The Little Things
January 18, 2021
This is my first novel, a memoir. I have taken a few classes through UCLA Extension on how to write a memoir. These taught me how to write and combined with my writing and practicing. I feel like I finally am a writer. How good of a writer still remains to be seen. I have contacted a few publishing companies so far:
Dorrance (been around 100 years), Page Publishing in New York, a few others, all are located Back East. They have stated that they liked the book and accepted it for publication. However, they all want money to proceed with publishing and marketing it. It’s always been my dream to publish a book since I was a very young child. I almost like the idea of the notoriety, more than making my fortune, haha. Anyway, I have no money, since the stroke, my husband and I are living up in the mountains and surviving on social security. It would a miracle and a dream come true if this ever worked out. Aside from my sons, I feel like this is all I have to live for!
January 15, 2021
Decided to post the prologue to my book.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Amy D. Montague, Ph.D.
The inspiration for this memoir came following a massive stroke to my right brain on 3/19/17.
I was born on 3/8/50 in Newark, New Jersey to Leon and Pearl Rosenfeld. Some of my writing unfolds from long-term memories in the deepest caverns of my mind and some derive from recall and other memories are clarified by old photographs. Memory can be so faulty.
One of my earliest visions of a memory is awakening outside in the cold dark of night. I am being cradled in the warmth of my father’s strong arms as he is walking with me from the car to the house. My mind then flashes to my being held by my mom in a fragile, insecure hold and I can feel her insides trembling. I remember not feeling safe at all.
Next memory, I am crawling carefully through a hole in a chain-link fence delivering me into the playground of my elementary school in West Orange, New Jersey. I am in the first grade. I do not know why I’m entering the playground in this way. What I do know is that this large mass of black asphalt, painted in places with white hopscotch boards, a few swings but basically devoid of color and warmth was to become for me a kind of temporary home, holding me in the empty hours before and during school hours. I excelled here. I could run fast, faster than most of the other kids my age.
Furthermore, I could jump high and farther than most of the other kids my age and I could refine my movements delicately and as purposefully as needed. But I felt paralyzed socially. I stayed to myself most of the time and did not seek out other children to play with, feeling more comfortable by myself only. Although I was instilled with a good amount of athleticism, I felt alone and somehow not the same as the other kids my age, like I didn’t know as much as they did and that I wasn’t a part of the school like they were. It was a bad feeling, and it held me back from playing carefreelessly and joyfully. It was a feeling of not belonging like there was some inner club that I was not a member of. I do remember overhearing a teacher on the playground one day talking to my mother and telling my mother that there was something wrong with me and that I needed help. I do know that I was always shy. I read an article a few years ago about the fac5 that a gene for shyness was identified. I know that I never got this help. I brought it up to my mother some years before she died. My mother said that she didn’t remember this.
There were happy feelings and fun times that came on the days of gym class when it came time to pick teams either baseball, volleyball, or football, and just about all of my classmates would
scream out my name “Amy, Amy, Amy we want Amy!”
One of the most interesting facets of the stroke to me is the way that my mind keeps choking up these old memories. It corresponds in a very meaningful way to something I learned in an undergraduate psychology class. We were learning about famous people and their contributions to the field. One was a world-renowned psychologist by the name of Erick Erickson. He invented the phenomenon of eight stages of psychosocial development that we all pass through as we grow up through life. He maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order through these eight stages from infancy to death. Each stage wrestles with two conflicting issues.
The final stage, the eighth stage begins at approximately 65 and ends at death. Since I am going to be 71 in a few months this stage is particularly relevant to me now. It is during this time of life when one contemplates one’s life accomplishments. It is called ego integrity vs. despair. Ego integrity would be one’s ability to exit life feeling that one has led a successful life. Individuals who reflect on their life with regret at not achieving their goals will, according to Erickson, experience feelings of bitterness and despair. Erickson described ego integrity as “the acceptance of one’s one and only life cycle as something that had to be” (1950, p. 268) and later as “a sense of coherence and wholeness” (1982, p.65).
As we grow older and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity and explore life as a retired person. Erick Erickson believed that if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, that we could become dissatisfied with our life and could develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.
Success in this final stage of life will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness and an acceptance of death without fear.
Wise people are not characterized by a continuous state of ego integrity, but they experience both ego integrity and despair. Thus late life is characterized by both integrity and despair as alternating states that need balance.
