Now that all of the hitting 100 followers and the beginning of Blogging 101 has settled down, it’s time to get back to work. We’ve got a bipolar life to talk about.So we’ll start off today with the story of Uncle Matt. Uncle Matt is my half-brother, although I always call him my brother. I have no other siblings, so he is it, good, bad, or ugly. And there’s been a lot of bad and ugly.
Before we get to the Uncle Matt part, I have to give a bit of background. My mother and father were one of those “hit and run” high school marriages. She then married three more times. I don’t even remember #2 and #3. But #4 was Uncle Matt’s Dad. (Mom got married again to a saint (#5), but that’s another story.
So Mom and I were living in a one bedroom apartment with no car. We shared a bed. She took the bus to work. And along came Matt’s dad. He had a car. He had a job with union benefits. (A big deal in 1968.) He hung around Mom and with her marital history, I think it took them about two months to get married. We immediately moved into a TWO bedroom trailer. I had my own room and we had a car. I was living the life. (I think I even had a record player.)
Early on, Matt’s dad was nice to me. He wasn’t a father figure, but I had no idea what one was anyway, so that was fine. He came from a large family of aunts and uncles and cousins and they all got together and had big feasts, etc. I liked all this, being an only child. I loved all the food.
Now someone forgot to mention one thing to my Mom. Matt’s dad had been in prison. For a while. For armed robbery. But he nor his family ever said a word about it, so we blissfully went on our way.
We moved to a house in the suburbs. We paid $13,000 for it. I have to mention the color scheme to add some humor into this post. It had a paprika colored front door, red shag carpet, cantaloupe formica countertops, and avocado green appliances. Just lovely.
Someone at some point in the next couple of years got the bright idea to have a baby. That would be Uncle Matt. I was twelve at this time and involved in school and didn’t pay much attention. I do know that my mother got pregnant and laid down and really never got up again. She’s 73 now and still “resting”. So Mom gives birth to Uncle Matt and is way too tired to deal with him. My stepdad and I came to an uneasy truce about it. I took care of him from I got home from school till about midnight, then stepdad took over till about eight when he left for work. We left Uncle Matt with my Mom in her room during the day. She had clean and sterilized bottles all made (by yours truly), clean diapers, (we used cloth back then), and that was about the first year of Uncle Matt’s life.
At around this time, stepdad decided he would take the high road and start being an asshole. He yelled night and day and threatened to hit my Mom and me. Fortunately he never bothered Matt. After a while, he made good on his promises, and he started hitting. This had to be a terrible thing for a little boy to see, but I guess no one thought about it. I remember glass being broken and cops being called and the police saying “We can’t do anything…this is a family incident.” I remember losing a tooth and having bruises on my face and the school knowing and doing nothing. Things were different.
Uncle Matt started sleeping with me. He did this till I left home for college when I was seventeen. He was about four then. He was just too darned scared to sleep in his own bed. I couldn’t blame him.
When I had the chance, I got out of there as fast as I could. I left Uncle Matt behind and didn’t look back at that time. I am sorry that happened, but it was self-preservation on my part. And I knew his dad wouldn’t hurt him. He would just have to put up with a lot of screaming and fighting between his parents.
Well, guess what? Right after I left for college, my Mom got up out of bed and divorced Uncle Matt’s dad. I don’t think she liked being the exclusive punching bag. I thought this would be a good thing for Uncle Matt, but he just headed in the wrong direction. By second grade he was skipping school. He never liked the teachers and they never liked him. And none of them liked dealing with my crazy mother.
Then my mom met Frank, the saint. This was husband #5. I mean this man walked on water. He treated everyone so well and never had a bad word for anyone. How my mother talked him into marrying her I will never know.
Frank, my Mom, and Uncle Matt picked up and moved to Denver, far away from the bad influences of Matt’s dad. But the trouble went on. Matt ditched school. My Mom (kind soul that she was) heated a belt up in the oven and beat Matt with it. Matt’s Dad told him to set the apartment on fire so Mom would send Matt back to live with him. You get the idea.
Matt’s behavior got so bad that no one really wanted him and he just kept bouncing around from place to place. I even took him in when he was in eighth grade. But I came home from work one night to find him drunk and high and asleep on my front doorstep. I didn’t want to deal with it. I had my own troubles.
This was about the time of Matt’s troubles with the prison system. Till next time-