There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good girl, not such a good girl, bad girl.

5th grade, 8th grade, some other time, in order of the pictures. One thing never changes; it's all about my hair.

As I go through more and more contemporary pictures I am constantly wondering about the girl I see in pix like these.

I think from babyhood until I was 10 or so, I was just an average kid. I liked school, got good grades, was a Girl Scout, pouted at times, said things to my mother I shouldn't have and got smacked my share of times too. I loved to skate and ride my bike. I played for hours on end with my dolls and paper dolls. I didn't have many friends because, regardless of the big mouth I have in my blog posts, I was and am shy.

Things changed after my brother was born. He was sick a lot, had asthma and I know now, is mildly autistic. My dad was on the road all of the time as a long haul truck driver and my mom ruled the house. She was engaging in reckless behavior and drug me along on those adventures.

I chose to become reckless. I became reckless. I engaged in reckless behavior. But, what was I dreaming about in those days?

In 5th grade I wanted to learn how to ice skate. The Girl Scout troop was going to get a badge in ice skating. My mom said no; the lessons were too expensive and all I would do is spend my time falling at the ice rink. My dad was on the road and so my backup yes was gone. I got over it. I worked on a cooking badge (go ahead and laugh) and was the only girl in my troop to earn one of those badges. I was writing to the Sister's of Charity. I was sure I had heard the calling. I was basically a happy kid. No dreams hit with lightening yet.

In 8th grade I finally got my first bra. I was happy for months. I loved George Phillips who lived in the neighborhood. He was older too; a freshman. He actually talked to me every once in a while. The bomb had gone off with my parents and they were still together, but......I had lied to my dad about what my mom had done. I felt like dirt on his shoes. I had heard my mom say those words.....You can have rosebud. Please. Don't take my dollboy. Reckless had started to tug at my brain. I worried about my frizzy hair and how to get out of accordion practice. I went to picnics with my friends Bea and Diane, played with my mom's makeup, stole one of her lipsticks and lied about taking the bus uptown. Oh, we went uptown, but in Bea's brother's car. I stole a bathing suit. It was green with white zig-zags. I thought I looked at least 15.

The last pix must be one of my high school yearbook photos, but for the life of me I don't know what year. I do remember the blouse. It was green and blue and a kerchief print. It zipped all the way up the front and as soon as I would leave the house the zipper went up and I would pull the back of the collar up and look "tough." But-oh-my-gawd-the-hair.

The summer before my freshman year, I met the man that would become my first husband; the man that I wanted to love me forever. I was typically heartbroken when summer ended even though I had known him for one day and that day ended with the worst kiss of my entire life (and believe me I have kissed some frogs). I saw him again the first day of second semester my freshman year at Alhambra High School. I had sex with him on our first date. Did I type date? I'm sorry, I meant I lied and told my mom I was going to Bea's and told Bea to cover for me. We "parked." Did I type I had sex? I'm sorry, he had sex I pretended. See, I was a woman already.

I did have dreams. I did think I would live them. I could have lived some of the less outrageous ones, but making a 45 record of the "Yellow Rose of Texas", or becoming a Fredrick's model; those were just not going to happen.

Nope, those young girl dreams of ice skating, becoming a nun, having George Phillips fall in love with me, I traded those in for reckless.......I did this backwards. Read this (some of you have already read Something so) and maybe you will understand.


utenzi said...

That's pretty rough stuff, Rosemary. It'd be so hard hearing your Mom palm you off to your Dad like that. I can see a little recklessness resulting... Bad role model!!

Michele said...

The one thing that I am quite certain of is that women who were reckless when they were younger, are not always that way when when they are a little older. I cannot think of one of my friends who was not somewhat or overtly reckless in their youth. It does not always lead to fond memories, it occasionally leads to guilt or regret - but it always leads to a very interesting person.

