Mother told me she remembered the day I was born. She walked to the hospital which was only a couple blocks away. At the time she told me this I was fascinated that she walked alone, but not so much now that I had kids of my own.
The day I started having contractions with my second child I was going about my daily business as if nothing was going on because it didn’t bother me at first. Funny, my mother was surprised at me for driving around keeping appointments all by myself.
Mother remembered the day so well because she was doing laundry and she was angry at my father. My father sold her washing machine and bought a used washer and separate wringer (under the suggestion of my grandfather – his father). The used ones they bought didn’t work. Mother had to drain the washer by hand. The wringer (spinner) would get most of the water out of the clothes but they were still dripping wet and she would have to wring them by hand too and then hang them dry.
Mother was infuriated because the machine she had before worked fine. She liked her washing machine. There was no reason to sell it and get used ones. My father was always looking for a deal.
She kept bugging my father to get rid of them and get some new, decent machines. But he never would. After I was born and things were somewhat back to normal at home, she finally got so fed up that she went out and bought the new machines herself. She didn’t care about the money because she knew they had enough saved. Which was something that fueled the fire inside her. Why he wouldn’t buy new ones when they could afford it and it was worth it to have something that worked and would last.
Mother always was a good shopper. She isn’t frivolous. She isn’t finicky. She has a good sense of best buys or only buying the necessities. When I was young and we were living in our small, three bedroom home in National City (better known as Nasty City), California, she maintained the household well. Keeping after four children is no small feat.
Father was hardly ever home and when he was we were like cockroaches. Everyone scattered. My brother, Dominic (or Domo) was gone all the time hanging out with his high school friends. When I think back to when I was younger, he is never in the picture. I don’t have a lot of memories of him. My sister too, except she was around a little more. I remember her more because we shared a room together. I admired my sister very much. I thought she was so pretty and popular. She had a gorgeous boyfriend who was very sweet to me. But it was usually me and my other brother, Eric that was home.
There are a lot of bits and pieces that I remember.
We had neighbors down at the end of our block at the T-section. The Huckabee’s. They had three daughters and one son. Daphne the oldest was a model. Then followed Debby who loved horses. Then Darla who was quiet, sweet, and ended up married with lots of kids. David was the youngest. He was inbetween the ages of my two brothers so he hung out with both of them.
Well, one afternoon everyone was gone and I was the only one that needed to be looked after so they sent me to the Huckabee’s and Darla was babysitting me. She had a Barbie bust (makeover head doll) that we played with. I wanted one of those so bad. I asked her for it. I thought why would she want this? She’s much too old to be playing with dolls. She said no.
I remember this day because I felt so alone. I didn’t know where everyone went. I felt like Darla really didn’t like me and didn’t want to watch me. She was nice to everyone but me. Nothing that I did with her doll was right. She didn’t want me to apply the makeup or fix the hair. What was the point of playing with it?
But that didn’t stop me from running down the four houses to their home and knocking on their door to see if any of them could play. Of course none of the girls would play with me. They were at least 7 -10 years older than me. David would come out though. Usually it was to torment me.
One of those times that I was hanging out at their home, I had to go pee real bad. I was around 6 or 7 at this time. Somebody was in their bathroom and was taking a bath. They were not coming out. I ran down to my house to find out that my dad was in our bathroom. I knocked on the door. He rustled his paper and said to wait.
So I waited. And waited. And waited.
I knocked again louder, whining I had to go to the bathroom. Dad said to go to the neighbors. I told him they were in their bathroom too. He said too bad.
I didn’t think to go in our backyard. Maybe behind some weeds or the old studebaker. I held my hands over myself and crossed my legs.
Dad was in no hurry. He didn’t bother to even stop midway just to let me in and then he could have resumed his business.
We replaced the old burbur carpet with new linoleum in our hallway. It looked like fake, oak, hardwood flooring. I spread my legs far and wide. I let it go. Lifting my feet so I wouldn’t step in the puddle that started to travel down the hall.
That got my dad moving. He barely got his pants up and he opened the door. He couldn’t very well punish me because I was waiting a very long time and I stood by that door religiously waiting for him.
It was probably one of the few times that I wasn’t scared of my dad and I was actually confident. I looked at him and thought “that’s what you get.”