Make no doubt where there is a sister and a mother living together alone, there will be a desperate march toward money. E. Scrooge
My new love, Mel, moved into my home and blended into the fabric of her new family very quickly.
And then my mother and sister had dropped in unexpectedly.
From Kenosha. Fifteen HUNDRED miles away. After my father told them specifically not to.
I cannot recall exactly what happened, but there is something that haunts me about that trip. Did I sign some papers? Why did they come?
I must first clarify, I did not grow up lacking. It was not an exceedingly wealthy family, but I found out when I was 5 and spending more time with the general population because of school, I had more than most. There were 5 children in the family ad we ALL went to private schools. It could be because my great grandfather, then grandfather and finally father provided construction for St. Mary's and then St. Mark's churches. The Monsignor from St. Marks, Msgr. Aldstat, came to my grandparents for Martini's and dinner once a month. The church officiate who I dined with since I was a small child, when I had a night at grandma and grandpa's, officiated at my marriage to my first husband, Jim and baptized my daughter.
As a child and young adult, I recognized my family had a standing in the city of Kenosha. You could barely walk a block on the sidewalks without stepping on the impression "George Schuch and Son's". I knew as I reached young adulthood that I probably was not going to recognize that wealth once I was on my own, and I prepared myself for it. Other's in the family ... not so much
I am not going to tell you I didn't appreciate and enjoy it because that would be a lie. At the same time, I knew nothing else. I always felt my sister Mary would be the better of all of us because she grew up in a different time than I.
My parents had divorced, my mother took an apartment in Library Park and started to work for a family friend at the local Life Insurance agency. With her 9th grade education my mother thrived. Eventually she was the top Salesperson getting several awards. Ultimately she had her own general agency. She did pretty well.
My father stayed with his new wife for 3 years and then one day he got up and left. I will never forget the day Jim walked in ahead of me and my father was sitting at my mom's kitchen table. He immediately turned around shooing me out the door to leave.
"Your dad is in there, let's go"
You see my mother and father could not spend two seconds alone without blowing up. Jim knew this was a bad situation for me since I was still freshly scarred by the divorce. But it turned out after 7 years of divorce and his remarriage, he just decided my mom was a safer bet.
Mary had spent her formative years living with my mom and little brother in that apartment. She should have had a tighter fist, but it is not the case. After my dad and mom's retirement, they had to start watching their pockets. But it seems Mary would not or could not recognize this was the time she needed to rely on them less.
She lived like she didn't have a financial care in the world. And my mother cannot say no to her. They are not living like they used to and since my father died, Mary has lived with my mom. She complains to everyone, but if we offer to help she rejects the offer. The money has all but run out. I have no idea what she will do when it's gone. I do not like to think about it. But I am jumping ahead of the story.
By this time, when they came to visit, my sister was still with her husband and living in Kenosha sucking the life out of my mom’s checking account.
My mother absolutely abhorred my lifestyle, looking for every opportunity to assign blame. So why would they come to visit? No, this wasn’t a simple “just wanted to drop and see how you’re doing”.
Mary and mother wanted me to go to Houston’s restaurant with them. They did NOT want Mel to come. Rude and conniving, and I fell face first into the mire. Mel was concerned, but fell victim to that old adage, they are family, they have things to discuss, nothing to worry about. Anna had told Mel not to allow my family alone time with me. So, I do have a curiosity about why Mel then allowed it.
My sister’s two boys were fighting. They fought ALL the time. They were boys. But Mel said they were building prisons for them as we spoke. I resented that. I didn’t feel Mel had the right to make that kind of blanket statement so early in our relationship. She said it often. She liked the way it sounded, she thought she was quite clever.
But these boys fought rough, much in the fashion of my brothers. The oldest was getting the worst of it from his brother and mother. So I gave the younger “A look!” That did it. All hell broke loose. Now, let me remind you, my sister takes my children to task all the time. That is how it should be, but Mary, no she didn’t allow role reversal’s. In reality, it was a setup. I wouldn’t doubt if she paid the kids off.
