Friday, June 12, 2015

Ding dong .....

My uncle's wife, what more can I say?

When my brother and I got in trouble for something, she took away our music lessons -- the one thing that meant more to me than anything else. My brother was later allowed to resume his lessons, but I never was.

When I disobeyed her, she didn't just send me to my room -- she locked me in there. Had there been an emergency, I would have been trapped on the third floor with no way out.
When the local schools changed their dress codes to allow girls to wear pants, she refused to buy me any. I was forced to wear (ill-fitting) skirts, accompanied by long-out-of-style bobby socks, while my classmates all wore slacks whenever they wanted.  She also (falsely) informed me that jeans were not available in my size.
When I was violently ill one night, she didn't bother to get out of bed to check on me. "Just get in the other bed" she said. When I accidentally threw up in that bed, too, I knew better than to wake her again. I spent the night curled up in a dry corner of the bed, periodically vomiting into a trash can.
When I needed to stay after school one day, she gave me permission, but said I'd have to walk home  -- a distance of approximately three miles. I did so, in my stacked heel shoes, because those were the only shoes I had.  It took approximately an hour and she was furious with me when I finally arrived, because it turns out I had an appointment with the ear doctor that day and we were late.  [For the record:  a) I didn't know about the appointment and b) if she wanted us to be on time, she should have picked me up.]
Detailed in an earlier entry, she did agree to pick me up one day after school, then left me sitting for two hours with no explanation or apology.
In high school, during one of her typical "you never do anything for anyone else" tirades, I said I'd like to volunteer to work with the elderly.  She drove me to an assisted living place where I did, indeed, volunteer.  I'd ride the bus from school, help out for a couple hours, and then walk home (again, it was at least a three mile walk) because she wouldn't give me a ride.  I lasted approximately a month, and then quit -- which I'm sure pleased her greatly, since I have no doubt her goal was to demonstrate how worthless I really was.

When a friend of mine got a job waitressing at Friendly's, I asked if I could do likewise. I even said I'd walk home. Although she'd long told me if I wanted to buy anything I'd have to use my own money (of which I had none), she refused to let me take the job.

When I said I wanted to go live with my birthmother, she told me my birthmother didn't want me.
When I ate without her permission, she punished me.
When I gained weight, she did her best to humiliate me.
When I defied her, she beat me.
When I finally stood up to her, she sent me away.
There's no sugar-coating it.  My very presence was abhorrent to her.
It was no secret to me that I was neither wanted nor loved.

In 1974, I returned home from boarding school and shortly thereafter left for college. I got my first job, washing dishes in the dorm cafeteria, and finally felt a sense of independence and accomplishment. I spent my entire first paycheck on a used stereo system, some albums, and jeans (which were, as it turns out, available in my size).  The job became more important than my classes, and my grades plummeted. I was placed on academic probation at the end of my first year, and I didn't care.

It was during this time that I began to plot the murder of my uncle's wife, even though I was no longer living in her house and was, in fact, approximately 800 miles away. To my adolescent mind, however, this was the perfect opportunity.  My uncle was a member of the town's Rotary Club and attended the weekly meeting every Wednesday evening.  Rarely home before 10:00PM, his wife was alone in the house until then.

Having never taken driver's ed, I didn't own a car; but I knew that I could catch a Greyhound bus that would drop me off in the center of the town.  From there, it was about an hour's walk to my uncle's house. I'd made that walk many times, so knew I could do it fairly easily. My plan was to simply walk in the kitchen door, where she would no doubt be playing her typical game of Solitaire, kill her in some unspecified manner, then walk back to town and wait for the next bus back to school.

Even though the Statute of Limitations has long run out, let me assure you that this plot was all fantasy. I had no intention of actually attempting the deed, because even as a relatively na├»ve 18-year-old, I knew there was no way I would be able to get away with it.  OK, yes, it was also morally wrong but, honestly, that was a secondary consideration. I spent many pleasant evenings tweaking the plan and imagining how happy I'd be once she was dead.

And then, in August of 1975, I received a late-night phone call from my grandfather, informing me that she had died that day of a heart attack. He and his second wife were living a couple hours distant and we made plans for them to come pick me up the next day so that we could drive east for the funeral.

As I hung up the phone, I was stunned, and then I started laughing and jumping for joy crying.  I SHOULD have laughed and jumped for joy, because this was what I'd been waiting and hoping for.  She was finally gone, and I hadn't had to kill her myself!

But I cried.

I cried.

Maybe I was just in shock.  Maybe I cried for what I'd wanted from her and that was now lost forever. Maybe her death was simply a trigger that made me recall the overwhelming grief I felt when my grandmother died.  I'm honestly not sure.

But it was just that one night.  I never cried for her again. No matter the excuses others make for her actions, I do not forgive and I do not forget -- and I do not cry for someone who is not worth my tears.

Ding dong, the witch is dead.