Book of Me – Prompt 10: Unexplained Memories

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week ten’s prompt is Unexplained Memories.

Do you have an unexplained memory or memories?

  • Items
  • Places
  • People

Things and times you can remember, but not sure how they fit into your past.

I really don’t have any unexplained memories that I can think of. So instead of this week’s prompt being easier or more reflective for me, I found it rather frustrating, mostly because I want to write and I have nothing to write about. Instead, I shall share a memory that I have that I know happened but the adults involved deny it occurred.

When I was six, my parents experienced a life shattering event. After years of denying his feelings, my father decided that he needed to accept who he was. This was during the mid seventies and the world was very much different then. One of my favorite childhood albums was Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me.  This message resonated throughout the house on many levels. It was much harder to come out of the closet then as it is today. After ten years of marriage and two children, my father chose to finally come clean. Amongst the family papers that I have now become steward of, I have copies of my parent’s divorce papers as well as letters that were written to and from my father from different family members. I always cringe when I read the divorce papers. My mother sued for divorce citing “intolerable cruelty.” My father is a gentle and kind man. I have never known him to be cruel or intolerable. So it hurts when I read those cold, legal words. Even during this turbulent time in my family’s history, my father (in one of his letters) tried to explain how my mother was suffering. To her, it was if her husband had died.

During this time, we were living in the Methodist parsonage in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The house had a basement with stairs that led down from the kitchen. One of the improvement projects that my parents had done on the house was to finish part of the basement. The front half of the basement was a den or family area with old couches and chairs. On this particular day, the day of my memory, my parents were having a huge row in this part of the basement. Since I generally don’t even remember my father ever yelling, most of the noise must have been coming from my mother. My younger brother and I had heard the argument upstairs and had snuck down the steps to see what was going on. He was only three so I sincerely doubt he remembers these events. I recall that we sat there for a while listening and then quietly tiptoed upstairs before we were discovered.

Years later I mentioned this event to one or both of my parents. No one had remembered that this had happened. Or they denied it in order to protect me. Since it was such an emotional and traumatic time in our lives, I am not surprised that no one recalls this particular fight.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney

Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/02/book-of-me-pro…ained-memories/

3 thoughts on “Book of Me – Prompt 10: Unexplained Memories

  1. davidmadison1942

    Oy, Your mother and I had so many rows at that time, so it is true that I don’t recall that particular one in the basement. Hell, I don’t even remember fixing up part of the basement…although I do remember sleeping there before I moved out.

    And you’re absolutely right about the “Free to Be You and Me” album. That message hit home with me. I even mention this in the autobiographical preface to the book I’m writing.

    I too have always been stung by the harsh legal language of the divorce papers. I declined to hire a lawyer, which was a mistake.

    Thank you, Deb, for sharing such personal memories here…and preserving even the painful parts of the family history.

    Reply
  2. marthabernie

    Same thing happened to me in relation to parents having fights that I remember vividly, but they seemed to have forgotten. It’s odd, but especially after my father died, my mother painted their marriage as nothing but happiness and roses, which it was not from time to time.

    Reply

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