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Monday, September 5, 2011

Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Part 4 Now it begins

Walking in the house Steven screams out “I’m home,” to no one that I can see. “Let’s go to my room,” Steven immediately says facing me and looking into my eyes. 

I follow him down the hallway of modest middle income family house. So many homes all looked the same when I was growing up that a glance as I walk past the bedrooms tells me all I need to know. 

My parents kept a strict middle class house. One main rule was that the living room was only to be used for holidays, well really only Christmas. Every now and then my sister would sit in the living room and be allowed to listen to her records on the stereo. The stereo took up one whole wall. It was a big piece of furniture that opened by lifting the large wooden top. It took two hands and you had to get your back into it. The whole stereo reminded me of a coffin. 

My sister would have Linda Rondstadt and The Beach Boys albums open in front of her while she leaned on her elbows. The album with Lind Rondstant showed Linda looking into a mirror. We stared at that picture for hours, wondering how they got that shot. The sound that came out of that stereo was one of a kind. It had sort of a thump, wheeze and hum to it as the records dropped from an arm that held them aloft.

Steven leads me into his bedroom. It is a very small room that has bunk beds. “I like the bottom bunk” he said with a smile. Even back then I didn’t think we were talking about the beds. “My brother sleeps on the top.” I look around the room and noticed that there are no pictures on the walls or on the dressers. The room basically has no life, just the bunk bed, two dressers and a Yankee’s pennant draped over a chair. “My Mom likes a clean room,” he says as I look around.

It is very clear to me that this was a middle class home but a lower middle class home. In those days I was often reminded by my friends that I lived in an upper middle class home, even though most of my friends lived in an upper middle class home. I had so many friends that came from so many different economic backgrounds. I never considered myself upper middle class or rich. I became rich once I got to live with so many different people and experience their lives. There were so many restrictions in the home I came from, who cared how much money was in it?

“My brother is….” Steven looked around and back at me “Retarded.” “He was born that way.” “He wears a helmet so he won’t hurt his head when he falls.” “This is our room and we share it.” “We have to put everything away, so he won’t get hurt in here.” Steven blurted out all this information. I was sure that this wasn’t the first time that he had done this.

“Come on let’s go to the basement,” he grabs my hand and pulls me out of the bedroom. We head back down the hallway and pass the kitchen. As we pass I see a large woman standing in front of the fridge, one hand on her hip, her head deep inside.

As we pass, I see her come to life, lift her head and yell “Hold on there Mister!”

To be continued…..

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.

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