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Praying For D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Being that my Dad was an alcoholic – most of the time after he came home – he would fight with Mom or one of us and then spruce himself up in his best duds and hit the road to go to his friend’s house to drink. That’s where the parties were. He was in his 30’s now and we were holding him down. Personally, I was fine with this because if he wasn’t home, no one was being beaten or having to bear the brunt of his breath or brutality. But my Mom on the other hand, was usually hurt. I know my Mom loved my Dad, or else why would she stay? Why would she put us through all this torment and torture from this man? Why would she let him beat me with, not only his belt, his belt buckle, why would it take so long for scars to heal? All these things rush through your mind over and over as a kid.  I may have been young but I knew what divorce was (thanks to those paper route days and hearing Tammy Wynette’s song ” D.I.V.O.R.C.E” on the radio quite a few times while in the car with my Mom) and I used to pray that my parents would get one every day. Then my Mom, Linda and I could go away and Dad could keep Bruce (he didn’t seem to ever get in the arguments with Dad like I did, even at six or seven I would hear him yelling at my Mom and I would always be the one to try to get in the middle, which in turn would get me pretty severely knocked around, but nothing like my poor Mother.

I remember one time when I was little and my Dad came home drunk, the dishes were flying across the house, the brooms, the plants, the pillows…..in short, if it were in our personal home’s inventory it was being thrown that day. Mom told us to all go to our rooms. That’s easy enough when you see this type of violence and it scares the living shit out of you, but remember we lived in a 5 room shack and none of our rooms had doors on them. So even though we were “safely” hidden in our room – we were still very much involved in detail with the beatings my Mom sometimes endured.  I remember curling up in bed in fetal position and listening to each slap and each painful scream my Mom let out as my Dad would hit her. Sometimes so loud the pillow couldn’t even muffle the noise. I remember hearing my sister in the next room screaming for Daddy to “STOP” while she was hidden under some piece of furniture. This is where I learned about SEX and RAPE, the noices and screamings got so loud that I couldn’t stand it anymore, the thoughts of Daddy just going over the top and seriously hurting my Mommy to where she couldn’t take care of us anymore was torture in my mind. “What if my Daddy hurt my poor Mommy to where she was no longer here on the earth to protect me?” “What if that happens and I’m left here with Dad, Bruce and Linda?” “What do I do?” “What’s going to happen to me?” “Where am I going to go?” “Will Daddy do that THAT badly to all of us when Mommy is gone?”, so many questions and the anxiety building and building and with each scream and hearing “Dale, Don’t You Dare”, “Dale, Please Stop”, “Dale, the kids are listening to you do this to me!”, “Dale, why don’t you just leave?” “Dale that hurts!” “Dale, Get Off Of Me!” “Dale, go be with one of those girls you are fucking behind my back!” – over and over and over and over again. Something came over me, I’m not sure what it was but I knew that my Mommy had had enough. SO I leaped from my bed and I went into their room where my Mom’s face was just bleeding profusiously – she was laying on her back – my Dad had her arms pinned down on the bed – his clothes were in tatters – his back was bleeding just as bad from my Mom’s fingernails slicing into his back whenever she would get a free hand to try to get away from him. And he had his pants down to his ankles. I walked in and I stopped. I saw something that I had never really seen before. “What was this all about? Why is my Dad violently jumping up and down on my Mom. Why? She doesn’t like it! Daddy STOP!! PLEASE STOP!!”  When I walked into the room, Mom cried for me to get out! Honey go to your room! ROGER go to your GOD DAMN ROOM!”  Dad on the other hand would say “Roger you little pussy, you’re just like your sister and your filthy mother”, “Get the hell out of here!” – I didn’t know what “pussy” meant at that time. But I knew that I could do something to stop my Dad from doing what he was doing to my Mother. So I looked around the room to see what I could see, the first thing I saw was a picture I believe to be around 8×10 or so, I whaled it across the room and cold cocked my Dad in the head – glass shattered from that – he was hurt! I wounded him.  I thought to myself “That will teach you!” And I started looking for something else to throw, I saw it! I saw his belt on the floor, I went to grab that and before I could get to it my Dad had me in his arms. Needless to say, I lost my first couple of teeth that day,  my Dad grabbed me by my hair and ground my face onto the wooden floor so hard they just popped out. My nose felt like it had fallen off my face. The blood-shot out of me like a fountain. When all this happened, the Calvary came in, not only was my Mom now on top of my Dad beating him, but my brother and my sister were there beating and pounding too. It was time that Daddy got some of his own medicine. Eventually he worked his way clear of each of us. But, HE and WE all learned a valuable lesson that day. It was HE could not defeat US all together! Dad got free and out the back door he went. Where we do not know. But we didn’t see him for a few days and I know I didn’t care! I don’t think my sister cared either. But, I don’t know about Mom and Bruce. I was happy. The house was peaceful. My Mom was sad, but she would get over it. Right?

Wrong! Eventually, he came back home. it would be fine for a couple of days then it would happen again and again and again………..

