During the next few weeks, I hope to post stories about growing up in the forties. These postings will begin with my family moving to Independence, Missouri, in 1942. If you are new to this blog, you may want to go to the archives to read a posting or two about my first six years of childhood in Kansas City.
The fourteen stories linked below detail the first six years of my life. They also help explain the great need I’ve had much of my life to please people and to prove I’m worthy of love. Thus, they form the foundation for the stories of my life that will soon follow.
Of course, a number of you have read these already. For those of you who haven’t, please consider at least reading “The World Turned Upside Down,” as it explains the seminal experience of my life.
The Idyllic First Five Years of My Life
Mom and Dad and me.
Seeming Abandonment My Kindergarten Year
Mom and me in Parsons on my sixth birthday.
My Parents Return
Here I am as a fearful child.
My Conclusions About All This
My Grandmother Ready.
Basically, the background given by the fourteen postings above is this: I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in April 1936. My first five years with Mom and Dad and my younger brother were idyllic. I was a happy child, at times I could be quite naughty but I never doubted that my parents loved me. Their love was the air I breathed.
Then in late summer of 1941, they moved to Parsons, Kansas, taking my brother with them, but leaving me behind with neighbors. Thus, my world turned upside down. My mother may have explained the necessity of their move, but her words didn’t impinge on my five-year-old mind. I felt bereft. What had I done that made my parents abandon me?
My father’s mother, Grandma Ready, told me that I’d been naughty and that my parents had deserted me. For a year I lived with the belief that they’d never come back.
A year later, when they did return, two incidents—one in front of a brownstone apartment building and one on a dark street in Kansas City—led me to believe that they planned on getting rid of my brother and me.
These two incidents—plus the fact that I’d spent a year away from them, thinking that something I’d done had made them leave me—changed my childhood. I became shy, quiet, afraid that at any moment my parents would desert me again.
I grew up to be a woman who constantly fought a battle between pleasing others so as to win their love and esteem and marching to the tune of her own drummer.
In the past year, I’ve used this on-line memoir to explore my life. In doing this, I’m coming home to myself. I’ve come to understand, I think, the why and wherefore of that critical kindergarten year. I provide my conclusions about it in the final three postings of the fourteen links above.
Next Tuesday, I’ll begin with where I left off last September—with my family and I moving to the country, and my becoming a first grader at Courtney Grade School. See you there!