At a young age I guess I knew my family was not like all of the people around us. Even then though I had no idea it would be full of so much hate and pain. Murder, sexual abuse, physical abuse, poverty, failed marriages, addictions...
I guess my earliest childhood memories best sum up the majority of my childhood. Although that is not to say there were not good times too, they are just hard to remember.
I remember Christmas when I was four years old, my father had been drinking, so that night, he had told us to clean up our room because we had everything scattered as children will.
I was the oldest, so I have often felt this was partially my fault for not doing what he said. We continued to play, me and my two younger siblings and he came back a few minutes later. He was really angry, cussing; throwing things... he told all of us to pick out one toy each. He then went outside, and hey, I thought the storm was over, we had gotten lucky. Then I saw the big burn barrel outside with huge flames coming out.
He came back and told us, we could each keep one toy, aside from that, we were to bring our new and old toys out one by one and put them in the fire. We all cried...but I knew enough to be scared of the fire. My little brother couldn't reach the barrel and each time we went out I would throw his toy in for him while he cried.
At one point I did not make it out at the same time as he did, and when I came out, I remember yellng for him to wait but it was too late, he was trying to reach over the top and ended up leaning against the barrel that was taller than his head. His clothes melted immediately and his little belly was exposed against the barrel, burning his belly a bit too.
Even as I write this all these decades later it makes me cry... but I think that may be the point of this blog... to see if writing it, getting it all out will stop the crying...