Memories In Time
It was a typical summer day, hot and humid. I decided to take a walk. I had recently graduated and was at loose ends. I liked this little city I lived in, but I felt so totally isolated. My dog had recently died and I was somberly sad.
I walked to the bus stop and decided to take a rest. As I sat, another lady, much older, but with a kind face, also sat.
“’Allo.” I said in my fake accent.
“Hello, Miss” said the kind lady. Why not, I thought, let’s roll with it.
“What a fine city you have here.” Again I used an accent.
“Oh,” said the lady “You are not from around here?”
“No, mum, I’m from across the waves.”
“How exciting for you,” she responded, “Have you been here long?”
“No mum, I just arrived a fort-night ago.” (I had not a clue as to what a fort-night was. Obviously, neither did the lady.)
We chatted until her bus came and she wished me well here in America.
That was so much fun, pretending to be someone I was not.
Of course I was a local! I was a product of an unhappy home, seeking out my niche in life. School ending was devastating to me. It was the joy in my life to go to school where I could be me. I could read, write and watch the joy of folks around me. I could be quiet or I could be in a play and again, be someone other than myself. I could give award winning speeches or I could write exciting essays.
The important part was lost to me. I did not have friends. I ached for that best friend and never did she come along (nor did he). I made some friends, but they were more casual and took advantage of my hunger to please. Unfortunately it took me many years to realize this.
Pretending became a way of life for many years to come.
On graduation day, I stood in a corner and cried. No one noticed, and no one cared. I’m sure they thought I was sad leaving everybody. Quite the opposite; everybody was leaving me. They were going off to college and I, the bright quiet student, was not so destined. I was headed to job hunting.
I was seventeen and simply knew my life was over. I’d never had the freedom to make my own choices, yet here I was, having to do just that. I was terrified, yet could not express it to anyone. I feared so much and had confidence in so little.
My parents were either working or fighting. They took little notice of me. They had two other children to lavish their attention on. My brother was quite close to my dad and my dad doted on my baby sister. I did not make waves; therefore there was no reason to pay much attention to me.
Once in my lifetime, that I can recall, my dad bought me a gift, a bracelet. Every time he went somewhere, he brought my baby sister a gift. My brother was in sports and that fit well with my dad’s interest. They played together and when my sister was old enough, she joined them.
My mother and I were not coordinated, nor interested in their sports. You would think this would make us close. Not so much. Mother was constantly working or helping my sister. She was so tired all the time. She worked the evening shift (which meant she got home around 3:00 in the morning and was sleeping as we got ourselves off to school.
We learned early on that if we wanted a note signed by Mother we should wait until morning. She just signed and went back to sleep. Typical kids, my brother and I. Not so typical, my sister. After all, she was the baby.
As the baby, it fell to me to care for her when mother was working, which seemed like always. I had no social life. She was spoiled and difficult as a small one, and I, being the teenager, did not like the things she did. However, every night I would hold her hand and sing her to sleep as she lay in her crib. I loved her, but did not realize it then.
One time my dad came in and found me spanking my sister and had a royal fit. He really yelled at me. The one time I stood up to him. I told him I was spanking her because she refused to be a potty mouth and if he would just not say such words around her she would not. She was four years old. He never used a curse word again around the house. I did not get into any trouble.
I learned later on that my sister was the “let’s save the marriage and have a baby” child. Now, in my wiser years, I feel sorry for her. Back then I simply resented her. She got everything that I felt I deserved and she was quite good at destroying my treasures when I was not home, and never receiving reprimand, because after all, she was so young!
You can imagine that my mother did not come up as one of my favorite people at that time. I did not understand. She had no time to explain, nor did she feel there was a need.
If I asked her a controversial question, I was suddenly accused of doing the wrong thing I was asking about. Therefore, I learned to never ask questions of my mother. I came to feel that she did not love me at all. Too late in life I learned to let go of those resentments and find out what kind of person she was. We had almost a year and a half before she died. I miss her so much.
These days, I find myself wondering why I did not grasp life and the meaning of it until I was in my early elderly years! (How’s that for a description?)
Today, I have forgiven myself for being such a wayward daughter and an immature mother myself. I have put the past behind me. I live for today and try to be the best me I can be.
I have learned so much, and yet, so little. I love learning. And I hope I am always open minded enough to learn more and more about anything and everything. If not, I'm sure someone will remind me that this is my goal.
Family is everything to me.
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