Friday, March 29, 2013

Every so often someone posts a drawing on Facebook, something like, "If we spanked/paddled/beat kids they wouldn't be so rotten."

When I was 10 my evil grandmother sold the land that was supposed to have gone to my father, "Promises mean nothing," that wicked woman told him. So my father decided to have his first mid-life crisis and quit long-haul trucking and become a dairy farmer, something he was completely unsuited for.

My parents bought a farm in Buckley and sold the house in Traverse City and we moved to this shitty little town and even before we got there my father probably realized what a mistake it was.

One day my parents and my three siblings and I were moving in the enormous table that had once belonged to my great-great grandmother Edna, and my father lost it. He gave me a look and suddenly he was chasing me through the kitchen into the laundry room with its cold concrete floor and he knocked me onto the floor. There was a bin with firewood next to where he was standing and he grabbed a 2x4 and started to beat me with it. I tried to ward off the blows, screaming over and over again, "What did I do? What did I do?"

Except I had done nothing except be the child my father did not want me to be- book smart, a weakling, probably a bit on the girly side. By the time he finished striking me with that piece of wood I had bruises all over my ass and legs and was lying there sobbing. What did I do?

Whenever I see those postings on Facebook extolling the wonders of beating children as "discipline" I flash back to the 10-year-old me on that floor. My mother claims she has no memory of it. My sister Susan is the one who remembers the 2x4, which would soon burn in a stove. It disappeared. The memory of what my father did has not. He's been dead for 17 years and whenever I think about him only the bad things he did, and there were plenty, come to the surface.

Child abuse isn't funny. Facebook postings about beating kids are not funny. And don't expect me to not tell you off if you post them.

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