It was during these times that I basically learned what the words “Bitch, Drunk Ass, Son Of A Bitch, Asshole, Bastard, Queer, Whore, Skank, Alcoholic etc.” all meant. If you were fighting, those words were apparently essential and needed to be used in order to get your point across that you were upset. My brother Bruce definitely took all these words into context and was quite good at using them when he fought with Linda and I, he was a chip all the ole block!

Now even though my memories at this age (44) in my life are the ones that seem to stick out in my mind the most; I suppose these memories have blocked some of the more pleasant memories, I was a funny kid, I was creative, I played mainly by myself growing up because I got to watch my brother and sister reach adulthood before I did and I knew I didn’t want to be like either one of them. I knew I was different and I just couldn’t pin point what made me who I was, but I was determined NOT to follow in either of their foot steps and definitely be nothing like my Dad.

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You Broke Your’s Off!!

Hopefully this little tale will not be too graphic for your eyes nor freak you out too much, but you know how I am and you know I just say it.  No beating around the bush anymore like I used to do.. it’s just how it is and how it was. SO here goes….

Part of the reason that I stopped writing about a year and half ago was because I didn’t know how to exactly word certain things or think for a second that anyone would understand what I am saying. Especially, because I ramble and I type like I talk. So I’m hoping that once I get into some of these stories that I can paint the picture in your head like you are standing there watching this story unfold like it’s a movie or you’re a fly on the wall in the tales of my life. My life as I get older I seem to forget and that’s partially why I am writing this, I think everyone has stories about their lives that make you who you are today. They make sense of why criminals are who they are or why good people with normal upbringings sometimes snap out of reality or why people become drug users or alcoholics ect.  So with that being said as I venture forward again with this thing (no promises how long between entries- I’m just going to try to do this when I’m in the mood and I have time to type this down without the daily distractions of school or work or Kevin or my kids or life in general etc.

This story jumps back to when I was 5 or so.  And I am going to change the names to protect the innocents of the other kids involved and change the story so that if people from my neck of the woods by chance get a hold of my memories one day they will not be embarrassed by my plights and how they held certain points in my life. BUT this story is about the birds and the bees. The curiosity some of us endured as children and how we acted it out to solve the mysteries that we had in our little heads.  But when I was just a wee sprig of grass growing up in the foothills of rural Kentucky in Cedar Grove – most of the time I played by myself.  All the kids that lived around us that were my age I saw in church or at school. The only kids my age that would come to my house at that time were cousins for the most part. The kids my age all lived too far for us to simply travel by bike or walking to get too. So most of the time I played by myself. I made us silly little games with toys, mainly my adventures were walking thru the woods or playing on the railroad tracks placing coins on the tracks for the train to flatten. Or hanging out in my great grandparents barn yard playing with the animals there. So when I saw other kids my age I was pretty much shy for the beginning of my school years. Bruce and Linda both had their own agendas and frankly I didn’t really like Bruce at all growing up, I was his punching bag most of the time and Linda was always gone to the neighbor’s house up the road to play because our house sucked.