Another memory flash. I am walking down that same street from my house to the elementary school. The fact that I walked this street so often establishes a memory picture that is permanently fastened in place, if somewhat blurry. I can still smell the smells of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Fall is particularly warm and comforting for me with the smell of burning leaves, leaves in colors of amber, orange, browns, reds, yellows, displaced from their homes in oaks and pine trees that lined the streets and were interspersed between the houses. We didn’t even lock our homes back in the days of the 50s and the 60s. I was immune to noting the age or very much about the houses as I would not be now. In time’s repetitive patterns, much gets forgotten or blurs with age.
The old school playground with chain-link fence so forcefully set completely around it was like a fortress, except for the one hole in the most northern end, quietly hidden by an overgrowth of leaves unknown to most of the by-passers . It was one of the secrets of my childhood. Some days I would avoid using the hole and would choose to walk all the way around the playground to the official entrance. It depended on my mood or perhaps on what I was wearing. I was always a moody child, it was part of my depression.
Twenty or thirty years later when I went back to visit the old neighborhood I could no longer find the hole nor could I recognize a lot of the streets. I remembered some street names but was unable to get myself to my house.
On the backside of the school stood a hill I used to sled down. As much as I loved sledding the picture of the school in the back and the hill is extremely blurred. All I know is that I can’t sled now with only one hand and one arm, as the stroke, even after almost four years now has left me still without the use of my left hand and arm, despite months and months of physical and occupational therapy.
When I returned to the old elementary school many years later, looking at the sled run produced butterflies in my stomach from the good memories. When I looked at the playground, now so void of all the colorful, fancy jungle gyms of our modern age, I felt a flood of sadness for the young me, who not only lost out on the nicer modern elements of play, but I more importantly lost out on a happy childhood, feeling so inadequate, inferior and like an outcast and how retarding this has been to my development as an adult.
A constant reality in my home life, as permanent and grounded as the floors and the walls of our house, was my father’s depression and his feeling sorry for himself. This heaviness still weighs me down. As I grew up I often felt a profound sadness for my mom. My mother would wake up in the morning and be happy. She enjoyed her coffee and toast and the world was good. But she was dysphoric which is a low-grade depression. Both my parents, despite their problems shared a love of life. I also share this vigor for life. After I almost died and lay paralyzed in my hospital bed, wondering what the hell I was going to do. As I was laying there I spied a small black speck and I became engrossed as I noticed it had moved. I stared at it for I don’t know how long, thinking that I was alive still. How glorious that was! No matter how much I despise myself. Nothing could take this away from me. My depression usually centered around how negative I felt about myself, as well my extreme sensitivity to the feelings of others around me.
Other Memories. A Room of my Own
When I was about twelve, my mom took me shopping for bedroom furniture. My dad wanted nothing to do with it which left me feeling guilty, perhaps I wasn’t good enough and didn’t deserve it. But my mom enjoyed shopping with me. The furniture I picked out was pink. I wanted everything in my room to be pink, my bedspread, curtains, and walls. I even had a pink princess telephone. This was the first place in my life that was truly mine. My brother couldn’t care less about what his room looked like. That was just one of many differences between us.
The most vivid memory of my room was the view from my window. I could view the New York skyline. There was a bright beam of light at the top of the Empire State Building that came around every so many minutes. During the day I looked down on the school playground. When I contacted Impetigo, a highly contagious skin infection, and had to stay home from school for a few weeks, I would watch the kids play on the playground from my bedroom. This didn’t help much for my feeling of being an outcast. But I applied Phisohex religiously and it eventually healed.
My next memory flips to second grade, I was taking a spelling test in Mrs. Squirrel’s class, and I was doing well, I am a good speller. I was doing well until for some reason she said something about a squirrel, and so I wrote the word squirrel as one of my spelling words. I think that I even spelled the word correctly, but she came around the room, saw my paper, and laughed at me in front of the entire class. But worse than this was what happened to me in my sixth-grade class with Mr. Collinson. I loved Mr. Collinson so much. I must have had a crush on him. This day I was trying to play around with him in a very immature way, or the only way I knew. I am still embarrassed to admit that I asked; “Mr. Collinson. Can I call you Mr. round potato head?” He suddenly became so angry at me much to my astonishment. It was just recess for lunch. He dismissed the rest of the class for lunch and asked me to remain behind in the classroom. I can’t remember what he said to me then. I just remember my total humiliation. The embarrassment was intolerable. I have never forgotten the feeling. My classmates all knew I had said or done something very bad to incur the wrath of the teacher. That was the only instance he got mad at me. I must have really hurt his feelings. He was a nice man. That was why I liked him so much.
