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 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 be.
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 parents.
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, 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”.
Willie's only 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 phone.
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 success.
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. Well. Yeah!!!
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 job.
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 birth.
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 your job.
to be continued
Some of the names and characters in this blog are fictitious. The story itself is most true. For the few who have given me that permission, for that I thank you. Truth has witnesses
© This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved