Have you ever felt like you were in the fight of your life? Not a physical fight but one of the past? I have battled the past every day of my life and I have learned that you have to dig your heels in every day or it will get the best of you. I have never understood why me? I mean what did I ever do as a young boy to get the shit kicked out of me? Beaten with belts to the point I had welts on me for days, the whippings drew blood. Thrown down stairs, slapped, and the all famous “we will have a three legged race to the hospital so the doctors can get my foot out of your ass”. For some strange reason he liked to kick all of the children on the butt as hard as he could. To this day I believe that’s why I have had so many back problems. I was called names all of my life and got to the point where I believed what I was told. Asshole, dummy, stupid, worthless, I would never grow up to be anything, those are just some of the nice things I have been told. It got me to a point in my life at such a young age where I just didn’t give a fuck anymore. I have spent more time in pastor’s offices, counselor sessions, and psychiatrist’s couches than I care to remember. I have wanted to be dead more days than I have wanted to be alive .I have cried more tears of sadness than happiness .Walked around with no feelings inside , like a shell of a person. I mean what was the point what did I have to look forward to; I have always felt like I have had not only a black cloud hanging over me but a hurricane. I never knew how much parent’s actions affected children till later on in my life. Not only me but the rest of my family, not only mentally but the anger, bitterness, hatred, and low self esteem would creep out of each of us in our own special way. Whether it was through drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, suicide attempts, trouble with police, no one in the family escaped. If you looked at my family from the outside you probably would have said I was lucky to live in a big house in a nice neighborhood. My parents owned a manufacturing company and seemed to have everything in life. On the surface things might have looked great, but you don’t know how dysfunctional my family really is. This my sound odd but I feel the only thing I was good for was getting broken buckets or rags or chains off the expressway. While my father would be driving down the highway and he would see something on the side of the road, he would slam on the brakes almost causing an accident because he would see something that was on the side of the road that someone had dropped or thrown out, or fell off someone’s car. He would tell one of his children to run back and get what he had seen, the only problem with that is he wasn’t getting out, one of us had to. By the time he stopped the car he was a good hundred yards, down the road. We all were almost getting hit by cars on the highway doing seventy miles an hour, they would honk at us. It was like a dodge game with real cars, all for a lousy fifty cent piece of junk that was treated by my father like hitting the lottery. As a young boy I knew things were not right at home. As far back as I can remember my parents only did three things, argued and fought all the time, put on like things were perfect, or didn’t talk to each other. But no matter how bad things were at home, in front of anybody else we had to act like the all American family. I would get really mad when I was young when people use to say “Oh you have such a nice family” I wanted to come back and say “If you like them so much you live with them you asshole”. I hated it then and I hate it today “The game” As I was growing up there was never any emotions shown, it was like emotions never existed. Never a hug or kiss, never even a Merry Christmas, or even when you did well at school or some other accomplishment never told “Good job”. My father was always the type of person it had to be done his way or else. My fathers Aunt put it the best way, she told me later on in life before she passed away “ Your father was a spoiled little brat that needed to be put over somebody’s knee” My father would fly off the handle at any little thing, it was like all of us had to walk on eggshells. One night when was I was very young I was sick; I had a bad chest infection and a temperature. I was up coughing and my father came into my room screaming and yelling at me because and beat the crap out of me because I was keeping him up and he couldn’t get any sleep. My mother always tried to make up for everything, I mean my father would beat the shit out of you and my mother would take you out for ice cream. It wasn’t till years later I would find out the truth about my mother and fathers relationship. One of the experiences I will never forget is the time the whole family went out for lunch. I was about seven years old, and we were at a restaurant and after I ordered I went to the bathroom. I must have been too long in the bathroom because when I came back everyone was gone; I ran all around the restaurant and couldn’t find anyone. I went outside and the car was gone, I was screaming and crying I don’t remember how long it was but they came back and got me. All of this because I didn’t eat my lunch fast enough, I was later told by one of my brothers that they were all told to get into the car and shut there mouths. My mother was screaming at him while they were driving off and when they got down the road she made him turn around. It wasn’t just me he treated like this it was all of us; I have two older brothers, two younger brothers and a sister who is the youngest. My father loved to play each of us children against each other; he seemed to really enjoy us hurting each other. One day all of us children were in the car while my mother was in the grocery store, I had some candy and one of my other brothers wanted some and I wouldn’t share it and we got into an argument. My father turned around from the driver’s seat and told me to punch my brother in the face; the dumb thing is I did it. My father looked at me and smiled, it was almost like I got his approval. He got more excitement from it than I did, I was terrified and I quietly told my brother I was sorry and gave him the candy. I never hit one of my brothers or sister after that; it still makes me sad to this day I ever did that. As time went on my brothers and I