My Dad remarried to Linda when I was around four or five. It was a short marriage, but it was significant in my childhood. Someone told me she was a stripper, my Grandma I think. But recently my Dad told me that she was in the military. She reminded me of a stripper so we’ll just go with that. That being said, my Grandma also says that my parents got my older sisters name from a trashy novel and I don’t think they did. I love her name.
I remember, when I was about five, playing in the front yard with our neighbors and my sisters. I remember someone getting into trouble, my little sister maybe, and my step-mom, Linda telling me that she knew I had something to do with it because I was manipulative.
Linda also had three kids. Shannon, Sheila and John. I think Sheila was the oldest and she had a lot of freckles. She was about 16 I think.
Shannon, Sheila, my older sister and I shared one bedroom. And John and my little sister shared another. Only my older sister never slept in the room with us because she was a bed wetter and stole food. So, she got locked in the laundry room at night.
If we wet the bed Linda would toss our mattress outside and tell us to clean it and bring it back in. Only, we couldn’t move it so the dog would chew it up and then we just wouldn’t have a mattress.
My little sister woke up crying one night and Linda came in and smacked her in the face. She was one. Or, so the story goes.
We used to get spanked at the end of each day for the things we did that we didn’t get caught for, because surely we did something that day.
If we got “caught” doing something we weren’t supposed to she made us pull our pants down, bend over and touch our toes and she beat us with a wooden paddle. It was humiliating. I wince even putting that in writing. I’m ashamed that it happened. I’m ashamed it was allowed to happen. My Dad was there and that makes it harder to accept. But, he was also 25 years old with three children and on his second wife. I try to remind myself that he just plain flat out didn’t know what the hell he was doing. Someone told him that his kids needed discipline and he went with it. That’s what I tell myself anyway.
What we needed was love. What we needed was structure and attention. What we needed were parents.
I frequently went to school without shoes on because I couldn’t find them. Usually it was because she threw them outside and the dogs chewed them up, or she just hid them. My older sister would carry me all the way to school, and she’s only 2 years older than I am. Then I’d have to go to the nurses office and get shoes to borrow.
I remember my older sister sitting in a bathtub on evening while my step-mom was forcing her to eat junk food because she snuck out that night to eat chocolate. She was covered in puke and they were still shoving food down her throat, trying to teach her a lesson. Dad was there too. That hurts. Now I need to call my sister and tell her that I love her.
About 6 years ago I had to run a background check on myself to apply for a job. Through that process I learned that Linda lived 15 miles away from me. It took everything in my being not to drive to her house and give her a piece of my mind. I actually did drive to where I thought she was working at the time and went in, but I didn’t recognize anyone in there as her so I left.
How can anyone be so cruel to little kids? How can everyone else around you (teachers?!) not notice whats going on? In our entire childhood not one person, besides my Grandparents, were aware of the abuse that was going on. And, if they were, they didn’t do anything about it.
If you suspect a child is being abused, get your ass up and do something. Pay attention to what is going on around you. I mean really, a child that comes to school without her shoes daily? Or how about my older sister, who used to have frequent accidents in class at age 7. That isn’t normal for a 7 year old.
I’m not sure what pisses me off more. Linda or the people that didn’t save us.