June 24, 2008

My most bizarre summer

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 3:03 pm by sillydreamer

I first want to start this post by saying I don’t mean to offend any resident of Arkansas or anyone of the Pentecostal religion.  These are my preceptions as a 9 year old child.

I have always loved summer!  Not because of the weather, because I don’t do heat, but just the change of pace from the school year.  Even now I look forward to leaving the crush of the girls’ school year behind and enjoying a slower paced schedule.

Of course, as a child myself, it was one hundred times better.  I remember counting down the days until finally, FINALLY our summer vacation officially began.  It seemed like summer break lasted forever but I guess when you’re a child, everything seems to last forever.  Once you’re an adult, time flies!

I’ve mentioned a few times about how disfunctional my family is and I don’t mean that in a “poor me” kind of way, I’m just stating the facts.  My parents divorced when I was in the third grade and I lived with my Dad and my younger brother and sister.  The fact that my parents was divorced wasn’t a big deal, just part of our lives but the fact that we were being rasied by my Dad was out of the norm and therefore, a big deal.  No one I knew had divorced parents but it seemed fine….a relief actually, that mine were.  My Dad was also a raging alcoholic who was not pleasant to be around.  The majority of his brothers were also alcoholics, except for the religious one who lived in Arkansas.  By the time I was in 4th grade, I don’t think I remember meeting him and his family but maybe once.

So it’s summer and I was eagerly looking forward to the long days of hanging around doing nothing.  My Dad worked so that left me in charge of my younger brother and sister.  All of my friend’s Mom’s didn’t work but oddly, there was no problem letting them come stay at my house all day.  Can you even imagine a house full of unsupervised children with the oldest being 9?  That’s just the way it was back then and no one thought anything of it.  Amazingly, we all survived lol.

My Dad comes home from work one evening and announces that the three of us were going to spend the summer with our Aunt and Uncle in Arkansas.  This was not good news and it only got worse when he said they should be driving up any minute to pick us up.  What??  Why???  How long???  I don’t remember how but thankfully my best friend Misty showed up so I could at least say good bye to her. 

So off we go to Siloam Springs, Arkansas to stay with the uber religious relatives.  Now, as crazy as my Dad and the rest of the family was, I viewed this family as the nutty one.  When we attended church it was a Baptist one and on a couple of occasions we did go to a Pentecostal one and it was a little scary to me.

The first thing we did when we got to their home was have all of our clothes taken away because girls were not allowed to wear shorts, only dresses.  They were nice about it but there was no way not to say that to a child and not make them feel ashamed that we were dressing in a way that was sinful.  A quick scan of their home also reveals that there is no television and the only music allowed was christian music.  Again, we must have one foot in hell already because we owned these things at home!  LOL!  I loved watching TV and loved music even more.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful because it was very nice of them to take us for the summer.  I’m not really sure the reason why because we had stayed home alone before but there we were, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas trying to make the best of things.  My aunt worked and was gone most of the time but she was a very nice woman, who truly had the patience of a saint to put up with my uncle.  He didn’t work, due to a (supposed) disability and he was loud, opinionated and abrasive.  All I remember about him was yelling and being unhappy.  I don’t remember him ever yelling at me but just yelling in general.  Day in, day out.

One day he tells us he is going to take us swimming!  Woohoo, at home we went to the swimming pool all the time so I was very excited.   Swimming to them was one, only to be done in a dress, two, only with your family members and three, only in a very secluded place so down to the nasty river we go.  The river where we spy a water mocassin swimming along as if he owned the river.  Since he is a poisonous snake, in my books he did.  My uncle seemed totally unconcerned and told us to get in anyway.  I waded to about my knees and decided that was enough swimming for me!  

Attending church was a little unnerving at first but eventually I was ok with it.  As I said, the majority of my church services were Baptist and you probably couldn’t be any more opposite to Baptist than Pentecostal.   

Even though the situation wasn’t ideal and I would have much rather been at home with my friends, I did have fun with my cousins.  They had three boys and a daughter of their own so as I said, it was very nice of them to take us in.  All the boys were older and I thought they were so cool.  The oldest one really had conflict with his Dad and I felt badly for him.  They fought constantly and the Dad always found fault with David no matter what.  I heard years later that once David left home he never went back.  He stayed in touch with his Mom but had no contact with his Dad.  His Mom passed away a couple of years ago and he didn’t attend the funeral.  He had always told his Mom that if she died first he wouldn’t come for the funeral because of his Dad.  I’m proud to say that he went on to college and last I heard, he was running a charter school somewhere here in Texas.  As far as I know, my uncle is still alive.  I don’t know what happened to the other boys but I did hear that the daughter was in prison. 

I distinctly remember the moment I heard Elvis had died.  My older cousins always had the radio on, christian station only, at night.  I remember laying on the floor just about to fall asleep when I heard it.  Now, I wasn’t much of an Elvis fan because I was young but I obviously knew who he was and I was shocked to hear that he passed away. 

A few nights after that, my aunt and uncle wake me up to say that my Dad is there to pick us up.  This is par for my family, no warning or plans, it just happens.  Of course I was excited to be going home but I knew I would miss the boys.  Also, I had eaten some homemade blueberry pie that didn’t sit well with me so  I knew the long drive home would not be enjoyable.  I was right!

A few weeks after we were home my Dad told me that the reason he showed up unannounced was that his Mother had called and told him that my aunt and uncle were planning to place the three of us in a children’s home in Virginia.  Now I don’t know how this could be done without his permission but my
Dad was convinced enough that he came anyway.  I never heard from or saw my aunt and uncle after this and as far as I know, neither did my Dad. 

And that my friends, was my most bizarre summer.  Someday I will share with you my most bizarre Christmas lol.

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2 Comments »

  1. Gary Burton said,

    Very funny..!

  2. Author said,

    Wow. Funny but very sad too.

    I see what you mean by your famly being dysfunctional. It’s amazing that despite all we go through as children we can still grown into nice adults – like you.


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