By the time Brenda went to live with Patricia, Nanny and Daddy Jack had bought themselves a cute little house out on the lake. There had been some kind of huge falling out that to this day I don't know what it was about. I felt like I didn't have an adult in the world. But I did however have my little brothers, Richie and Bobby. Richard was 4 and Bobby was 1, sweet precious boys that I couldn't live without. I spent all my spare time with them it seemed. I remember teaching Richie how to write his name. I was so proud of both of us. We spent every weekend out at Bertie's parents house. I hated it. Everyone was always walking on eggshells to keep "The Big Man" from going off. My daddy was working constantly and I was there, with them, the *other* family. I can't tell you how many times I saw him slap those kids around, kick the dogs, and kill the hogs. I couldn't stand that man, I was terrified of that man. And so was everyone else, that's why he did just exactly what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it.
I didn't see my sister for a long time. I did get reports about her and she didn't do any better at Patricia's than she did with Bertie, but I don't think daddy and Bertie wanted her back either. My sister was lost in the family system.
I talked to her on the phone tonight, for over an hour. It was a really fun, good talk. We know that we are all each other has. The only living family each other has besides our children. It's strange that how when a person can't remember their past, the only things they can remember are the bad times. I would love nothing more than to write about family picnics and portraits, but that just isn't the way it was for the most part. Between trauma, drama drugs and now meds I can't remember jack crap. My sister is just about the same way, she just has different bad memories. We'll sit and catch each other up every now and then.
We never went out to Bertie's parents house at night during the week because of school, so I was really surprised that night when she told me to turn out my light and get in the car. She was picking up a few things as she was giving her orders and then joined us in the driveway. I remember from what I was told later about the incident that we were out at the horror house for about an 1 1/2 hours before things in the house started getting very busy. Phone calls, whispered conversations....daddy coming out there from work. "What's happening?" I asked them as they were buzzing around. Bertie stopped, looked at me and said "The house burned down!" That witch, she torched our house, I knew she did. I knew it that very moment. See, she was always trying to keep up with everyone else. Her friends, her family, Nanny. And besides that, she was always wanting to stay up the butt of her mother. I had overheard certain conversations between her and my dad, and her and her mother and sisters. Something about a new trailer house....land for sale by her parents house. More than once I heard the words"mobile home". I spent that night there at her parents house, and the next day I went with dad and *the family* to see the damage. It was totally gone, burned to the ground. I didn't have anything left. Nothing. I cried. I cried hard for a long time. I remember neighbors from all around the block came to give us their condolences. And all I could keep thinking about was how did she do it? How did she start the fire. Things were just to much in place. All the talk, going out to her parents house on a school night. Firemen said they believed it started in the trash can. Bertie was a smoker. One of the things she did as she was picking up the house that night before we left was to empty the ash trays. She didn't love us at all. She was willing to uproot her children, make them lose everything they owned, knew and loved just to get what she wanted. And she did.
The insurance must have paid off pretty quick because it seemed like only a couple of weeks before......guess what.....we were in a brand new trailer house! And where do you think that trailer house was parked? Uh huh, yep, right there on the land right beside her parents. We were now all one big happy family. Hogs and all.
The shock wore off and life got back to normal as we knew it. I liked the new house, it was really pretty and had all the modern conveniences! Roxanne, Stanley and I spent quite a bit of time together doing their chores and trying to stay away from Earl. My brothers and I got very close as well. Richard had started kindergarten and went to the same small country school that I did. Richard and I got up every morning at 6:00 in order to have breakfast, get all dressed with the hair in place, and watch a few cartoons! He loved his cartoons. We had to catch the bus at 7 and he always sat in the same seat I did. He thought he was pretty hot stuff getting to hang with big sis and her friends on the bus, and I made sure that no one bothered him in any way, shape, form or fashion. He was my baby. I was raising him and Bobby. God knows Bertie wouldn't get off her lazy a$$ and do anything to do it. I felt so sorry for Bobby while I was at school. I would come home and he would be tired, dirty and usually hungry.
I never saw much go on between Bertie and my dad. No bad stuff anyway. Things seemed normal, until that day at school, when once again....my entire life would be destroyed.