The First Thing I Ever Wrote - and What Happened
First thing I need to tell you is that this isn't going to be a terribly nice story. There's mental abuse in it - my family was extremely abusive. In every way. You'll probably hear more about that as other blogs come out but for now know that this actually played a large part in my writing later on.
I lived in a world of total imagination. Anything I could see on TV or hear on the radio, I lived in to keep me from the reality of the awfulness of what I was living in. I made up adventures and followed them through, I peeked through the cracked bedroom door at night and watched TV shows denied us children for content disagreeing with our religion, but the adults could watch it. So I soaked in a world of writing, but I didn't know that then.
It took till third grade to learn the alphabet, and until age 16, I couldn't read more than a first grade book, and that was with difficulty. We moved so much from when I was born to age 14 that I barely learned anything at all. 21 times, sometimes not even unpacking the boxes, but being put back in the truck and moving on again. But it counted as a move. So I was sorely lacking, and because the little sister and I were way behind in work, my older brother passing through all his work and wanting more - that and their belief that High School was literally "the Devil's Workshop", teaching children to deliberately disobey parents and commit crimes - we were secretly homeschooled.
Now, back in the early 1970's, homeschooling was illegal in the state we were in. So we were "enrolled" in a "private" christian school and every morning we made noises like we were leaving our side of the duplex in case the next door neighbor was watching, then went very quiet and did our illegally obtained schoolwork in silence or whispering until the father retired and they bought a house on a lot and a half and we were enclosed in our own little world. Then hell set in.
Being taught to read meant reading out loud from an old-fashioned Primer, the same sentence over and over until the mother was convinced it was being read correctly, word pronunciation and emphasis too. If she felt I got it wrong, I got told I was stupid, being it deliberately so just to make her mad and raise her blood pressure. So if I was going to do that, when I KNEW how to read it, I would suffer. And I did. I got whipped with a 1 inch thick oak paddle with holes drilled in it, words carved in, "for Patti Anne" by the Father. I was made to sand the thing and shellac it, knowing he had gleefully made it just for the beating of my body, and it was used several times a day.
Then the time came and reading suddenly made more sense and books began to open themselves to me. I climbed the ladder of grade heights and with it, read the books that the parents thought worthy; the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Josephus, Anne Frank, the bible, of course, and many christian kid's novels likened to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. And I continued to live in fantasy through all the pain and anguish I was suffering in. Now, now I could read! And now I was being whipped for reading too much... I couldn't win for losing in that family.
Now came the point in schooling when I was to write a long story. I had to flesh it out, use a certain template to plan it, then fill it in and I did. Here, greatly abbreviated, is what I wrote.
The great Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon went looking for the new world, to find the fabled Fountain of Youth, capable of restoring youth and curing illnesses. He and his crew did find Florida, a wild and tropical place, thick with vegetation, many streams and rivers, lakes and ponds. But they did not give up, but kept searching. One morning, Ponce got up early and prayed to the Lord God that he would be granted the blessing of finding the Fountain of Youth that day, and, believing that God would lead him, went on a quest on his own.
Suddenly the great man felt dizzy! He sweated in his armor and stumbled about, feeling heavy and hot. Then there was no longer dirt and vegetation under his feet, but something hard and smooth, and ahead of him was a rowhouse, containing many doors. Over each door were letters, which he could not read, but the outward beauty of one door led him to enter there.
Inside were maidens of tremendous beauty and wonderous form, barely clothed! They greeted Ponce de Leon with laying on of hands and even sweet kisses, then began removing his armor, piece by piece. They placed him in a magical pool, bubbling and hot, and washed him all over, including his hair. Then he was sat in a chair and his hair and beard were trimmed to look the way he had been the day he had left Spain, handsome and magnificent in his looks. After this, he was laid on a table and two women began to squeeze and pummel his muscles! At this he began to panic, wondering why they were beating him so.
"Why," exclaimed one, "don't you want to be young and vibrant again? After all, we are the Fountain of Youth Spa and Hair Design..."
Upon hearing those words, Ponce de Leon realized he should not ever tell anyone the horrific truth of the Fountain of Youth! Springing off the table, he seized his armor and fled back the way he had come. Again he was dizzy and disoriented, and then there was dirt and plants under his feet. He made his way back to camp and though his crew pummeled him with many questions about where he had gone and what happened to him, why was he just in his underwear, he never revealed the secret about
The Fountain of Youth.
There. That's the basics of the story. There was 5 pages of it, descriptions I carefully looked up in our encyclopedia, drawings copied carefully of plants indigenous to the area and more. I handed it in with pride in my writing and story, very happy that I had written such a good tome.
To look up later when the mother barged in, the story in her hand torn to pieces, her wielding the paddle. I was beat about the head, shoulders and back, cursed, scorned and told I was the spawn of Satan for such a story! It was horrible, it was sinful, it was of the devil and I had to take the pieces outside and burn them in the garbage pit after she wore herself out beating me, then the father took his belt and beat me silly outside for the story too, and he hadn't even read it. I was made to write a story about a character from the bible, the story carefully followed to be along totally "christian" lines that were approved of by their beliefs. THAT story was handed in and I got a low grade on it anyway. I was 17 when this happened and needless to say, I found ways to be busier about the property and less in the school work. I didn't write for years after that - coming in another blog - and I didn't graduate either. School was almost a failure, but at least I got reading down... which I kept doing, but as long as I lived under the parents' roof, it was what they decided was fit to read. I had no say. So I read a lot of one-sided, christian-belief only books, but never could entirely believe any of them. I questioned everything - and got beat, slapped, hair pulled, ear twisted, oh, tortured - and told to just BELIEVE it, quit questioning. Maybe it was the devil in me, but I didn't stop. Couldn't. I had questions and I wanted answers. I just learned to tone it down some.
So that is the story of the first story I ever wrote and what happened. What do you think? Should I have been punished so severely for my story? I'd like to hear comments... even if you don't believe this story! I'm telling the truth. I lived this horror. Everyone who can corroborate it is dead now, so there's only me, but it's the god-damned truth. I had insane parents who loved to beat the shit outta me for no good reason and they did, every day. So I went on living in my stories in my head. At least they were safe there!
Love you all and HUGS!!!