daughtersofnormabates











{September 19, 2012}   The Seekers

Daddy sold life insurance door-to-door in Atlanta every day. It was hard work. He went to the office early in the morning and was gone until dark. Sometimes he’d come home for a nap and a sandwich in the middle of the day and then go back to work. Because he was gone so much, I was happy to see him when he got home.

After we finished dinner, Daddy liked to listen to records on the big Magnavox stereo in the living room. His favorite records were The Seekers, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan. After bath time, my brother and I curled up on the carpet in front of the stereo with Daddy and listened to music. We switched off the lamps so the only light in the room came from the Magnovox and streetlights in the window. My favorite song was, Another You by The Seekers. Daddy’s favorite was Morningtown Ride which was the last song before the needle picked itself up off the record and rested in it’s holder.  “Rockin, Rollin’, Riding/all around the town/all bound for morning town/many miles away.” We fell asleep on the floor listening to those songs. Once the record went off, Daddy picked us up and carried us to bed.

I liked snuggling with Daddy before I went to sleep, but I didn’t get to do that too much. I’d beg him to lie down next to me. “Just a few minutes, please?” I’d beg. Sometimes he would stay a minute or two, waiting for me to fall asleep. One night Daddy laid down next to me and he fell asleep first. I could feel the rising and lowering of his chest and the tickle of hair popping out from his tee shirt on my nose. I lay still, listening to his breathing, not wanting to move for fear of waking him up. He snored a little but it sounded as good as a song to me. If I knew if I wasn’t still, if I moved even a finger, he’d wake up and leave. So I didn’t move, even when my nose tickled and I wanted to scratch it. The tickle in my nose got worse and I fought it hard. But the more I tried to forget how much my nose tickled, the more I had to scratch it. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I lifted my hand off Daddy’s chest and rubbed my nose. That was all it took to wake him up. He sat up and shook his head. Then he got up and left me alone in the dark.

I sucked my thumb until I was in the second grade. Mother told me it was babyish and that if I didn’t stop, friends would make fun of me. I tried hard not to suck my thumb. But I couldn’t help it. Sucking my thumb made me feel good.  When I sucked. I twisted a piece of my hair in the front. I twisted it around and around my finger until it was a tight curl. Then, I’d let it go. Mother said that’s how I got my cow lick. Now I had a cow lick that will never go away. I quit twisting my hair, but I didn’t stop sucking my thumb. My thumb became a problem. Mother put pepper drops on my thumb to keep it out of my mouth, but I’d suck off the pepper. She put tabasco sauce on it, but I started liking tabasco sauce. She tried putting a sock over my hand, but I pulled off the sock. She even attached a metal brace to my thumb at bedtime. That didn’t work either when I learned how to break out of the brace. Nothing worked to make me break my bad habit. Not threats of being made fun of. Not warnings that my teeth were going to stick out if I didn’t stop. Even if I could resist my thumb when I was awake, I sucked it in my sleep. It made a lot of noise because Mother always woke up in the middle of the night and yelled for me to stop.

The only time I didn’t have to suck on my thumb was when we listened to music on the Magnovox. The words in the songs gave me something to think about. Like the questions in Blowin’ In The Wind. I already understood words to Another You: “If you gave me a fortune/my pleasure would be small/I could lose it all tomorrow/and never mind at all./But if I should lose your love, dear/I don’t know what I’d do/‘cause I know I’d never find/another you.” I understood that because that’s how I felt about Daddy.

I finally broke my bad habit by listening to songs. When I thought about the words in songs, I didn’t need my thumb anymore. Even if I was asleep, I stopped sucking my thumb. Every night before I fell sleep, I’d think about what songs meant.  “How many times can a man look up/before he sees the sky?/How many ears must one man have/before he can hear people cry?…The answer my friend/Is blowin’ in the wind./The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

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Rasinhell says:

Sometimes children understand things that adults are just too busy with “life” to stop and think about.



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