Parents.

I guess I should go back and explain this parent thing. If you are reading these posts in order, you will have noticed that in the last post, I had mentioned my mom and dad split up and suddenly I had a step dad. Well, that’s how it felt. If you are not reading these in order you can go back and read the previous one. If you want. I’m not telling you what to do.

Anyway, I was three when my parents split up. Maybe four. My brother was real little. We moved away from the house that I saw the big Tom Peterson’s head in my closet (I suggest you do go back and read the last post if you are confused by this last sentence. Or keep reading on, whatever you want.) We moved into “The Blue House”. I assume you can guess why it was called that. I loved this house. Two living rooms, five bedrooms. My mom’s sister and future boyfriend lived with us as roommates. I especially loved my bedroom. It was the only room upstairs. In fact, the stairs led only specifically to that bedroom. The closet was my favorite (no, I did not have a fear of closets after what happened in the previous house). It was like a fun house for me. There were three mirrors inside. On one end of the wall was a door and there was another door at the other end. Both doors led to the walk-in closet. I’d run in one door, and out the other. Going around and around over and over again.

We had two dogs and a cat at this point. Monster Face and Pig Champion were two female Pit Bull Terriers and an orange Tabby named MoMo. I was rather good with pets for a three year old. I still wouldn’t sleep in my room and remember times I climbing down those stairs in the middle of the night and sit outside my parents room and cried softly until they woke up and carried me to their bed. This was before my brother was also afraid to sleep alone. When he was just an itty baby in his own nursery room.

I remember one time my grandma came over. The same one that my dad amused with the name given to me after an angle (also mentioned in a earlier post). I was watching Barney in the main living room, my favorite show at that age, and was dancing to a good part. I turn around to see both my grandma and mom watching me, giggling. Automatically, my response was to run. It was quite embarrassing. I got told later that that was a rude thing to do. The running away, not the dancing.

Anyway, that was the house we split up from my dad. At some point, and I had not noticed this then, but my future step dad had come in as a roommate and my mom took me and my brother to live with him. Thus, he became my step dad.

I don’t remember my mom explaining to us why we left our dad. I don’t think I cared that much. My dad worked nights, so he slept during the day. We hardly spent time with him because of this. So the split up did not affect me in any certain way. We still went over there to visit him. For a while.

While growing up with my step dad, my real dad got pretty upset when I’d call my step dad “dad”. But that is what my mom taught me to say to him. So I was stuck on calling him dad and my real dad dad. My real dad would reply “he’s not your dad, I am”. But that is all he would say on the matter. After a few years, he got even more upset when my brother would call our real dad by his first name. To be fair, my brother was barely older than a  baby when we left, so all he heard of our real dad was my mom talking to him or someone else by calling him his name. So my brother naturally got confused when he’d often hear someone call our dad by his name and our dad would insist on him calling him dad. I was old enough to know the difference.

I hated my step dad. No he never hit me, but he did do some things that I’ll bring up later in an unrelated post. I hated my step dad then basically because he was stern, strict, and mean. I hardly saw him smile and, yes, I did get spanked a couple times by him. I found him annoying and irritating. I remember when we would go out places and he would be driving the car, I’d be in the back and just stare at him. In my head, I’d be saying “I hate you” over and over and over again, growing more agitated every minute.

The first time I remember getting spanked by him was in our apartment after we split from real dad. My brother and I had just gotten out of the bath and waited with the towels around us as my mom looked through the freshly cleaned laundry for new clothes. We stood in front of her, shivering, while she sat on the couch looking through the pile of clean clothes. Suddenly we heard our step dad yell “dammit!” from the bathroom. He stormed out, whipped our towels from us and said “you won’t need those!” and spanked us each on our bare bottoms. Why? Because we left water on the bathroom floor from our bath. I remember being pretty made at our mom for just sitting there and not doing anything about it.

If I go any further with this post, I’m just going to dabble in a whole lot of stuff that was unrelated to my original idea. So I’m going to leave this one here as it is an continue on at another point. There will be more to come. If you are still reading.

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Nightmares

We moved through quite a few places when I was young. Out of the apartment in Clackamas, to a small two bedroom house somewhere in Southeast Portland. We did not stay long. My brother and I shared a room in this house. I was still three, or at least almost four. For some reason, I was rather scared of my closet and here is why.

Those of you who have grown up in Portland, especially in the 90’s and earlier, I bet you will remember the Tom Peterson’s ginormous head on 82nd and Foster Road. Anytime we got near this place, I had to hide my eyes. This was probably the scariest image in all of my childhood. I’ve told this to multiple people and they looked at me like I was crazy. And yes, they all knew of the head that I speak of. This head.

 

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This has haunted me throughout my childhood, and one day while sleeping in my room, I happened to glance over at the dark closet and thought for an instant that I saw this head appear inside. I ran down the hallway, screaming to my parents room. I was hysterical, unable to explain what had happened. From then on, I was doing everything in my power to not sleep in my room. To sleep next to my parents.

While we are on the subject of childhood fears. Later on, when I was in kindergarten, my brother and I had shared a room in a new apartment. After my mom and dad split up and I had a step dad at this point (I’ll explain more on that later). My brother and I were laying in our beds for the night. I was trying to teach him the bunny song that I had learned in school that day. It was my favorite. Something about bunny hopping through the woods and knocking on some door and asking a man for help because someone was trying to shoot him, I don’t know. Suddenly I felt a pull at the end of my bed. I looked down and saw that my comforter was slowly sliding off. Next thing I knew, I was off screaming down the hallway again. I made it into the living room and ran into my mom, crying and explaining frantically that someone was pulling off my blanket in my room. My brother came screaming (unknowing why) behind me. I remember seeing her shirt stain with my tears as I hopelessly clutch at it, my tiny hands shaking. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my step dad bolt for our room.

My mom led us hiccuping, crying children back down the hallway. She feared someone, some guy, had climbed through our bedroom window, as that is what it sounded like I was trying to explain to her. We got back into the bedroom, and my dad was throwing the blankets around, expecting to catch some burglar hiding underneath my bed. But no one was there. No one was ever there. It was the blanket falling off my bed that made me picture some kind of ghoul, or skeleton, hiding out under my bed and pulling my blanket off. I had to explain this scenario a million times before they figured out it was just my imagination and all that happened was my blanket slipped. We were safe. There was no one there. But there was also no sleep for them for a long time after that. My brother and I took over their bed every single night.

Night after night, my brother and I would go to sleep in our room. But I would wake up in the middle of the night. Too scared to move. Crying until my mom or step dad came in to carry me to their bed.

My nightmares were pretty bad. They still are. I have come to accept them now as a part of me. But it was difficult for my mom especially. I especially remember a reoccurring dream. It never made sense to me for both what it meant, or why it was even frightening. It always started with me standing at the top of a grand staircase that was covered in red, casino like carpet. I’d start walking down the stairs slowly then pick up speed until basically I was flying down the stairs unsteadily and afraid I’d fall head first. By the time I reached the bottom, I would wake up. More like jolt awake. Like when you have those falling dreams. I never got to look around once I reached the bottom of the staircase. I never got to know where I was. I haven’t had that dream since I was young, but I remember always being confused by it.

At least I never wet the bed.