Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where Ya Going?

In the late 70’s, I remember my family gathering around inside the den to watch their favorite TV programs. From Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days to Carol Burnett and All In the Family. I’d get up to use the bathroom and my mother would instinctively ask, “Where ya going?” I couldn’t have been more than four years old back then, but somehow, I never understood why she had to know my whereabouts. I could have told her the bathroom, but yet for various reasons, I could have made a right hand turn into the kitchen and started twirling all the pretty little knobs that were connected to the gas stove. The possibilities were endless. I’d respond to her with a resentful tone, “To the bathroom mom!” To me, she was invading my privacy, but realistically, a four year old does not get the privilege of privacy. I would head back into the den and my mom would tuck me under a blanket, more snug than before so I wouldn’t leave again.

Dad reluctantly bought me a three wheeler motorcycle when I was eight years old. Our house was set back on top of a mountain with tons of Appalachian trails spiraling back as far as Alabama if you had enough gas, food, water and guts. I was always told to stay on the main dirt road and not to go “sight seeing” on paths that weren’t marked. I never listened, but I did make sure I had enough gas in my tank. As soon as my motor started revving, mom would peek her head outside and yell out, “Where ya going?” I had no clue. “Umm, dunno?” She didn’t like that response, so she came outside and gave me the rules of riding my ATV around the same circular path. She even went as far as to install a governor on my gas throttle so I wouldn’t go more than 20 mph. Lame. Oddly enough, on that very day I drove my trike off a five foot tall hill that made me roll over about ten times, to which it finally landed me in the mud face down with the ATV on top of me, crushing my head further into the swampy mess. Thank God for the helmet or I would have suffocated. My mom came running down the path, as if some angel whispered in her ear about my accident. I could feel the exhaust starting to burn my leg at this point, but I was pinned down and could not do anything to get out of it. Within minutes, I felt the huge ATV lift up and I was now able to breathe. “If you woulda’ listened to me and stayed on the path I told you, this woulda’ never have happened”, my mom said as her “mommy strength” kicked in and lifted this 200 lb + ATV off of me.

“Where ya going,” my mom asked as the taxi beeped outside. “Ma, we’re just gonna go to the bowling alley, can I borrow $20 bucks?” My dad would grab a huge wad from his money clip and throw a 20 at me, then proceeded to say, “Be careful and call me once you get there.” I’d always call when I got to the bowling alley, but it certainly wasn’t my destination. At the age of fifteen, we found ourselves partying down these deep hidden unknown paths with huge bonfires. Back then, nobody had cell phones or could get in touch with anyone while being in the backwoods partying, however for some reason, the police and firemen knew we were there. We started to see a few fire trucks and a couple of patrols speeding down this narrow path to get to us. They immediately put out our magnificent bonfire, and then also started to tell us that we made a fire on top of a glass line. No wonder there was a pipe with a nozzle over on the side. We never knew what it was. Then again, I was supposed to be at the bowling alley anyway. We all could have been killed instantly.

At the age of sixteen, I asked my mom, “Where ya going”, as the FBI agents dragged off both my parents in handcuffs for reasons I never knew about. “It’ll be okay, drive yourself to school and we’ll be home shortly.” Mom seemed to have it all together. She knew the drill, more so, expected it. As I watched the agents raid my home while the little white cars with orange sirens were taking my parents away, I drove off to school in shock, slowly, hoping to recall a time my parents were doing something wrong. I thought I was the only one doing something wrong. I never knew where they were going or when they would come back. It wasn’t fair. Did the FBI mess up and grab the wrong people? A million questions posed in my mind and only one thought: I’ve lost my parents. Once finding out that they had broken the law, I realized that nobody was perfect - not even my very own parents who taught me how to be a “good person”. Regardless of what mess they had ended up in, they were human. To me, it was insignificant because these people who brought me up treated me like gold, always watching out for me, yet selflessly not watching out for themselves. This is how I looked at it. Some people held different opinions about this and would ask why, but my answer to that would be: unconditional love. And unconditional love never goes anywhere; it’s a permanent whereabout.

Click here for more about my parents' story.


Monkey Man said...

What just a darn're gonna write a line in your post about the FBI hauling off your parents as casually as you might write "we watched tv last night"???
Who are you kidding? Come on with the rest of the story or lead us to the old post that explains it. Don't make me call you 'bitch'. *smiles*

Deb said...

MM, I am a bitch, however if you click here, you can read the full story of why my parents were taken away.
Now BEHAVE!!! ;) xo

Dr. Deb said...

OMG what a story. Gonna read further now.

Just_because_today said...

cute post. I can imagine the 4 year old with an attitude.
The later part of the story must have been traumatic to a 16 year old but your love for them and their love for you got you through it

Deb said...

Dr. Deb, thanks for reading. :)

JBT, yeah things haven't changed much, eh? It was traumatic, but more so years after to tell you the truth. After the shock of it settled, the reality of it kicked in. Weird...

the walking man said...

Home and life is where we make it and the safety found there is ours to have or not. I personally think you old man was just doing what needed to be done to feed the habits of four daughters. Expensive creatures daughters are.

Xmichra said...

I remember your story, and it's funny because I read your sentence casually too... lol... like you went for milk or something ;)

I know I have that "where are you going" gene, because I ask my daughters all the time. lol... usually followed up with "what are you doing?"...

autumnraven said...

Wow! My parents didn't keep there habits secret...which made us keep it secret or risk getting them in trouble (drug dealers). They never got caught while I knew them. Now I don't know and I don't care because I won't subject my daughter to that. Strange how strong ties can be though...I never turned them in I just dissappeared. I guess I should have :(.

And great post. You are an amazing writer. My daughter is five. I ask her where she's at and she reponds "I'm just in the bedroom mom." I can hear her rolling her eyes LOL! She'll dislike me even more when she gets her car. But maybe one day she'll be greatful that I cared so much.

Deb said...

TWM: Thank you for saying that. He did what he did, but more so, it was money laundering ---a crime is a crime, but got caught up in some ‘risky business’. Yes, having four daughters can be quite detrimental to one’s wallet! Thank you for your comment.

Xmichra: Yes, the casual part was the kicker. I later then added a link to the entire story so people could satisfy their curiosity if need be. It was a traumatic story, but thinking about it in terms back then, it was like, “Ma, where YOU going?” Twist of roles perhaps... We always wanna know our loved ones’ whereabouts. Thanks, X!

Autumn: Thank you for your comment. Yeah it’s the total opposite between your story and mine, because I was always in the dark about this. I had no clue until I turned 16 years old. But, at the same time, I felt pangs of betrayal, like, “Why didn’t they trust me enough?” I guess it was for the best I didn’t know so I wouldn’t stress out or have thoughts of turning them in. Hindsight 20/20 they say... I guess I know all the answers now. I laughed when you said you can “hear” your daughter rolling her eyes. It’s all in the tone. I’m sure my mom heard mine! Thanks for your input!

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