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#452536 - 11/05/13 01:32 PM Memories
Rich918 Offline

Registered: 10/28/13
Posts: 45
Whenever my brother and I talked about our biological father (which was seldom in earshot of anyone in public), we always called him “our real father”. He remarried and moved to Massachusetts. He had visitation rights to have us in his home each third weekend of every month, a full week during summer, and alternating christmases (if my mother did not have some excuse to prevent it).

He would drive to Connecticut to pick us up. Every time he came for us, our step-father would greet them out on the street when they pulled up. He would always start a brawl and come into the house battered and bleeding, angry and shouting obscenities.

I remember during one episode when waiting for the fighting to end so we could get on with the weekend at our real fathers house, I colored a man in my coloring book with a black eye and bleeding cuts across the forehead. My mother simply sneered,”Thats not nice."

One would assume that she knew it was her husband, since he came back into the house looking very much like my coloring book. Hahahaa. And when we got into the car with our real father, he was always calm, cool, and composed... clearly the victor, showing scant signs of injury (I would suspect that he cleaned himself up before he beckoned us to begin the trip).

When we were with our real father during those visits, drawing anything out of us was like pulling teeth. We sat silently awaiting orders to eat, play, speak, “...enjoy yourself, will ya!!"

We simply didn't know how. But our real father always had plans; camping trips, amusement parks, picnics, the latest Disney feature. For him, it was always a holiday centered around us. How could we believe that it was for us that he did all these things?

When we returned home to Connecticut after our visits, I would sometimes be a bit more talkative. I would start to relate the fun that we had and the grandness of our real father. My brother would catch my attention and silently motion me or mouth a message for me to shut up. These things are not for their ears to hear, it would only bring trouble.

I remember having a little red tool box of my own when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I had no particular projects to do with them nor skills in how to use any of the tools, but it was mine and a symbol of commonality to perhaps share with others (even if it was just a pretended connection; a pretense of serving some usefulness outside of those dark secrets forced upon me). I wrote my full name “Richard ***** ********, Jr.” in the most perfect printing that I could render, clearly across the top lid in black magic marker. My mother saw it and remarked, “You don't need to add the Junior."

I thought to myself in bewilderment, “But... thats what my name IS!" I wanted my full identity on it that no one might mistaken it for anything else but me... only me. But even that was not allowed.

Growing up, we were wary of everyone. Trusting people (even relatives) was never an option, no matter how much they proved their benevolence. It has always been my brother and me against the world, but even he has not seen the sexual abuse of it. I asked him once if he (step-father) ever did such things to him. He said no. I asked him why would he just pick me. My brother, in his grade-school wisdom, said, “... because youre gullible.” (I think 'gullible' was just one of his spelling words for the week. He could have no understanding of sexual predators at that age.)

If not the sexual abuse, he has seen the violence and hate. Our step-father would go into his room at night and trash it, topple his desk and wreck his whole room. Then in the morning, he would make my brother clean it all up before he could go outside to play or visit friends (he had friends, I did not). He must have done something to defend himself to make our step-father angry and retaliate.

One such story I remember telling was of a picnic excursion. A gnat found its way into my cup of fruit drink and my step-mother fished it out for me and returned my drink. My mother interjected my narration to say, “I would have thrown it in her face!"

Who the hell lives like that?? The most innocent story from a child turned into a tool of hatred. It was just a flyby gnat... not a disease-ridden rodent!! I was wrong for not conducting myself in a manner of hate?

All throughout our childhood, the “official story” from our mother was that my brother and I were kidnapped by our real father and brought to Maine to live with him. She said the police could not find us, but she had some miraculous vision as to our whereabouts. She and her husband made the trip all the way to Maine based solely on her “vision”. She said that when they pulled up to the house, I was outside naked in a playpen in 30° weather being whipped with a stick by my future step-mother. My brother was found inside eating breakfast which consisted of cereal in a bowl of tap water instead of milk.

When bad weather prevented our visits, we were told that our real father could not come for us because he was in prison. We were told that his job was a garbage-man. He really worked at a sand and gravel company operating heavy equipment... bulldozers, earth-movers, cranes and the like. A modern-day Fred Flintstone. THAT was his job! There was never any evidence that he worked in sanitation when we visited with him... and even if he did, so what?

He built his own house; a log cabin on land that he owned. He had chickens and ducks, a very plump rabbit and a woodworking shed with elaborate woodcraft equipment and many projects lying about in various stages of progress. I'd say thats a rather amazing accomplishment for a low-paying sanitation job.

With our step-father, we've always lived in low rentals for only a few years at a time (6 residences in a span of 10 years... most likely due to eviction, but I have no knowledge of that), so a sanitation job was supposed to be an insult??

As we got older, we realized that everything we've ever been told was a lie. Why??? What was the point of all that?? They have wasted not only our lives, but even their own lives. When we started questioning it, everything was denied and we were made out to be the crazy ones.

Edited by Rich918 (11/05/13 01:34 PM)

#452541 - 11/05/13 03:20 PM Re: Memories [Re: Rich918]
Harvey Dent Offline

Registered: 11/02/13
Posts: 28
Little people need to make others seem smaller than themselves in order to obviate their own shame. It happens a great deal in my family too.

In your circumstances, I can only express sorrow at your pain. Just know thatyou are not alone in this.

And I am glad that your father repeatedly beat the hell out of your stepfather. Even if it did nothing to fix anything, that is one less shame you are forced to bear.
I am not defined by what is done to me. I am defined by the choices I make.

My story:

Odds are that I am typing on my phone. Please excuse punctuation and spelling. Editing is a serious pain in the neck.

#452643 - 11/06/13 12:51 PM Re: Memories [Re: Rich918]
Rich918 Offline

Registered: 10/28/13
Posts: 45
When visiting with my grandmother, I thought it very strange that she spoke so blithely about our real father as a likable human being (he was simply not referred to as such in my house). She would sometimes say that I was just like my father and laugh as if he were a pleasant memory. Of course, she never knew what was really going on in our house.

The stories that our grandmother would tell about our real father were not congruent with our mothers stories, so we had to dismiss them from our forward thoughts. However pleasant our grandmothers stories were, we didnt live with our grandmother, so they were not useful to our safety.

Pleasant he may have been, but that pleasure was not ours to have. Our life was for punishment. The mere mention of our real father would send the heart racing in mind-numbing anxiety, muscles tensed to rock-hard stiffness; the splitting headaches and ill stomach those moments would cause! Such topics can only lead to trouble.

Anything good from our real father, from other family members, from my teachers was an undeserved pleasure. Something was wrong with me in my inability to behave in a manner they wanted... in a manner which my deepest, unreachable being rejected. I could not control it within myself, hence the constant damaging conflict.

Later in life, other peoples definition of family baffled me. To me, parenthood was just a political structure of forceful dominance over others; and for children, it was striving for ways to sneak under the radar for their own grasp of self and safety. Even today, I tiptoe about quietly even when no one is around to even notice. That was life. Others had different definitions, which never fit with the reality of our home life.

Every school child has done the celery experiment. Stand a stalk of celery in a beaker of colored water and the next day its leaves, stalk and veins are colored. Take it out of the water and the plant is still polluted in red from the inside out until it dries up and dies. I've yet to find a personal endeavor which has not been polluted by my past. I may have left a bad situation, but it has not left me and it fights tooth and nail to keep its cozy residence. And even if it did leave, where does that leave me? An infant all over again... needing to learn everything completely anew. As much as it may want to, how does a red celery stalk, all of a sudden, live as a green celery stalk?


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