Today is the third day of the writing challenge and the subject will be age 3. It is a long post, I tried to make it shorter but there is so much to tell.
I turned 3 on August 23rd 1988.
My mother has a gift for making delicious, mouth watering cakes that make the back of your mouth tingle they are so good. Every year for my birthday, she would let me pick out a mold for a cake, make me my choice of flavor and then decorate it. She also had a knack for decorating. I can remember watching her mix powdered sugar with water and food coloring to get the frosting color she needed, the white bags you fill with frosting, making rows and rows of tiny stars very slowly and carefully as she would decorate Barbie, GI Joe, Carebears or whatever I had picked for that year’s cake. I do not posses the patience or technique for cake decorating–most of my cakes that I attempt to decorate come out looking as if a small preschooler tried to decorate it.
Birthday’s were a big deal in my house and to this day I still go over the top for birthday’s of friends and loved ones. I can’t remember my birthday party when I was three, I think that is the year that I requested GI Joe for my cake but I am not positive. One thing I am certain of is that my neighbor Jennifer Wood was there and my other neighbor Jason was most likely in attendance as well.
Jennifer lived beside me from the time I was 16 months old till I was 5. We had many adventures together during that time and formed a friendship that has lasted to this day. Her parent’s divorced when we were 5 and she moved a couple towns over. I can remember the day they finished moving and she was no longer my neighbor. We were standing on the sidewalk outside my house, right at the end of my fence and I couldn’t hardly look at her. I felt helpless. I didn’t want her to leave me but it was out of my control. I don’t remember what was said that day but that feeling of thinking that Jennifer was gone forever was overwhelming.
Jennifer wasn’t gone forever though.
Even after she moved we kept in close contact and spent about every weekend together till we were around 14. There were some big changes to our friendship when we turned 14 but that is a story for later.
When I was three, Jennifer was my neighbor on the right and Jason was my neighbor to the left and we played all the time together.
Jason was younger than us and quiet. He was so sweet and loyal it was hard not to have a soft spot for him. He would even spend the night sometimes and we would stay up for what seemed like hours, talking and giggling My mother would come and quiet us down, reiterate that it was bedtime and no sooner had she left we were right back at it. I never thought much about Jason coming to spend the night, I never thought it was odd that he was so quiet and I never paid attention to his bruises. We were young and when we were together, we were happy and that is about all that mattered to us kids. Jason’s dad, Jaimy had long black hair and a goatee. I can remember what he looked like really well. He was scary and mean to Debbie, Jason’s mom. My parent’s did not like me going inside Jason’s house when Jaimy was home. I never knew why but he scared me something awful so I did as they asked.
Then Jason was moving like many other of my playmates would throughout my life and I didn’t see him for a good long while.
The next time I saw him, the bruises were impossible not to notice all over his poor little face. We had bought him a matchbook cars set as a gift. My mom told me that Jason was sad and needed a gift to cheer up. He lived in a trailer house at that point and we sat in the floor playing while our mom’s talked. I remember it was early in the morning and it was either spring or fall because there was a crispness in the air. I don’t remember how old I was though, I would guess around the age of five. Jason was probably four.
My mom never explained his bruises until I was much older. As you have probably concluded, his father was a puss of a man and would beat Jason and his mother. He had a drinking problem and my guess is probably a drug problem as well because his family was very poor even though Jaimy was a truck driver and I know he had to make decent money. Jaimy was not there the day we visited Jason at his trailer house because he was in jail where he deserved to die. I’m not sure how long he was incarcerated but when he got out, Debbie took him back. I know this because we randomly ran into Debbie and Jason years later when I was 13. We were at the skating rink and although he was older I recognized him right away. He wouldn’t talk to me, he didn’t remember me but his mom told us that Jaimy was a changed man and was a good father and would take Jason with him on his hauls sometimes. That was the last I saw of Jason and his family but sometimes I think about him and I pray he is in good mental and physical health.
My neighborhood changed very quickly in the late 80’s. Homeowners began to move out and rent their houses to unsavory types and the house values began to drop dramatically. Rent houses meant that families would come and live for 6 months to a year and then move. My parent’s were trapped in a 30 year note with a house that wouldn’t sell for what it was worth because of the value of the surrounding houses. Many children came and went over the years but my family always stayed. Sure, there were a few of us that lived there majority of our lives and my mom still lives in the house today–still working on that 30 year note. Every single bicycle I had as a child was stolen from the front yard. Never failed, go home for a glass of kool-aid and to cool off for a minute in the AC and return to a missing bike. You always put it in the garage and shut the door and the one time you didn’t, your bike would be gone. I remember riding around the neighborhood with my dad when this happened looking for my bike. My mom has a guard dog these days that has alerted her and her neighbor’s out of sleep due to burglar’s on several occasions. I don’t think I relized how bad the neighbor hood had become until last christmas. My husband had parked his work truck at my mom’s house while we were visiting for the holidays and the police took a picture of his truck without us knowing. They sent the picture in to my husband’s company headquarter’s with a note explaining that he was seen in a location that was under heavy drug surveillance. When his company questioned him about the area he was seen in, we were both a bit puzzled and had to prove residence of family at the address. It is a rough area these days, I would even label it a ghetto at this point. When I visit, you still see the children out on their bikes although not as often and I can’t help but wonder about their home life. Do those children have comfort? Do they have a safe place? Do they even know what is surrounding them?