I had a boring childhood, thanks to my parents.
I can’t write about parental abuse or drugs in the household or cruelty. It’s not part of my make-up.
How did I end up with a Mom like this for all she’s been through?
I’m going to make an attempt at sharing memories with you… from my childhood…. some that Mom told me about her childhood. Over the next couple of blog posts, I hope you’ll take a moment to read them ~ To give a glimpse into the woman who gave me a very loving, safe, warm, caring, happy childhood. Boring, I know… but Mom’s life… she needs to write a book.
When I was a little girl, Mom taught at the same elementary school where I attended classes. Every day after school let out we walked home together. One day, as we left the school grounds and entered the neighboring subdivision I saw a little bird in the grass.
I pointed and said, “Mom, look at the pretty bird.” She replied, “Yes, it’s nice.” I don’t know why, but something stopped me in my tracks. I gently took Mom’s hand and brought her to the bird. That little bird didn’t fly away; it stayed there as if patiently waiting for us to approach closer and closer.
Again, I pointed to the bird and Mom exclaimed, “Oh! It IS a pretty bird!” I whispered, “You CAN see.”
I recall that moment vividly, because I remember wishing I hadn’t muttered that under my breath and worried how Mom would react. I hurriedly took Mom’s hand and we continued on our trek home in silence.
Years later, Mom brought up that memory. She said, “It was a pivotal point for me, because I realized as much as I tried to act as if I could see, even my little girl could tell that I couldn’t lie about it. I thought I could fool people by just agreeing to what they said.”
My friends would come over during the summer months to swim. They’d walk into the house and say, “Hi Mom” to my Mom. Most of my friends didn’t mind the darkened house. Light hurts Mom’s eyes. One of my friends would flip on the light switches and say, “I’m not a bat!”
After swimming, my girlfriends would go in my room and we’d talk. I turned on the radio and said, “Whisper now, because Mom has bionic hearing.”
Mom called down the hallway from her bedroom, “I heard that!” And my friends squealed, “She DOES have bionic hearing!”
My parents called me Hawk Eyes, because I had perfect vision. My hearing, on the other hand, was in need of aid.
I told Mom, “I’ll be your eyes and you can be my ears. Together, we’ll make a whole person.”
I was an early teen. Back then Mom and I would watch soap operas together during the summer, eating cheese and crackers and grapes. Was it something that happened on one episode? I don’t know how the conversation started, but Mom was sitting on the sofa, crying.
“….I don’t look like other people, Aleta….”
I said she was beautiful. I loved her white hair. This is Mom. I didn’t know her appearance was different.
“…Kids can be the cruelest of people….”
“….When I was younger kids spit on me….”
Her words are a jumble in my memory, but I remember feeling shocked. It was the first time Mom spoke about her past and the first time I understood what Albinism was and what she went through because of it.
“….They called me a White Witch…”
“….When I went to a different high school and made new friends, one time a little girl ran up to me in front of my friends and said, “They say you are a Witch!” and I turned to that girl and said, “Angels have white hair. My hair is white. I’m an angel.” The little girl went, “Ohhh”…”
I wanted to know if her mother, my grandmother, Nana, did anything to stop the ugly behavior of the young children.
Another floodgate of tears; it was then that I learned Nana beat Mom.
“…not spankings, she’d drag me around the house by my hair and hit me…”
“…I used to wish she’d hit me so hard that I would die…”
“….one time she broke my jaw… she didn’t bring me to the hospital… she kept me home from school and told the principal that I had the mumps… because she didn’t want people to know…”
A couple of months after that conversation, Nana and Paps visited. Mom was in the kitchen and there was a pass-through window from the kitchen to the dining room. I watched Mom put away the dishes, while Nana and Paps relaxed at the kitchen table.
I wanted to scream at them! Instead, through clenched teeth and dagger eyes, I growled, “Mom told me how people hurt her when she was a little girl. Nobody will hurt her now, because if someone ever tries to, I’ll damn well hurt them ten times worse!” I meant Every. Single. Word.
Their eyes widened and Mom stopped cleaning. I walked away, hating my grandparents.
It wasn’t for many years later that I forgave them and I give Mom the credit for that as well.
To read Snippets Part 2 of 4, click here.
To read Snippets Part 3 of 4, click here.
To read Snippets Part 4 of 4, click here.
To read Interview with Mom, click here.