“Boomers”... (that is to say, “Baby Boomers”, those who were born post WWII, or between 1946 and 1964), born into a period of history when television was a marvellous, new invention, bringing news from around the world into our home. Other families shared their daily lives with all of us and showed us all how they were living, how love and life really was to set the example that we all should follow, how the “average American” managed from day-to-day.
Donna and Alex Stone raised their wonderful children, Mary and Jeff in a perfectly tidy home. Donna always perfectly attired no matter the situation or circumstances. And certainly always show-room trimmed when Alex returned home from a day's work at the job of his dreams. Dinner on the table or ever-so close, they all sat round to discuss the day's events, hopes, dreams, plans for tomorrow, and all the tribulations of time were promptly ironed-out, with sagely words of advice and encouragement for all.
Meanwhile, in another town, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson were kept busy, but oh-so happily, with raising their two grand and talented sons, Ricky and David. “Boys will be boys” of course, and Ricky and David, no exception. Always a bit of mischief, harmless as could be, to be engaged in. But Ricky was so exceptionally talented, giving his gift of music to the masses, so yes, to be sure, the Nelsons were to be proud of their “accomplishments”, they gave the world a wonder. As for any minor “incidents” that may have cause a raised eye-brow? Well, a good, stern word of reprimand set everything straight, a promise of no repetition of the offence was given, received, accepted and the matter was settled. The music continued and the Nelson house-hold returned to American bliss and glory.
And if ever there was a question about how every house-hold was orchestrated in perfection, a question about how ANY “Boomer” was raised any-where across the grand globe, there was always the Anderson home. There was the absolute epitome of every set of “Boomer” parents, and the base-line by which each and every “Boomer” family unit could be established. Jim and Margaret, never a hair out of place, never a voice raised except in praise of some incredibly stellar accomplishment or act of Betty, Bud or Kathy, there wasn't an incident that couldn't be settled to the point of non-existence, never a swaying from the “acceptable” that couldn't be put back on the proper track, and never the tiniest speck of house-dust that couldn't be peacefully and properly disposed of because, well, father knew best, and father was always there, supportive in every way, of every member of his glorious family.
The 1950s were a divine period in which to be born. Nobody could have even dreamt of asking for a more perfectly bucolic era. Families were the most magnificent sights to behold, and each and every one was just as all were portrayed on the television. Mothers were always perfectly attired, from hair to shoes and everything in between. They were always there, at home, for each and every one of their delightful children. Fathers were the perfect providers for wife and children, employed in jobs they enjoyed as much as they enjoyed their time at home or away on splendid holidays. And the salaries were such that houses were beautiful, cars were all the latest, ran perfectly, which was always important when it came time for the holiday get-aways to country-side or shore-line... always an absolute pleasure as they were because there, one never knew... the Stones, the Nelsons and the Andersons might all meet, same time, same place and they could all mingle with the rest of photo-perfect American “Boomer” families.
Life at the dawning of the “Baby Boomer” era was incredible, indescribable, joyful, joyous, plentiful, peaceful. “Boomer” children were surrounded by the most text-perfectly caring, nurturing, supportive, kind, compassionate parents who coddled and cuddled them on the best home furnishings, in the most attractive and well-maintained houses imaginable. Meal-times were family times, and always the highest point of each and every day because, well, everybody attended, everybody was present, and everybody got to tell of the magnificent experiences, events, accomplishments and strides of the day!
Peace and Love and Understanding were over-abundant and wrapped each little “Baby Boomer” baby like one grand, all-covering, snuggly, over-stuffed down duvet. That's how the story goes and what the generations that followed have believed and continue to believe... even to the moment the reader reads this note.
Fast-forward to the year 2019, and a “text-chat” between two of these most-blessed children, born in the earliest years of the “Boomer Era”. They're in their 60s today, and as time takes the toll that it will, with-out consideration of person, situation, circumstances or consequences, they're finding time to reminisce, to ponder, to recall and recount those halcyon days of beauty and grandeur, when life was “Donna Reed”, “Ozzie and Harriet”, “Father Knows Best”...
“M” and “D” are cousins who were, as children, very close, always looked forward to week-ends together when M would be dropped at his Aunt's home and he and D could while-away the days together, both lost in each-other's company. Story-book tales were those days together. Fresh air, sun-shine, walks through pine forests even in the Summer rains, wood-land hunts for Christmas trees and up to the years of nights at the “locals” for drinks, music, dancing, entertainment and fun... that's how the show went anyway...
(M) Funny, isn't it, how some folks live long enough to wake up, one day, to “Truth”? During all my packing & moving, I've been reviewing a life-time & BANG! Truth is: My mother was a filthy fucking cunt who hated me but used me to attend her other 3 whom she cherished! Well, live & learn Old age... such fun.
