I don’t remember much of being punished before my mom remarried.

Just one time – we were living with my Grandma Harris – so this was post-divorce – and we had come home from something and I was all dressed up.

It must have been early summer because the above-ground pool was set up and was just being filled (with a hose) – not one of those huge above-ground pools, but good sized for kids.

I begged to be allowed to go wade in the pool as it filled, but I was told absolutely not.

Of course, I did it.

And all would have been fine except – I fell and got totally soaked.

For once my Grandma was absolutely furious with me and she told me that I was not allowed to use the pool ever again.


I was devastated.

I remember crying and crying, until my mother finally came in and said that, while I was very wrong for doing what I did, I would not be banned from the pool for life.


Once my mom remarried, life became filled with punishment.

My stepfather could be (and since he still is alive, can be) a mean son-of-a-bitch.

Didn’t dry the dishes properly – get dragged out of bed by your hair at 3 a.m. (he was a truck driver) and you and your sister get to wash and dry every dish in the house.

Didn’t scrub the copper bottom of the pans perfectly?  Same thing, only this time you get to scrub every pan in the house.

Get your white socks dirty?  He bought old fashioned scrub boards and we had to hand scrub those socks until they were pristine.

Did something he didn’t like –go to a corner with your nose against the wall at a level that required you to squat painfully for 30 minutes at a time.

Didn’t clean your room to his satisfaction?  You’d come home and find he had totally trashed your room – including pulling the mattress off of the bed.

Yeah, he was a real prince.

He only got physically abusive once.

He kicked me – hard.

And I turned around and told him that if he ever laid a hand on me again, I’d be on the phone to the friend-of-the-court (something they had in Michigan to kind of mediate issues with divorced families) so fast it would make his head spin.

So you see, he had to get clever after that.

And it never occurred to me to call the friend-of-the-court over the other stuff.

Appearances were always very important to my mother.

We lived in a very nice house.

To all appearances.


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