Before I move on with my story I want to fill in a few blanks. There are some things that I forgot to mention before that have popped into my head since writing my last entry.
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about my sister. I love her very much and I always have. There has just been a major disconnect with us from a very early age. It sucks that we didn’t grow up together but it’s probably a good thing at the same time. Well, considering how each of us was raised I’d say it’s a very good thing we didn’t grow up together.
There are plenty of good memories that I have of my mother and my siblings that should not be glossed over. Several summers in a row my mother would either make or buy us (my sister and me) a matching outfit to wear. It was fun and cute and we took pictures. My mother made each of us kids a small pillow with our initials on it. I slept with mine for years...cried myself to sleep on it countless times because I missed my mother so much. We would watch wrestling Saturday mornings and all cheer and then we’d have our own wrestling matches in the living room. It was great fun. My mother took me to my first live action wrestling show when I was about 7 or 8 and I got to see Brett the Hitman Hart (our all-time favorite) in person. She also took me to see George Michael in concert (my very first concert) when I was 11 (I think). My sister and I would play with all of her My Little Ponies. She had them all and the castle that they lived in, too. I played Star Wars and MASH with my brother’s action figures. My favorite MASH character was Clinger. My mom and I used to stay up really late and watch Beretta on late night TV. We’d sing the theme song together. Because of her, I started watching Days of our Lives and General Hospital. I wanted to name my daughter Kayla after my favorite character. We used to sit in the kitchen and listen to the Oldies radio station and call in at lunch time and make requests. My mom’s favorite song was Cathy’s Clown...that’s her name and her mother used to sing that song to her. The other song we would request all the time was Funny Face...a nickname her mother gave her. We went to a local amusement park and rode the roller coaster together 10 times in a row...in the front seat! We also rode the Scrambler a bunch of times and just laughed and had a great time. We had one of those small pools in our backyard and we used to swim all the time. My mom would get in with us and she’d take turns dunking each of us. She’d hold us like babies and then tell us to “say goodbye!” and that was our clue to hold our nose and then she’d dunk us. It was great fun, I tell ya. My mom was a blast.
I was always very protective of my siblings, especially my older brother. He was scrawny and he’d get picked on by the neighborhood kids. He also had (and still does) a mouth that wrote checks his ass couldn’t cash. That’s when I had to step in. It seemed like I was always standing up for him in some fashion. He was a wimp and he still is. He talks big but can’t back any of it up. I could probably still kick his butt. There was one instance when I was about 8 or 9 and he was outside playing across the street with Joey. Our windows were open (my mom didn’t like running the AC) and I looked out and saw him and Joey in Joey’s front yard. Joey was on top of my brother and they were wrestling around. I yelled out the window for him to “get off my brother” but he obviously didn’t hear me or he didn’t care because he didn’t yield. My hair was in pig-tails and it was a rare instance that I was wearing a dress. I proceeded to run down the stairs, across the street and knocked Joey off my brother. Tony swears I clotheslined Joey and if there is ever a movie made about my life I will definitely write that in for dramatic effect. However, I just remember knocking him over. I remember a few times jumping in between my brother and one neighborhood boy or another. I was smaller than them but my natural instincts were to protect at any cost. In many ways I wish I could have protected my mom.
My mom has a cousin named Dave. She said he’s her cousin, anyway. I’m not sure how they are related. He was married to a woman named Jeannie. He was a biker dude in every sense of the word. He was big and burley, had crazy hair and a beard and tattoos. Jeannie was his biker babe. She was tall, blonde, rough around the edges and had her share of tattoos, too. At one point they were living in a trailer that was parked next to our house. I think I was 9 at the time. We called him Uncle Dave even though he was not our uncle. I didn’t like him very much. He made me uncomfortable, squeamish. The most vivid memory I have of him still haunts me to this day. My mom and I were cuddled in a chair watching TV. My red, white and blue afghan (my grandmother made it for me since I was born in 1976, the Bicentennial) was covering us. Uncle Dave was sitting in a chair across from us. I had closed my eyes because I was getting pretty tired but I wasn’t asleep yet. They were talking but I don’t remember what they were saying. I opened my eyes just in time to see Uncle Dave using his hands to express what he wanted from my mother. One hand was in an “o” shape and he was using his index finger of his other hand to go in and out of the “o”. I think we can all figure that one out. He looked alarmed that I had opened my eyes and slowly lowered his hands. I closed my eyes again and pretended that I didn’t see anything as I heard my mom say, “No, we did it last night”. I don’t remember anything else that was said. I just remember feeling very confused about what I had just witnessed. It was obvious that my mom didn’t want to proceed but I got the feeling that she was required to do so anyway. I was right. I found out when I was 16 that he repeatedly forced her to do those things under the threat of telling my step-dad and other blackmail threats. I feel so bad for my mother and I wish that I could have protected her from this monster. I’m sure she was scared of him, too. I do not believe that this was something she was doing willingly. He used to beat his wife and I’m pretty sure he was “rough” on my mom, too. I vaguely remember her having to wear long sleeves in the summer to hide bruises on her arms. It makes my heart ache to think about what she went through. And I really believe that all of these things that happened to her along the way are the reasons why she is the way she is. There was no one to protect her, to stand up for her. It really is a tragedy what happened to her. I was so glad the next summer when I came to visit and Uncle Dave was gone. I never knew the whole story (or maybe I have just forgotten it) of how his and his wife’s departure came about. I don’t care to know.
Other fond memories I have of my mother are Monday nights. Monday night was bowling night. We’d have pizza for dinner at home and then my mom would change into her bowling outfit. She wore a nice blouse and a denim mini skort. She had a small blue bowling brace that she wore on her right hand. We loaded into the station wagon and off we went. We each got some money for the snack bar and the pinball machines. I remember watching my mom bowl and how much fun she seemed to be having. She took it very seriously as she walked up the lane. She had the same stance each and every time. I remember thinking about how pretty she was and how I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I’m glad that didn’t really happen but at the time she was the best thing since sliced bread. She used to collect key chains. She had about 20 or more hanging off her keys. She could always find her keys in her purse, that’s for sure. She drove barefoot. As soon as we got in the car (a big Ford station wagon) she’d kick off her sandals and drive. She could barely see over the steering wheel. She bought me a pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals that I loved...and of course they matched hers so that made them that much more appealing. I idolized her to say the least. She was my mother and I barely got to see her so I cherished all the time I had with her. When it would come time to leave I’d be hysterical. We would say, “No tears” but we always failed at that. We were both a blubbering mess by the time I got on the plane to leave. People on the plane always felt so sorry for me. I would sit there and cry...almost the whole flight. Back then, it was ok for the cockpit door to open so the flight attendants would take me up to see the captain to try and make me feel better. I would get little plastic wings to pin to my shirt and a deck of cards. And then I would cry some more. I just wanted my mom.