Childhood Depression

A friend asked me to post a story about my childhood, so here goes. I was born on Christmas day in 1951.  Born to a depressing life.  From the time I was two I knew I was not like other children.  They had birthday parties,  I got a cake that read Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.  It might just as well have said Happy Birthday God and gary.  For my sixth birthday I got a little brother to share my misery and the day with  God and I.  At least I got second billing.
I went to 11 different schools in 13 years, including kinder garten.  We moved some at first but did live in one place for 8 years.  I attended catholic school for grades 1-3 before switching to public school.  Grades 4-5 were in one school, 6-12 was a different school every year.  We moved again when I was in the 8th grade.  My father was an alcoholic and we always fell behind in the rent. 
I was the second oldest of eight kids.  As mother had to work, I did my best to help out.  We moved into a new housing development in 1957.  At the end of the block there was an American Legion baseball stadium and I found a summer job there for 25 cents a game.  Lot of money for a litle kid back then.  I would shag foul balls and home runs, work the scoreboard, collect empty bottles in the grandstand and even work the concession stand.  As we were one of the first houses in the neighborhood this was my personal empire for the first two years.  There were fringe benefits as well.  I got to keep all the cracked bats, batting helmets, even a rosin bag left in a visiting team's dugout. There were always baseballs I couldn't find in the dark and I'd go back in the morning.  Sometimes pop bottles would find their way over the fence and I'd turn them in for the deposit.  It was a great life for a while.
Starting in 1961 my parents started sending my older brother to my grandparent's farm for the summer to work in the fields and around the farm.  It was hard work, but every year they sent us home with a set of new clothes for school and $300 in wages.  An uncle taught me to drive when I was 10.  On a tractor first and then on the road in a 1947 Willy's jeep.  Every year until I turned 15 we worked there.  After that I found a job and my younger brother and some cousins took over as farm laborers. 
My first job was scrubbing pots and pans at Chicken Delight.  Move up to delivery when I got my driver's license.  The owner was too cheap to pay us mileage to use our own cars so he bought a Yugo for us to drive.  That almost got me killed.  The Yugo was nothing but a motorized tin shoebox.  I exited the freeway one night on delivery.  Stopped at the intersection and checked both ways before proceding.  I was halfway into the intersection when over the hill to my left came a Camaro charging down at me doing 60 mph.  I floored the one litre engine for all it was worth but he hit me broadside just behind the drivers seat and tore the Yugo in half, literally.  It was my first brush with death  but it was not to be my last. 
We moved to the inner city in the 8th grade and for the first time I found myself attending a school with black kids.  Whites were the minority actually as there were only 12 of us.  I tried to fit in but was continually challenged.  On the playground the boys played a game called Skully.  They stand in a circle and throw some change in the center then make dives at the money while the other tried to kick them in the head.  I watched the game for afew days before taking a place in the circle and when the other boys threw in their pennies, nickles and dimes, I threw in a quarter.  I made a few stabs at it and took a few kicks and even though I grabbed some change it wasn't as much as a quarter.  It was a good investment though because after recess I was getting hassled again in the hall and the biggest, meanest, blackest kid in the school came to my aid.  His name was Gary and he was from Chicago.  He was new in school also and became my good friend.  He helped protect me just by being my friend and I helped him get his grades up.  I later heard he got a college scholarship and felt good that I helped make it possible.  The rest of my education was a succession of new schools.  I enlisted in the army within weeks of graduation.  Primarily to escape my home life.  I wound up serving in Vietnam and never really went home again. 
PinksWoman PinksWoman
61-65, T
2 Responses Jan 23, 2013

I grew up a lot like you didn't fit in and knew I was different very early in life

Thank you for the gifts

Thank you for taking time to read my tale of woe and for the nice comment

Honey I know what it is like to be moving and to start in different schools all the time. I went through almost the same thing as you my father was an alcoholic and I really understand. Maybe this is why we are such soul mates

Very likely my love. We will be much better parents