Straps and demeaning words leave life long scars…by Chuck Duboff

©Chuck Duboff

I was always afraid.  My mom would finish her wooden spoon ritual, a few more nails broken on my fingers and then she’d utter the words “wait until your father gets home…” Try going to school feeling fear all day; try concentrating on the provinces and their capitals, while at the same time worrying about getting the strap from dad.  What was it this time? I only got a B+ on a subject rather than an A…that certainly warranted the wrath of the strap.

I was always afraid.  “Do you think money grows on trees?  Who do you think you are going out with girls and spending money?”  Nothing I ever did was deemed acceptable.  School not good enough.  “you’re too fat, we have to buy you special clothes.”  Too fat, too “stupid”, waster of money, “you’ll eat that food the way it’s made, I don’t care what you like”

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I’d escape into baseball.  I’d read magazines, create my own games and leagues.  It was my temporary escape from the insanity of my house.  I’d be the shortstop for the New York Yankees for a few hours; I’d be the starting pitcher in the World Series.  Baseball helped me to escape.  My body would be in horror “waiting for your father to get home.” while I dreamed of being Mickey Mantle.

When he’d get home, I’d hide in terror in my room.  Sometimes under the blankets, other times just lying staring at the ceiling waiting once again for the punishment.  Some nights he’d be too tired to come in and destroy me, while other nights he’d enter and unleash his frustrations and failures upon me.  I cried for hours and hours and hours.  There never seemed to be an end to it.

Fast forward five decades; “now you know why I am so fucked up Carly”  To this day I feel the pain, the hurt, the worthlessness of those terror filled nights; those demeaning hurtful comments which are seared into my soul. “you’ll drive me to Selkirk”  I walk around aimlessly filled with the question: “Why, what did I ever do…” I always tried to behave, to be the good son, but even today it doesn’t matter what I do.  I am still begrudged any happiness…”why would your student get up at 3 in the morning and drive you to the airport?”  Maybe because my students saw the good side of me that you and dad never did mom.

Your straps and mean words forever scared me…and I still live with that pain today.

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