I confess…I WAS a recent semi-fan of the TLC program, 19 KIDS, AND COUNTING… Surfing on the TV one night, I discovered the program, 19 KIDS, AND COUNTING, so I watched it. I noticed how all of the girls wore long skirts with slightly below-the-knee hemlines. When I watched one of the programs where they went to the Georgia Aquarium, and they swam in Lake Lanier, GA, I was curious IF Mom and Pop Duggar would permit the girls to wear swimsuits or shorts. They did not.
Why I Started Watching 19 KIDS AND COUNTING
This program brought back my childhood, strict with all of the rules we had to live with. Attending church, which I enjoyed until I heard the ‘speaking in tongues’ ceremonies. I sang in the church choir. I practiced the golden rule; nevertheless, I still chose to wear my shorts – against my fundamentalist grandfather’s approval. Watching 19 KIDS AND COUNTING. I was curious IF any of these 19 children EVER disobeyed their parents. On the episodes I watched, never did I hear any child rebel, disobey, or mutter anything their parents would not approve. I realized, with cameras rolling, they obviously edited anything where the children did not follow the ‘holier than thou’ mentality of their parents.
This isn’t normal, I thought. Children on this program never dispute, shout, or fight with their siblings. Just what is wrong here? Obviously, I was on to something.
Many of the episodes of 19 KIDS AND COUNTING brought back memories to me. Memories of my childhood and how I dressed. As a little girl, my grandparents did not ‘approve’ when I wore shorts. Young girls were never to cut their hair, since it was a sign of glory and holiness, according to my grandfather…and young girls were NEVER to show their skin. He wanted us dressed in high necklines, preferably in white. Virginal and pure. At 13, when I had cleavage, I disgraced them by wearing a V-neck T-shirt and shorts. Disgraceful! I must say, I did not wear the Daisy Duke shorts and when I bent over, you could see absolutely nothing with the exception of tanned, firm, athletic legs. At 15, I wore shorts and T-shirts and my grandfather alluded that I was ‘cheap…’ Actually, he described me as a w—-. When I confronted him with ‘how can a virgin be a wh—;’ he refused to speak with me.
Attending high school, I wore clothes that revealed – NOTHING! Necklines were high, usually turtle neck. If I wore a blouse, it was buttoned all the way. No skin revealed. Skirts were long and cumbersome to wear. When I committed the most cardinal of sins by wearing makeup, my grandfather gave me a new name. The Scarlett Woman. The Tramp…and of course again – The Wh—! I continued wearing makeup! After all, if the pastor’s wife at the church could wear makeup, why couldn’t I?
Child Molestation Charges
Yesterday, May 22, 2015, the news was hot with a topic about 19 KIDS AND COUNTING. Apparently, Josh Duggar committed a dreadful sin as a 14-year-old – seems he molested five girls. http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/21/us/josh-duggar-child-molestation-allegations/index.html
When I read these reports, I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Now, Josh Duggar has apologized and he has resigned his impressive, political position in Washington D.C. with the Family Research Council. Reportedly, his wife, Anna, knew of his ‘sins’ before she married him and she was impressed that he confessed these behaviors before their marriage.
Josh and Anna have three children now. The oldest is a girl, Mackynzie. Two boys – Michael and Marcus and she is pregnant with their fourth child – a girl. Sometimes I cannot help being curious as to why this family reproduces like rabbits. What about the quality of time with children?
The reports are endless about the Duggar Family. I will not elaborate more, but I would suggest – IF you read these Internet postings, keep in mind, many are simply chat areas.
Yes, the recent news is a disgrace, and what makes it even more disgraceful is the fact that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar chose to keep the molestation quiet. Their program, 19 Kids, and Counting did not air until 2008 after the molestation charges were swept under the Duggar Family rug. Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful!
I Was a Victim of Child Molestation
As a young girl and teenager, I was a victim of child molestation. One of my uncles touched me. We were riding in his delivery truck. He chose to turn onto a dirt road. No houses were around. He suggested we should ‘pick blackberries.’ I was 15-years-old at the time. Yes, I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Scandalous, aren’t I! I was 100% naïve. Trusting, especially of my elders.
