I have to remind myself that I'm American. I forget sometimes. So much of my country is a bit foreign to me. Growing up in the late 60's, and through the 70's, a lot of promises of peace and love were made. Now I feel like America is that parent that means well, but never shows up on your birthday with a present. So much potential, wasted in wrong directions.
I'm just uploading a bunch of writing because consistency is my nemesis.
When I was young, I was given a vision of how the world should be, by architects like Jim Rogers, Shel Silverstein, and Theodore Geisel.
Who are the people that prefer to worship as opposed to admire and respect. There is a difference. One enjoys the high of idolatry, looking past details and ugliness for the simplicity of blind adoration. The other is patient and inquisitive, looking at all the shades of gray and deciding that their choice earned it.
The Wizard of Oz film holds a special place in my mind. Every year I would get excited around spring time because they would show it on network television. Back then, there was no on demand. And it wasn't the whole land of color little people talking scarecrow lion and tin man that did it for me. It was the tornado. And in Michigan, I believe they chose the tornado season - springtime - to show that classic. I don't gave proof, but I bet some television programmer made that type of decision.
Tornadoes fascinated and scared the shit out if me. Acts of nature. Overwhelming force of nature. What can someone do when faced with one of the elements, raging out of control, and about to kill you.
In an attempt to "write more" I'm going to try a blog. Never thought I would and may never make this public, but it's suppose to be good to get things out so here goes.
I'm the youngest of 3 kids, two older brothers. The middle brother was adopted before I was born. There's 4 years between us, and 6 between me and my oldest brother. Normal childhood growing up in Romulus, a distant suburb of Detroit. At the time, my dad was working his way from the drafting department to the design department at Ford Motor Company. He was a wonderful artist. Drew cartoons, welded unusual objects into scale vintage cars, knights on horses, carriages, bi-planes, and anything else his brain could dream up. My mom was a California-born painter, an artist in her own right, but over-shadowed by my dad's popularity and the sexism of the time (1960s-70s). She became more and more unhappy as time went on. She also struggled with a chamical imbalance (bi-polar), although at the time, no one realized it, even though her sister had been a diagnosed schizophrenic.
My parents were actually considering separtating in 1976-77, and had decided to give it one more try by Christmas 1976. It was to be our last Christmas together, ever, period. In February of 1977, during a brutal winter storm, the furnace in our house exploded. I was 9 1/2 but remember that night like it was yesterday. I was the first to escape the house fire. My oldest brother came next, then the middle brother. That was it. For a while, I thought, "we're orphans!" Then a car pulls into our diriveway and I realize it's my mother. She hadn't been in the house that night. But my father had and was still in there. He would never make it out and died there.
Since then, my family has been fractured. For a while right after it seemed we might sticke together, but slowly everyone drifted off into their own kinds of relief, never looking back to our broken unit. I try to pinpoint the moment I felt abandoned by them. It's difficult because occassionaly one of my brothers would briefly reappear in my life, give me a few words of encouragement or comfort, then disappear again for years. One time my middle brother showed up at a house I renting with friends when I was just 21. It was the middle of the night and he was high on cocaine and drunk. He was beating on the door and yelling for me. I was afraid to open it, but I think I talked to him, calmed him down, and he went away. I was embarassed and frightened. This was the kind of attention I would get. But even that faded away. Maybe he was embarassed too. My oldest brother didn't even show that kind of attention. From him, I just got silence. He did come to my college celebration before I left for grad school. That was the last photo of me with my brothers. And it was 20 years ago.
In all this time, I have never received a birthday or holiday card from either of them. I try to stay positive and the few times my mom has gotten the whole family together, we've been able to accomplish ackward hugs and some conversation. Both brothers have been married and divorced a few times. The latest (hopefully) wife of my oldest brother has been the most helpful. She sends holiday packages to me, connects with me on social media, and tells me that my brother does love me. It's very nice of her. When that brother decided to pay for a headstone for our father's grave (something that hadn't been done by my mom due to a dispute with his service in the Navy who was suppose to pay for one), he did not want any of us to know. His wife let it slip to me that they were going back to our home state to check on the stone and that I could join them. I heard that brother in the background yelling, "I don't want to make a big deal about this." But I drove back to Michigan anyways to be there. I was really glad I did. But this brother did not tell our other brother, and when he found out, he was mad at ME for not letting him know. I don't know if he was mad at the brother who arranged all of it and had decided to leave him out, but it seems that I am the one ultimately that he still blames. He has become a loving, devoted brother to our older brother, however, for me, there is nothing but hostility. I recently asked why I keep getting left out, or ignored, and was told that my husband's political views made it difficult for me to be included. My husband came on the scene in 2004. This behavior had been going on since the 80s. It was a flimsy excuse to not know me, and a mean thing to do to my husband, making him feel responsible for their behavior. I decided to just let them go and not let it hurt me too much. I have lovely friends that have become a true family. And my husband constantly reminds me that his family loves me.\
The saddest part of all this is that my brothers don't even really know me. They've never spent any time talking to me, or been interested in what I do. I don't think they really know what I do. At this point, so many decades later, I think they are hostile because, maybe they are embarassed by not knowing me. It may be easier for them to decide they don't like me based on things they see on social media, than to really get to know me. It's much simpler to say, oh, she's a crazy liberal, I don't want her in my life, than to ask themselves what they really know about me. Because they would have to confront the decades of neglect.
When I think of my brothers, a little voice in my head screams, "How can you do this to me? I was just a little kid when all that happened? What did I do to deserve being abandoned by you both?! You've never tried to know me in all these years? Why?!? What do you believe is so bad about your sister that you can't even try to get to know who she really is?"
Someday, I hope they understand all this hurt and pain that I've learned to just live with. Right now, our mom is in a coma and fighting for her life. I have to interact with my brothers again. It's painful enough to watch my mom slip away, but to be confronted by brothers who don't like you, who don't even know you, that's the real tragedy.