A Memory

It was around 1960, I was around 6 years old, and we lived in the southern part of Florida, outside Ft. Lauderdale.  Our community was brand new, as the state was coming into one of its times of expansion in population.  My father had accepted a position as a minister in a small city that was built by the Rockefeller family for fixed and low-income families.  As my father made a take home salary of $72 a month, we qualified.  My mother had to go to work the previous fall, shortly after my baby brother was born due to the fact that even in 1960, $72 did not go very far for a family of 4.  So my mother was a first grade teacher.  Still, even with her added income, we wer considered low income.

Why did my parents pick Florida with this being the situation for a growing family, and a low-income for my father.  Well, partly because he was told as he grew his church from 12 families, his income would grow.  Partly because my father had been stationed in Miami are during WW II, and he always had wanted to live there after that.  Actually, I believe that was the primary force driving the move.  If Daddy was not happy, nobody was happy, and this was to be his dream come true place.

In some ways, this was an idyllic place.  Our city was close to fields of vegetable, and the Everglades.  I went to school from the start with students of many races, not just white-faced students.  Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, African-Americans, and a spattering of students from other areas of the Caribbean.  We not only went to school, but we played.  We rode bikes, roller skated, the boys played army or Davy Crockett, and the girls with various dolls.  The older children would sit outside and play board games under the shade of porches or trees.  We would pick fruit off the trees of homes in the neighborhood for our snacks, with the blessing of the owners.  We all drank water from the garden hoses in our yards, and we chased the fogging machine down the street, much the chagrin and protest of our parents.

For all of this interracial harmony with the children, there were still the ugly signs, especially in the larger cities, that this did not extend to the adult world.  There were the segregation of bathrooms (something my family paid no attention to, and we would use the colored only ones), drinking fountains, and the bus seating.  I always liked to sit in the back of the bus because the seats were higher and I could see out the windows.  As a result, my family did not endear ourselves to good ol’ southern values.

What many people do not realize is Florida gets many hurricanes during the season every year that are not the category 4 and 5, and largely go unnoticed by the rest of the country.  This does not mean that they are any better if you live in a low-lying area or in a shabbily built home.  This is where most of the seasonal migrant workers who worked in the vegetable fields lived.  Even a major tropical  storm would cause migrant camp housing to collapse into a heap if tar paper, splintered weak boards, and cardboard.

My father had a heart to help others.  So after his church building was built, he would find like-minded people who would go with him to gather up as many migrant workers as they could, and bring them into his church to ride out the storm.  They provided blankets, food, and water for the people, and had emergency lighting for if and when the electric failed, a common occurrence.    Needless to say, this action did not go over well with some of the people who believed in segregation.  In fact, part of the reason my father left the ministry was he had a non segregated church, and this did not let it grow as large as had been hoped for, and ultimately he lost his church.  But that is another story for another time.

After one of the lesser hurricanes, and the clean up was done, and life had returned to normal, one  night I heard a commotion in our front yard area.  I figured it was just some noisy neighbors walking by.  However, eventually curiosity took over my awakened 6-year-old self, and I went to the window.  There was a group of about a half-dozen people dressed up, I thought, early for Halloween.  They seemed to have on ghost costumes, and they had put a cross in our yard.  Odd, but my dad was a minister, so not a problem.  But then they did something really different.  They lit it on fire.  At that point, I went to get my mother.  I was yelling, and  while I  was initially okay with the goings on, I had become frightened.  My mother was watching the news, and my father reading the paper.  David, my infant brother, was asleep.

My mother took me to the window, and I will never forget how she calmed me, and tried to protect me from what I later learned was a vileness in our front yard.  She got down by me, held me, and answered my questions with a few sentences.  “Deborah, it is because we are good people that they put that cross on fire in our yard.  They want to make sure others know we are good people.”  We stayed there, watching the ghosts carry on, the cross burn until it was ash.  And we went to bed.  I learned later what really happened that night.  But still like what my mother said.  It was a light for good people to know where we lived.

