Saturday, April 24, 2010

When I Was a Little Girl

I think my grandmother made this dress. Notice the rick-rack. I have always had trouble with my hair! I'm not sure, but I'm about 2 here, I think. It was taken in Tennessee. (Hohenwald--ever hear of it?? LOL) If nothing else, I look happy, despite everything.

My childhood was a little mixed up. When I was not even a year old, my mother went to stay for the next couple years in a TB hospital as she battled for her life. She ended up losing all but one lobe of one lung, but still managed to make it home and raise me. Since my dad was a long haul semi-truck driver, there really wasn't anyone to take care of me during the years she was in the hospital. So, my only living grandparents, Roy and Pauline, took me in, which was quite a job since they still had two tweens at home and worked full time. The good news for them was that they did desperately love me, and they had a lot of family close by.

My aunt ended up babysitting me quite a lot and I think my married Aunt Sue sometimes took me home with her to give them a break. My grandfather, who owned a logging business, took me with him to chop wood--he even carried my diapers and bottles with him! ( I survived probably by my own sick mother's prayers. She had lived with her in-laws for several years and also during the time my dad was in the military.) Everyone just did the best that they could and loved me just as I was.

Whatever our circumstances, all of that wadded up past comes with us when we grow up. I am independent and quite stubborn. There are stories galore from all sorts of people who came up against my strong will when I was small. Even my poor mother, still weak from her surgeries and getting over her illness, did not get a break from my willfulness when she first got me back. But what helped me most was my own mother's determination and strong will to live and endless prayers, as well as my own survival techniques I developed as someone so young without a solid home life. I was confused as to who my "mama and daddy" were because my grandparents had me call them mama and daddy. They really didn't expect my mother to live.

Anyway, this week as I am working on my core and finding the deep truths in my own writing, I think everyone needs to find time to dig out those truths buried in our pasts. I really love the When I Was Just a Kid interviews. What were you like as a child? How does that connect to the writer you are today? If anyone would like to do an interview on my When I Was Just a Kid blog, do leave a comment with your email for me to contact you. Even if you haven't published, it might help connect the dots for you as you discover your own writing voice.

Let's find the truths about our own writing together.


Jan Marie Newby said...

I had no idea that you had such a difficult childhood, Crystal. But, knowing you now, I can see that all of those tough times combined to make you the strong, loving, compassionate person that you are today. Your story proves that adults don't have to become victims of their childhood, but can grow through adversity.

Karen Lange said...

You're so cute! Yes, I'm in when it comes to finding out about our writing together.

Candy said...

I remember rick-rack! My mom made most of my clothes and was a fan of rick-rack. Even though Mama is almost 90, she still likes to look at fashion magazines and "line up" her outfits for several days at a time.

Rachael Phillips said...

Actually, we have some similarities in our backgrounds, Crystal. My mom also had TB, but as a teen. As a result, she's battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease all her life. Somehow, she raised all five of us kids and is now 80.

I also sported the fall-down ponytail style when I was that age, but unlike you, I've never gotten past the played-tag-at-recess look.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

Great pic! My hair was often pulled back in a ponytail, but without the bangs.

I'd heard your story before, but you added another layer of how it affected you.

Susan :)

Story and Logic Media Group said...

Hi Crystal. Your pictures remind me of my youngest sister. She was a blonde with fly-away-hair and her pictures look a bit like yours.

I had fly-away-hair too, but not so cute and blonde. =)

Christine said...

I always find your story so encouraging, Crystal. And if anyone wants to read it in fuller detail, Crystal wrote it and it's posted on my blog titled "The Story of My Heart"