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December, 1991--Trying to Remember


Camille:

Do you ever remember seeing your mother, your father beating up your mother?

Bob:

No.

Camille:

Sheesh! Not even once? Oh letís try to remember one for him.

Bob:

ahahahaha oh God

Deedee:

Try to remember one

Camille:

I canít even remember one!

Deedee:

Oh I canít remember a specific, all I remember is seeing the man have her backed up against the wall land having his fist right there in front of you

Bob:

I can remember him doing that

Camille:

Ok, there you go.

Bob:

Thatís not beating though.

Camille:

What do you suppose he did after he did this [puts a clenched fist in front of his eyes] ahahahahaha

Bob:

nothing.

Camille:

nothing?

Deedee:

well there was that all the time.

Bob:

Yes, intimidation. If thatís what you want to talk about

Camille:

How does it feel?

Bob:

What, remembering it?

Camille:

I know how it feels.

Deedee:

You know how it feels? It doesnít. You donít remember, there WAS no feeling. You know why there wasnít?

Bob:

Well how did I feel about dad doing that?

Camille:

How did you feel watching it?

Deedee:

I felt scared.

Camille:

You donít know that!

Deedee:

I felt scared.

Camille:

Oh come on you donít know.

Deedee:

Oh no, I do, I felt scared, I didnít like it, I was scared. And you know something, when I went to your house and you and Janet argued, I was that kid again, I was that little kid again, and I was just like THIS! [rigid with fear] and I just canít stant it! Any time I hear people screaming I just I justÖThereís a mother in my class who yells at her little kid, sheís a sweet, perfect little mother and her little kid is† hyper-active kid whoís on medication and she helps him through everything and she just helps him† through everything, takes him by the little hand, and then sheís the perfect mother, and then sometimes she says, no, I wonít do it, and she says ďYOU !@#$%^&*Ē and I get all upset at my desk, and I canít ďseeĒ it, I donít look at it, I donít react, I donít do anything. Theyíre over there, theyíre doing their own thing, and this little kid, and after theyíre gone the little kid said Ďwas Mrs. Wentz mad at you?í and I said Ďno, why did you think she was mad at me,í Ďbecause,í what did she say, Ďbecause you did something,í

Bob:

hid under the desk hahahaha

Deedee:

I felt that I didnít want to embarrass Kyle by having him notice that his teacher was watching his mother yell at him, so I was trying not to be there, and thatís what you should do too, try not to be there because Kyle is being yelled at by his mother and thereís not a whole lot he can do about it so we shouldnít stare at him and look at him and have him be aware that weíre all looking at him. Oh. But Iím thinking to myself, I didnít like it, and Iím very uncomfortable.

Camille:

She just continually amazes me how she was ALWAYS aware of what was going on. Now itís true, we have to get you to remember

Bob:

Well you know Katie and Kevin have told me many times, especially Kevin,

Deedee:

that theyíre afraid of you, I know

Bob:

that theyíre afraid, yeah, I have never once laid a hand on them, I have never threatened to lay a hand on them, I have never really yelled at THEM, I have yelled at situations, you know,

Deedee:

Dad never hit me, not once

Bob:

Well were you afraid of him? I guess you were.

Deedee:

I was afraid of him, yes

Camille:

Youíve got to try to remember. Cause I donít remember being,

Bob:

well I donít threaten anybody else either. I donít threaten, itís not like Iím threatening Janet or something when this is all, Iím yelling at aÖ a situation, Iím angry at a football game, Iím angry at a problem I canít solve or something like that, but not angry at THEM, and not threatening to hit THEM or anybody else.

Deedee:

Well I think itís a matter that it comes from out of the blue and you canít prepare for it, you donít know what you did, thereís no

Camille:

no control

Deedee:

no control over it.

Bob:

plus Iím pretty loud,

Deedee:

and youíre volatile, and it might be ok one second and the next second youÖ you had a bad day or somethingís happened and you flip out and so, you know, theyíre going Ďwhoa, what if he gets mean,í or you know, itís the unexpected and itís the fact that you canít follow the rules and have it be ok and thatís the thing that when we were growing up in our family thee wasnít any rule that we could follow where it would be ok that we would know what to expect and what was going to happen. At ANY moment, youíre getting up from the table, you bumped a let, I mean this is a normal, typical thing for a gawky teenager to go through, the %^&*( and next thing we know dishes are flyilng and everythingís

Bob:

Youíre talking about what you experienced in your childhood. Iím telling you that my kids have not experienced that

Deedee:

and Iím telling

Bob:

Why should they be afraid?

Deedee:

that one of the reasons that makes your children afraid is the fact that they canít control it. They donít know what to do, one minute itís ok, or they perceive that its ok because you didnít say anything to them, and the same thing is true of Tom, he doesnít say to Mandy, take this away from here, you know, itís not ok for you to leave this here, itís not ok for you to undress in the family room and leave your clothes, he doesnít say that. He never says a word, and clothes are in the family room, and then one day he flips out of his ever loving gourd because things are in the family room. ĎYouíre pigs@ youíre this youíre that youíre everything,í and we both sort of sit back, like Ďwhoa, where did that come from, who is this stranger and why is he in our house?í

Bob:

hahahahaha

Deedee:

and the same was true of you because Janet would share this with me you know, here the glass of whateverís in the refrigerator and you donít get upset, you donít say, hey we donít put glasses uncovered in the refrigerator because people could knock them over and spill something, no. You wait until you go in there and you bump it

Bob:

hahahahah

Deedee:

and then! %$^&*( and from their point of viewÖ what made him do that, and theyíre scared, theyíre scared of the loud noise and all of that kind of stuff, so it was a building thing and I think that this feeling, this, I mean, Iím 47 years old. I get scared, why do I get scared, it didnít start when I was 47, it started back when I was a little teeny kid, and I would have this experience, so every time the little thing that triggers it goes off in my head, I have the same reaction, and it doesnít matter where I am, I can be at your house, and nothing, nothing to do with me, you and Janet are in the back room, yelling about, I donít know, a pill or something, and Iím sitting in the family room, and Iím shaking. Iím not scared that you are going to come in and hit me, itís taken be back.the Mother screaming at the little kid, I am shaken inside because Iím not in my classroom anymore, Iím in my home where my father and mother are yelling at each other and my motherís going to get hit at any second, I just know it, and even if I donít see it, Iím going to see the results of it later. Where sheís got a black eye.

