Tag Archive: Child abuse survivor



A reoccurring dream I had between about 6-1/2 to 8 years old.  By this time I was used to Boy in Darknightmares.  I knew nothing else – no wish fulfillment dreams, no happy party dreams, or any of those types of dreams I learned later most folks have.  They didn’t, as a child, suffer from dreams of loss, war, horror, guts, you name it.  Not too many monsters or all that – just war, and loss – and this one which has nagged at me for the past few months.  I don’t know why so I am writing it down.  Maybe that’ll shake the demon loose.)


The Dream

You are standing in a white corridor about 50 feet long and it is about 10, maybe 12 foot wide.  Interspersed down both walls of the corridor are door with small windows; all of them are painted white as well. The doorknobs glow silver from the only light which emanates from a large but basic wood framed window.  (I know the type – its just like the windows used in the old wooden World War II barracks the Army used to use on its bases.)

The floor is tiled with what appear to be large white linoleum squares, and the ceiling is pretty plain – or else I’m not too concerned with it – because I am staring at the tiles while voices and hands from behind urge me forward.

“Take your time,” they are saying, “But step carefully.  Some of those tiles are booby-trapped.”

The voices, I know, belong to short dark haired guys in lab coats, and they are behind me urging to go on.

I take a step, fighting between the sense of urgency those coaxing voices give and hesitation, having had this dream before, knowing that there are traps that lay within the floor, pausing, examining the tiles for some clues. There are none, so I make my way as best I can – by hunch and intuition – trying to avoid the tiles that ‘feel wrong’.  I just want to get to the end where the window is.  If only I could look get there . . . perhaps I’d know something, what this was for.

Inevitably it happens.  As time progresses and I have the dream again and again I know it will, but I keep on trying not to step on that treacherous tile that will send me down to “them“.

But inevitably catches up with me, always.  Somewhere between 1/4 to 2/3rds of the way down the hall I step on a and it gives way below me, the hinge behind, and drop me on a curved half-pipe stainless steel or chromed slide with black stained sides, as if a thick lacquer, though I think it was mold, had been spilled along its edges.

The transition from the white airy hallway into dark, damp, dank, humid darkness was extreme, and abrupt.  I’d see the square of light above me shrink as I slide down the slide’s spiral, then it would snap shut as I slid to the end – a straighter section about six to eight feet long, and it ended at, or near a table.

The room – how can I describe it?  Murky, dark, it felt like an earthen cave.  To this day I still can kind of sense how rough and tumble were the walls.

And there were witches there, or at least that’s how I understood, or perceived them – shadowy figures dressed on cowled cloaks, faces hidden in the darkness under their hoods.  Most of the conversation I couldn’t follow – it was in whispers – but they’d remove me from the slide – usually three on a side – and lay me on the table.  Then they’d undress me.

I know I was a bit frightened and scared, especially when they’d start laying food on and all around me on the table.  I figured I was the main course, and I didn’t relish being eaten.  The light was dim, diffuse, mostly around the table, but I don’t know where it came from.  The atmosphere was cold, clammy, damp, almost fetid, and I’d hear the rustling and the feet – on dirt, it sounded like – as they’d go about their business of setting up this ‘feast’ of theirs.  And then they’d start eating – not as a group, but each one coming forth from the dark corners of the room-seeming-cave, selecting just a few items, and retreating back into the dark to eat them.  Then another one or two would come forward.

Sometimes they touched me, and through the fear there was something inherently sexual about it – but mostly fear sometimes, especially when they’d start to nibble on me – mostly my feet, it seemed, but I’ve got some nightmares I’ve blocked out that features me being much more giving, and them demanding.

And then it would black out.
And I’d awake to my normal childhood.


 

 

 

I can not positively attribute the above dream to my mother, who was a practicing witch.   However, I cannot see where she would have had the resources to do this at that place and time.  We were right next to a major Army base; I know I often went there.  She wasn’t Wicca nor, to the best of my knowledge, practiced the dark arts or rituals in a classic sense of potions and formulas, or cauldrons and dancing in the woods naked.  However, there were many who swore she had “powers” (other than power over her children), and she did teach us kids quite a few things such as “throwing hexes” (which actually seemed to work a couple of times!), how to make voodoo dolls, and the like.  Indeed, I wonder if she actually believed in magic, though she claimed to be able to see auras around trees, bushes, animals, and persons.

