Monday, June 1, 2009

Snippets (Part 1 of 4)

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.


♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

Oh, Aleta. What a wonderful mom and example for moms everywhere. What a look you gave us. I am going to have to think on this one.

I hope that you feel good about sharing this private look at your world. Thank you so much. I love you for it and more. No wonder Greg adores you.

Aleta said...

Thank you, Mimi. I really appreciate your words. It's difficult for me to type this out, because I love and respect my Mom more than words can say. She's my inspiration that no matter what happens in life, you can rise above it, move on and be a good person. She deserves a whole lot of happiness.

Lilly said...

Ohhhhhhh Aleta, these snippets are the most perfect way to write about your Mother. She does deserve a whole lot of happiness and I am sure she has found that with your Dad and her children and son and daughter in law too.

And when you wrote, "I’ll be your eyes and you can be my ears. Together, we’ll make a whole person.” I shed a few tears.that is the sweetest. thing. ever.

Both of you could make twenty whole persons given the love and compassion you both show. I am so glad your Mom had you because somehow I think you were her Angel as much as she is yours.

Everything she has been through could have left her very bitter but instead its done the opposite. All the pics you show of her she is totally beautiful. Beautiful hair perfectly made up and dressed to the nines. Dazzling smile. Those great shots of her meeting the Governor's wife for example. You just never know what people have been through do you. And you would never even guess she anything.

It must have been hard for you to write but imagine how great it is when your own kids read this one day about their grandmother. These are the important lessons we all need. That out of suffering and hardships people show remarkable resilience and go on to do wonderful things with their lives. I am glad she was able to forgive her parents, it shows what a fine human being she must be. That would not have been easy.

Thanks so much for sharing. Look forward to more snippets.

PS Where has the time gone, you and Greg have been married nearly five months already, gosh...

Kavi said...

what a moving and touching post. And your mom sure hass made you into who you are.

I am sure your mom has been such a strong influence on you and your approach to life. And when you write it influences and touches, people many countries and seas away.

And that again, is in part due to what she endured and changed !!

Lovely post. Lovely tribute to a lovely lady.

Thanks for sharing

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Oh, your poor Mama. That is so very sad. Sounds like she was a good mother to you despite that.

Lauren said...

We learn the most through our toughest times. You're mom is the proof in the puddin'.

LindsRay said...

These were really sweet, Aleta...I love that first one especially.

You used to stop by my old blog...I just changed it up on you!! :)

*Akilah Sakai* said...

“I’ll be your eyes and you can be my ears. Together, we’ll make a whole person.”
“Angels have white hair. My hair is white. I’m an angel.”
Man, I tried. *sniff*

Gorgeous post, Aleta.

I'm very protective of my mom who's legally blind while my deadbeat dad has 20/20 vision, and could care less about his kid's well-being.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

*Sigh* Now that I have to look through a sheild of tears to see...
You make me want to share my Mom's story, but not in a comment, maybe a future post...

I'm off to read the second installment.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I have a lump in my throat.

Thank you for sharing. I hope it helps bring peace to a very sad time.

Your mom sounds like an amazing woman and so do you.


Optimistic Mom said...

I can't imagine how this must have affected you. I am sorry this happened to your mom and that you have to deal with it. I hope that writing about it and sharing with others gives you some peace.
So glad your mom was able to overcome her childhood.