Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Way I See Things : My Early Life

My mom tells me, laughingly that I was the stubborn one of all of us kids--in delivery and rearing. The proud markings could be traced along my impish chin and defiant lips that stuck out when thinking deeply or angered. She also says I was born old. Not with wrinkles or white hair of course (I'm no Benjamin Button) but rather, possessing a maturity and communication style beyond the average child of three. Adults were impressed. And I like impressing them with my vocabulary. 
Then, I was strong willed, a little bossy and particular about hand washing. Today, I am strong willed, a little bossy and particular about hand washing. Not much changes. 
Amid all this, a nickname was coined. I was crowned and dubbed “Boo Boo”, because my lower lip always stuck out. Boo boo lips they called them.
Remembering back comes in snippets, somewhat golden and hazy memory clips of summer scenes. Climbing the boxelder that grew in the low areas on the “other five”; thrilling games of tag over round bails in the hay barn with the neighborhood kids; playing hide-and-go-seek with the shaggy collie we loved like a sister.
It’s interesting how so many things about a person changes with age and then in another way they don’t at all. I’ve matured of course, but I’m still that stubborn, naughty girl of six. I’m still me.   
Born not far from the capital city my family moved three times before my third birthday. First, my aunt and uncle’s basement. I was a year old and I still remember two or three flashbacks from our time there. Then the apartment…oh the apartment! That was during my terrible twos and I was spanked every day in that place. Flashbacks: standing at the window waiting for my dad to come home from work and throwing a record-breaking temper tantrum (over Lord only knows what) using stuffed animals as missiles (these where quickly confiscated).
Then we moved into the schoolhouse with grandma and grandpa. It was a square, three story white house which they had renovated from a turn of the 19th Century school house into a home for their rapidly growing family back in the nineteen-fifties. I hated it there. Mom and Dad had bought Bettenger’s corn field and where building a Cape Cod house on the hill. This kept them extremely busy and I spent my days with grandma.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandparents, they were kind, feeble and always had Schwans ice cream stocked in the extra freezer it was like an icecream wonderland in that freezer. I just liked to open it up sometimes to look at it. But at the same time, I remember being paralyzed by the fear that one day my mom would walk out that door and never come back.
I may have told her as much between sniffles, because one day she hugged me, rocking me as I cried and said, “Don’t worry Bethany, Mommy will always come back.”
And I believed her.
On a day shortly after this, as my twenty month old sister Kate wailed after Mom had left grandma’s house, I put my arm around her and said oh-so-wisely, “Don’t worry, Kate, Mommy will always come back.”
            Needless to say, we were happy to move into our first real house after eight months at our grandparents. It took me a while to adjust to system of normalcy then.
 I asked Mom if we were going to stay in that house.
She said we were.
I looked at her very seriously, “Are we going to stay here forever?” I insisted. Feeling safe has always been a deep need of mine—still is in many ways.

More to come...



  1. Replies
    1. I can't wait to write more--its fun to process through ones life experiences and put them to paper so that people will understand.

  2. Bethany, I think you write splendidly, This is a great start to your autobiography. I've read several autobios and you have a great writing style for it. :) Optimistic Existentialist said it well, your writing captivates your audience. Plus your young self reminds me of my niece which lets me imagine the situations that much better. :) Anyway, so I don't give you a "big head"(ego) I better not say more. :P
    Keep writing! :)
    P.S. This is the verse of the day on biblegateway and I thought it might encourage you "In God, whose word I praise,In God I have put my trust;I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:4"

    1. You're niece must be a cutie! The most headstrong are also the most lovable people in my experience. Keep the world laughing and blood pressures high. Haha!
      Thanks for the verse. Defiantly have to be reminded of that now and then.

    2. I didn't know you've met my niece. You decribe her so well. :)
      She defines the words adorable and mischievous and is most definitly a two year old. LOL the stories I could tell... she is definitely a common topic on facebook :)

  3. Oh and I forgot to add: It's so neat that we are both admissions counselors!!