Memoir Byte: Missing – Where is my Family and Furniture?

I was 6, walking home the 3/4 mile walk from school. We’d recently moved into a new 3 bedroom backsplit. Our house was situated on a cul-de-sac  where new homes were still for sale, and some were still being built. In order to shorten the walk to and from school, I’d learned a new trick – cut through old and grumpy Mrs. Hankowitz’s backyard to shave off a 5-7 minute walk around 2 streets.

I discovered some neighborhood kids taking this short cut so I joined in, only I feared the old woman seeing me and yelling like a banshee to GET OFF her property. It seemed Mrs. H who lived with her already adult children didn’t appreciate children or just didn’t appreciate children stepping on her grass and using her backyard as a gateway and shortcut to public school.

This one day in particular, the weather was nasty and I ran most of the way home to get out of the wind and pouring rain. Dashing through the final stretch past Mrs. H’s backyard, I headed directly for my front door and stepped inside. I stood for a moment in the front hallway as a chill ran up my spine. Where was my mother and my younger siblings? WHERE DID ALL OF OUR FURNITURE GO? At first I was stunned by what I was seeing – or not seeing in my house. I quickly ran into the kitchen, only to discover our kitchen appliances were gone too. I sat down on the empty linoleum floor and began to cry my little heart out. I don’t know how much time passed while I sobbed, but I do remember thinking really hard as to where did my family and all of our furniture go, and why did they leave me behind? I cried and cried, wondering what had I done so bad that my family abandoned me, then I finally stood up and proceeded to dash up the few stairs to the bedrooms for a last search for my family.

I entered my parents’ master bedroom first. Again, I found no sight of anyone or any furniture, and noticed that even 2 walls were missing. All that stood was some wood framing. Once again I plopped myself on the dusty floorboards and began to cry. As my mind wandered to some very dark places and I rattled my brains trying to figure out where I should go for help, I heard a clanging noise. I followed the noise into the master bathroom ensuite and found what turned out to be a plumber, banging away on some pipes. He must have heard my crying over the clanging and stopped what he was doing.

“What’s the matter little girl?” asked the plumber. I managed to tell him, in between sobs,  this was my house and everybody left me, adding, they even took all the furniture. The plumber smiled and told me that nobody was living in this house yet because it wasn’t finished. I was in the wrong house!

Wiping away my streaming tears I thanked him and darted back outside to have a look at where I was. I’d never realized the house next door to us was a replica of my house one driveway over, then I made a mad dash for my own front door.

The fear of the whole event had me crying all over again as I ran to my mother with a face laden in tears and I proceeded to tell her what happened to me while gasping for air in between my continuing sobs. I told her how I thought she took the family and moved away without me. She had a few chuckles and hugged me just for a moment, telling me she’d never leave me behind, she loved me.

I don’t know if she thought the incident warranted chuckling at, but looking back, I also don’t know why a mother with such strict rules about riding my bike off the cul-de-sac had no quams about letting her little girl walk herself to school and back alone at age 6.

Just another memory that gives me pause.

 

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© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye

 

#WATWB – We Are The World Blogfest – Human Rights and Heroes in the Darkness

We are the World Blogfest

 

I am Canadian and I’m disheartened and disgusted at what’s been going on at US borders. You don’t have to be American to feel empathy for what is going on there.

 

#WATWB is about posting good things happening in the world. Sadly, besides the other dangers that tRump (I’m sorry, I cannot capitalize his name) is posing to the US and the world, this situation is atrocious and is against Human Rights – snatching children at the borders.

 

Thank you to this lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is quickly becoming the newest hero in America by offering his pro bono services to assist these poor people being treated as insignificant and criminals, just fleeing for their lives looking for sanctuary. And thanks to Avenatti, so many other lawyers are joining the action. That is what America is about!

 

https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti/status/1008336866427334657

If you want to feel more inspiration, click on this Twitter link and read the outpouring of stellar comments.

