My whole life, my family has always thought of me as a narcissist who has wanted to get away from the family as soon as I could; they view me as a stuck-up snob who is ashamed of my roots. I disagree, but I tire of constantly defending myself in a losing battle.
When I was in the 5th grade, I had listened for months about the family money problems; as a kid I knew far too much about the financial woes of my parents. There was constant talk of not wasting milk, bread, or eggs; but, as kids, we always noticed there was never a shortage of beer.
As Christmas approached, I started to shoplift small items from the local stores; every time we went shopping I began to pilfer anything I could that would go unnoticed by my mom and store staff. As soon as we got home I would shove the items under my bed in a little pile; soon, I had the cache I was hoping for.
A few days before Christmas Eve, I crept out of my bedroom late one night and filled all of the stockings with the small items I had collected; I didn’t have as much as I thought, with four kids I had barely filled them half-way. I had to include items for myself so nobody would suspect me, even though I didn’t want anything; I had wanted my brother and sisters to have something.
I left a few things for my parents; I don’t remember what I stole for anybody, except my mom, I left mascara for her on the ledge by the stockings as well as some other junk and stuff for my dad.
The next morning, everybody was surprised that Santa had come early; my mom was convinced that our landlord had come into the house and left the gifts. She told my dad he must not have been such a bad guy; knowing how they were struggling with the rent, he must have known Christmas was going to be difficult.
I threw my “gifts” away; I felt too guilty to do anything else with them.
I cried yesterday when I was out shopping because I saw that dog in Hallmark, the talking one. We bought it last year for my grandson right after Christmas to save and give to him this year when he was old enough; but since my daughter is not speaking to me, it is just packed away in storage.
I had to bite my lip, take a deep breath and try my best to forget about his little face and the few months I spent every day waking up with him.
When I was 6, I wanted a snake more than anything; I loved the song Sneaky Snake, by Tom T Hall. I thought a snake was going to be like that; drinking root beer, wiggling and dancing, everything he did. My dad picked up a snake from the middle of the road one day and brought him home for me.
The snake lived in an ice chest in my bedroom; it was nothing at all like Sneaky Snake. He was not a good pet for a 6 year-old; I was terrified of it. Finally, my dad let him go.
A snake is not a good pet.
I used to have a nightgown when I was 11 that was blue terry-cloth with white trim; down the front were the words Definitely, Delightful, Delicious, Delovely. For some reason, that hideous thing was my favorite; perhaps because it was not a hand-me-down.
One day, I was wearing it in the early evening; my dad called my brother and me outside to the backyard because he had a surprise for us. I went out back to find him with a stack of bottle rockets. He was challenging us to light them and hold them in our hands but there was a certain timing to letting them go; if you let them go too soon, they would just fizzle out on the ground, too late and they could explode in your hand.
I could not get the timing down correctly; mine exploded flames out the back and shot fire all over the front of my gown resulting in black holes all down the front.
I still wore the gown with the holes in it for years.
I’m terribly afraid of the dark.
I want to volunteer at a senior home and chronicle the stories of the elderly; I want to help them preserve their memories, I think so many of them would like to have their stories saved, but they did not grow up journaling or writing. I feel small and selfish for never going through with it, for never finding the time.
There are a million more things I could say, but that is enough for now. I am not leaving anything behind this time, some fingerprints, I suppose; the Eeyore blanket is coming with me. I will not be returning.
(I am hoping to have a connection to continue… the last I recollect there was only a dial-up connection. Challenging when you rely on the Internet.)