 

Discouraged

I am officially discouraged, and totally out of my attempt to give hope to a sinking ship of an administration.  The few moments and glimmers of hope, bread crumbs of words, are swept away by the fall out of the verbal nuclear explosions that come from the mouth of our current president.  He does not need to press the red button in the briefcase.  He presses the red button of polite society daily.  He may have a lot of money, but he has no class.  He may have opinions, but his moral stance shots the very people he swore to represent, missing the vileness that needs to be addressed.

Until now, the Nazis, KKK, and all White supremest groups have not been allowed a political platform to stand on.  They have been allowed freedom of speech, however detestable it is.  They have been on the fringe of American society.  A good place for any extremist.  Even the Antifa belong there. Opposite end of the spectrum, but just as violent and dangerous.  Even during the Civil War, the South recognized that there was value to minorities, as property.  As such, many Confederates fought to protect their plantations, including their slaves, even if they were abusive to their slaves.  They wanted them alive.  A dichotomy for sure.  Not one I agree with.

Ironically, Great Britain had copious amounts of slaves at one time.  When they banned that institution, they found a way to incorporate the former slaves into their society.  This would have been a better model for the United States.  The war in Great Britian was fought in the religious institutions and Parliament, not on the soil of their land and territories.  There in lies the difference.  The wounds inflicted on both the Union and the Confederacy in both the free and the now former slaves, never had a chance to be more than a gaping hole that fester and bleeds over and over.

It has been over one hundred years since the Civil War, and we have yet to find a way to heal. We are more concerned with being correct, being the strong one, being the victor, that we do not just take the time to collectively grieve, and find a way to put that part of our history where it belongs – in the past.  Honor, strength, and courage is not always about who wins.  It is more about who starts the healing by being there to help and comfort those who grieve, morn, and have lost something, whether it is another person, property, or an ideal.  It is past time for this in the United States.  Before we repeat history by reenacting the bloodiest war we ever fought.

What does this have to do with the fringe groups?  If we heal properly, they will grieve with us, and we can move on.  Or they at least will lose their power and appeal.  And then we do not need to have the rhetoric that is coming at us from the top levels of government.  That will lose its power.  Let us come together, grieve the wrongs of the past, the deaths, the evils, and move these things into history, and show the world real American courage, and move into the future.

It has been awhile

So,  I have been negligent for a long time.  It is time to get going again.  A fresh start.  A better start, without being hypercritical of myself.  Life does happen.

The journey is taking an unexpected course.  It is forcing me to get out of my comfort zone, to do things I am loathe to do.  Like getting rid of “treasures”, or trash, depending on your prospective.  To start engaging in life again.  To move physically from a city I have lived in since 1974 to a place TBD.  Right?  I don’t even know where I am going, and may be moving as soon to TBD as October, 2017.  Difficult as this is for a 20 something, I am a sixty something.

Up side, I will be going somewhere that my past is unknown.  Downside, the same.  Upside, I will be away from a place of some of the worst memories in my life.  Downside, I will be away from some of the best.  No winner there.

I will be moving away from a fantstic support system of friends, to a place I will have to make new friends.  For an extravert, this is heaven.  Too bad I am an introvert.  But I will do this.  Shoot, if my mother could do it as an 80 something, surely I  can have the spunk to do it 20 years before.

The journey starts.  Oh, did I say it was to a place I did not know where I was going? Yeah.

Cinco de Mayo

Thirty years ago today, my father died.  Four years ago today, my mother died.  Both were pronounced at the same time, something I found dealing with an insurance policy that did not exist for my mother.  While many people celebrate release on this day, I do so in another way.

I release the lives of my parents to the universe.

I release the promise my father wanted from my mother delivered 26 years later.

I release the idea that there is randomness in the universe.

I release.

Putting on my game face

Today I have to go in and face a fear.  The fear of losing my condo, not because I have not made payments, but due to a technicality in the original mortgage.  I am fairly sure, in my logical mind, that this will be worked out.  It may take some time, and it definitely will take work.  In point of fact, it may be the push I need to move to something different.

