My mother did not know if I were alive or dead. When the car drove away, she did not come out to see who it was; it would be four years before she saw my face. My cries are forgotten. A man I thought to be my daddy was my uncle. Yet they never hid who I was, and my daddy came to see me when he could always say he would take me home one day. By the time I was three years old, I could take care of myself. I took to the boys like a fish to water. They made me tough. Aunt Vina taught me manners; She was a brilliant individual. She took me to the local library and taught me how to read. By the time I left, I could read some simple words. That last year I could remember my life there, but nothing before. I could dress, tie my shoes and eat without help. I was toilet trained. There was nothing left to teach me, or so they thought. One Sunday afternoon, my daddy came to Birmingham. He said it was time for me to go home.
As the years have gone by, I have thought about how my life would be if I stayed with Aunt Vina. On that ride home, I had no idea who I was or where I was going. My life on the farm was simple; I wandered the hills above my family’s house and cared for myself. My mother ignored me, my sister hated me, and there was no love in that home, not even from my daddy. I don’t think he knew how. As the years went by, the only thing I could not do was get on the bus for school. I came home to chores. From age four until twelve, I ran the hills during good weather, always exploring. I learned to not care that my sister had pretty clothes and mine were hand-me-downs from my mother’s customers. I learned to not care that I was not loved. Eventually, my mother would not allow me to go to Aunt Vina’s during summer breaks from school. The clothes she bought me my mother gave away. If she found my journals, she burned them.
I learn to live in “Hell” at a very young age.
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