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July 27, 2010

Roy Rogers and Trigger

My brother is two years older than I am. He was born in southern California. Our mother took him with her to her hometown in North Dakota and I was born a couple months early in the middle of a snowstorm so I was not a native Californian. Something my brother held over my head all my life.

The first six years of my life, both parents did not work. We moved from place to place in a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Life changed for my brother and me when our parents went to work and we were both in school. During the school year we were driven to school in town by our mother and waited in the convent for school to begin and after school waited again in the convent for our mother to pick us up.

Summer vacations from school were total freedom for my brother and me. We were home alone all day and when our parents were there, the atmosphere was tense and things going on that my brother and I did not understand. We tried to stay quiet and out of the way when the parents were around.

During the day we watched television because we were instructed to stay inside and not go outside at all. This is where the problem started. My brother thought he being the elder child automatically made him the decider of what to watch. I wanted to watch Roy Rogers and he wanted to watch Cisco Kid. I wanted to eat lunch watching Sheriff John and he wanted to watch something else. We would fight about it. There was no remote so we would each keep jumping up and turn the channel. It's a wonder we didn't break the knob off! I know it appears I must have been a sweet docile youngster, but I wasn't. I would stand up to anyone, even my older brother.

Many times the argument over what program to watch went to such lengths that my brother would become enraged and run into the kitchen and grab a butcher knife and come after me. I would run around the house and eventually run out the back door and keep running. Now I not only had my brother ready to do away with me I now had disobeyed the rule of staying inside. My brother would lock the door and not let me back in.

Every time I see a picture of Roy Rogers I think of all the hours my brother and I were alone in a house out in the country unable to learn how to get along. The example we lived with was an alcoholic father who was legally blind and an emotionally unstable mother. We saw so much fighting and screaming and many times we pulled our father off our mother when he was choking her or burning her. We had mixed feelings ourselves because sometimes we wanted to be doing the same thing to her. And most of the time my brother and I didn't know what the other one was doing when our parents were there because we were each out somewhere hiding. Hiding our skinny little bodies soon became hiding our deprived hearts.

46 comments:

Rock Chef said...

That is a really sad way to spend a childhood. My own was a bit mixed (my father was being treated for schizophrenia with psychotic tendencies) but I was never afraid like that and my mom was a rock - at least I had one parent to rely on.

You turned out good in the end, though! Sending a big hug.

Maggie May said...

That was really sad to read and it is a wonder that you grew up to be normal! (Whatever that is.)
Maybe if you had your childhood today, things would be much better for you. People might have picked up on your problems at home.
However, you have used these experiences for good and that has probably enriched your life & made you into the person you are now. :-)
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Mr. Stupid said...

Those are some really sad memories. It must have been a hard childhood to lead. These are the moments that change a person's life. These tiny incidents have made you the person you are today, techno.
Smiles...

Brian Miller said...

this is really sad...sorry you had t go through that...no child should ever have to...and that last sentence far too often follows...

Syd said...

So sad. I am sorry that those memories aren't happier. I remember watching those old Westerns and loving them. I too am sending you a hug. This one really hurt my heart.

deb said...

I don't know what to say really.
I share some of those feelings.
Hugs to you,

and may all the beauty and love and peace you have now bring comfort and distance to those days.

Betty said...

Wow. I´m sure this was hard to write. I feel for the little girl who has suffered so much emotionally. I can´t even imagine what you must have been through.

Jeanie said...

The saying "What doesn't kill us just makes us stronger" comes to my mind. You are one strong woman.

I would have been on your side, fighting to watch Roy Rogers.

gayle said...

This is such a sad story!! No one should have to grow up like that but unfortunately so many do. The wonderful thing is how great you turned out!!!

Dave King said...

This began like normal sibling relationships (I thought) and then went dark. I don't suppose any childhood is perfect, but I reckon you must rate as survivor. Thanks for sharing.

The Urban Cowboy said...

This is really sad, I'm so sorry your childhood memories are painful. To come out of an environment like that and become the beautiful soul you are takes courage and strength.

ellen abbott said...

Pretty awful. We just hid from our father to avoid being the one he dumped his own unhappiness on while our mother slept her life away.

R. J. said...

It was interesting to read your family situation, I can really relate to the brother issues. I also have one two years older and the stories I could tell--I'll restrain myself. I can just feel the bile bubbling up. Some day I will have to write about the camera we were supposed to "share". Today, we do fine, but there is still a bit of distance there due to years of blows between us. We fought a lot too and literally sometimes. I'm closer to my brother who is nine years older. He was too old to fight with me and left home while I was still a kid.

Kristina P. said...

This makes my heartbreak. Working with abused children, the stuff kids go through is so unfair.

Shadow said...

this was sad to read. must've been hard to live... but i'm glad you've taken the steps to break the cycle. you are a strong lady!

Charlie said...

I'm glad I looked in today, TB. Your post is more proof that our childhoods were nearly carbon copies. I am an older brother too: my little sister is two years almost to the day (she, 5/31, me, 6/2) younger than I am.

I remember spending a lot of time trying to protect her from the nightmare.

Mama Zen said...

That last line just killed me.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Wow...that was not the post I expected when I saw the picture.

I was lucky to live in a home where, though there were fights between mom and dad...they always made it right and are still together after 54 years.

I hate reading stories like this and my heart goes out to you...but you seem to have survived the ordeal

Kazzy said...

Heartbreaking. Are you and your brother close?

blueviolet said...

I can see why your brother chased after you like that. He only did what he knew. What a shame!

Maggie said...

That must have been so frightful! I could not imagine myself being in such a situation.