Well at some point in my kindergarten years we had neighbors that moved into a trailer just across the way from our house. The girl who was a year older than myself, Aggie was her name (not really her name) and she had a brother named Nathan (not really his name) and my Mom was friends with their Mother. SO this meant that we would have more and more company over and eventually we all became play dates. Aggie, Nathan and I used to play everything and anything whenever we could. They were actually very good kids, I on the other hand wasn’t exactly that good because for the most part I could do whatever I wanted during day because both my parents worked and when I got home from school I was on my own for a couple of hours because Linda (even though) she was supposed to be watching me, could careless what or where I went or what I was doing. But I never crossed the road, I knew that would lead to a beating and half. SO I stayed on my side of the road and played in the woods behind my house (RAMBLING I KNOW)…. anywho… one day we were forced to play Barbie and Kens with Aggie. Nathan didn’t really want too, but I was game for anything. I never got to see Barbies before – Linda’s dolls were all mutilated from Bruce burning their hair off or cutting her arms off etc. and she was too old for dolls now, she was a teenager.  Aggie got a new dollhouse for Barbie for her birthday and new dolls so we were playing make-believe in her doll house when she decided that it was time for them to go to sleep. Barbie was sleeping with both Kens (slut). She had sleeping clothes for both Barbie and one Ken. So we started getting them naked when I saw that Barbie had boobies like my Mom and Aggie’s Mom did but she didn’t have a wee wee down there to pee with. This confuse me and Nathan beyond end. Everyone has to have a wee wee to pee with, it’s how we draw in the snow, it’s how we do urinal races at school in the urinal trough (all the boys would take turns holding their penises in their hands squeezing really tight so not to pee, and we would line up at the urinal on one side – one by one and see who could pee the farthest down the trough – I usually one! I was the pee champion, I would hold it until it hurt me!)  Back to the dolls. Aggie began explaining something that didn’t make much sense to me and Nathan but she was older than us and she was born before Nathan and saw her Mom change his diapers many times. She was not only in first grade, but she was a rocket scientist or something for being able to explain these things to us.  She also knew that if we got caught doing what we were about to do we would all get into some serious trouble…. anyway, after searching and searching for Barbie’s little wee wee and listening to her bitch about knowing everything about wee wees -she was telling us that Barbie is a girl, girls don’t have wee wees – they have butts in the front like they do in the back and Mommy calls it a hoo-ha. WTF? Mind you, I watched a lot of teevee and stuff but I thought the only thing that made a girl a girl was the fact that they had boobs and men didn’t. We weren’t allowed to look at, reach out to or much less touch girl’s boobies. It’s not right!  After about 5 minutes of explaining and us getting too loud with our beliefs, me feeling myself thru my pants making sure I didn’t have a butt in the front – this horror story was about to become a reality. Aggie told me and Nathan to go in the closet and take off all our clothes while Aggie went to see where her Mom was.  Now because we were whispering at this point – it made it very exciting for me and Nathan because it was something ADULTS WEREN’T SUPPOSE TO KNOW!   So Nathan and I went into the closet. It’s the first time in my life I remember actually SEEING THE WEE WEE – Sure I saw them at school at the urinal races but we all had our hands in front of them, they didn’t just hang there we were clinching the little suckers till they were purple waiting our turns to pee and not paying attention the wee wees at all, we were watching the pee!  Anyway, Nathan and I were naked and we were saying each of our’s was bigger that the others. We even touched each others wee wee without paying attention to the fact that a DUDE WAS TOUCHING MY WEE WEE!! We didn’t care. It was rather interesting. So interesting that we were enthralled with each other when Aggie opened the door we jerked our hands back from each other so fast you would have thought it was our Mothers, she said … SCARED YA !! HAHA!! She still had clothes on too.  That little bitch tricked us. We started getting dressed and she started nagging us about what she just saw.  “I saw your Wieners (as she called it).  I’m telling Mom that ya’ll are in here naked as blue jays hiding in my closet touching each other’s wieners!” OMG I thought as my little mind snapped back to the reality that THIS NAKED’NESS is probably very wrong and my Mom and Dad are going to beat me when Aggie spills the beans on us.”  I remember my mind going a mile a minute thinking of the switching I was going to get for doing something soooooooo bad.  Nathan and I quickly jumped up and put our clothes on in the nick of time when Aggie’s Mom opened her bedroom door and said that my Mom was yelling for me to come home and it was time for me to go.  I looked with anticipation at Aggie and Nathan praying that nothing would ever come of it and as far as I know, the secret was never relinquished from her fat mouth.

I reckon a couple of weeks later we were once again playing Barbies with her because it was raining and we couldn’t be outside. WE were doing the whole menage a’ trois thing with Barbie and the two Kens all over again when Nathan got pissed off at Aggie for something and I remember him getting up and storming out of the room slamming the door. He didn’t come back for quite a while either.  Aggie seized this moment – grabbed my hand and stuck it down her pants – JUST LIKE THAT!  No warning signs – no anything.  She leaned over – she whispered in my ear “that’s a hoo-ha – consider yourself all grown up now, you know the difference between boys and girls!”.  She then kissed me on the lips, I pulled my hand out of her panties, a bit traumatized by both the kiss and the fact that I just touched her front butt crack and I didn’t have any freaking warning at all!”  I got up – said something to the effect of “Don’t YOU EVER kiss me again and don’t you ever make me think about your hoo-ha again! That’s nasty!”  –  I went out into the front room of the trailer, didn’t say goodbye to anyone and didn’t even bother to put on my shoes and just left.  Walked home in the rain in my sock feet hypnotized by the trauma of the hoo-ha and that I had actually felt one.  I wanted to scream. I remember that walk home like it was yesterday because of all my young years I do not remember ever being as pissed off as I was.  I stopped by mud puddles and washed my hands like a million times. I just kept thinking that she made me rub her front butt crack, there was definitely no wee wee there and that this girl has to be fucking nuts. Something is wrong with her. GROSS!! I got home went to my room changed my clothes and sat on my bed staring at the wall. Constantly thinking about what had just happened. I was screaming that Aggie’s Stupid! (over and over and over again) My sister started making fun of me, but not even she could distract me and my mind from replaying not only touching her hoo-ha but her lips against my lips! HOW DISGUSTING! That’s what grown-ups do and I had never even thought about being a part of that, when Mommy and Daddy do it, I simply turn my head and think GROSS!  How could she had done THAT?

So the next couple of days I saw Aggie I ignored her.  I kept that secret to myself as did she. We never told anyone. But I never wanted to play with her again. Luckily a few later another family moved into a trailer next to her’s (Her Aunt and her family) and they had a little girl the exact same age as Aggie and she never wanted to play with me and Nathan again. We were on our own! We were saved and more importantly we didn’t have to listen or follow Miss Know-It -All’s orders and play whatever she wanted to play.  It was heaven! NO GIRLS!! I understood totally why the Little Rascals had the “He Man Woman Haters Club”.  It all made sence now.  And every time I watched TV – I thought of Darla and how she must feel left out because her wee wee was missing and she couldn’t play with the boys. I didn’t understand what the hell Alfalfa wanted to hang out with her either. Because of all this I hated Alfalfa on that show.  He was a dumbass!

