Chapter 2 – The Best Part of My Childhood!
My first memory of Iowa was meeting my maternal grandmother Gladys. She held me for the first time in my existence, but I did not feel any connection with her whatsoever. Her and I just never really had that special Grandparent / Grandchild bond even though, I believe that I was the first of her grandchildren.
I do slightly question Glady’s bond with any of her children really. Out of all my Grandmother’s children, Debby, was the oldest of almost a dozen children, give or take a few. The first 3 of my grandmother’s children, were basically the 3 D’s and according to their birth certificates, were all children of both Gladys and my Grandfather Leonard.
There was some controversy over the 3rd D, which if the story is correct, Gladys had cheated cheated on my grandfather, which was the reason for the divorce and my grandfather’s denial of being her father.
Out of Gladys’s many children, I know that there were approximately 4 men who helped her conceive all of them, all within a 12 year span. It is hard for me to imagine anyone being consistently pregnant for almost 12 years, but for as many times as she was pregnant, she was never a big lady.
There was a constant flow of people in and out of that house on a daily basis, it was just chaos. I do not remember seeing Debby as one of those people coming in and out, but she was there, at times. Most of my time was spent with one of my aunts, or my uncle John.
John and I were closest in age by only 7 years difference, and he was also my first experience in a sexual nature. My curiosity for those sensations was born when I was only two years old because my 9 year old uncle was curious about little girls bodies. There was never any penetration, but there was kissing and touching involved.
I am taking a moment to talk about this subject since it can be a very sensitive subject to maneuver.
I cannot stop anyone from judging the situation, however I want to remind you that this was my situation to contemplate, face and recover from as I grew up.
John, who I loved and cared for quite a bit was not aware of what he was doing at the time. As children who grew up with very little supervision, we were only fulfilling our own curiosities, until the moment we were taught that this was not appropriate for children to do. Once we learned this lesson, it never happened again.
It might need to be said that I will never put down anyone for their own pain and suffering that may have been caused by their own sexual abuse. As you will read in further chapters, I have been through that pain and fear, but this is not to diminish what anyone else has been through.
We all have the right to face, feel, and recover in our own time, in our own way, and at our own speed. If you choose not to recover from this, that is ok as well!~RIP John (1968 – 2003)~
I am not sure what prompted the move, but I vaguely remember there being a discussion about how Debby needed to take responsibility for me. I also don’t believe Debby was with either of her husbands, Jeff or Sam anymore. (I really do not remember much about either of them or who came before whom).
I do know that for a couple of months, Debby and I lived with the most amazing people in the entire world, my Great-Grandparents!!! These two played the most important role in my life, and of course, had the biggest impact on the woman I have become today.
My Great-grandparents were the reason I was born on Halloween, because they had surprised Debby with a visit to Montana while she was in her last trimester of pregnancy with me. I technically wasn’t due for another couple of weeks, but Debby had become so excited to see them that it caused her to go into labor.
I, myself get a little excited when speaking of these two people in my life. So much so that I fear I will bore everyone with all the details of my time with them. These two were to become the source of my strength, as well as the biggest heartache of my life when I lost them.
Leroy and Agnes, were my childhood heroes. I loved them with every ounce of my being. I held them so highly that I even thought that Leroy was the real Santa Claus. My love for him, is what built the foundation for my love for Yuletide and the Winter Solstice. I still am not a fan of the cold that comes with it, but it is one of the most beautiful times of the year.
Santa Claus and family were the main roots of our entire Yule celebrations, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Family itself was always a cause for celebration with my great-grandparents, and this was one of the first things I learned in the couple of months that I lived with them.
Honestly, I have become very overwhelmed at this moment with emotion trying to find the right words to describe my time with them. They both taught me so much in such a short amount of time that I really do not know how or where to start, and yet they are the main focus as to why this was the best part of my childhood.
All I can do is start to write and hope that I do their memory some justice.
Leroy was born in 1902, and worked with John Deere Tractor company for many many years of his life, until his retirement. His wife, my great-grandmother Agnes, was his devoted wife since their 20’s giving him 4 children, one of which was Debby’s father, Leonard.
As such a small child, I was able to learn about what great love looked like, and they made it look so easy. They spent decades together, raised a family, watched their grandchildren grow, and still even as their great-grandchildren came along, they loved one another.
Sure I watched a bicker or two, but never did they fight, at least not that I was ever a witness to. They held each others hands, played dice with one another after dinner while they spoke about their day, spent time in their gardens together picking and planting along with the rest of us whenever we were around.
This was actually one of my favorite past-times with my cousins, helping in the garden, picking, playing in the dirt, learning the ways of nature and connection through the circle of life in that garden.
Work was play, and play was work, there was no difference between the two. “If you do what you love and love what you do, it’s not a job, it is a past-time that allows you to live and grow!”
From the moment we would wake up, Great-Grandma was in the kitchen cooking or frying up breakfast. These were in the days where lard and Crisco were the ways of cooking EVERYTHING. Grandpa would be in the bathroom “Wet-shaving” his beard with his straight-razor, badger brush and mug.
He had a beautiful white bushy beard, which made him the perfect Santa, but that beard was always neat and perfect. That is until he shaved it all off after that first Yule that I stayed with them.
Usually after breakfast, one or both of my great-grandparents would be in the garden, watering, pruning, or weeding. Agnes and any other ladies in the family that came over, would do all of the canning. The house always smelled so delicious with all of the fruits and vegetables being prepped and prepared for the mason jars.
“More to come in this chapter.”
My stories from here, are not meant to draw sympathy, or even pity, because I am a self-made, extremely happy individual with so much love to give. My stories are tools for my readers to understand, there is a way out of the darkness of your mind, in both thought and emotions.
It does take time, and it does take a lot of personal perseverance, but it is possible.
For now, keep your chin up my lovelies! You are only just steps away from your happiest possible life!
I will be here to listen and to give you my best advice.