Dysfunctional at its best


My dad was a diabled Vet from the Korean War. His plane crashed leaving him with brain trama and legally blind.   He stayed home with my sister and I, and mams  worked at the hospital in admitting. Mamaw and Papaw lived with us to help out when I was small . My sister was 5 years older than me and remembers it a lot more. She hurt a lot more too because she did remember. ] I guess for my sake it was good I was so young. For all I knew, everyone lived that way and my life was no different than anyone elses.  I can remember things from the time I could stand in a walker and still slept in a crib.  The things that I remember most were all the fights and times that daddy had hurt me.  I do remember how much I loved my sister. The best part of the day was when she got home from school.   I loved  my Papaw too.  He had a pink cadiliac  convertible and would take my sister and I for a ride with the radio turned up loud . I would stand in the seat  beside him and listen to the great sounds of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis,  and  James Brown..   He would take us to the dime store and we would shop for hours ..  I loved those times.  But the good thing about being so young is not knowing .  My sister being 5 years older knew things that I didn’t. Like the real reason he took  us with him  It wasn’t to shop , but used us as an excuse to get out of the house to go  meet his girlfriend.  He would then leave us there all alone until he got through with his girlfriend. Now think about it.. a 7 yr old in charge of a 2 year old left unattended for hours . My sis said it would be getting dark and we’d be sitting on the curb waiting for him to come pick us up.  Now I didn’t know much, but I did know that when we did get home.. mamaw would be fighting mad. I would hang on to Papaws  pant leg while she screamed at him  ” who is she Clyde? Just tell me her name, that’s all I want to know is her name. I won’t get mad. Just tell me. ” . Now even I knew better than that. I would  be thinking ..  no papaw, you better not tell her, Its a trick,  don’t do it ! Then every time he’d say it..   Jettie , her name is Jettie.   All I can tell you is that Mamaw lied because as soon as she heard her name, she went crazy.  With my arms around Papaws legs, she would be throwing plates and anything  else she could get a hold of. It was like a war zone. She hit him square in the head one time leaving a gash across his forehead and shards of broken glass would be falling all over me.  Sometimes she’s beat him from the  front door to the back when he’d walk in late.  I saw her push him into my bedroom closet one day. Clothes and shoes flying out as she lay on top of him beating on him like a wild woman.  I loved Papaw . He could do no wrong in my eyes and  I thought Mamaw was just being mean to him.

Now Daddy had a different way of handling his anger . I never heard them argue  once, and mama came home later than papaw did.   She was always gone.  As I think back on it, there were only a few times I remember her being there. It seemed it was just Daddy, Mamaw,  my sister and myself.  Mamaw cooked and Daddy cleaned , my sister would go to school and in her spare time, she would build things. She has a charge acct at the local hardware store that delievered  right to our house.  She loved to build things, and she would knit and crochet too.  I would help her by holding the yarn while she’d roll it into a ball.  She was smart and could do anything I followed her around like a shadow. Sometimes shed just sit in the yard with me. She could make a ballerina doll out of a purple flower and  make necklaces out of clover,  My sister was like a mother to me. She meant  the whole world to me.