My small room at our house in Anaheim absolutely terrified me. When I went to bed, I would lay frozen in fear as I pictured a frightening man flying through the window over my bed with an axe in his hand, and he was going to kill me. Night after night that scene played out in my head until I felt the sweet relief of sleep overtake me.
Several times during the week I would be awakened late at night from terrifying nightmares. With my heart pounding in my chest and my body paralyzed with fear, I lay curled up in a ball as I pictured the walls of my room getting bigger and bigger while I got smaller and smaller.
One night I woke up late at night and had to go to the bathroom. When I got out of bed to walk to the bathroom, my legs refused to move. For some reason, I was absolutely terrified to leave my bedroom. Finally, unable to ignore my aching bladder, I squatted down and peed on the floor.
Some mornings Mom would laughingly tell me that she had found me wandering around the house sleepwalking. One time, late at night, I walked past her and Fred in my underwear while they watched TV in the living room. When Mom asked where I was going, I told her I was going outside. Mom thought that was very funny.
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My second grade teacher was a very kind lady named Mrs. Gosney. Mrs. Gosney had Brother in her class the year before, and she was very happy to be teaching me this year.
As in first grade, I still found it difficult to stay focused and complete my assignments. Mrs. Gosney was always very kind and patient with me, and she would often sit next to me and help me finish my work.
I loved and trusted Mrs. Gosney and did my best to work hard for her.
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My favorite part of school was recess. I spent most of my recess on the monkey bars swinging hand over hand down the bars going from one end to the other. When my arms got tired, I would loop my knees over the bars and hang upside down for a while.
Playing on the monkey bars was a lot of fun, but it caused painful blisters to form on the palms of my hands. Most of the time I was able to ignore the pain and continue to play, but when the blisters broke open, the skin peeled back, and my palms became raw and painful. When that happened, I was forced to take a break until they healed.
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In math class we were learning to count by two. I practiced and practiced and practiced. One day when Mom, Fred, Brother and I were riding in the car, I started trying to count by two. I sat in the back seat and recited my numbers out loud often making mistakes.
Fred reached back and roughly pulled me over the seat to the front and sat me on his lap.
"Now, starting counting!" he said.
Every time I made a mistake, Fred spanked me. It did not take me long to learn to count by two with Fred's specialized tutoring. By the time I could count by two perfectly, I was sobbing so hard I could hardly breathe.
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During the school year Mrs. Gosney and the other second grade teachers planned various field trips for us to go on. Those trips were always a nice break from the everyday monotony of school, and I always looked forward to boarding the school bus for our exciting adventure of the day.
When I started to get upset at the bad things that were happening to me at home, Mom would do something nice for me. Today she was going with us on our field trip to the Japanese Village and Deer Park.
Mom had never been on a field trip with me before, and I was very excited to show my beautiful and smart mom off to my classmates. I felt very loved and special that day.
The morning we were to leave for the trip was sunny and beautiful. Mrs. Gosney had the door to the classroom open to welcome the parents that were coming along.
While we waited, Mrs. Gosney took out flashcards, and each student read aloud the word on the card.
When I saw Mom walking up to the class, I was excited to see her, and my heart swelled with pride. I couldn't believe how lucky I was that she decided to go on the field trip with me!
Before we got on the bus, each parent was assigned a small group of children to watch over for the day.
After we boarded the bus, I sat next to Mom in the seat. I kept a close eye on Mom and listened jealously when my friends talked to her. Although I was happy Mom came with me on the trip, I wanted her all to myself.
When we got to the park, we separated into groups. We spent the day walking through the beautifully-designed Zen gardens with brightly colored buildings, lanterns, waterfalls and ponds and looking at the beautiful Geisha women that worked at the park. My favorite part of the day was when we got to feed the deer that roamed freely throughout the park.
Later in the afternoon we gathered in a grassy area and ate the sandwiches and cookies that we had brought from home.
After lunch we again boarded the bus to go back to school.
That was the only field trip Mom ever went on with me, and that was a memory I cherished for many years.
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After Mom bought Quazar, we spent more time at the stables, often staying late into the evening, while she broke him to ride.
In the evenings Mom picked us up from Marion's house, and we went to the stables. Before Mom went to work with Quazar, she put Sunshine's bridle on, and I rode her around the stables.
When I was done riding, I played in the dirt and made little mud pies.
Soon dinnertime passed and the sun went down and it got cold out. My stomach growled with hunger, and I started to shiver. Brother was off playing with his friends, so I could not count on him to beg Mom for food. I was afraid to bother Mom when she was working with Quazar, because I knew she would get very angry.
A couple of hours later Mom got hungry and left me and Brother at the stables and went to go get us something to eat.
When she came back, she handed me and Brother each a little red-and-white striped box full of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and coleslaw from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I sat down on a bench and hungrily opened my box of food and grabbed a piece of chicken. As I sank my teeth into the juicy and flavorful meat, I moaned in happiness. I loved Kentucky Fried Chicken!
To be continued…