When I think of my life the memories come with stops and starts while the time frames are determined in my mind by location. With a dad who is a minister the moving is a given. When younger the moves were a fact of life --- when older the moves were upheavals. To tell my story and not explain the nature of the moves would be like ignoring the elephant in the room. So a quick synopsis.
- Born in Charlotte / lived in Moorseville
- Wilmington -- I was young when we moved here but I'm unsure of the exact age.
- We lived across the road from my aunt and uncle and in the same city as both sets of grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins. I have memories of:
- dancing around the living room, jumping on the couches (not our house of course), sleepovers with cousins eating potato chips with ketchup or ranch, playing games on the floor at Grandmama and Grandaddy Cotton's, Reese's Pieces hidden in a coat pocket, dancing to Footloose, gymnastics off the fireplace at Grandmother and Grandaddy Todd's.... and many more...
- Whiteville ---Kindegarten through half of 4th grade
- We loved in a house with a giant pine standing at the end and possums that enjoyed looking in our front door at night. The tree I feared during hurricanes. We lived in a neighborhood and I had friends. We played in the woods behind our house, built clubhouses, climbed through the sewage drains, roller skated on our steep driveway, and flew down the hill on our bikes.
- I had friends at church and sleepovers were common. I had my first "best friends" --- and then we moved. This one was a challenge but in hindsight it began to build my tolerance.
- This is where my first memories of my mom's illness surface. Along with a long held belief that her disease was caused by me. I could point fingers. I could name names. Words spoken to a child should be carefully selected. But the truth of the matter is I held it near and dear to my little heart and kept quiet. For me to speak of the hurt would cause my mom more pain and confirm the "truth." Years later I spoke the details of this truth to one individual and I watched her tears fall. Her reassurance and the love in her eyes began to soothe a portion of a very bruised heart....