I was born in an old brick house that my parents use to call home. To welcome me into the world were my proud grandparents, five brothers, and three sisters. I got to be lucky number nine, but my luck wasn’t all that great.Just after I turned a year old, I was taken away from my family against my parents will. It was just too much for my parents to handle nine children, with the tenth soon to come. The family that took me away had just planned to keep me until my family was better off. I don’t think they knew I was going to be with them for six whole years.I grew up under an iron rod; the family that was now raising me as their own, was very strict. I was constantly in trouble, and being punished for what I had done. I learned right from wrong at a very young age; I also learned how to treat others, to always put their needs before mine.
I was living a pretty good life; my new family loved me, cared for me, spent a lot of time with me and I even had my own dog and a house. Okay, so it wasn’t really my house; my family had this old barn they weren’t using anymore, when I came they fixed it up nice and it became my playhouse.
My playhouse had everything a child could ask for; I had dolls, furniture, and even a chalkboard. My favorite game to play was ‘school’, I used to line up my dolls on an old wooden bench and pretend I was the teacher. I loved going to school, then bringing back everything I had learned that day, and teaching it to my “students.”
The school I went to was right up the road from where I lived, it was a one roomed schoolhouse with a huge play area behind it, as well as an out-house (one for the boys and one for the girls). Usually the older kids sat up front and the youngsters sat at the back. I loved and hated sitting at the back of the class, I loved it because I thought the teacher couldn’t see what I was doing, and I hated it because I discovered he could. Even as a five-year-old I had a habit of staring out the window at nothing and daydreaming.
I loved daydreaming; my fantasy world seemed to be more of a reality to me than the world I lived in. I used to imagine I had a twin; we would play together in the tall grass, chase butterflies, and watch as the sunshine fell like drops of golden dew.
When I was about five, I met the next best thing. She came to my house one warm summer day, and we had a blast. I showed her everything I held dear to my heart. She is my younger sister, Lena, but I didn’t know she was my sister. I just knew that I began to love her dearly, and I still do. I no longer had an imaginary twin; I had a real best friend.
Sadly that was the one and only time I saw her in a long time. My mind found other imaginary friends, but my heart wept for her every day. Slowly I began to draw back into my lonely shell of dreams and imagination.
My family noticed that I was no longer the bubbly, rosy little girl they had taken in, they were scared of what would happen if they just let it be. They tried to make me more sociable, they would send me across the street to play with other little girls from school.
I really hated being with those girls; I was the object of all their games and the butt of all their jokes. I couldn’t stand being with them; everyday my little heart broke just a bit more. One day I decided I had had enough, I started hitting, pinching, and pulling hair; anything that would make them hurt as much as they had hurt me. In the end all that did was earn me the strap on my bare bottom.
It seemed that everything I did earned me that strap. I remember one time I must have done something really bad because I couldn’t sit down without wincing for a week. Eventually I learned to solve my problems by telling my father about what was happening. My father would hold me tenderly in his arms and tell me everything would be okay, then he would go over to the girls’ parents.
At that point things started getting better. The girls, who had been so mean to me, left me alone, and girls who had ignored me before became my friends. My social skills also improved a lot, and I started being more outgoing. I started befriending the younger girls at school. I knew what it was like for them, having walked in their shoes for so long.