Sunday, March 7, 2010

Well here it goes...

This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now and I am obsessing over it and never sitting down and actually doing it... until now! Here I am writing my first post in my new blog!

So here we go...
Have you ever wanted to ask a family member something about their childhood or an event that happened in your family and you couldn't because they had already passed away or they were too old to remember? Well that is the story of my life. My goal is to make sure that I can provide a little window into my world for my daughters, my nieces, my nephews, brothers, or whomever else might be curious about things that have happened. I am not thinking the general public will be interested, although Lord knows I have been told many times that my life story should be on Dr. Phil or Oprah, so who knows maybe somebody else will be interested too.

Where to begin? I guess when you sit down to write a memoir of sorts that is the first question right? Where do I start? Well I guess I will start about the time the picture on my title was taken. I was probably about 5 there and was really happy. It was around 1974 and I was at my grandparents house. One of my happy places. I loved my grandparents so much. They lived about an hour and a half away from us and I didn't get to see them nearly as much as I would like. They were my Dad's parents, they were Italian - American and full of life and love. Being around them always made me feel so good. My Grandma Nina was always cooking and doing everything she could to make everybody else happy and my Grandpa... well he was my hero. There really was nobody greater as far as I was concerned. I loved everything about him. I remember one time when I was young, I am going to guess 7 or 8 I had a nightmare that he died. I woke up early like 3:30 am scared to death, felt like the dream was real so I made my Dad call my Grandpa right then so that I could talk to him. That was such a horrible feeling, and I was so happy when he answered the phone. The unfortunate thing is because they lived kind of far away I didn't get to spend nearly as much time with them as I wanted and it was rarely one on one time. It was rare for me to get to go see them without my brother(s) or my cousins.

That brings me to my family breakdown situation. It's confusing so hang on, here it goes...

Here we all are in all our 1970's glory... my siblings, my cousins and my Great Grandma. Next to Nonnie, (Italian for Grandma) is my oldest brother Danny, me, my cousin Denise and then on the floor is my brother Mike, my sister Ronda and my cousin Don.

My two oldest siblings Danny and Ronda are my half-siblings, they are my dad's kids, not my mom's. My brother Mike and I have the same parents. My parents also had twins but they did not live, they died shortly after they were born. It was 1967 and technology was not as it is today and they were not able to keep them alive. They were a boy and a girl, named Christine and Ronald Jr. Growing up I always heard the story of their birth, so much so that I felt as though I actually lived it. It wasn't until I was actually giving birth to my own first child that I realized how devastating it must have been for my parents to lose both of the babies. I can't imagine being pregnant with twins for 8 1/2 months and to give birth to them and then to leave the hospital and have to go to the cemetery to plan their funeral. Absolutely hearbreaking.
Growing up I was very, very close to my brother Mike, he was the greatest big brother any girl could ever want. Seriously, I am not just saying that I could not have looked up to him more, or idolized him any more than I did. The first time he moved out on his own he was 18 and I was 12, to say I was devastated is an understatement. I didn't go to school for a week, I cried every day. I called him and begged him to move back. It was the worst thing I had ever been through. I just wanted him home so bad. He had only moved 20 minutes away and my mom was still doing his laundry so it wasn't as if he was in another state and I only saw him at the end of the semester.. but it was way more than I was ready for. I was so glad when he and his friends were broke and all had to move back home! I honestly cannot put into words how awesome Mike was. Sure he teased me like big brothers do and he called me names, as a matter of  fact most of the time he didn't call me Nina, he called me "chubby" and I swear if another person were to dare call me that I would be so mad, but when Mike started calling me that I didn't care, I protested a bit but it just became my nickname, but only for him.

Right around the time that Mike moved out, I want to say it was within weeks I went on a vacation with my parents and their friends. They had rented a beach house in Balboa and it worked out perfect for me because their daughter was one of my good friends. We were having an awesome time. It was the last weekend of summer and we were so happy to be at the beach. There was no phone in the beach house and this was way, way before cell phones so nobody had a way of getting a hold of us. So when the police knocked on the door and asked for my Dad everybody in the room was silent trying to figure out what was going on. The cop told my dad that there was a "tragedy" in his family and he needed to call the number he gave them. My dad said that he knew right away that it was either Danny or Ronda because it was their grandma's phone number. I remember waiting with my mom and their friend's for my dad to come back from the phone booth at the corner, wondering what could be wrong. Ronda was in a pretty abusive relationship with her boyfriend and often called my dad when something happened so I figured it was something like that. Nothing could have prepared me for what really happened or how my life was about to change. When my dad came back he told us all that Ronda had died. I don't remember much after that, it was totally surreal. I had never seen my dad cry and I certainly had never seen him like that. He was devastated. I immediately remembered the last time I had talked to Ronda, it was the weekend before we left for vacation. Our cousin was having a baby and my mom and I were getting ready to go the baby shower, the phone rang and I answered it. Ronda always called our dad "daddy" so she said "hi, Nina is daddy there?" and I said yes and told her that I would go get him, she said "wait, Nina I want you to remember that no matter what happens I love you" I said "I love you to Ronda" I went and told my dad she was on the phone, I then went back into the bathroom where my mom was and I so clearly remember saying to my mom "mom, Ronda is acting a little weird" and my mom shrugged it off as she was used to erratic behavior from her.
I remember sitting at the beach house listening to everybody talking around me and thinking 'she knew, she knew she was going to die'. Ronda was epileptic and had to take dylantin daily or risk having seizures. I witnessed her having a seizure when I was around 7 years old and I never, ever forgot how horrible it was. I remember my dad saying that when he went to her apartment he found her perscription bottles and they had not been filled in a while. She had not been taking her medication. Ronda had a daughter, Christina she was 7 years old when her mom died. I can't imagine what it was like for her. We have since talked about it and even though we were the youngest and pretty much kept in the dark we have come to the conclusion that Ronda pretty much took her own life. Even as I write this 30 years later I am still not sure what my brother Danny thinks, we haven't ever discussed it, but that is my opinion and my memory.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness - your blog is beautiful!! It does remind me of the other in that you are telling your story from your heart. I have just finished this first post and I am hooked. I expect you to print these ot and add them to your scrapbooks. . . Eager to read more, Kritin xo


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