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…

Chapter Twenty-Five

I eventually woke up but I didn’t open my eyes. The three adults were talking so I wanted to listen. They were talking about mama. They sure were saying bad things about her. She was our mama and she wasn’t always the nicest, but was she as bad as they were saying? When I compared her to Miss Bea, I sadly had to agree with the adults and yet it hurt my heart.

“I hope she rots in prison son. She sure deserves it. She took those kids without no one even knowing and kidnapped them through four states. She never even called once.”

” I don’t know if it’s all her fault dad. We had been doing a lot of fighting lately. I was working long and late hours and she got tired of being home with the two kids and I know I was plenty tired and probably not being the best husband.”

“She stole the kids for Christ sakes. Nothing you two did gave her the right to up and take the kids from you. They’re your damn kids too, remember? I haven’t went down to the jail to see her and I have no plans to either. She can just sit there and rot until her court case gets here. I’m sure they will throw the book at her for what she done.”

Daddy didn’t say anything but somehow I could feel the sadness seeping through the front seat to the back where I sat.” Son”, grandma said. ” You are going to have to file for divorce. You have no choice. Those kids need looking after and she has just proven to me she is unfit. You know, I always told you that. She was no good. You took her with her looks only and then you made the big mistake; getting her pregnant and at her age! Only fifteen! My God son, what were you thinking? Well you weren’t thinking, at least not with the right head.”

Daddy didn’t respond to her remark. He knew he had done wrong. I could see that by the quietness in the front seat. Did daddy still love mama? I still loved mama even when she wasn’t the nicest mama. I looked over at my brother. Did he still love mama? Did he even remember her? He looked so much better now a days then he did. I didn’t want to ever see him go backwards to what once was. Remember what I said? He cried a lot and never smiled.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Four

Daddy put us kids in the car. It was a little cramped with grandma and grandpa in the car but daddy made it work. Grandpa was in the front seat and he looked back at us kids.” They look a little thin son. We’re going to have to start feeding them more.” Grandma just watched us. She didn’t say anything to us but she smiled instead.

The car took off and from what conversation I heard; we had a long drive in front of us. My heart was still hurting a little from knowing I wasn’t going to see Miss Bea anymore but I was glad that I had my daddy back. My brother did what he usually did; he watched out the window and I knew in no time at all, he would fall asleep. Was he missing Miss Bea also?

” It’s about damn time we found these kids and got them back. That bitch you married doesn’t deserve to ever see them again and I’ll make damn sure she doesn’t” Daddy looked over at his dad and didn’t say anything.

Grandpa was talking about mama. He sure seemed like he didn’t like her much. I thought about mama and wondered how long it had been since I had seen her. I could still see her in my head. Mama was a pretty lady. She was tall and thin. She had blonde hair and she liked to smoke a lot. She would be a better mama if she didn’t say all those naughty words.

I wondered where mama was. Was she going to be there when we got there? I wondered where were we going? Were we going home or to grandma’s house? I sort of secretly wished we were going home. That’s where my toys were and my bed. When we go to visit grandma we have to be real quiet and we can only play with one toy at a time but most times we had to sit on a chair and just be quiet. My daddy had a saying, ” children are to be seen and not heard” and he practiced it often.

Daddy didn’t play the music thing. It was real quiet in the car. Every once in a while someone made a comment about that building or look what they are building. Other than that there wasn’t a lot to see in my opinion.

I decided to do what brother was doing, let my eyes go shut. I napped and life was taking us further into questions and taking us farther away from smiling.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Three

When Miss Bea had gathered all of our belongings, she brought them to where my daddy was standing. There were tears in her eyes and although I was young, my heart started aching and I also started crying.

I knew this was goodbye. My daddy sort of ignored us. He glanced my way and then went about thanking Miss Bea for all she had done for us. She took my brother out of daddy’s arms and gave him a big hug. My brother hugged her back. She was telling him how proud of him for all his progress he had made while staying there. My tears became harder as I grabbed a hold of her around her waist and clung like my life was about to change and I didn’t want anymore changes.

Miss Bea told me with glistening eyes, ” Keep an eye on your brother for me, will you? Make sure you two remain safe and know this young lady; you are very much loved here in this house.” I hugged her as tight as I could and told her I loved her too and was going to miss her real bad.

