“The victimization of children is nowhere forbidden; What is forbidden is to
write about it.” Alice Miller
Reliving the memories of my past is the hardest things I can do. Believing that is
why I have always tried to live in the present, but the past always seems to find a way to stick its ugly head up, and when it does, I end up in a very dark and scary place. Don’t get me wrong not all my memories are bad but for the most part the bad out weights the good, and when I do take a trip down memory lane the two most outstanding are one from my mother and one from my father. Neither are bad or good they just stand out from the rest. The story my mother always liked to tell her friends was about my birth. She’d start
out with, “Yep Tony was a breach birth, he was born ass first and hasn’t set down since.” What
was bad was it always seemed I was in the room. I know she meant well and I think she did
it just to see me blush. You know as I sit here writing another memory of my mother comes to
mind. It’s the nightmare every child looks for and every parent waits for, the embarrassment.
Mine happened during my senior year. I played football and during a game one Friday night I
slipped and speared a visiting player. I was flagged and given a 15- yard penalty. When I got to
the side lines the assistant coach got in my face and was sticking me in the chest with his finger.
I just happened to glance at the stands and there was my mother coming across the side line
fence. I sprinted away from coach and got to her just in time. She was headed for my coach. I got
her back into the stands but I never lived that moment down, seeing it was splashed across the
following weeks newspaper. As I said neither bad or good just embarrassing.
Memories of my father are mostly unpleasant but there is one story my father would tell every chance he got. It happened when I was three years old. My father was in the Army when I was born and continued a few years more. Most weeks my father and his pals would have a poker game at our house. One night during one of these games I got up and came and watched. After a while I climbed up in my father’s lap and quietly watched them play. While they played, they were drinking this clear liquid and orange drink. After a while I got thirsty and asked my father for some of what they were drinking, he fixed me a small glass and I sat there and drank it and asked for another. Well after the second drink I started to feel weird, I got out of his lap and started across the room and fell flat on my face. Everyone had a big laugh and my father caught hell the next day, but it became his favorite story to tell through the years.
I sit here looking at the words I’ve just wrote and another memory comes to mind, it’s not really a good memory but it’s there. I was 11 at the time and my father and I went fishing a lot that summer after the fruit season ended. This day we were on the back side of Lake Reedy. We had waded out about waist deep when my father lit a cigarette and handed it to me, “what” I stuttered for a second as my father laughed and told me he already knew I was smoking. When we got back to the bus (fathers work vehicle) he handed me a pack of Marlboros and told me not to let my mother find out. Which she did a week later.
Recalling memories of my mother can most times lighten my moods where as those of my father can send me spiraling into a dark deep place. I mention this to say that my mother was the best friend I had ever known, so when I lost her at 49 a part of me died also. Five years later when my father died all I felt was relief. As you may have guessed there was no Love lost between my father and me. I loved him as my father but that was it. I had lost my feelings for him at a very young age and with that said my story really begins.
From what you have already read you can tell that bad memories have always been a part of my life. From what I can remember they started when I was very young and never really quit. You see my father was an alcoholic and my mother and I was his punching bags. It stayed that way till I was four and they broke up, at which time I ended up in a foster home. I can remember most of this because I went to kindergarten in Asheville, NC, the state I’m from.
The end of the school year found us back with our parents and a new baby sister it also found us on our way to a town called Frostproof, Fl. Where I spent most of the next twenty years, but that first summer saw the end of my childhood.
Frostproof is in the center of what is known as “The Citrus Belt.” Being the home of three major fruit companies, Frostproof’s economy is the production, the harvesting of the fruit and the hauling of said fruit...