For any survivors reading this there will be many triggers
It has been quite awhile since I have shared my “story” in any detail. I have blocked out many things. My middle sister has an incredible memory and has shared some details that I would rather forget. I suppose my mind is protecting my emotional well being.
Birth – 8 years of age
I was born in April of 1967 in Canada. My mother who was in her late teens had a love affair with a 17 year old boy. It was a typical summer romance for teens I suppose. When I met my eccentric father years later he was fond of sharing how they had sex under a big tree. Even though I was not raised by this man I have inherited his quirkiness and free spirit.
In my 30’s I discovered I was taken at birth and placed with a foster family who my mother told me was very good to me. While pregnant my mother was at a Salvation Army hospital for unwed mothers. My father did not know of me and was traveling around Canada by then. She was not ready with the necessities for me so this family cared for me. After she was settled in she met who would become her first husband, an American. According to her he was there with some of his peers to blow up a Cuban ship which never took place. Still not sure of the truth of this tale but makes for a good story. He brought her to New Jersey and many other states during the first few years of my life. Apparently I was well traveled at a young age, always clinging to my mother’s side.
While with James, her first husband, she had three children. We are all very close in age. He was not so kind to my mother. He was an alcoholic, had affairs with other women and there was domestic violence. I recall when I was very young the police coming to our home to arrest him. Eventually he left my mother and never came back, never having any communication with his biological children which has always saddened me.
By her mid-twenties my mother was single with four children. We lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey. My first experience with inappropriate sexual behavior was at this time. There were some people watching us, possibly teenagers. They were having sex and I seem to recall some pornography.
We relocated to low-income housing, still in Atlantic City. One side of the street was low income and the other what I perceived at that age was a class beyond me. My mother was on welfare and also had some issues with drugs and alcohol. She would party with a female neighbor, sometimes leaving us alone or so she thought with babysitters who were unreliable. She worked for a time at a bar about half mile away. One evening when I was around 6 or 7 I went looking for her as there was nobody watching us. Many mornings there would be little food in the house, my mother would be hungover in bed. As the oldest I would try to find something for us kids to eat. Sugar and ketchup sandwiches on white bread were my specialty.
Despite the challenges at home I recall some positive moments. I did very well in school. I was a bright child. I even won a spelling bee and was so proud of my trophy. My mother used to take us to the Atlantic City beach. I would walk to the local store and get some candy, enjoying the little neighborhood.
I socialized well with other kids yet felt less than in many ways especially with material things like toys. Playing at one friend’s home I fell asleep in their living room and had this wonderful dream that I had every toy I wanted. It was so vivid only to wake up and they were not there. I remember being very confused. My mother worked at a department store for a brief period. Around Christmas one year, not having enough to buy gifts for her four children, she filled up two shopping cards and walked out past security. They thought she purchased the items. If you knew my mother you would be quite surprised at this. Sadly I don’t recall any of those toys or that Christmas.
My second experience with sexual abuse took place while living here. I would often wonder around the neighborhood by myself. I was independent and a loner even at young age, as I am now. A woman who I didn’t know, living in the neighborhood asked me to come into her apartment. Once in side she laid on her bed, fully nude and spread her legs. I remember a terrible smell and realized later it was coming from her vagina. She asked me to touch her there, kiss it. I ran out.
While living in Atlantic City, my mother met Frank, the son of our neighbors. He would come and visit his parents. I do remember much of him until we were told we would be living with him and son. Suddenly we were relocated to a three bedroom home, where my siblings and I shared one room.
Next blog will be ages 8-11 which I actually already typed but it somehow deleted itself.