My uncle moved closer to me – touching my legs, his hands probing and searching, rushing towards my chest. I grabbed his hands, pushing him away. I reached for the door handle, got the door open and jumped outside. I ran as fast as I could. On that date, I failed to bring my inhaler, so the dust on the dirt road reacted with my asthma and I had difficulty breathing. Wheezing and coughing, I stopped, hearing my uncle’s delivery truck moving close to me. I ran the other way. Laughing, he pulled ahead of me, demanding that I get in the truck.
I screamed. No one heard me.
My uncle forced me inside the truck. I slapped his face – HARD. I screamed and I cried.
Hysterical and horrified that I would be raped, my uncle said he would drive me home.
“I don’t believe you. All you want to do is to touch me. I want to go home.”
I opened the door again. Still wheezing, I walked as fast as I could. My uncle said he would take me home.
“I can walk.”
“We are at least 10 miles away and you’re going to walk? That’s a long way.”
“I walk home from school – a 10-mile journey. I can walk home.”
My uncle was shaking. I suppose he was fearful I would tell someone what he did. In my childhood I knew no one would listen or care.
“If you tell any body I touched you, no one will believe you. I’m a deacon in the church. Who’d believe you? You’re a teenager. You’re wearing shorts. You tempted me by how pretty you are. I’m a deacon, “ he repeated. “ You’ve got beautiful legs I wanted to touch…”
Recognizing he was afraid, along with the fact that absolutely no one in my family would believe me, I slid into the passenger seat of the truck.
“If you move one hand off of that steering wheel, I will get out and I will tell somebody,” I said. “You are not raping me or touching me again.”
Later, after arriving home, I rushed to take a shower. Scrubbing my body hard with the hottest water we had, I cried in the shower. As hard as I scrubbed, I could not get the feeling of his probing hands off of my body.
Years later, when my uncle died, my mother phoned me. “You need to come home,” she said. “Your uncle just died.”
Inhaling and exhaling, I bit my lip, and then I spoke, more of an enraged shout than my normal voice.
“May he rot in Hell,” I said, tears stinging my face, as I relived his probing hands.
My mother was annoyed. “Why do you feel that way about him?”
“Because the bastard tried to rape me!”
Our discussion continued while she confessed that he had been charged with rape twice, but never convicted. She wasn’t surprised by my confessions.
Now that I read the reports about Josh Duggar, I feel compassion for him – just a bit. Apparently, he received a bit of ‘help’ when his parents sent him away to a ‘retreat, to work on construction jobs.’ [???]
I am hopeful he did make amends and ask God for His forgiveness; nevertheless, reportedly there are five young girls who will never forget his probing hands touching their bodies in private places. Unforgiveable!
Yes, I am hopeful the five girls who have not been revealed were able to move forward after these events. Child molestation is something a victim never forgets. After my experience, I prayed, but never confessed what happened to anyone within my family. Never did I speak to my uncle again, and when I saw him in church, I turned away, never giving him a chance to speak to me. As for blackberries – for me – they are truly the ‘forbidden fruit.’
For the Duggar Family, I pray that the entire family learned a valuable lesson from this experience, and I pray that they will finally realize that no family is perfect; nevertheless, I suppose I was a bit wiser just by watching them. I recognized how hypocritical they are. Jim Bob always comes across as Mr. Lovey Dovey, especially with his wife, Michelle; however, if you watched her closely, you recognized she was a bit reserved. Sometimes pulling her head away when he kissed her in front of the children, after preaching to all of them that the girls must ‘court with a purpose.’ A courtship that leads to engagement and then – marriage. No kisses and only side hugs – until marriage. In one of the last episodes I watched, Jim Bob confesses that he and Michelle kissed LOTS before marriage??? Hypocrites’!
I hope and pray the five girls involved with the incidents with Josh Duggar are able to move forward like I did. Never did I share the child molestation incident with anyone, with the exception of my husband in 1982. On that night, my husband was able to understand exactly why and how I responded to certain touches. After therapy, I am happy to say, I no longer fear probing hands. Yes, as my father taught me, I was able to move forward with life, and not look back.
I hope the five girls involved with this Duggar Disgrace will be able to do the same. As for Josh Duggar, I hope he and his immediate family will remain close, and I pray he does not repeat his previous history with his children.
