My life began with a fight for my life in a little mill town in rural North Carolina. Thinking my imminent birth was premature, a doctor gave Mama something to stop her labor. There was no stopping me and around 3:05am on September 23, 1944, inside a small white mill house with no indoor plumbing, I came into this world. Two years later, I was in a hospital fighting against the disease diphtheria. I obviously survived; however, until I was four years old my physical activity was limited to a rocking chair on our front porch. I was always being told to sit down because everyone had assumed that the illness had left me weak and immobile. Not true. Once they let me start school, there was no more sitting for me. I was a maniac on the playground, and my energy drove me to reach for the top of my class.
My mother was an Irish redhead and quite a beauty. Married at 16 to a man 10 years her senior, she bore 5 children in 6 years. If you explore the world of a strict Hard Shell Baptist upbringing you will know why she soon became restless in our mill town. When the Navy came to town, Mama soon left with one of the sailors taking the three youngest of her 5 children with her. I was the middle child of the three who were whisked off to California - creating a family so split it could never be mended. My two oldest siblings would remain forever strangers to me viewed only through my distorted memories and whispered family secrets.
In this memoir I explore the first nineteen years of my life. While in the decades that follow, I will take on a variety of roles including wife, mother, teacher, and exercise specialist, my journal entries for this memoir are filtered by memories of incidents that guided me through my childhood. Through the exploration of my formative years, I have gained incite into how I process information and how I make choices. I understand why I engage in conversations with strangers and find comfort in the constant chatter I used as a child. I understand why physical movement and change bring me comfort. I understand why I seek spiritual enlightenment outside the formal church. I understand why fear of poverty has led me to made difficult financial choices. And most of all I understand why I face each challenge, each success, and each failure with the resiliency to move forward. This understanding began with a journey back home to Rockingham, North Carolina. As I finished this journey through a turbulent past, I was surprised by what I discovered. With the unveiling of each childhood memory came a realization that the relationships I currently have with my family and friends often result in childlike reactions. I confess that I felt trapped in my childhood and feared that the adults with whom I interact, would somehow find out. The publishing of this memoir provides me with a process for building a future where the present is celebrated.
|Publisher:||Outskirts Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.21(d)|