My logical mind is fighting a battle with my illogical mind.  I get visions of them telling me I have two days to move, that they lock me out of my pets and my possessions without notice, that they send thugs to beat me up. All illegal, and I know it will not happen.

I most likely will have noting to worry about, and most likely will be inconvenienced in some sort of way.  Doable.  Not optimal.  And this may all be a tempest in a teapot, as my mother would have said.  I am staying in touch with my fear, as doing so makes it more manageable.  Going to my anger,though some may say it is justified, is not going to help or solve this.  I am going to be told hard truths, truths I already know.  Truths I ignored in anger.  This is what my anger gets me. Chaos. Trouble. Eating away of my peace of mind and stress on body. It is not my friend. It is the place I learned to go to that once was a save haven in my mind.  A peaceful cove created by me running there and avoiding truths and shutting out others with my rage. Now instead of a beach of beautiful sands glittering against the sapphire blue inlet, surrounded by steep cliffs covered in beautiful flowers, it is a garbage dump.  Littered with the destruction of my anger.

I will walk with my head on straight, take my consequences, my actions, and I am going to move into healing. Fear as my friend.

Fighting back

Fighting back depression is not an easy battle.  It is like fighting against a level five hurricane dragging you into a deep well and you are trying to pull yourself out.  You are pelted with the debris of the life you have and are living.  Staying above the wall of the well enough that maybe a tree branch is going to hold you out.  That is when you do it by yourself.  So when you do it with others, trained and trusted, then you have more than a tree branch to hold onto.  You have a link that can, if you are willing to fight for it enough, will help you work your way out of the hole.

The decision to fight was a journey in its self.  The fight is now on.

My anger is born of fear.  When I get angry, 95% of the time it is because I am afraid of something.  For the last decade or more of my life, I have lived in fear, and thus in anger.  I have run off the good people in my life by enlarge, and attracted a whole slew of toxic, dangerous people. Finally, I am tired of living like this, so getting my anger out is not the problem. Getting the fear out is.  Remembering the times and things that scared me are my clue to solving both problems.  Anger and burying my fears in my anger.

 

What I have been doing makes about as much sense as going to climb Mt. Everest in swim gear.  To keep people from seeing my vulnerability through my fears, I put the fear in a large well, the well of my depression, the one with the hurricane.  Then I get angry.  This chaos is the hurricane of my life. For years I have been battered by doing this to myself.  It is past time for me to stop and find the peace I deserve.  The peace I now crave.  The peace that will give me better health and a better life. The ability to make better decisions in my personal, financial, and spiritual life.

 

The first time I remember being fearful was when I was two.  I woke up and my mother was on her way to the hospital.  Family friends were there to take me for an overnight.  My father would be by in a little while.  I knew a new brother or sister was coming home, but I wanted my Mommy.  And when Daddy came, and he was crying, he said Mommy would be home in a few days, and then I would come home.  I wasn’t going to have a new brother.  He had died.  I wanted to see Mommy,. but Daddy said no  because the hospital wouldn’t let it. So I was sure Mommy was dead too.  I cried and cried.  In the bedroom of my parents friends. They did not know what to do with me, so they let me cry myself to sleep while the lady sat there trying to comfort me.

I took the fear home with me.  So scared my Mommy would be gone again, I followed her everywhere, even to the bathroom.  And Mommy was so sad.  Sometimes we would just sit and cry together.  It got better, but this hole dug by fear has never left my heart or soul.  Instead, it got bigger.  So many things that I did. So many things I need to stop doing.  One day at a time. I will stop doing things that are chaos and mayhem to my life.

 

 

Where did they go?

Okay.  I surrender.  I tried to publish on my new tablet, and now they are somewhere in cyberspace.  I am just about to give up.  I can’t get into  my Dropbox, my WordPress, or create on my new tablet.  ARGHHHHH.

 

Now that is over with, and I am home and kind of caught up on other things, I am starting a new routine tomorrow morning.  Something that will be beneficial to my health, and my music and my writing.  I have to do this, or I will just slide off into a blob and be a disappointment to myself.  I do not care if anyone else agrees with my steps to make my life better.  It will not do so unless I make it happen.  And I must start now.