{ A note from the author. This book is written from memories of things I learned as I grew up. There is much past in this along with hurt and questions. I am not planning on printing this. This is an item on my bucket list that I want to get out of my head before I leave this earth, so please do expect some errors in different ways of writing and thinking. This book will not be in any way perfect. Thank-you.}

Chapter Thirty-Five

When daddy arrived back home, grandpa was waiting for him. They did have a conversation because at times it woke me up and I listened. It didn’t matter what grandpa said to change his son’s mind; daddy had his mind up.”Well son, you have to live your life and live with your mistakes.’ The conversation was over and I went back to sleep.

So life in the present moved on. As you can see, daddy and mama did get together and here we are, brother and I, living now with grandma and grandpa and daddy. I heard the grown-ups talking and learned mama may never come back. I guess she got out of jail and moved far away. Daddy never talked about her.

It was during this time that he had met our new mama. They did get married and we all did move out of grandma’s house and we moved about half an hour away. I missed my mama and I didn’t like the little bit of attention that daddy gave me going to her instead.

This new mama didn’t look like me at all. I had long blonde hair and blue eyes, just like my brother did. This lady had dark hair and dark eyebrows and she wasn’t as friendly as Miss Bea was.

I didn’t like her much. I learned from growing up and seeking counseling that I was jealous of her attention to daddy. She worked most days. Daddy did too. He no longer worked at night time. He got himself a job where he worked during the day.

One thing I did love was her parents. They lived on a farm and granddad treated us kids real good. We had lots of cousins too. On weekends many of us got together and us kids would play all day and into almost dark time.

Daddy helped her parents a lot on their farm and so we spent many free times with grandma in her kitchen. She was the best cook ever. She made great pies and big cookies and brother and I always got to get the first one out of the oven. We even got to lick the beaters too. We sure did love grandma.

Granddad helped brother so much. He taught him about life through the animals on the farm. He had cows, pigs and chickens. I remember him letting brother sit on his lap while he drove the tractor. I could see brother’s face just smiling so big. It made me almost tear up.

To be continued….

Chapter Thirty-Four

When daddy and that lady got through eating, they both went back to the living room. Daddy sat on a rocker and that woman sat beside him on the floor. The questions started again and the only thing anyone actually learned was that the lady was from the Tri-Lakes area, which wasn’t too far away.

Everyone chatted trying to be polite but I never did see grandma smile. Jane didn’t really say much. She seemed to like to fiddle with her clothes. The two visited with grandma and grandpa about a half an hour then daddy said he needed to get her home to her folks so they wouldn’t worry about her. Grandpa said, ” Well, that’s considerate of you son.”

“Well dad, she’s sort of young so I need to listen to her parents.”

” If you don’t mind me asking,” grandma said, ” Just how young are you?”

” I am fourteen mam,” Jane said and she looked around for other’s reactions.

” Fourteen? Fourteen? For God’s sake son, do you realize you are seventeen, are you crazy?”

” I think I am falling in love mom. She’s a real nice gal. Just give her a chance and take the time to try to get to know her.”

” For God’s sake! I have never heard of such nonsense! I will have to think about this. Does your parents know how old of a kid you are seeing Jane? Grandma asked, ” I would think they would rather tie you to your bed than let you date someone so much older. You best be talking this over with them.”

” Mom, it’s alright. We’ll work everything out. We are in love. Remember when you fell in love mom?” Grandma didn’t say she did or if she didn’t. I couldn’t read her expression except I recognized that there was no smile and that usually meant grandma was upset about something and I think this time she was upset with her son and that lady Jane.

The two decided to leave and after the car left the drive way grandma retorted, ” Kids, I just can’t figure them out. You try to raise them right and they go and do stupid stuff like this. He’s gonna get her in trouble for sure. You can mark my word and everyone will wish this day had not happened.”

Grandpa got up and went over to grandma to try and console her but she didn’t want anything to do with him. Instead she looked at us kids and said, ” Bath and bed time. Let’s get going.”

After baths were done, she put brother and I in our room and said to get into bed, that it was getting late. I think what was really going on was grandma was getting one of her headaches.

She flipped the lights out and I could hear grandma and grandpa still discussing this Jane. I could tell they thought this was a big mistake and grandpa said he would have a talk with their son when he got home.

