She was an average looking woman, if ever there is such a thing. Her past was a mystery. She said something about motorcycles once or twice. Her scars made sense if that was the case. She never said much about who she was, or about anything for that matter. Actually, she never spoke to me about anything, period.
I know you’ve been introduced to Cinderella’s Step mother. My step mother made her look like a Saint. Cinderella’s step mother had her own daughters, that she pampered while she was harsh on lil Cin. My step mother didn’t have that, she had just inherited three-step children, and probably didn’t really want us. She wanted the respected, hard-working, man who could provide for her. We were my dad’s baggage, as far as I can tell.
She was nice enough right at the start, but something changed one day. I don’t even know when things seemed to change, one day things just weren’t right between myself and my step mother. Later in my life I came to the conclusion, we were incompatible. We apparently had personality conflicts. At 11 years old, that really didn’t mean much.
I was brought up to respect my elders. That meant I shouldn’t argue about whatever was a problem. That also meant I shouldn’t talk back, or offer up any opinions, or cause any grief whatsoever. That meant I should shut up, and take whatever is dished out, unflinchingly! So I did.
I really should do a more in-depth post about who I was at 11 years of age. At 11, I was just beginning to see who I was, and where I stood in this world. I awoke one morning, with a map in my head! You are here, the map proclaimed. That little spot in the San Francisco bay area. I knew I was insignificant as an individual. Just a kid, and not anything remarkable, but my horizons were quickly expanding. It was like I awakened to the knowledge of the universe, right there in my brain! I had an understanding of “things” I had never been consciously told or had learned.
That, unfortunately was probably the whole problem, between her and myself. Maybe she saw it in my eyes, as I never said anything about any of this. But the problems between us grew at an alarming rate. I was in the 5th grade, and not really doing well with school in general. So , I spent most of my time “on restriction”, a sentence that entailed I would not be able to do anything.
I wasn’t allowed to go out to play, see friends or have friends over, or be involved with extra-curricular activities. I could go to school, and come straight back, nothing else. I was to sit in a corner of my bedroom and just be. That changed when I was watching the doorway, and saw my step mother laying on the floor creeping around the corner, spying on me!
So as to keep me from noticing such behavior from her, I was allowed to read. I read every book we had in the house, and that included the complete ” Encyclopedia Britannica ” including the atlas. It was a set of books published in 1954, the year I was hatched, or pulled out from under the rock out back.
I had spent the rest of that year on restriction, even the summer. This punishment only got me in more trouble with my step mother, for several reasons. All of that reading improved my education and taught me more than an eleven year old kid should ought to know. I went into the 6th grade, in September of ” 65 ” and knew everything!
Some of the books I read were old school books. Math, science, English, Spanish, history, and I can’t even remember what more. One of the problems with this particular punishment was, my comprehension was increased by ten fold and I was able to read very fast. I could actually scan a book and tell you, where things were written. You know, that can be found on page 87 about 3/4 of the way down the page!
So, I was punished for that too. In trouble because I could read very fast! Unfortunately I was made to reread most of those boxes of books, because I read them too quickly, and that only drilled the information I had gleaned from them, stick in my mind all the more.
So, I went into the 6th grade and had classes I never before had. We were to learn Spanish, for the first time and the teacher announced who she was, in Spanish. I had read the books, but didn’t have the pronunciation skills. When the Spanish teacher spoke, everything I had read became clear. I understood what she had said, and was able to respond in return. I became a favorite, for all of my teachers.
I took all of my school books home, and during the first two weeks of school, I did the work, in those books, wrote the reports, and made sure all of my work was correct, and shown! That only got me in more trouble with my step mother. How could I stay below the radar, if I was the teacher’s pet?
I finished out that year, still on full-time restriction, yet with honors, as the top student academically, and even got a plaque (award) for my accomplishments, and honors for raising my grade average from the lowest, to the top! That only infuriated my step mother more.
I was abused! I was beaten with anything my step mother could find to hit me with. Coat hangers, leaving welts from my calves, to the top of my shoulders. Welts that turned black and blue. I was hit with boards, from building projects. I was hit on my head with hair clippers, while getting haircuts. I had my front teeth knocked out by her, with a piece of walnut wood.
She was angry about something and asked me about it. I politely gave an explanation, and was threatened, ” tell me the truth or else “. I told the truth, and wham! Right in the kisser, and I could taste the blood and broken teeth in my mouth. I was already taller than her by this time, and I think she might have been a little afraid, I might retaliate. My upbringing didn’t allow me to raise a hand to her, even in self-defense.
I stood there and let her trash my mouth, and just took it. She immediately called my Dad at work, and told him I was running around the house in my socked feet, and slipped, hitting my mouth on the corner of the shelving where the aquarium was. She even dented the spot, so she could show where my stupid kid accident happened!
Our family moved during the summer of “66”, to Marin County California. The reason why, was because my step mother didn’t like the house my Dad, and Mom has bought when I was 5. She didn’t want the reminder of my real mom. She wanted to be my Dad’s wife, without the competition of our mom, or the memories thereof.
My step mother continued to abuse me, and one of her favorite games was, to treat one of us kids special, and use that to get information about us other kids. I was never the one to get this special treatment. I was the middle child, so my younger brother, or my elder sister were given those honors.
Since we were in a new area, my step mother asked the school to allow me to go back into 6th grade again, as it was too difficult for me at the new school. So I went to 6th grade again. I was told not to allow anyone to know how smart I was. I was told to do poorly, so as to not call any attention to myself. I would close my eyes to the lessons, and just pick any answer on the quiz.
That really didn’t help though. Even intentionally trying to fail, my grades were higher than my step mother wanted me to get. I would not read the questions and still pass with good marks. I was always in trouble, and it seemed like I could never please her.
If something went wrong, or was broken, misplaced, or messed up, I was the blame. It didn’t matter what the thing was, nor how trivial, I got in trouble and it was always with a beating.
I ran away from home a few times, and was always caught. ( I will go into this more, later ) The last time I ” ran away “, I took my brother and sister to a place I knew, where we would be able to get help with our situation. That worked! We were placed in foster homes and didn’t have to go back to live with my step mother.
My sister and I went by my Dad’s house on day a couple of years later, to see if we could get my sister’s guitar. My step mother opened the door, only a crack and said, she didn’t have any of our stuff anymore, and we should leave. She was afraid of me! And I never raised a hand against her. She was afraid, and I looked straight into her eyes, knowing she could never hurt us again.