Mom and Fred were not married very long before they started fighting. Brother and I often hid in his room and watched our favorite TV shows such as Dragnet, Emergency!, Marcus Welby, MD and Adam-12 on his little black-and-white TV while they fought.
When there was nothing left to watch on the three TV channels, Brother would turn the dial to UHF and flip through the fuzzy channels looking for another one of our favorite shows, Davey and Goliath.
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That summer Brother and I continued to go to work with Fred and his father on the weekends to the various events they worked at while Mom was at the stables.
If it wasn't dark when we got home, Brother and I played outside with the kids in the neighborhood and rode our bikes.
Brother had a friend across the street named David whom he played with. Brother and David frequently got in to arguments while they played. Whenever Brother talked about David, he angrily called him an Egghead.
Brother seemed to be getting angrier and angrier as time went on. He often found fault with his friends and would stop playing with them.
Unfortunately, I did not escape Brother's growing anger. I was beginning to fear his cruel fists and the hurtful names he called me, and I tried to keep away from him as much as I could.
It was around this time that Brother started getting heavy nose bleeds several times during the week. When his nose would start to bleed, Brother would start sobbing and moaning, and Mom would go into his room to try to comfort him.
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I played with a little girl named Lois who was my age and lived two doors down from me. Lois had a little black dog named Chaos, and we would often play with him in her yard.
Across the street lived twin girls named Michelle and Mashent. I was fascinated by these beautiful little twins, and I would often go to their house to play with them. Every time I saw them, I called them MichelleMashent until one day their mother corrected me and said their names were Michelle AND Mashent. I was very surprised to learn they had separate names.
When there was no one to play with, I played with my roller skates that I got for Christmas.
I had quickly learned that roller skating with one skate on was easier than two after I lost my balance several times, fell down and bloodied my hands and knees when I first got my skates.
After I got out my skate out of the garage, I put my foot in the leather boot and laced up the laces, and I was ready to go. With a skate on my left foot and a tennis shoe on my right foot, hopping and running with my right foot and furiously pumping my arms, I soon gained speed.
Soon the wind was whipping through my hair, and adrenaline was flowing through my body. As I skated, I pictured my neighbors lining both sides of the street clapping and cheering me on as I flew past them.
Once I got to the end of the block, I turned around and came back. Over and over I skated up and down our street until I was sweaty and tired.
I loved my roller skates!
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When it got dark, the streetlights came on, and our friends had to go home. Eventually Brother and I got bored being outside alone and went in the house.
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Several times that summer Sunshine and I went trail riding with Mom. Sunshine continued to get us in to trouble on those rides despite my silent prayers. Time and time again during those rides Sunshine would feel the sting of Mom's whip on her butt, and off she would go running and bucking down the trail with me on her back screaming in terror.