Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback....1975...I Know You Are But What Am I?

2713 Smith Road, my home, my soft spot to fall, when everyone is NOT fighting, when my Dad is not drunk, when my Mom is not in her room.  I am 15ish, I love my room, it is all white with red satin sheets and comforter, I have posters covering my walls and a dog to replace the dog that was my best friend for 14 years, I have books, everywhere...books.  My friend Sue Hall is over but it's time for her to leave, she lived less than a mile away, we usually walked everywhere but my Mom gave her a ride this time.  On the way there my Mom acted "odd" I wasn't sure what was going on but she asked me where to turn.  Once we dropped Sue off she admited that she had had some kind of an episode and she could not remember how to get to Sue's or how to get back home.  I directed her home and she called my Dad, they went to the hospital and all I know is, we were all very frightened. My Sister came home with her 2 boys Jimmy and Bobby who were more like my brothers than nephews, I think they either lived there or came over to stay with me.  Who knows, my sister and nephews and I moved back in and out of that house so often, I can't remember.  That house was always there for us, my Mother always let us come home, my Dad did too, one of his better qualities, not many to choose from.  My Mother was admited and put through a battery of tests, it turned out to be a form of migraine but from that moment on she lived in fear, and she had panic attacks constantly, they were brutal and freaky and she stayed in her room with the curtains drawn for years and years to come.  My Mother was 48 years old at the time, we did not know it then but this was the family menopause curse, panic attacks, anxiety and a horrible inability to cope, no one knew what this was it was all "new territory" that wouldn't really be talked about until much later when anti depressants began to rule our world. It got so bad a few time my Mother was put in the psychiatric ward at the hospital and one time they did not know how to treat her so she was admitted to an actual sanitarium "Fallsview" a very scary place in Cuyahoga Falls. I remember going to see her there, I was scared out of my mind.  It was like a bad movie, people walking around like zombies in hospital gowns, some open in the back so asses a plenty were on view. No one seemed to have any...soul, it was like Night Of The Living Dead.  I felt that my Father actually felt bad for me, having to be there, but I am not sure, he never would have said that to me anyway but I think he cared about my well being through this.  A patient walked up to the pay phone, dialed a number and talked on and on to someone who was not on the other end, the phone was upside down and it made me laugh a little, my dad laughed too, it broke the tension.  When we got in to see my Mother, she was making a basket, she made us a "thing" to put on our stove as well, I think it was a "trivet".  My Mom seemed to have checked out, she was on auto pilot because of the drugs they were trying, I so was scared, I was losing my "rock" the only thing that kept me grounded when my Dad went into drunken rages, and in the past when we had to move over and over again because we were evicted, when we lived in our car and in rest areas, the only thing that kept me sane was my Mom.  My Mom made it more of an adventure and led me to believe we were lucky to even have the things we had, which was nothing sometimes.  By the time I was 12 however, we had settled, my Dad was sober a good portion of the time so he held onto his job (for now) and we had a wonderful home in Bath Twp. with a pool and plenty of everything, my Dad was successful and we were doing well as far as material things went, emotionally my family was a wreck, still, like it always had been, but now the rock was cracking so what will happen from here?  My Mother isnt' leaving the looney bin anytime soon, my Father has one of his drunken rage against the machine moments and comes home to break things with me alone in the house. I called my Mom's room and she sounded like herself, it was a great relief, she cut back on her own meds and she was getting better but couldn't leave for quite a while.  My Mother called my Aunt Deane, whom I loved like crazy, she came and got me and I lived with her until my Mother got well. My Aunt and Uncle were multi millionaires having made a fortune in plastics.  My Uncle was E. Helman of the E. Helman plastics empire. I had my own suite in the house, it was more like a mall.  I had 2 housekeepers to tend to everything I needed, a pool, a tennis court, billiards room, soda fountain with ice cream supplied by Baskin Robbins who actually delivered to the house. BUT...the greatest thing I had access to a stunningly gorgeous library, and it had a grand piano, books and music, a window seat with leather cushions, shelves and shelves of books, I was sad, but I was occupied. My Father did not come to see me when I was there, he resented the fact that I left and he was mad at everyone. Andrea came over sometimes, we swam and played tennis, hung out in the guest room with the antique 4 poster feather bed I slept in, we made sundaes at our own private Baskin Robbins and we talked. I was at my Aunts for well over a month, she took great care of me, we played games and she tried to teach me to be a wicked pool player, it didn't work I sucked and I still do but it passed the time. I was never tempted to drink even though there was a professional, stocked bar in the house, castle, whatever it was. I hated drinking, people who drank were stupid and ugly and caused the people they loved a lot of pain, I was not tempted even once. I have now embraced the life of the ridiculously rich, I loved shopping with my aunt so much!  I decided I wanted to ski (Jim Harris ski's) and she took me to a sporting goods store, I picked out everything I liked including the best ski's and boots they had, snow suits, coats, socks, gloves, we probably spent a thousand dollars and this was the 70's.  I learned to ski, terribly, I actually slid so far off the path once in my shiny designer snowbunny suit that I went through the fence blocking the drop off and ski patrol had to come and get me.  Ski, hanging on for dear life about to drop off of a huge cliff at Brandywine, scared for my safety and then I saw him...Paul Casey, Ski Patrol, I hope I look OK dropping to my death. "Hi it's OK we are going to tie a chain to you and pull you off the cliff, no big deal OK?  Hey are you Tracey Thomas?  You know my Sister Sue...Sue Casey?  OH YEAH, I know your sister and I think I dated your brother, Drew.  Cool, we should hang out after I get you out of here, should probably rethink the snow suit, pretty slippery fabric and all...
Family crisis who?  Family crisis what? Mom in the hospital because of a nervous breakdown why?  Drunk father screwing everything up when?  I'm back, no more brooding, I have met yet another hot guy and he's SKI PATROL, and my cloud is lifting, I remember who I am, I am NOT a 50 year old woman weighed down by life's problems, I am a teenage girl sliding off a cliff with hot ski patrol boy to the rescue, I am Wonder Woman.......I know you are but what am I?

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