Off my dad went to California and off my mom went in the abyss of drug abuse. My memories from this period are post cards. They are quick snap shots of scenes some of which I would prefer to forget. These post cards are filled in with tales told by family members during times in which young girls should have been in bed and not eavesdropping on adults. My mother was trying. She was trying to keep it together and trying to be a mother. But, who could expect someone still trying to recover from their parents dying when she was not even 10 years old only to be separated from her brother and sisters; sent to be raised by her strict religious aunt and uncle in Texas who were a far cry from the freedom encouraged by her parents who were no longer present to protect her from herself. My mother was a suffering soul and not even I was the salve she needed. She was just 23 years old.
She was leaving me with people I knew and did not know. She would tell them it would just be for one night; two weeks later she would return. I was 2 years old. I recall feeling extreme abandonment when she would leave me. In retrospect it was a worry that she would never come back; maybe I was a little fortune teller. I was often left with various family members, so there was a happiness being around my cousins and feeling protected from the rough edges of the neighborhood that surrounded me. Eventually after I spent many nights tuned months at my dad’s youngest sister’s house, word got back to my dad’s mother that I was not being cared for. My dad was her favorite of her three children. While she was still furious at my grandfather for leaving her for his mistress, my dad looked just like him and for this she cherished him. He doted on her and this translated to me being the favorite grandchild. My grandmother called my dad, now in California, and insisted he take back his roll as parent. My dad was scared. He was in a new relationship and did not know how is lover would take my grandmothers insistence that a child be moved into the home.
What my dad did not know was before he moved down his lover had 2 options before he was asked to move in with him. He also had a lover in Philadelphia and he was trying to decide who he should ask to come live with him. The deciding factor was me. When my dad said he had a daughter his lover felt it could be his opportunity to have or be a part of family; something he had always wanted but because of his inability to bed with a woman and laws at that current time it was not something likely to happen. And to add a little spice to this decision, the lover went to see a psychic who told him that a little girl with blue eyes, big cheeks and blonde hair would be coming into his life. The decision was made and my dad was invited to California.
The unexpected reaction from the lover was not something anyone would have anticipated. Normally a very pensive man, Oliver, made an instant decision that yes he would like for me to brought down to live with them as a family. And so another decision was made; another decision my mother was not yet aware of. A plan was created because my mother would undoubtably disagree to have me move away from her. But, then again my dad was never quite good at predicting my mother’s reactions. My grandmother was to come take me the next time my mother left me with my dad’s youngest sister. She would take me across the Canadian border and then I would stay at her house for 6 months while my new house was prepared (and so my two dad’s could have their last freedoms as a new couple in a house to themselves).
To be continued………..