run away children


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

Advertisements

bl_unite-sept27banner.jpg

href=”“>Bless the beasts and the children
The Carpenters

There are so many ways we can abuse so much in this world. We can even abuse the planet itself as Al Gore has pointed out in his Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I am not a Christian, I have made that very clear on several occasions in my Blogs but I believe the myths human beings tell to explain their occupation of this planet are powerful. The Christian creation story has a compelling message that I think that Christians and non-Christians alike can take a valuable lesson from regarding our role as stewards of this planet and its inhabitants.

I am going to use the King James 1611 Bible because I love the majesty of the Elizabethan Language. I don’t think it makes much difference which translation you use. This part of the story of “In the beginning…” is pretty clear.

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

This story is centuries old. It was almost certainly passed along as an oral tradition long before it was ever written down and there were many versions before it was recorded in this beautiful 16th century iambic pentameter. The main point that I want to dwell on here is that HUMANS have DOMINION over everything else in the world.

Dominion. That’s a strong word to use. We were to dominate or rule over all the animals and all of the fishes in the sea and the fowl that flies and all the creepy crawly things too.. We have complete charge of everything else in the world. The creator god gave it all to us. If you believe in this creator God I don’t see how you can fail to believe that you have been commanded by God to take care of his creation.

If you are a disbeliever perhaps you could take a moment to reflect that these supposedly primitive people back in the dark recesses of time recognized that it was OUR duty to take care of this planet. They believed that an almighty force, a supernatural being they believed to be the creator of everything around them, gave THEM the power to rule over everything. They recognized their status as the beasts highest on the food chain and understood the moral responsibility that that implied. Can we do any less?

Taking care of this planet and ALL OF ITS INHABITANTS, right down to the most seemingly insignificant species of fly in the muckiest marsh in the backwoods of nowhereville is essential to our own well being. This is it, folks, this is all we’ve got. This planet and its inhabitants depend on us to be good stewards. WE MUST STOP THE ABUSE!

Each of us can stop the abuse by choosing our own particular interest and taking a proactive part in being good stewards. Humananity has been thoughtless and cruel for far too long. There are many, many causes that need to be taken up and battles that need to be fought. You might find the destruction of our rain forests to be particularly reprehensible or you might have issues with substance abuse in your life or you might want to take up the cause of making sure that everyone spays and neuters their pets. There is something for everyone to do.

I have a particular interest in preventing child abuse. How do you prevent child abuse? You can make a determined heroic promise that you will never ever abuse a child and I will truly believe that you would never WANT to do that. But if you were abused as a child I would bet that the odds are better that 50/50 that you will abuse your own child in some way, shape, or form if you do not seek professional help.

Don’t believe me? Check the statistics on the ‘net.

I did. I hate the fact that I did. But I did.

I hit my children when I was angry. I said terrible things to them. Things that no mother should ever say to her babies. Eventually it got so bad I HAD to seek professional help because I was horrified by my behavior. I was horrified but I couldn’t stop. I was out of control.

I had to admit that I needed help if I was going to to end the cycle of abuse. If you are a parent who is in the position I was in, please, seek help. You can get help through your local Child Welfare Services, Domestic Abuse Crisis Lines or family doctor. The professionals you turn to will understand. You will not be punished and your children will not be taken away from you if you come forward. YOU are NOT a bad person but your behavior can and must change.

If you were abused as a child but don’t have children yet, PLEASE, seek professional help. Not only for your own sake, for the sake of your future children.

If you see a child being abused or know of a family where children are being abused DO SOMETHING. The child abuse hotline is 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4253) You can also help by getting involved in Child Abuse Prevention organizations

Make a decision to stop the abuse. Choose Hope.

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

The children
The children

I suppose I was three the first time I tried to run away. I doubt that my mother realized that that’s what I was doing since I didn’t pack any of my clothes. I packed my favorite dolly’s clothes and my china tea set and went to visit Grandma Clara*.

Grandma Clara wasn’t really my Grandmother. She was an elderly woman my mother did housework and laundry for. She was a sweet old lady and she listened to my childish tale of woe before she called my mother to tell her I had come to visit but she didn’t offer me any protection or seem to take me very seriously.