You are such a wonderful person. Out of many of the bloggers I read I really look upto you, techno.

Opaque said...

But, the result is that you have emerged to be a stronger person.

secret agent woman said...

I loved a variant of this childhood, so I can sympathize.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh Techno-- BIg sigh....

Coming on the heels of your last post, it's easy to see how far you've come in life. I admire you so much and I am so very sorry any of this ever touched your life.

xo jj

Casey Freeland said...

Ah damn.

Stickup Artist said...

Oh My, I am so sorry you had to endure all that. Isn't it awful how a family can turn into a battlefield where children must defend for their lives and find a way, somehow to survive. Those memories could not have been easy to dredge up. I wish you peace and happiness.

Ina in Alaska said...

Sad story. A lot of pain, CiCi...((hug)) But I do remember changing TV stations by getting up and turning a knob.... We all got along as a family and had fun watching TV. One of my favorite nights was when the Wonderful World of Color was on.... we were allowed to have a snack, and one snack only: a bowl of dry Cheerios. That was back in the day when Cheerios came in only one version, the original one! xoxo

Bernie said...

I am so sorry that you have such sad memories from your childhood. You sound so secure and happy now I never would of guessed. So glad you are so happy now as you totally deserve it......:-) Hugs

TALON said...

Oh, (((TechnoBabe))), I wanted to scoop you and your brother up...heartbreaking.

It's amazing that we survive our childhoods. It truly is.

Robert the Skeptic said...

My father was an alcoholic; my mother... difficult to describe in a mere comment. But like you I took refuge in television.

I'm the oldest, my younger sister is not anyone I care to be around. It's been 10 years and other than accidentally running into her a couple of times during that period, we never see each other. The only thing I have in common with my sister is DNA.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am so sorry. The one thing we can't give ourselves is the happy childhood every child deserves. You are a true inspiration because you became a beautiful, caring person against all odds.

Big Dave T said...

That's terrible to experience such a childhood. And I don't think your situation (abusive father, emotionally unbalanced mother) was all that uncommon for our generation. That's one reason I kinda cringe when older folks talk about "the good old days."

Never saw the Cisco kid though. Roy Rogers I do remember. I thought it was kind of silly for him to ride a horse all the time when he could have just had a jeep like his buddy did.

Graceful said...

Your story really moved me this morning -- I am so saddened by how much suffering so many people endure. I try to remember that, when someone irritates me or cuts me off in traffice or is rude in the check-out line -- the burdens we carry are heavy.

P.S. Thank you very much for visiting my blog this week -- I have seen your comments often at Deidra's place, so I sort of feel like I know you a bit!

Cheryl said...

This story touched my heart very deeply. You are an amazing person! It is courageous of you to share your stories. Sending you hugs.

Julie said...

It breaks my heart that you endured such horror, Technobabe. But the part that really impresses me is how you took all of the hard knocks life gave you and turned them into something positive. Many people who read this will know they are not alone. You are a beautiful person!!

Shrinky said...

We can only learn from what we are taught, it's a wonder you or your brother didn't wind up killing each other. So sad, and so randomly unfair. I often find, those with the most difficult of childhoods, grow up to be the most worthy of people. You seem to prove my case (hugs).

I know this must have been a difficult post to write, but you wrote it well, bonny lass.

Pseudo said...

I could picture all of this. You tell your story well. I'm glad you evolved into the woman you are...

Fun fact. Sheriff John had a place at the mobile home park I lived along PCH in the 60's.

Robynn's Ravings said...

We should really live closer so we could talk about the crazy, insane times of growing up. Maybe this is one reason I cringe when parents think children will be alright by themselves. We did it, too, and things were anything but alright! This is probably the main reason I have chosen to be home with my kids even when we almost haven't made it.

And I hope to always be there for them as they need me, in appropriate doses. Somebody has to finally stand up and say, "Hey, I didn't have a childhood and the buck stops here. It's not okay to steal yours." That's been my life's mission - to change our family history.

Thanks for sharing your sadness and experience and I truly felt the line you so honestly added about feeling like doing to your mother the same thing your dad did. You've got GUTS, my friend.

Nezzy said...

My heart goes out to your little girl self and what your childhood consisted of. My dad could go off like a rocket by mom was always there to comfort me and build me back up.

You have yourself a terrifically blessed day girlfriend!

Unknown Mami said...

Breaks my heart. Somehow, you still managed to become an amazing person.

Lori said...

I am so sorry...so sad that you and your brother had to endure these things. I understand all too well your stories, like this one. I too did a good deal of hiding and knew violence all too well.

Right now I just want to hug the little girl you were. I sure am thankful right now, that you found your way to where you are today. Hugs to you. XX

Velvet Over Steel said...

So sorry about your childhood, etc. I had the same type of childhood. Except my brother was 5 years younger and weren't close until after we grew up. Very messed up emotionally a good portion of my life. Only started healing in the last 5 years.
Thank you for the honest post. You are helping so many people relate and heal! I love you writing and blog! Glad I found you to follow!
Take Care!
Hugs,
Coreen

Hilary said...

I'm sorry you had such a troubled childhood. No child should ever feel this way. Hugs to you.

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

A butcher knife?....

That was one enraged kid. :(

The Empress said...

We grew up in such an opposite household. In ours, there was silence. We had an emotionally detached mother who never talked to us, or looked us in the eye, or ever hugged, or said I love you. There was just silence, like we didn't exist. Which is why I stil feel like I don't matter.

How could I have not discovered your blog ever??? I feel home here...

Marla said...

It is ao amazing to see where you came from and where you are today. Big kudos to you my friend.