 

And if you’d like to read more about what Avenatti is doing, please visit these links:

http://www.liberalmountain.com/us-politics/michael-avenatti-has-a-new-mission-to-bring-down-ice

 

http://www.liberalmountain.com/us-politics/michael-avenatti-offers-his-help-to-parents-separated-from-children-gives-big-warning-to-trump-admin

 

Every month a group of bloggers post something inspirational on the last Friday of every month, to deflect negativity and focus on something positive. I know this border situation is appalling to most people, but it is a reality that needs to continue to shine in the forefront of the media and so I’m sharing today, highlighting that there are many good citizens rising up and doing their part to help for justice.

 

Your hosts for the month are:   Simon FalkMary J. Giese Shilpa Garg Damyanti Biswas and Dan Antion.

 

If you’d like to add a post to join in #WATWB, please follow this link to add your posts.

 

 

Memoir Bytes: – Frozen by Flames – #Memoir

Flames

 

Frozen by Flames

 

I sat on the edge of her bed and watched as she artfully drew on her Cleopatra-like tails with eye-liner – her signature look, while she drew in with deep inhalation on a Player’s Light cigarette before attempting to mirror the task on her left eye.

 

I continued to stare at my mother in awe, admiring her beauty along with her as I watched her reflection in the mirror. With all the primping and skillful artwork she performed to prepare for her usual day out with friends at the racetrack, the excitement she felt could be measured by the amount of cigarettes she smoked before completing her task. The phone would ring, and she’d step over to the night table where the beige princess phone rested and picked up the receiver, leaving yet another cigarette burn down in a steady coil of ash until the flame was extinguished.

After her call ended, the plans for the afternoon were laid out with her fancy friends, she lit another one and visited it with her lips intermittently in between trying on several outfits in search of one that may have suited her mood for that day.

After I’d complimented my mother on the flashy outfit she’d chosen for her day out, I went downstairs to play with my brother Rory. The day was a hot one so Rory and I decided to stay inside the air- conditioned house and play on our day off from school thanks to a teacher’s PD day (professional development day off). My younger siblings were in nursery and kindergarten so Rory and me pretty much had the house to ourselves other than our maid Dolly who was doing her chores and paid to keep an eye out on us.

I watched in adornment out the living room window as my mother stepped into her big white Cadillac Coupe de Ville, dreaming about the day I might too be beautiful and wear fancy clothes and have a fancy social life.

After closing the curtains once she drove off, I called for Rory who was in the basement playing as I walked through the grand foyer to the basement stairway to go join him but was stopped in my tracks by the smell of smoke. I looked up past the spiral staircase to the second floor where billowing clouds of smoke were filling the hallway, coming from my mother’s room and I screamed – except I didn’t scream because no sound would come from my mouth.

Rory patted up the stairs from the basement in response to my earlier calling of his name and saw me standing like a frozen statue in the middle of the foyer fixated on the amount of smoke I saw coming from the stairway. Rory didn’t lose his voice and screamed loud for Dolly to warn her about the fire while at the same time screaming at me to run outside with him. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t scream. I was in shock.

Rory grabbed my arm and shook me as he pulled me out the front door. We stood on the driveway together staring at the front of the house waiting – waiting for what?

I didn’t hear the sound of fire engines and as I worried with wonder what was going to happen to my house, Dolly opened the front door cursing under her breath in her Jamaican tongue – something about careless smoking. Then she came out to give us a hug and invited us back in, informing us she had put out the fire which had started by a cigarette left burning that fell out of the ashtray and kept burning on my mother’s makeup table. The black soot and fire marks left – only inches from an electrical outlet.

I called my dad who was at work to let him know what had transpired. He dashed home to make sure we were okay and to check out the state of the damage from the fire. Then he went back to work, and Rory and I went back to playing.

Mom didn’t come home for dinner that night. There were no cell phones back in the mid-late sixties. We ordered pizza and ate in the family room and watched TV together with Dad then we went to sleep. I heard the keys in the door later that night and the door close when my mother returned. And I heard the usual muffled sounds coming from my parents’ bedroom. I supposed my father may have been filling her in on the day’s events after she witnessed the damaged state of her bedroom. And the conversation grew heated as I supposed there were more arguments had over the damaged state of their relationship.

