Saturday, August 25, 2012

Family History

Last night over dinner, Alan and I started charting my family's history. I have some good (read: disturbing) family history.
As with many Southern families, we talk about our crazy relatives and laugh about the insanity, but last night made me start wondering. Maybe those stories aren't so funny and entertaining when I look at the part they played in my abuse. Maybe it's not so funny to have incest and murder as ancient history when it trickles down into the recent past.
I grew up on these stories. I can't remember a time when I didn't know that great-great aunt Ruth was a possible murderer and an adulteress. That Queenie wasn't her dog, but the nickname for her daughter's legal name, Queen Victoria.
I've always known the story of my great-grandfather standing on his porch at 8 years old crying out to the Dallas neighborhood, "My mama is dead", after finding her shot to death by her husband who them, presumably, turned the gun on himself. Because they weren't really married? Because she was his brother's daughter -- his own neice -- that he'd run off with and had 2 children with.
How that same boy went to live with his aunt, Ruth, and was forced to sleep in the bed with her much older husband, while she went off for assignations with the gardener. 
The stories go on and on.
Entertaining, titillating tales from the early 1900's, until I realize that this is my history. These are the people who are a part of my own DNA. Their progeny are the ones who abused me.



4 comments:

  1. Maybe you were adopted.

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  2. Just think of the strides you have made so that those who come after you can grow up safely and far more healthy. Quite an amazing accomplishment for yourself and those who come after.

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  3. Very interesting story. They lucky to have you for sure wherever you came from.

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