*Age 9 – Continually Undermining Linda

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From March 3, 1960 letter grandmother wrote mother (with my comment):

“Too bad about Linda’s money.  I can understand why she wanted to “feel” she had some money in her purse.  Bet it will not happen again.”

[Linda note:  If this comment has anything to do with the Brownie cookie money I lost, I did not steal it.  I walked around Eagle River to collect the money and put it into a Milk Dud box I carried in my hand.  Unlike today’s super-glued packaging, in 1960 the boxes had slits in the bottoms and unbeknownst to me all the money had fallen out the bottom of the box by the time I had returned back to the log house.  I remember being terrified that I would get into trouble just as I was approaching the log house driveway from Eagle River Road and realized the box was empty.  I don’t remember what happened.  I suspect mother must have believed I had stolen it and lied to her and I had spent the money.  Mother did not find that money in my purse though I’m sure she punished me as if she had – exactly like The Bubble Gum Incident versus her version of it.  This is also a perfect example of how neither my grandmother nor my father would have known the truth about what was happening to me.]

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Filed under *October 1960 MOTHER’S LETTERS, this simple statement by my mother in one of her October 11, 1960 letters to my grandmother shows me the kind of constant, chronic undermining of Linda that my mother did:

“They have job openings in California and Arizona.  He’s [dad] interested in Tucson but can’t change now with homestead uncompleted.  I feel Alaska is our home and I never really wish to go elsewhere – I wonder about him.  Well, unless he loses his job – which is very unlikely now – we’ll be here 2 years more to get on our feet and get title.

Personally, I’d rather see Europe than Arizona.  Pooh!

John hates talk of change.  Linda is __________ she never cares [Linda note:  I think I had a stupid mother!  When the hell did she ever ask me what I thought or felt or needed?  So many of her comments about me reflect the insidiousness of her hatred and abuse of me.] – but the others want and need roots.  Especially John – already he wants to start saving to go to University of Alaska.”

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Also interesting is this piece from her December 2o, 1960 letter to her mother:

“I’ll probably write again before Xmas but if I don’t I’ll write all about Xmas right afterwards.

So much love to you and oh, such happy childhood and teen age Xmas memories flood back to me at this time of year!! [Linda note:  my mother’s grandmother hated Xmas – we need to find those papers!]  Don’t ever think I wanted a society life – oh, no!!

Once in awhile, a nite out is plenty.  I have many sides and personalities but my home-body side is definitely the strongest.  Simple, warm and loving is the best!

I loved my life and only hope our children’s memories are as happy.

I too now am concerned that we don’t have a house etc. for them but I know they’re happy.”

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From mother’s November 30, 1960 letter:  “Linda, I found out over week-end when [I was] sick, can do all dishes.  Cindy sets the table and John takes care of the dog and empties the trash.” [is this when the dish-doing nightmare began, then?] —

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From a January 3, 1961 letter (in *MOTHER’S LETTERS – 1961) with my note:

“These last few days we’ve talked and re-talked and know will have to stay here one more year at least!!  We’re not ready to move and are just now feeling our way out of a terrible mess.  We do want to do things at homestead this summer and Bill hopes to get a well dug.  {never happened}

I feel so awful big now I sometimes feel I’ll always be like this so it’s hard to plan next summer.”

[Linda note:  I see this kind of statement, along with the ones where she is having a hard, hard time ‘believing’ she is pregnant, not feeling it, as being related to the ‘evolutionarily altered brain’ Teicher writes about.  Time and place information is not processed in the correct way.  The decision-making cortex does not operate correctly, either.  All these plans my parents made – chaos ruled, not order!]

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Also from this same January 3, 1961 letter:

“Sharon [age 5] can’t wait for Sunday so she can use her precious tiny bible, Her Treasure.

Linda stashed hers away in her drawer and that’s that (that’s the way she is!)  Sharon has begged us to read from it every nite – it just fits her tiny hands and she, Mom, she treasures it.  She’s an angel herself!!

Linda will probably get along better in the world – she’s so realistic and practical!!

Oh, I wish I were more that way!!”

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From January 8, 1961 letter:

[While it should never have been a ‘bad’ thing that I rarely got sick, even though she is not saying it in this letter, it was something else she hated about me — I deserved to get sick.  Her other ‘loved’ children did not.  It should have been me!]

“Just a note – my I’ve been really working today to catch up for last 2 days.  I’ve been in bed Fri. and Sat. with a fever and cold – sort throat and the works!  Linda got it first but never was sick with it.  She has a marvelous resistance.  Then Sharon got it and was in bed one day.”

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From February 20, 1961 letter:

“Oh – the horrible people in the world.  The young girl across the halls yells at her 8 week old baby.  The other nite the baby (so cute too) woke up at 10:00 P.M. and she had the worst temper.  “Teresa, damn you, stop that and go to sleep!  Imagine!”  [Linda note:  Yes, mother, I can imagine.  But would she remember how she treated me?  But then, I would have deserved it.]  Because then the terrified baby really screamed!  On and on it went for hours and kept me awake.

Last nite at 4:30 A.M. it started again – she yells SHUT UP in the awfullest voice and the baby screams louder and then the woman swears and carries on.  I never got back to sleep.  Apartment living is for the birds!!  I could go on and on but why bother?”

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At the same time that these 1960-1961 letters are filled with descriptions about debt, financial difficulties and a lack of money, mother evidently made a distinction between us being basically (in my mind) poor and those that were in my mother’s words, “common.”

From an April 1, 1961 letter to her mother:

“I hate common people….”

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April 14, 1961 letter have given notice to move —  sounds like Dave was her first breast fed baby — “How loved & adored he is.  John worships him.  Next comes Sharon who has grown inches since David came & acts so big now!  The other 2 love him of course, as usual, Linda is always busy with Linda!!  Cindy seems to be jealous some of Sharon’s adoration for David.”

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