My Wicked Stepmother
When I was around five years old my life changed in a big way. Like many other children who have been through divorce, I had a hard time understanding the reasons for the change. My sister and I learned on the fly, we didn't play favorites and we stuck together.
Over time, my father remarried. This was a game changer for us. On one hand we now had a brand new sister. Maybe not brand new, she was around three, but new enough. On the other hand, there was my dad's new wife. A Stepmother, oh boy.
I can't speak for my sister, but in my mind this lady was going to be taking away from my time with my dad. So I decided I would put her to the test. The brat test. Obnoxious is not the correct adjective. I was downright evil. Throwing tantrums, rolling my eyes, and of course, breaking out the “You're not my mom!” I threw my full arsenal at this woman, and nothing worked.
A few years down the road, I realized "this woman" was not going anywhere. I still had my reservations, but there was little I could do. She was extremely intelligent, there was no outsmarting her. She had a razor sharp wit, (she made jokes when I was a child that I am just now understanding), and she wouldn't let me push her around. She never tried to take the place of my mother. She carved out her own place in my life. Looking back, she handled a very difficult situation in remarkable fashion.
As time went on, I started to take to her. She was a great help with homework, her creative ideas were endless. She taught me how to play games like chess, where you would actually sit down for more than five minutes and think, not my strong point to say the least. She was always reading, if she was sitting, there was a book in her hand, this became contagious.
As she wrote advertisements for a living, I witnessed the power of the pen first hand. After what I'll just refer to as a rafting expedition, my father and I experienced some rapids, (it was a creek), and our new raft was punctured. Upon seeing my devastation as we arrived home, my stepmother sprung into action. She wrote a somber letter to the raft company about the tragic plight of the 10 year old boy and his raft. A few weeks later, I was amazed as a brand new raft arrived along with an apologetic note from the company.
She helped me pen letters to my favorite sports stars, and in return I received signed glossy photographs. I would take these to school and show them off to my classmates. Writing could be fun, who knew?
She also worked as a Promotions Director at the local tv station, I became the envy of the neigborhood as I would wear my The Simpsons t-shirts and jackets to school. The station filmed commercials in our front yard, inviting the neighborhood kids to come down and record their 10 second spot. We all felt like movie stars, repeating our lines for weeks afterwards.
Over the years, My stepmother taught me many things. What wasn't taught, I learned from her example. (Maybe not the language)
Today, my wicked stepmother is an award winning author. With over ten true crime books and five mystery novels to her credit, Diane Fanning has appeared on several tv news shows, including 48 hours and Investigation Discovery among others. I must admit, it's pretty cool flipping through the channels and seeing your stepmother being interviewed.
She is also a hero, while interviewing convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells, he confessed in a letter to the murder of 10 year old Joel Kirkpatrick. Joel's mother, Julie Rae Harper had been wrongly convicted of his murder and with the help of my stepmother's testimony, she was acquitted.
The best part is that even with all her success she is still the same person I met almost 30 years ago. She's always quick to help me out with anything from editing one of my short stories (no small feat) to helping me with questions I have pertaining to anything at all. She's a pretty extraordinary woman I must say, and I want to thank her for everything she's done for me. So here's to my wicked stepmother, I guess she's alright after all.
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