Tag Archives: child abuse

Make New Friends but Keep the Old

Until I was 10, my best friend was a man 45 years older than I.

We did many of the things best friends would do. Most mornings we’d have breakfast together: He would have a coffee and a cinnamon twist and I would have an orange juice and a cranberry orange muffin from Dunkin Donuts.  We would reach each other’s work: He would critique my homework and I would proofread his rental contracts. In spite of the gender divide, we would allow one to choose clothing for the other: He would pick out my dresses on those rare occasions I received brand new party dresses, always blue or yellow or green, and I would pick out his outfits, always some combination of a neutral short-sleeved cotton button-down shirt and light-colored jeans.

On some nights we’d stay awake until the early morning hours talking about religion, history, books, family. Others, we’d lay a blanket in the yard and stare at the sky. He’d point out the stars and teach me constellations. Occasionally we’d be interrupted by the headlights of a passing car or the orange burn of his cigarette. Sometimes I’d fall asleep and he’d have to take me inside and tuck me into bed. If not, then he would invite me on his bed where he’d read books, passages punctuated by his deep inhalation on a True Blue filtered cigarette.

We spoke to each other about relationships. I would confide in him my frustrations with never having a playmate, with my irritation with my younger sisters or how hurt I was by how I was ignored by my older siblings. He would talk about his childhood with his parents or occasionally about the challenges of being married and how important it is to be understanding of your spouse.

Dad and I were close. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 9, 2011 in auto-biographical


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Slum Lords and Children’s Tales

My father was a slum lord of moderate distinction. To be clear, I don’t think that he enjoyed being a festering tick on the underside of humanity so much as it was that very low-rent apartments were what the underside of humanity could afford and they were all he could afford, too. Believing that property ownership is the pathway to affluence (“always buy land! they’re not making any more of it!”), Dad purchased and managed multiple small apartment complexes in low-income areas located about 9 miles south and $150,000 in annual household income away from our neighborhood. Every month, he’d drive his 1977 Lincoln Continental town car over to pick up rent checks. If the renters were falling on tough times, he’d accommodate and allow them to pay semi-monthly or even weekly, on a money order basis.  He never allowed daily payment plans or cash – both seemed too close to acknowledging prostitution or drug sales. Besides, it wasn’t worth his gas or time to drive there. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 16, 2011 in auto-biographical


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