I heard grandma’s door shut and I heard the TV come on. Grandpa was waiting for the door to open so the talk could begin.

To be continued…

Chapter Thirty-Three

One day it happened. Life changed, and my life turned upside down and I couldn’t figure it out until I grew up.

Daddy came home early from work one evening which was very unusual. When he walked through the front door; he had a big smile on his face. That was something I didn’t see much of. He even talked happy. Grandma got up from her chair and went over to give him a hug and when she did that, he opened the door further and a woman walked in.

Grandma stood back a bit and I sat on the edge of my chair and turned this way and that so I could see this woman better. Who was that? I had never seen her before. {For the story’s privacy, I shall call this woman, Jane.} The woman walked a few steps into the living room. With a big grin daddy said, ” Hey you guys, I want you to meet Jane. I met Jane down at the bowling alley a couple months ago.”

Grandma looked at her and gave that smile I so recognized. I could see she wasn’t that happy about this woman standing in her house, so therefore, neither was I. Daddy grabbed Jane’s hand and pulled her behind him saying, “We’re both kinda hungry, mom. Going to the kitchen to grab something to eat.”

Grandma and Jane looked at each other as they passed by but neither woman said a word. Grandpa got up and went straight to the kitchen. He didn’t seem to care if he was interrupting or not. ” So Jane, where you from? Who’s your parents? What kind of work do they do?”

“Dad, not now for God’s sake. I just got her here. Save it for some other time.” His dad turned around and walked back into the living room, shrugging his shoulders to grandma, showing her he had found out nothing.

We could hear them talking in the kitchen and sometimes they both giggled. All of us except brother, got quiet but the thinking was real loud. Guess this time brother was lucky. He missed everything because he was already in bed.

To be continued…

Chapter Thirty-Two

Life didn’t change much for any day. I watched grandma iron clothes. I mean lots of clothes. People would knock on the front door and when grandma opened it; there was another person with a basket of clothes that needed to be washed, dried and ironed.

Grandma told me one day when I was watching her that the money she took in ironing helped by the food we ate. I thought what a nice grandma I had. There were other times that she seemed like a stranger to me. She didn’t talk much to brother and me. She was more into dusting, ironing and keeping the house clean, but when I got older, I knew that was a good thing.

When ever grandpa or daddy was around you could see grandma’s face change. She smiled real big and sometimes her blue eyes sparkled. She really loved those two guys. She had other kids too, did I tell you that? She had two daughters and a son. Yes, we all lived under the same roof but those kids were older. They were old enough to work or babysit.

When they were around, they treated me nice and the girls probably paid the most attention to us kids. Sometimes they gave us our baths. When I grew up I was told by the one daughter that she had given me a bath one time and got the water a little too warm. When she took me out of the bath, she said my skin was red. She said she was real embarrassed by what she had done.

The other daughter used to take us out in the back yard and brother would run as fast as his legs could take him. I was always amazed at this one tree that stood on their property. It didn’t have many leaves and yet it didn’t fall down. It had branches that went everywhere. It was like magical fingers to me, reaching up to the skies.

I learned as I stayed at grandma’s longer and longer that that tree was where they buried their cats when they died. Grandma and grandpa had thirteen cats living in the house. They were all colors and they were nice cats. Every day grandma would feed them while brother and I ate our breakfast. She cleaned out those boxes in the backroom. They held play sand and grandma would get down on her hands and knees and with a scoop of some kind she would make the sand look all smooth again. Grandma sure did love her kitties. I remember one cat’s name was Bubby. I think that was her favorite. After she fed the cats, she would tear up bread crumbs in two bowls. One bowl was filled with milk. She would take them out on the back steps and we would watch other people’s cats eat out of the bowl and lots of birds would eat the dry bread crumbs. Sometimes I think that was grandma’s favorite time of the day. I feel like the nature lover in me was a part of her spirit that she gave to me because when I grew up, I definitely had a love for nature.

There were days when I thought life could get no better. Sunshine, watching grandma’s smiles and seeing all the birds and cats was almost a perfect day. Brother was running and playing now. There was no sign of him being retarded to me. It made my heart swell to see him so happy.

To be continued…

Chapter Thirty-One

There were no more doctor visits for my brother and mama was fading from my mind. No matter how much I thought of how she was, she was fading. I don’t really know how long it had been since I saw her, but it seemed forever.

