“I had a disturbing dream about a boy in Rusch Park. A part of me thought the boy was me, and another part of me was afraid to think that. The boy stood on neon green grass in sweaty triple digit heat and ate himself with chattering teeth. He sucked out his own eyeballs and chewed off his skin and gnawed away at the bones until he was just two arms, floating. His arms were in tandem and moved like the second hand of a watch, rotating parallel to the ground. The arms drifted away in the heat haze, blown along like a dandelion seed.“
I lived for awhile at the edge of Citrus Heights next to Roseville. I rode my horse in Rusch Park. My time there was several decades after Don's,but his story was evocative for me nonetheless. That nightmare at the end, totally a surprise...
My mother wrote lists for us everyday of jobs we had to do. She liked us BUSY. She also used her bedroom when we drove her crazy and I can't blame someone with 6 kids for feeling crazy. We'd tiptoe around and clean up the house hoping it would make her happy. It usually didn't.
Luckily, we never moved around. My brother still lives in the house they built in 1960. Moving from school to school and town to town and WARD TO WARD would be horrible especially for those of us who are introverts and have anxiety. My mother had severe anxiety, but was expected to be a good little mormon and go to all her meetings. The expectations of mormons are crazy. Six kids and then be a mormon, too???
My siblings and I also had to work from a chore list. We did all the dishes and the vacuuming. The boys also had to work in the yard. In La Grande we had had chickens and horses to tend. Several times, as we moved form house to house, Dad would have me and my brothers dig ditches for lawn sprinklers. He was nuts about putting those in. Everything benefited him. He made money selling each house, and we got no allowance or lunch money. It was hardscrabble for no reason other than him making it that way.
school clothes, etc., at least we had that option. I could spend as much or as little on school clothes as I chose. It seems your parents just saw you as slaves. I sometimes felt that way as I sure hated hoeing beets. It wasn't the hoeing, but the horseflies, etc. We actually had a lot of fun as siblings working on the farm, lots of happy memories and funny memories.
Don, for me your stories are like car accidents. I can't stop reading though I know how painfully dysfunctional will burn a memory. In a way, you had your own form of "Educated". Thanks so much for sharing!
I have written a book of about 90,000 words that's autobiographical. It covers the decade from 1972-1982, and it deals with all the Mormonism and the street life I lived, the boys ranch, coming of age, and Army service. The book is available on Kindle for $2.99. The title is "Orphans of Babylon." No one has reviewed it yet, and I think it may be a tough read. It certainly was a tough life. Thanks for asking, cl2.