Will I continue to watch a reality show? I doubt it. After all, those reality shows are edited, revealing only the good times, — not the reality of bad times. At least the Duggars were not bleeped like a lot of those idiotic reality shows! I pray Jim Bob, Josh and Michelle are praying for forgiveness, and I pray the five girls will learn that not all men are monsters on the prowl. Shame on you, 19 Kids and Counting! You are a disgrace to religious families! You allowed this dirt to be swept under the rug and remain there while you pretended to be a close, almost perfect family. Shame on you, TLC! Shame On You…19 Kids and Counting!
Perhaps this essay will be another chapter in “CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD.” [My latest work-in-progress]:
Mama wore her best house dresses when she was in a good mood, which wasn’t often enough. Those days, it felt as if the sunshine from the window kissed the living room with colors of the rainbow, at least for me.
Mama would smile at me and say, “Honey, can you curl my hair?”
After I shampooed her hair, I curled it with jumbo rollers. My fingers shook as I rolled her hair. If the curl was too tight, she’d get a headache. She screamed in pain while her hands slapped my face. If it was too loose, the curl would flop and she’d remind me I had no talent to style hair, or do anything right. Her actions spoke volumes about her lack of love for me.
Sometimes, she smiled into the mirror, nodding with delight when finished. During those special moments with her, I took the time to make my Mama up with makeup. Her skin was olive, as smooth as a baby’s behind. No wrinkles or age spots. When I lined her eyes with black velvet eyeliner, she could equal the beauty of Cleopatra or Elizabeth Taylor. I never understood why Mama failed to make skin care and make up part of her daily routine.
Mama never believed in routines. She lived her life only for the moment and the next handout from someone else.
“It don’t matter to me or to your daddy if I fix myself up,” she said. “He doesn’t care about me. Why should I?”
Never did Mama hug or kiss me with her acceptance. I dare not ask if she liked her hair or makeup. I knew better. The sting of her palm on my face told me when I was not meeting her approval. I prayed she wouldn’t notice my anxiety, or my trembling hands. When I asked how she wanted her hair styled this time, she looked in the mirror, scratched her head, pulling the gray strands out.
“Stupid girl, you should know how I like my hair styled! Cover the gray roots,” she said. “Tease it high. Don’t let nobody see how gray I’m getting. I don’t care how it looks, as long as the gray roots ain’t showing.”
She refused to get her hair colored, afraid the chemicals would do something to her brain. She said, “Cancer runs in our family. We can’t take a chance to get that disease ‘cause it kills. My great grandmother had head cancer. She had such bad headaches her mind was gone. Don’t you put no chemicals in my hair. I don’t want my brain, or my head fried with cancer. You listen to me, Rebecca Sue. Don’t let nothing fry my head.”
May, 2002 was the last Mother’s Day I shared with my mother. Reportedly, she suffered a fall at Savannah’s apartment in early April. Savannah shouted at her, shoving her down the stairs. She was in a hurry, and she was tired of taking care of her ‘old lady,’ so she chose to leave our mother suffering on the floor. That afternoon a home health nurse came to check on our mother, discovering her lying face down, her clothing soiled from body fluids and feces. Her face was pulled down to the left side, left lip bruised and battered. When she struggled to move, she could not. The nurse documented her condition, diagnosing a possible stroke.
The home health nurse phoned me. “I suspect your mother has suffered a stroke. She’s at E-R now.”
“I’ll make arrangements and leave later this afternoon. It will take at least eight hours before I can be there,” I said. “Where’s Savannah?”
The nurse hesitated, suggesting I should speak to the doctor on call when I arrived.
I knew something was questionable. This was not the first time my mother had injuries while under Savannah’s care.
On Mother’s Day, Mom was still in the hospital. On that morning, I arrived early, placing a pale blue gift bag on her bed. Her eyes opened. She glanced at the bag, struggling to speak.
“B-Blue skies,” she muttered. Her right arm moved to touch the bag. I reached inside the bag, removing a blue gift box. I opened the box slowly. Mom’s eyes blinked as she struggled to smile, admiring the cultured pearl earrings inside the box.
