You would think all would be well in my life after finally getting away from The Beater. However, that was just not the way it was to be. I lived on my parent’s farm in an old mobile home I had bought and had moved onto their property. I connected it with an old mobile home they had lived in while they built their home that looked out across the plains of Alberta and to the majestic Rockies. I spent my first few months renovating and getting things to work, trying to make sure there wasn’t a leak where the homes joined.
That first summer I worked for the government at a dam as an interpreter and a receptionist. When that job ended I moved on to a cashier’s job in a local grocery store. That came to an abrupt end when my mother became ill and I was asked to help out in the family business. I was reluctant to do this, as my younger sister – who already worked there - had made it obvious that she would not be happy with that arrangement. Working with family can be a two-edged sword – you either get along well because you know how the other works – or you don’t get along at all. Just plain old sibling rivalry.
My sister tried to get my mother to fire me numerous times and when that didn’t work she finally quit herself. That eased tensions in the business and with my mother as well.
Back on the farm, my father was friendly enough with me until I started dating. When I did, he immediately stopped speaking to me and would ignore me if I were in the room. I learned to live with this, and would force him into a conversation when I was feeling on top of the world. Usually I came away from these trials feeling much lower than when I went in, but I would congratulate myself on making him talk to me.
I dated a number of different men, and usually for all the wrong reasons. I ended up with my heart broken over and over – always wondering what was wrong with me. At work I put in hours and hours, trying to help the business and trying for parental approval. Sometimes I was still working at midnight, only to come in a little late the next morning and endure being berated by my mother for not getting to work on time. I believe my mother was torn between loving and hating me. As for my father – well…
One winter day my brother had lent me his truck when my car wouldn’t start. I had gone into town for some grocery shopping and on the way home had hit some black ice and slid into the ditch. I was walking along the road when my mother drove up. Rolling down the window she asked me if my brother was okay. I told her yes, he was at the farm, and she rolled up her window and drove on, leaving me to walk to the nearest farm and ask for help.
My older sister had two boys by separate fathers. Whenever they came to visit I always sensed that something was wrong. My sister was on her third husband, and he was not the father to either of my nephews. The boys told me that they were beaten by both parents and I told them if they ever needed me – they were just to call. One day that call came through. My youngest nephew was in a group home in Vancouver. He had left because he couldn’t take any more beatings from his parents. When he told me that his roommate wanted to teach him how to do B & E’s..I lost it. I got in touch with the supervisor and demanded that they put him on a bus to me. When my own parents learned that he was coming to live with me – they told me that I had to move off the farm. They were not going to have their ‘bad’ grandchild living on their farm. They had listened to my older sister’s version of what had happened and believed it. So I packed up everything I owned and moved into the big city, leaving behind the mobile home I had bought and renovated.