“It’s not a matter of whether YOU believe it or not,” she told us.  “What matters is that THEY believe it – and that you can do it.”  And she explained that if we wanted to be the male version of witches – warlocks – all we had to do was “claim it” – that is, when something happens for good or bad, set things up or at least make a statement that you “willed” it to being.

As far as potions and words – she believes in some of the herbal remedies, but ritual and words are, in her words, “to help you focus intent!”.  And given the results of the two times I made a curse – “threw a hex” – the first as a child of 7 – the guy’s car gave him bad trouble when it came back from what he was doing.

The 2nd time, not so many years ago – about a decade – the man’s otherwise healthy mother died in his arms 2 hours later.

He blamed me for that one.

hex

Halloweens In the Hood


Halloweens In the Hood

When I was a kid I used to love Halloween – I still do. It’s probably my most favorite holiday of all – equaling if not topping Christmas. For Halloween . . . well, there’s something special about that night – and it goes back to my childhood.

We were poor – one of the poorer families around, I reckon, except for the people next to us and the farmer and his wife down the hill and around the bend – though in retrospect I imagine even they had a bit more than we did.  After all: they had a farm and chickens and eggs; they had a huge garden. But they sure looked poor, even to me back then.

The neighbors next door to us were the poorest, even poorer than us – and it showed.  They were so poor I wanted to give them food – and we barely had none.  But we couldn’t afford it, either.  But come Halloween it didn’t matter: all us kids did the best we could.

Store bought costumes were rare. I don’t remember any of mine ever coming from a store. Usually they were made at home – kid’s creations, because our mom wasn’t into helping us with that. “Do without, make do, or do it yourself,” was her homespun philosophy, and as a result one year the best I could do was the classic sheet ‘ghost’ – an old white sheet I had spent days begging out of her, and then at the last minute she came through – finally sacrificing a sheet she had (it was probably ‘good’) for my benefit. I cut holes in it, and still not satisfied (it just looked like a sheet draped over my head), I added some fake ‘blood’ to it by drawing on it with my crayons. That’s a pretty sad excuse for blood, by the way: crayons leave crayon marks, roughened rouge – nothing ‘permanent’ and definitely not very ‘bloody’. So I did my best – drawing claw marks and ‘bites’ – and advertised my presence as a “ghost of a werewolf” – which sounded a lot scarier to me than the stupid sheet I was parading around in the neighborhood looked. I hated that thing; it was an embarrassing ‘disguise’; meanwhile my friends had ‘dressed’ themselves up to look like bums and hobos – a popular costume for the poor kids in the neighborhoods since there were so many. Near-bums and near-hobos, that is. Having their fathers give them the gear, they would blacken their faces with soot, maybe chew on an old cigar stub – and that was it. The entire disguise.

One year we had something special come along. My mom, in her infinite wisdom (and with her husband gone – off fighting a war somewhere – or if the trip to Thailand, whoring around and giving away all our money to Christian charities while his family went hungry and alone) – decided to throw a Halloween party in (and for) the ‘hood – and that I guess is when my love affair with Halloween began.

I well remember that night (as well as a few of them!) – when it all started. The music was playing – Ichabod Crane and his nightly ride from the Headless Horseman playing on the old 45 record player. (I used to listen to that thing often, but we only had a few records to play. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was one of them.) I think we had a small bonfire in the yard, and I can still feel the impending sense of excitement in my mind as night drew down.

My mom had ‘come out’ in all her true colors, dressing up as a witch. I can still see her on the front porch, meeting and greeting the neighbors in. It’s one of the few times that I can remember seeing her truly happy; just beaming with that tall cone hat on her head.

It was a wonderful party, at least to my child’s mind. We had the peeled grapes for eyeballs and spaghetti for brains ‘game’ going on out under the old hall tree which I used to climb – all us kids were thrilled (and grossed out) sitting around ‘blindfolded’ and feeling all these things – while some adult or teenager passed them around with the appropriate story about some dismembered (and apparently some disemboweled, de-headed, and de-brained sort of thing). It was great fun and I had thrilled shivers just having fun while the few old records we owned (at least anything that applied to Halloween) echoed in the ‘hood. The “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was played again and again until I, too, got tired of the thing . . . but (softly smiling) – it’s still a ‘song’ or a record which brings this night back to mind.