Bob:

Youíre right, I must have repressed a lot from my life cause I sure donít have those recollections.

Deedee:

Penny remembers a time when mother came into her classroom one day to pick her up for something or to bring her something and she was wearing sunglasses. Mother never wore sunglasses.

Bob:

right

Deedee:

and she took the sunglasses off so everybody could see the big black eye she had.

Camille:

She would take the sunglasses off so everyone can see!

Deedee:

and Penny was mortified! Because all her classmates could see her mother with a big, Ďwhatís the matter with you motherís eye?í whatís she going to say

Bob:

thatís a bummer

Deedee:

and then mother coming up when I was a freshman in high school. I was staying at a Mariner friendís house, and mother came over, the whole side of her face was just all burned, just, just peeling off from burn. Father had thrown a pot of beans, baking on the stove, he picked it up and threw it at her, the beans on her face, burned her face.

Bob:

I donít remember that either.

Deedee:

YOU werenít there anymore. Oh, or, yeah you had to have been. If I was a sophomore, would you have been gone?

Bob:

Probably

Deedee:

No, if I was a sophomore, you were a senior. You were still at home. So I donít know where you were, if you were at your friends or

Bob:

Youíre only two years younger than me?

Deedee:

No. I was only two years behind you in school. When I was a freshman, Camille was a senior, and you were a junior, cause you graduated in 61 and I graduated in 63. I skipped a grade.

Bob:

Umhum. You were a bright kid, yeah.

Deedee:

No, I was aÖ

Bob:

well adjusted

Deedee:

first of the boomers.

Bob:

hahahah the class was too full, is that it?

Deedee:

thatís exactly it, when I started school there were too many children, I was the first of the boomers, that was 1946 the year the boomers started.

Camille:

Did you feel, did you bring people home? Did you have people stay over night, you know how your kids had people stay over night.

Bob:

No, I donít remember. I didnít have that many friends though, grade school, high school, maybe 2 or 3, Gene, Bill, Bill Jones, and George, that was it, pretty much.

Deedee:

that was high school, George was high school.

Bob:

George was 7th and 8th grade too

Camille:

Did they come over?

Bob:

Yeah, they came over. They didnít stay over night, I donít think.

Camille:

I donít know, are boys different? Did Kevin ever have people stay over night.

Bob:

I donít think so.

Deedee:

The little kids in my class stay over night.

Bob:

Shawn never, yes, I guess he has had a friend stay once.

Camille:

I never I donít remember ever having anyone stay over night, I wouldnít have dreamed of it, you see, this is something where I think the difference between Deedee and me. She was always conscious, aware of what was going on, and I just, and maybe youíre the same way, be very practical, I just internalized it. You donít have people over.

Deedee:

well I remember

Camille:

Itís not even conscious, itís just not done.

Deedee:

The most uncomfortable week was when I was a freshman and it was in the summertime, and one of my friends remember Sally Evans? Her mother called up and said she and her husband needed to go out of town for a week and would we keep Sally for the week? And I remember hearing mother on the phone and I remember saying to myself, ďSheíll make up some excuse, surely she wonít let Sally stay here for a week, nobody could stay in this house for a week, she wouldnít let an outsider come into this house cause I didnít ask,Ē and I heard her say oh yes thatíll be fine, and I just

Bob:

what else could you

Deedee:

You could make an excuse, you can say Iím sorry we canít, weíre going to be out of town, weíre going to do this, right, she said of sure thatíll be fine, and I said oh, my God. How is he going to go for a whole week without doing something, Iím going to die, Iím just going to die. Well he made it for a week. They picked up Sally and 5 minutes later he flips out and yells and screams and hits mother because he had to be good for

Deedee:

for a week

Camille:

oh thatí incredible, too bad I didnít know that, I could have had somebody over too

Bob:

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Deedee:

I just couldnít believe it. Harrelson knew about the house and she wouldhave hemmed and nothing, he would have yelled and screamed with her being there, but Sally didnít know.

Camille:

ok but you see the thing is Bob we can joke and laugh about this,

Bob:

I can remember my friends saying oh, you Dadís flipping out hahahahahah

Camille:

see, you do remember

Bob:

I remember that

Camille:

Now why would they say that?

Bob:

Because he flipped out I guess, I donít know. I donít remember who that was, Gene or, I think it was Gene

Deedee:

probably, yeah,

Camille:

well, it was a standing thing, when it got to be 5:00 or something, it was almost like Ďplease everybody leaveí

Bob:

rats deserting a sinking ship

Deedee:

Yes, thatís right, as the car was pulling up we were running out the door.

Bob:

hahahahahahaha

Deedee:

But see that the sad thing is that by the time you were in high school you were already reacted to it, when you were a little kid

Camille:

yeah, you said something earlier this afternoon about howÖuhÖby the time somebodyís in high school theyíve already, you know, made their thing so that by the time theyíre 20Öwell by the time theyíre 5, the personalityís already formed

Bob:

sure, thatís true

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 Page last updated on 05/17/2007

 

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