Follow the yellow brick road
You can follow this road from the beginning if you wish by starting here:
Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow the yellow brick road.
That was the song my Mom was singing, as she held my hand and the hand of my brother that fall as we skipped along in the grass near silver lake. A huge contrast to the Mother I was forced to leave behind half a year ago…but I was a child at the time, I knew nothing and asked no questions, it just was. The last time I saw her, she was sad and crying and now? I have been plopped back in to the life of the Mother I knew best. Outgoing, gregarious, social, funny, beautiful. I would have followed whatever road she sang about or invited me on, as long as she was on it.
She was back. Mind you I didn’t know at that age that my Mother had a nervous breakdown, nobody ever talked about it, nobody ever explained it to me , I never even heard the word escape from her mouth until I was well in to my thirties.
Nobody ever said ” hey we are taking you for the rest of the school year to our house and then we will return you to your Mother.”
At that age you are sort of like a bubble…stay with me here while I try to explain.
Imagine you are blowing bubbles and one forms and floats above you, and it just stays there, and sort of floats with the wind. As a 9-year-old you are in that bubble, you have no say, you don’t know what questions to ask nor do you even have the ability to comprehend what questions you should be asking. So , you just float whichever way the adults in your life push you and try not to pop, ending up splattered all over in your own life.
My Mother and younger brother and I lived in a garden level apartment with large egress windows that held hundreds and hundreds of salamander’s after it rained. We would take ice cream buckets and poke holes in the tops, fill them up with grass and happily head out in the damp of the day after a good rain to collect them. Of course we always heard Mom’s warning ” If even ONE of those things ends up loose in this apartment, I will throw you in the window well to swim with the rest of them.” We would giggle and shake our heads. Gross Mom, that would be so, well….. slimy. And off we would go, spending often entire days filling our buckets up with the slimy little monsters.
My Mother worked a lot, not like my Father did when we lived with him. He seemed to enjoy it, or use it as an escape- my Mother did it out of sheer necessity. After all my Father at that time was paying her $50.00 a month in child support. ( That’s for later in this story)
We came home after school to an empty apartment with snacks on the table , we locked the door behind us and called our Mother- just like we had been doing since I was five. I don’t ever remember being afraid of being alone. I would turn on the TV and watch Little house on the prairie , or do my homework, or play with my brother. It was something people did back then, especially single working Mothers. Daycare- Daycare ? I never knew anyone that was in daycare. Our Mom’s were either stay at home mom’s , or we were latch key kids, that’s just the way it was. We were all responsible for ourselves and our safety from a very very young age, so we better figure it out pretty damn quick.
There were years that passed by uneventful, until one day , when I was about 9 years old.
My Mother came home and told us they were building new apartment buildings across the street, they were big and beautiful and had a pond in the backyard that we could skate on in the winter, it boasted game rooms on every floor , Community rooms where you could host party’s, everyone got their own garage, there were elevators and a security system.. and the best part? We could afford it, the price of rent was established by your income and family size!
I could feel almost a vibration off of her about how excited she was. She said she was one of the first ten people to sign up for one of the apartments in a building that hosted over one hundred and fifty individual units.
Our Salamander chasing days were over, but the memories that awaited us on BeeBee road would be sometimes life changing, sometimes life threatening , and filled with more than the walls of a teeny two bedroom apartment could hold .
Goodbye the yellow brick road:
Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road
*Elton John 1973*