A few minutes later, I placed the pierced earrings in her ears. Mom sighed, touching the right ear with her right hand. She slurred ‘thank you’ and fell back to sleep.
I stayed with my mother all of that Mother’s Day, feeding her and making her comfortable. That Mother’s Day was the last Mother’s Day we shared.
On September 11, 2002, my mother died under ‘questionable circumstances.’ Savannah spent that night with her at the hospital. When Savannah phoned me in the late evening of September 12, she appeared intoxicated. Her last slurring words to me were, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
Two years after her death Garrett and I drove to Columbus. We dropped by the cemetery to see my mother’s grave. The years of mental and physical abuse from my mother were buried with her. I placed a bouquet of red roses on her headstone, kissed it and whispered, “I know we were never close, but I hope you’ve found peace now. May you rest in peace, Mom. I loved you.”
Thinking about my childhood, the physical and mental abuse, I found it strange that Savannah was repeating the vicious cycle of physical abuse while I found peace, refusing to allow violence or abuse of any kind within my family.
On Mother’s Day, 2015 I reflect on my mother, our estranged history together and the questionable circumstances of her death. Savannah buried her in a closed casket. Due to another bout of acute bronchial asthma, I was unable to get to the funeral. Perhaps there was a reason for an autopsy to be performed, but now, my mother rests in peace. I hope and pray she died peacefully. Mother’s Day is always a day of reflection, sadness and curiosity and I pray that all mothers will have a wonderful day enjoying motherhood.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who truly know the definition and love affiliated with motherhood. May your day be filled with the love and best wishes of family on Mother’s Day.
Monday, April 17, 1922 – the birth date of my mother. Today is her 93rd birthday, only she is no longer alive. She died on September 11, 2002 – under questionable circumstances. On the date she died, I was ill with acute bronchial asthma. Prednisone made me a zombie. My cognitive skills were disorganized. I did not hear of her death until the late afternoon of September 12 when my sister’s son phoned telling me ‘granny is gone.’ When I inquired about the details of her passing he said, “She died on September 11. Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
When he asked that inquiring question, I failed to comprehend WHAT he was saying; nevertheless, in the middle of the night, due to the side effects of Prednisone, those words replayed in my mind. Why would he be concerned about an autopsy? Just HOW did my mother die? My mother resided in a nursing home, unable to move the left side of her body due to a stroke. On Mother’s Day 2002, I visited her at the nursing home, giving her a pair of cultured pearl earrings. When I put them in her ears, she touched her right ear. I haven’t seen that gentle side of my mother since I married.
Mother and I shared a bitter history as mother and daughter. Whenever I needed her love and acceptance, she lashed out at me with a bitter, poisonous tongue. If I made her angry, she grabbed my ponytail, tugging at it until my head ached. If I questioned why she was so mean to me, her hand slapped my face, leaving bruises.
After marriage, I broke away from my mother, deciding it was better for me and my husband to make a life without her destructive ways. Every year on her birthday, I sent a card. Later in life, when she was frail, I visited her, hoping when I arrived she would embrace me. Never did I feel the warmth of a mother’s embrace.
I was curious as to why my mother was so bitter. Did life throw her lemons? Why was she so angry? Was she bi-polar? Never did I find answers to so many questions. I prayed she would release the anger and find happiness. Regardless of our volatile history, she was my mother. I loved her.
Now, that she is gone, I still think of her, wishing our paths were different. Today is a day of remembrance for her. Even though we were estranged, I still crave a mother’s love. Happy Birthday to my Mom with my love. Years before her death, I wrote a poem about our relationship, choosing to let it rest inside my computer.
To Wish You a Happy Birthday
This poem is written especially for you,
In hopes, someday our dreams will come true.
When I was a child, you laughed at me. In hopes I would see,
How foolish life’s dreams can be.
Now, that I am grown, and you and I are so far apart,
My wish for you is that one day you will start—
To see the beauty in life,
Along with the belief in dreams.
Perhaps then, you will understand
Life’s unspoken dreams.
I wish you happiness on your birthday,
Even though I am miles away.
My dream for you is a hope and belief,
That one day, you will believe.
Happy Birthday Mom. Even though we were never close,
I wish you special thoughts, for joys and happiness we lost.
