Pretty Little Girl

A day in the life….

Archive for the tag “jimmie lee staley”

Dear Lord, Thank You!

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Out of chaos comes stability. Out of ugly comes beauty. Out of hate comes unabounding love. I have to look at the parts of the circumstances around my family at the time of my birth. It all comes pass in a fluid form of harmony. While everything was falling to waste, my mother’s health, my parents’ marriage, my brother’s reality, out comes a baby that unites everything. It is remarkable really.

Then you have my dad alone with a child that is not his and a newborn baby that is also not his, trying to work and balance time with everyone including my mother in the hospital. He was overwhelmed as he’d never ever handled a newborn before. He couldn’t stay up all night and go to work. Nor could John. There was no allowing of my grandmother Josephine to help, because she was a damn drunk with a husband who was possibly a sex offender. Nor could he ask his mother Georgia, for she didn’t like the circumstance that had befallen her son. So what do you do? He’d been close to the Warren family 2 doors down who had a daughter Patti who was 2 years younger than John. From what I understand, JoAnn, the mother and wife of the Warren family, would make him a plate of food at night after work while my mother had been gone. She’d help him out with John so that Daddy had some help. Quite kind of her in the circumstances.

Now he had a newborn trying to navigate the same situation. Whether she volunteered or he asked her, she took the newborn to her home and kept her there and Daddy would visit. She kept me for the next 8 weeks because my Daddy was afraid he’d “break” me and he was just overwhelmed by the entire situation. But out of that chaos, he and JoAnn where the first people on this planet that bonded with me.

When I was almost 3 mos. old, my mother came home and in the Liz fashion swept in to get “her baby”. She had little to do with JoAnn Warren after that. It seems to me that jealousy set in. She played the doting Mother for the first few years of my life. She was the normal mom. It wasn’t until I was 4 or 5 that she and JoAnn made some sort of peace. They became best friends. My dad was always closer to the Warrens and I assumed it was because Bill or (Uncle Bill) as I called him was his buddy. But I know now that wasn’t the case. The dynamic of seeing JoAnn and my Dad talk about me was unusual and I was not able to put words to it until I was older and knew the situation of my birth.

Throughout my life, my mother took a freefall. She went from “Carol Brady” to “Joan Crawford”. She blamed my Dad for his part in her descent. She was a walking zombie. She was drinking, popping pills. She’d gone back to work at Harry Alexiou’s “Gold Nugget” Restaurant. She shifted over to the his brother, Johnny Alexiou’s restaurant ,the “Brass Rail”, which to everyone threw up a red flag.

Johnny was reckless and lived on a level that was not as stable as his older brother Harry. Self-destruction was his middle name. His reputation could be inferred to be wild. I say that because of people’s reactions when she told them she was going to work for Johnny. Everyone lowered their brow and asked the same question, “Liz, are you sure?”. My mother’s answer was that he was “not the same”. Even as a young child, I knew what that meant.

From that time, JoAnn was my babysitter, my emergency contact. She was my rock. My mother tried to balance it by leaving with my grandmother on the weekends but her lack of parenting skills was infamous. Had I been a bad kid, I could have gotten away with anything? I would sit on the hill infront of her Southside Apartment. I would then barricade myself in her bedroom while she sat in her recliner drinking beer. Was the indifference because of me and where I might have come from? Maybe because she seemed to be different in the pictures of my cousins, Curt and Anna when she visited California. She didn’t seem ambivalent to them. I thought it was because Jim was my dad and the tension between the 2 of them was palpable. But now I know it may have been the fact, I was possible her dead husband’s daughter. How do you get passed that?

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Nature vs Nurture

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In reflecting on the obstacles and the skeletons that have plagued me, I have to say that my belief in God was restored after all of this. The circumstances that I was born into should not have allowed me to flourish in the way I did. I was a bastard child of morally absent parents surrounded in dysfunction. Yet Jim Barnett, my Daddy, took a child he should have resented and made that child his own. He took the purity of innocence and cultivated it into a loving functioning person. He took an act of anger and rage and with almost alchemy-like conversion turned it into love and compassion.

Nature vs. Nurture.

Score one for Nurture!

Is this what Family Supposed to Be Like?

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So when my brother made that call the Monday after Mother’s Day in 2012 and told me that Joe Aaron was my father, he proceeded to tell me that my Uncle Mike had killed Joe in Pine Valley in 1983. This is when all the pieces fell into place. The man in the truck that Sunday morning attempted to kidnap me. The sneaking around different safe houses in California, the bodyguards. This was Joe.

My uncle had talked about one of his bodyguards killing someone; that was Joe?  My mind started racing and recalling all the weird events of my life and seeing everything through the truth rather than rose colored glasses. Despite my brother telling me about my biological dad and with all the secrets out in the open, he resumed his silence. He dropped this bomb on me and walked away. I had so many questions and everyone is dead. How could he leave me with this information? He is my brother. When I needed him, he was gone. This broke my heart almost as much as finding out my entire life was a staged event with everyone being the wiser but me. I simply could not wrap my mind around this?

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