Halloweens in the ‘hood were almost always good, despite the poverty and the hassles. The teen from next door – our favorite friend, and friend of my brother’ and brother to my best friend. He was tall and thin with a curly shock of dark hair – and he always treated us good. I think at first – those first few Halloweens – our mother took us around the ‘hood, but on the last one, or the last few, it was the teenager’s (often our babysitter’s) turn. He and I and my older brother; his brother (and my best friend) – and a few other kids from ‘the hood’ would gather around come twilight in his drive – the kids from across the street (also some of my ‘best friends’) – would come, and we would begin – walking up the long hill one way, and back down the other. We were never allowed to leave the hood, nor go past the ‘marker’ – which was the house on top of the hill; nor was there any reason to go below the turn in the ‘hood – past the farmer’s house – because there was not much there. Nor did we go up ‘Cactus Court’ because that’s where the ‘mean kids’ lived (or at least some of them). So our run was rather short – just up a quarter mile hill and back down, hitting a dozen houses – and we were done. I guess that’s why we didn’t have costumes for this thing: there simply was no place to go.

Later on they added on to the ‘hood – bending houses around the corner and back on down towards the road that led to the highway that led towards the nearby town (Augusta, Georgia). And they cut in a new neighborhood – all this was paved – paved roads and everything – but in ‘our’ section of the ‘hood things always remained the same. The pavement ended around the bend at the distant top of the hill, and it was dirt from there on down. Dirty and poor boys, dirty and poor houses, and in some cases, dirty and poor homes. But most of the people in the ‘hood kept things up as best they could – however, it was as if the outside world ignored us – building around the corner, but not down the street. Leaving us all alone.

However . . . that Halloween, the good one I remember with such budding excitement (because I can still feel that anticipation of that good night) – made me a believer in everything . . . and in some ways nothing at all. I discovered the tricks behind Halloween – the ‘eyes’ in a bowl, the boiling up of some ‘brains’ – which was kind of disillusioning, but at the same time gave me some insight into the power we had – the ability to create illusion, pulling the wool and darkness over some eyes – and either terrify or delight them.

I learned a lot about magic at that time. The magic of a moon; my mom’s “witchy” magic, and the magic of Halloween.  How much I loved it; and yet how little I knew . . . for looming on the year’s horizon was another Halloween – one which would destroy everything that I knew.

(Note that I list this story ‘out of season’ and there’s a reason for that: it is time.  We are coming towards the end of the stories of the ‘hood – and our previous life; the one of ‘little Mikie’ and that time.  For what was approaching us was relentless, like a tidal wave – a series of waves then – which would rock my world and turn it inside out – turning ‘him’, our precious little Mikie, into someone else.  Or several someone elses in my case . . . and there would be some strange goings on.  Life has always been interesting . . . )

Grade School Memories


(from our Tokoni Post, 6/1/2009)

Grade School Memories

 

First grade was a mixed bag of tricks, just as this story is a mixed bag of memories. I wasn’t the brightest student, but I wasn’t dumb, either. I was just your average – and talkative – first grader. And talking – boy! – that got me into endless trouble.

 

The year was 1965, the school freshly minted; the playground a copper colored field of red clay without a single swing or see-saw. It was just a barren dusty field, muddy when it rained, which dropped off abruptly into a wide ravine where they’d pushed the hill over to flatten it to make room for the building. The school itself – nice enough, I reckon, was about three miles from our house. It seemed much further, for the school bus which met us at the top of the hill had to travel what seemed endless miles of unpaved road to pick up us country bumpkins, transporting our squealing mess to the low rambling building. (Funny thing: Looking at the school on Google Earth, I see that playground hasn’t changed a whole lot! – and neither has the school. Nice to see that parking oval where me and my friend would run ’round and ’round.)

 

I have a lot of memories of that school. The blind girl who sat in our class – stark white hair which matched her blank white eyes, and her skin so pale as she sat before the bulking black hulk of her braille typewriter. She was endlessly fascinating to us, and we all treated her kindly. She sticks out in my mind so well that I can feel her name right there, on the tip of my brain – but alas, it’s gone, forgotten, lost to the winds of time.

 

I had a teacher who hated me; that much I know from my mom. This teacher, discovering I had a German birth certificate, would refer to me as ‘the little Nazi’. Of course I didn’t have a clue what that meant, except, as the teacher would often point out, “Any of you can become president – except YOU, you little Nazi!” I didn’t mind, and when my mom found out I guess that practice ended. I do know it took me forever to earn my ‘silver star’ for learning the alphabet, and I always had to sit towards the back of class. But that was a good thing, because I was a talker.

