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Posts Tagged ‘dad’

After moving in with my mom in a fairly large city in comparison to my small town existence, I quickly got involved in their theatre department. I had dreamed of becoming an actress since elementary school and finally I was attending a school that actually had a theatre department that put on plays three times a year! I was thrilled. After auditioning for my first play, I landed a role as a Jewish child locked up in a Natzi camp. The play was called, I Never Saw Another Butterfly. In this play I had to wear full on stage makeup, spray paint my hair brown (there weren’t any red headed Jews) and wear drabby torn clothes with a yellow star pinned to it. I even had to master a Jewish accent.

The set was black with a slanted elevated stage in the shape of a star, the gels casted dark blues and purples on the stage, while each character performed a monologue about what it was like to be a child in a camp. The monologues were based from real life accounts told by children who created a book while they were in the camp. This play was so dark and dreary that it took me a while to get out of character.

I remember my mom picking me up from play practice after our first dress rehearsal stunned by my makeup and facial expression. All the way home, I couldn’t even crack a smile. When we arrived home, my mom took a picture of me in full make up and I couldn’t even smile for the camera.

In the shower I envisioned myself washing away the Jewish child locked in the camps as I watched the brown hair spray and makeup go down the drain. It wasn’t until after my shower that I felt like Jessie, the girl living in a basement apartment; free.

I believe this is the play that got me into a lot of trouble. At this time I had reconnected with an old step-mom of mine and had invited her to the play. She was a wonderful free-spirited woman who wanted to go when my mom went. They picked our Saturday performance. My dad and family were coming but didn’t want to tell me what night for fear of making me nervous. Our Thursday and Friday performances came and went with no families there to greet me at the end. My heart sank and my stomach churned. How would my father react to seeing both of his ex-wives at the same play with his new girlfriend in tow? I tried not to worry about it as I gave my performance. At the end my Dad, his new girlfriend, my sister, my grandma, my mom, and his ex-wife all greeted me at the same time. I went outside to say goodbye to my step-mom and then went back in to see a red hot dad standing next to his girlfriend and my mom. I knew I was in a world of trouble, but was it really my fault?

That following weekend was my weekend with my dad and before he even picked me up Saturday morning, he sat me down in my mom’s living room and gave me a lecture I will never forget. Apparently I should have thought it through better when inviting old lovers of his that I happened to have bonded with. Oh well.

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My mom’s closest sister, well her only “blood” sibling, the rest of her 9 siblings are half or adopted, lives in Texas with her husband, and three daughters.

I haven’t been to Texas in 10 years. I was 16 the last time I went. I’ve only gone to Texas four times in my life. Since my mom’s passing, five months ago tomorrow, I have been planning a trip to Texas so my husband and 10-year-old step-daughter can make memories down south like I did. I want them to know some of my mom’s favorite people in Texas. As I plan this trip for my family in June, it has unleashed my memories of Texas with my mom.

My most memorable trip to Texas was when I was 10 years old and I got to see the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. I was more than excited to see an ocean; living in the heart of the United States hadn’t given me much of an opportunity to see an ocean. Being fair skinned, freckled, and a redhead, I was doomed before we even got there.

Mom, my step-dad, two of my cousins, and me headed for an island called Port Aransas. After a three hour drive, we were there. Before we even got to the ocean, I could smell salt in the air and see sand on the side of the road where dirt and grass should be. The land became flat and I could make out the curve of the Earth in the distance. It was breath taking.

As we got to the ocean, we had to ride up on a ferry to take us to the island of Port Aransas. The island was very small and housed businesses, restaurants, and the beach; that’s it. We parked our car right on the beach, set up chairs, lathered up with sun block, fed a flock of sea gulls, and ran for the ocean. I splashed around in the salty water for four hours before I finally came to shore.

Something happens when you are out in the water. I kept drifting to the left and even though the water was still only waste high, mom and the car seemed so far away. I never got nervous, nor did I pay much attention to the creatures swimming around me.

A middle aged gentleman with leathery brown skin and a gray beard waded past me with a large fishing pole. I had been fishing more times than I could count with my dad and never had I seen such a thick pole with a strange bulky reel and thick fishing line that I could actually see from far away.

As he waded by, I asked him, “What are you fishing for?”

“Shark,” was all he said as he kept wading forward.

Alarm bells never went off.

When I finally found my way to shore, the fisherman was talking to my family. When I arrived, they opened up the circle and revealed a baby shark. He had already cleaned it, but I was able to touch its smooth silky skin that had the toughness of leather. It still didn’t shock me, until I got older.

I swam next to a fisherman fishing for sharks; not just any sharks, baby sharks; wrong on so many levels.

We packed up and headed inland for dinner and shopping. We each got a t-shirt and ate seafood on a large covered dock. I noticed that my skin felt tight on my face, shoulders, and back. The sand inside my swimsuit was scratching and irritating me.

Upon further examination, my mom screamed out, “Oh look at my poor baby! You are so burned!”

I was accustomed to sunburns; being a fair skinned, freckled redhead, but never had I experienced sunburn like that. After we looked for sand dollars and watched the tide shift as the sun set, we headed home. It was the longest car ride of my life. I shivered and shook from the air conditioner blowing on my red hot skin. I ran my fingers gently over my shoulders and felt squishy firm lumps; blisters the size of dimes. I ran my fingers over my nose; more blisters. My cheeks, forehead, ears, back of my neck; even more blisters. I was miserable.

As soon as we got back to town, my step-dad and mom stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up sunburn creams and lotions. My two cousins and I waited in the back seat, in the dark, all alone. As we were drifting in and out of sleep, we heard a crinkling sound coming from the plastic bags of shells shoved in the back window.

“Did y’all hear that?” One of my cousins asked.

“Yes.” I whispered holding my breath trying to hear it again.

“There it is again!” My other cousin screamed as we heard the crinkling again. This time it lasted longer.

I took my hand and smashed the bag of shells over and over until my cousins screamed, “STOP!” Apparently they had failed to check the shells for crabs and they were crawling around like mad in the plastic bags.

That night I was covered in cold creams that only made me shiver more. We crashed fairly early and slept all night, and all the next day until sun set. We ate dinner, and went right back to bed; sun poisoning. We left the next day for a 13 hour trip home. It surpassed the trip from the ocean as the worst trip, it was more miserable than that. I was uncomfortable from the seat rubbing my Port Aransas t-shirt on my blistered back; the seatbelt irritated my burned neck and shoulder. I was so embarrassed by my blistered red face that I would even cry as we walked around gas stations, fearing everyone was looking at me and laughing. I had nightmares during the trip that my blisters were popping open and my shirt was soaked. When I awoke in a scream, my shirt was soaked; from sweat.

We did make it home and when my dad saw me, he was furious. He kept screaming at my mom, “She has third degree burns!”

Whether I did or not, it still was the best memory of Texas I had with my mom. It was my first ocean experience when I was too young to fear the vast waters and all the creatures in it. The next time I go to the ocean, I won’t enjoy it as much, because I will be mindful of the creatures living within its depths and fear them; I know too much.

We have planned a trip to Port Aransas with my aunt and cousins. I can’t wait to make new memories with my husband and step-daughter the way I made memories with mom. We will skip the sunburn and blisters part, but have fun non-the-less. Memories are memories, no matter how painful, literally painful they are.

To this day, I have very large freckles that outline where my swimsuit was when I was 10 years old. The freckles on my shoulders are just as big; I freckle more now on my face than I did before my trip to Texas. Permanent skin damage you ask? Most likely.

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