Another memory that represents many others just like it at the time. I am sitting on a stool in Salerno’s Italian Corner Luncheonette. The eatery was located at the bottom of the hill. I was eating a pizza burger and French fries. Food was my biggest comfort. I was always a bit overweight, 20 to 30 pounds to be exact.
My dad liked to take road trips with the family. He liked to drive across the country from one coast to the other and up and down the East Coast. His sister, my aunt Sophie, lived in North Carolina. Most of these thoughts of travel with my bipolar dad are not pleasant. We were having breakfast in some small Southern town. It was a typical local joint. My dad went to sip his coffee, expecting it to be cooled down, and it scalded his face and he ran, screaming like a madman to the restroom. He was a madman or appeared so the way he overreacted often. As I write about these incidents now, it sounds so petty, but to a young girl, it left a lasting impression.
My next thoughts skip ahead to adolescence. My saving grace as a teenager was the fact that I had big brown eyes and big boobs always for my age, although they were never large enough to satisfy my first husband. But I was the first girl in third grade to need a bra. My face was still full, and I was pudgy for which I felt ashamed. But the boys found me to be cute which helped my low self-esteem, but this may have resulted in the birth of poor priorities in life and poor choices. If they liked me, I liked them no matter who they were.
Another painful memory that’s remained with me all these years later. I liked to go bowling and I met a boy once at the bowling alley. He called me and my dad listened in to the conversation without my knowledge. The conversation consisted of this boy, asking me personal and inappropriately intimate questions such as how many pads I used when I menstruated. I still cringe when I think about my father hearing this. Even though my father is now long dead. I have so many feelings of profound shame in my life.
There was my first love, Ethan Feinsod. He attended the other high school in West Orange; there were two back then, West Orange High and Mountain High. I met him one Friday night at the South Mountain Ice Skating rink. I went skating there every Friday night with my crowd of friends. Some of these other friends went to Mountain while some were my classmates at West Orange High School.
Once a week, on Friday night there was a couples’ session for which colored spotlights illuminated the freshly cleaned ice, and Ethan and I would skate, holding hands. It was romantic. We were both pretty good skaters. His were black speed skates, while mine were white figure skates. Ethan and I would make out in the bleachers. My mom went with me to buy my skates there at the South Mountain rink where I took figure skating lessons at the age of nine with Jeannie Fallon. They were the best figure skates I could buy, very good quality with strong support. She also paid for my skating lessons without my dad knowing.
I considered Jeannie my best friend at the time. When I was in elementary school, Judy Waldman was my best friend. She lived in the gated community of expensive homes for the elite. Her father owned a watch factory. They took me along on their family vacations. We traveled by Cadillac, and they paid for my motel room and meals. This was my first introduction to an upper-middle-class American family. She had all the things I didn’t have and wanted.
Jeannie wasn’t Jewish and lived right across the street from me. She was what I thought was very pretty with perfect features while I had my father’s Jewish nose. My father once remarked how pretty she was, while he never commented about my attractiveness. Jeannie had better grades than I did, and I held her in high esteem until our moms enrolled us in figure skating lessons where it turned out I took more naturally to the sport than she did. Ironically at first when I turned on the ice, I had trouble turning with my left leg. But with practice, I quickly overcame this one weakness. Jeannie liked Francine better than me. Francine was Italian and lived at the bottom of the hill.
I think that I really did love Ethan and I think that he loved me and that’s why I loved him. We were thirteen, and we shared the beginning of sex together. It was pretty innocent and sweet. My other group of friends consisted of Allen Epstein. Allen also knew Ethan and Ethan’s brother, Ronnie. Allen impressed me as the most stable in our group of friends. He was like the sturdy foundation of all our friendships like the foundation of a house. We all liked each other without ever discussing it. It was something we took for granted. The friendship of the young. I have not experienced anything like it since.
