And when she was bad… she was horrid! © 2010 Dakini Verona
My mother used to say that little nursery rhyme to me quite often: “there was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.” I was known for having a temper of astronomical proportions. I was told by my mom that at the age of two I would throw temper tantrums in stores and that she asked the doctor what to do. His response? Get a squirt gun and shoot me. Can you imagine? Well those were the days when parents could get away with child abuse and no one could say anything about it.
Children had been considered property, just like wives, since back in before the 15th century. We often forget that women did not get the right to vote in the US until the early 1900’s. I guess we were still property. Children have even fewer rights than women. Even the bible says that we must honor our mother and father. And isn’t there a story of how God asked someone to sacrifice their own son!!! Yeah… property to do with as one pleases. But I digress.
I have always tried to look at my past with a sense of humor. I would tell my children “Mommy Stories” as lessons to be learned. I didn’t need fables or fairy tales… I had my own living examples. For instance. Why is it a bad idea to hurt others? Well, because it will get you in trouble and you will have to pay through karma or the sting of a spanking.. that’s why! Oh, yeah, and the person you hurt might never want to be your friend again. Here is one example of a “Mommy Story”.
My family moved to Florida when I was 3 years old. My dad had just retired from the New York City fire department. It was 1957. I am not sure if you know much about Florida, but I can tell you that there were not many children living there at that time. Most of the residents were retired (old folks) people from the north. They came to Florida for the weather and stayed until they died. There were not many children for me to play with. My parents still had to work to support me and my sister, so there was not much quality time spent with us.
My grandparents would sometimes watch me. But that was never much fun. They did not have energy to match my own. As I got a bit older, we would sometimes go to the beach, where my grandpa would play shuffleboard and I would play in the sand or on the water’s edge. I became friends with the life guard’s family. Little Bernie was my only friend. She and I would play all day in the baking tropical sun. It was a good thing I knew how to swim well, because no one really ever was watching me. At five, I would be dropped off in the morning, as my parents went to work. I had a sack lunch and a towel tucked under my arm. I would go knock on Bernie’s door to see if she could come out and play with me all day, until my parents returned to take me home.
After awhile, I had worn out my welcome at Bernie’s house. After all, what parent leaves their child on the beach all day.. day after day? I missed my friend and would beg my parents to take me to the beach on weekends so I could spend time with her. But that left a lot of alone time for me during the week, because I was still too young for school.
I had a few friends in our sparsely occupied neighborhood. We lived in the outskirts of town, just a block or two from the Gulf of Mexico. Our back yard ended at the swamp and we had open undeveloped fields surrounding us on two sides. There was one house, on the opposite corner from our house, where a little girl my aged lived. She was only allowed to come and play with me when my parents were home, so we did not see much of each other. One day, she and I were playing in the garage and she gave me a little doll’s hairbrush. I asked her if I could keep it and she said yes. The next day she came over and said she wanted it back. An argument ensued, which included calling her an “Indian Giver”. The fight escalated into a full on hair-pulling-drag-em-down fight. She grabbed the brush from me and started to run out of the open door, towards her house. I was determined to keep that little hair brush. After all, it was mine. She gave it to me. I looked around to see if there was something I could use to stop her.
I found a long piece of left over lumber that was a remnant of an unfinished project started by my dad. I am not sure how I mustered the strength to pick up that 2x4, but I not only did I pick it up, but I was able to swing it. I think I just wanted to scare her into dropping the brush, but the plank hit her square on the back of the neck. She fell down, face first on our concrete garage floor. At that moment, reason flooded my little brain and I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. Of course, I did what came natural – I ran.
I did not witness it personally, but could hear the commotion as my parents ran to answer the screams of that helpless little girl, who lay bleeding in our garage. I kept running. I ran into the muddy swamp in back of our house, and found a thicket of trees to hide behind. I could no longer hear what was happening as a result of my outburst.
Suddenly, I could hear my mother’s voice calling my full name.
To read the rest of this story.. you will need to get your copy of my book on Amazon.
Memoirs of Dakini
Memoirs of Dakini