”Sam you are drooling, Honey”,I looked up from my plate and sure enough he was. He sat there with sort of a blank look for a moment, as Grandma was wiping his face. He had come back to reality for a bit, and Grandma was on the phone with my Mom and I could hear her say “there is something wrong with your Father, and she described what happened, i then heard her say, ok we will be there as quick as I can get him into the car”. Next thing I know we were on the road back to Stow, we picked up my Mom and off to the hospital we went. Now please remember i am trying to stay in chronological order,but some things may be a bit out of time as to what may have occurred next. I had listened to everyone talk about his health status and all I knew was it wasn’t good. He had a stroke. So I am not sure how long he had been in the hospital before I was allowed to go see him, but I remember the day I went, he was sitting up in his bed, glasses on reading the news paper, I couldn’t figure out what all the talk was about. he looked like my Grandpa to me. I got up on his bed and we sat and read the paper, I am not sure if he ever spoke to me, but all I cared about was he was there. So we left when visits were over and went home. I was so happy he was ok. Well little did I know that was the last time I would see him. The phone rang in the middle of the night, Mom had answered, and all I heard was her screams, she ran out the front door across the street to where Grandma had been staying with the neighbor, because again that’s how people were, open their house up to friends in need. I tried to catch up with her, but couldn’t she ran and ran. The neighbors heard her screams and came out the door, I remember their names, Mr. and Mrs. Irwin, isn’t that strange how just some things you don’t forget. I stood in horror as I heard my Mom say “it’s Daddy, he is gone”. Mom got Grandma back to our house, then I found out what gone had meant. I would never see him alive again.
So time has passed since I last posted, those things that have occurred for that to happen will eventually be here in my blog.
But as I think back, a few major changes had happened in my life before the loss of my Grandfather. My Mother had remarried, and had another child shortly thereafter. So in the mess of all this, I had to try to relate to another man living in the only home I could remember. So the new man in my Mother’s life was Roy, at first he seemed to be a very hard working, but stern man. Stern was not the word for it, he was extremely OCD about everything in life and the house. So with the passing of Grampa and a new step dad life seemed about hopeless. The only constant in life was my Dad. My relationship with my Mother took a drastic turn shortly here after. At this point in my life I am thinking I was about the age of 10. I was scared, confused, and totally lost.
My Mother after having my new Brother didn’t seem to care about her already established family of 3 girls, of which I was the middle child. Life seemed so hard and the adjustments that were having to be made seemed like the world would end. All of a sudden we were just show pieces to my Mother, we were to be as I would today call us Stepford children.
Our motion and movements had to be spot on for everything. We were no longer allowed to live as dirty faced little children. Our home has just became a house, a showplace of perfection at her new husbands demands. Our chores became extreme,the furniture polished not once a week but every day. Our room, and the 4 of us children were in one small room, had to be spotless. He was the only one allowed to use the “new” washer and dryer, so our laundry was done when he saw fit. You did not walk over a speck of lint on the carpet without picking it up, or, you had a butt warming. My main chore was keeping our 180 foot driveway which he had filled in with pea size limestone cleared of the smallest and minute weeds. He never wanted to see anything that resembles a weed. Actually, weeds were my everyday job, after spending the night walking the floors with my new colicky brother all night and then going to school all day. I was exhausted all the time, I finally figured out if I put peanut butter on his pacifier he didn’t have time to cry all night as he loved the peanut butter, but I had to keep it coming.
He was not my only challenge in my young life, I had 2 sisters, the oldest sister Jennifer, was almost 3 years older and Norma my youngest it was a 16 month difference. So it was always Jennifer was the oldest and has more privileges, and Norma was too young to put responsibility on…….so……well I am sure you have figured that out. By this time Jennifer around 13years old had turned into quite the wild child. I remember many nights my Mother called my Dad in the middle of the night disturbing him with his new Family, of which another brother came from, Jennifer had went and gone out the window of the house again. She was quite the towns, well let’s be nice at 13, I will say most the teenage boys knew her. Dad would rush over, the police would be called, they knew the places to look for her and bring her home and by now the whole house was awake. Mom was angry, her new husband pissed as a cornered snake and my poor Dad had not only to deal with this, but the nightmare of a new wife he had.
I kept to myself and tried my hardest to do what I could to please everyone and help keep the peace. It was hard being a child, but I was old for my years. My Mother’s new husband was a drunk, he liked to stay out and make his money hustling pool and so he had a hard time keeping regular jobs. Another reason for my Mother to be angry all the time, and let me tell you, I felt the brunt of her anger. I was her punching bag, the one she took all her aggression out on. I was totally mortified of her. I never knew when she would have a moment and just wear me out, not only emotional abuse, but the physical abuse was beyond anything imaginable. On top of all that both my sisters were just like her. They would gang up on me and beat me silly. It was a lose , lose situation for me and I just kept saying it will end, I will grow and move on, but boy did those years seem to take an eternity. I was withdrawing more and more into myself, I was existing just to make it through the day. I gave my Dad hints about things, but he was busy with his new Family, and his new wife who was not willing to accept us, so his hands were tied. I swore I would NOT walk in my Mother’s foot steps. Ever !!
