Brenda’s Journal

A long time ago there was a little girl. Pony tails, freckled skin and a big smile. She was a brave girl, very curious and full of questions. She believed her Dad was her hero. He knew everything. Why? He didn’t ever tell her “I don’t know” to any question she had ever asked him. He knew everything. She even brought him to show-n-tell at school. She wanted everyone to see her Hero. Now, this young girl was a special girl. She loved her friends. She loved to play with all the kids in the neighborhood. She was the youngest of #. Though she didn’t mind being the youngest of the girls.

She loved when she was able to go to school with her sister’s. The 1st day of Kindergarten she still remembers. Playtime, story time, naptime. Her teacher was really nice. Now, back in those days, the 70’s, every day was an adventure. Whether it be riding bike to the local pool, skating at the ice rink, playing hide-n-seek, walking on her stilts, playing store with her best friend and just having fun in the yard. All the kid’s on the block had a strong bond with each other. We had parades, plays, clubs, and teams. The parent’s got along well with the other parent’s and often you would see them all getting together for an outdoor BBQ with fruity patio lights in all different colors, radio playing in the background. Badminton net set up and of course a croquet game ready to be played. Nighttime would fall. The parent’s gathered to laugh and drink and the kid’s go to play and play. When it was getting dark, we’d play kick-the-can. We’d hit June bugs with badminton racquets and have foot races around the block.

Now, one day this bright young girl was waking in the morning on a beautiful summer day. She knew what she was intending on how to spend her day. She went over to “The Nice Lady’s” house (5 houses down from hers) who loved all the kid’s and seemed to really love this girl a lot. This girl loved her too. This lady was so nice. She gave hugs and gave us Kool-Ade and treats. She had no children of her own. She was married but no kids. Well, she didn’t need kids of her own. All the kid’s somehow ended up playing at her house in her yard. She always welcomed all the kid’s. I felt so much love from this lady down the block. I’d always wish she’d be my Mom. She loved me more than my mom. I spent most of my time at her house, heck I even waited for her at the bus stop to wait for her to come home from work. I cleaned her house 1x a week for $5.00! That was great!

Now, somewhere around the 1st & 2nd grade the nice lady with the beautiful voice and nice dresses broke up with her husband and soon married a new one. Her first husband was nice. He didn’t mind to us kid’s coming over. He even bought a pool, and set it up, it was a blue pool about 4 feet deep and big and round, it had a ladder to climb up to it, and then you’d jump in. I swear to God that every kid on that block wanted and did get to play in that pool. Our new hangout. Well, when her 1st husband went away it was a quiet leaving, and soon a new husband came. He had an accent too. But not the same as hers. He has dark skin like an India guy, and black hair. He had a different name. I’d never heard a name like his. Well, things went on again as normal. This new husband was a younger guy than her. He liked to play with us kids. Like tag, and races and water balloons. He also liked to play in the pool. Tag was his favorite pool game. He played Monopoly with us, but I noticed he cheated when we were playing, and acted dumb about it. Like he didn’t understand the American rules or something.

Well, one summer day, a few kids’ gathered in the alley and decided to swim in the pool. It was a yes- so we jumped in NOW. I can only remember 3 of us in the pool that day, it was cloudy outside. My sister, me and the lady’s husband. He called the game. We were to play tag and he was it! He flipped in the water; we tried to swim away from him, to not get tagged. Then in one moment, one very long and cold moment, I got tagged! But he didn’t just tag me; he put his fingers up my bottom of my swimsuit and pushed his hand in. It hurt. I tried to swim away while his hand was hurting my bottom it felt as if the whole world stopped. The big clock in the sky was stuck. No splashing, no laughing, Frozen! That moment, that one moment, changed my whole life. Nothing was ever the same. I began to sit out of games or build a fort to play in. I remember a few years of building forts and staying in them all day. I never did go in the pool again. NEVER! I don’t remember ever swimming in that pool again. When the lady’s husband was home, I was always sad. I didn’t go over there anymore when he was there. I never told a soul about that day. That frozen stuck moment. What do you say? Who do you say it to? Just keep it to yourself and always look for his car before you go knocking on the door. I felt very quiet and guarded after that. I was confused. I didn’t want to play any competing games again. I thought I might get hurt again. I wished she’d divorce him too. Get a new husband. But, she didn’t. Even my parents, who used to eat and drink together under the fruity patio lights and laugh, didn’t get together anymore. I’d ask why? But I never did get an answer. Did they know? Did someone say something? I thought a lot about that. One day we were all friends and the next nothing. Life went on. We did go to the local park pool and swim. We continued to play kick-the-can. I wouldn’t play at night. We still raced around the block. I didn’t race on that side ever again. Eventually in a couple of years or so, we were told by my Dad we were going to look at a new house and maybe move. What a blow! I didn’t even ponder the idea of moving. I didn’t know you could. But, we did. We moved about 5 miles away. I think I was going into the 7th grade and my school district moved. I had to go to a different school. I liked our new house, but it came with rules. Different school rules, schools with no friends. I didn’t hear or talk to the nice lady for a lot of years it seemed. I was a teenager and I had to make new friends, or ride my bike 5 miles to visit old friends. Eventually I visited less and less, and I got all new friends. My parent’s stated to fight a lot. We didn’t do patio BBQ’s ever again. We didn’t even know our neighbors. Mom cheated on Dad with a Blue Van guy. Dad cried a lot, and then dad left home. I cried what seemed to be forever. My mom was never home. She was always mean. She reminded me all the time that I and my sisters were nothing but brats and we wrecked her life. She wouldn’t tell us where dad was. Said it was no business of ours. My sister’s had lots of parties. With beer and lots of friends. I tried beer and I tried pot. They were IT! There was the answer to all my unanswered questions. I didn’t care about the answers anymore. Dad was gone. Mom was mean, and I could hang out with my new friends, and drink and get high. My problems were over, when they had only just begun.

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