Pretty Little Girl

A day in the life….

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

The Power of Understanding

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Not long after my mysterious jaunt to California, my mother, recently divorced from my dad, ended up letting me go live with him “temporarily”. She planned a moved to Pensacola, where my dad and his new wife lived. I had spent the summers there. I loved it because it was peaceful. No drunken, bipolar hissy fits. No mind games. No belittling. I was just a kid. I was away from my mother, brother, uncle and grandmother. Each day was me and my dad. He and I had always had this special bond. He loved me more than anything and he was my hero. I knew he wasn’t perfect, but I couldn’t imagine what a better daddy would be like. His flaws made him human and made me feel like I didn’t have to always be perfect. I could be me without hindrance.

During my life, I clung to my Daddy. He could always talk me through things. I would get upset; he & I would sit down and talk about it. Usually, it wasn’t as bad as I perceived. He was a calming, reasoning and enlightening force in my life to rival no other. His death in 1997 broke a portion of me, because at 22, I was not prepared to give up the part of my soul that he occupied. He physically, emotionally, & psychologically was a part of me. Jim Barnett’s influence in my life will resonate forever. When he saved me, he saved my future, my children. I married a man that cherished me who is much like him. He showed me how to live peacefully without drama. He taught me how to think things through. His actions reverberate in every faction of my life.

Then one day, I get a call. It is my brother, who I have not spoken to since my mother’s funeral. I had medical issues I wanted to discuss with him. I had emailed him begging him to talk to me about such issues. It was May 14, 2012. The day after Mother’s Day 9:30 AM.  The words he spoke I was not prepared to hear.  Jim wasn’t my Daddy.

 

 

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The Stories Begin….

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Just as suddenly as we were whisked into chaos, we were returned to our normality with very little fanfare. Everything was the same as it was prior to the California turmoil. The only real explanation I ever got was that my Uncle Mike was running from some really bad people who were liable to lash out at his family and then another story was the FBI was after my uncle. Depending on who told the story, the reasonings were different. When I asked our neighbor, JoAnn what she was told it was a mixture of both stories. Again, yet another version of the same event.

I felt as if my life was “choose your own ending” phenomenon.  The only thaing that was for sure was that everything was being covered up. Maybe I was too young to understand. Maybe it was too outlandish for anyone to believe. Maybe it was just a cover for something completely different. I was 8 years old but I was far from naive to the ways of the Maddox family. Deceit, pathological lies, exaggerations & cruelty was par for the course. I became convinced that I would only find out what happened when the dust settled or until I was grown–whichever came first. I asked my dad because he would be straight with me.  It became clear that he was just as much out of the loop as I was. After all, we weren’t apart of the Maddox inner circle.

Roughly 30 years later, I finally was given some of the answers. It had all been about me.

Reflections from the Looking Glass

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Funny.  When I replay this amateur screenplay of chaos, Salvador Dali is the only thing that comes to mind. Surrealism, simply. Nobody has these kinds of things happen. No one has the bizarre juxtaposition of people who make up their lives, like I do, but I digress.

The next “safe house” my mother and I went to was a much better place. It was house on top of a mountain in Pine Valley, California. When Uncle Mike drove up there, he said the house was just like the Ponderosa, which happened to be the name of the road where the house was nestled. In the back of the house was a horse stable with horses.

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My Aunt Dee was there with my cousins, David, Curt and Anna. For this brief spell, we were a family. My mother & Dee giggled like school girls and seemed to be always fascinated by each other.  I was able to play with my cousins. I could PLAY for the first time since this all started. I felt like things were going to be alright. There were even plans made to talk to my Daddy!  I was so excited. I felt less like a prisoner and more like a kid. We played with very little toys but back then you didn’t really need stuff to play. The imagination of a child can take you to so many places.

My little cousin, Anna, was a scamp. She was devious for a 5 year old. I remember her pinching me and then pinching herself. She’d holler for her mother to say I was hurting her. At the age of 5, REALLY?? This was foreshadowing for the future in a very storybook way. She was the only girl.  My boy cousins did their own things that I had no interest in.

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Curt was a little younger than me–a few months. He and I were the most alike. Tender hearts. We did not meet the Maddox standard of brazen & deceitful.  My cousin David was like a kid version of my Uncle Mike. He was a schemer, leading us into trouble, allowing anyone to take the blame for his “brilliant” ideas.  Anna was Anna–enough said. But Curt wasn’t wired like them, he was more like me. He was sensitive and I worried about that. My uncle’s rages were so monstrous. I didn’t know how Curt dealt with it. I couldn’t have.

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I remember going to Swanson’s for ice cream down in the little town of El Cajon. I remember brushing the horses with Anna. I remember my Mother driving Aunt Dee’s “fire engine red” Camaro over a flooded bridge trying to get to the general store. My cousin David orchestrated that one. My mother couldn’t remember how to go the “back way” off the mountain to the town below. These were the high points of the trip. This was the last time we were a family.

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