grew apart, like a wedge was between us. As things in the family got worse as time went on I started drinking and smoking, I was around twelve years old. I never had to look very far for liquor, it was always in the house and I could get it whenever I wanted. It consumed me at an early age and as time would go on I drank more and more. When that didn’t satisfy me I found drugs, most of the time I was riding around on a bicycle drunk looking for drugs. I would spend more and more time away from home, I would find any excuse to stay out late or find a friends house to spend the night. When I went home it meant going home to parents screaming at each other, or trouble for me. I did enjoy the times my grandparents came over to the house, my mother’s parents. They always made me feel special, and made a big deal of me. I liked my grandpa because he would always pull quarters out of my ear (well I was young and I really believed it) and my grandmother always had a kind word and a hug from her heart. My father’s parents I never really knew all that well, they owned the manufacturing business till my father’s dad passed away and my parents inherited it. My father’s parents were very cold; strictly business my father’s mother would always tell us she didn’t like children. When she was around she expected you to sit up and shut up, don’t speak unless you were spoken to. My grandfather wouldn’t really say much to you if you were lucky he might say something to you. My fathers parents were not the type of grandparents you would jump up in there lap because you were happy to see them, if you did that they probably would have pushed you off and told you to get away. There was definitely a big difference when it came to holidays with grandparents, my fathers parents always gave me twenty silver dollars taped to a piece of cardboard. My mother’s parents always gave gifts from the auctions they would go to. I am not saying the twenty dollars wasn’t appreciated but the gifts from the auction were a lot nicer to me always because they came from the heart. My mother’s parents were never to busy for any of the children, when we would go and visit them at there home they would always make us feel welcome and make a big deal over all of us. I was only at my father’s parents home once that I can remember, I was only allowed to come in the front door and I had to stand on a rug, they didn’t want you there and never really acknowledge me. I wouldn’t learn till many years later what kind of parents my father had. In my opinion my father’s parents had children because it was the thing to do. My father at a young age was shipped off to military school, and when vacation or summers would come they would send him off to live with an uncle on a farm where my grandmother grew up. My father had a sister and she too went off to school and was sent off to live with aunts on another farm on holidays and summers. They both never got along as children and adults; they both thought one was getting more than the other. They both were spoiled children getting everything they wanted, and as adults they both got houses and cars and vacations. But the one thing neither of them got was a loving home; they both were sold out for money. My grandparents loved money and the power it gave them, and if you didn’t have money or measure up in there eyes you were a loser. My grandparents owned a successful manufacturing company that my grandfather had started. I and my older brothers would have to go there every weekend and clean up the shop, Picking up trash and cutting grass, it wasn’t like we wanted to go we had to. I only remember being in my grandparents home one time, I was allowed to just come into the entrance door and had to stand on a little piece of carpeting, they didn’t want you to speak only stand there . You were not allowed to leave the carpeting piece and they meant it, the one thing that my grandparents taught my father is that most people were beneath them. I was taught at an early age to hate everyone, it wouldn’t be till years later that I would find out how wrong they were. Holidays at my home growing up was just a plain embarrassment, it was like feeding time at the zoo. You would think holidays were a time for fun and family, but it was just the opposite, you had to eat everything on your plate whether you like it or not. If you didn’t you would have to sit there till it was all gone, But I ended up getting the last laugh, when there was food I didn’t like I would get my napkin roll the food up in it and hide it underneath the table. When my mother had company over she had to put the extensions in the table, there was a perfect hiding place under the table that no one ever knew about. You could feel the tension at the table; my father’s parents would not waste a thing. As they were eating it reminded me of cows, they would finish there food and clean there plates by licking them. I mean pick them up and lick them clean, they would even get there spoons and scrape the bowls of the food till there wasn’t any food left. My mothers parents just looked in amazement, I know they were embarrassed but they never said a thing. I asked my mother why they did that, she told me that they grew up in the depression. Depression or not that shit was sick, I don’t like to waste things either but that is too extreme for me. I will never forget the day I found out that my fathers dad had passed away, I came down to the breakfast table and my other brothers had come down right after me. My father was sitting at the table, he said to me with no emotions “Could you get me the milk out of the refrigerator, oh and by the way grandpa died last night “and off to school I went. I remember asking my seventh grade teacher that morning about someone dying, and when I told her what happened she just looked at me. I don’t think she knew what to say to me, she looked at me like I was a space alien. I never felt bad or missed the man, I never really knew him. After he passed away the company was divided between my father and his sister, and the war was on. Neither one of them could stand each other, My aunt was married and had children but I only saw them a very few times and when I did I didn’t have anything to talk to them about. Before my grandfather passed away he started another manufacturing company, it to became successful and for