Not Bad Luck, Just Inconvenient.

I’ve been here a time or ten before. Not *here* here, but an attempt to put my chaotic existence in writing. I suppose I kind of have with this whole journaling thing, but if these past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that my family dynamic is super fucked up and surprisingly not normal in comparison to others. Not that I wasn’t already aware of that, but mom being put on Hospice has brought back a lot of painful, emotional memories. Yeah, sure, everyone has dysfunction in their family. That weird uncle, crazy aunt, or that cousin you smoked your first cigarette or drank your first beer with. But does everyone have a bi-polar schizophrenic grandmother who was a go-go dancer at a biker bar back in her day? How about a cancer-ridden little brother who managed to overcome his cancer, just to shoot himself a few years later? Experience with attending five plus elementary (1st – 6th) schools in a few different states? How about being picked up by your mother at recess and being told you’re moving to Arizona, as you’re being buckled in to drive to Chicago to hop on a plane? No?

That’s okay. I wouldn’t really wish it on anyone. Not because it was necessarily a bad childhood, just very unconventional and I don’t think everyone has the disposition to become a (fairly) well-adjusted adult. Not that I’m necessarily well-adjusted, but I hold steady, gainful employment, have a wonderful family, a beautiful home, and I bitch to a therapist once a month, or as needed, about whatever is going on in my life at that point. Fairly normal adulting stuff. Took my only living brother til he was 30 to finally figure it out and it’s mostly because a woman made him get it together. I don’t care the reason or the person, just glad he’s fucking finally starting to figure shit out.

Then again, I had to grow up much more quickly than a lot of those around me. Being raised by a single mom with two younger siblings always comes at a cost, especially if you’re the eldest of the bunch. Throw in some genetically inherited mental health issues, extreme alcoholism, drugs, and an absentee father and you have my childhood in a nutshell. I’ve always been able to be that “there’s always a silver lining” kind of person, even from a young age, so finding the humor in unfortunate events has become like second nature to me. You have to have a sense of humor to be able to survive this thing called “life” or I hear you won’t make it out alive.

My brothers, Nick and Brandon, are 4 and 7 years younger than me. Thankfully there are a lot of things from back then that neither remembered or wanted to admit they remembered. They were shielded from quite a bit, while me being the oldest, I was kept in the loop more than I should have been. Unfortunately, that also means that they kept what’s-his-face sperm donor dad on a pedestal. At least for awhile. You see, they were born the right gender, whereas, I was just a girl. A girl he had no problems inappropriately touching a few times, but couldn’t bother to take hunting, fishing, or other “boy” things. But that’s a chapter for another day.

I can’t really give a lot of specific memories of my time at various schools throughout my younger years – we moved around too frequently for most of it to stand out. It really wasn’t a bad childhood, just chaotic at times and I didn’t realize how unconventional we really were until about junior high, but we’ll get to that another time.

The earliest education-type memory that I have at this very moment is either from Pre-K or Kindergarten, being forced to eat canned spinach and to this very day, still hating the smell of it. There is also an embarrassing video floating around either in mom’s things or in storage of yours truly coming home from school one day, acting a fool and being given a surprise pet rabbit. I couldn’t tell you the year, but should I ever find that video, I’ll double check the super cool timestamp 90s camcorders added before burning it.

First grade was spent at Audubon Elementary, a school located downtown in what used to be called “The Flats,” but now affectionately more known as the “hood.” This area of town has always had a bad rap for being the poor side of town, located on the North End. Doesn’t help that majority of our minority residents live in this area, as that’s the only affordable housing options in our city. Yeah, Dubuque is behind a bit. Audubon is where I would come to meet people that would continuously and randomly pop into my life at strange, but usually welcomed, times. My first crush, Scott J., influenced my love for the San Fransisco 49ers, still to this day, and also maybe had part in the purchase of a super-sweet, totally 90s Starter Jacket. Come on, it was 1992 after all, 2 years before their next Super Bowl victory and man, it was awesome getting to watch Jerry Rice at his peak.

Image 1 - Vintage 90s Starter San Francisco 49ers Pullover Parka Puffer Jacket Coat Red L

I recently looked at the school’s website to see what might have changed since going there and honestly? Not shit. The only upgrade really was now they have permanent walls between classes. I remember these weird room dividers that they would use and teachers would decorate them with class posters and such, but you were never more than mere feet from the next classroom / grade. They also upgraded the playground equipment from the old solid wooden with pea gravel one to a metal one with wood chips. I thought I had previously heard that the old wooden set was burned down, but a quick internet search didn’t pull anything up so as of right now, it’s hearsay. I wonder if they have a legit lunchroom now versus using the gym and setting up tables/chairs every day. So many excellent lunches served, so many fingers run over by rainbow scooters in gym class. All in one convenient location.

Strange to be thinking back to all of this while I’m sitting here taking care of mom while she’s on hospice. The medications have her a bit loopy and taking a trip down memory lane. Not all of them have been pleasant, but not all bad either. I think I’ll have to make an outline of various things that I’m willing to write about, things to consider writing about, and absolute “no-way”. Trust me when I say there are things that are easily believable, but there are a few events where I’ve even questioned the reality I was living, so no doubt you’d question the truth behind them as well. Or just how one person could have such… inconvenient luck. Not bad luck, but maybe more so bad timing? And sometimes that bad timing turns into something absolutely unexpected and for the better and other times, it’s just shit luck. Cest la vie!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: