At the same time, I felt her kindness and desire to please me. Vi lovingly made my favorite food, mashed potatoes with mounds of butter on top. The mixed feelings I experienced toward her added to my confusion toward adults in general. It seemed impossible to make sense out of their behavior. I overwhelmingly preferred solitude, a trait deeply embedded in me to this day and only overcome with effort.
For a while, Howard co-habitated contentedly with his new wife and her near-adult, parasitic sons. I hated my new stepbrothers, who were in their late teens. Their lives centered on continuous beer consumption. The dilapidated trailer, with its taped up windows, reeked like a sleazy tavern, forever forming a mental image of what “trailer trash” would be.
Hiding from my drunken teenage brothers was always a challenge. Their messianic goal was to drag me around by my hair and grab my body parts every time I came into view. My goal was to avoid them at all costs. They were cruel young men who spent enormous amounts of time incarcerated for crimes that I never understood.
Years later, I asked my younger brother, Russell, if he remembered any of this. He said, “Oh yes, Baby Girl, I remember the times I would hear you screaming while you were locked in the bathroom with one of those monsters while the other beat on me. I would stand outside the bathroom and pound on the door. When I’d run to get Vi, she laughed. She’d say, ‘Oh, Honey, they’re only playing. Now you just run along.’ I knew by your screams that you were not just playing. I hated knowing that I couldn’t help you.”
Amazingly, during this time, Howard stopped hurting me; in fact, he totally ignored me. (I would one day learn that he tried to “unadopt” Ronnie and me, but the courts wouldn’t grant his petition.) Excerpts from Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe
P.S. Similar camper missing the taped up windows
Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe at www.Amazon.com