reasons I don’t know was moved down south to Alabama. If things were not bizarre enough after my grandfather passed away my father became more out of control, I think it was because his dad was not there to hold him back or keep an eye on him. Plus my father never put the time into work to learn the company, I mean why should he his parents paid him well and paid all of his bills. He could buy whatever he wanted and however much he wanted a nothing ever got said about it, he always charged it to the company. When he was gone to the factory the house was a pretty fun place, my mother would laugh and have fun with the children. It was like a totally different place, but when everyone heard the garage door opening up we all ran and hid in the house so he wouldn’t find us. I never missed him when he was gone and when he was there I wanted him to leave. I knew at a young age he didn’t like me, and I certainly didn’t care for him. But in a weird way it wasn’t what I wanted, I never understood why my family never got along. Why couldn’t we laugh, go and do things together as a family, without something happening to ruin it. It seemed that all the other people I knew had happy families; I just wanted everyone to like each other. I was the scapegoat of the family I would get blamed for everything that went wrong. I would get blamed and the shit kicked out of me if something got broke, or missing even if it was in another state. I was sick and tired of the way things were at home and I wasn’t going to stick around anymore, I knew the only way for me was to leave home. I was thirteen years old and I packed myself a bag and crawled out my bedroom window in the middle of the night. It was November in Chicago and it was freezing, but I didn’t care. I ran as far as I could I didn’t know where I was going, I just ran. I was so tired but I kept on, I didn’t have any money in my pocket and nothing to eat. I ended up lying down for the night under some tall evergreen trees, I had a heavy Army jacket on and it kept me pretty warm. The next morning I got up but realizes I had no where to go, the only place I knew of was a bowling alley that was open early so I could get out of the cold. I hung around there for most of the day, till someone asked me why I wasn’t in school. I got scared and left, I just walked around till it got dark. With nowhere to go I went back underneath the evergreen tree, I stayed up all night I was hungry and scared. The next day was a Saturday, while I was walking around I ran into a couple of friends I knew from High school. I told them what happened and they brought me to there home and gave me something to eat. He told his mom I was a friend of his and I was going to stay the night. I was never so thankful for a warm place to sleep, his mother must have overheard us talking because she wanted to talk to me and asked me what was going on and wanted to know if I was in trouble. I ended up telling her what was going on and she told me I could stay at her house till I figured out what I was going to do. I stayed there for a couple of weeks. I would leave the house during the day but could come back at night. I never went back by my house or ever called, I really didn’t want to go back. I was enjoying my freedom, finding out who I was instead of being told who I was. While I was out walking around one day I went back to the bowling alley to hang out, someone must have recognized me or just wondered what I was doing there because the next thing I knew the police were over there wanting to know what I was doing and why I wasn’t in school. Bu I didn’t budge I wouldn’t give them my name or tell them where I lived. After not telling him anything for a while the policeman ended up bringing me down to the police station, I ended up talking with the juvenile officer, I told them nothing I knew, if I did I would have to go back home and I didn’t want that. He ended up scaring the crap out of me, he took me down to the jail that was underneath the police station and told me if I didn’t tell him what he wanted to know he was going to throw me in jail. That’s all it took because I cracked, I told him my name, rank and serial number. It wasn’t long before I heard my mothers voice I knew that shit was going to hit the fan, I could hear her talking with the juvenile officer, and when I walked in I didn’t know what to expect. My mother told her side of the story and then I got to tell mine, she didn’t disagree with me but she wanted me to come home and I wasn’t going. As my mother talked with the juvenile officer I noticed that she was kind of telling the truth, she didn’t exactly tell the whole story exactly as it happened she tried to pad over the really bad stuff. I could tell she was trying to protect my father, I could not believe it here is my mother trying to cover up for my father. I was really mad at her for not standing up for me, here was my chance to tell how I felt and I didn’t feel I was getting a fair shake . I told them that if they made me go home I was just going to leave again. So the juvenile officer ended up bringing me to a foster home, and I was suppose to go to school and then back three times a week to the police station for counseling. I ended up staying in foster care for a couple of months, I really enjoyed staying there. I was at the home of an older couple; they took me to school everyday and picked me up. I got to really know them and I was able to talk to them and they made me feel welcome, I never got the feeling they looked down on me or judged me in any way. I had a good experience at the foster home and think of them at different times in my life. The days I had to go to the police station they would take me and the juvenile officer would bring me back to there home and on the way we would stop and get something to eat. We got a chance to really get to know each other, I have to say he was really good at his job and I had someone I could really talk to. One of our last counseling sessions my mother was there, my father never showed up to any of them. The juvenile officer’s name was Tom, while he was talking to my mother he mentioned that the police station was starting a cadet program and if it was ok I could join. I really got to learn a lot about my mother through the counseling at the police station,
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