I was thinking maybe it’s time to discuss some of those things.
Let’s start with something deep & complex with lots of crazy woven into the history of my life. MY PARENTS.
My biological parents were Seniors in high school when they began what we will call “dating” since I don’t know the exact details about their relationship.
My mother, Rita, was a transplant into this school her Junior year, I believe. My mom led me to believe that she was a bit wild, enjoyed herself at every opportunity. Since my grandparents were allegedly quite strict, I’m sure this resulted in many lies & much sneaking around.
My father, Randy, was also wild, though I doubt anyone would argue that point so we can just say it outright. He did drugs. Now, this was the early 70’s so things were much more laid back for some people during this time. But not my dad. His father, my grandfather, was also very strict. Not known, even today, for being affectionate, patient, compassionate, caring or loving towards anyone. I think he does love, but he is not going to tell us.
So my parents began “dating” sometime early in their Senior year. This is where it all gets fuzzy. Not because I’m on drugs but because neither really likes to discuss it, & both sides skip parts or tell different versions.
All I really know is, I was conceived.
In a Sunday School room.
On Christmas Eve.
I was born exactly 9 months to the day later. My dad says my mom was seeing several other guys around the same time. There wasn’t DNA testing back then, so the lab tests run to prove paternity were only blood types. So even at 43, he isn’t completely sure I belong to him. (Yes, I heard this in the not so distant past & hundreds of times over the years.) My mom does not completely differ here except the time line is less blurry & she seems to have no question about who she was “seeing” around my conception.
Now here you have 2 wild high school Seniors, pregnant, in the early 70’s, both having “experimented” with drugs at least prior to, possibly during, & probably after my life began. My father claims my mothers parents hated him. (HELLO!! Dad, did you miss the beginning of this story?!? Can you blame them?) But let’s remember that it takes two to tango.
Sometime while the parents of these two young, dumb kids were battling out the details of my life, my mom states that my dad’s pastor told her to have an abortion. What?!? He wanted me aborted? Dead? Never to exist?! My mom states that she knew immediately I was going to save her life & she was always going to love me differently for that. Not more than my sisters, but with a different fondness. Not sure we see eye to eye there but that’s another day’s topic.
So Randy’s family shelled out some money to Rita’s family. I think I was worth $5000.00. So he could run. And run he did. All the way to Dallas. He gave up parental rights so I had no father at all. Oh don’t cry. He was still using drugs. He was drinking a lot. He was not father material. And Rita began seeing a new guy from their high school. Rick was a clean cut football player with 4 years promised to the US Army. He married Rita when I was 10 days shy of 2.
Rick was stationed in Panama for part of his time. That’s really the only place I remember ever hearing about. He was fortunate enough to escape Vietnam because by the time he was done with basic, the US was pulling out. Rick chose to adopt me. I don’t know how all of that went, I was a child. I don’t know if he was still enlisted or home or if I was 5 or 2 or 12. Just kidding. I was definitely not 12.
While Rick was gone, Rita & I spent time at her parents & his parents. We bounced back & forth. While at Rick’s parents, his father, my adopted grandfather, Louis, began sexually assaulting my mother. According to her, he threatened to kill her & me if she told anyone. (I’m barely 4 & my life has been threatened TWICE! Yikes!) So Rita kept that secret for quite a while. (Not so sure she’d appreciate it coming out now. But…this is my life story & it has a direct impact on me.)
Finally Rick returns to his little family. He gets a job with an uncle at a junk yard. Shut up. I ate. I had shelter. I had clothing. And a record player. I had a Sesame Street record. “Bert & Ernie Sing the Letter “L”” was one of the songs on it. I loved it. That song. Over. And over. And over. Rita said I would lay in the hallway & when the song was over I would gently flip the needle so it would just restart the song. “La-la-la-la-lightbulb, la-la-la-la-lamppost…” Yeah. I remember. 😊
By this point, I am 4, I can read. I can recite the alphabet frontwards & backwards. I start kindergarten. I had a brown dog named Linus. Just a mutt of a dog. I had friends next door. They were kinda strange, no very strange, when I look back. What were my parents thinking by letting me play with them?! Rita was pregnant & I was expecting a baby sister. One day, a man knocks on the door. He talks to my mom. When Rick comes home from work, he buries Linus in the backyard. That man at the door had hit him with his truck because he had gotten loose on the road. I remember sobbing at the window watching my dad bury my dog.
So… I think we will stop there for now. This is truly just my beginning. No wise words to part ways this time. Just a reminder that you are loved. Have a happy day & we will meet again soon.