Cycle of Abuse: Family of Lies

 

Cycle of Abuse: the Matriarch/Part Two

harold 2

How odd, it seems to me, that the frigidly, Irish, sardonic, and catholic…persons, seem to die in the winter.  While their bodies can lay above the ground, in wonder…for what seems like years.

My unpleasant grandfather died in a month filled with snowstorms.  My grandmother paid homage to the Saints in similar weather.

Ground stiff, solid and uncaring.  Winds chaffing and abusive.  Oak trees from centuries pass…dotting the graveyard.  All that surrounds… had become gray.  No better word to describe it.  Gray!

I will say, discovering Irish names, among the filler in a Massachusetts’s catholic cemetery, is not an easy affair.

Along the holding lines of remorse and disarray: January and February, I felt a renewed need to find something.

My only certainty had been my Irish blood.  Thick and swollen as a, dark red liquid pulsing through a bottle of Jack.  Yukon Jack, that is.

Eventually, after my grandmother’s funeral,  family dispersed.  My brother and his wife took flight.  As they often do, when push comes to shove.  And, anger is no longer needed.

My sister?  Well, most likely she too moved on.  Moved on to her grandchildren, her daughter, her son.  Clinging, minus the Good Book, to all that a solemn mother should be.

My parents?  They walk about distilled in the dysfunction of daily tasks.  My daily tasks. .  Encouraging me to come inside and visit in between…shoveling, snow blowing, changing out light sockets, walking dogs, doing laundry, monitoring mother’s medications…etc.

I clung on to my lack of history until mid February.  Perhaps, such like other writers, or most likely, overwhelmed by the lack of daylight; I fail at finding anything gregarious to pen about…in the depths of a New Hampshire winter.  Still, I sat myself down, between almost daily visits to the parents.  Sat myself in front of needed research.

Needed research into the fine lines that held the prongs of my blood relations, upright.

Turning to ancestry.com.  It had been midnight, Marlboro Red blaring and soundless, I dug the depths of lies.

To my ‘not’ credit.  I have many degrees.  None of wish require much adding, subtraction, researching, digging and/or metallic depth.  I am not a scientist.  I am not a researcher.  I am blessed not wanting any further knowledge than 1 plus 1 equals…2.

Or, at least, the last I looked, that had been simple math.

However, when one delves into what is, what was, how long ago, names, dates, etc.; It is a handy trait.  Concentration, that is.

‘Round or about two in the morning.  I discovered a name!  My father’s mother was called, LuLu.  She was a full-fledged Cherokee Indian.

LuLu Bowley.  Lulu Rebel.  Lulu Rebel Hammond.  Lulu!

She passed in 1964.  I can only assume she died of the rumors spoken about behind clasped hands.  Gambling, drinking, infidelity, teaching school.

Bits and pieces of the Bowley past were just that.  Bits, segments, discarded notions handed down from angry relation to angry relation.  How much reigned true?  I never knew for certain.

I had been…set up in what is known in my home as the, game room (though there are no games.)  Set up I had been, with laptop in lap, burning cigarette in hand.  Set up!  Or, so I thought.  Living in the merry world of the unknown.

I gave up quickly on weeding through the death certificates, census data, phonebook information.  As I have already stated, concentration is not my strong suit.

Finding Lulu’s eulogy and obituary in the Portsmouth Herald seemed the easiest route.  Less digging, fewer files and photographs!  Right up my alley!

blood 2

I would like to think, my anger has lessened.  That over decades of reminders, I became a person with some depth…Hoping that the not so gentle up bringing of flippant, aggressive, discourse…would bleed out.  Well, not bleed out but seed, flower and eventually, become something more artistic.

My father beat us with leather belts, wire hair brushes, words, hands, punches, etc.  And, had he not been available.  Due to work constraints…my mother would abide.  Though, Janice had been a martyr.  She carried the torch when father was not available.

