I don't really remember much about my last day living at the shore with my mother. I don't remember packing anything. I didn't have much to bring...but still..I don't remember preparing to go. I don't remember anything about the house or any final conversations my mother and I had. I don't remember my final school days in Brick Township H.S. I don't remember saying good bye to my neighbors or even my pets. It is all a blank.
I do remember that my girlfriends gave me a going away party. I still have a gold heart pendant one of my closest friends gave me and it has her phone number on the back. I have long since lost touch with her.
I do remember that on the morning I was to leave, my friend Bill picked me up and brought me to point Pleasant Beach so I could say good bye to the ocean. Bill had a girlfriend, also named Pat. I didn't know her because she was older and worked a lot. He was a nice guy and a good friend to me.
I am embarrassed to say this next part but it conveys the depth of sorrow I was feeling at having to leave the shore.
We walked together down to the water. I had brought small jars with me. I collected ocean air in the 1st jar, ocean sand in the second jar, and ocean water in the 3rd jar. I did that so I could have a little bit of the shore with me even though I was far from the beach.
Then we walked over to the jetty and I picked out 2 good size rocks to bring with me. Bill carried them for me. I do remember that he was so sweet and I guess he felt sorry for me or something. He was always so nice to me. But I don't remember saying goodbye to him because I don't even remember him bringing me home...yet I know he did.
I don't remember what time of day my uncle came to get me...just that it was still daylight. Nor do I remember what kind of car, although I suspect it was their red Riviera. I really liked that car because the seats were this real pretty silver color and it also had bucket seats in the back.
You would think a girl would remember saying goodbye to her mother and her pets...but I just don't. I know I kept my feelings in and didn't cry once.
I do remember that I didn't talk for the entire two hour ride up here. I do remember being taken with the mountains up here and the pretty reservoirs...they were so pretty and different then the flat shore area I was familiar with.
And when we turned to go up the hill into the lake community (Lake Tamarack) they lived in, as we got to the top...I was in awe of the mountains and rustic lake houses. I had been to their house for a week one summer but the leaves on the trees concealed a lot. This time the mountains popped because of the snow contrasting the trees on the mountains.
I don't remember walking in the house or saying hi to my aunt. I do remember walking in the curved hallway to my room. I always liked that hallway because it was different. And I liked how they had a phone built into the hallway wall with a shelf. I just don't remember the 1st couple of hours other than I stayed in my room. I guess I needed to acclimate to my surroundings.
I liked the furniture in the room. It had been my cousin Doug's and so it had a sea captains mirror over the dresser and I liked it. I also had a nice sized desk and book shelves with cabinet, a night stand and a twin bed that also had a bookshelf in the headboard. There was also a comfortable swivel, rocking fabric chair. It wasn't a real big room but was quite cozy. It also had two good size windows. It was all so much nicer than what I had at the shore house. And I could hardly believe that I had my own TV. It was just a little 13 inch black and white, but I loved it.
I remember I decided to watch an Elvis Presley movie that came on. And I decided to venture out into the house to get something to eat. My aunt told me to fix whatever I wanted. I was in awe of a side by side refrigerator and her pretty kitchen. I was amazed to see so much food in the refrigerator. I made myself a swiss cheese sandwich with guldens mustard on rye bread and then brought it to my room. It is my last memory for that day and actually it was dark by now.
They took me shopping the next day and bought me everything. Well it felt like it anyway.
My next memory is of my walking into Franklin HS for the first time and immediately noticing its old smell. I was horrified at how small it was and that it was so old that it had steam heat. I HATED IT. I immediately longed for the big beautiful regional school I had gone to at the shore. I felt like a square peg in a round hole. I did not belong there and everything in me was screaming that I wanted to go home.
I was always very friendly but I refused to make friends. I wouldn't do my homework nor would I participate in class. I came home and told my aunt I hated it and wanted to go back home. Kids started teasing me and that exacerbated the negative situation. I never said anything mean but maybe my disdain for it all was obvious. One girl would even shoot a water pistol at me in class. She was also really mean to me on the bus and I was secretly afraid of her.
By the second week...I refused to go to school. Just refused.
My aunt and uncle were very strict and no nonsense and this behavior was not going to be tolerated. My cousin Doug would get his father's (my uncle) temper going. he was 8 years older and living out west. His daughter Lee was so well behaved that I don't think she ever caused him stress. I think she was living in England that year. Anyway, the next day my uncle stayed home from work. I can tell you right there that had to be making his blood boil. I refused to go to school and I remember the jugular on his neck and his temple moving. He also had a very deep voice that used to scare my girlfriend in normal conversation.
He was furious and I knew I had better get to school and he drove me. I don't know what he said to me but I never pulled that again. But I still refused to do my work. I loved English! Yet...I refused to do my Romeo and Juliet assignment. I was leaning with my back to the wall, daydreaming when the teacher called on me. Obviously, I wasn't prepared and he asked me if I did the work and I smugly said "No!" and smiled. That girl was not the real me. I would never in a million years have done those rude, selfish and inconsiderate things, but I was hurting...really hurting.
But then...a nice thing started to happen. I started having nice conversations with my aunt and uncle. They actually talked with me. My aunt and I could talk for hours and she always listened. So we were finally bonding. I had fun talking with her and she listened and gave sound advice. She was funny and the most sarcastic person I ever met. I would say that was a definite flaw but everything else was awesome about her. She really took to having me around. She was never able to have her own children and so she became attached to me but that is a story for another time.
My uncle always made me feel safe because he was one of these guys that was always fixing things and taking care of whatever needed to be done. He took good care of his family. he was an anchor that I as a young girl needed very much. They both were.
I also made friends but one friend in particular. Her name was Pat T. I started doing sleep overs at her house on weekends. My aunt and uncle were happy that i had this friendship and they liked Pat.
I was still rip roaring mad at my mother. I still very much wanted to go back home even though my life was so much better up here. And even though things were going well between my aunt and uncle and me...a part of me still felt like I didn't belong and even a little guilty for being there because I wasn't their daughter and maybe they could be doing something else.
I was so brokenhearted and every night I would pray to God asking him to help me to be able to go back home. And I would cry myself to sleep every night. I was really taking this hard. Even though it seemed I was acclimating and I was to a degree...I just felt like I didn't belong.
I didn't think this back then...but as I have been thinking about this lately...I am thinking that my grief wasn't just about having to leave my house at the shore, but it must've been subconsciously tied into my other losses that happened as a young girl. It makes sense anyway.
I have never in my entire life felt as sad as I did back then. I wonder if it wasn't also a matter of the little girl inside me was grieving being pulled from her father and then his later abandoning me, the loss of both grandparents and I was there when they died, loss of what had been a normal and cozy home life when grandparents were alive, and even what felt like betrayal from my mother with being sent away, banished for being a bad girl and then also the loss of my friends and all that was familiar to me.
I just think it was more than I could bare and is why I grieved so. My aunt and uncle probably heard me cry but I never told anyone how sad I was.
Then one weekend in February...I asked my uncle if he could bring me back down to the shore...just for a weekend and let me stay with my mother. He said no. My mother was staying down there until summer when she would put the house up for sale and so it seemed perfectly logical that I should be able to visit. But he was firm about his answer. We had a huge fight. Huge!
I didn't talk to him... except for one word answers when spoken too, for that entire week.
Next post will be about the APB