Arlack stew, 30 years of slow cooking! (Part 1)


My “life” began in the early 1980’s. Location, South West Michigan. Season, Summer. Though, to be honest, my life did not really begin there. For some unknown reason I have a near blank slate for the first 11 years of my life. I have only a couple of short memories from that time. So, for me, my life did not really begin until my mother, sister (half by blood), and I moved to Florida. About middle of the state, near Orlando. Nice little town, calm and safe. We kids tended to run around all over town, without any worry, sneaking into abandoned houses, catching bats in the drainage sewers, hopping onto the back of the train on the way to school, exploring orange groves, junk yards. the usual stuff I guess. *smile*

I had a few good friends, Jerry, his “retarded” brother. And I would like to take a moment to set something strait about that word, it is NOT an insult, it is a condition.

From Websters:

Definition of RETARDED: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

Anyone using that word as an insult should be slapped. The misuse of it is unacceptable.
Now that I’ve made sure that’s clear, his brother was in fact retarded, though I do not know his exact condition. I was just a child, and did not care. I only cared that he was cool to hang out with, and he was my friend. A couple other friends, Glenn, and….oh goodness for the life of me I can not remember all the names.
Standard childhood I guess, exploration, miner crimes, experimentation, not having the courage to tell Andrea that I liked her. You know, normal stuff. *smile*
I did well in school. Strait A’s, though I suffered from low self esteem. My teachers insisted I should go for advanced classes, but my mother made me feel that I was not smart enough. I kept to the simplest of classes, never trying to excel or challenge myself. The only thing to really grab my attention in junior high was my computer class. We learned a bunch about working with them on Mac’s. My proudest moment from those times was being asked by the principle to go around the school after hours, and teach our teachers how to use the “new systems” they put into the class’s for them. Kinda been hooked on computers since!
One of my favorite things about living there were the shuttle launches. Our teachers would have us go outside class and watch them. With the naked eye or with binoculars. For a time I wanted to join them and explore space….well I still want to do that!
I should explain for a moment about my relationship with my sister. Because my mother had a hard time of raising us, there was a time that my sister all but raised me, I remember only a few fragments of it, but I recall her waking me in the middle of the night for Headbangers Ball on MTV. As my mother worked overnight, and slept during the day when we were home from school. So our dynamic is a bit different then standard brother/sister. I look up to her a great deal more then many younger brothers might. Though the 6 year difference in our age adds to that. *laugh* My sister spent much of our youth shielding me from the worst of our mother, until she “fled” to Alaska. It broke my heart that she left, and things for me got far worse. I degraded into a complete pain. Seeking to harm others because of how poorly I felt about myself. I became self destructive, thinking less and less of myself.
A tragic event happened to my mothers boyfriend, and he fell apart, the loss of a child can have that effect on someone. Sadly he became a shell of himself, being a decent man as he was, he pushed everyone away. My mother moved us back to my hometown in Michigan.
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