Growing up, not soundly, but with many horrific sounds, I had been referred to as…

You are just like your father!  Angry!

Daily fist fights with drunken and sober turns of fate, I  hope to have amassed what I believe to be the opposite.  I currently hide from outbursts, pointing of the finger and lastly, degradation of others for my betterment.  This has taken time.  Yet, I know that there is no great prize in having abused others.

I could linger for pages on the black sheep, spoiled brat, angry little girl, scenario.  I am not my father.  I know that in my heart of hearts.  However, that was not an easy road of self-reflection to travel.

As previously stated, my siblings are quite different from I.  Living in a world of conservatism, do as I say, not as I do, judge ye’ first, attitude.  It appears to work for them.  We are completely indifferent to each other.

I often wonder what life could have been like?  Had a much older half-brother and sister listened to themselves, other than elders lacking pride.

But that is another story…Perhaps, for another time.

Oddly enough.  Or, better said, not odd at all, reading of my clan at work on the pages of police logs.  I eventually found, at 3 in the morning…Lulu’s newspaper clipping.

No real information on her ‘true’ demise.  No delegation on her physical illness.  However…a few lines on Harold Bowley needing to be released from care to oblige the funeral processions in Kingston.

Aghast!  What more can one say?imageedit_62_9747238982

Again, in slow, sometimes, untrue, verbal releases from my mother.  I had been very uncertain of Harold’s whereabouts…before my birth.

Had he been in the Korean war?  Probably not

Had he been born along the northern coast of Massachusetts?  Close but not really!

Had he really been married before?

To a young child, terrified of this man with a worn, brown belt.  A daughter reminded daily of her father’s genes infiltrated hers!  Genes, crumpled and filled with hate.  To my toddler self, I could not fathom, this horrific, infrequently caring, man, married to anyone other than…Other than, my mother, a woman who seemed to fill his dented persona with her own depressions.

What I thought I knew?

Perhaps, he had been married before.  Perhaps, his first wife had been a harlot?  Perhaps, he had bred another child!  Perhaps, all had passed away in an automobile accident…along with the first wife’s lover!

Nothing could have prepared me for the anger unleashed in deluded ink.

Yet, there it sat.

Harold Bowley, local man stabs estranged wife…35 times!  That is a killing of love with hate.  That is the taking of someone’s life in such a way that there is meaning.  It was not a drive by shooting.  It had not been a robbery.  It had been an act of vulgar, closeness.

Actions so false.  Romance tied with a lack of emotion, a culvert for the fallen to hide.

This had been the man who raised me.  

cycle of abuse 1

However, only the beginning has come to life.

So much hung in the balance.  In a trance like state, finding it difficult to breath; I wept for the first time in many years.  Wept for my life.  How it had been so easily discarded with lies!

 

 

 

 

Ode to an Irish Mother

The demographics and statistics maybe off a bit but the majority of lip service given unto children of the forced faith undoubtedly goes to the Irish, and therefore, most likely, Catholic mothers.

Some not so unique laws of the land should be given the once over.  Certainly by being given just the loose facts many of us can go on as recovered Catholics and continue drinking our Irish asses into oblivion!

Carpe Diem

1. Dearest Daughter, Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and gifts.  Your father and I enjoyed ourselves at that fancy restaurant.  But nonetheless you shouldn’t have spent so much money!

2. No, dear, please don’t come out and mow the lawn today.  Your fathers in a mood.  What was that?  Oh, you’re already on your way.  Well, just come on out than.  We just didn’t want to trouble you.

3. Do I miss your grandmother?  Of course, I do!  But the cemetery is so far away and I didn’t want to be a burden on you kids.  I’ll make it out there someday!

4. Please, stop worrying.  I’m alright!  The doctor said that my walking back to the house after falling into the gully when the UPS truck ran me off the road didn’t make the bleeding or the break any worse than if I had just laid there.