 

She tried to get me to stop talking – smacking my hands with a ruler, and setting me in the corner. But it didn’t work. I would just talk to myself instead. She put me in the hallway – fine. I talked to anyone who would walk by, and if no one was there, I’d talk to the cinderblock walls – myself again. I didn’t mind.

 

I remember us playing ‘instruments’ – the recorders and little tin cymbals; the game of ‘pass the phrase’ where one would start with a phrase and we’d pass it down the line and see what the end person ended with. It never was the same. I do recall struggling very hard to recite the phrase handed me perfectly – but somehow by the time it reached the end, it had changed. I never understood that; how people can take something and change it and change it and change it again until what came out didn’t resemble what was said at all. I still have trouble understanding why or how people can do that.

 

I recall the library – we were forbidden from the library that first year, since we didn’t know how to read – watching the other students roaming around in there selecting books, maybe sitting down to read them. Boy, how I wanted to go in there! Later I would discover the true wonders of the library, going on to read literally thousands of books over my lifetime. (And yeah – thousands. But that’s for another story.) And I remembered us watching it snow as we marched past the windows — a miracle for us little kids, raised here in Georgia.

 

Once – perhaps in second or third grade, they assembled us to watch a film in the auditorium. There were about a half dozen police officers there, and they showed us this really gory black and white film about the dangers of hitchhiking. I suppose parents today would have been in an uproar – this film showed dismembered bodies – and an image that still sticks with me today – a jar full of eyeballs. “This,” one of the officers solemnly intoned, “Is why you should NEVER hitchhike! There are a lot of (sick?) people out there . . .” We were all suitably impressed and traumatized. I know the fear of hitchhiking has always stuck with me since.

 

Unlike today, a lot of inoculations were done at the school, along with the TB tests. You don’t see too many people today with that quarter sized scar on their upper arm from the booster shots – the older folks know what I’m talking about – when they’d march you past the guy with the ‘black gun’ who’d press it against your arm and deliver a painful sting. I also learned to hate the taste of raspberries. One day we were gathered together and all us kids had to brush our teeth with this raspberry flavored toothpaste – a fluoride treatment, I learned later. They warned us not to swallow – but a lot of us little kids did anyway because after brushing you had to wait in line to spit it out – so some was bound to trickle down our throats – and many of us got sick. To this day that raspberry taste makes me feel queasy.

 

Corporal punishment was allowed; I remember one little girl getting her butt tanned with one of those ball-and-string paddles by a teacher until the paddle broke. The girl then pee’d down her legs. Us kids snickered and laughed – but not too loudly. I can still see the teacher’s angry gaze looking at us, warning us to “shut UP!”. But such paddlings were rare. Most of us kids were well behaved, knowing that whatever we got at school we would get double at home.

 

It’s odd, how things stick out in my mind. My last year there – fifth grade – I got my first “F” in math. The time the school bus, dodging a weaving driver on a rain slicked mud road, slipped sideways into the ditch, throwing all us boys onto the “girl’s side” – and they had to evacuate us out the emergency door – how we all waited breathlessly for the ‘fat girl’ to get out – it took three guys to handle her. The boy, Mark, with the squinting green eyes that I fell in love with on the bus – but he lived so far away, and me, being a boy, didn’t dare say anything to him. (I can still see his face, though, smiling, his eyes creasing in the corners.) I can remember the ache in my heart, wanting to ‘love’ him the way I’d learned love should be shown (as wrong as that knowledge and desire may be in an eight year old boy, I still feel that ache.) The girls playing jump rope on the dusty clay, us boys running in endless circles (we had an ongoing debate: did the breeze from running cool you off more than running make you hotter?) It was another time, another place, and I sitting here I ask myself once again: if I knew then what I know now, would I want to go back and relive that time?

 

I don’t know. And that’s the sad part about it. But I do know this much: I’d treasure some of the moments a lot more than I did then.

 

Such is the folly of youth, just as regret is the folly of age. Which I why, though difficult sometimes, I work on accepting what happened, what didn’t — and on putting the ‘Ifs’ and ‘could haves’ on a back shelf in my mind to gather dust, where they belong.