Thursday, March 8, 2007

Plaid Skirts

When my eldest sister turned sixteen she fought for and won minor emancipation, a right to care for herself. Father was angry, he called her a traitor to the family. We were forbidden to speak with her and he would say she is to dead to us. I was eight years old when she left, I didn’t see her much and those years are a bit fuzzy as at times they were not pleasant in nature. Moving around from house to house , person to person. so very little stability.

Time passed and I was in seventh grade, I was in a class that had to be taken at another school as the class I signed up for wasn’t offered at the private school. My eldest sister lived not far from vo tech school and I would sneak to her apartment to have lunch. She took me shopping and bought me my first grown up clothes, that were not hand me downs. Getting them into the house is another story. I can remember the outfit, down to the very colors actually I saved the sweater, call me sentimental or some might say I’m a disorganized pack rat. The plaid skirt had the brass pin that was so common to that era, and the wool fabric was a blend of pink , purple and green, the blouse was silky in a coordinating pink, the sweater was a wool button up with silver buttons. Panty hose hadn’t come around yet and they still sold stockings. It was the very first time I would have my own stockings, she bought me this floral panty garter belt and matching bra. I felt so grown up.

I said that I was fortunate or is it that I knew how to walk on egg shells better then anyone in our house. Actually there were two reasons my father did beat me, one he thought I was weak and couldn’t handle it as he said to me many times that I was the weak child. and the other reason was I became the ultimate pleaser When he found out that I had spoken with my sister he had become furious , so angry so quick he raised his hand and swung across my face, you have joined the traitor. From that point on it was very different. I knew that fear would touch much closer to home. I know it’s not like the extremes, that I saw threw the cracks in the door or the sounds I heard as I place my ear to floor vents. This was different, he was angry with me. I was afraid and we were out in public when it happen and so it didn’t escalate. But if he could be so angry on a street corner what would he do if he found out I took the clothes. I was so afraid to wear the, I hid them for months, I would bring out once piece at a time so as not bring attention, by the time, I found the courage to wear it the skirt was to short, the blouse gaped open at the bust line and I still proudly put it on and wore it to school.

This person father called a traitor, was family, how could he do this, how could he forbid us to speak to the person who cared me in my younger years? The sister who made sure we were dressed and fed and cleaned, who was a more a mother in many ways then my own mother.I was growing up, father hated that more then anything, there was a certain amount of control lost when we all started to grow up. We were reaching out more, exploring the world around us. It was evident that what we were experiencing was far from the norm.


Matty said...

Such a sad story...children looking to their elders for security and stability. It's nice having an older sister,,,,I am very much bonded to my older sister,,,we went through so much together,and still we are like 2 peas in a pod....and yet, we are so different. My older sister did buy me... my first new pair of underwear, brand new...not 2nd hand, and my first restaurant meal. Those things you don't forget.

Children with out voices said...

I have been taking advantage of the spring thaw and enjoying the outdoors a little.
Thank you for stopping by again Matty, sometimes family understands more without words then anyone will ever understand. Things that most people take for granted, is what those who have done without appreciate the most.