(M) 1. When my sister was born she came home & I moved into the room to change diapers, bathe, bottle feed through the night. Same thing with the last one. I thought I was helping. I was 5 when sister arrived. 10 when the last one came.
(D) I had to do that with two of my mother's.
(M) 2. As time went by I had to learn to take care of all 3 that followed after me, breakfasts, lunches, school, while she slept late because of night work. (Father used to be gone, separations & week-ends with “Mommie dearest”.)
(D) Good grief. But I thought you got in a fight with them over your mother.
(M) 3. Mother went to the board of Ed to get me out of high school early. Said it was because she was afraid I'd cut too many classes & have to repeat senior year.
(M) 4. She knew that the school knew I'd tried to kill myself 3 times (once by razor slice to the wrist, & she got called in when I told them why my wrist was bandaged).
(D) Omg. That's horrible.
(M) 5. I was 15, working a paper route and she demanded that I pay 20% of my pay... FOR RENT! NONE of the others ever had to do that.
(D) That is some crazy shit right there.
(M) 6. When I started working at the supermarket I had to pay 20$/week, rent. The rent payments continued until I moved out.
(D) Well I had to give my mom too and she always kept my tax returns.
My mother was no saint
(M) 7. I was barely 17 when, one evening, the old man punched through the bedroom door & came @ me full force. Like she always did when he came at me, she grabbed the other 3 & left the house.
8. That night when I survived & found her @ her mother's, she said “You HAVE to leave! He's going to kill you! & think of the stigma that will leave on the other kids, knowing their father murdered their brother. Why not move to Albany?”
(D) Well I can't imagine why you had any feelings for her on a deep level. But it's hard to think a parent can do you like they sometimes do. It took me yearssss to forgive my mom.
And I don't think it's at a 100% level.
(M) 9. A week later I DID move to Albany with nothing but a sleeping bag, clock radio, stuffed animal. I had to BEG her to BORROW 140$ to pay the security deposit.
(D) Well it sucks but you have to let some of that go. I look at it as I've been stronger for it. But you never totally get over the hurt and betrayal no matter what age you are
(M) 10. In the early days after I left, she separated from the old man, called to invite me “home” for a week-end. I'd get there & she'd be off & out for the night with chums. (I was fucking stupid.)
11. Moving along: All 3 of her precious ones moved out & into fully paid (rent & utilities), fully furnished apartments that they didn't even have to look for.
12. One Summer, she came up from Florida to find John had an eviction, utilities cut. She paid his back rent & utilities & deposits in full.
13. Me? I was told on the day I drove away from what was called “home”: “Understand that you can never come back here again.”
All these years I'd worked to convince myself that she loved me for all I'd done to try to hep her. Looking @ what I did & received, compared to the other 3 slags (one of whom I used to send & give 50s & 100s so she could feed HER kids when HER husband slouched on his family) it all becomes clear.
(D) I know how you feel
(M) Father hated me from conception. She got pregnant to save face. She had more kids because it was the thing to do (or she was a slut married to a dog). & it was all so convenient that the 1st born took all the responsibilities for her filthy litter.
When my services were no longer required, I got thrown out, literally, (“Why don't you move to Albany?” 100 miles away.)
(D) Just horrible
(M) Maybe it's age, the current health issues, time or all of the above, but I'm just thankful that I won't be leaving this damned Earth the damned fucking shit-headed idiot I've been all my life. Too bad she died before I came to my senses (or, lucky her). And her pampered brood, the 3 of them? Call it Karma or what ever but one of them got a good dose, let's just let Karma handle the rest.
(D) Amen to that. Parents can screw you over it's horrible
(M) Oh, and no, I'm not “angry” @ this point. Honestly I've been rather happy about the ”revelation”. None of those filth ever treated me like relative (never mind like family). I never saw why... but these days... I do. As the old Black women of the gracious deep South say: “Bless their hearts”.
(D) It's a sin. And I carry a lot of scars from my childhood. It's so damn sad. I'm almost 68 and I'm still not over it.
(M) I know it can't cure the scars & it can't stop the pain, but I tell with ever bit of all that's me: it hurts me to tears to know that YOU, of ALL the people I've ever come to know, should have such pain. All I can do is give you what love I have. You were my strongest tie to life. & that's the damnedest truth above All Truths.
I don't suppose we ever “get over it”... just plod along & do our best to keep it in a box, far away. We trip over it when we're not careful. But just shove it into another dark corner. It's like shit-stains on silk skivvies: you can wash all you want but the shadow never really goes away. (Or sumthin like that.)
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