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.
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.
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.
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.