My mother was furious when she came to pick me up with my two little brothers in tow.  Goodness knows where she had found them–playing safely in the back yard where I had left them or wandering around loose in the neighborhood.  Mother certainly let me know that I had neglected my duty to mind them and I was severely reprimanded and  given a thorough  whipping with a small switch from the peach tree in Grandma Clara’s yard.

Sadly, this burden of responsibility for my brothers turned me in to what is known as a parentified child.  I became a caretaker at a very early age, not only for my brothers but for both of my parents.  According to my therapists, I eventually became responsible for the well being and happiness of the whole family as well as the source of all the unhappiness and thus the one who would bear all the blame and be the scape goat when things went wrong.

There were many times I wanted to run away but couldn’t bring myself to leave because I was afraid of what would happen to my little brothers–especially the youngest, Jimmy–if I left and wasn’t there to protect them.  There were many times I took the blame for things they had done so they wouldn’t be beaten.

There were many times my mother pulled me in front of her to deflect my father’s fury from her to me. Literally and figuratively. Time and again I learned that I could not depend on her to protect me from him.  EVER  She would allow him to do whatever he wanted with her blessing.   She would stop him from killing me but only because a dead body would prove difficult to explain away.

When I was 14 I really began to run away. I climbed out of my bedroom window and went to my Grandparents house and asked my Aunt who is younger than I am by 6 months for a loan so I could take a bus to Lincoln, NE to stay with my friend who lived there.  When I told her why–ie. the sexual abuse which was escalating,  she said we had to tell my Grandparents and went and got my Uncle who is a little older.  We told him and he told my Grandparents.

Then all hell broke loose.  My Grandmother went and talked to my parents and then my parents came and got me.  I should have just walked to Lincoln.  It would have been easier than what happened to me next.

*(I don’t remember this woman’s real name but there was an elderly woman who lived above a store or perhaps just occupied the second story of a house that I “ran away to” one day when I was supposed to be watching my brothers.)

After my father died in 1979 my mother began playing a game with me I eventually named “Blame Bill and Iola.” It actually began before that but it began in earnest in 1979 when she filed for divorce and my Father had the audacity to up and die on her six weeks later before she could get him into court and air all the dirty linen.

This may or may not have been linked to the fact that I had ended up on the psych ward and was being treated for depression in 1978 and had partially confessed the family dirty linen to “The Pink Shrink” (everyone who is anyone will remember HER. She always wore pink and she was our circuit rider counselor affectionately referred to as the pink shrink. I wonder if she knew that?) I think it was.

She really upped the ante after I had moved to Wisconsin and been living there for a couple of years and started digging around in my psyche with a little more enthusiasm and with more experienced therapists in the early 80s. Plus I had written a term paper about incest that I had given her to read that talked about the complicity of the mothers. Every time I went to Nebraska to visit we spent most of our alone time talking about how miserably my father had treated her and abused me and how Iola was to blame for the fact that my Mother did not respond appropriately when I disclosed the incest.

All the misery in the world was Bill and Iola’s fault. oh sigh… what can we do? woe and sorrow…

I finally told her I did not want to play that game anymore. She said it wasn’t a game. I said whatever, I didn’t want to do it anymore, that I had worked through my shit with my father and that if she was still needing to work through stuff she needed to go back to therapy. She was miffed and she did try to play the game but I was firm.

So what has that got to do with sparing the rod? Well, in the course of blaming my father for everything my mother told me this anecdote:

I got my first spanking when I was six weeks old. The reason? I would not quit crying in church so my father took me out and bared my little bottom and spanked me.

SIX WEEKS OLD. I weighed 8lbs and 2oz when I was born so probably weighed right around 9 pounds. My father was a big man. 6’2″ probably over 200lbs even then and certainly strong because he lifted weights when he was in the service.

If this wasn’t a testimony to his insanity and the fact that he should have never been left alone with a child again, I do NOT know what was. But did my mother take me and leave? Did she even consider it? No she did not.

She was upset but it never occurred to her that she should protect her child and get the hell out of dodge. In fact, she went on to have three more children with this maniac.

She married a man, a boy really, that her mother disapproved of who came from a family she herself disapproved of who had recently been discharged from the military because of mental health problems. By this time she had no doubt been the victim of his temper herself on more than one occasion. In fact, I’m sure of it. She told me so. And he beat her only child in public when that child was six weeks old.

What kept her from running home to Mama who would have been more than happy to help her and had the means? Want my opinion? Of course you do. PRIDE. Insufferable pride.