After that a couple more times when Nathan and I were doing our running in the woods ritual playing Army and Knights and Kings and things little boys do, we had some pee races of our own.  Nothing really happened I just remember that his wee wee and my touching it never grossed me out. Never made me feel like anything was different and one day we sat on a big boulder overlooking the creek and standing there with our wee wees out peeing as far as we could pee side by side, he told me that they were moving. His Daddy got a better job in Lexington and

was it.  I said something to the effect of that sucks and that was that.  They moved about a week later, just hitching up the trailer and hauling it off. I never saw him or Aggie again. I thought of him often though. I really liked Nathan and I really remember liking our secret of touching each other’s wee wee. I remember from that time in my life that then I started looking at the other boys wee wees in the bathroom more than watching them just pee. Now I look back and I realize when I was knew I was gay.

Cowboy Roger

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My First Job – My Mom – My Bestfriend

(Just so you know, I have been a very busy boy and as I said, I would have hope to have kept up with this blog thing and now I see I failed for the most part, but my memories are still there and I will do my best to not wait a year and half before my next entry… You’ll catch up with all this CRAP – eventually….  lol)

 

SO where was I, oh my memories at our first little shack in Kentucky.  Well, aside from the fact that my Dad was a mechanic and the town bootlegger, my Mom was the paper lady.  She drove our Volkswagon Bug delivering papers every day. And in the summer she would make me go along with her because I was too little to stay home with Bruce and Linda (or else she would find me dead someday from those two).  My Mom had to get up really early to go to the “paper making place” stand in a line with all her fellow paper delivering people and wait for papers to be printed, come off the press and then slide those annoying ad inserts into her papers – then load them into the car – then take them to her route which was in Nancy and Fabush, KY – drive while sitting in the middle of the volkswagon (BEST SHE COULD – shift gears and slide those papers into these little green boxes called that said “Commonwealth Journal”. )

I remember her coming home everyday and her fingers were black from the ink. I remember her being all sweaty and tired from driving all day, I remember she hated that job and I remember how close this little job made me too my Mom.

So back to what I was saying, she took me on the paper route – at first I just sat in the back seat and watched what she was doing, she was rolling up the papers – pulling up to the paper box and sliding it in.  IT seemed to be very hard for her to shift whiling leaning so far over to get that paper to go into that little green box, watch for other on coming cars, pull out – go to the next house and do it all over again.  I remember feeling sorry for my Mom because towards the end of the first little section she would grunt as if it were painful to do that and if she missed, she didn’t have time to get out and get the paper that dropped on the ground – she would just roll up another one and slide it in the box instead.  A couple of houses that date got multiple papers, but they at least had one in their box.  Anyway, after we stopped for lunch at some store that made sandwiches for my Mom everyday I asked her if I could help.  Could I sit in the front seat and stick the papers in the box?  She wasn’t sure if I could hold that stack of papers on my lap and be able to reach the paper box. BUT she said we’d give it a try.  I remember being very serious about this, I know I was all of 6 years old but this was a big deal, my Mom needed me and I wanted to help. It made sense that sence I was going to be with her most of the summer that I help out – I saw the first box coming up and I watched my Mom roll the paper up in my lap – hand it to me and then I jumped up and slammed it in the box and off we went.  THIS WENT ALOT FASTER than when Mom was doing it all by herself and she wasn’t grunting or really tired at all. I was helping! And it was fun. I made a game of it and I made my Mom happy. I remember it was a long day but Mom said we got done earlier than she normally gets done, so that was great!  That summer and a few summers following that I was Mom’s summer help, as I grew I got to be faster and serious about the job, I rolled my own papers and Mom just had to drive and simply fill up the paper boxes along that route. We were fast! We were a team and this little adventure made me and Mom closer.  I loved my Mom. Even at 6, 7 and 8 years old as a kid you realize that your Mom is your world. Even if thinks don’t always go as you as you hoped, even if she wasn’t June Cleaver or Carol Brady and we didn’t have the white picket fence in front of our house, even if she still rubbed my face in my pee stained mattress ever morning. She was my Mom. She did love me the best she could with everything in her power and with in and out of “normal’ness” that I had seen on TV – we by far weren’t the Bradys or the Cleavers and I remember wishing that my Dad was Ward or Mike all the time. BUT never once did I wish that my Mom was June or Carol. She was my world, she was all that I had and she was mine. I love her so much and as an adult I can look back at my life and appreciate her so much more than I did. Mom’s are the world to their children and when (in this day and age) you see the Casey Anthony’s of the world you realize that even though my Mother had it rough with 3 rotten kids and a terrible verbal and physical husband – she held it together. NEVER ONCE did I ever feel that my life was going to be taken or that I was going be too hurt from her hands.  Believe me, she jacked our jaws with that open hand and she could handle a switch pretty good but thank the lord I knew she would never take my life or go out of control.  I watch these crazy parents on TV these days (2011) and what they do to their children and then I look back at my Mom and everything that she has had to go thru with our fucked up family and I see a woman that survived, a woman that was amazingly a hard worker, a woman that loved her kids – no matter what and a woman that if there was ever a right for a woman to go off and kill their children – my Mom had reasons to do so, but she didn’t. NOT EVEN CLOSE!  She still doesn’t get the respect from us children that she should but she perserveres and she is my bestfriend, she always will be. And no matter what she could whip the shit out of Carol Brady and June Cleaver together at one time!

