Monday, March 28, 2005

Blast from the Past

It's rained for days now. That's the thing about Winter and Spring in North Carolina, they're wet, and unbelievably short. Basically we have summer and fall. We had a whopping 1/2 inch of snow for the whole season, and our temperatures will be well into the 80's at least within a few weeks.

I spent many of my childhood years in New York and New Jersey. I remember snow, lots of it. I lived in Coxsackie(Cook-sock-ee) NY for 3 years, and my children laugh at me because I tell them I walked to school in a foot of snow, uphill in both directions, but it's true. There were buses, but only for the kids that didn't live in city limits, so we walked. The town was about a mile long, we lived on one end and school was on the other end, and there was a hill in the middle. Therefore, we walked uphill in both directions.

God I hated New York. I was just the new kid, I was always the new kid, the skinny little bucktoothed new kid that talked funny. We moved SO much when I was a kid. Never in any house more than a year, never in a state for more than three until I was almost 13.

Let's see, here's my line up:

Born in Idaho, lived there for 2 years
then moved to Indianapolis Indiana, stayed there about 2 1/2 years.
My sister was kidnapped and raped there -- snatched out of her bedroom window, she was 14, I was 5) so we moved to NJ.
We lived there till I was almost 7.
Then we moved to North Carolina. Stayed for 2 years or so.
Then my Dad left and we moved to New York when I was 9 1/2 or 10-ish.
At 12 we moved back to North Carolina.

We stayed in NC for the rest of my life, but we never stayed in the same house more than one lease term. I did manage to make it through highschool in the same school for 4 years though.
If I hadn't been such a dumb ass I'd have graduated at 16 in 1989. Instead, I got married and had Tommy in 1989.

At some point in there I learned not to make friends, not to get too attached, never to get comfortable and to try not to watch the clocks or calenders because it was just a countdown to the next upheaval. I remember when Mom told me we were moving to New York. We were eating pot roast at the table in the house on Smith Farm Road (I memorized road's names, never, people's names - the memory map of my childhood) and I had finally made friends. There was Melissa and Theresa that lived in the neighborhood, Robert that I kind of had a crush on, I was in girlscouts and public school.

"We have something to tell you kids, I have a surprise for you all."
(here I get all excited - we're going to the fair or the movies, summer camp maybe!)
"We're moving to New York, to stay with Aunt Ellen!"

and I laugh.
and I laugh
and I laugh
and I laugh,
until I have tears rolling down my face, and everyone is looking at me funny, and Mom looks strange and scared, and I think, "She thinks I've lost my mind" and I just keep laughing until I ask if she's kidding and she says no, and the laughter devolves into jagged sobs and I run to my room.

As you age, memories fade and get vague and fuzzy. I think it's nature's way of encouraging us to heal, to become the adult we want to be without so much of the baggage.
This is one memory that isn't any less vivid that the actual event. It was the moment, I think, that I realized I wasn't normal, I wasn't allowed to be normal. I'd never be normal. I don't think I ever told anyone I was moving. I remember how I told them I was going with them on the field trip to Raleigh, only I knew I wasn't because we'd be in New York by then.

So I show up in New York, the skinny little bucktoothed girl that talked like a redneck.

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