Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sister Act - Part 3

This is probably not going to be very long because today is my longest work day. I wanted to give you some more of the story though.

I have never been a religious person. Ronald and Louise turned me off to it young. Moving to New York and not being accepted by my new father's religious Jewish family (at first, it's fine now, they love me) sealed the deal. Throughout my life, religion has caused nothing but suffering. I believe in God, just not theirs. I'll occasionally go to church with my grandmother in Millpond, but it's to make her happy and also because she goes to the most liberal church there is, without realizing it. I mean, the pastor is gay for heaven's sakes. Please don't tell Mommom Jewell that though. Her heart is weak. I choose not to go to church because it gives me panic attacks and there have been many times in my life when my faith has definitely faltered, and when I really questioned the existence of anything beyond there here and now.

But when Louise and Ronald's oldest daughter told me that she was a hooker, well, at that moment I realized that yes, There Is A God. And he has the sense of humor I always suspected. There really is divine justice. It exists. Hallelujah. I was practically praising the Lord like a Baptist.

Because, according to Louise, wasn't I the one who was supposed to grow up to be a whore and a failure and a number of other terrible things? Yet, here was her own flesh and blood, whom Louise herself had told me point blank was going to be my replacement and who would be a perfect child, selling herself.

Divine Justice and irony did not erase the fact that I now had a hurting, young girl on my hands though. Chastity lived far away and the only thing I could give her was a few hours on the phone, but I gave her that. I let her tell me her story.

One of her biggest challenges in life was a total lack of education. Lazy Louise liked the idea of homeschooling a lot more than actually putting the work and effort into it. She loved telling people her kids were homeschooled and then criticizing all other methods of education. She had a whole schpiel that went along with her breastfeeding one. So what had actually happened was that Louise kept her kids home and really wasn't able to keep up with the demands of educating all five of them. She dropped the ball. At first she was all gung ho, but she didn't have the follow through again and so all of her children learned very basic reading, writing and math and a whole lot of Jesus and not much else. Their skills were really behind and she couldn't admit defeat and send them even to a church school. Mostly, the older kids spent time on the Internet each day and Louise called this "school." Then the older kids would kind of help the younger kids, but no one cared and nothing much got done. The older kids just kind of stopped doing anything and never got their high school degrees. All these supposed future prodigies and doctors and whatnot that they were supposed to be were nothing but a bunch of dropouts. Towards the end, Louise told the girls that it didn't matter because women should just marry and have babies anyway. She claimed she had realized that she had been wrong and that women shouldn't be educated in anything except taking care of a home. 


I'd been talking to Chastity for about two months when she called me one night in tears.

"I have a serious problem," she sniffled.

"What on earth? What happened?"

"I'm pregnant."

7 comments:

MtnMama said...

I won't say I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm surprised. Good grief!
I find it interesting - something we have in common - is that kids who have been abused have such a struggle with confidence and self esteem, no matter how smart and talented and really worthwhile they are.
Can't wait to hear more...

Anonymous said...

hanging on every word...

Amysue in Texas

dissed said...

Sure she was.

Sarah said...

I've been reading a really interesting blog lately, http://nolongerquivering.com/ that deals with a lot of these religious homeschooling issues. As alarmed as Americans have been by reports of the overseas Islamic madrassahs that educate boys in nothing but Islamic extremism, we should realize that something similar is happening with extremist "Christianist" groups right in our own backyard. You'd think the responsible homeschooling parents who are actually educating their children would speak out about this, but most of the ones I've met are so hypersensitive to any criticism of homeschooling that they can't admit anyone's using it as a front for their own isolationist, paranoid practices. How awful for your half-siblings.

Laurie said...

Those poor children - it breaks my heart to think of anyone growing up with someone as selfish and as horrible as her with no way out. Thank God you got away.

Ellen said...

MtnMama-
I'm more surprised that those who have suffered through abusive childhoods manage to be at all functional as adults. All the talent and intelligence in the world is not enough to erase the internalized feeling that you have no more value than the dog sh*t on the bottom of someone's shoe.

Sarah-Love your quilts, BTW,
As a retired homeschooling parent, I can understand why legitimate homeschoolers would be reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Have you ever had your words twisted by a news reporter? It's usually a damned if you do-damned if you don't situation.

Any time one of these abuse cases makes the news, the HSing message boards light up like a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, homeschooling can provide a shield for those who don't want their behavior to come under scrutiny. It's also unfortunate that homeschooling tends to attract people with control issues.

Wide Lawns-
Your step-sister's behavior is very typical of abusive upbringings. Compulsive behaviors (eating, shopping, gambling, sexuality, drug abuse) are SOP.It may be too late to warn you, but don't get caught up in her issues. Hate to sound like a broken record, but Codependent No More by Melodie Beatty...

staticwarp said...

the sad thing is that almost all of the mothers ive known in my life have been carbon copies of louise. my mom, some of my friends' moms, and all of the mothers that i met through the groups they frequent such as La Leche League, church, etc. all you have to do for a few of them is cut out jesus and throw in the goddess or the eck (eckankar. it's a wierd cult you may be interested in reading about)or something.

my mom pulled me out of school in the second grade and i only went back for brief stints in seventh and ninth grades, both times finding the other kids too violent and immature to be around and immediately withdrawing. my mom also dropped the ball on actually teaching me anything, luckily i've loved to read since i was like 3 so i read everything i could get my hands on (i still do). the only thing that i had that most kids didnt (even the ones in school) was almost total freedom. i went a lot of places and always hung out with college kids and adults even though i was still really young. when i finally got my ged at 19 so i could start college i actually had the highest scores they had ever seen in every subject, the exception being math. unfortunately a lot of homeschooled kids get locked down in houses that reek of cheerios and sweat and are so cluttered you can barely walk through the place. at least public school kids who live like this get to leave for a few hours a day.

i got lucky. i've met other kids and adults who went through "homeschooling" like i did who turned out to be utterly inept in any social situation outside of home or church, with no concept of self or beauty or even personal grooming as well as little or no understanding of how society functions. i'm certainly not against homeschooling. i destest government schools, which are really nothing more than underage detention and reeducation camps. however when you get homeschooled by a controlling, abusive, fanatical, insane family, things never turn out too well.

this story is hitting a lot closer to home for me than most. thank you for writing it and reminding me and others that we're not alone.

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