Not, of course, that you cannot be interesting without the reckless past. Oh, that is very possible. But, it is guaranteed where you have a reckless past. Oh, and yes, "reckless: has shades of meaning and degrees of intensity.

Were you reckless? Perhaps more than some. Certainly not as much as others.

Your past many you the person you are - that should be celebrated.

I loved reading this post. Yes, I even sat down with a cup of tea to do read as if I was having a chat with a friend. Which, of course I was.

Thank you so much Rosemary for visiting the "post of the week." And more importantly, thank you for sharing yourself in this post!

gina said...

Of course, Rosemary, you just wanted to be loved - unconditionally, undeniably, loved - hence your first marriage way too young. I know....been there, done that, though not quite as young, and no kids resulted, which really is the only reason my story isn't a mirror image of yours. I waited on the kids part - but we had The Pill - you didn't. And you have the perfect guy in know what I deal with. So, all works out.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what more I could add that hasn't already been so eloquently covered in the above sentiments. Another beautiful post. Sad... but sad can still be very beautiful.

Sling said...

Much of this post reminds me of my sister who,like yourself,was a reckless young girl,that grew up to be an incredible person.
Excellent post rosemary.

cs said...

HI Rosemary:
The hair pic's are fab! I had orange juice cans to smooth mine out. Nothing worked on my waves and frizz. I tried the latest page-boy in the 60's. Oh how I cried the 1st day of school when it didn't come out like it did from the parlor.

My folks were very non-reckless, military, and very square Catholics. My brother should have been a priest. I was the wild child and no one knew what to do with me! (Now labeled ADHD) Now I am a carbon copy of them--ha! Too funny.

Michele said...

Oh your posts are truly amazing. I am so attached to reading them... it's as if I'm reading a novel and I can't wait for the next chapter. Even though you have had ups and downs, look what it has done for you today. You are still an incredible human being! I look at you as somewhat a role model as I have gone through so much abuse growing up from my parents and lost my twin sister to the hands of my abusive father when I was 12. I suffer seizures now because of the hands of my abusive father which I took one too many blows to the head and the blame from my mother that I was the cause of the abuse and I thought I just don't know if I can survive but I'm not alone in my struggles and I see others have had tough lives as well and if they can do it, so can I. So yes, I look up to you and I appreciate your stories... they give me strength. You truly are a beautiful person.

madretz said...

I can only echo what everyone else has said. Especially Auld Hat about what a beautiful, yet sad story this is.

Sandy said...

I've been catching up and am so touched by your writing. Hurting a child is unconscionable and the words your mother spoke would be very hard for me to understand and I'd have to work even harder to forgive. How remarkable you are to have overcome such pain and found peace.

kenju said...

We really do have a lot in common, Rosemary.

Stephanie said...

You are an incredible woman Rosemary. Maybe if I would have paid more attention to you when I was growing up, I could've saved all of us a little heartache...
We both know I did NOT know how to listen.

Cazzie!!! said...

My brother was also sick alot and I think it is why I wanted to be a nurse, because I did nurse him when he was sick and we were alone alot.

Mom said...

You are telling a story that needs to be told and needs to be heard. You are defintly far more than a survivor, you are a conquerer. I salute you for being able to share and thereby comfort so many. I think you are fabulous.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Wow, this is an amazing story, I'm just catching up on blogs, have been away from the computer for a few days. It's interesting that you can detach yourself from the emotionsl side of all this and write your story so that strangers can understand what you have gone through. Thanks for sharing your story.

more cowbell said...

I could see bits and pieces of my own mom in here -- at some point after I had my own kids, it was a revelation to see my mom as a woman, just like me, like my friends, my sister. We imagine our moms to know everything, have all the answers, like they were born authority figures. When I figured out that my mom had to learn the hard way like any other woman, that she had her own unrealized dreams and disappointments, our relationship crossed some kind of line. Anyway, thanks for sharing, this was so honest and open. You seem to be an amazing woman.