I was raised by my maternal grandparents, who i refer to here as Mama and Papa.  They were liberals, but only in the way that someone who attained adulthood in the early part of the 20th century could have been.

Mickey, my mother, was a beautiful woman.  I was never more than marginally attractive.  She had high delicate cheekbones, a perfect mouth and nose, curly blonde hair, and lovely blue eyes.  She was high spirited and lively.    She was athletic and a package of dynamite that stood only five feet two inches tall.

She also had an abusive temper that led some of the relatives to say that she was crazy.  I was told that at sixteen she tried to put a knife in Papa’s back during a quarrel, but Mama stopped her.

I was taken away from her custody when I was two years old.  I don’t know whether the police records still exist in Long Beach, California or not at this point.  She was married at the time to my first step-father, Frank Gordon (you’ll find there are a lot of Franks in my life).  He was an officer in the US Navy.  He died of emphysema in the late 70s.

I was not told why I had been placed with Mama and Papa until i was 13.  I had started to have a strange series of dreams.  In the dreams, i was very small, sitting naked on a cold metal table while black clad men took pictures of me.  Every time the dream was identical, so I mentioned it to Mama.  It was not a dream.  It was memory.  One of those odd things that tag us early because of the trauma involved.

They were police officers taking pictures of my bruises.

Mickey said Frank had done it.  Frank said Mickey had.  Both of them had the temperment to have done it.  The truth will never be known.  The only thing they agreed on was that the triggering event had been my propping my feet up on their nice new television.

I was 14 before I started to become afraid of her.   By then she had married for the third time.  However, it was not until I was 29 that I became truly terrified of her.

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