Betty had one thing I didn't have, that I loved, she had a big family. As I mentioned she lived down the street with her parents. Here parents were amazing. I loved them immediately, they were so kind to me. Betty also had a sister who lived on the same street, just 4 houses down from her and her sister had 3 kids, all around my age. When everyone go together it was so much fun, and they got together often.
This is significant in itself as I digress a bit. My Mom's parent were both alive when I was young and my Dad's Mom was still alive. On my Mom's side, I was treated well by both her parents, but not with love, I just wasn't treated badly. My maternal Grandpa was the kindest, but he was limited as how nice he could be by my Grandma. He would love to have had me over for the weekend and things like that, but Grandma wasn't going to have it. She didn't really care for kids and didn't want to spend that much time with me, short visits that were "neat and tidy" were her style. Then when my sister was born and came into the picture she didn't want anything to do with us. Two grandkids was one too many and she made that well known. We rarely went over there after that. From what I understand she told my Mom she didn't want anything to do with my sister. No long after all that my Grandfather passed from complications related to his diabetis, so that was pretty much the end of any relations with that part of the family. I never saw my Grandma much after that. She actually lived to be quite elderly, I think she lived to be close to 90. From what I heard she stayed very mentally alert the whole time. She lived in her home by herself until she couldn't any longer, and then moved into an assisted living facility. When this happened, my Mom, to ensure she would not have to help her Mother in any way moved to Texas. My Mom had a Brother she always felt was favored over her, so she decided he could take care of all her needs as she aged. Not long ago I heard when Grandma's body was beginning to fail her my Mom had her Brother ask their Mother if she should come up from Texas for her funeral. Apparently my Mom was told not to bother coming, she wasn't welcome at the funeral. So, that is all very telling as to how my Mom learned to become the Mom she was.
On my Dad's side, his Mom was wonderful, she was my safe place to land many times in my young life. I was lucky that she lived just blocks from our house, in fact my grade school was 4 blocks way, and she lived right in the middle, two blocks from the school, and two blocks from home, so I could even go there on the way home. I spent the night there often and learned many things from my paternal Grandma. My Dad had a sister who had no yet moved from home. Of course because I enjoyed going there so much my Mom hated it and was never kind to my Grandma. It made things difficult and awkward, just like my Mom wanted it.
So, as you can now understand, Betty's big family was nice. As you can guess it wasn't too long after my Dad married Betty and she moved in. Now I had new Grandparents (Grandma and Grandpa Kyle), and new cousins, Billy, Sue, and Julie. All of this just angered my Mom even more. I would play with my new found family all weekend when I visited my Dad because we all lived on the same street. It was great, at least while the weekend lasted. The more fun I had the worse it was when I went home. Unfortunately, (at the time), I was such a happy natured kid I was not able to hide my happiness when I came home and wanted to talk about the fun I had. Obviously, I'm glad I have a happy nature now as an adult, but I wish I had been a more saavy child and realized I would have been much smarter to come home and just not say much. One weekend all of us kids around the my Dads neighborhood had played near a little creek in the area and found a lot of toads or little frogs, I don't remember what they were, or if there is even a difference. We had a blast, catching them and letting them go, making them jump, we had good old fashioned kid fun. I told my Mom about it when I came home and she told me I was going to get warts all over my hands, arms, and body and no one would want to be around me. She kept going with it until I was in tears for days and couldn't sleep because I was so afraid. Finally Butch told me it wasn't true. I still remember that like it was yesterday.
As each weekend went by I began to enjoy the expansion of all the new friendships and family members, it was nice and while I had really enjoyed weekends with just my Dad and I, having all these new people in my world was good for me. As my life impoved on this side, it got worse on the other. I was just enjoying myself way too much for my Mom's liking. She picked apart every weekend. We would all get together and Kyle's house, all the cousins would come, Betty's siblings, Patty and Tom, and we would have a great time. There was giant tree in the back yard that was perfect for climbing. It was great and the visit didn't have to be "neat and tidy". It was one of those place where you could eat desert before dinner if you know what I mean. Here's an example of what she would do. When I came home she would ask, "what did you eat at Kyles house". I would say, hambers or hot dogs, because they always had food grilling, usually burgers and dogs for kids and pork steaks for the adults. We were welcome to eat whatever we wanted, but us kids usually just wanted something we could hold in a bun, run around with, eat quick and keep playing. My Mom would then say, "what did the adults eat" and I would say, they had porks steaks. Then she had a hook..."see, they don't care about you at all, while you're getting a hot dog, they're eating good steak". She would continue this with various topics until by the time she was done I actually thought I had been treated badly, when I hadn't at all. It was a horrible mental game to play with a child, but she played every game and card she could. She would then call my Dad on Monday and say "she had a really bad time, what are you exposing her to on the weekends?" My Dad would remember us all playing and having fun and try to figure out what had gone wrong that he didn't notice. This went on every weekend and only got worse as my Dad's life got better and better. Which it did, quickly...
Ok... thanks for reading and I'll pick up more next week. I know many of you have found you can easily relate and have left messages saying "at least you had one good parent"..... just keep in mind, the story is not over... see you next week!