Welcome to Chestnut Square.

I remember staying at Grandpa Carr’s house for a short time.  I don’t remember a whole lot about that time.  I just remember the new apartment.  I remember it as being huge but in fact it was pretty small.  We moved in on July 4, 1975, the day Grandpa Carr died suddenly from a heart attack.  He was 80 years old.  My brothers and I shared a bedroom.  The three of us.  I remember meeting the McM’s from two doors down.  We ended up becoming very close to them.  Well, I was off to 1st grade in the fall.

I liked school.  I was very good at spelling.  I liked the playground.  I don’t have a lot of memories from this time that stand out.  I know I played with Cheryl and Kerry.  Later on, I played with Allison and her sister Jennifer.  We walked uptown a lot to go get penny candy.  We played square ball and kickball.  I rode my big wheels and my “boyfriend” Michael Bent rode his bike.  I really liked him.  We played together and he looked out for me.  I rode the bus with him and I remember he bought me a chocolate egg for Easter one year.  He is one person I really wish I could get in touch with.  I have no idea where to even look.

These years in elementary school all sort of blur together.  I remember going to Pioneers at the local baptist church down the street.  I remember CCD and I remember in 4th grade when it was time to take my first Penance.  I was too scared to go.  I thought I was going to get in big trouble when I told about my sins.  My father took this opportunity to break the promise he made to the Priest of the Church my parents got married in–that the children of the marriage would be raised Catholic.  My father said, as if he was doing the “right thing” for his kids, that we would no longer go to CCD.  My mother took the position that there must have been a bad teacher in CCD because we were afraid to go to Penance.  But all the other kids went.  I think it had much more to do with the punishment we were used to receiving from authority figures in our own home.

I remember receiving the belt when we were in Chicago.  That means I was not even 5 years old.  I remember being slapped in the face in Chicago.

My aunt says that it was at this time that the teachers called my mother to tell her that I was pulling my toe nails off during recess to the point that they were bleeding.  My mother denied that this took place, but I remember doing it.  It was also at this time that I would play the hand game with my brother.  I’d hang my hand down from the top bunk when we were going to sleep and I’d ask him to punch my hand as hard as he could.  I never told him to stop.  I’d wake up in the morning with my hand black and blue.  For some reason, the pain felt good.

I remember making “forts” out of the bed sheets.  We thought that was pretty fun.  Thanksgiving was always fun.  Sometimes we went to Mema and Luddy’s, usually after the meal.  Sometimes we went for the whole meal.  My father was such a freak.  He’d take a nap on Mema’s bed.  My mother used to scold us before we even got in to Mema’s.  She’d say “you better behave or you’re going to get it.”.

But the tradition was that we had olives and celery with cream cheese on a special plate.  We had candies and nuts-the kind you had to crack open.  And the turkey.  I remember my mother chopping the celery and onion and adding the Bell’s seasoning to the pieces of bread that we kids broke up into a large vat.  We had the same meal for Christmas too.  On New Year’s, it was the only time we had Chinese food all year.  We loved it.  I loved the vegetables in different sauces.

During all this time, my father drank beer.  It was usually cheap beer.  He used to slobber all over me when he was drunk making me stand close to him while he gave me wet slobby kisses that smelled like beer.  I TOLD my mother that I didn’t like how it made me feel.  I guess she told him to stop, but he just waited until my mother went to sleep and then he confronted me and said “Your mother said you don’t like it when I kiss you”.  He had me in his arms and sort of stuck in the situation.  I didn’t know what to say, so I just said I didn’t mind it *all* the time.  What a sick fuck he was.  I was just a little girl.  No more than 10.

It was around this time that he came up to my bed when I was supposed to be asleep.  He was drunk.  He felt my right breast.  I can’t remember if he touched my left breast.  I had breast buds.  The next day, I told my mother that he felt my chest in the middle of the night.  He denied it.  He and my Mom took me in the car for some reason and he told me he was just tucking me in which is bullshit.  He *never* tucked me or either of my brothers in to bed at night.  He told me he’d have to be “sick” to do something like that.  Apparently my mother believed him.  She never brought it up on her own again.

God–all I wanted to do was get OUT.  Get away.  I wanted my own room really bad.  I wanted privacy.  My own space to retreat to when I wanted to get away from that man.




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