Saturday, December 1, 2012

Like a journey I just don't have a map for.



When people talk about the old and hard ways we came up, it always works around to how you can't miss things that didn't exist. I remember back when a phone call from Dallas to San Francisco cost several dollars. These were the days when you could leave for work with a dollar and pack no lunch and come back home with a quarter. Adding machines weighed 30 pounds and were a series of cams and cogs  driven by an electric motor. Skyping was what your father saw in Dick Tracey comic books in the thirties.
  Jonsi has a nice post out right about now. About how, despite the frictional situations that all families endure, her family was pretty goddamn normal. Other than an easily overlook-able pissing down the stairs episode.
I love to hear of normal families. I've seen enough of them to know that I would have liked to have lived in one. I started writing this to say I am somewhat envious because I saw enough normality to covet it. But as I tip tapped away, I realize my understanding of normalcy is no less murky now than how I would have understood  a UPC code back then.
The closet thing I can remember to good times was that every Saturday we would go grocery shopping. Shopping for the week, but also to make hamburgers later that night. Jackie Gleason would be on and my father would grill the burgers and we would sit in front of the TV and watch his variety show. The one with the June Taylor dancers.  Long after the Honeymooner's came and went. I would all but press my nose  against the screen and try and imagine myself in the television as the shot skimmed the waters of Miami beach and then flew up in the air just before it crashed.
Those were the only good times I can remember. And they didn't last long. It was a thin slice between the Barbarian's last affair and the next. And before her local celebrity status took away any chance of good times forever.
She could have made it up to us. But my father didn't exact that price. No matter how dearly he paid for her freedom.
I think if I was only broken I might be fixable.  But there just isn't much there to fix.
There isn't enough of me to send to the mechanic and still run the machine.



18 comments:

Tundra Woman said...

What a provocative Post Jonsi put out, eh? Mind blowing to me as well.
I remember watching the Lawrence Welk Show on Sat. night and making popcorn the old fashioned way: Some raw kernels and a bit of oil in a pot on top of the stove. And melting butter to make it really greasy and good.
Groceries ALWAYS came in brown bags (which were unloaded and immediately shook outside the kitchen door) and also in boxes which were immediately emptied and discarded outside the same door. Sawdust on the floor of the Butcher's Store, Gristidi's for just about everything food wise (and they delivered) and the "crunch" of gravel, the smell of boxwood and salt water, of leather tack and horses. But even though these were constants, it was never safe at home.
Ever.
We did not have the sense of safety and security other kids had. There was always a sense of foreboding, of all hell's gonna break loose despite Lawrence Welk and popcorn. I knew things were not "right" but I didn't realize I was being "raised" by a "Mother" who was a capricious, nasty child in an adult's body.
When you expropriate a childhood, you take something that can never be replaced. We were waaay too old waay too young.
Someone had to be the "groan-up" and it fell to us to raise ourselves while concurrently trying to raise our "Parent(s)." This, IMO, can not be "fixed." These are facts of our lives.
TW

vicariousrising said...

I was thinking today about the silly play I did with my sister growing up, pretending to be on the Love Boat... In shark infested waters. Or having Barbie perpetually tossing ken out of the house without any clothes. Or waiting for the infrequent evenings my parents would go out so we could cook TV dinners and walk on the sofa.

Not every second was filled with fear and self-doubt. But all of the good stuff is when my parents were not around to ruin it.

I'm so shredded into pieces. And I do have good moments. But lately I'm so trapped and feeling like the cage is ME. that I don't know how to let myself go.

q1605 said...

Jonsi is high caliber. Who else could write about being normal and keep the reader transfixed.
I just hold on to those words from Camelot.
"Where once it never rained till after sundown,
By eight a.m. the morning fog had flown...
Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot."
And that is the anchor that keeps me moored forever more.

To know that as insanity raged around me. There were things normal.
By today's standards quaint.
My grandmother took corn to a real blacksmiths shop to have it ground up for the baby chicks in the spring.
The smell of saw dust when my father made it home for the day.

q1605 said...

Ah Vic.
The days when TV dinners were sublime.
I so wish I could help you.
When I figure it out you'll be the first to know.

Jonsi said...

Guys, my mom grew up in that same era and had a childhood like mine. That must have been spectacular. Five siblings, and they didn't have much in the way of material possessions, but in general a lovely, mostly peaceful life.

My father grew up a little bit more like you. Alone, except for one of his sisters, who for a long time he believed was his best friend. He told me that the only time he felt his mother really took care of him was when he was sick, and so he always wanted to be sick.

I've only heard about this stuff second hand. It's hard to read about it, let alone live it. It's heart-wrenching to hear about the little boy sitting with his nose pressed up against the tv screen, wishing like hell he could be in a tropical paradise, not only because it was probably fucking beautiful but because it was so far away from where he was; or the little girl raised by the nasty child in an adults body; or another little girl who's life situation was such that it lent itself to fantasies about getting tossed overboard in shark infested waters; or my father - who wanted to go away to war and die so that his mom and dad would finally, FINALLY, be proud of him.

