Friday, February 03, 2006

Not a fun one. Might want to skip it.

Bit of a preamble:
Everything in this blog is true. This is where I get to have my full, unedited say for a change. The following is true. It's kind of disgusting, but it's true.

My mom, once she had her hooks in something never let it out of her grasp again. She was a hoarder, of the variety known as 'Diogenes Syndrome'.

Back then it was called 'being a saver' and lots of people who survived the Depression Era did it. I'm certain thats what lie behind why she did it. At least, I'm certain thats one of the reasons. The other is that the woman was simply greedy and gloating. There was nothing deep or pathological about what she did. It all boiled down to a simple schoolyard bully singsong... 'I have it and YOU DON'T.'

The biggest and sickest manifestation of her disorder had to do food. You could buy it, but you couldn't eat it unless she cooked it....and mom was NOT A COOK, so we ate out a lot. This is probably why I survived my first 18 years without any major diet-related illness beside severe anaemia (which cleared up after living on my own for three months- and never came back.)

We had moved to a brand new house in 1964. Of course the contents of the pantry came with us. It stayed with us, too. In fact it's still there, last time I looked (1985).

Over time, she gradually filled up every available kitchen space- and I mean packed the cupboards until the doors wouldn't shut correctly-with food. She then packed a wardrobe-sized pantry the same way. Then asked dad to build her another pantry space in the basement. In a matter of months that too was stuffed to the ceiling with food. Things she had canned and never opened. Institutional containers of vegetables. Jars of capers! Capers, for the love of Christ! We never ate capers! I didn't even know what a caper was until a few years ago!

The contents of the refrigerator were guarded like the Hope Diamond. When things finally went bad...furry, slimy, semiliquid unuseably bad, they were smuggled out of the house under cover of darkness into the outside garbage.

The woman who never baked bought flour by the 20lb sack and let it get grey with shed weevil parts until she would consent to let my dad take it out, screaming in rage the whole while. Sugar turned into a yellow solid mass in the bag. Things went unused for so long inside closed cupboards that when you went to move something it had to be pried free, and left a sticky ring of grime behind it.

She saved bacon grease in a container stuck to the back of the stove until it became so rank you could smell it in the front doorway. Then it too was snuck out of the house in rolls of newspaper.

Obviously, the woman was no housekeeper.

Besides food she also hoarded paper. Things like pamphlets and books and clippings. But although she had stacks and rooms full of that shit, you never found it hidden behind the towels...what you did find was old antique Halloween candy she'd stolen out of my bag. Paper was her avocation, but food was where she veered off into 'Batshit crazy' territory.

Every room of the house had stacks of crap. The dining table was buried under newspapers and junk mail. The living room was a reeking den of stale cigarette smoke, old upholstery, scorched dust, and books. Their two bedrooms? Don't even ask. We had a full daylight basement. Oh yes, it was full, all right. Absolutely full. Not of daylight either.

And nobody saw a thing.

Now my father would reach a certain stage about halfway down the bottle and start bitching about the state of the house... and boy, then the fireworks would start. With a certain justification...his areas, the garage, the outbuildings, the yard, the things only he had anything to do with-those things were beautifully, even compulsively kempt. Outwardly we had the nicest house in the area by far.

But yeah; he'd get his dutch courage up and then it was nothing but ranting and screaming and ranting and screaming.... until I was drug in and ranted and screamed at by both of them for not keeping the house clean.

Which, had I been older than six (when it started in earnest, and from then on until I moved out) would have been somewhat reasonable....
...that is, had I been allowed to clean. Oh, yes. Oh yes!

The sickest manifestation of my mothers' hatred for everything living happened after I moved out in early 1979.

My room was taken over instantly by my mother as what she termed 'a study'. It happened a couple of years after having met the Lord (the way a semi meets a bug) and her pious horseshit had moved from the 'Jesus loves you happy rapture' stage to the 'deep purple, bible thumpin', satan is everywhere' stage.

I had come to visit.
My mom was grinning when she threw open the door to my former room.
My room was filled to the ceiling. 'Well', I thought, 'I expected that.'
But once I took a better look I realized that my former room was now filled to overflowing with religious things.

Posters and holy cards were pinned to every wall.
Bibles-not singular, plural.
Devotional statues, to the point it resembled a Santeria chapel.
Boxes and boxes and boxes of tracts stacked along the walls and out into the room.
Just imagine the most insane, over the top collection of God-related anything all thrown together in one stale little room with a lock on the door and the curtains clothespinned shut.

And topping it off was the Crucifix of Doom.

This was a full on, bleeding Jesus Catholic crucifix, really a rather beautifully executed thing, and that easily enough judged for its being FOUR FEET TALL.
Where does a layperson even find a thing like that?

The corpus was like an illustration out of Greys Anatomy. If you've ever seen a lifesize Mexican waxwork statue of the Agony of Christ, or ever been in the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Tijuana, then you know exactly the type of over-the-top, S and M, eerily lifelike - special effects realism I mean.
And there it was in my room. Bleeding. A lot.

I have never.
...been so taken aback in my life. I mean I literally did take a step back in horror when that door came open.

And she laughed at me.

When I finally broke off from these people for good in 1985 , one particularly irritating and self- righteous cousin kept after me for years about how I should shut up and play nice, finally saying 'At least do it for the money! They've got to be loaded!' (Yes, he's a class act. They all are.)


There's none left.

My mother was a fanatic, remember. She'd spent every single cent my father made on T.V. preachers.
She looted my bank accounts, so money that was supposed to come to me in trust never did.
She emptied their savings. Not even the house or the property remained in the family. It's all been left to Jesus.

If anyone happens to run into Jesus, would you ask him what he did with it?


  1. OMG... Nothing makes you fear the faith like that... Woa... Did your mum have a blog? There was something called 'Dying In Christ'. It died a while back?

  2. Damn. I pressed the wrong button.
    It died a while back, which was a shame, cause it was hilarious. It was another religon nit who had Calvanistic leanings and believed in 'militant homosexuals'. Nuff said. But still. Woa.

  3. And THAT, my beloved comrades, is why I ran screaming from the heartland like a dog with its tail on fire the minute I graduated high school. Not that my parents were like that, thank the Force, but everyone else i knew was.

  4. Ah all too familiar story. What...did we grow up in the same Goddamn house?

    At least you haven't yet been spammed by the guy who talks to God...though after this post there's a good chance you'll be hearing from him:)

  5. blimey. your mother makes mine look sane (and that's saying something).

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