By the way, that UPS man is single and so nice.  He was wearing a lovely and simple cross.  Is your sister dating anyone right now?

5. Did I tell you the Catholic Daughters of the Americas are heading to the casino next weekend.  Father Murray is going to send us off with the Prayer of Saint Francis.

6. Poor dear, sick again?  You should go home and get some rest.  What’s that on your lip?  A cold sore?  Oh, never-mind you can barely notice it with your color being so pasty.

7. It’s too bad you couldn’t make the christening.  Everyone asked about you.  It didn’t hurt my feelings that you didn’t want to go.  I managed.  I’m sure your work is more important than family right now!

8.  This is the last year we’ll put up Christmas decorations.  With the children grown and no one with any faith…there just doesn’t seem to be any point.

C.M.F.T- catholic mothers against free thinking

And, of course, the dreaded letters of ill repute:

Dear Daughter,

Just a few lines to let you know I’m still alive. I’m writing this letter slowly because I know you can’t read fast. We are all doing very well.

You won’t recognize the house when you get home – we have moved. Your dad read in the newspaper that most accidents happen within 20 miles from your home, so we moved. I won’t be able to send you the address because the last family that lived here took the house numbers when they moved so that they wouldn’t have to change their address.

Most likely protestants!  They never seem to know which end is up.

This place is really nice. It even has a washing machine. I’m not sure it works so well though: It hasn’t rained for two days and your father doesn’t want the well to run dry.  I’ve just been running the wash down to the brook the old fashion way.

Your father’s got a really good job now. He’s got contributing to science by working at the Benjamin Moore factory watching paint dry.

Your sister Mary had a baby this morning but I haven’t found out if it’s a boy or a girl, so I don’t know whether you are an auntie or an uncle.  Are you still living with that women?  Mercy me, when are you going to find yourself a man and settle down?

Your brother Tom is still in that special program put on by the state. He’s only been there a short while and  they say within six more months he’ll be able to reapply for his license and all charges will be dropped!

Your Uncle Conrad drowned last week in a vat of hops/barley at the Anheuser Bush Brewery.  Some of the crewmen tried to save him but he kept pushing them away.  Bless his soul he didn’t want anyone else to get hurt.

I’m sorry to say that your cousin Cairn was arrested while driving the Ice Cream truck. They are charging him with grand theft auto

I went to the doctor on Thursday and your father went with me. The doctor put a small tube in my mouth and told me not to talk for ten minutes. Your father offered to buy it from him.

The weather isn’t bad here. It only snowed at night for a week.  Course, the snowing didn’t stop ’til late afternoon and nighttime soon followed. Got so cold at the church the basket went around three more times.  The Monsignor said, ‘God, is naked but for the love of his parish and the price of heating oil went up.’

We went to put fake flowers on your Grandmother’s grave.  They seem to stay fresher longer.  When we got there there had been a note from the Last Stop grounds personal stuck to the stone.

Please be advised that out of respect for others above and below the ground: plastic floral arrangements will not be allowed.  If this infraction continues to happen we may have to pull her up and have you find her a new home.

About that coat you wanted me to send you to keep you warm, Your Uncle Stanley said it would be cheaper if the package wasn’t so heavy.  We cut the sleeves off and now you’ll have a lovely vest.

 I fell under your father’s truck yesterday.  I thought I had been a goner.  I pulled out the rosary and began my prayers.  Fading into the light I spotted a pair of sandals.  I knew my time had come.  I had received my call:

‘Janice, Janice, Janice..’

Your father just stood there in his sandals and socks calling my name for two hours.

Not much else to report.  There are holding extra weekday vigils to raise money for all those lawsuits.  I just can’t believe one bad apple priest spoiling the whole bunch!

I had planned on sending you money but the price of stamps just went up a penny and well, you’ll be home in two months, if I still have it I’ll give it to you than.

May the wind be at your back and not in your outhouse-

Mother