Please remember that this is only a small portion of the book.
“IT’S JUST A SPANK ACROSS THE FACE”
I was the first born to my mother Gayle and father Tim. They were living in the Pink Shell Cottages on the beach in Ft. Myers, FL and Dad was thrilled with their lives just as they were. He didn’t want kids, at least not yet, but Mom was lonely and wanted some company so she got knocked up anyway. Their home was very traditional in that Dad went out to work every day while Mom stayed home tending to the housework, which she took very seriously. She was very particular about her home and it was always in perfect order but she seldom got out and had no friends. When I arrived November 30th, 1975 she couldn’t have been happier. Her little bundle of joy rarely cried and slept through the night almost immediately. It seemed that I was born to perform and as soon as I could speak I started singing. Mom was elated. I was more like a toy than sacrifice. She would dress me up every day in lace, ruffles, petticoats and bows– always pink– and have me perform for whomever she could gather. I would oblige with zeal. I loved the attention and never got stage fright. Early on it was mostly family in our living room but I was entered into pageants as early as two years old.
Motherhood was just like Mom expected it would be and when I was three my little brother TJ (Tim Jr.) was born. Josh came two years later. They were not bad babies but they were not the always contented children that she knew with me and naturally that brought stress. By then we were living in the house Dad built in North Ft. Myers. It was the first place they owned and it was large enough for our family of five. I think the disorder that came with three small kids, a husband, and a 3,500 square foot house made Mom more difficult than she would otherwise be. The simple days of having one well behaved baby and a small cottage to clean were long gone and unfortunately for us both even my days of blind obedience were numbered.
As early as three she started assigning me chores. It started with picking up my toys and cleaning my play area, then making my bed and soon vacuuming and washing dishes were part of my pre-kindergarten life. I was too small to reach the sink so I sat on the counter with my feet inside the sink to scrub the food off the plates and bowls. About this same time my wayward personality started to take shape. I did not like all things prim and dainty. The big pink dresses and tendrils of hair only got in my way when I played. At five or six I was forced into my last pageant. After lifting my dress as high as my little scrawny arms would reach my mom’s mortification was enough that she never entered me into another.
Surprisingly, the physical ramifications from my blatant insubordination were minimal. Mom was not stingy with the ass-kickings. It was difficult not to cross her. For instance, she was obsessive about the house being clean and no matter how meticulous we would be it was never up to her standards. A smack across the face was an everyday occurrence and we didn’t always know why we were being punished. If I was in the kitchen and she wanted to show me how incompetently the bathroom had been cleaned she would grab a fist full of my hair and drag me from point A to B. If she was really angry her open hand was not enough to get her point across. A switch from the tree outside was a favorite but sometimes our beating was too urgent to wait in which case whatever was handy had to suffice– a hairbrush, a toy baton, or the wrong side of the belt (which is what we called it when we were beat with the buckle). Early on I craved my mothers praise fanatically. I would feverishly clean, wanting to please her but as the years passed and it became clear to me that such a thing was impossible I eased up and instead started to rebel.
Just a reminder: These are only excerpts from the book. This is part 1 of excerpts from Chapter 2.