That's horror, in my opinion.

mulderfan said...

Happiness was the summer my younger cousin was born and since my aunt was sick I was sent to help out with the baby. I think I was about twelve and I never wanted to go home.

My uncle was NF's absolutely identical twin and he loved me to pieces. It was so easy to pretend he was really my dad. Almost killed me to have to go back home when school started.

I was never allowed to stay there again.

q1605 said...

We'll all live just as long.
One way or another.
It would have taken so little for us to have had a better life.
But they couldn't be bothered with that.

Vanci said...

q,
I'm with you. It's just like trying to comprehend the impossible. It's a pipe dream and a vague mist or something. I keep trying to give my girls 'normal' and we come pretty close, I think, but there's always the sense of doubt "Am I doing this right? Is this what it's supposed to be like?"

What a trip.
Like trying to believe way back in the mid-'80's that someday people would carry phones around in their pockets. Yeah right!

Love,
Vanci

q1605 said...

Yes Vanci.
We can't change the past but by god we can break the cycle.

vicariousrising said...

Thanks. I kind of wish I'd known everything would sort of go insane this year. I'm I'll equipped for drama.

vicariousrising said...

Damn, I'm failing on this front. Argh.

q1605 said...

VR, I was thinking of you when I was writing this.

vicariousrising said...

You're a good friend.

q1605 said...

Vic. There is not a lot of people that will come right out and say they're broken and not sure if they can be fixed.
If we were broken we might be fixed.
There's nothing there to be fixed. It's like removing someone's failing liver and then telling them they don't have a donor. They'll have to wait.

Tundra Woman said...

I've said previously there are vestiges of being raised by Psychob that will remain with me until my death. That's just the way it is, that's my reality.
But I don't feel anywhere near as "broken" as I did in my younger years.
"IF we were broken we might be fixed. There's NOTHING THERE to be FIXED." I agree, FWIW: We ARE "different." We lost that which can never be restored-our childhoods and for many, all the way through to chronological "adulthoods." Being "old" so young does take so much from us and can not be retrieved or "fixed." So much pain and grief.
The older I'm becoming chronologically, the more real this is to me.
So I "adapted" as all living organisms do. From my observation, this is pretty much what we've all done. Where I use to see "Broken," irrevocably flawed in so many ways, these adaptations are what we do and did to survive. We find our OWN "Roadmaps" because we had to. I don't believe I-or any of us-are "Broken." Different? Yes, absolutely. And the challenges that are presented are real and enduring.
So we take out our own "Compasses" and chart our own way.
VR, look at your son. No, of COURSE he's not "Perfect." None of us are.
But he's REAL, authentically his own person and IMO, that's a testament to who he is as well as who you are. Perhaps your "Parenting" was instinctive-I think most AC's have to do this as the template we had was NOT what we knew to be, ahhh...in our best interests as kids, adolescents, adults. So we did stuff a whole lot differently than was done to us.
And hoped and prayed for the best. Being a parent never ends.
VR, you're going through a period of intense internal personal transformation. It's unsettling, to say the least. These periods in my life always revived the fears, worries, insecurities I knew so well. And yes, I felt "stuck" (along with all the previous.) I couldn't "stay" where I was-it was untenable. I was terrified of "leaving" as I had no clue what would happen if I stepped out of my familiar "(dis)Comfort Zone." Won if I stepped off that cliff into the abyss and my parachute didn't open? Won if I crashed and burned? I had NO faith at all that upending my life was gonna "work" and I was scared shitless.
Until I decided to go on, because I was slowly dying, suffocating where I was. Nothin' to loose.
I didn't realize I had packed my own parachute years ago. So have you, VR so have {YOU}.
TW

mulderfan said...

IMO When I came to the realization that I was denied something as basic and primal as a mother's love for the child she carried and delivered, something inside me died. Nothing anyone (not even NM) can say will resurrect that part of me.

Thankfully, I determined not to parent my child the way I had been parented. I realize now that is one of the reasons the NGC attacks my parenting skills. They are different from the way we were raised so they have to be wrong.

So yeah, a little chunk of me is missing but if it were still there would I be just like them? (((Shudder)))

q1605 said...

Yeah TW and MF. What little is there is all me.
I worked like a son of a bitch to be every thing she is not.

Tundra Woman said...

^And LOOK at who and what your DD has become! Mon Dieu, Mulder, what MORE confirmation can there be for a parent than to have raised our children to be decent, caring human beings?
I can not think of a greater "accomplishment" than to be a matriarch (or patriarch) and have my kids embody these qualities.
Yes, we CAN change the Legacy. And what a profound satisfaction there is in this, not their "Accomplishments" as seen to the outside world but to know they are people who are not only at home with themselves, but are such genuinely good people.
IMO, it doesn't get any better than this.
TW