On your special birthday. I think of you often and love you unconditionally.
Today is Mother’s Day in the USA. A day to appreciate mothers, regardless who — or where — they are. And so, I would like to wish all of the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. Today, I remember my mother. She died unexpectedly on September 11, 2002. There is an interesting story regarding her death, but that is another chapter I will share in my book, “Chattahoochee Child.”
Today, I will reflect on Mothers. Motherhood is a day that most girls dream about as little children. We play with our baby dolls, changing their diapers and clothes, feeding them baby bottles and we dream of the blissful day when we become mothers. Becoming teenagers, we babysit, still dreaming about the day when we give birth to a child.
I will go on record here to say, it takes more than imaginations, dreams and desires to become a mother. A mother is the first person babies get to recognize when we are so dependent on a mother. I imagined myself as a great mother because I loved small children. I loved scooping them up sitting on my lap while I read picture book stories to them. I loved playing pretend with them, singing and dancing with small children, and I loved babysitting.
After marriage, I discovered it indeed ‘takes a village to raise a child.’ After giving birth to my child, I recognized motherhood was more demanding that I imagined. Suddenly this tiny little boy was placed in my arms, screaming louder than I imagined a baby could scream. After we came home, I was convinced I did not need help to care for him. After all, I was his mother. I could handle any of the demands he screamed out to me. I was wrong!
Mornings began early — really early, and sleep was something I was deprived of. I learned to sleep when the baby sleeps. My husband did not help — at all. He used the excuse he didn’t know how to care for a baby. He couldn’t change diapers or feed him. All that he enjoyed was the fun of making a baby. Maybe that is why we only had one! While making a baby was fun, the joy of caring for a baby quickly wore me out. And when my husband jokingly mentioned having another, I did not laugh. Motherhood was just a bit more demanding that I ever imagined.
Perhaps that is the reason my mother and I did not get along in life. As a child, I was the persnickety one! I loved to dress up and make an entrance. Singing and dancing on the stage gave me life and I knew at the age of five-years-old I was meant to entertain. As a teenager, I grew into a shell, hiding away, afraid to speak, sing or dance. I watched my parents marriage quickly deteriorating. I stood between them, serving as the referee so they would not hit one another. I remember screaming, “Please stop this. You are killing each other.”
When I was 15, my parents separated and divorced. Mom moved us into our grandparents mill house. I enrolled in high school, blending into the walls. No one remembered me. The music stopped and I no longer sang or dance. My life was in turmoil. My mother and I fought. Sometimes she would pull my hair and slap me, just to shut me up. I saw the bitter side of motherhood and for a while, I thought I would never become a mother.
Today, I do my best to look for the good that was inside my mother, and I reflect on her unhappiness. Not every one is good mother material. After all, life has a way of demanding too much controversy and difficulty. After moving away from the mill village, my husband and I drove back to the mill village occasionally to see my mother. Each time, I left in tears. Bitter words were spat at me. Questions vocalized that I was ‘rich’ since I drove a new car, wore expensive clothing and shoes. I laughed! All of my clothing and shoes were sale or clearance items and I managed a tight household budget. It was obvious with each visit that jealousy brewed inside my mother. Never did she rush to hug me, or tell me she loved me. All I remember were the brutal attacks, and with each visit, I wiped tears from my eyes while inside all I wanted to hear was that she loved me and was happy to see me. She stood her ground — refusing. Inside her home, all of my pictures were gone. In her eyes, I no longer existed.
In later years, she had a stroke. I found out when the nursing home phoned me to ask if I would fill out paperwork for her to remain. My youngest sister was missing at the time, and the social worker admitted to me that my mother had been removed from my sister’s home after a court order.
I completed all of the paperwork and my mother received the medical care she deserved. I drove to Georgia to see her. She didn’t recognize me, but did recognize my husband. Returning home, I spoke with the nursing home every day, hoping that my mother would improve.
On September 11, 2002, my mother died. I was informed after my sister’s son phoned me to let me know the funeral would be the next morning. The one comment made to me several times while on the phone was: “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
I had less than 24 hours to get to the funeral. At the time, I was in bed sick with acute bronchial asthma. I was taking Prednisone at the time and was a total zombie to be around. My husband was away in Italy, so I did not make it to the funeral. Never did I get to say goodbye to my mother.
