Sometimes It Was Fun

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February 1, 2014 · Posted in Miscellany 

 

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By PAMELA ADAMS HIRST

My poor parents; they were both so weak, so damaged. The war damaged Daddy and Daddy damaged Mama. I’m a baby boomer. When my sister was born, four years after me, the violence began. Today they would call it post traumatic stress syndrome. But back then they called it shell shocked.

Sometimes it was fun hiding from Daddy. I remember once when Mama said we were going to hide, said we were going to spend the night up in the attic. We made pallets on the floor. It was fun, just like when we went visiting out in the country to see my cousins Patsy and Gill at the horse farm.

It was like camping. Not that we knew what camping was. But we had an old oil lamp left over from the blizzard the winter my sister was born. Mama brought the bucket up from under the kitchen sink and the toilet paper, too.

And besides, up in the attic it was cheerful; we played cards and I Spy while the shadows danced around on the raw planks like fairies.  When we went to bed we all curled up together like spoons.

Late that night we heard my father come in the kitchen door. We stayed really quiet. He spent a lot of time down there running water in the sink. He never once called out our names.

Next morning when we pushed the trap door down from the ceiling to emerge Daddy didn’t even seem all that surprised, but we were. He had a big bandage on his hand.  There had been a big knife fight behind Joe Heaton’s Café and beer joint down.

“I heard you messing around down here,” Mama said.

Someone had raked a switchblade across the knuckle of Daddy’s ring finger on his right hand. It never did heal properly.

Then I remember that time we left the house in the middle of the day. I didn’t even have time to put on my shoes. Mama carried my little sister in her arms but I had to walk – over two miles – barefoot. I can still feel the burn of that hot asphalt, then the cool grass – with stickers and thorns. I was in tears by the time we got to my cousin’s house – the Kennedys. It was a beautiful home on a shady lot.

I wasn’t six years old yet but already I knew shame. I looked over the threshold into their cool, orderly home and I felt ashamed.

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Formerly known as the “Godmother of Poetry” in Nashville, Tennessee, Pamela A. Hirst was publisher of Beatlick News: A Poetry & Arts Magazine for 22 years. She relocated to New Mexico and founded Beatlick Press in 2011 in Albuquerque 2011, to post-posthumously publish the works of her partner Beatlick Joe Speer.

THE LOWDOWN ON HIRST

Known as the Godmother of Poetry in Nashville, Tennessee, Beatlick Pamela Hirst relocated to New Mexico in 2003. Publisher of “Beatlick News Poetry & Arts Newsletter” for 22 years, the newsletter ceased publishing hard copies in 2010 after the death of editor Beatlick Joe Speer.

Beatlick News continues online at www.beatlick.com and Beatlick Press was established in Beatlick Joe’s memory in 2011 to publish his only book: “Backpack Trekker: A 60s Flashback”.

Beatlick Press has published eight books since Speer’s death and was nominated for two literary awards by the New Mexico / Arizona Book Awards winning first place in anthology in 2013 for “La Llorona.”. “Backpack Trekker” was a 2013 travel book finalist.

 

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