Your Stories

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Sep 30, 2008 in Uncategorized |

This afternoon, I sent out an email to the five winners of copies of The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold – congratulations to our winners!

I received many emails with your childhood stories – some that made me laugh and others that made me cry.  I’d like to share some of them here with you:

Hi Kathy, I can’t think of anything except my Mom would always tell us to go play in the street when we were really bad and driving her nuts. I know she didn’t mean it but others might have thought that wasn’t very motherly.

I was raised by my schizophrenic mother and grandmother.  My mother (god bless her) was also color blind.  Her hobby was sewing.  She made me a cheerleading uniform one year from fabric that she got on sale at the fabric store and then proceeded to paint my shoes. It was awful. I was blue, green, pink and purple.  I was one messed up looking cheerleader.  I was embarrassed to death, but if I could have her back for one moment I would wear whatever she made me.

I haven’t thought of any great stories from my childhood, my mind is a blank I have no memory of my childhood.  That could be good or bad.

My father always made me eat everything on my plate, I mean everything. One night, after I finished some sliced tomatoes,  he told me that I couldn’t leave the table until I had eaten the tomato seeds, no big deal you think….well, you try to pick them up off of a plate with a spoon, fork, or any other utensil. It’s next to impossible. And of course he wouldn’t listen to me trying to explain this. I had to sit there for a very long time until he finally figured out that I couldn’t even pick them up. And that is a mild example of the control he tried to exert over my mother, brother and I.

I don’t like to talk about my mom, but….one time we were eating dinner and she was so upset, she took one swipe of the table with her arm and totally cleared the table.  I swore I would be a patient mother after that…joke was on me.  Now I know some of what she must have been going through that day to get her that upset.  We learn not to judge unless we have walked in those shoes.

I was considered a ‘mistake’ when I was born right while my mom and dad were in the middle of a divorce.  My parents never let me forget that I wasn’t wanted.  I never even had a birthday party.  Then my father had an affair on my mom resulting in a half-brother from the other woman.  He left that child for my mother to raise and she was even less loving to that child if that’s possible.  I ended up pretty much raising him even though I was just a kid myself when he was born.

Yep…I’m one of those that had a perfect mother…and she’s still the perfect mother and grandmother. I am so blessed…but a funny story about her…when one of us smarted off, I can’t even remember what it was about…she looked around for something to give somebody a little spank on the hiney and all she could think to grab was her flip flop…so she hopped around trying to get it off and we all laughed so hard nobody got in trouble! Hilarious and still brings a smile to my face!

When I was 3 I ran ahead of my mother and sister (age 8 ) to get to the church first.  When my sister offered to go get me my mother told here that I was “old enough to pay attention.”  Unfortunately, someone took me away.  The good news is that who ever took me let me go and I found a woman who found a policeman and eventually my parents came to get me.  This was in the late ’40s in Greenwich Village (NY).  Since then I’ve never been very good at leaving my home base.  I’ll travel and visit people but I prefer to be at home.  My mother never gave a clear explanation as to what actually happened and I have no memory other than finding a kind woman who found a policeman.

My childhood was “normal” – whatever that is!

My mother had a ‘nervous breakdown’ (what exactly is a nervous breakdown and when do *I* get to have one?) when I was very young so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and uncle.  They were sexually abusive to me and the results affected me my entire life.  A few years ago, she tried to cry on my shoulder about how she had been abused by her father when she was a child – the same man that she left me with when I was 4 years old. I never could really forgive my mother for putting me into that situation knowing what would happen to me.

I think the craziest thing about my Mother was she was always moving us or talking about it. By the time I’d gone from 1st grade to 12th I had been to 20 schools. My high school years (4) were all at the same school. But my elementary school years were a nightmare with 4 and 5 different schools every year.

Well…here goes. You ask about a mixed up childhood, so here is my brief story. All my life even from my earliest memories, for some strange reason my mother favored my brother in all that he did. I was always second best and it was so very obvious, that when I was married the first time, my husband even commented on it. My Mother is untreated bipolar and also has a large area of hypochondriac. If you say you have a sore throat she is in the doctors the next week. She is jealous and is so afraid of anyone getting attention. Later in life I found out that I actually belonged to the man that I called dad’s brother, yes I am my uncle’s child. I have watched my mother steal and cheat people all my life. Things she does really drives me nuts. Please do not post my name with this.. it is way too embarrassing and my children do not know.  When I confronted my mother about my parentage she simply replied, everyone makes mistakes and you were just one I had to live with for appearance sakes.

I don’t think my “moment” is on par with Helen’s, but around 1975 or so, at a family dinner, my mother made the comment, as though she was updating us on late-breaking news, “And now they are saying that maybe there was a conspiracy to shoot JFK.”  I was so stunned by the depth of her lack of awareness, that I really couldn’t say anything, but I never thought of my mother in quite the same way again.

Thank you all for sharing your memories with us.

1 Comment

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings
Oct 16, 2008 at 7:31 pm

I received the copy yesterday that you sent me…thank you so, so, so much. I’ve already started it and it’s going to be one I have a hard time putting down. My daughter said I should read one of her other books, so I think that one will be brought over for me to borrow. Thanks so much!



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