But we all know, don’t we, something was bound to happen. And their demeanor had changed once they got me in the car and out of the subdivision. This was a sporting event. I could feel the electricity in the air immediately after they got far enough away from Mel, my home and anywhere I could be dropped off comfortably.
They started and just would not stop. Like a tire fire, it just rolled and smoked and burned and smelled bad. Any and every indiscretion I have ever been involved was brought up. They had it down pat, I have to give it to them. Like when you memorize all the prayers in Latin as a child. The words just spill out with no rhyme or reason. I knew the two of them had charted this course and had it filed for future reference. Mary will say “don’t live in the past” when she does not want to be accountable. In order for them to be successful in their bullying, they need the past. Embellished with their derision of the actuality. The odd thing is … my sister claims to have no memories of the past. But this is only an issue when someone wants to confront her about such issues. She makes great issue of this fact. It’s amazing how much of my life history she recalls.
“I have no memory of my childhood” That’s her cop-out. And everyone lets her go. Lame.
Which is always. You cannot embrace the present without reconciling the past. My history is filled with good as well as bad and I will dig a hole and sit in the middle of my past like some sort of village idiot. The good is comforting; the bad for learning.
I pretty much cried through lunch. That is my only ammunition, otherwise, if I were to engage in conversation regarding whatever truths of the moment they are enjoying, I would lose my mind. Far easier to cry. I can do a lot while crying. I can make grocery lists, develop software programming, picture a painting I wish to draw…that sort of thing. If I were to engage them, it would get so out of control no one would survive. It’s just safer to cry and ignore.
On the positive; As long as they were torturing me, everyone else was still safe.
I never knew the basis for their argument(s). I need to get them posted on Wikipedia so I can have the sentences and paragraphs divided with definitions. Yes. That would work. Is it hard to get on Wikipedia?
Finally I left the restaurant. My daughter was witnessing this. Eventually she will recognize this as bad and will not revisit the scene on her own. She has sense to see what is wrong and what is right. That is called parenting skills. Mine may not be great, but my children survived. And in my family, that’s a big advantage. I was wrong about my daughter.
I sat outside in the 100+ heat. They left out another door and deserted me. Isn’t that special? Yes, they left me, almost 100 miles from my home, no purse, no money, no way to get home.
I had my new cell though! I called Wendy first. She was all too anxious to come and get me. I came to my senses, called Mel. You see I did not want Mel to know what happened. My sister and Mother have a knack for making me feel perpetually guilty.
But then I called Jerry, who loathes my mother, in ten different ways ... Or more.
Jerry had met up with the two, Mary and Ida the night prior to them deserting me outside Houston’s. He had several issues, one being my mother’s absolute disrespect for me as a mother, speaking to me in such an uncouth manner in front of my child. And the things Devon told him my mother told her about me. Fabrications that I have no idea where they came from.
Furthermore, I do not understand how a mother can talk badly about a their own child to others. Isn’t it just the other way around? Aren’t mothers to bore people to tears with the lauding of their offspring? That’s what I did.
Jerry scoffed at the many fabrications they painted.
One incident when I was 19, a new mom, married to Jim.
After we married, I noticed a shotgun in the back room of our attic apartment. I asked Jim about it. He said it was old and unusable.
A night after a drunken party at the Bluebird Tavern he decided I was cheating on him. I had no car, couldn’t drive, a new infant I refused to leave alone with anyone. I was breastfeeding. Not a big come on for potential paramours. But this was a bi-weekly tirade of his. And he was half or so, native American. Booze never treated him the same as the rest of us. Of course, I justify.
I was sitting at the kitchen table. I had been on the phone when he got home. I quickly hung up and then picked it up and redialed the number. To the radio station giving out tickets to a summer series at Wrigley Field. I thought it would be a fantastic gift for Jim and so I dialed and I mean DIALED, no push button phones then. AND I WON.
Before I could tell him, he was standing at the door with the shotgun.
He aimed it at me and shot.
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True