I was in shock. My mother didn’t spank us; She would proudly say to her new-age hippy friends. No, she didn’t ‘spank’ us, but when she lost her mind, which was too often, she would beat the shit out of us.
One time, I missed my softball game because I was swimming in a river with my friends. We went on a long adventure walk and discovered a river that no one knew about. It was the most exciting thing and a true treasure in our otherwise citified neighborhood. We were all pretty poor. So, aside from the few times we snuck into the local hotel pool, we didn’t get many opportunities to swim. So, when we discovered this random river after a long, hot walk, we had to take advantage of it and swim.
We were having so much fun, swinging from the rope tied to the tree jumping into the river and having the kind of adventure that defined childhoods, we simply lost track of time. When my mom drove by the field to pick me up after my softball game, she realized I wasn’t there and became worried. This was pre-cell phone era. So, she had no way of figuring out where I had been all day. All she could do was drive around and look for me, which she did for hours. In her defense, I’m sure she was worried when she couldn’t find me in the usual places I’d be on a long summer day. I’m sure she thought the worst had happened.
However, what happened when I finally strolled home sunburnt with a huge smile on my face was unexplainable, inexcusable and unforgivable. She didn’t spank me. She took me down into the basement and smacked me across the face so hard, I fell to the ground. Then, she crawled on top of me and grabbed me by the neck and pounded my head on the ground repeatedly screaming, “You scared the shit out of me… don’t you… ever… ever… ever… do that again!” Each time she said the word ‘ever’ my head would be bounced on the concrete floor.
I got the message loud and clear. Don’t ever go back to the river. Oh, yeah and my mom was a complete lunatic. In the face of possibly losing her child, she decided to regain control by attempting to kill me herself.
I spent the rest of that summer in a deep depression, wishing she had succeeded.