Looking back at life some things look a whole lot different now than what it looked like at the time it was going on. Some things in my life were not as bad as they seemed and others were worse, after posting the Wordless Wednesday picture of myself I started looking back at a situation that I have questions on but know there is no point in asking today.
I remember starting school in Easley, SC, my Mom and Dad were already divorced and he came to visit my Brother, Baby Sister and I on the weekends and sometimes took us with him, then all of a sudden he wasn’t coming around anymore, I wasn’t sure why but came to find he had actually moved out of state. I began my first year of school at West End Elementary School it was within walking distance and that worked well as Mom had no car, she walked with me to show me the way to school and get me registered after that it was up to me to get there on my own, we practiced the ABC’s and my writing so I would have a head start in class and she packed an egg sandwich in a paper bag every morning for me to take for lunch, armed with my school box and a big chief tablet I was off to learn what this school had in store for me, most of the other kids got to eat the lunches prepared at school and there were a few of us paper bag kids, I remember them pointing and laughing at my egg sandwich but to this day I do love an egg sandwich and that first year of school turned out pretty good I learned that everything in life is not fair and when you are poor an egg sandwich is pretty danged good for lunch.
At the end of the school year Mom told us that Dad was going to come and take us with him for the summer, just for the summer she promised, he was living in New Mexico and we were going to go with him and come back home in time to enroll my Brother in school and for me to begin grade two at West End, my Dad had remarried and his new wife was not really receptive of now having three step children, our summer was miserable and I remember looking forward to getting through it so we could go back home. Summer ended and instead of going home Dad took my Brother and I down to Eugene Field Elementary School and registered us for classes, this was not how it was supposed to be I wasn’t supposed to go to school here but yet I was and now they were calling me down to my brothers class to translate what he was saying as they could not understand him and when I tried to translate they would laugh at how funny I sounded, the school stuck him in a speech class to straighten out his way of talking and I had to repeat what I was saying over and over for their amusement, I know now that it wasn’t because they didn’t understand me it was because they got a kick out of hearing my accent, I still hate to hear things like “Say that again it sounds so funny”, I guess you never lose or want to lose that Southern accent completely no matter how hard folks think you should.
I saw my first tornado in New Mexico and the first hail storm scared me to death because I had never seen balls of ice falling out of the sky, this too made my teacher laugh and she took me down to the office so I could tell my story to the principal, this too brought the laughter that I grew to hate, a little girl in my class became a good friend she didn’t laugh at my brother and I her name was Connie and she lived across the alley from us, we walked to and from school together and played in each others yards heck we even sat and watched the police drive up and down the street searching the neighborhood from her front porch one afternoon while we were avoiding the step mom only to find out that we were the ones being searched for since the step mom reported us missing, this did not go over well needless to say.
We did have some good times such as going over to Grand Dads house and going fishing at the lake, one trip ended with me playing with the stringer of fish only to lose them when I fell into the water, this I think was the first time my Dad spanked me but I do believe I actually scared him to death and now there was a whole stringer of fish that he didn’t have to clean so it was ok, especially since I had caught a bigger one than he did and now the proof was gone, my Dads Brother also lived in the same town and we got to play with a group of cousins we didn’t know we had so there was some family here and we did have fun with them.
Our time in New Mexico ended when Dad got a letter stating we had to go back to South Carolina, I am not sure if he actually got a letter or not but I know we had been called home and had to get there pretty quick, we were so excited to be going home and the three day two night drive back to Easley, SC was a mini vacation filled with gas station novelties, frosted flakes with chocolate milk, and glares from the step mom with a fake smile because we were not stopping anywhere for long, it was to be another year before we made it back to living with Mom, we were supposed to tell a judge that we wanted to live with Dad but when we refused to do so we finally got to go home.
Mom never had a lot of money and she always worked hard to make sure we had what we needed, Dad always tried too hard to make up for not being there, I look back now and realize that Mom and Dad both were in their early and mid twenties respectively at this time and I know how stupid I was at this age, Mom was always a good Mother and Dad wasn’t really a kidnapper but now I see that due to him not thinking things through or just being too stubborn to accept the fact that you are wrong, we were missing in action for a couple years. A father trying to get his kids back from the Mother who does everything in her power to make sure us kids were properly taken care of was not a fight that should have involved us kids in my opinion, but that was the way it happened.
Divorce is a hard thing and in my opinion the kids are the ones who lose out if the parents can’t make it work, I have been on both sides as a kid of divorced parents and a Father who has lost contact with his children neither side is easy to deal with, I had a lawyer actually say one of the smartest things on this subject about parents fighting over little things in court, “The marriage didn’t work are you trying to make it to where the divorce doesn’t work either”
I never thought I’d go back to New Mexico but as you all know I did, I left a lot of good friends behind in South Carolina right after graduation for what was supposed to be a short visit out of town, that little road trip is now over thirty years old, there has been a lot of heartache and joy in New Mexico and I grew to hate that place but I suppose that can happen where ever you live, my friend Connie was hit by a car and died the summer we left New Mexico and going back as an adult I formed a bond with my Grand Dad, saw the birth of my sons, and met Cindy who fills my life with enough joy to make the heartaches a distant memory.
Things happen as we grow up and we don’t always have control over the circumstances, holding a grudge and placing blame may help in the short term but letting go of the things you can’t change or the things that bring you down and concentrating on the things that make you happy keeps you sane and makes getting up in the morning well worth it.