Wednesday, April 11, 2012

California Dreams (Ch.3)


My mother ran away from home at age 16 to California in search of her own mother who had abandoned her as a small child.  She was actually raised by her father and his mother (Nana.)  I come from a long line of dysfunctional parentage. I believe my mother had dreams of reuniting with her, being taken in with open arms and catching up on lost time.  When she got there she found her mother had built a new life, which included a new husband and siblings she didn't know she had.  Her mother's new life didn't have room for her.  She was turned away.

Years later my mother would run away to California a second time, with me in tow....  After leaving my father we went on an exciting 3 day drive to the West Coast.  I didn't know we were running away.  All I knew was that I got snacks at every gas station and toys at road side tourist stops.  I remember I especially liked this toy ice cream cone I got.  When you pressed a button the scoop would pop off and you were supposed to catch it back in the cone again.  It was pink, I thought maybe it was bubble gum flavor. 



When we got to California we went to live with a man named Jerry.  His house was a ranch style with a long drive way.  I got my own bedroom.  Jerry was a quiet man with blond hair and a short beard.  I think to him I was what you call "baggage".  He never showed me any attention at all and was very cold towards me.  I clung to my mother.  I sought her attention at all times, especially around Jerry.  I felt deep betrayal and rejection at her slightest ignorance of me.  I was very sensitive.   I felt so alone with only my mother there to love me.  When she would leave to go shopping or run an errand I would think she wasn't coming back.  I knew it deep in my heart she had left me!  There was no one there to love me now.....  I would shut myself up in my room and cry for hours and make myself sick till she came back.

One night I walked in on her and Jerry having sex.  This was my first exposure to something like this and they didn't stop when they saw me..... they just told me to leave....and nothing was explained.  I was angry!  I knew they were doing something that people who "loved" each other did and I was hurt I couldn't be apart of it.  I wanted them to stop, I wanted to get right in the middle so they couldn't touch each other. Where was my dad?

I should mention that Jerry was my grandmother's husband.  I'm not sure how she ended up in a relationship with her "stepfather", but I think her motive behind it was definitely revenge.  My mother was a very spiteful woman.

We lived with Jerry for about a year I think.  I made friends (all boys).  My mother saw no harm in letting me have sleep overs with the opposite sex.  I think it didn't matter to her where I slept over, as long as her and Jerry had the night to themselves.  I remember one of the boys tried to get to me to take off my clothes and get in bed with him like Jerry and my mother were doing.  I didn't want to.  The boy threw a fit and told his mom I was being mean to him.  She called my mom and asked her to come and get me.  I sat there holding my barbie backpack waiting for her with tears running down my cheeks holding it together the best I could.  As soon as I saw my mom's annoyed and angry face I started to sob.  I couldn't breath I was crying so hard.  I was hiccuping and trying to talk through shallow breaths.  My mother ignored me.  After I got home I told her what happened and she said, "oh stop being a baby!"  She made me play in my room for the rest of the night.  I guess her and Jerry made plans and she decided I wasn't going to ruin them.

While we were there I had a birthday party thrown for me where I received a bike that Jerry taught me how to ride.  I received my prize possession then too, a child size kitchen play set.  I remember one time I used Chloraseptic throat spray as kitchen cleaner for my entire plastic stove.  It showed up red and looked pretty.  I realized after I sprayed half the bottle that it smelled funny and I might get in trouble.  When my mom saw it she just laughed.  She told me if I licked it my tongue would go numb.  She watched me as I licked all the medicine off my play set.  Looking back I find this memory particularly disturbing.  At the time I would have done anything to get her attention, and if licking yucky medicine off my toy stove would entertain her, than that is what I would do.


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