The week days were pretty much the same. Grandpa went to his job, daddy tried to sleep in late but lots of times I heard grandma say, get up son, these are your kids. I already raised mine.

Grandma took care of us kids most of the time. We had to sit on chairs and we weren’t allowed to make much noise. We could each play with a toy that we would pick out of the toy box and when we were done with that one; we could put that back and get a different toy.

My brother and I didn’t have many toys so none of these looked familiar. They had a worn look to them and once when I asked grandma about it she distinctly stated, those were your dad’s toys when he was your age!

I have to admit, it was sort of hard playing with toys, let alone just one toy, holding it on your lap. I usually played with a baby doll. Her hair was missing a little bit and she didn’t have any panties on. If I didn’t play with her, I glanced through the pictures of a book.

Brother never complained. He didn’t have to sit on a chair like I did. Grandma put him on the floor. She said it would make his back strong and I did see him pull himself up to the coffee table and couch several times. It wasn’t long at all that he was standing at the furniture for periods of time before he plopped down to the floor.

When Grandpa was home, he sometimes worked with my brother to help him begin walking. He would keep saying things like, “come on, you can do it. Those legs will help you.” It was funny to me how grandpa would wiggle his fingers at brother. He looked like he was doing a magic trick like I had seen on cartoon shows, but my brother was enticed by his fingers and in no time at all, brother took his first step.

Everyone in the room was clapping their hands and laughing that he was finally beginning to walk. Brother got into the atmosphere too because he would hold onto the coffee table and then start bouncing up and down giggling.

That was a glorious day in my family. I didn’t understand the boulder the adults had been carrying around their shoulders, but I could tell they were glad it had fallen off. Meals got better too. I somehow think that the doctors had said something to daddy that made them change what we ate. We had more fruits and we had hamburgers and of course we always had those hot dogs on Friday nights.

Daddy still wasn’t around that much and it seemed like he was getting home a little later than he used to. No one really said anything to him. I think he just expected his parents to watch over his kids so he could earn money and get back to life.

What did that mean, get back to his life? Did he think about mama like I did? Or did he forget her. Daddy told me one Saturday morning when we had one of those little talks, that he was trying to earn lots of money, so we could all move out and into a home of our own. I asked him how long that would be and he said a while. He told me that he didn’t like being alone and it wasn’t always good to be living with the folks when you are a grown man. I nodded at him as if I understood. I did know that I like the idea of what he said, a room of my own and I didn’t have to sit on a chair and a yard to play in.

To be continued….

Chapter Thirty

I started to day dream. No, it wasn’t daydreaming. I was remembering, remembering what my brother’s life and mine were like when mama lived with us in our little house. I remember daddy not being there too much and when he was; he was sleeping.

From what I learned as I grew up, daddy worked at a roller skating rink. Hmm, that must be why I was a good skater when I grew up. Grandma told me once when I was about thirteen, that daddy used to take me to work with him sometimes. He put the smallest skates on they rented, and I learned to be on skates at about two.

I do remember a big, glittery ball hanging in the middle of the ceiling. I used to stare at it, as colored lights bounced off the ball. It was real exciting to watch. I don’t ever remember my brother ever being there, but then again, he was just a baby and couldn’t even stand.

I was told that he had two jobs. The other one was setting pins up at the bowling alley. I never got to go there so I don’t really know what setting pins up meant. He always told me when we did have those few moments to talk, that it was a very loud job and he wondered if the balls could come rolling down the lane so fast, that they might hit him, then he would chuckle. I laughed too although I wasn’t sure what I was laughing at.

Daddy worked when it was dark outside and I was always or usually asleep when he got home, so we didn’t see him at breakfast or lunch, and sometimes he ate supper with us. I remember him always having a cold beer with a sandwich.

Sometimes mama drank those cold beers too and when she drank to many, she wouldn’t be a nice mama anymore. She would yell at anyone who was listening and sometimes I watched her throw an empty beer bottle and daddy would yell back at her and I even saw him throw a glass ashtray at her once.

Now that I am looking back, I don’t remember too many good meals. I guess I didn’t think much of it until I started eating at Miss Bea’s house. Now she had great meals. Mama usually had peanut butter sandwiches and sometimes we had jelly on them too.

