My entire life has been one dichotomy after another. From birth to age two and a half, I was spoiled rotten.
My Sissy (Euvah Bryant) was eight years older than me, I had four male cousin's (all at least eight years older than me) that lived within a mile and my grandparents lived five blocks north. I essentially had a minimum of 9 people to spoil me rotten.
I was raised during a time that I could leave my house and go to my grandparents by myself. If I so much as sneezed between here and there, my nose was wiped, temperature checked, and Grans had already been notified. I couldn't blink funny without it being reported to my Grans and/ or Moma and daddy.
And then there were four. Shari and Danny were born on March 15, 1969 when I was two and half. Man! I was thrilled! I crawled back and forth from one crib to the other. I was enthralled.
Then I realized that I was not the center of attention anymore and to add insult to injury, they weren't leaving!!!
It may not have hit so hard but Moma lost Brian the year before I came. It devastated Euvah.
When Moma got pregnant, she just felt like something was off and so didn't let on she was pregnant. One morning were woke up and Moma was in the hospital. Twins! Wait... what?
To not know one baby was coming and wind up with two was a bit of a shock... especially to a spoiled rotten almost 3 year old!
With Grans and Granddad down the road until I was 8, I remained pretty sheltered and clueless. Then they moved. Our aunt, uncle, and cousins had moved long ago so that left us.
Moma and Dad divorced and he disappeared into the wind. I remember he came one time, bought ice cream, and the next time I saw him, Moma was making us chase him down in the mall.
She shrieked at him, he bolted, and that was that. The next time I saw him was when I abruptly moved to Selma, AL in October 1980 to live with him and my Grans.
In 1981 he moved to Tulsa and I stayed with Grans.
Back to the dichotomy. From 8 - 10, Sissy (Euvah) protected me and the twins from the horrors awaiting us. The worst we got were beatings over which she had zero control.
Even though I was sheltered to a degree we were dirt poor and I knew it. Euvah and I shared a bedroom into which snow drifted and we had to sleep under plastic sheeting when it was raining to stay dry.
It was common to not have milk, cereal, water...
If I remember correctly from Euvah and Melanie (Our cousin on Moma's side), when Moma had the twins Grandma Davis and Mel came from El Reno. When they arrived, they found 10 year old Euvah at home with me, Shari, and Danny.
There was no food in the house and Euvah was doing the best she could to feed us with nothing. Grandma went to the store and bought groceries.
Euvah married Steve the March after her 18th birthday, and while a senior in high school. Moma got pissed because Euvah was no longer under her control, no longer her built in maid, babysitter, general factotum, and whipping post. John was pissed because his play toy dared get out. As a result, Moma and John did everything in their power to keep Euvah from seeing us.
Lucky for us, neither of them cared to keep track of us all of the time meaning that we found ways to see her. Okmulgee is a small town and so long as we were home by the time the street lights came on, no one really cared.
Once Euvah could no longer shield us, the abuse got bad, fast.