My home work assignment this week (Unfinished :-( ) was to write about specific memories I have up to age 10. That was when my life began to take on a more realistic rearing (So to speak) and my memories are strong and intact from age 10 on.
I know as we get older we forget things from an early age that we remembered at age "20" (ish). I realize those things fade with time. I have the one clear memory of my Mother's attempted suicide but nothing else. I think I accepted a long time ago that there was nothing unusual about my lack of any memories before we moved to Elgin when I was 5.
As I got older I never gave much thought to ages 5-10. We were in a "weird" environment. My parents had been "saved off the street" and had joined a communal style church. We lived in a large house and had anywhere from 15-20 people living there at any given time. Some right off the street. I remember hearing a story about a women possessed trying to claw my mothers eyes out one night.
Over the last 2 months as I have begun to really look at my childhood...I realize I have virtually no memories of Elign. Snippets, little vignettes really is all I can remember. So....in order to complete my assignment :-) and for my own needs, I am going to write what I do remember.
The first 6 months in Elgin, we lived on our own in a nice house. I only vaguely remember the house but know I have dreamed of it often. We were located on a side street with only 4 houses, across from a huge "park". No equipment and basically a mile of green grass running along the railroad tracks...which was home to many hobo's. I had nightmares for years of crossing this park and as I approached my house running into a vampire or some other manifestation. Once we moved into "household" my memory begins to fade. I remember only a few things.
Lots of spankings. We were spanked to be controlled, to be kept quiet during a 3 hour service. It was rare that any kid lasted without at least one trip to the bathroom and Dad's belt. My parents ran the house and between that, the coffee shop and the church, I never saw them nor do I remember my dad very much at all. The first few years he was gone from 5 AM-6 PM as he worked in the city and we were in a suburb.
When I try to think about those days, my mind just shuts off, it's like it won't let me. I remember we didn't own a TV. I have fleeting memories of some of the people but nothing concrete. The majority of what I do remember is not good though. Between that and what I do remember it's somewhere between possible and likely that something(s) occurred during that time that I can't process or face.
What sort if scares is me is what few positive memories I have are when I was outside the home. I had a good friend (Non church) who my parents would let me stay over at his house. His dad would make us home made malts, Jon and I would play whiffle ball for hours. We would go to the local HS and shoot hoops. I remember a Hispanic family that I spent a lot of time with, that is a positive memory. I immediately recognized the Hispanic culture as family based and I felt accepted in there home. In retrospect they must have felt really bad for me as the church really was cult like. I slept in a room with 4 grown adult men. Between the bible studies, 4 hours of church/Sunday school combined, drug users and alcoholics living with us I wouldn't call it an ideal environment.
As I stated earlier I have some darker memories as well. As transparent as I have been those are really going to be kept to myself and my therapist. At least till I work through them or even remember them. The memory "block" sorta fascinates me. Either their was some really messed up stuff that happened or at the least it was not an ideal situation to be raised. One positive thing is I do identify that time period as the time I began to believe in Christ. Whatever I was going through, he saw me through it.