Memories


What happened surrounding Michael’s wedding was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother. I realized then how much she manipulated my father and drove him absolutely batty in exactly the same way. He would beg her to tell him what was wrong just like I had and she would just be bitchy and negative.

To this day I don’t know if I had done something to offend her or what the hell was wrong. She wouldn’t talk about it. That was over and done. The past. We didn’t need to dwell on it. For fuck’s sake, Mother, you damn near ruined you son’s wedding. You certainly put me in a precarious position having to explain it all. Aren’t I entitled to know what the hell was going on? Apparently not.

I never trusted her after that. And I didn’t get over being angry. That incident was such a revelation. All sorts of shitty memories started flooding back into my concious memory of the abuse my brothers and I suffered at her hands.

How she had stuck my finger under the sewing machine needle and deliberately rammed the needle into it for a few seconds as she held my hand there because she caught me playing with her machine. I was maybe three when that happened. Maybe younger. My god in heaven that ain’t that woman was cruel.

It had always bothered me that I could not remember large parts of my childhood but now I think I don’t want to remember. No, I’m almost certain I don’t.

B

That family genealogist found these blogs and contacted me. He told me he’d be happy to update our family information if I cared to give it. I told him to contact my mother and tell her how he found out there was an error. There have been a few hits on the site–two yesterday specifically for Phyllis Ann Fate Gavin.

What can I say? Welcome to my world, Mom if you are the reader. If it’s my brothers well hey there bro. Welcome to your world as well. It wasn’t always happy was it. Thanks to the sheer neglect that went on we managed to make it happy though. You three banded together and did all those crazy things that might have gotten you killed. I was so lonely watching the three of you sometimes. I felt shut out.

Well, that’s the way things were, It’s today that we should be living in. We’re all estranged and everything. I wonder what you think about that. I wonder if you give a rat’s ass. I wonder if you even know the reason why or care to know.

It might be other family members. If so, welcome to the Incestuous abusive story of one of your family members. Actually it involves a number of us. Right off hand I can’t say how many since I’d have to count all the ex-wives, girlfriends and husbands and children and their significant others. You get my drift right?

I’m tired. This shit makes me even more tired.

B

Who put the bomp
In the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
Who put the ram
In the rama lama ding dong?
Who put the bop
In the bop shoo bop shoo bop?
Who put the dip
In the dip da dip da dip?
Who was that man?
I’d like to shake his hand
He made my baby fall in love with me

Me First and The Gimme Gimmees

When my brother Michael got married the second time the plan was that I would drive in from Wisconsin a few days early and stay with my Mother and then we would make the drive out to Denver, stopping in Scottsbluff to spend the night with my best friend from highschool Barbara W and spend the next day with them. It was supposed to be a leisure ly trip so we weren’t all exhausted when we got there two days before the wedding.

I still don’t know what the hell was going on with my mother when I got there. The kids and I were all excited about going to the wedding and she was wet blanketing everything we said until she finally had my kids so upset they didn’t want to go. That’s when I told her to knock it off in front of the kids or I was leaving.

The deal was that Mother was going to stay at Michael’s house and the kids and I were going to stay with one of Michael’s friends. She sounded like a blast to me and I couldn’t wait to meet her in person. I don’t know how it came up exactly but my mother started yelling at me about that “You think that sounds like FUN staying with complete stranger?” and on and on in the same vein

Then she started complaining about how she didn’t want to go and blah blah blah. I told her once again to knock it off in front of my kids or I was leaving but she kept it up so I herded the kids who were crying by then into the car and we went over to Harvard to visit some friends. When I came back she was in her bedroom with the door locked and wouldn’t talk to me. Christ… Now my kids ere really freaking out.

I didn’t know what the hell to do so I went to talk to my old pastor about the whole mess. He told me to set it out for her that I was going to go and have a good time and I was not going to put up with any nonsense from her. She was wecome to come with me but l was not going to allow her to put a damper on the trip and she needed to act like a grown up and talk to me. I took my kids over to my brother Jimmy’s house and went back and did just that.

She was still locked in the bedroom. I tried to talk her into coming out to talk to me but she wouldn’t answer. Finally I got pissed and decided I had taken enough bullshit from this woman. Time for an ultimatum.

I packed up all my stuff and got it ready to go and then I talked to my mother through the bedroom door. I told her she had an hour to come out of that bedroom and if she didn’t the kids and I were going to go spend the night with Chuck my other brother and then on to Barbara W’s. There would be no more bullshit and that was that. She would act like a grown-up or she would be treated like a child

Then I went over to Jimmy’s and we had dinner. I got back there and she hadn’t come out of the bedroom yet so I told her that she’d have to ride to the wedding with Jimmy. I packed up my car and left.

She didn’t go to the wedding.

