Friday, July 1, 2016

Childhood & Family

Born in 1965, I grew up in the small town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I lived with my parents, brother and sister in a 4-bedroom house next to my maternal grandparents' 2-bedroom house. We had a summer cottage in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

I was born healthy with the exception of a deformed/deaf left ear which should have been left alone yet plastic surgery was done on it in a botched attempt to make it look "normal." I kind of get that my parents might have thought they were doing me a favor, but I think they were doing themselves more of a favor than they were me.

My only other health issues were asthma and allergies.

Dad was an easy-going guy with a good sense of humor. His only fault was letting his wife abuse their children as she did. She was a very negative, domineering woman.

My brother Larry was 12 years older than me, and my sister Tammy was 8 years older. Because they left home while I was still fairly young, it was almost as if I were an only child.

In 2012 my parents and brother all died for different reasons. My father had a heart attack, my mother had a stroke, and my brother had liver cancer. It was the first time in my life I was actually glad we weren't close.

I never knew my paternal grandfather. My paternal grandmother, who came to live with us about 5 years before her death, died at age 75 in 1985. Both my maternal grandparents also died in 1985 at the same age.

I had 2 uncles and 2 aunts, none of which I was ever very fond of or that I've heard from in years. Same goes for my 5 first cousins. I'm not in touch with any of my extended family except for a cousin who is now in her 80s.

My parents always had poodles for pets and sometimes birds as well. For us kids it was usually guinea pigs or gerbils.

I loved music, singing, playing with dolls, swinging on swings, playing pretend, coloring, and doing most of what children like to do. I was a creative child with a vivid and wild imagination. Too wild for my mother who was quick to critique and put me down every chance she got, greatly harming my self-esteem, my confidence, and sometimes my will to go on. When she finally gave up on me after a 5-month stint in the Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont for failing to "grow up" and be "normal," I ended up in two foster homes, one in which I had wonderful Italian foster parents, and another a neglectful black woman for a foster mother.

The last stop was to be placed in a residential school for girls called Valleyhead for two long years. It was a horrible place to be because it was so structured and some of the staff were abusive, and I even attempted suicide. Eventually the FBI shut the place down for its treatment of students.

My brother eventually went on to have 3 kids that I know of, and my sister had 3 daughters.

My wonderful husband of 23 years and I have no kids. He is a native of Arizona and not in touch with any of his family for reasons I'm not going to get into. Tom is 8 years older than me, has a good job, and is in good health. He is a very passive, intelligent man. I can't imagine life without him.

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