One of my favorites was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This was in the late 60’s before it became so popular or was made into movies. I remember first finding it in my grade school library. I would peruse shelves of books, just looking at titles and covers one by one. Suddenly, I stopped. I saw a picture of a dwarf holding a flask (older copy of book). Hmmm.. this looks interesting…I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as my excitement built. I took hold of the book feeling it’s promise in my hands. I think this is the best way to find a book — to feel it calling you. And to find it on your own — not on a best seller list, or as a present. It seems more personal, as if it is a secret shared between you and the author.
I’d like to hear about other people’s favorite childhood books, so please write in the comment box if you feel like sharing.
Somewhere the ponies run —
And I can ride, I can ride
Somewhere the ponies run
past all the memories I fear.
Across the fields, under the sun —
We will ride, we will ride
Across the fields, under the sun
Into fair meadows of cheer.
Sad thoughts — there will be none —
And we will dance, we will dance
Bad dreams — they will be gone —
Our eyes will have no tears.
Somewhere the ponies run
And joy is somewhere near.
This will probably be the hardest post I’ll ever write. Its about my father. My father whom I loved and trusted. The voice in the attic had been warning me, preparing me. “Good daddies don’t do that” it had said. Then the flashbacks started. First it was just my father walking into my darkened bedroom wearing his untied rubber-soled shoes. The sliding and clumping sounds they made were ominous. The next flashbacks were of him saying my pet name in the dark “Sander, Sander” as if to see if I was awake. But I wasn’t yet ready for more memories to surface. I wasn’t even telling my therapist about my visits to the attic or the strange flash backs. In the midst of this, I continued writing in my journal. This had become strange. Often I would access memories from the rapes when I would sit down to write and of the remarks they would say to me before and after raping me. “You should be used to this by now” is one I remember now. I cannot recall more now and I certainly won’t try. I hesitate to keep typing. I’ll just take it one sentence at a time. I need to tell, if only for the reason that more children will be believed…if you believe me. I sat in a cranberry-colored velveteen recliner that afternoon. It had become my safe place. The pressure had been building within me for the past hour. This pressure that was relieved by my writing in my growing number of notebooks. I picked up my pen and book and found the next clean pages. I began writing, the words flowing out onto the page without any preceding thoughts. It was almost as if I was taking dictation. “It won’t be like it was with those boys”. It was my father’s voice. “They were bad and rough. I will be gentle. You’ll be daddy’s special girl. It’ll be our secret though.” Suddenly, I threw the book from my lap and came out of this seemingly hypnotic state that was like a trance. I became aware of my breathing and the sound of the cicadas outside the window. I looked around me as if surprised at my surroundings and seeing them for the first time. The hard wood floors reflecting the sunlight, the electric piano against the wall, the bookcase at my elbow all stood out in sharp relief as if I could feel them without touching them. I was relieved to be there. The clock chimed three times. It was nearly time to walk to the bus stop and pick up my son. I took a deep breath and stiffly got up out of the chair. For now, it was time to return to the present.
I am borrowing another post from La Quemada because it is an important message for me and anyone who constantly wears facades when out and about in the world….
The visits to the attic continued. As did the anxiety attacks. I would hide in the powder room from my son and my husband. I hid from my son to protect him. I hid from my husband so he would not see me so weak. The previous owners of the house had put an ugly beige wallpaper on the walls. It had vertical lines and horizontal lines in dark brown upon it. I’d lay my hot face against the cool walls trying to calm myself. This brought no relief. I felt like I was going crazy. As the anxiety intensified till I was filled with fear I would run my fingers up and down the vertical lines on the ugly walls. And pray. Pray not to end up crazy. The attacks seemed to go on forever but probably lasted a half an hour. I would emerge from the bathroom exhausted but with my mommy face in place for my son. I had practiced smiling and imagining seeing his face before I left the room. Within moments he would greet me enthusiastically having missed me.
“Heh, Sweetie.” I heard myself say to my child, my dream come true.
“Hi Mom-mom. I made you a picture of a dinosaur.” he said as he held up his latest creation.
“You did! Lucky me, let me see.”
While I looked at his stegosaurus and he pointed out details he wanted me to notice I would think about how much I loved him. How I wanted to be a good mom — not a crazy one. I didn’t know then that I was going to be both for a long time.
La quemada’s honest and thought-provoking blog takes me back to my earliest years in therapy. It makes me realize how far I have come. I’d forgotten that I used to feel that I was bad and disgusting. It takes time, patience and a good therapist to work through such a bad self-image.
It looks idyllic at 7 Basket Lane. The birch tree limbs gracefully bend in the wind, the leaves rustling gently. Fragrant roses climb the trellis by the front door seeming to welcome visitors in to experience the comforts of home. The scent of freshly mown grass reminds one of the pleasures of suburbia. Tiger lilies and purple irises rise out of the carefully thought out garden landscape.
But the people who live there are nuts.
Their children call this Basket Case Lane. A very apt description of the residents.
There is Josie — the mom; Frank — the dad and Barb and Sandy — the daughters.
Frank is a mild-mannered shoe salesman who takes pride in being a white-collar worker. Josie is a stay-at-home with a bit of an edge. If she finds out it is your dog that has been pooping in her carefully manicured yard you will find said poop in the front seat of your car. Barb is a very social teenager who tortures herself wearing hair curlers. Sandy is in grade school and has a best friend with the same first name and same birthday. They hide messages and small toys or gifts for each other in the roots of a bush in the second Sandy’s yard.
I am Sandy. I like to talk about myself in both the first person and third person and sometimes using a plural pronoun.
The family goes to a Catholic Church every week, sometimes Sunday and sometimes Saturday night. The girls go to religious instruction during the week. Their parents have an unread Bible in the house, though they do enjoy reading about the lives of Saints. And they watch the movie, King of Kings, every Easter season.
As a matter of fact, every holiday is thoroughly celebrated – from Valentine’s Day to Halloween. Vinyl window clings adorn the windows for each and sometimes Josie even paints decorations upon the windows. The decorating is not a family affair though (with the children helping) because everything must be perfect. The Christmas tree is decorated only by Josie who rants and raves and curses like a sailor throughout the festooning of said tree. Woe to anyone who moves too quickly by the Christmas tree and causes the tinsel to lie crooked; there will be a weeping and gnashing of teeth by mom and perhaps a quick, sharp kick to the offender’s behind.
So far, you think, only Mom’s sanity is starting to look a bit questionable or she at least has anger and control issues. Ah, but we are just getting started.