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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #11
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    On my way home each night for years, I drove past a country home inhabited by an older couple. I didn't know them or their names, but every night I could expect ---if the man was out in the yard which he often was-- he always waved, much in the way you describe the cane-waving. He waved to everyone who drove by. He's been gone for some years now, and I still miss him waving.

    My husband is a porch-sitter, at least he was until we moved to our current house. Now he sits on the back deck. But while we were long-distance courting by phone, I would often interrupt his porch-sitting. One night we were talking and suddenly he said, "Oh, that woman should shut her curtains."

    He really wasn't trying to peep. Mostly he just passed the time in his porch meditation.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  2. #12
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    Did your Mom have a way to support herself and her kids if she left your Dad? Also maybe she was afraid that he would kill her if he left and you kids. When I lived in the Midwest everyone sat outside at night on their front porch and talked to the neighbors while the kids played. It was really fun. Now I prefer to sit on my back deck so the dogs can be out with me and enjoy too.

  3. #13
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    It's a shame that so much mass-market residential architecture and suburban land platting no longer honors the front porch and the people on them. I really think it makes a positive difference in how cohesive the neighborhood is -- that neighbors know each other and newcomers become at least somewhat assimilated.

    We don't have a front porch on our mid-70s rambler, though I have seen a few similar houses in our neighborhood where people built vestigial decks where we have flower beds. Some people set up lawn chairs on their front yards. I cannot see any of that happening in our daughter's/SiL's McMansion subdivision.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  4. #14
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Did your Mom have a way to support herself and her kids if she left your Dad? Also maybe she was afraid that he would kill her if he left and you kids. When I lived in the Midwest everyone sat outside at night on their front porch and talked to the neighbors while the kids played. It was really fun. Now I prefer to sit on my back deck so the dogs can be out with me and enjoy too.
    Terry, I'm going to be absolutely candid with you. I'm not sure what the limit of my exploration of this subject is. There is a feeling as a kid akin to entering a dark house in the night. You know that anxious time between when you enter and when you finally find the light switch. And I'm not convinced I'll like what I see when everything is revealed.

    But to answer your question, No she did not have the wherewithal to support two boys.....neither financially nor emotionally. My dad was disliked by my grandfather. My mother told me many times that the day she married him, she was told by pap and grandma, "This is your bed you have made and you'll lay in it. Don't come back." She was a stay at home mom until we were old enough to fend for ourselves and then she went to night school to be a teachers aide. She took me to class with her and I slept in the car until she got done.

    It didn't pay much but I think it made her feel like she made a difference. She taught reading to troubled and awkward kids. I remember she had balancing boards and such she carried around with her.

    That's not popular psychology these days but it was just the way it was in my world. You were taught to make choices and claim your own victories; endure your own defeats.

    There were signs. Things are coming back to me at strange times of the day and night. As I said...sense out of non sense. I never questioned it but we were always going on unplanned "vacations" to family I had never met. One time to New Jersey and another to Kentucky. We slept on couches. It was a joke. I'd ask, "Where am I going to sleep?" She'd say," They will hang you on a nail if we have to."

    She once moved every stitch of furniture of my dads to the garage...including his bed. He stayed there for the longest time. I never really thought we weren't just like any other family.

    And the religious thing. There are people who truly live their religion and gracious about it....and there are people who use it as a cover or smokescreen for their shortcomings or worse, nefarious activities. My dad continuously read the Bible from cover to cover. Maybe he was looking for an answer. I think it explains my cynicism to this day.

    These are just bits and pieces. A bit here....a piece there.

  5. #15
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    Williamsmith, I too have bits and pieces of my mother's life, and they don't add up to anything near an entire picture. In our case, whatever happened to my mom was before her marriage - she and my father had a good relationship, and were always doing sweet things for each other, and we always felt loved and cared for. But mom was kind of cold - she did not hug us after we where small kids, and she would not hug adults, preferring not to touch them at all, and I never saw her hold Dad's hand or do anything more than peck him on the cheek in public. She despised facial hair and any sort of alcohol. I asked my dad once why he never sent her flowers (although he would buy her potted plants/flowers) and he looked at me like I had the plague and said - "Oh, I could NEVER do that to her!!" (WTF?) but I was a kid then, and just thought she would hate the money wasted or something. None of her siblings had these hangups....
    Now I wonder more about it - it seems apparent something rather dire happened to her. Dad's been gone for 30 yrs, so I can't ask him, and I would never have brought it up with my mother - emotions weren't a discussion topic. Ever. So we have these bits and pieces, knowing they will never be more than that. I bring them out and look at them sometimes, and talk to my sister, but we've never been able to tease out any memories to add to them, and we probably never will. So I put them away again, and ruminate on more pleasant topics...

    It sounds like your mother did the best she could in tough situation, and you seem like an admirable son who cares about her as well. She was able to raise a strong, capable son who didn't realize, perhaps, how rough it was when he was a child. I would say she did pretty darn well for you - based, only of course, on your writings here on the forum - (I surely don't claim to know anything "for real" about your situation!)

  6. #16
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'm not a hugger and I don't like cut flowers. I'm also not big on going on and on about "feelings." And I've never suffered any trauma, childhood or otherwise. So maybe she just had the normal complement of personal quirks?

  7. #17
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    Maybe sending flowers equated to romance and that equated to suggesting sex - maybe she wasn't into it and hence your dad's reaction?

  8. #18
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I'm not a hugger and I don't like cut flowers. I'm also not big on going on and on about "feelings." And I've never suffered any trauma, childhood or otherwise. So maybe she just had the normal complement of personal quirks?
    I understand this completely. There are some who truly have no need or use for mulling over feelings or past incidents looking for meaning. They seem truly suited for difficult work, able to compartmentalize events forever.

    Ive never been that kind of person. My job was difficult and I was very efficient at performing it....Commendations to go with that but the reality was and still is.....my ability to compartmentalize lasted only until the necessary time required to complete the task expired. Then, as ghosts visit, so would my necessity to make sense of things.

    I carried an extreme workload. I was known for being able to multitask - I was a reliable constant among sometimes shaky other times dangerous circumstances. The mistakes I made, the times I failed to offer closure for a victim....that's when a serious re examination would seem necessary.

    So it is not a surprise to me that I would take my childhood out from the basement of my memory where boxes have been folded over and taped shut and labeled..."Caution! Explosives!"

    As I related earlier, I go early to the gym every morning. At 6:30, I have an appointment with a stationary bike. About 15 minutes in I can enter a meditative state. The sweat is healing to me. I recall things. And I remember that my mother was actually beating me with a wooden paddle. I was old enough to take the paddle off my mom. That's when my dad stepped in and all hell broke loose. So in a way, I blame myself for it. I should have just took the beating.

  9. #19
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    If I recall correctly, you are happily married. I've always hoped that is what the lucky ones learn from their awful childhoods - how not to repeat.

  10. #20
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammy View Post
    Maybe sending flowers equated to romance and that equated to suggesting sex - maybe she wasn't into it and hence your dad's reaction?
    Among my old co-workers anyway, cut flowers were all about guilt and apology.

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