 

Cowboy Roger

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Mom

  I realize that out of the five little inserts I’ve written about my first few years that they are absurd, politically incorrect and almost unrealistic. As I go thru the chapters of my age that stand out, sadly all these stories are the ones that do.  I, by far, was not a perfect child. I was the baby of the family. I fought hard for attention. We all did. We all were starving for attention.  With my Dad having been a bootlegger and a heavy drinker though, the pressure was really all on my Mother. She worked a full-time job and had all three of us to deal with, on top of avoiding the abuse from my Father.  When I look back at her life. That saddens me the most. I realize with what you have read and thru a lot more stories it’s not going to paint a very pretty picture for my Mom. But believe me, if it wasn’t for my Mom I would not be here writing this story today. She is a survivor and she did what she needed to do in order for her and her three children to survive. It most definitely was not her fault. I still hear her screams and cries from the physical abuse and rapes she received from my Father.  My memories are harsh.  But, I can tell you what it felt like to be a helpless child and hear your Mother scream in pain from being beaten and raped in the next room.  The pain it was to wake up the next morning and see the bruises, cuts, dried blood on my Mother’s lips and nose.  I think to myself as I know what I went through as a child and soon you will know more, lots more about me and my childhood, but I can only imagine the horror for my Mom every day.  But, when I look back at her upbringing with my Great Grandma Ida having to sub as her Mother as she watched all her half-brothers and sisters have the picket fence life growing up. She was tossed to the side by her own Mother and forced to watch “her family” – only be her family on Sunday’s for a few hours a day. I can’t imagine how that feels.  I love my Mom dearly.  She has had a very hard life.  Her kids didn’t turn out perfect either, but you know what, we’re all alive, lots of flaws, but we’re all here.  Thanks Mom. I love you dearly.

Roger

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“Ima gonna cut your wee wee off”

  Great Grandma Ida Higginbotham …..  She was a Mother of  7  kids, in this order, Ethel, Ada, Effie, Clarence (Doc), Virginia, Harold and Frank Higginbotham. My great-aunts and uncles on my Mom’s side of the family.  Virginia Higginbotham was my Mom’s Mom and obviously my Grandma.  Virginia Higginbotham got married very young to Robert (Bob) Wilhite and they produced one child together my Mom (Betty Jo Wilhite) in 1941 during the second world war. They were divorced a year after my Mom was born because Bob Wilhite decided that the Higginbotham clan was just too much for him to handle, so he left my Grandma Virginia and was never heard from again. In 1942 my Grandma Virginia met Woodrow Wilson McCoy they married in 1943.  For some strange reason my Grandma Virginia decided that with her new husband she needed to start their own family together and asked my Great Grandma Ida to take in my Mom and raise her in Cedar Grove, while she and her new husband moved to Harrodsburg, KY. Confused yet? Just wait… lol  Grandma Virginia and Grandpa Woodrow together produced  6 children of their own, in this order, Patricia, Phyllis, Tim, Michael, Richard (Ricky) and Rachael. The last two were twins who died at an early age from rhuematic fever.  Aside from that little tidbit of family history…. My Great Grandma Higginbotham was very much a Mother to my Mom. Every Sunday my Grandma and Grandpa McCoy, all my Mom’s siblings and their kids and all my Great Aunt’s and Uncles kids would all pack up from where ever they were and made the trek to the big farm. It was like a family reunion every week. I loved Sunday’s. We would go to church, come home and drive out the rest of our driveway across the railroad tracks to my Great Grandparents farm and have the best times of our lives. Linda, Bruce and I played with our cousins all day, the men sat on the porch and the women were all in the house cooking a feast. Once the meal was ready, the men sat at the table while the women served them dinner first and the kids got their plates and had to eat outside and the women patiently waited on the men to finish eating before they sat down to eat. The women would finish their meals and then get up to clean.  It was the same routine we always had.  And it was the only day of the week that I actually liked my Great Grandma Higginbotham.  I never remember her hugging me or babysitting me (like my Mom said she did).  I don’t remember anything except that she was the meanest lady on the earth. I remember the spankings and the one thing that I remember the most was learning to tie my shoes.  You see, Grandma Higginbotham did not have patience for children.  I’m sure since contraceptives were not out in the early 1900’s that they followed the traditions of big families by having sex and making more farm hands to help Great Grandpa Augustus on our big family farm.  She was not a nice woman except on Sunday’s.  This one particular Sunday, Great Grandma Ida, My Mom and My Aunt, with a son about 7 or 8 months younger than me named Shannon, were sitting around discussing their kids adventures in school.  I was still in kindergarten.  Ironically, they came up on the topic of “learning to tie your shoes”.  When Grandma Ida found out that Shannon and I could not tie our shoes, she apparently was taken over by Satan. She developed a sneaky little plan to teach me and Shannon how to tie our shoes.