Daddy took my brother back and said, ” Let’s go kids. Grandma and grandpa are waiting in the car.” I kept looking back as daddy tugged at my hand to leave. Miss Bea was sobbing and yet still able to smile at us. She was waving at all of us. This was our final goodbye.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty -Two

Life was good, it was very good. Miss Bea became a mom to my brother and me. I didn’t think of mama as often as I did when I first arrived here; I did think of her though, just not as much.

My brother was sitting up real good. He fed himself most of his foods. He even lifted his own cup. I heard laughter from him and he sure smiled a lot. This made me so happy. I had gained a little weight and so did my brother.

It was another day like all the others when a knock was heard at the front door. Miss Bea went and opened it. I saw her stand back a little bit and she put her hands around her face. She had this look on her face like she had seen a big ghost. She looked like those funny characters on my favorite cartoon show, Casper the friendly ghost. I almost laughed out loud but I sort of felt like she was really shocked or scared of whoever was standing at the door, so I didn’t laugh.

She stood back and said,” Won’t you come in sir?” I watched with great interest as the person walked in and then stood there looking at the place. Suddenly I jumped up from the floor and ran over to him. He picked me up and we hugged. “Daddy!”

I glanced over at my brother but his facial expression hadn’t changed much. Did he not remember who this was? I turned my head back to daddy and gave him the biggest hug ever. I looked behind him and I didn’t see mama anywhere. “Where’s mama? Daddy, where’s mama?” I was almost frightened to hear his words.

“She isn’t with us right now. Maybe you will see her later. I have grandma and grandpa waiting in the car.”

“They came to visit us?” I asked. Daddy asked Miss Bea if she could go gather our things around. He said he was going to be taking us with him. Miss Bea figured that was what he was going to say. She hung her head a little but did as she was told.

While she was getting our clothes together, daddy put me down and went over and picked up his son. He looked him over and I think he was proud of the way my brother had grown. He didn’t actually say it; but I could tell by his smile .

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-One

I liked our new life. I felt safe and no one yelled at me and my brother seemed happy. He giggled and smiled and that made me very happy. I didn’t want this to ever end. It was better than any fairy tale I had ever known.

Meanwhile back at the jail, I heard years later that mama was what some would call a regular pest. She was still in jail and let many that were around her know that she didn’t like it. She was constantly yelling for the guards and was asking when she was going to be let out of her cage.

She got into mild fights with other female inmates. I heard mama always thought her way of thinking was the right way. I heard once that she would call the guards back to her cell in the night time and offer them favors if she could just be let out for a small break. I don’t know what kind of offers she said she’d give but now that I was grown-up; I can only imagine.

I think if I had been her, I would have been spending my time being a good example and trying to work at showing those people that she was worthy of being released, that there must have been some sort of mistake?

I don’t know, but like I said prior, mama thought she was always right. I don’t know how long mama stayed behind those bars but from what I was told, her mom and dad finally came up with the money needed for her to get out and she went home with her parents. I wondered if she thought about me and bubby. I didn’t know and part of me didn’t care. Does that make sense to you? It made me confused because I missed mama and I loved mama but my days were much better without her.

Her mom and dad took care of her. I think they lived about twenty miles from where I used to live. I learned they lived at a lake somewhere near Columbia City but I never went there or at least I don’t remember any lake.

Mama had court dates she had to attend and knowing mama; I bet she didn’t like that one little bit but I figure when she appeared, she looked as nice as she could. Lots of times I noticed mama always looked pretty around men.

On the first court date she had, she learned what she was being charged with. The judge spoke and said,” Young lady, you are now being charged with kidnapping and taking those children out of state and abuse. How do you plead?”

Mama probably cried out loud and I could just hear her saying, I didn’t do any such thing judge, your honor. She probably crossed her legs and hiked her dress up a little just to show the judge her pretty legs. Yes, I was young in those days, but I watched mama too much and I knew her ways.

” I didn’t kidnap any kids your honor. Those were my kids, my flesh and blood. Life was bad at home sir and I just wanted to give us a better life.” Evidently, the judge didn’t fall for her performance and he said that she was to be returned back to her cell and a court date would be announced with a trial. Wow! A trial, I had never been to a trial.

To be continued…