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Less Than Humble Beginnings- 2,000 words

I thought I would, for the next few days, start sharing the first 2,000 words from my various titles with you-and exactly 2,000. If that ends in the middle of a sentence, so be it. I know it is always a big chance when you purchase digital books, or books from little know authors. I figure that by sharing these snippets with you, I may be able to introduce you to a book you may enjoy reading. If you like what you see, you can feel free to purchase the books at the links below. If you don’t like what you see, come back again each day to experience a new book you may just fall in love with!

3

Until I was fifteen years old, I lived in a little rundown cottage in small-town, east-central Florida with my mother and my younger sister. I didn’t know my real father, and I’m not even sure if my mother knew who he was. If she did, she never talked about him or told me anything about him. Nor had I ever kept a ‘stepfather’ for very long. Sure, my mother brought home random men, and would tell us that we had a new ‘father.’ But the longest anyone had ever stayed was one year. That man had been abusive, anyway. I was thankful only that, though he had beaten us, he had never tried to touch my sister or myself.

I’d like to say to myself that my mother would have done something about the last, but when she was drinking it was very hard to tell what she would or would not do or care about. Then there was the little fact of her not caring that that particular stepfather had routinely beaten me. She had just kind of overlooked the fact, no matter how often I told her about it.

Despite the men in and out of my mother’s life, it had really always been just us three females for the most part. Since I didn’t know who my real father was, we obviously didn’t have any contact with his family; we didn’t even really have much contact with my mother’s family either. In fact, they became less and less a part of our lives as the years wore on, until it was almost as though my distant memories of them had always just been dreams.

You see, my mother’s father had died before I was born and her mother had died when I was four. She had a brother, who I was told would always be a perpetual bachelor, and a sister. The last time I had seen either of them was when I was about ten years old. My mother had decided she didn’t want anything else to do with them.

See, my mother’s father was a full blooded Choctaw. Her mother’s mother had been a full blooded Cherokee, and her mother’s father from typical European ancestry-Irish in particular. My mother had never liked that she was Native American, and despite being three-quarters, she would deny the fact whenever she found it possible. I’m not sure why, since from what I had learned in school I knew it was an interesting ancestry to have. My uncle and aunt, however, fully embraced their heritage. It’s an odd thing to drive a family apart. After all, it isn’t something that can be helped. You are either born into a specific heritage or race or you are not. It’s as simple as that. But that was my mother for you. No one ever proclaimed her to be a ‘reasonable’ sort of person.

When I was fifteen, however, things changed drastically. My mother died. That was the point in time when my life got turned upside down and inside out. She had a little too much to drink one night before getting behind the wheel and was hit by an oncoming truck. She was the one in the wrong- barreling down the road in the wrong lane at a speed that was much more than the actual speed limit. The doctors said that she died on impact, and for her sake, I hope that it’s true. That’s a horrible death for a person to have. In a small way, the whole ‘tragedy’ was downgraded by the fact that she was being the irresponsible one.

That wasn’t all, though. No, an even bigger twist to this turn of events emerged shortly after her death. What did my mother leave in her will? Who did she leave me and my little sister to? None other than her pretty much estranged sister, who I had not seen in a good five years. I never knew why she did that, and at first, I was furious. But at that time, I was furious at the world and everything in it.

Upon my mother’s death, I took it upon myself to make sure that my little sister was taken care of. Babette was a good deal younger than I was; at the time of our mother’s death she was only nine. The only emotion she felt was sadness, which was completely understandable. Much more understandable, in fact, than my relentless fury. I had always taken care of Babette. It would turn out, however, that I was much more dependent on my little sister than she was on me. In fact, she didn’t really need me as much as I needed to feel as though I was needed. It gave me a purpose in life- a drive.

It took one week for all of the initial paperwork to go through. During that one week, Babette and I worked at packing up what we wanted. Everything my mother had owned was left to us- myself, in particular. While it wasn’t much, it was still a good bit for two underage girls. We took our personal belongings, a few extras, and I asked the lady temporarily in charge of us to sell everything else. The lady promised that she would do as I had asked, and that she would send the money to me when all of the sales were final. I supposed that included the house, which my mother had also owned, surprisingly. I didn’t really trust her and I didn’t think that she would actually send me any money. But I didn’t really care, either. Then, exactly seven days after everything was pushed into play, they arrived.

Who were they? Well, two men that looked entirely like strangers to me. They basically were strangers. Turns out they were my uncles. The shorter of the two was my mother’s brother, my Uncle James. The taller of the two, complete with shoulders so broad I feared they’d block out the sun, was my aunt’s second husband. Apparently, five years ago she had remarried after divorcing her first husband, and so I had a new uncle: Uncle John.

