A Lancashire Rose, Born to be a Thorn
Writing my memoirs has been the most devastating and inspirational moments of my life. I have been pulled apart and live in shame of some of my reactions in life, especially to those whom I have loved. I admit to being the worst and the best person at the same time, confused and focussed beyond belief, but most of all scared. It is only with the help of a very understanding and caring editor that I have finally managed to get my book into print. At the moment I am awaiting my proof copies before the book will be available for sale with Amazon.
My story is very ordinary in many ways, but it shows how a child's life can be so eventful as to make them disbelieve their worth as an adult. The pain I still carry with me, albeit in the recess of my mind now; but without the knowledge of my life's experiences, I would be a very different person than I am today.
The section of my memoirs that I have decided to share with you all is as an older child, still vulnerable, but old enough to start to understand what her future holds.
Realisation Dawns, My Question Answered.
I was just approaching my ninth birthday when my life was to take a dramatic turn. From about the age of seven I had noticed a great change in my mother’s personality. She had always had a temper, but now she started to say some of the most hurtful and vile things, very cruel things. Things that, even for her, were out of context.
She took to telling me: “if you had never been born I could have had a boyfriend and got married”. Or.... “My life ended when you were born.” She would deliberately pick arguments now, pushing me to the brink of answering back giving her reason to beat me with a riding crop. The crop was the type of wooden crop then used in working hunter classes, approximately 3’ long with regular notches in the length of it. Believe me, it hurt when I got struck with it. At first, I had no idea what was happening, why she was acting so angry much of the time.
She would take to trapping me in-between the kitchen sink and cooker and beat me repeatedly. I can still remember, with much alarm, the sheer delight she appeared to take from my beatings. She would get a wild look on her face, distorted, almost twisted and her face became paler the more she shouted.
It was never just a couple of smacks that I would receive, but the beating would continue until I was on my knees with my head underneath my arms, totally broken; totally shattered and with no more energy to protect myself. The more I screamed the more her eyes became vague and the harder the blows became.
One day, Stan caught her beating me and he had to forcefully wrench the crop from her hands. She turned around and smacked him across the face with a wet dishcloth that had been lying at the side of the sink. Not only did I begin to become very fearful of her, but the resentment I began to feel building up inside of me was alarming. I believe to this very day that I wanted her dead. Not the way any child should feel about a parent, but the beatings began to take their toll on me, not just physically, but mentally as well.
There often were times that I wanted to grab that crop and beat her back. I wanted to hear her scream for mercy; to squirm under my look as I had done for so long under hers. I wanted to inflict on her the pain that I felt. I felt physically sick and almost numb when I found myself having such cruel thoughts.
During one summer term while I was at school, Mum apparently had learned to drive a car while I was away from home. I hadn't any idea she had been taking driving lessons until she came to collect me from school one bright sunny afternoon in a white Ford Anglia car.
I was surprised but also very impressed and I waved like Lady Muck to all my friends on the school bus. We didn’t go straight home when she picked me up though. Instead, mum took me to a little café in Banks, where I was allowed a fancy cream cake and a large glass of orange. It was there, in that very picturesque little garden at the back of the café, with the gentle summer breeze and the buzz of passing bee’s, that she gave me the news that would change both of our lives forever. After watching me enjoy my treat for a while, she said: “I have cancer and we will have to move.” She told me we would have to give the small holding up. She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would no longer be able to cope with the heavy work.