My brother and I have had conversations over the last few days about our family of origin. He is 16 years older than me, and my other brother was 14 years older. My older brother was gone to West Point and then the Army by the time I was two. He said that he never saw Dad drink much, and that Dad never encouraged him or supported him even though he was a high school football star. He said used to hitchhike home from football practice, a distance of about 15 miles. Mom and Dad were fairly poor when my brothers were little.
Then the surprise happened... me. That was, for three of my family members (Mom, Dad, my living brother), a wonderful event. Then the bomb landed on the family--my maternal grandmother ("Grammie") died suddenly of a heart attack. Everything went downhill then. Addictions went rampant--alcohol for Dad and food for Mom. Their relationship went sour. There was either angry yelling or vicious silence. It became my job to try to keep the peace, at the ripe old age of five.
I offer all this because, ultimately, it did nurture me.
|The morning ritual was Mom counting
and reporting the number of these
in the trash can from the night before.