B

Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be

Jim Horning

My brother Michael who lives in Austrailia (he REALLY ran away from home! LOL) was in Clay Center for the weeked last weekend and my nephew who lives up here with my son made a flying trip out to spend some time with the fam. I went to Edgerton to spend time with the kids and grandkids Friday night and as usual Greg was my ride there and back so I got to hear all the gory details.

We agreed that the Gavins put the FUN in dysfunctional. Apparently Mike has mellowed over the years. He’s filthy rich so he can afford to be mellow but according to Greg he’s the fun member of the family while Chuck who used to be the laid back hippie with the long hair and easy going attitude and lifestyle has become a fundamentalist Christian who won’t say shit–at least not in front of his wife.

He hides the fact that he smokes weed from her and will not let her hear any of the stories about his wild child days. He’s become a totally competitive nutjob who has tied up his whole self-worth in his job and how much effing money he makes. That seemed to happen over night too. But he doesn’t try to hide his gambling and his need to make everything a competition. Has christianity become a contest for material possesions? Oh right, the properity doctrine!

He majored in journalism in college with a minor in sociology which was really cool. He’s a good writer. But when he graduated he got a job selling semi trucks and found out that like most Gavins he could sell air and make a profit. So then he went into selling insurance and then it was advertising and now he’s selling mortgages. When he started selling insurance he cut his hair, bought a three piece suit and a split level house on a cul-de-sac.

The next time I saw him, barely a year later, he had become A THREE PIECE SUIT and his hippie wife was totally miserable. Patty Jo told me once she absolutely hated living on a dead end street. She said it pretty much summed up their marriage. She stuck with him for a few years for the sake of their son but eventually she left. I definitely didn’t blame her. She and I were close and I knew her side of the story. It wasn’t pretty.

Michael went to a Tech School and took up computers back in the really early days. Early 70s. He’s a smart cookie and he began writing programs that could organize inventories. He went into the mining industry and he made a big splash. He rose fast and furious. He’s 52 I guess and I don’t really know what he does because I haven’t spoken to him in almost 15 years or seen him in 20.

I guess he got pissed when I told him I thought he should stop and think about it when he called me to tell me he was getting married the third time so soon after his second divorce. He may have been pissed because my mother didn’t come to the second wedding and I was supposed to bring her. I always wondered what that bitch told him about that incident. I will write about that sometime. What a cluster fuck. That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother.

He’s been married 15 years to this wife. I think that’s a record amongst the siblings. According to the nephew this wife is really ballsy and doesn’t take any shit from him. That’s good because he’s got a personality just like Dad. And me. Intense. Volistic. Manic. And the Gavin men were raised to be chauvinists of the first order. I often wondered if Mike was physically abusive to his wives. He doesn’t have children.

I guess Greg and he had a conversation about me and Michael said it was just easier not to try to reconnect after 20 years. I think maybe from what Greg said I could be the one to make the first move and Michael would be OK with it. don’t know if I want to. Part of me fears rejection. Part of me worries I’ll open up the door and really dislike him. I can’t stand Chuck and basically tol him to bugger off 10 years ago because he was an ass. I have no respect for Jimmy because he’s a chauvinistic pig who is using the hell out of the woman who is living with him. He doesn’t give a shit about her and would kick her out in a heart beat if somebody better came along but she begs to be used so he does. He used to call me up and brag about it until I told him to knock it off. He doesn’t call me anymore. Greg told him the same thing so maybe he thinks I influenced Greg but to be frank, Greg influenced me.

I think I owe Michael an apology about some things that happened when we were children. It has been bothering me a long time. I might send him an email about that. I’ll have to talk it over with Harry first.

B

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies my love
To the night and the empty skies

Roberta Flack

The pain of my parents’ betrayal lies deep in my Psyche. It’s hard to talk about how deep the wounds my mother and father inflicted go but especially my mother because she was the supposed sane one. My father was certifiable, in and out of psychiatric wards from the age of 17 until his death at age 47.

My Mother didn’t “go crazy” until I started talking to her about how hurt and angry I felt about some o the things she did. Then she had a “nervous break down,” effectively shutting me down and protecting her status as the victim. It’s hard to write about it. It’s hard to think about it because I get so angry at her for manipulating me for so many years and for continuing to try to manipulate me now.

The closest I’ve come to actually talking about the ways my Mother abused and betrayed me is some abstract poetry that really doesn’t tell it all. It just hints at what happened and how I felt at that moment. None of my therapists have really wanted to hear about what my mother was up while Daddy was putting his filthy hands all over me.

That was secondary and she was not at fault. My father was the offending parent. Like Harry they aren’t listening to what the hell happened in that situation. They aren’t hearing what I am saying. This woman told me she wished I had died instead of her first born son. She told me this repeatedly for 17 years.

God damn-it, I’d rather had my father’s beatings and his hands in my panties than that refrain echoing in my head for 55 years. Why can’t these crazy therapists understand that?

