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From Slade's View Recollection about the past
By: Julie Tomlinson
It was a stormy October night. I had been woken up from the
thunder and lightening storm outside. I could hear my mother
walking quietly as she could around the kitchen, so I got up and tip
toed toward the kitchen. A few hours before, my father and mother
had gotten into a fight, which was not uncommon around our
home. My father, Slade, had been drunk, and had beaten my
mother to a bloody mess like always.
At first I could not tell what she was doing, but being a curious five
year old I continued to watch my mother. She was collecting food
items, it looked like she was collecting them in order to run away.
My father had heard this also, and stumbled into the kitchen past
me, to see what she was up to. He came into the kitchen, asked
her what she was doing. Without letting her say anything he hit
her. She fell to the ground. She slowly got up. He saw this and
pushed her out through the unlocked screen door. The door
screamed a horrific cry, and the porch rumbled, as my mother's
fragile body flew through the door and hit the porch's boards. To
this day when I hear an old screen door open, I always remember
what had happened that night. He beat on her until there was
blood all over his hands and the porch; he was screaming words I
dare never to repeat. I could hear the rain starting to fall onto the
tin roof. Other then the rain there was silence.
My mother was out cold, no movement, no sound, nothing. After a
while she came to. She started crying, and trying to get up, but my
father pushed her down the porch steps. I don't know if she was
out cold again or if she was lying there praying to God that this
would end, but if was silent. She was covered head to toe with
blood, and rain droplets. It kept raining. I so badly wanted to run
and comfort her like I always did after my father did this to her. He
usually disappeared for a couple of days after he beat her; he
would come back and they acted like nothing happened. He had
stuck around this time, and this made me scared.
She began to get back up again. He got out of his rocking chair
where he had been watching her, and aimed his gun. She
pleaded with him not to shoot, but he did anyway. The gun fired
and the bullet hit my mother in the head. It was a gruesome sight.
After that he walked up the porch stairs, and into the house where
he saw me standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He walked by
me without saying anything. He walked back into their bedroom,
climbed into bed, and went back to sleep. I ran out the door and
into the pouring rain to my mother. She was dead. I cried so hard
that night. I lied beside her all night with the rain falling around us,
as if they were tears from heaven.
The next morning my father woke my up by kicking my leg, it
wasn't hard, but it left a bruise. He told me that this was my fault
while pointing to my mother, and that I had to clean up the mess in
the kitchen and on the porch. After I had cleaned up the blood, he
said that it was also my responsibility to burry her, and I was to tell
no one about last night. If anyone asked about my mother, he told
me to say that she had ran away.
It was hard to have the job of burying my own mother. I dragged
her as carefully as I could up the hill where she had liked to sit. I
dug a crude hole. I wiped tears and sweat of my face; it had been
hot day for October. I carefully filled the hole, and when I was
finished I found a rock and put it at the head of the grave.
Life was never the same from then on. Now that my mother was
dead I became the person my father beat upon if he was drunk,
was mad about something, or when I did the littlest thing wrong.
Life went on like this for twelve years. I wasn't able to go to school
or do things that other children got to do. The only time I was ever
allowed to go anywhere was to town with my father, and that was
only when he had a heavy load. There was a man at one of the
stores that came out after my father yelling at him about not paying
his bills and no more credit. My father was furious, but that was the
only time that he didn't beat me when we got home.
My life changed on a cold November day, a couple of days before
my seventeenth birthday; my father became very sick and said that
he needed to stay in bed. I came in and checked up on him the
next day, and he was dead. That was the best day of my life. I
dragged him into the woods about fifty yards from the house. I shot
bullets into my father from his gun like he had done with my
mother. After I had gotten my anguish out of me and into my father,
I left him there. I hoped that the animals would tear his flesh apart,
and it would be good enough for them to eat. Then at least he
would have been good for something on this earth.
I went to town later on that day I went to town and ran into the
storekeeper that had yelled at my father about paying his bills. He
came up to me and wanted to know where my father was. I told
him that he had died, and that I wasn't going to pay his bills. He
told me that I was going to pay the bills or that he would have
someone take away my house. This made me agree to pay off the
bills because I had no one to live with if that had happened. He
told me that I could work for him unloading freight from the trains
that came through town. I agreed to work for him and made my
way back home. When I got home I lit a fire and went to bed.
The next morning I arrived at work. At the end of the day Mr.
Baumer told me that I would have to work a month to work off my
father's debt, but I could continue to work for him after the month
was over. A week went by and everything was going very well
until one day when Mr. Baumer was gone and had wrote me a
note and left it on the door of the store, telling me what I was
suppose to do. I could not read; Mr. Baumer had not known that. I
was ashamed. I did not know what to do. None of the other
workers showed up to work so I walked home thinking that I was
probably going to get fired and loose my house.
The next day I arrived at work and Mr. Baumer was dealing with a
customer that was very angry about the store not being open the
day before. After the customer was gone and there was no one in
the store he came over to where I was dusting. I asked him why he
had been gone and no one showed up to the store to open it up.
He gave me a weird look. He asked me if I had read the note on
the door. I told him that I could not read. He suggest that I should
go to the school in the afternoon after work and learn some basic
reading, writing, and arithmetic in the adult class they held
Tuesday and Thursday nights. I was excited and told him I would
go to the classes.
I faithfully went every Tuesday and Thursday and eventually
learned to read and write. After a few years of working for Mr.
Baumer he decided he was going to retire and leave the business
to me because I always showed up on time, always did my best,
and was the most improved worker; I also think I was Mr. Baumer's
favorite, but he never said it.
Now I have a lovely wife, three children, a dog, and I live in a nice
house. I still work at Baumers, that is what I named the store, and I
write short stories for children. Reading and writing has changed
my life greatly; who knows where I would be now if not for Mr.
Baumer. I think my mother would be proud.
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