So life went on, I am not sure that was the right words, but when you are young that is pretty much all the life you had, at least back when I grew up when parents could man handle you and it was ok. So finally at the age of 15, I met my first puppy love. We were at my Aunt’s house for I think it was Thanksgiving dinner with her and her life partner, although I didn’t know at the time that’s what they were because it wasn’t commonly spoke of I just thought of her as another Aunt, but anyhow, this other Aunt’s sister had been invited with her children. Well the sister, her name was Dorthy had 2 sons, one of which was very handsome, and had gravitated towards me the whole day, but I never gave it another thought, we went home 20 miles away and that was that.
I came home from school one day and my Mom was talking on the phone to “Aunt Lee” the other aunt, and told me to not go to far she had something to tell me. I went about doing my chores, and everyone else’s to keep the peace, and Mother dearest, with whom at this time I did not have a good relationship at all called me into the house, she said “that was Aunt lee on the phone and she was calling me to tell me you made quite an impression on Billy, he was her nephew at the party, so she says his Mother called Aunt Lee to ask if she could get hold of me and see if it was ok for you to call him.” I was not expecting that at all, well the part that my Mother would pass that along. So I said, “well can I”? Of course I had no clue what I would say, but he was awful cute and the first boy I was ever the least bit interested in, and I was delighted he wanted me to call.
So I made the call, he wanted to come see me, and I was told he could come to the house for an hour, but I could not leave with him. So he came, I was all eyes for him. For the longest time he was allowed to come for one hour a day, I felt bad, he had a drivers license and a car, but he drove 20+ miles to see me for an hour. Back then to me that was a long way to drive since we lived in a small town and hardly ever left there.
I continued to go to school, and he would drive all that way until I turned 16, then I got my first job. I was so thrilled, go to school half a day and work the other half, I would soon be able to have enough money to start thinking of changing my life, back then minimum wage was $1.60 an hour, and you could do a lot with that. But the new boyfriend had gotten a bit posses by this time, he would drive the 20 miles to pick me up at school and drop me off at work a few blocks away. Then after work he would drive those 20 miles again and pick me up, and at this time I was allowed to go with him to his house as long as I was home by 10pm. Whew, some freedom, or so I thought.
I tried juggling my friends, my school work, my job and my Family Life and my new Boyfriend. By this time, I was almost a forgotten person in the house, I was never in trouble (too afraid of my Mother), I had no relationship with either sister, one was never home, and the youngest, well she was too busy being doted over. My Dad was still always around when he could be, he had court ordered visits, because that’s the way it was back then, which he kept every one, but no more, between my Mother being up his ass all the time with hatred and his new wife not wanting us around, he was in the middle of the stew pot all the time. He paid his child support every week without missing once. He was such a good soul, miss him terribly.
Let me fill you in on his new wife and her daughter, the daughter was a child spawned from hell, and with good reason, so was her Mother. Two of the most miserable people I have ever been around, but I tolerated for my Dad’s sake. I will give one example of how they were. I was over for the weekend on one of our appointed times, my Dad had to work that Saturday, so I was left with these two horrible people. So anyhow, doing my best to get along with them in his absence, the daughter her name was Kelly, asked if I wanted her to wash my hair and fix it, I had long beautiful full hair, so trying to keep the peace until my Dad got home I said “sure”. Well………my hair is wet, she put what I thought was shampoo on my hair, but it started to smell funny, so I told her to move away so I could rinse my hair, seems like forever before I got this stuff out of my hair, in the meantime her and her Mother are giggling about something. So as I think I have this bad smelling stuff out of my hair, it wasn’t only this substance that was coming out, my hair was also. I got my head out of the sink and discovered she had put Nair in my hair, for those who don’t know, that is a hair removing cream. I confronted her, I was livid, her Mother laughed, I punched the daughter, and her Mother cut into me like a wild woman, so as all this is going on my dad came home, he saw me a bloody mess because they had both beat me up, so he got very angry, and then they both started on him, the wife even broke a broom over his back. This was horrible she would do such a thing to my Dad, I was used to the beatings from home with my Mother and sisters. My Dad took me home, my Mother called the police, not because I was hurt, but because she hated my Dad’s wife. Long story short, stepmom went to jail and my Dad’s life was hell ever after until he divorced.
I began to separate myself from everyone but the boyfriend, we spent every minute together I had open unless he was at work, which he worked evenings, so he left me at his house with his Mother, her and I got along good. I was so young and thought I was in Love, plus it wasn’t as bad as being at home.
So by the time I was 17, he had made sure he put a ring on my finger, a nice big 1kt marquise solitaire diamond. That I was soon to find out was his way of thinking he owned me. In the meantime, I was head over heels for this fella. He was tall, and oh so handsome, and he spent his time with me, not knowing it was an ownership thing with him, but I wasn’t going through the daily beatings at home. My Mother was too busy tracing all over town day and night looking for my oldest sister, she was now quite the town tramp. I was all but separated from my Family at this point, all I did was lay my head down there at night and no one seemed to care.