Three months later, I wrote a letter to my mother, to say goodbye. Now at peace with her death, and our history together, I wish her a Happy Mother’s Day in heaven. To all of you who are mothers, or have mothers still alive, I do hope you will take the time to wish your mother a Happy Mother’s Day. Even if there are challenges and adversities you share, think of it this way — she is the one who gave you life. Without her care, you would not be around to breathe or appreciate life.
May God bless mothers, everywhere. As we know, motherhood does not come with an instructional booklet. None of us are truly prepared to be a mother; however, we must work together to become appreciative of each other and our lives together. Life is too short to hold a grudge. Pick up the phone today to speak to your mother. To say thank you..and most of all, to say, “Mom. I love you.” Regardless. She is your mother.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Today, I awaken to the sounds of motherhood. My children are in the bed with me, rolling over, wanting attention and a bit of motherly love. Hank groans. Sandy Bear jumps off the bed with a solid thump as his four legs hit the carpeting. Shakespeare lies next to me on his pillow, rolling over, kicking his four legs in unison. I moan realizing morning has begun in this household filled with four-legged children demanding my attention.
Years ago, I was the mother to my son, and I am still the mother to him, although he is married now, with a precious child of his own. I am proud of my son and miss him in my life. He is busy with work, a career that demands his attention and his wife and family. Rarely do I see him, but that doesn’t stop the fact that I am his mother.
Motherhood is more than ‘birthing a child.’ It is a special time to care for the child and to teach the child the values, love and nourishment that all children need to grow up to be responsible, respected adults. I was an extremely young mother, giving birth to my child when I was only twenty-years-old. While I learned the ropes of successful motherhood, I recognized I wasn’t trained or ready to become a mother, and so my precious son taught me by his actions. Together we learned the definition of family and I am proud to be his mother.
To all of the mothers reading this, I would like to say, motherhood doesn’t come with a training manual. While we teach our children to speak, walk and to flutter their wings as we watch them growing up, we are constantly learning from them. When a child has its first ‘boo-boo’ we wipe their tears, while perhaps wiping a tear from our face. I recall a tear slipping down my face when my son went to kindergarten. In first grade, I became a volunteer at his school, only to be told that he wished I would not be at school so much. Perhaps I had raised him to be a bit too independent, so I backed away, recognizing that my son was growing up. While he still needed a mother, he also needed his independence. I did not wish to be a helicopter mom.
Every year at Mother’s Day, I think of my mother, wishing we could’ve become the mother daughter I always wanted. Let’s just say, my mother had issues. She never wanted her children to grow up, so she smothered us with control and manipulations. I broke away at an early age, fighting with every breath to have an independent life. Later in her life, when she was ill, I lived eight hours away from her. When she was moved from my youngest sister’s apartment to a care facility, I kept in touch daily with the nurses. I sent care packages to her, and when she could speak I spoke with her.
I lost my mother on September 11, 2002, and still I do not know the reasons for her death. She was recuperating from a stroke. According to the nurses ‘she was improving.’ I requested them to keep me informed. After her death, no one let me know of her passing until sixteen hours later. My youngest sister’s son phoned me to share the news. The last question he shared with me while on the phone was, “Aunt Barbie, do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
Strange. I didn’t comprehend all that he was saying at the time.
I was on Prednisone and my brain simply was not processing these words. I was home at the time battling an acute attack of severe bronchitis. Her funeral was set for the next morning. I was too sick to drive and my husband was in Italy at the time, so I missed her funeral. Nevertheless, I am at peace with her passing, knowing that I did all that I could to let her know that I had buried our torrential past and was there for her.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I think of her, wishing her well. I hope she found peace before her death and I do hope she knew that I did love her. Regardless of our history together, I fully believe that not all women should become mothers. My mother was one of them who shouldn’t have, but I cannot look back wishing to change things that were out of my control. All I can do is to thank my mother for giving me life. I hope and pray that deep inside her heart she found a small way to be proud of me. Happy Mother’s Day, and may your Mother’s Day be enriched with the love of your family.