Hello to all those who are taking this adventure with me,
Yesterday was quite a day, while I think I accomplished some things there are still so many things that seemed to get away from me, its what I keep calling “life” just insists on getting in the way of my own plans.
I was very frustrated yesterday dealing with grade school and new personalities, in particular my granddaughters teacher and I cannot seem to get our communications on the same page hard as I try. I often feel frustrated because I am just trying to help my grandchild, fill in the gaps when her mother is working. I sit and do homework with her everyday and when something comes up that either I do not understand or she is having trouble with , I send a note asking to please talk to me so we can work together. This has never been an issue until this year. I know the teacher, the school ,the Principle. So after a very frustrating evening of talking to , well TRYING to talk with her teacher who refused to speak with me and promptly hung up on me, to speaking with the Principle ,who eventually said he would get this straightened out. By that time it was 7pm!
I did not ever get to the store and boy did I need to go ,so I fussed around in the kitchen and whipped up something quickly feed the child and left the rest for the others who would get home and be happy there was something to eat.
I was exhausted, I had been so stressed out by all the issues with school and feeling like my hands were tied , somewhere I just finally gave up and realized I had not eaten all day. That is a recurring issue for me. I lose my appetite all the time and will go without really eating anything and sometimes I don’t even realize that till I have crawled into bed and my tummy starts to complain. I am then too tired too do much about it and say well tomorrows another day.
So today is another day and today I think we got somethings taken care of in regards to school. I have been through 3rd grade now 5 times! One might think I had the hang of it by now! Things are always changing and I am old and it is a little harder for me to change. I am working on it, hopefully today will be a better day.
Here I sit today thinking about how this story of mine should be told. I am not really sure exactly where or how to start. I have such a strange and odd tale some people drop their jaws when I explain myself and some just shake their heads. It is my hope that while telling my journey people will feel inspired to live their dreams and never take a moment of their lives for granted. We do not always realize what we have till it is gone . That is so sad to me.
I was born in December of 1962, yes I realize that means I am officially half a century! I was born in Brooklyn, NY to a mother named Joan and a father named Bert. My mother was adopted by a very religious Jewish couple ( my grandparents) from Puerto Rico and my father was of Cuban decent. His parents spoke no English. I lived with my mother and grew up not knowing who my father was. He had divorced my mother before I was 2 so I only knew my mother and my grandparents. My mother was very young when I was born, she did not want a child and made many attempts to rid herself of her pregnancy. G-d had others plans because I am still here. My mother did not want anything to do with me she did not even name me . My grandmother, Helen, my grandfathers first wife was sitting in the hospital room in the dead of winter and saw a bird sitting on the sill. It was a red robin, and when the nurses asked for a name for the child she exclaimed Robin Joi is the name of this beautiful baby! She was so happy to have a baby to add to her family. Helen was unable to have children and too all accounts was a loving school teacher with such a love of children. So while my mother was not interested in having a child my grandmother was thrilled! However, it was short lived as Helen struggled with my mother terribly and evetually had a heart attack while trying to rescue me from being drowned in a toilet and quickly passed away. Thus began my childhood of hell. My grandfather Herman, was a prominent business man who owned a knitting factory in NYC and was busy working most of the time, though he spent any time he could with me. I adored my grandfather like no one else in the world. I can still feel him swinging me in Central Park and the brisk wind in my hair. The smell of hotdog stands and pushcarts that sold hot pretzels and mustard. The sounds of men playing handball with a little red rubber ball those visions stay with me to this day. When I was with my grandfather nothing else mattered to me. Helen, my grandmother had passed away before I had reached the age of two. My grandfather was the saddest man alive. She was the love of his life they had been married since they were 18! what a life they had built and it broke my grandfather terribly. I do not really have any memories of Helen though the stories I heard were treasured. Someone who loved me from the moment I entered the world. I clung to that as a child with every bone in my body. My grandfather was of the old school and he remarried because it was the proper thing to do. He married the only grandmother I remember her name was Rose. Rose had just lost her husband and so the two widowed couple decided to marry and thus became my grandparents that I grew up seeing every summer, every holiday as long as I can recall. Rose owned a little pots and pans store on Flatbush Ave. in NYC and was busy as a bee she was quite the social butterfly and now important as she married a man of great means. Go figure marrying one with money back then at-least, was the proper thing to do . They did not marry for love ,they married because it was proper. My grandfather was a sad man .I do not remember seeing him smile often, while my grandmother was quite a harsh woman ,who had a grown child of her own, In her eyes he was the G-d among men and could do no wrong. He was a plastic surgeon in CT. My mother to this day I don’t really know what kind of work she did though she was beautiful, stunning, many people think she looked a lot like Elizabeth Taylor. She worked many temp jobs and I believe, my grandfather really supported her because my mother was a wild one. She was serious high maintenance. My mother wanted only the best things in life, she lived in a highrise in NY and anyone that knows anything about NY knows that’s not cheap! My grandfather paid, he did not know how to deal with my mother and he just threw money after money too try and keep her happy. Nothing made my mother happy. She was the most unhappy person alive. My grandmother ,Rose hated my mother and was even jeaous of all the attention she took away from her and felt that the money belonged to her and not this insane crazed woman, my mother. Funny how life works from the outside looking in one would have thought I lived a perfect life. I lived in a beautiful home with the most lavish of things. We had a maid, Daisy, that cleaned the house and looked after me for the most part, while my mother was doing whatever it was she did. Truth is my mother was anything but beautiful on the inside. My mother was very damaged, she was hurt and angry and her rage became the only thing I knew. Now, that was a long time ago and people dealt different with children and turning a blind eye to the abuses I sustained was common practice. I have memories that have stayed with me forever clinging to the few moments I can remember when my mother was kind. She used to take me out for a slice of pizza and a coke after having beaten me within a inch of my life telling me she beat me because she loved me so much. Beatings with hairbrushes and hangers and anything she could reach. The beatings I took were everyday no matter what like clockwork. I learned very early how to hide when I knew she was coming home in hopes that I might make it through the night without another beating. What does a child know? It only made my mother furious and the rage began to take on another form. My mother spent the first six years of my life trying to kill me at every chance she got. Time after time I had been to the hospitals and police were always around. I have a file for all the documents of the times I spent in the care of one hospital or another. several times the reports read ” this child should have died” “reason for living unknown.” To this day I always say “can’t kill the wicked” I wonder if that is the truth.
