I originally ended my post here and then tonight I was talking to SuziCate and she asked me if I had completed the assignment and I told her yes and she said “Let me guess. It wouldn’t happen to be about the beating of your life would it?” (Or something to that effect). I replied that no, that was not what I had written about because I actually had not thought about that one, but now that she mentioned it! Then I told her it WAS kind of funny that both of my stories would involve her. Go figure! I added this next story and then decided to do it as two posts since they are both kind of long. Please see “Pin the Tail” from yesterday for “the rest of the story”.
So, I guess now I have to tell the story of the beating of my life. That’s what I call it anyway. First let me preface it by saying I don’t blame or denigrate my parents for however they chose to discipline us. I have made some bad parenting choices of my own from time to time. I do not hold any grudges or think I had a terrible childhood. Or at least I choose not to dwell on the negative. I love my parents very much and I really truly believe they did the best they could do with the resources (monetary, emotional or otherwise) that they had. That being said, here goes.
When I was about 13 or 14 years old SuziCate and I were pretty much the only two left at home. She was about 8 or 9 about the time of this story. I was a typical teenager (or what I considered one to be) and I loved my music. I also did a LOT of the housework. So… I liked to listen to music while I did the many household chores that needed to be done.
Even when I still had an older brother and sister at home I did the brunt of the housework because my older sister was too busy with her social life and was quite the rebel and she flat out refused to do her part. My mother’s way of dealing with it was that if all the work wasn’t done, we’d both get punished. It simply became easier for me to do all the work and neither of us get in trouble than for me to do my part and still get in trouble because my sister refused to do her part. SuziCate, being the youngest, was not expected to share in much of the housework at this point. Her biggest job was to keep my nephew company playing with him most days while my sister was off doing God knows what and I was cleaning house and cooking dinner.
This particular day I was cleaning the kitchen and listening to the radio. My mom was not home from work yet and Daddy was laying in their bed either watching TV or reading the newspaper or one of his favorite detective magazines. Suzi had come in from playing and my very favorite song in the world came on the radio. I turned the radio up and was trying to listen to the song when Suzi started her jabbering. I asked her to be quiet so I could listen to my favorite song and then she started in with her typical (at that time) bratty little routine of trying to overtalk the song. I again asked (okay maybe threatened bodily harm) her to be quiet (maybe I said shut up?) and her response ala typical 8 or 9 year old fashion was:
“I’ll talk if I want to!”
Me: (this is as close as I can recall the conversation and is what it most likely was, but don’t hold me to it word for word, this is my recollection. SuziCates may vary radically from mine, right Suzi? 🙂 ) Suzi, I’m trying to listen to my favorite song. SHUT UP!
Suzi: I don’t have to if I don’t want to! I can talk, talk, talk. Talk all I want. Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk! Talktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalk!!!!!
At this point I had missed my favorite song and I was PISSED and hell bent on showing her exactly WHO was the boss! (me, since I was the older sister) I was intent on just teaching her a lesson, not hurt her. So, in my ill fated attempt to prove my superiority over her I grabbed her and laid her down on the floor and sat on top of her and held her arms down by her sides. My only intention was to prove who was boss. That was all.
Well, you would have thought I was actually killing her! She let out a blood curdling scream like you had never heard. So, now I’m trying to hold her down and cover her mouth so she will quit screaming. Have you ever tried to hold down a kicking screaming flailing 9 year old who is hell bent on having their way? Let me tell you, it ain’t easy and she was remarkably strong to be a little piss-ant! It was like trying to nail Jello to a tree! I was so enthralled in trying to contain this little whirling dervish that I never even saw or heard it coming.
Apparently we had disturbed my dad (he just wanted some peace and quiet to watch TV and read) and all he heard was her screaming and when he walked in the kitchen he saw me sitting on top of her holding her down and assumed that I was hurting her. Hell, if I had been an outsider and walked in on that I’d have probably surmised the same thing. The first blow (with his belt) fell across the top of my back and I was so stunned at first that I couldn’t move. Understand that prior to this point in time I never ever remember my father ever ONCE even laying a finger on me, much less beating me with a belt. But believe me I received a beating the likes that I had never received before and thank God never received since. He must have hit me at least 15 or 20 times with his belt and I mean HARD. I had welts across my back that I swear were at least ½ inch deep that left bruises. And all because he thought I was hurting his sweet little baby, cause remember, she is the baby… Gotta love her!
I remember finally rolling off of Suzi and onto my back (bad move) and he kept swinging the belt and I was having to use my hands to try to cover my face because he was in such a frenzy by then that I don’t think anything could have stopped him. I finally rolled into a ball covering my head with my arms and took the brunt of it on my back, behind and sides. He finally stopped. I’m not even sure what made him stop but I ran to my room and locked myself in until my mom came home. Then of course I got in trouble because dinner wasn’t finished. I do remember showing my mom the welt’s and bruises on my back when she got home and I was still sobbing uncontrollably. Her only response was “Well, I’m sure that whatever you did you deserved it.”
No, I am not blaming my dad or my mom and I don’t think they were bad people. They did the best they could and I’m sure at the moment my dad felt I deserved it. When I tried to explain to him much later what was happening he refused to even listen or talk about it. I don’t know if it was because he felt bad about it or if he was still mad. Suzi is after all his baby so it couldn’t be her fault. I don’t blame her either. We were kids. We all did stupid stuff. And if I had tried to find a different way to deal with her than insisting on being physical it would not have happened so I guess I have to take partial blame but I think trying to restrain someone was a weird reason to receive the beating of my life.
Want to read more from the Writer’s Workshop? Head on over to Mama Kat’s and join in the fun!