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Around A Turn

  Gently flipping her curly, sand-dune inspired hair, Nicole Brumgardner opens a soda with her long red nails and curses as she breaks one. "I KNEW that was going to happen, and yet I did it anyway! It's like I have to test the universe to see if it's really going to follow the laws of ...


Taking the Heat in the Kitchen

Len Vertefeuille was born and raised into a loving family on the East coast. He now lives in North Carolina and he and his wife Lisa have two children who mean the world to Len. He has been working in the Warren Wilson College kitchen since 1989. Len enjoys cooking for and working alongside ...


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Date Range: 10/01/2009 To 10/31/2009   Comments: 3 Views: 6794
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I know that my place within our family branch is definitely different than anyone else in our family.  I am the first born of my generation of folks.  While I am my mother's only child, I am my father's oldest child.  I am also the first grandchild for both sets of my grandparents. 

Over the course of the years I have had to decide which identity best suited me.  Even though I am the oldest sister in my family of siblings, I am honestly an only child. 

This is the identity that best suits my personality type and how I actually operate as a person.

Whenever I reveal that I am an only child, the first response that I usually receive back is so stereotypical, "Oh, I know you're spoiled and use to having your way."  This usually makes me cringe on the inside.  This is so far from the truth of my life time experiences.

My mother is an only child also.  Her parents were no nonsense individuals who had a tremendous task to perform in her life.  When you are a member of a group that is not totally accepted for whatever reason, there are challenges that you face.  Even if you do not want to do so.  This was the reality for my mother when she was born.  American Negroes were in the struggle to obtain full rights and privileges that White Americans took for granted.  How could my maternal grandparents spoil her?  Economically they were stable for the times, but they knew that she would have to work twice as hard to gain a place within the society. 

It was not that different when I was born in 1953.  Segregation was considered to be an acceptable practice in this nation. I was born as an American Negro female.  A double burden by today's political standards.  By the time I was born, my family had raising an only child down to an art form. 

I will not deny that I did have some really nice material things in my childhood.  I learned later in life that providing for just one child allows parents to make purchases that are not often possible when there are more children in the household.

But, I wasn't spoiled by a long shot.  I had to help out around the house. I was expected to mind my elders.  And my grandparents and mother did not let me get away with things that they had deemed incorrect.

When my parents divorced, I was 2 years old.  My mother had to go to work because she did not want to move back into her parents house.  Even though we both would of been welcomed.
In that particular era of time, child care centers were not open to working people who did not hold professional jobs.  My grandparents took me into their home to raise me until my mother could get back up on her feet.

I often remember that people would learn that I was an only child and they would not hesitate to say, "One day your mommy will re-marry and you'll have sisters and brothers." The first part of their belief was true.  However, my mother has never given birth to any other children.

People who come from families with siblings often believe that only children are lonely.  That's not true.  At least not within my experience.  Being solo is so natural to my senses.  In reality, I have often felt most lonely when there are large crowds around me.  It seems like I lose my sense of myself during those moments. 

Being an only child has made me fiercely independent. I trust my basic instincts.  I also feel really comfortable doing things I enjoy without another person present.

 I am okay with living with myself.  I find that among my friends, my sense of contentment is greater than theirs. Each of them are from large families and they all seem to need someone in their space at all times.

Do I miss you all being in the house-quite frankly-no.  Even though you are my children and I love you with my whole heart, I like coming home to peace and quiet.  I like the comfort that comes with knowing that each one of you has even made it to adulthood.  That is a major feat for any family in our community.

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Gina Pertonelli said:
posted on Oct 11, 2009

I grew up in a stilted environment, however (and to say the least) but what I hated most was the chaos. I longed for quiet. I relish in it now, which is why I live alone. My bf (on here, Tomas) has a huge family and it's loud and I adore visiting them, but I like coming home to my little own place even more :)

Member Since
Aug 2007
Archibald Sharron said:
posted on Oct 14, 2009

Welcome to the site and stories. I've lived alone for quite some time now. Not by choice but because my wife passed. I miss her, but I can also healthily enjoy my "alone" time as well.

With regards,
Archibald Sharron

Member Since
Oct 2009
Henrietta Giseppe said:
posted on Oct 22, 2009

You too, keep on writing. I want to read it!!!!