   The following Sunday when the whole clan was back in town for the “sunday dinner” routine. Grandma Ida calls me and Shannon out of the swarm of Grandchildren in the yard and brings us into the house.  She reaches down to our shoelaces and unties them, then tells us in order for us to play we needed to prove we could tie our shoes.  Well apparently Shannon had lucked out on some one on one time with his Dad over the past week and learned how to tie his shoes.  Me, on the other hand, DID NOT.  Grandma Ida told Shannon to go back outside to play, she grabbed me by my ear and called me every adjective that she could think of.  She took me to the stairs in the diningroom. She sat me down on the stairs, leaned over to my ear so that no one else could hear her and said, “Sit here, until you learn how to tie your shoes or else (and she picks up a butcher knife off the table and shows it to me) or else Ima gonna cut your wee wee off.”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  The sad thing is, I knew she would have done it and not thought twice about it.  So I sat there, trying over and over and over.  My family and cousins would come into the diningroom and ask me why I was sitting there.  Everytime they asked I would think, I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna tell everyone what a mean old hateful bitch she was.  But as soon as I opened my mouth she would peek around the corner and show me that butcher knife. So instead of me getting to tell everyone that I was being blackmailed to learn how to tie my shoes, she would tell them instead, that it was “silly that Roger didn’t know how to tie his shoe, he’s in kindergarten now, he should be ashamed, so I’m going to make him sit there until he learns how to do it.”  I heard this over and over and over that day. And everytime she told it, she left out the part about cutting my wee wee off.  I sat there while the men ate dinner, while kids all got their plates, while women took their turn at the table and finally after what seemed like days I got the loop to hold. I got up and I danced and I yelled in my little cute voice for Grandma Ida to come and check my shoes. She came in and told me to “stop prancing like a little girl and let her check them.” Well, during all the dancing time, thinking that I was finally going to get to play with my cousins before the left, I caused them to come untied again. She grabbed my shoulders and slammed my ass back down on the step and said “Do it again!” .  I thought “WHAT THE HELL LADY!” I did it once. And I’ll be damned if I remember what I did to it. ”   In the meantime, after all the commotion I was causing “screaming like a little girl” everyone in my family was going , “Did he do it?” “Finally?”  And Grandma Ida informed them that it was a false alarm and that I would continue to sit on those steps until I got it right and they stayed tied and only in my ear would she whisper “OR I’ll cut your wee wee off”.     Luckily while Grandma Higginbotham was busy saying her good-byes to some family members, my Great Uncle Doc snuck into the diningroom and tied my shoes really tight for me, I told him that I was scared because she said she was going to cut my wee wee off.  He came up with the perfect plan, he would hide in the closet and listen to her so that I had proof that the BITCH was a mean old lady and that Mom should never leave me alone with her again.  I calmly yelled for Grandma Ida to come check them, she came in, tugged on my shoe strings and said “Thank the Lord Child!”   I looked at her with my sarcastic little eyes waiting for the “or else ” threat she had been taunting me with all day.  It never came. She patted me nicely on the rear end and so me to go say good-bye to my cousins.  To this day, no one in my family believes that good ole Great Grandma Higginbotham ever threatened to cut off my wee wee.  But she did and she didn’t stop with the shoe tying either. It would turn in to be the biggest threat she would ever hold over my head as a very young child. I thought she was Satan.  I disliked her and she was mean to me.  A few months later, we were all doing the same Sunday ritual and Great Grandma Ida was sitting in her recliner.  She said she felt ill and was out of breathe. I was sitting directly across from her on the couch on the other side of the room.  I stared at her as everyone started freaking out.  I watched her take her last breathe and exhale it out.  I thought to myself  “See you later Bitch”.  She woke up for a millisecond and said “Who are you?” and froze with her eyes open.    Now, obviously we don’t know who she was talking too.  But to me with all my not so pleasant memories of her, I know who it was.  I never shed a tear at the funeral for Grandma Ida.  I was mainly looking forward to the meal at her house after the burial. 

Roger

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Size Matters!

