July 5, 2007

My Life in Bits and Pieces-Bit 1

For years I've wanted to write my life's story down "somewhere". Guess where I've decided to write?
I'm not sure where or how to begin, except at the beginning.
I was born in Chicago in 1961. There were 3 brothers waiting to meet me when my parents brought me home from the hospital. Frank was 17, Tony, 15, and Jimmy 12. We were a very typical family at the time. Dad worked and mom stayed home and cared for the family. We lived in a little town very similar to "Mayberry" if you're old enough to remember that show. :-)
My early childhood is full of wonderful memories. "Helping" my mom bake bread. Playing with friends in the woods behind our house. Being teased and tormented by my big brothers. Trying to get my friends to play school in our basement all summer and walking to school with them during the school year.
While I treasure all those memories it's the time spent with my dad I hold dearest in my heart. He was my hero and I was his princess. Corny, but true! I adored being with him and felt so loved and safe when we were together. He had large strong hands that would comfort me when I needed it or when I didn't he would play with me. He's the one who taught me to swim-when I was VERY young he coerced me into climbing the high dive at the local pool. Using threats and promises he finally convinced me to jump into the water. Remember this was the high dive and I was only about 2 or 3!! I'd jump into the water and as I popped back up for air he was there waiting for me. He would grab me and hug me tight, laughing at my terror and joy.
I can remember laying my head against his chest and listening to the loud steady thumps of his heart reverberating in my chest, and of course my ears. Dad and I were together as often as we could be. He'd take me with him to visit friends and family, run errands, and sometimes would take me (& mom) to our cabin in Wisconsin where he went to hunt....
When we were at home he would let me sit under his table saw and play in the saw dust while he worked on a project above me. He'd hand me little pieces of wood, a hammer, and some nails so I could "build" too.
Things went on like this for several years. A safe nest with lots of love for me to grow in. It all changed dramatically one day when I was 7 or 8. By this time I think all 3 of my brothers had moved out of the house. Because I was so much younger than they were I didn't know them very well. Anyway-one day my mom sat down with me and said something like, " Your daddy moved out of the house today. We don't love each other anymore and we can't live together ever again."
Too little to understand everything that meant I just felt confused and devastated. I somehow felt responsible for their split and completely rejected by my daddy. For the first year after their break up I spent every other weekend with dad. He lived in a sparse "bachelor" type apartment not too far away. Our relationship had totally changed. I no longer felt safe or loved when I was with him-instead I felt like I was with a stranger and viewed him suspiciously. Trust was gone and the pain inside was intense.
About a year later, in 1969 their divorce was finalized. Mom of course had custody of me. By this time my oldest brother was living in Evergreen Colorado with his wife and 2 babies. I finished 3rd grade in Illinois and then my mom made another huge announcement. She told me we (she and I) were going to move to Evergreen to be near my brother. I absolutely hated the idea! Even though dad was "gone" I still had the familiarity and safety of our home, my friends, and school.
Mom told me that my dad and his new wife were going on vacation out west. They would take me to my brother's while she stayed in Illinois to to sell our house. Except for feeling really awkward around my dad and step-mother the trip west was uneventful. We arrived in Evergreen late at night. I'd fallen asleep in the car so my daddy carried me into my brother's house. When I woke up the next morning dad was gone and I was alone with a brother I loved but who was a virtual stranger. That morning really stands out in my mind as the end of "Part One" of my life; it also stands out as the end of my being a daughter to my dad. We wouldn't have much of a relationship again until I was about 40 years old.
I'm going to stop here for now. I don't know how long blog posts usually are, but surely you have better things to do right now. Maybe the suspense of wondering what on earth ever happened to me will bring you back again?


  1. Thanks for sharing so honestly. I know I will definitely be back for more of the story.

  2. Wow, Judy. Thanks for sharing this story with such great imagery and vulnerability. You are a really good writer...I was in tears for the child Judy. I'm anxious for the next part!

  3. Thanks so much for writing this! I loved reading it! I felt as if I was reading a novel and didn't want to stop. Keep up this writing, it is great. You are making me think that I want to write a blog!!!


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