I would sleep over at my grandparents home whenever I could I took great comfort in my grandparents home it smelled of my grandmothers perfume in every room and often I would take comfort in sitting her in her closet filled with her beautiful clothes and smelled safe. A strange place for a small child to play but I did not play as a child I sat quietly as a mouse and hid in closets whenever I could it was safer that way or so I thought. My grandmother would drag me out of the closets and tell me that was no place for a child though the sent of moth balls still linger in the air and reminds me or her. I would tell my grandmother where the most recent brusies came from and she told me I should behave better and that this was a private matter and not to say one single word unless I enjoyed the taste of a soap bar( and I did not).
Hell became my every waking moments for the first 6 years of my life and how I prayed my mother would just up and die. I lived for the moments when my grandfather would take me to the park and nobody but the two of us were around or so it felt to me. He told me how much he loved me every single day that I can remember. He was not a brave man and he did nothing about my mother, he knew, he had to know, as he rescued me on many occasions from somewhere in the country that my mother left me. California, Arizona, Florida, too many places to recall. He would pay whoever he had to and would end up bringing me back to my personal hell. Day after day ,day after day, the nightmare of my world got worse and worse. My mother had mighty horrible taste in men and her boyfriends thought it was amusing to watch me cry and they shoved me back and forth doing all sorts of unthinkable things to me, Burning me with cigarettes ,tie me up to a wall and beating the hell out of me if I slipped or started too fall over. Standing was a favorite game for my mother and her friends to play . I have recordings of my mother putting me in taxi cabs alone before the age of 6, who does that? I was often on the missing children’s lists not because I was missing but because my mother used to drop me off and think it was funny too see how long it took me to find my way back home. Rarely did I manage to make it home and eventually the police would call my grandfather who came and took me back home again. As I sit here and write this and look over the spellings to make sure I am not making a bunch of mistakes I am reading this tale this ugly tale and this is the tale of my life, I often forget really how horrible my young years were. I don’t know exactly how I ever walk out my front door. It makes me so sad for this child I write about it just happens to be that this child is me.
Again, please do not feel sorry for me that is the last thing I ever want. I am not that child anymore I am a grown woman with many things that make me the me I am today, this was just my beginning.
I could go on and on to tell all the horrors that I endured at the hands of my mother and her boyfriends but what is the point of that? It happened, it was what it was. Despite the horrors of my childhood at the hands of my mother I survived and I do not look back and think ,man someone should have stopped her, I think more like, wow how in the world did I manage not to be a bitter hateful human being! I am not a hateful human being. I do not even hate my mother anymore. I feel sorry for my mother that she did not get the help she should have and I think its a wild ride I have been on.
I am also careful to a degree at writing every detail of the abuses of my childhood as I know my children will read this and while they know most of my tale I do not want them burdened with all the gory details of things no human should ever have endured.
My tortures of early childhood came to an end one frightful night . My mother had gone out for the evening with a man whom I feared worse than most ,he was a terrifying man on too many levels to write. My nanny and my mothers maid Daisy a beautiful African Woman with 11 kids of her own stayed with me while my mother was out . She quickly tucked me into bed and told me do not come out when your mother comes home “you know how she gets when shes been out.” Words I heard over and over through my short 6 years, So I heeded those words as law!
On nights my mother did not want her company to stay over she would drag me out of my bed and tell me we were having a slumber party and tonight I got to sleep in the big bed with my mother. I craved those nights she was kind when she didn’t want company. That night however the man with the black beard was not impressed and stripped me of my clothes and beat me till I could no longer stand. He laughed at me each time I feel over and eventually I stopped crying , I left my body, I simply allowed myself to die. When I did not move or make a sound the beatings stopped. I did not move I could not move, I was torn and bleeding and could barely think. I heard lots of screaming and yelling but that was nothing new my world was always that so nothing much I could do about that. At some point I must have passed out.