Although I knew their intentions were good, I was, of course, intentionally rude. I did not hug my blood uncle, and I did not introduce myself to my new uncle. I huffed, I puffed, and I loaded all of our items up into the vehicles with over-enthusiasm. Boxes banged and crashed when I heaved them into the truck. Well, as I helped to load them up anyways. We were bringing our beds and dressers, and a few other small pieces of furniture. I thought one of the two men were going to complain about it at first, but low and behold, they had come prepared with two small U-haul like storage bins attached to the backs of two decent sized pick-up trucks- one white and one red, both equally beat up in appearance.

When it was time to get in, I learned that Babette and I would each have to ride in one truck. That’s all there was room for. At first, I protested, but Babette didn’t seem to mind. Her acceptance of the situation was one of the first things that alerted me to the fact that my need of her was greater. She rode with our Uncle James enthusiastically and I was forced to hesitantly climb in next to the unknown uncle.

Uncle John tried to make small talk at first, but I didn’t want any part of it. Although I was being intentionally rude, I couldn’t be too rude. I had just been raised too right, although upon hearing what you have just heard, you will probably find that very hard to believe. So instead of ignoring him completely or being a Chatty Kathy, I took the middle road by answering Uncle John in short, clipped answers. Silently, I despised that my mother had somehow managed to drill Southern-style manners into my very being. A small part of me couldn’t help but be at least marginally grateful my mother had somehow managed to raise me right.

“So how old are you, Willamina?” Uncle John asked.

“15, and don’t call me Willamina.” My voice reeked of attitude.

He didn’t get mad, but instead calmly noted, “That’s your name though, isn’t it?”

“Kind of. No one calls me that though.” I said in my own way of an explanation.

“What would you have me call you then?”

“Willie.”

He nodded his head to show that he understood, saying, “Okay, Willie it is then.” We drove in relative silence for a few more miles before he tried engaging me in conversation again. “What do you normally do for fun?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. Read, write, sports, I guess.”

“Oh?” He seemed even more genuinely interested now. “What sports do you like?”

I shrugged again. “I watch football and NASCAR. I play softball and ride my bike a lot.”

“Who’s your team? For football, I mean.”

“College or NFL?” I asked. Despite wanting to be rude, his continued patience with me and my nasty demeanor was slowly pulling me out of my shell- reluctantly, of course.

“Both.”

“For college I like the Gators and Roll Tide. For the NFL, I like the Bucs and the Packers.”

He nodded his head. “Good choices. I’m an Alabama fan myself. For the NFL, I follow the 49ers and the Falcons both. Have to admit that the Packers are one heck of a team though.”

I nodded my head. I thought that last fact was obvious, but I didn’t say it aloud. We rode in silence again for a few moments, and then it was me who broke the silence. “Why didn’t Aunt Janie come to get us?”

He glanced over at me, and smiled, “She had to stay home with the kids. I’m not sure if they’d survive a few days without her.” He laughed.

I didn’t laugh with him. Instead, I asked, “How many kids?”

“Five.” He answered as if that were the most normal answer in the world.

Five? That’s a lot of kids.” I exclaimed.

Uncle John laughed, “Yeah, I guess it is. But we each had two before we married, and we had one together.”

“Oh,” came my monosyllable answer.

My thoughts were now on what kind of zoo I was being brought to. I had only ever lived with one other child: my little sister. I had no idea what it would be like to be one of five…no, scratch that. There were already five waiting wherever it was we were going. Add me and Babette and that made seven. What would it be like to be one of seven?

~~~~~

When we left the house it had been around noon. We drove until six, when we finally crossed out of Florida and into Alabama. We stopped at a little diner and ate something. I wasn’t that hungry, but I managed to eat a small ‘all day breakfast’ special of two eggs, toast, and sausage. It was the kind of all day breakfast special that almost every small diner in the South offered. I think that if I were to be absolutely honest, I chose that meal because it was something I found familiar. Familiarity was something that appeared to have been thrown out of the window with my mother’s death.

After our meal, it was back into the trucks for another two hours. When we stopped, we were still in Alabama. We hadn’t crossed any more borders yet. It I thought you might be interested in this page from Amazon.was slow going with two trucks and trailers having to tail one another for so many miles.

We stopped to rest for the night at a little campground. Uncle James went into the little cottage that served as an office and booked a site for the night. We drove to the site and set everything up. Two tents were pitched, and a fire was started. I sat at the…

If you liked what you read,  you can feel free to purchase the book on Kindle, Amazon Paperback, Barnes & Noble Paperback, Nook, Kobo, OmniLit, or Books-A-Million.

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