Many Baby Boomers spent Sunday afternoons visiting grandparents on idyllic family farms. This painting was done by my Aunt Mildred. The sheep are my father’s. The barn was his father’s. The view was from her house on a corner of Grandpa Drake’s farm. After World War II, he offered each of his sons a portion of the farm on which to build a home.
My grandmother and her sisters insisted on being neighbors. We had so many relatives that we pretty much filled up the township.
The elementary school was named for a great-uncle. The road leading to my grandparents’ farm was named Pig Alley when I was a kid. It ultimately became Drake Road in honor of my grandfather. He was the kind of man you’d think didn’t have two nickels to rub together. His mode of transportation was an ancient Ford pickup. He seemed to wear the same flannel shirt and Osh Kosh bib overalls everyday. He smoked a pipe and wore a ratty old hat. He was a mathematical and financial genius.
At his funeral, I learned he’d kept many of his neighbors fed and financially stable during the Depression. Say what?
It was the first of many hints that my parents had lied to me about money. “Poor me” is the mantra of much of my family. Poverty is a state of mind. The truth is that too many of my relatives are just plain greedy. Somebody could dump a milion dollars in their laps, and they would bitch about having to pay taxes.
The next photo is of the Drake cousins holding my dogs’ puppies on Grandpa’s porch. I’m the one wearing the cowboy hat. They all know I’m on the threshold of homelessness, but I haven’t heard from one of them. Like their parents, they go to church every Sunday. Although my mother’s behavior is criminal, they refuse to hold her accountable.
One Dad’s Life: Protecting Kids from Abuse
Yesterday, I read a post by OneDadsLife about his trip to Best Buy. He witnessed a little girl being horridly abused. Her daddy was beating her horrifically with his words. The blogger got out of his car and intervened. The cops were called. Bravo!
I wept. OK. Truth. I bawled my eyes out. I left a comment about the impact on his son, but I didn’t have the guts to admit the impact it had on me.
I have hundreds of relatives, but no real family.
When I fell out of a car going 55 miles per hour, my parents didn’t realize for miles that I was no longer in the car. When they found me, I was lying in a creek bed on a pile of rocks. We went on to my grandmother’s house. My mother gleefully took center stage to tell how this horrific accident had impacted her.
It was high drama for those of us living in rural America. Life-and-death excitement to spice up boring lives.
I sat on the living room floor surrounded by relatives. Shaking from shock. But, not one of those people suggested perhaps I should see a doctor. I had a concussion.
About a year ago, a doctor asked me when I’d broken my nose. Say what? It might have been that day, but I don’t recall a bloody nose.
A few years later, I fell down the stairs and hit my head on a steel I-beam at my aunt and uncle’s house. They lived on the other corner of my grandparent’s farm. I have a nasty two inch scar in my scalp. I was unconscious. Again, nobody suggested I see a doctor. A second concussion. No stitches.
A few years ago, a silver-haired psychiatrist who evaluated me in Seattle for DSHS told me after taking my history that I had experienced the worst case of child abuse and neglect he’d ever taken. I was shocked. I had thought my childhood was idyllic. I didn’t want to admit my parents, who were school teachers and church leaders, were abusive monsters behind closed doors.
Nobody had ever had OneDadsLife’s courage to step up to the plate to protect me. My aunts and uncles, who I wanted to believe were very loving and nurturing, witnessed the abuse and neglect and did nothing.
One Dad’s Life: Breaking Down the Walls of Silence
I hope y’all will visit OneDadsLife’s new blog and subscribe. He’s funny. He’s insightful. He finds the most amazing survivor posts about child abuse on the Internet. He’s saying what many of us think and feel, but we don’t dare say it out loud. Yet.
His “Victim or Monster” blog is on my survivor blog roll.
I hope you’ll check out some of those blogs. They will help you know you aren’t alone ~ your experiences aren’t unique. Your family of blood might be shits, but we can create a virtual spiritual family to bring love and respect into our lives. We are blessing each other by speaking out and sharing our unique talents and innovative solutions. We aren’t victims. We aren’t monsters. We are people striving to find love and joy the best way we know how.
Abundance ~ like poverty ~ is a state of mind.
OneDadsLife, your family may not appreciate that you are breaking down the walls of silence, but I am so blessed I discovered your blog. Bravo! Bravo!