This is an absolutely true story
Devo had started high
school that fall and had everything going for her. She maintained the same
relationships throughout grade school and junior high. The same comrades
followed her to Spring High. She had three friends whi have stayed with her
throughout. Shae, Jennifer, and the one that I still consider my
child...Brooke. She was the screamin' Nancy that made Devo crazy. But the two
of them were inseperable. One year they dressed up, or should I say, didn't
dress up. I asked them why. They said they were serial
She was far from an
idiot; she was a genius, which is about as far as you could go without reaching
madness. Needless to say, I could not correct her homework, but I could stand
there and be attacked from the existing junior high debate researcher and the
future high school research captain.
BY attacked, I did
not mean personally, but if you have been in, or know another who has been part
of a debate team, you know that they have a timed diatribe they would present.
In a dictated amount of time. It was fast, informative, and MOST times, scary.
Willie and I would
wake up weekend mornings and we could hear the birds, Willie would make coffee
and yes, we would spend these quiet moments getting to know each other.
It wouldn’t be long
before doors were opening and closing and girls screeching down the hallway,
shoving each other into the walls, pictures scraping as they fell to the floor,
and listening to them trying to even them up as they put them back in place.
They were oblivious to everything and anything that did not apply to them.
Ah sweet youth. I
promised myself I wouldn't wallow in”just in case” with my children. These years
are the best of their lives and I was determined to enjoy these years right
along with them.
My house was a haven,
a stopping point, a beginning point. A place of hopes and dreams…As it should
Willie agreed that we
should keep our home open so that these newly developed teenagers were in our
direct view. We handed out keys and felt confident that any burglar would think
twice before pillaging through a house susceptible to adolescent attack. The
children adored Willie as much as me. Willie had never wanted children, so
Bootsie and Dana both were quite amazed that she withstood the constant state of
alteration Devo et.al. Brought with regularity. Billy would bring over new
friends, male and female, and seemed quite comfortable introducing us as
This novelty was not
lost on Willie. She tried to not say it, but she seemed a little squeamish at
having children right outside our bedroom door. It did not stop her from what
she wanted. These kids had no interest in us.
Now the Schwan's
truck was another story!
Four or more of these
youngsters would attack the Schwan's
truck with the concentrated efforts you would see with locusts, Running into the
vehicle, Brooke and Devo's voices rang out as packages were being ripped,
grabbing what they could, the driver taking names and quantities as fast as his
little paw would let him. In some instances the driver would simply do an
inventory on the spot rather than try and figure out what they took. They would
come running, laughing and squealing through the door and back into Devo’s room.
This entire scene took place in less than three minutes. Slam They were safely
behind Devo’s door and then silence as they foraged through their treasures.
Let’s just say
Willies parenting skill left a lot to be desired.
But my kids and their
friends loved her. And yes...I did MEAN”skill”.
parenting skill was to say yes. There was an unspoken trust between us all.
Willie complained only to me, so she stayed in good stead with the kids while I
worked out the kinks. Just like with everything else in our lives, I would
protect Willie. When my family called, she would ask if they asked about her.
They did not. Everyone was happy. Later when Devo attended college, Willie would
ask “did she ask about me”? ”Oh yes of course”would say. When in reality,
neither of my children that lived close to the situation, gave a shit. And my
mother said she was going to quit calling me if Willie kept on answering. So of
course, I got right on that one. I made certain I never answered the
I found that Willie
had to be complimented repeatedly for the most ridiculous things. I would cook
up a three course gourmet meal and not only would NOT get thanked, quite the
opposite. Complaints. The children loved my cooking, but Willie had to have meat
and potatoes. Period, nothing else. No cheeses, sauces, fancy shmancy spices
like garlic. When Willie cooked these fun fat filled meals, ribs, brisket,
potato salad, beans, you had to thank her clear into next week. Every time!!!!
The same old same old and every time, compliment her like you have never had a
bean or piece of red meat in your life. IF I cooked for company, she would not
let me cook the meat and potatoes. Any compliments I received were nothing
compared to hers! She let everyone know that. But a simple”oh my God, I have
never had anything this good” sufficed for me. The”Gee Willie, you didn't have
to cook too” was never enough for her. She barraged our guests with”is the meat
okay?” a good 50 times. Eventually I stopped cooking except holidays, and even
then, she made comments about us being in the south and to not complicate the
meals. I would be hurt, but as long as she wasn't, then the meal was a
It didn't matter that
we started putting on so much weight it looked like we were freebasing ham I was
finding that Willie did not have the courage of her convictions.
If there was even a
slight ripple in the pavement, she ran across the street. She stood loud and
proud up front, but in reality, she ran. I was very disappointed in this. I at
least have the courage of my convictions; this blog would not be here if I did
not. Willie stood up to no one. The only time I knew of her being forthcoming
were in her stories. You know military stories. Only thing more exaggerated are
fish stories. If I needed her, I found she was busy, preoccupied or felt that
need was misplaced, thus unfounded.
And oh my god, I
needed her. She dissolved more of my relationships than I care to admit.
Everything from my family to my work.
She didn’t fool
anyone. She had a callous attitude and a straight forward thinking about war,
strife. We argued often. I would mention the children in these countries
waking and sleeping to bombs and war. No food, clothing, education, religion.
Their spirits being beaten down. And Willie would say that is the very reason
they needed to be eliminated. They would grow into adults and fight back.
I watched a movie
called “Pierrepoint”, about
an executioner. He did his dastardly deed in the name of “well, someone’s got to
do it”His detachment was alarming, but, eventually the obvious would happen and
he would be acquainted with his prey. He handled the situation with the dignity
it deserved, while at the same time, keeping himself detached enough to do the
I thought of Willie
being in this position, and, considering her attitude about children dying in
third world countries, or children being prosecuted as adults, she had no soft
spot. It was scary realizing you don't know the one you love at all. This person
is the one you want to live your life with, you want to die with. The one you
trust without reservations. I convinced myself that – at times- she was just a
big lug trying to be brave. I have since realized that what you see is what you
get. She would execute anyone that would give her one extra truck note.
However, she claimed
she loved animals. She had a Dalmatian named lucky, who had the misfortune of
getting pregnant too early while Willie and Dana were breaking up. They blamed
each other, when in reality, it was a blameless accident. And she begged me to
allow the seasoned mother of over 26 into our house and my love for 101
Dalmatians superseded my common sense to do some research. However, Lucky was
pregnant. I had no experience in animal husbandry. This poor creature gave birth
over three days to 13 pups and only 3 lived. Lucky was a neurotic mess and,
well, if you would like to know the details, I will send private emails.
My poor daughter was
witness to this ghastly outcome and actually had to intervene on behalf of the
puppies, bringing her into headlong enemies with Lucky. It was most unfortunate
and the dog should have been put in the animal hospital for a seamless
Devo witnessed far
more than I would have wanted. But we cannot protect our children. All we can
do is watch cautiously, intervene when necessary and follow their lead, ask when
they need it. Parents, anyone associated with children. Do NOT let one day go
without asking questions. When something changes, address it immediately. If
you take your three year old to day care and suddenly they become hysterical and
don’t want to stay, call in to work, take the child home. No, you are not
giving in to anything. Children love day care when it works and they send up
signals when it doesn’t. Hysteria is an obvious symptom, as is bed wetting, bad
dreams. Silence, or abject talking. Changes of any sort. Your children are
your life. We are on this earth to procreate.
If they grow into
adults who protect their own children, even if it is from you, you have done