Truth be told, I feared my mother more than I feared my father because there was no end to the torture she inflicted upon me and my brothers. Daddy was violent at times and he was crazy heavy-handed. Mother had good reason to say “Stop, you’ll kill her!” He could become that enraged and he drew blood on more occasions than I care to count but once he stopped hitting you he was done.

Mother’s psychological warfare never let up though. The guilt at not having been the child she wanted when I was born still haunts me even though intellectually I know that this was one of the most patently ridiculous guilt trips of all. There was nothing I could have done to alter being who and what I was at birth. Had she said this to me once or twice, I might have remembered it and felt grieved but this was a litany that I heard at least once a month for 17 years.

And then there is the complicity and her actual participation in the sexual abuse. Perhaps this poem expresses it best. I don’t think I can write about it without becoming overly emotional and giving our perverted lurkers too much gratuitous information. This is my first memory of the incest.

Complicit

Three…I am three years old and it is dusk
the last few moments of daylight cast feeble shadows
across the white counterpane of my bed;
the sky is glowing pink fading to gray and
I can smell newly mowed grass and the bitter green
of dandelions gone to seed, the sweet yellow roses
blooming on the porch trellis beneath my window
and the faint whiff of Daddy’s Pall Malls.
And I, fresh from a bath, wearing only cotton panties
smell like ivory soap and baking soda
dabbed on mosquito and chigger bites that still itch.
My hair is damp and your hands are harsh
brushing out the tangles, warning me
“Sit still! Don’t wiggle! Be quiet, you’ll wake up the baby!”

I have this memory now, I’ve brought it up
from the cellar where bad dreams and the sad tears
of little girls are kept when it’s too hard to remember.
I’ve claimed it now even though I’d rather push
it back to that time and place when I was only three
and freeze myself in that chair getting my hair brushed free
of snarls and your hands are impatient and tired.

It came to me in bits and pieces at inconvenient times
in inconvenient places as if it had a life of its own,
refusing to be denied, ignored. It came and insisted
that I recall every single moment, every single
assault on my senses, every single thought and emotion
that ran through my three year old mind that night.
It comes again and again insisting that I recall this information
And when it comes I am, for the duration, three again…

Listening to you walk wearily down the stairs,
the soft murmur of your voice and Daddy’s
deeper and louder, the thump of the screen door
and the heavy tread of his weight on the stairs.
The smell of oil and grease on his blue jeans,
stale cigarette smoke lingering in the fabric of his shirt.
The heat and humidity, sweat on his hands
when he rubs my back and whispers, “Turn over, Baby.
Give your Daddy a kiss goodnight.” The thumping of my heart
as I turn and give myself to his hands and meet
the vacant stare in your eyes as you stand,
watching from the doorway before you turn and walk away

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

B

Tuesdays are Harry the shrink days. Man, I dunno if I should stick with this guy. I was telling him about Jimmy losing his eye today and really getting into the emotions of the whole thing and he came in as an apologist for my fucking mother. I have the most godawful feeling that he’s going to be the next one pushing for reconciliation. That thought makes me want to puke.

He was going on about how holding on to these emotions wasn’t doing me any good. Well hell, I know that asshat. That’s why I’m sitting in your office abreacting. I need to express them. Once I do that then I can get on with my life. So let me express them and quit making excuses for the bitch who made my life hell.

I think I might need to dump this ex-Catholic priest who is into forgive and forget. Fuck that shit. That bitch has never said she is sorry and she won’t ever say she is sorry because she doesn’t believe she did a damn thing wrong. She will forever point the finger at someone else.

Harry ought to read this website about forgiveness. This quote is pertinent:

You cannot forgive someone until you have fully felt the pain he or she has caused you.

I can say I forgive her all I want but there are 17 years worth of daily abuse to overcome and according to Doctor Arndt and Dr Shriver (cousin to Maria Shriver married To “Governor Ahnold” of California–no kidding, he told us so.) who treated me when I was in that fancy schmancy 28 day treatment program for adult survivors of child abuse in Rogers Hospital over in Oconomowoc, there are sometimes when it just isn’t possible to come to a place where you can forgive. The sins are just too many and too big. You keep working towards that but… shit.

B

When my children were small they would ask me to tell them stories about what it was like when I was a little girl. I told them funny stories about my brothers. They called them the Uncle stories. I don’t think they even noticed that I told them hardly anything about myself.

I wish I could remember good times. I’m sure there must have been good times. It couldn’t have all been bad times could it? No. It’s just that the bad times over shadow all the good times, drawing a dark curtain over what was good. I remember times that started off good but turned out bad.

Mostly I remember being afraid to be happy because if I was happy something bad would happen. I remember laying awake in my bed at night and praying that nothing bad would happen. I remember making deals with god about what I would give up if only he would stop the bad stuff from happening. It never worked. I gave up being happy but the bad stuff kept happening. I could never be good enough.

Why do bad things happen to good little girls? Because shit happens and there is no one there to care. Especially not an all-seeing, all-powerful god.

B

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