The sun shinned through the beautiful huge windows the next morning , I didn’t dare move. I hurt everywhere. I thought it was odd my mother had not come dragging me to wake up she did that most mornings. I knew the law NEVER enter my mothers room unless invited. Her door was closed as I slowly got up. My Dog Toby a big and beautiful Shepard ate threw the ropes that had me tied so I could not move from the night before. I wondered where my other dogs were. My mother trained Shepard’s and they were prized dogs. Slowly I moved through our home looking for my mother . I went to see if breakfast was on the table she often left me breakfast while she took the dogs for a walk, Then I did the unthinkable… I opened my mothers bedroom door and held my breath, nothing happened so I stepped into her room to gather my dogs but the did not move. I stepped in a little to try and get them when I tripped and landed with a white Ked’s tennis shoe in my mouth, I got up and looked for a moment only to realize it was my mothers leg I tripped over. I walked around to her side of the bed I looked at the bed all the covers were off which was odd since my mother kept a beautifully cleaned home, I tripped again and this time The worst thing ever starred at me. MY mothers face ,her beautiful face, laid there covered in blood just looking at me. I shook her I yelled I tried to wake her and nothing happened. My dogs sat laying around my mother and whimpered. I didn’t know what to do and I began running about my home to get the leashes I needed protection and they were it. I got them all leashed up and took them with me out into the hallway to get help from my neighbors ,knocking on doors and begging people to get the Super( that’s what we called the man in charge of the Apartments ) People brushed me aside telling me it was not a time for jokes people had to get to work. I was yelling at this point to anyone my mothers dead. I don’t really know why I knew that I just did. One lady that lived at the end of the hallway saw me and she knew me and I stood there in my panties covered in blood and she said come with me we need to call the police. What happened next was such a blur police ,officers everywhere what a mess, I did not really understand what had happened one min I was at home and the next I didn’t know where I was.
Lots of people were talking to me asking me so many questions who was my father? What family did I have? My grandfather who back then I called Papa that is what I knew I did not know him by any other name I was 6!
My mother was murdered on April 1st, 1969. It was not an April fools joke it was my life. My mother was gone, dead, and I was all alone in the world. I was numb. I did not cry one tear. I did not know I was suppose to cry, I was not sad, I felt nothing.
My grandfather was the next thing I recall, I saw him running towards me and he was crying I had never seen my grandfather cry I did not know what to do. I wrapped myself around him as tightly as a small child could I wanted to stop his tears. They just kept running down his face. I told my Papa I loved him and I was sorry mommy had died she was in too many pieces I couldn’t not put her back together. Then, a sight came ,I can never erase from my memory, a lasting one that still sends chills down my spine. My grandfather let go of me as I feel to the floor, he stood very tall at that moment from where I sat on the floor, and the sounds that came from him were sounds of wolves in the middle of the night he shook his fist up to the sky and he tore his jacket pocket and repeated loudly to make sure G-d would hear him. “There is no G-d!” “What G-d would allow this to happen to my child?!!!” He shook with such anger and such fear ,I could do nothing at all. I sat and watched .I wanted to save my grandfather ,the love of my life, but I could not, I was but a small child…..and yet, G-d saved me, and for what I could not understand. I wonder often about that frightful day and why I did not die along with my mother . I guess whatever one chooses to believe G-d had apparently other plans for me. I took all that was given both bad and good and somehow I made it out of that day and into the next.
I am still here . and while this does not define me it is my beginning, not pretty like some fairytale we wish for but rather closer to a real fairytale with real wicked witches and monsters that creep in the night.
I have sat here and re read this 100 times trying to decide if I really wanted to publish this, It is very personal and has probably taken me all of my 50 years to bring myself to a place where I think It is time to tell my journey and how I got to where I am. I am not a walking miracle I am simply a simple bird who has endured. I think that’s the secret to life, do not waste your tears on things you cannot change but look ahead to what can be ,what possibilities may lie ahead. It is easy to drown oneself in the sorrows of their lives, it is harder much harder to dig deep ,deeper on many days and look ahead to where you are going and not where you have been. The past is just that it is what is behind you , I try and spend my time looking at what adventures my life will take me today and tomorrow ,not try and undue whats already been done.
Life is a journey, an amazing adventure, full of fears, sorrows and joys. If I had stayed stuck in my beginning I would not be the proud mother I am, and the proud grandmother I am today.
So I say come on and join me as I take my next steps into whatever the tomorrows may bring. Thank you for joining me , though not an easy past to revisit it is healing to put it down on paper and say , Hey its not always beautifully wrapped up like a lovely present, but it is amazing, it is one hell of a ride . I hang on tight each and every day because I have hope and I know that whatever comes next will be what it is, and no matter what else happens in life I OWN MY SOUL no one can ever take that away from me. SO I choose to smile ,I choose to be happy ,I choose to celebrate whats good , and cherish the joys my children find ,I love to laugh even in the face of pain.
Ever notice that one is able to laugh even while tears and running down ones face?
Please smile with me and laugh with me as my story unfolds.
Robin , a simple bird.