This is a special memory from my own childhood.
Writing all of these stories about my childhood has been fun and it has been good for me, too. It let me remember some of the wonderful fun things that happened on the farm when I was young. Nevertheless, eventually I have to talk about what was going on behind the scenes. I have to talk about the divorce or I can’t go on to talk about all the other stories that came after.
I didn’t come from a happy home. I had lots of wonderful adventures and memories but I didn’t come from a happy home. I don’t remember a time in my life when my parents weren’t fighting. I don’t mean the occasional disagreement either. I mean screaming and yelling from sun up to sun down. My sister and I learned early on to get out of the house when my Dad came home from work. Because my mom was going to start a fight over something. They didn’t just yell and scream either they threw things. It was safer to be somewhere else. Sometimes we would go play with friends in the neighborhood but I also had a couple of hiding place, too. Having a 50 acre backyard did give you some options and hiding under the pine trees was one of my favorites.
50+ years later, I can still remember those terrible fights.
I think I was about 10 when they finally separated. I was relieved. I was thrilled. I actually thought things would get better once they were divorced. For years, there had been many fights that led to the talk of it. They continued to stay together “because of us girls”. I used to pray they would get a divorce – if they weren’t married, they couldn’t fight. I thought life would be more peaceful. I was wrong.
The court proceeding were a nightmare. I remember everything about that courtroom and sitting in the witness box. This was before the days of family court where a child would talk to the judge privately. 8 months later and a few weeks before the divorce would become final the judge died without having written the decree. My parents had to start over. I had to testify again. This is certainly one of those times I wish I didn’t have such a good memory.
Our mother got custody of us, the farm and pretty much everything else. Daddy was to have custody of us one weekend out of the month and for a week in the summer. I don’t think my sister ever went with me for a weekend or in the summer. My mother had gotten a doctor to write a letter to the court that Judy’s epileptic seizures could be brought on by stress and that my Dad caused her stress. I have a different opinion about that!
There were no stipulations for holidays and since Christmas, Easter, birthdays — seldom fell on the weekends we no longer got to celebrate them with Daddy, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles or our cousins. My mother would never let us spend time with any of them if she didn’t have to. My sister and I were the ones to suffer.
I often read posts by grandparents who don’t get to see their grandchildren due to divorce. I know how it feels to be the grandchild on the other end who doesn’t get to see their grandparents anymore. I wish all parents going through a divorce would read this and know how unfair it is to deprive your children of their family because of your divorce. Your children don’t deserve to be punished. They did nothing wrong.
I also often read post around this time of year about mothers and it is always difficult for me. Not all moms are created equally and not all of them truly have their children’s best interests at heart.
My sister and I lived on the farm with our mom until I was almost 13. I still have some lighter stories left to share about those early years but this needed to be said, too. Thanks for listening.