sister was the dominate personality in my life. I did not talk to anyone
else except for the minimum degree required when my sister was away
at school. For a long time, my parents used to listen at our door in
order to determine that I could indeed carry on a coherent dialog.
This verbal reluctance and my frequent sleeping had promoted the fear
that perhaps I as a bit slow.
day my sister died - actually she was killed - was one of those
dramas that happens in life without warning or reason. I completely
repressed all but one brief memory of it for over a quarter of a century.
day started with all of us preparing for a trip to some friends
house - a late summer party. My sister and I were dressed first so we
went out to play as the parents prepared. We were told, of course, to
stay clean. Well, I found an entirely irresistible wet sand pile and
started building what was sure to be the great mud edifice of the 20th
century. My sister, frustrated with the cosmetic results to my sailor
suit (which I hated by the way), finally smashed down my erection (sorry).
This enraged me and I proceeded to knock her directly into the center
of the mud puddle. I have never taken kindly to people messing up my
architecture. Unfortunately, it was just at this moment that my (step)
father showed up. He was furious, smacked me a good one and placed the
(verbal) blame on my sister (employing, no doubt, mysterious adult-logic).
ended up crying; my sister ended up crying; my parents ended up fighting;
and we all ended up late to the party.
remembered this part. My sister and I picking strawberries and running
naked through the sprinklers as we ate them. Also, I do remember wondering
what the big thing was with the clothes. We had a fine time. Later,
however, on the drive home things turned dark and my parents relived
and expanded the argument. We, of course, thought that we had caused
this painful circumstance.
have to get to be an adult yourself before you realize it is possible
to get into a rip-roaring fight over nothing at all.
scene at home was bad - and when I did finally recall it - it replayed
like some grainy black and white grade B moving shot by a camera two
feet off the floor. It ended with my mother marching out the door suitcase
in hand, my father retiring to his room with a bottle of scotch and
the two of us sitting in a darkened room without diner under the injunction
to be quite.
started to fix a peanut butter samwich but it ended up on the floor
- plate broken. This lead to my father - who was well on the way through
the bottle by now - to ban us both from the kitchen. Naturally, I stared
to cry and naturally I got leveled for the sound effects.
some time had passed, my sister tried to sneak into the kitchen to get
food. This is when the movie turned into a horror show. I saw my sister
running back toward our room, the light from my fathers door,
his movement, his yell and my sister falling as he kicked her in the
story was that my sister hurt herself playing and fell over a box. She
died of a ruptured spleen. She never returned from the hospital.
mother returned and fell into a deep depression. I was sent to live
with my grandmother. The continuity of my life returned when I woke
up one day sitting in a red wagon being pulled by my grandmother. It
was years later that I pieced together that that I had a nine month
gap in my memory. It was many years later before I remembered what happened.
of course, for many years I though that I had killed my sister. She
was getting the food for me.
you conclude that my stepfather was a monster let me point out that
he came from a violent and broken home, had educated himself entirely
on his own and become a pilot and Officer in the US Air Force - a remarkable
achievement. He found himself, hardly yet a man, fighting a horrible
war and trying to make a family and a life. In the end, alcohol and
confusion ruined him. But that was years later and another part of the
was a very damaged man. I did not know it. Nor did my mother. Nor the
Air Force. He tried living by rules that killed him in a circumstance
he was not prepared for. He lost it all in a moment - in a complexity
of issues and feelings he did not possess the means to understand. In
all the years I knew him, this was the only act of violence that I ever
saw - (although not the only act of abuse). What memory did he carry?
What did he think for all the days that followed? How did he resolve
was only a momentary matter and it changed several lives in a flash.
Life is like that. A momentary lapse and someone dies. Thousands of
such lapses and a freedom is compromised. Millions, and a people are
destroyed. Many millions and a planet starts to die.
important thing is to understand how violence transfers from one generation
to another and to break the (possitive feedback loop) cycle that traps
so many. A little blond girl named Penny - who had sparkling blue eyes
and a flashing smile - taught me this. A little girl that never grew
up and enjoyed mature love nor experienced loss and doubt. A life snuffed
out before it had begun. The only unforgivable act would be to forget.
voice of this document:
VISION STRATEGY EVALUATE
click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox
November 13, 2000
reformatted November 15, 2010
November 13, 2000
this document is about 75% finished)