  I remember waiting on the little yellow bus at the end of the gravel driveway for my first big day of kindergarten. I had a little red plastic pencil box that held my two super huge pencils, my big box of super huge 8 crayons and brand new writing pad with the dotted line going down the center of each row. I was wearing a brand new striped shirt, some brand new pants and on my feet was one pair of the two new pairs of cloth tennis shoes my Mom bought me for my first day at school. Today I was going to wear my red tennis shoes. I remember feeling like a million dollars that day.  I was so excited.  The only way I can describe how I felt that day was comparable to Michael Phelps winning a gold medal or something. This was the biggest and best thing that had ever happened to me in whole 5 years of life. I finally get to ride to school on a bus. I don’t have to wait for the lady that drove a station wagon to come and get me and take me to pre-school. I had done it! I was finally big enough to ride a bus like my brother and sister. Not the same bus, NO WAY, my Mom said I had to wait for my OWN bus. So I remember watching my brother and sister bitching and complaining that they HATED this day with all their hearts. It was the worst day in mankind. My sister was in 6th grade and my brother was entering 4th grade. I kept listening to them moan and whine that they were going to have to come home and do this thing called homework. I had heard the word before, I thought it related to the chores we had to do everyday. You know, being at home and having to work. Made sense to me.  Anyway, their super-sized big ole yellow bus came down the hill, over the creek and stopped right at their feet. I had seen the bus before, there were some kids on there that said “hi” to me. There were some kids on there that said some not so nice things about me too. But there was this one girl who stood up, opened her window and yelled out “Hi Rog-gee, you look so cute today.” To this day I do not remember who she was. But she knew me, must of been one of those big kids from the Cedar Grove Baptist Church we belonged to up the road, anyway, she made my day. My brother and sister sat down and off they went. NOW it was just me, all by myself waiting on the school bus. I was a big boy now. I knew not to go out into the road because of the coal trucks and they came roaring by ever two minutes. Everytime they went by the coal dust from the truck would blow all over my face and I remember having to spit it out. Coal did not taste good and it smelled bad.  What seemed like a lifetime of waiting finally arrived. I remember hearing the brakes as it stopped a few houses down to pick up some kids around the corner. “OH MY GOD! It’s my turn!” I stood as straight as I could, held my new writing pad and pencil box to my chest, was hyperventilating I’m sure. THEN I saw the front of the bus! It looked just like Bruce and Linda’s bus, but Mom said this one was special. “Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes!” I was so excited. Then I saw the STOP sign slide out and heard the brakes squeak. It stopped. The door opened. Then I realized that -this must be the wrong bus. I motioned for the lady driver to go ahead that she had made a mistake. She said “Is your name Roger Bell”. I said “Yes Mam”.  She said “Then this is your bus honey. Come on, we gotta go.”  I said “Are you sure Lady? Are you sure that this is THE BUS I’m supposed to be on?”  She replied “Yes, now come on.”  I said “Okay, but I’m gonna have to trust you on this one lady, because my brother and sister are riding on a big bus, my Mom said that MY BUS was suppose to be special. This bus ain’t looking to special to me.”  So I slouched  and then sighed grabbed onto the handrail, pulled my self up what seemed like the biggest freaking climb on the planet to the top of the bus, I got to the top of the stairs and looked back at the 8 or so seats full of kids on the bus and realized that  I recognized some of my neighbors from Sunday School church. I did feel better then.

