Monday, October 26, 2009

Prologue and Chapter 1 - "How Many Fingers am I Holding Up?" from Not So Fond Memories, Growing up in an Abusive Home

Written by: Laurie Ann Smith
Prologue: This is my story, some names have been changed until I can reach the persons and obtain their permission to use them in this story. All events are as factual as can be. The contents of this story are in no way a complete history as I am merely presenting facts that represent the clear meaning and motivation for writing this story. If anyone wishes to know more, that is if anyone finds my story interesting enough to care to look a bit deeper, by all means please contact me with your questions. Some of the content is graphic although I did not go into details when mentioning marital rape and molestation. Perhaps I might if absolutely necessary shed some light on what I saw, and what I went through myself regarding sexual abuse. I did not change the "language" to suit a younger audience as I really want the "TRUTH" to be brought to light. I was actually toning it down in most instances as my mother had a whole vocabulary that would make any sailor blush. I have made it a point to not forget what happened to me, as I made it a point to not forget the pain my entire family suffered due to ignorance, a lack of education and the cycle of abuse and poverty that repeats itself, had been passed on to my parents who did not break the cycle but instead perpetuated it. My sister Kathi and I have both agreed that we broke the cycle. She has one daughter. I have no children. It is my hope that someday this compilation of chapters in my life will be made into a book and published as a ray of hope to those who are still in the dark searching for the light.

Chapter 1 – “How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?”

“No No No” I cried, in three quick successions and in a defensive block with my arms tried to ward off the blows. A familiar voice spoke loudly and my eyes opened to see a hand in front of my face and the voice asking “how many fingers am I holding up?” I looked but did not see any fingers, just the whole hand, a bit blurry, fuzzy looking and I had to look again, “three?” “Good” she said. “Go back to sleep now” and this would repeat itself through the night, always a different question, “what day is it?”, ”what is your name”, “how old are you?”and each time I would drift off into a fitful sleep and dream the nightmare again. The next morning it would all make more sense, as I remembered that I had my head cracked by my mother again. This time was the worst and I was so glad to be safe for the moment at my friend’s house. They had been up all through the night, my friend and her mother, taking turns to watch over me while I slept and to wake me up every hour on the hour just to be sure I was not going into a coma or shock from the beating I had taken at home that day. I do not recall why it went the way it did, sometimes I had a smart mouth, sometimes I said things I should not have said but this was just way over the top, it almost felt like it was planned and that my mother had set the whole thing up as she knew I did not like to eat a particular soup she would make, stewed tomatoes and milk, which the milk would curdle and I just did not like the combination. I probably said something about it as she called me for lunch. The scene replayed in my mind as I explained to my friend Deserie what exactly had happened. I sat down at the kitchen table and looked at the soup and said something my mother did not want to hear.

Fists pounded the kitchen table as my mother stood up out of her chair. She was almost six feet tall and she weighed about 260 pounds. Her ominous figure towered over me and I knew this was not going to be good. I braced myself as the back of her hand caught me on my right cheek, my whole body went backwards to the left, including the chair and I cried out in pain as my left temple caught the side of the clothes dryer that was situated right behind me. I was stunned but I knew I better get out of the house or it was going to be a bad day for me. I started to run, and while I was moving around the table my mother was cursing me like a banshee “you god damn piece of shit! You no good rotten whore! I’ll take your G..D… head off” she screamed and shoved the table into my side so that I was trapped. She reached me and by this time I knew the routine, so I just tried to protect my head by curling up on my stomach to ward off some of the blows with my back. "Crack, Thud, Thud," was the sound the heavy homemade wooden rolling pen made as it hit my back, my shoulders and caught the back of my head. My mother was in a rage at this point, beyond even knowing what she was doing, “YOU WANT SOME MORE???!!!!!!!” she screamed, kicked my legs and bent over grabbing my hair and pulling me up, I was whimpering and saying no, that I did not want any more, and she screamed into my ear “I SAID!!!!! DO - YOU – WANT – SOME – MORE???” I could feel the rolling pen hit my head again and again and I was protecting my head as best as I could with my hands when a blow hit my hand and I brought it down, “aaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyy, not my head” I said “no, please…..”

I cried and pleaded and crack, the rolling pen connected with the back of my head and I could feel the blood pour down my neck and curl around my ear onto my face and onto the floor. That was not the first time my mother had spilled my blood, but it would be the last time that she would ever beat me like that again. She grew tired and in her exhaustion could only muster up some cussing, I got up and was heading out through the living room, only a few steps as the house was very small, she spun me around and spit in my face “GET OUT YOU F..KING SLUT! YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” I was crying and I could feel the tears running from my eyes, I am sure I said something back to her but I do not remember what it was. Probably how much I hated her. She shoved me to the front door and slammed it behind me. I was dizzy and shaking and extremely pissed off. I went down the driveway and onto the street I grew up on, and made my way down a few houses, I looked to see if my best friend Arlene's car was in the driveway, but she was working. She was a year older than me, I was half way to 14 years old that summer. I walked down the block to my friend Deserie's house. She had moved there with her family the year before and we had become good friends. Her parents were nice and I could think of no other place to go.


  1. WOW, Laurie. I had to hold back tears as I read this. We have more in common than I ever realized. Maybe that's why you've always been in my heart since I met you, and why even though there were several years between some of our correspondence, I reached out to you with my prayers. I get it now.
    I will continue to read this, be patient - I'll catch up. As a writer, I can say this to you: some stories have to be told. God will honor your heart - even if the story is not "pretty." So keep writing.

  2. Dearest Tammy, I knew it in my heart from the moment I met you. I knew it in your writings from high school, as I recently read your poetry that was in the year book again, I thought back to the visible mutual "discomfort" that both of our souls shared. I admire your work and you are a beautiful writer, always have been, and a beautiful story teller. I admire your courage in writing from your heart and I am sure that it has had an influence on me. Your very soul is poured out for us to see and I give you respect and gratitude for letting the world see you, the "real" you. Very brave my friend! God Bless all that you do, and everyone in your life!