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Challenge: Using prose or poetry, write a story, true or fictional, about something that happened in your childhood that might have had some influence on what you do or how you think today.
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My first memories are of Oklahoma and my relatives in the tribe. My father was half Otoe and half Welsh. When we lived with the tribe, my sister and I were treated as princesses of the tribe. My father was in line to become chief of our tribe and we were taught the dances and skills of a tribal woman. All went well until my father took off with some other woman and my mother had to try to fend for herself in a town where there were few jobs for women. The tribe took us in and kept us happy and well fed but my mother had to face the reality of trying to raise three children on little money.
Reality set in and she found a way to get us back to Michigan where her family lived and found a job to take care of us. Still times were hard and we really had no extra money to spend. There wasn’t a library in our town so we got books from the school library during the school year. In the three months of summer we had to keep ourselves busy. We played with friends and went up north for a vacation at the end of every summer. We didn’t know it at the time but my mother was pregnant with a girl baby who would be totally different than we were. We moved to a house that had more room for the extended family, and my little sister was born with blond hair and blue eyes. How odd she looked in the company of her sisters and brother who had black hair and dark eyes, but she was like my mother’s brother who was the only member of her family with blond hair and blue eyes.
After my sister was born my father came back and we went on just as if he had never been gone. Until he started drinking again and he lost his job, then he started living off of my mother’s small job and spent her money for alcohol. He was supposed to take care of us while mom worked but I remember a lot of meals of corn meal mush and no milk because he had spent the money mom left for food on his own beer. Soon he got tired of this and left again leaving my mom pregnant with my third sister. And life goes on…. Remembering this has shown me why my life has been so stormy, I have been living my mother’s life all over again. However I have been doing it with different men, not taking back the same man over and over. When I got married I chose someone who would stay with me and earn a decent living for our family. I found a man who thought that if my son had a closet to sleep in that was as good as a bedroom. A man who wanted to keep us under wraps while he went out and had a nice time. My second try was even worse, a man who liked to beat me when he felt bad or got drunk or stoned. When I finally got rid of him I told my son that I hadn’t done the best for him so he should be sure to change whatever he felt was wrong in his life when he got older. I think he took my advice!!