By the time I was 18 I was out on my own, had a place and a car and a decent job, and a boyfriend who watched my every move, but disappeared from time to time, I mean just went off and left me sit at his house with his Mother. I didn’t give it much thought, until, now mind you, we were engaged to be married, but I was getting sick a lot, nothing serious, just sick, I never thought about being pregnant, my Mother made sure I was on the PILL as soon as I was allowed to leave the house with Bill, but it seemed every day I was nauseated. I went to my Mother’s house and was visiting and we were talking about this and that, and I told her I was not feeling so good as of late. Well come to find out, I went to the doctor, I was 5 months pregnant. Oh shit !!! The news to my Mother was easier to tell her as my younger sister was already pregnant and well we weren’t that close. However, Bill on the other hand, lost his mind and pushed me across the room and knocked me down, I was shocked and devastated. This guy, who wouldn’t let me out of his site, who was going to marry me one day, the one who never even looked like he would lay a hand on me, just hit me. I picked myself up, and walked out and never went back. The only one constant I had in my life.
I left, I just left, got in my car, with a friend of mine and we drove as far as we could afford too. We ended up in Gulfport Mississippi. We got part time jobs and I stayed until a few months before the baby was born, she met a fella and stayed. I went back home, being young and scared. I lived in my Dad’s old house, he just built a new one. Still at this point I had no contact with the Father of my child, I was not going to give him the chance to ever lay a hand on me again, and I surely did not want to raise my child around such nonsense, I had seen too much of it already in my life.
I was working the 8pm to 6am shift in a local diner, while fat and pregnant, and worked clear up until she was born. Even being pregnant I had plenty of men wanting my attention, but I was not ready for a relationship, my first experience was not such a great look into the future. Oh I forgot to inject that, at about 14yrs old, I was raped by one of my older sister’s boyfriends, well if you call someone who does that a boyfriend. I was too afraid to tell, afraid I would be blamed and more reasons for beatings so I kept that to myself. That was a horrifying day, I was at my friends house, we were outside talking, here pulls up Dave, my sister’s so called boyfriend, and his friend, they were both big tall fellas, and they got out of car, threw me in back seat and off they drove to a wooded area where that nightmare took place. Enough of that, just even to this day too hard to want to think about.
So life goes on, I am now single a new Mother and determined her life along with mine won’t be so rough. I worked hard, sometimes 3 jobs to make ends meet. I was to into being a good Mom to get out and about, I lost all contact with everyone, which was for the best, well except for my childhood friends. I had some great friends in my life when I was younger, who by the way had some of the best Parents!
My life went in a hundred different directions, from my Mother trying to take my Daughter away, because my oldest sister, who by this time had found some great guy, who was an idiot for marrying her, but they couldn’t produce children, either of them, but anyhow, she thought since she was married and childless, and I was a single Mother, I should willing give my child to her. Nope, not happening ! So my Mother went to the family Attorney(which you could afford to have back then) and tried to take my child away. Our Family Attorney, I still remember her name, Dorothy Burgess, told my Mother she would have to have me deemed incompetent as a person and parent, and Dorothy told her, I know Becky, she in neither a bad person or a bad parent. She also told her, this back then, that if that was to happen, she would see that NO ONE in the Family got my Daughter, she would go to the State. So that created a whole new set of things for my Mother and Sister, let’s name her again, Jennifer, to give me a bunch of grief over. I separated myself almost non existence from my Family.
So, I am independent at this point, had a night job in a local tavern, making good money, loving our life. I was at work one night my Mother came into the Tavern, but with her was a man I had never seen, they were both dressed up, him in a suit and her in her usual everything matched glam. They sat at the bar, and Mother introduces him to me as her 3rd cousin, they had just been to my Great Uncle Arch’s funeral, news to me he had passed. So ok, but all the while wondering where her husband was, who had worked real hard at this point to stop drinking, had a great job he was proud of and was totally in love with my Mother, they had the life of Reilly, and life was good for them or so I thought. Anyhow watching my Mother and her cousin Stan through the evening I was a bit concerned, for cousins they seemed a bit cozy as far as I saw. But neither here nor there, was not my concern, except was a bit worried about her husband. And I know I made him sound awful in the beginning, but I was young, he was stern and my life already sucked. So in the months to come, I found out my Mother and her cousin were carrying on an affair with each other, apparently Stan was flying in from Houston once a month to see my Mother while they were both married. I was so angry, but she did what she wanted always without regard for other people and how it would effect them. She said, he has a 100000.00 dollar home in Houston (the one his wife and little babies lived in) and he drove a Vette. She was all giddy like a high school girl with her first boyfriend. I was disgusted, I stayed far from her and the situation, I had grown to Love and respect her current husband, Roy, as a stepdad, he was a very nice caring man. I later came to find out I learned a lot from him.