Sometimes on Sundays we ate hot dogs and fried potatoes. Those were special days because we got red jello too. We didn’t go to grandma’s for dinner unless it was grandma or grandpa’s birthday or it was Christmas.

It makes me sad now that I am looking back because I can understand a lot more what the grown-ups were talking about when they spoke of my brother’s health problems.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The adults were discussing what the doctors had said after all the tests had come back. I didn’t say anything but I couldn’t help but listen to what they were saying about my brother. Grandma sat there in her seat and when I looked at her; I was so surprised. She had tears falling down her cheeks, not a lot but I saw them and they were real.

” I just can’t believe what they said son. Neglect and they meant what they said. Trying to tell us it is our fault that he’s retarded now. Well, if anyone’s to blame, it’s that mother of theirs. I wonder if we should have the sister checked out too.”

Daddy wasn’t saying a word. I tried so hard to wiggle in my seat to try and see his face but I couldn’t. Did he believe the doctors too?

” I told you she was a no good tramp. Big trouble from the beginning. I bet you wish you had never met her now.”

“No dad, I don’t wish I never met her. She was a good person, she just makes bad decisions.”

“Bad decisions? I don’t think she even had a brain. She thought more with her legs than her brain.”

Daddy didn’t say anything else. Daddy always reminded me that it wasn’t good manners to talk back to a parent and that I better just keep my mouth shut. Maybe that’s what he was doing too.

” Did I hear that doctor say that because he is retarded.”

“Dad, he never once said the kid is retarded. He said he was a little slower than most kids.”

“Well, it;s the same thing to me, slow, retarded, whatever you want to call it, he isn’t like other normal kids. I suppose it’s that brain of his that is making him not walk too?”

“No, the doctor called it Rickets. It’s from him being taken from me and not being fed properly.”


Dad shook his head back and forth. I think it made grandpa feel better to blame someone, anyone, other than the right person. I thought back to when daddy, mama, me and my brother all lived together. Mama always put a bottle in brother’s mouth. I don’t remember him eating real food like I did, but I sure don’t believe mama did this on purpose, no, not for one second. She loved us kids didn’t she? She had to. All mama’s love their children, don’t they?

Everyone got quiet. I looked at grandma and for the first time she put her arm around my brother and I saw some more tears falling. Somehow my chest started hurting. I think it was my heart and I don’t know why but I felt like my heart was breaking in big pieces. Poor brother. I made a promise to myself. From that moment on, I would always keep an eye open and check on him because I just know, he is like a little birdie that falls from the tree and gets hurt real bad.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Eight

I don’t know how many times we made that trip to the children’s hospital but I can remember it was a few times. We would go in and be told to sit until our name was called. When the right name was called, grandpa and daddy and brother went through this brown door. Grandma and I sat on our seats.

There wasn’t too much conversation between her and me. When ever I looked her way, she would just smile at me. I never could tell what that smile meant. I would watch people walk this direction and that way. I learned to love to be a people watcher and I still enjoy it today. Maybe that’s what drew my interest to the camera today.

I would look out the giant windows and watch the traffic and there were even people walking on the sidewalks. I wished that I could do that and get a closer look at those pretty flowers. I knew that I was old enough now to not step on those flowers. I don’t know why grandma wouldn’t take me for a walk.

It usually wasn’t a long time until daddy came back through that door and I never saw tears running down his face. I was glad that whatever was happening behind that door didn’t scare or hurt brother. That would make me feel very sad.

Usually after a doctor’s visit, we would stop at a McDonald’s restaurant. Everyone had to go to the restroom and then we would grab a sandwich and a drink. By now, brother and I got a hamburger, a whole one, we didn’t need to share it anymore.

We threw our trash in the trash bin and climbed back in the car. The weather was beginning to change and the trees had hints of yellows and reds in them. Who ever was driving, would turn the heat button and soon the car would be nice and warm.

“What did you think of what that doctor said son? Do you think there’s any truth to it or maybe it’s all hogwash.”

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Seven

It seemed we drove forever but we eventually did stop. It was our last bathroom break because we were almost home. Daddy bought a bottle of orange soda and us kids split it. They each got coffee, yuck!

We drove once again and in three hours we reached home. Grandma and grandpa had lived in town but had recently bought a newer home in an addition. There were lots of homes there but they were all in a line.

