My adoption story AKA: "We ain't in Kansas anymore Toto contd."
Amom's disappointment over my lack of "feminine qualities" became worse and involve more of my missing qualities the older i got. Her reactions to my faux pas would become even more confusing and painful as well.
I have never been an overly organized person. Even today my desk is always covered with half completed projects and my file cabinet is used to store more office supplies and snacks then files. It may look like a cluttered work space but I know where everything is and can lay my hands on it at any given moment. It drove my Amom to distraction that I was such a slob by her description.
She in contrast was the most organised person known to man. Our house looked like a picture in House Beautiful. My Adad used to joke how he was afraid to get up at night to go to the bathroom for fear she would get up and make the bed before he returned. She would even straighten up the house before the maid showed up!
During my childhood my Amom worked as an executive secretary for a large chemical plant and my Adad workrd at the same plant as an operator. Between them both money was good and afforded our family with a comfortable living. We lived in a brand new beautiful modern (for the time) 3 bedroom brick home in the newest section of a small community in South TX. Among my peers my family were considered upper middle class.
I had a large bedroom filled with everything any child would want, Growing up I was afforded all the newest toys and stylish clothes most girls could only dream of. We had a maid who came every day so housework for me was not expected. To anyone on the outside it looked like I lived a charmed existence.
The small community we lived in was populated with the majority of my Amom's family. Her grandfather had been one of it's first settlers so there were few people in town who didn't know who our family was. I couldn't go anywhere that some member of the family didn't know me and who my parents where. The grocery store was owned bt Amom's uncle, the dime store, an aunt, the drug store, a cousin...
The school my cousins and I attended was a private parochial school founded by Amom's grandfather, and attended by our parents and grandparents. Failure was not an option and perfect grades expected with no excuses for anything less than an A+ allowed. If the unimaginable happened our parents heard about it before we got home. It was very clear to anybody who paid attention the whole family were perfectionists and anyone who wasn't were not acceptable. It was no wonder that before the end of my second year in school I would find myself the family scapegoat.
My Amom's family was large with 6 children in her immediate family alone. Each of them had an average of 4 children. I was an only child and that in itself made me the odd ball out. The other family members, adults and children, considered me spoiled and pampered since I didn't have to share my parents like they did and had no problem telling me that. Sundays after church were spent at their parents home for lunch surrounded by cousins of all ages. Everyone attended the ball games or recitals of the other siblings children as well. If a cousin of mine had a part in a school play, even if only to raise the curtain, it was expected that the whole family attended. Afterward the whole family would meet up somewhere to dscuss the event and crow over the person involved.
Critiques were given with my grandparents being the most important. I learned early on that not getting their positive approval was the worst crime and punishment could mean being ostracized by the whole group. I don't remember anyone ever coming to anything I was involved in, even when I graduated from high school 2 yrs early at 16. No one even offered an excuse why and I only got the nerve to ask one time when All I got was silence and the subject was quickly changed. Later my Amom told me to never embarass her like that again.
Holidays meant being surrounded by Amom's family. Most of my childhood memories revolve around these people. Yet my memories these days don't create the warm fuzzy feelings they would be expected to. While there was never any fights or arguments to cloud them, there was for me the feelings that for some reason I was not a part of the occasion. I aways felt like an uninvited guest, a party crasher that while no one ever was outwardly rude to or was asked to leave. I always felt i was on the outside looking in, not really welcomed company.
The year of my 13th birthday would become the year of my education on where I stood as a family member in this large clan. It would be the start of the most painful time period of my life that would climax 35 years later.
To be continued...