Growing Up Alone . . . And Life Goes On


San Francisco Nob Hill photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I think I was ten years old when I saw the movie King Kong on our old black and white television in Sacramento, California . . . a long, long, long time ago. It scared me silly.

Back then, I wasn’t able to distinguish between reality and fantasy, at least while watching television or a movie. Now, I have difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy whenever I watch the evening news on television—which is why I’ve quit watching it.

In those days of yore, however, I was very, very, very naïve. Now, I’m just plain naïve.

In short, I believed everything anyone ever told me. I still tend to do that, at least until proven wrong—benefit of the doubt and all that. After all, I had (and have) no reason to question what was (and is) being told me. Unless the source is some faction of government.

That said, if someone was telling a lie about me, I could distinguish that.

The Bleeding Knee Incident

For instance, when, about the same time period as King Kong, I was walking to church with my sister and some step-relatives and one of them tripped and fell down.

As there was some minor bleeding on a knee, we all turned around and went back home. When we got there, the person, who shall remain nameless, accused me to my father of pushing him/her down.

No matter how much I denied it, my father refused to believe me. You see, he never could get over, at least until he was much, much, much older, that I was my mother’s son . . . and not my mother.

My father and mother had divorced when I was two and a half years old. For some reason, my older sister and I went with him and my six-month-old brother went with my mother.

From day one, my father refused her all communications with me, so angry was he with her. He seemed to have put me in the same boat with her—like mother, like son. That was a heavy burden for a two-and-a-half- to a ten-year-old son.

But back to the bleeding kneed incident: It wasn’t until my sister came to the rescue and sided with me that the incident was dropped. However, nothing was done about the lie nor the liar. That, too, was just dropped. Nothing further was said.

San Francisco

On another occasion, on a rare visit to San Francisco, we were going up one of those steep hills the city is famous for. My older, but not necessarily wiser, step brother, said to me with a laugh in his voice (which I didn’t notice at the time), “When we get to the top of the hill, we’re going to fall off the edge of the world.”

Well, I didn’t know any better. After all, looking up in front of us, all I could see was sky above the road, so who knew? It didn’t dawn on me that my step-brother didn’t seem to be worried about the upcoming tragedy-in-the-making.

Fortunately, when we got to the top of the hill and I saw more road, buildings, and cars, I was somewhat relieved. However, I didn’t comment, as I hadn’t yet learned to be sarcastic or cynical. I had to wait until the eighth grade to discover I was cynical.

I remember how proud I was for being recognized in the Stanford Jr. High’s annual yearbook as co-winner of the distinction of being the school’s most cynical person. I was so proud, not only because I was being so honored but also because I didn’t even know the ninth-graders were even aware of me, they being in charge of the year book.

Well, my ecstasy lasted until I got home and looked up cynical in the dictionary. That was somewhat of a reality bomb that deflated my damaged ego pronto.

On Relationships

As there was no relationship between father and son, at least on a positive level, nor between step-mother and son, I never learned anything about relationships. So, basically, I grew up without a mother or a father, even though a father and step-mother were present, the latter starting at the age of five.

So, even though I was surround physically by various family and step-family members, I grew up basically alone. So, welcome to Relationship Disfunctionville.

A four-year stint in the Air Force and three failed marriages later, I must admit, I still have vestiges of Relationship Disfunctionville remaining. I can relationship at a surface level but not so much at a deeper level.

To top it all off, I still can’t relate to being an adult in an adult world. Kind of funny, that.

Even funnier, although not ha-ha funny, is the fact that so many people around my age I know and have known still feel they are more young than old . . . just like me.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times or perhaps it’s what passes for normal these days. In either case, it is what it is.

You just tough it out . . . and life goes on.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beverleysmith36
    May 20, 2012 @ 02:35:56

    I had a good relationship with my Dad not sure i had any relationship with my Mother, although i have had time to try and build one since we have both grown up, somewhat, she let me down.

    Reply

    • Cris
      May 20, 2012 @ 09:41:04

      At my age, I just have to accept that things are the way they are. While others have “let me down” over the course of a lifetime, the biggest let-downs have come from myself.

      I appreciate where you’re coming from, though. Sometimes you just have to take the first step, the second step, the third step, and so on—even if your mother doesn’t respond. Especially if she doesn’t respond.

      You only have one mother. You only have one lifetime to make it right. All you can do is try, try, try. Seventy times seven, Jesus said.

      More really. This from one who never had a relationship with his mother, father or step-mother, all of which are now gone.

      Nothing can replace a mother, or a father, for that matter.

      Sometimes the daughter has to be the mature one where a relationship between mother and daughter has eroded. Sometimes it takes a lot of time.

      But someone has to make the first move, and I’m not saying you’re not making the first move. I’m just pontificating. 🙂

      Thanks always for your comments.

      Reply

      • beverleysmith36
        May 20, 2012 @ 09:56:40

        It took me 35yrs to tell my Mother i loved her and she thought there was something wrong when i said it to her but she did eventually say it back. We say it every time we meet now. A little late but better late than never.

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