The bus driver lady sat me down in the last seat available, right behind her and I remember her chatting some more small talk about how she knew me at church. I didn’t remember her, because to me all adults outside of my family and Ms. Lena all looked a like. She asked me “Why do you think this bus isn’t special Roger? It is special, I’m taking you to a different school than Bruce and Linda go to. .”  To which I cried ” You mean I’m not going to get to go to the big SCHOOL either?” She said “NO, you’re going to a special school.”  To which I replied “and I have to get there on THIS bus?” She nodded. Then I stood up and screamed “Lady, you’ve got the wrong GUY. My name is Roger Bell, but I’m not the Roger Bell you are looking for. I need you to let me off now. I mean it. My Mommy is going to whoop your ass if you take me to the wrong school on the wrong bus.”  At that time, I wasn’t exactly sure what I had said that changed that nice lady’s voice from talking baby talk to me to one of pure EVIL.  I saw her looking back at me thru that mirror above her head, her nice smile turned into a wrinkled bitter pissed off woman and her eyes squinted hard. If she had Superman’s Eye Power, she would have lasered me with her eyes and just cut me in half. But instead she started screaming for me to “sit my little tail down and do not say a word until we get to _______”.  Before she could finish the sentence she drove us into a muddy ditch, I could hear the other kids screaming and crying. I saw my new pencils and crayons go flying in front of me. I grabbed the back of the bus drivers seat in order to not fall.  I now remember my “olympic gold medal winning” feeling changing to a “OH SHIT am I ever going to get a whipping from Dad, I caused the lady to break the bus” feeling. That looked that had changed from nice baby talk lady to mad lady had changed to infuriated lady. She looked back at all the other kids and said “Are you all okay? with her eyes shifted to those of concern. Then she looked at me in my seat, her eyes changed back to wrinkly and squinty and then yelled  “ROGER BELL, from now on, when you get on this bus – you need to keep your mouth shut.”   I heard that alright. I scrunched back against the window as far as I could go. I remember hearing all the other kids crying so I went with the flow. I thought to myself, hell if I act like the rest of those babies they won’t believe her and they won’t know which one of us pissed her off enough to drive the bus into the ditch. She went to the back of the little bus, opened the emergency door and started lifting the kids down, one by one into the mud. She lifted each kid and gave them a hug and gently placed them on the ground. I was the last kid up. I was dreading this little adventure. So I kept crying like I was in terror and this was traumatizing (it worked with my Mom when it came to Bruce and Linda arguments right?) I remember she grabbed me under my armpits with a death grip so hard her fingernails were slicing thru my new shirt. She lifted me up. She started saying “I’m sorry for yelling at you Roger. But you need to be quiet while I am driving and you should never cuss.”  CUSS? Who cussed? I had her there, I didn’t say any cuss words. Did I?  Her eyes turned back to those of a saint as she stratigically placed me in a pile of mud with my new red shoes my Mom had just bought me. I remember looking down at them covered in mud. Those fake tears I had flowing changed. I was heartbroken. I finally got some new shoes that were my own, not Bruce’s old shoes, mine and this BITCH ruined them. All the other kids started making smartass remarks to me about how much trouble I was going to be in. I cried more and harder. These tears were 100% real and not fake. I was scared. Then the new little short bus pulled up, we all got on board. The mean driver lady told us that this bus will take us to school and that she will see us later to take us home.  We got to school. I sat down in my desk, it had my name written at the top of it. I got my big pencil out, a couple of my brand new crayons were broken (I hid those) and the rest of the day was FUN FUN FUN!  Then it was finally time to go home. We lined up outside of the school and waited for the bus.  Our’s pulled up.  I got on. I sat down.  I looked out the window the whole way home and didn’t say a word.

Cowboy Roger

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Ms. Lena and Her Hoe To The Rescue

When I left off yesterday I was telling you about HOW POOR I was growing up.  I wasn’t exaggerating. It was tough. But thank God I was the youngest and do not have as many memories of that place as my brother and sister. So if can imagine how cold I was telling you it was in that house without insulation, can you imagine just how hot it got during the dry summers in Kentucky? It was unbelievable. We also had many many critters in our house. One particular time when I was in pre-school, I remembered staying home sick one hot August day. My Mom made me my favorite thing to eat buscuits with chocolate pudding (don’t ask… the thought of it now makes me want to puke – but as a small kid.. I loved it.)  I was watching Captain Kangaroo in front of our 19 inch black and white TV that was in a cabinet with legs (some of you might have had these yourself then).  Our house was close to the road so I couldn’t  hear very well due to the coal trucks rumbling by and shaking our house.  So I sat really close to it. I was about 4 1/2 years old then. Bruce and Linda were at school and it was just Mom and I in the house. She was folding clothes from the laundry mat on the sofa while I was watching TV.  Then the next thing I remember is my Mom talking to me about the things that were on the TV. So I was focusing really hard on finding the things she was pointing out on the tv show I was watching. Then the next thing I knew I was grabbed and thrown onto the couch. As she was yanking me away from the TV a super huge snake that was lying under the TV all coiled up (how did I NOT NOTICE THAT THING?) it came out at me, my foot kicked it as I was flying over my Mom’s head to land on the sofa. She was screaming for me to stay on the couch and she was having a stare down with that snake.  She apparently won because the snake recoiled up and just stared back at her and hissed. It wasn’t moving and neither was Mom. Then the next thing she told me to do was to get up off the sofa – go out the kitchen door, cross the street where the coal trucks were bustling down the hill and get my next door neighbor Ms. Lena and tell her to come to our house and bring a hoe to kill the snake.

So I did just that, I remember standing at the end of the gravel drive way trying to remember what you’re supposed to do before you cross the road. Something we learned in pre-school.  Then I remembered and I was doing that, looking both ways and stuff.. then I heard my Mom yell “HURRY ROGER”.  So I said “fuck it” and just ran…. next thing you hear is blaring horn of a coal truck. I made it in plenty of time but he was an asshole of a driver for honking at me when I had about 5 feet on him.. right? LOL.  Anyway, I got to Ms. Lena’s she told me to stay on the porch and not to move until she told me too.  She grabbed her hoe and off she went.  The next time I saw that snake it was cut up into bits lying at the end of our driveway. (Why they put it there.. I have no idea? but that’s where it went.) Ms. Lena came and hugged me and took me in her house for some ice cream and told me all about her new snake adventure. Then after my Mom was over the shock of having to kill a Pit Viper in her livingroom and then clean up after it and then destroy the rest of the house with Ms. Lena making sure there wasn’t any more, finally came and got me.  I NEVER SAT ON THE  FLOOR IN FRONT OF THE TV AGAIN! (Unless it was cold outside because I did know snakes slept in the winter time.)

Till Next Time

Cowboy Roger

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