Memoir Bytes – Sing Me No Songs Piano Man

Vision perception
Memoir

 

Each night, around 8pm we’d hear the beautiful music from a piano being played next door. The music was beautiful and soothing. I was eleven years old.

We’d spend a few weeks every summer for the couple of years we owned a condo in Miami Beach there, as well as Christmas and Easter break. The piano man had to have been well in his seventies. He and his wife had introduced themselves to my mother and I one day as we passed them in our mutual hallway. They lived next door. He smiled at me with what felt like kindness, but as a young girl who was always eager for any attention paid to me, I didn’t know what was behind his smile.

My siblings and me spent many fun days at the swimming pool on those dog day afternoons of hot Florida sun. We’d swim for hours, splashing away and jumping off the diving board without a care in the world. Many days I’d see the piano man lounging at the pool. It was hard to miss him because I could almost feel him peering right through me as his gaze always seemed intently focused on me. When my eyes would catch his, he’d offer a smile so bright it was difficult not to smile back.

As the days passed, the piano man wasn’t always around, but when he was, I couldn’t help but feel he was a lonely man as he’d sit by himself and never talk with anyone. I’d look at him sometimes from the corner of my eye just to see if he was still around, but something within me warned me to keep my distance from him, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.

The fact that I thought I’d seen his penis hanging out from his bathing suit one day as he lay on a sunbed with his legs sprawled apart taking in the sun didn’t alarm me because, quite frankly, I’d seen a few of those mishaps a few times when some older men were sitting awkwardly in a chair. Besides, I knew nothing about sex or desire at that age.

I was the carer of my siblings by that age, even on vacation our mother was busy socializing, out with her then boyfriend on some lazy afternoons when she thought she wouldn’t be missed. We spent most afternoons at the pool there during those summer holidays while my dad was back home in Toronto working. I’d learned years later that my mother’s boyfriend was indeed a family friend who coincidentally also had a condo with his family in our same building in Florida. Convenient.

Nobody seemed to pay any mind to that piano man, not even my mother.

One day when I’d had enough swimming and wanted to head upstairs for some lunch, I found myself sharing an elevator with the piano man. I supposed he’d had enough sun too and was going back to his condo. He never spoke, just smiled at me the whole time in the elevator then he followed closely behind me as I exited the elevator. His door was next to ours so I thought nothing of the coincidence, as a naive girl of eleven.

While I stood at my door fiddling with my keys, he’d caught up to me. I felt him push his body up against me as I was opening the door. In that exact moment as I flung open the door, and wondering what he was trying to do, my mother appeared in the front hall doorway. The piano man said hi to her and made a beeline for his condo.

My mother never suspected anything other than perhaps he’d been walking me to the door. I was confused at the man’s actions but never mentioned any of my concerns to my mother or anyone else. After all, what did I know in 1970 about pedophiles?

That story could have had a much worse ending, and it’s a story I’ve never forgotten. I never had any growing up lessons from my mother. I knew nothing about the birds and the bees, only about never having courage to ask my mother about anything personal, especially about anything regarding my private parts, my fears, hopes or otherwise.

Many children share some of the same fears I had as a child because their parents don’t give them a platform to discuss their personal selves or don’t allow them to feel comfortable doing so. Particularly in the world we live in now, parents must talk with their children, not scare them, but make them understand that when strangers approach them, invading their private space, or trying to lure them away with offers of treats or fantastic adventures, they must understand the boundaries of safety. They must talk to their children and make them feel comfortable about coming to their parents with any concerns.

Had I felt a comfort talking with my mother, I would have told her about the man who kept staring at me whenever he was around, his penis hanging out of his bathing suit, and him pushing himself on me. I knew instinctively that he was trying to get into the condo with me, not merely walking me to the door. I was scared of that man after that day. I didn’t tell my mother I was scared, but I never again went in that elevator or into my condo alone without asking one of my brothers to come with me. I learned from my own instincts and gratefully, it wasn’t too late. By the grace of God I wasn’t raped.