jcbellah


My name is Jim, I’m an alcoholic
March 11, 2012, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Strange thing to name a blog, but to be honest that’s an important factor in my life.  Who I was, what happened and who I am now.

I’m 66 now, will be 67 in a few months.  Although I don’t think of myself as elderly yet, I am old.  My wonderful wife, Chris (the love of my life) is gone this weekend and I haven’t slept well.  I don’t do that when she’s not home for some reason.  I woke up at 1:30 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I got to thinking that it might be a good idea to chronicle some thoughts about who I am and how I got here.  Nobody might be interested, but then again, who knows?

I need to qualify this in saying that a lot is from memory, some from what I heard my parents tell others when I was a kid, what they told me, some information my brother gave me and a few things my sister in law thought I should know over the years that my brother had told her.  Some of my (and their) memories might be false, the brain is a strange organ and it does produce memories that were only imagined.  I hope not too much of this falls into that category.

I was born about 2 weeks before the Japanese surrendered in WWII.  That has little bearing on anything other than a timeline.  What was significant was that my mother was a month shy of her 36th birthday, my dad had just turned 41 and my brother was a couple of months short of being 15.

Now today, that’s not as big a deal.  Lots of people have children later in life, but in my family, it was a bit of a catastrophe.  My parents, although not dirt poor, didn’t have a lot of money.  Neither had much education and my dad had never made much money during his whole lifetime.  From what I’ve picked up, even as a small child, they were looking forward to a life w/o children after my brother left home.  Although I never doubted that my parents loved me, the fact my mother and dad never shared the same bed until I was in high school says a lot.

And there was more to the catastrophe, I was an RH baby.  Now, it’s not that big a deal now since doctors can do things to protect the baby, but then it was a common factor in still born births.  The first child never has a problem, but subsequent ones do.  In fact, my parents lost another little boy around 1936.  I was born a “blue baby”, meaning my skin was blue from lack of oxygen.  My dad had A positive blood type and my mother, B negative.  http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/fancher/RhFactor.htm  tells more about it, if anyone is interested.

Now I don’t know if that was the cause, but I was described by my mother as a “sickly baby” and I did spend a lot of time in hospitals until I was about 10 years old or so.  I really don’t know what the problems were exactly, but I think it had something to do with my lungs.  My parents, again weren’t well educated and were overly trusting of doctors and probably anyone else in authority.  Doctors tend to be condescending to people like them so they really weren’t told much.  I do recall my mother telling someone once that when I was in the hospital at about 4 years old, the doctor said he was treating me as though I had pneumonia although I didn’t.

That was a tough time for my mom.  She had to have all her teeth pulled not long after I was born and wore dentures the rest of her life.  She had what was called then a “nervous breakdown” and was first prescribed tranquilizers (that had just been discovered).  That had a lasting effect on the family that I’ll go into later.

I can remember spending a lot of time at Dad’s gin office when I was little.  I have this memory of riding a tricycle around and around in a big empty room and him letting me play with his old Remington typewriter. (I still have that, by the way).  I was told years later by my sister in law that this was because they had to keep me away from my mother.  Mom couldn’t handle being around me so the young girls that worked in the office helped Dad take care of me.  Since I do have an independent recollection of spending so much time there, I have no doubt it was true.

On another note, I have a lot of memories of being a real little boy.  A number of people I’ve talked to over the years seem surprised to hear that, but I do.  I was born in 1945, my brother graduated from high school in 1948 and I have distinct memories of him living at home.  Things like the Model T Ford he owned sitting beside the house, I remember breaking a model airplane of his and being terrified that he’d be mad (he wasn’t, I recall that too).  I remember he and his girl friend babysitting me, them making out of the sofa and me going to a neighbor lady’s house.  I also remember the spanking he gave me!  But that makes me believe my memory of being at the gin office is valid and what my sister in law told me makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I’ll stop this one here.  I don’t want them to be overly long and boring, but this gives the reader an idea of the family I came into.

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