Friday, February 23, 2007

The fall from Grace..

Not one for watching television, and still you can’t get around the media circus over Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith. Everywhere you go grocery stores, shops etc people are talking about them. Is it that we like to point fingers at those who have more and fall from grace? The old adage” we all put our pants on one leg at a time.” or is it “curiosity killed the cat?”

Trying to get the facts for my own childhood, I glanced over a few articles my sister had saved. For my brother and sisters, life for them seem pretty perfect, at first that is. We came from what seemed from the outside a fairly average family. But life was going to take a drastic change. My mother had quite the princess lifestyle. The only little girl in a rather large extended family, she had everything she ever wanted. In the era it was unheard of supermarkets and malls, everything was little shops.My grandmother owned her own Beauty shop. Grandfather was a music professor and my great grand parents owned the groceries stores that were so common to the city. Educated an attractive her life seemed almost perfect, until that is her father took his life, her world came crashing down around her. She was daddies little girl, the stories circulating varied. Some say he couldn’t deal with the fact that he was going deaf , a musician without hearing. Others said that he didn’t deal well with my grandmother asking for a divorce in a time when divorce was uncommon and unheard of . Either way it was devastating. Unstable and not dealing well with the loss of her father, she married far to young. Even worse she married a man from the wrong side of tracks. At first family extended a hand out, and they
pulled some strings to get him employed with a great company making a very comfortable wage for the times.
New home, new husband, new life and then came four children. The stories vary to some degree depending on who your talking to. My mother went about living the lifestyle she was accustomed to, She shopped only the finest boutiques, and her children dressed in the best of clothes. It was all about image, to the outside it was perfect.There was more going on as they say “ then meets the eye.” My father became ill, not manly to be ill,he didn’t go for medical help, instead he allowed a infection to get into his blood stream, one that would nearly kill him. He didn't recuperate very quickly and didn’t get back to work. Mother went on as if nothing
happen the children in dance classes , shopping for the best , a new car, life as usual. They used what savings they had to pay the bills and as my mother said" I thought he would make it back to work sooner." It didn’t quite happen that fast, taxes , utilities and store credit cards were mounting. She picked up some work secretarial and even went into a factory for awhile. But the pressures were mounting, Dr. prescribed drugs just complicated life, uppers, downers and something in between.

I was two years old and my sisters eight , ten and my brother twelve, when my mother in a very public display attempted suicide. She broke her back and was hospitalized for quite a long time after that, my eldest sister had become really the only mother I knew, what little visions I can remember were of her pushing me in a stroller and holding me. Ah... they grew up quickly as their childhood life shattered., ridicule from other children, the struggles that came with children raising children.

My father eventually made it back to work and I remember as a adult asking why he didn’t stay working he had children that to needed to fed, he said it was difficult with the other men, his pride had gotten in the way. What did he think was going on for his own children,had he not visioned his own childrens plight, what they were enduring in school etc.

Strict he was and the house was perfect, the eldest sister worked washing clothes by hand , ironing , cooking cleaning, she became a little adult. My brother did everything possible to make a few dollars to pay the corner store grocery bill from picking up odd jobs to penny pitching. I use to love to watch him penny pitch, he became so good that he could make a few dollars in one till and that bought a lot of milk and bread.
For me many of the memories from the years of ten and under are muddled, I think I have unconsciously blocked many of the extreme and violent ones out. Occasionally a word, a place, a conversation would evoke a thought and like a flash, a chapter would open.


Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

I don't know why we as a culture love to see people fall from grace. Maybe its our own fears projected outward. Perhaps if they fall it somehow justifies our own failures. I don't know.

What I do know is that anyone who has survived a difficult childhood is first and foremost a survivor. They have fortitude and strength and it is this that can help them to weather life's storms. And sometimes the tools used to survive as a child become outgrown and no longer useful. And then, it is perhaps time to drop them and let them go.


Children with out voices said...

Usually I'm not a loss for words, but indeed everyone reaches within for the tools they need to survive. I think children are especially good at that, it is their sanguine diposition. The interpetation of each event effects each individiual involved
differently, some able to survive
others no quite so forunate.

Matty said...

I think we are all curious as to how the rich and famous live. I feel so sad about Anna Nicole,,,what a sad empty life she had. And now everyone is fighting for a piece of the pie. It's easy to see she didn't have love in her life,,,she had no self-esteem, everyone used her and finally she was her own worst enemy. May she rest in peace but the public won't let that happen. It's horrible to see everyone fight over her body and her child. If she got half that attention in life, maybe her story would have a happy ending.

As for our past,,I too had a difficult childhood, coming from a very large poor family. We knew poverty and hardships. My way of dealing with it was with humour. Humour always got me through the bad times. A few others in my family were not so lucky,,mental disease,,early marriages,,depression, self-medication and the list goes on.
I also don't have too many memories,,I think we do block them out, otherwise we wouldn't survive.

Anonymous said...

Might it be we fall under the spell of the Media? For what is powerful then the word?