I’d like to change direction and start at the beginning.
What brought me to this “Wandering” Phase of my life.
So find a comfy chair, grab a drink. And follow along.
I will tell it as I remember. So check back often, there is a lot to tell.
Ready? Here we go…..
That’s me, all of three maybe four years old and my Mother. We had just relocated to the East coast from The Midwest. Dad was a traveling salesman and Mom was a stay at home Mother. That is pretty much how it was in the early 60’s. Big families and Mom at home.
I was the youngest at this point. There were four of us kids, with a 9 year age spread between my oldest brother and I.
(Or is it, me? I’ll throw in a blanket apology for the many grammatical errors to come)
Mom was pregnant with my little brother in this photo, but no one knew yet.
I remember my Mother being sick during her pregnancy. So sick she was admitted to a hospital in NYC for evaluation. Dad was terrified, Grandparents were 600 miles away. My older Brother and Sister stepped in as surrogate parents.
Her diagnosis, Chronic Hepatitis..liver damage.
And in 1964, almost a death sentence.
My memories from this stage forward are of my Mother in a hospital bed in the family room and constantly being told to be “good” because Mommy was sick.
I was lucky, it seems I was a survivor. At four years old, I knew what I needed and went looking for it. And I found it, in the woman my Father hired to help us, Christine. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, the next door neighbors and Sally, who always had candy for me from down the road.
All whom I hung onto desperately, wanting to fill the void my sick Mother left.
I have two memories of my Mother. I remember it being Spring and the windows of the house were open and a lovely breeze was blowing through. Frank Sinatra was crooning about “Flying with him” on the stereo HiFi.
She had called to me to tell me it was time for my nap and to go with Christine and lay down. I decided to hide, to avoid the nap, and was watching her from behind the sofa.. She knew I was there, but pretended not too. She looked like an angel. It was one of the few times I remember her happy. She had gotten out of her hospital bed, and was dancing. My dancing Mother, The Angel. I fell asleep, behind the couch, watching her dance.
My other memory is of the four of us, ages 13 down to 4. Sitting outside the bathroom door. Listening to our Mother cry. And all of us telling her, through the locked door that we would be good. To please stop crying and we would be good.
Looking back I know that her tears were out of fear, desperation and sorrow. Not because of anything we four had done.
Our home was this huge old farmhouse my Father rented for $120 a month. It was cold and drafty. And a great place for children to get lost in. Closets had been added here and there, the one in my bedroom had been built over a window. We were convinced the house was haunted and usually made our nightly bathroom visits two by two.
When I was 6 we moved to the neighboring town. Dad had purchased our first home.
And there we stayed until I graduated from High School…..
I was starting first grade and had my work cut out for me. I was in need of another “Mother” figure.
Little did I know that the woman I chose, the neighbor who walked her dog each evening through our neighborhood and invited me along. Would be the woman who to this day I refer too as My Second Mom. And she, well, she taught me all the things I like the most about myself. I thank God for her, everyday…..