When we pulled up, I was amazed at the big yard they had. I could run and play and never get tired. When my brother was able to walk, he could run and play too. Grandpa got brother out and tried standing him on the sidewalk; but he fell on his butt. He started to cry so he was picked up and carried into the house.

“We have to get this kid to the doctor. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be walking at two years old. Either he’s lazy or something’s wrong with his legs.”

“I agree dad. We’ll get him an appointment as soon as we get settled in.”

Was this going to be my new home, I wondered. I had lived in the house in town and I used to sleep upstairs in my own bed which was next to daddy’s bed. Every morning I would take his hand and also hold on to the banister and he and I would walk downstairs.

I still have those memories today. I don’t remember much about my little brother though. He slept downstairs and he didn’t play with me. When I tried to give him toys, daddy would say, leave him alone, you may make him start crying, so brother and I weren’t very close for a while.

There were three bedrooms in this new home. Daddy had one. Grandma and grandpa had one and brother and I stayed in the middle bedroom. I sat on my bed and just sort of stayed out of the way while the grown-ups seemed to get used to being back home.

After a while, I was called out to the kitchen. I noticed brother was sitting in a high chair and daddy sat beside him and grandpa. I sat by grandma. Us kid’s plates were already filled and we were told to eat.

I had a bad habit, I guess or it seemed to be to them. I was short still because I was only three. I used to swing my legs back and forth . Grandma would always scold me. “Stop moving those legs. You are here to eat not play.” I got yelled at a few times but I finally remembered.

We had sandwiches. I learned later that it was braunschweiger we ate a lot of with cottage cheese and slices of cheese. On Friday nights, grandma made a big pot of chili and we ate that with hot dogs. Brother and I usually had cereal for breakfast and we had small lunches of soup or sandwiches. Supper was our big meal. She used to make liver and onion. Gross, I hated that and still do.

.In not too much of time, they took brother to the doctor and he sent him to a special place in Indianapolis. I went along and when we go there. I saw that it was a real big place. Lots of buildings and big yards to play in, but I wasn’t allowed to do that. Grandma said I may damage all the flowers and I should just be quiet and sit still and don’t move those legs.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Six

My tummy was growling and brother was awake. I wish I was sitting at the table with the other kids and Miss Bea was serving us a nice grilled sandwich with some of her tomato soup. When I grew up that became my favorite meal. I wonder if Miss Bea’s memories had something to do with it.

Someone in the front seat must have heard my growling because we pulled in to the McDonald’s restaurant. “Are you going through the drive-thru son?”

“No, we should go in. I don’t want food crumbs in the car.”

Daddy parked and we all got out. I had to pee real bad. I was putting my hand between my legs and prancing. Grandma saw this so she took my brother and my hand and we headed towards the ladies room. She changed brother and I peed. I washed my hands and when Grandma saw me doing that, she followed.

When we got back out to the lobby, our food was placed on the table and spread out. I don’t know exactly what daddy was eating but it seemed real messy. I am glad he didn’t get me that sandwich. Grandpa had one too. Grandma was going to be eating fish. Brother and I each had a plain hamburger and we all shared french fries. The grown-ups had dark drinks and my brother and I shared a carton of milk.

It tasted alright but not near as good as Miss Bea’s cooking. I tried real hard not to tear up. I didn’t want daddy to get upset about me missing the home we had just left. Well, he may think I didn’t love him anymore, so I held my secrets inside of me.

“Of course you’ll bring the kids with you and all of you will move back home. It’s the best place to be for now. You don’t really know how long that trial will take and of course there is the divorce filing to think about.”

Daddy didn’t say anything. He just kept eating. I don’t know what a divorce was but I always saw his eyes get sad when the word was mentioned. It did seem like daddy did just about everything his parents said. I hoped when he got sad or teary-eyed, that was his way of letting me know he missed mama too.

“I saw in a newspaper that was sitting in the bathroom that her trial starts on Monday. It’s about time. Just wasting our tax dollars sitting there in jail. We just want to get this all done and move on,” grandma said.

When my brother and I were done eating, grandma wiped our faces off. I wish she would let me do that by myself, after all, I was a big girl now. She couldn’t get all the ketcup off brother’s face so she licked her finger and wiped the red stuff off.

Grandpa threw all the trash away and grandma picked up her purse and we all left the restaurant. Back in the car we went.

To be continued…