My adorable mom, Hallie was born into quite the dysfunctional family, although I don't think they used that word in her generation:
She never knew her father who was in prison when she was born. When she was a young girl, while attending a relatives funeral, someone pointed to a man and said, "That is your father." She never saw him again.
Mom's family was deeply into alcohol, including her own mom and various stepdads.
Mom and her three sisters basically raised themselves. Each night as dinner time rolled around, the girls would stand outside the local tavern and call in for their mom. Eventually, someone would bring the girls some quarters and they would go buy hamburgers and milkshakes (which remained mom's favorite meal.)
Once the four little girls were so scared and lonely, they broke their back window, used their step dad's shoes to make footprints in the snow. Then they called the police to say someone had tried to break into their home. After that, the police often drove by to check up on them.
Another unbelievable tragedy for my sweet mom was when she was just 10 years old. She was taking her youngest sister to a friends house. As they approached a busy street, her sister got away from my mom's hand. As she ran into the street, her sister was hit by a car and was killed instantly.
One of the stable people in Hallie's life was her grandpa. He made sure the girls got fun presents on their birthday, took them to the library to get a library card and took them to the circus. When mom was a teenager, her grandpa committed suicide, when he found out his new wife had gambled away his life savings and their home.
So much pain and suffering for my sweet mom, Hallie. And no mom around to help her process and contain all of these real life problems. My mom became painfully shy. She also grew up fast (not much of a childhood for her.) By age 16, she was marrying the cute neighbor next door (my dad) and was off, determined to create a perfect life . . . one that was the opposite of hers growing up.
(Stay tuned for part three.)