Allen was the most permanently planted in West Orange. His father and grandfather owned a hardware store in the center of downtown. The hardware store had been in their family for several generations. My sense of Allen was that he was and always would be a loyal friend. When I moved to California with my mother years later when she finally left my dad, He came out to visit once. As the three of us were admiring a view somewhere in California. He related the beauty to a view in West Orange, a view that did not include palm trees or the ocean. My mother criticized his lack of a world view. But I still see him as a contented bird, who is able to see beauty everywhere and be satisfied with where he is. While my mother called me many times, a malcontent, and maybe I am, but it’s lead me around the world. I have traveled to thirty-eight countries around the world and while New Jersey has its beauty, there are many places it can’t measure up to. I would not be surprised if Allen and his family are still there, living in West Orange. I hope so. I envy people who are content. I don’t remember Allen Epstein ever getting angry at any of us.
Vicki Lavigne lived about a block or two from me. She was histrionic, meaning that she was constantly complaining and worrying about her body, and it was attention-seeking. Today she and her husband both have cancer. My dissertation based on the research I read described a cancer personality as such: Usually, women who attempt to be perfect, perfect daughters, perfect students, perfect wives, and so perfect everything. People pleasers is the word used in the research. The emotion of anger is a powerful feeling that is better off released out of the body so that it’s power doesn’t weaken major organs and weaken the immune system. But the problem was and might still be that it is not as acceptable for women as it is for men to express and show anger. It is not lady-like. Not that Vicki necessarily fits this cancer personality because she let her emotions out in the form of bodily complaints. This is how I think. Luckily for me, I have never had any problem letting out my anger and I have felt so imperfect that I didn’t mind being imperfect. So I don’t think that I will ever have to worry about cancer. And since my clogged carotid artery has been cleaned out, hopefully, I will not be having any more strokes.
And while I found Vicki’s personality to be extremely annoying as a teenager, I still loved her and wish her the best today. While Allen Epstein was the anchor of my group of friends, Wendy Kaplan was the heart. Wendy was Vicki’s cousin and became my good friend. She lived up in Mountain- High School territory and I never went to school with her. Her parents both worked and sometimes during the school recess, Vicki, her boyfriend, Teddy and Ethan, and I would each take a bedroom and do our early sexual exploration.
Wendy shared her house as well as everything with her friends. She was a giver. I have since met few if any true givers in my life. She pulled off my first surprise party before I moved to California. It was a complete surprise, all my friends were there and there was even a sheet cake with top designed by an airplane, with its route lined in color buttercream from New Jersey to California. She was very loving and forgiving. I love her to this day!
Ethan and his brother, Ronnie got along very well, which was unusual in those days as it is now. I think that it had something to do with the fact that their mom and dad were so much in love and were very open in showing their affection for each other. They got along brilliantly. Ethan was well-adjusted. Perhaps this was part of the attraction for the young me. I wonder if he ever went to art school. Ronnie became mayor of some town in New Jersey.
This was the bulk of my friends. We spent our free time at each other’s houses, especially in the Summers. On hot Summer nights, except for Friday nights. It was so humid in the Summer, and we never had air conditioning in my house. I would swat my arms, not knowing if I was being bothered by mosquitoes, or the sweat crawling down and tickling my arms. Back then, I loved fireflies. I could easily remove the light from them, attach it to my fingers, and make swirling light designs with my fingers. No thought for the poor insects. But I was too young to know better. Or at least that’s what I need to think.
My father worked for the New York Telephone Company. He called himself and thought of himself as an engineer. The problem was that he never finished college. He blamed it on his in-laws who, after I was born, discouraged him from continuing and completing his degree when he had a newborn to help care for. He blamed them and he never forgave them. My dad was actually quite smart and creative and handy. Warren (my second husband) never completed his engineering degree, in part because he is dyslexic, had difficulty reading and with memory. But he is actually quite smart, creative, and handy. They differ in that my dad back in those days did not keep up with repairs around the house and our front yard looked like a frozen wasteland. Our neighbors complained about it. We were the only Jews in the neighborhood. I was called a dirty kike, before I even knew what it meant! In contrast, Warren is very good at fixing and keeping up our houses. Warren also joined the Coast Guard.
I still played with the neighborhood kids a lot. This was before computers. We played Hit the Bat, in the street and Hide n ‘seek all over the neighborhood. A few of the boys developed crushes on me as we grew up. One such boy was Artie Bonzelli. In my mind, he was known for sucking his thumb and then rubbing it onto the middle of his t-shirts. He walked around with this black stain on his shirt all the time.
Elementary school ended with my feeling insecure about my self-worth, feeling dumb, dumber than my father and my brother, and worry about whether I had any abilities at all. As a small child, I wrote stories as an escape from my depression. I would write a fantasy about being what I wasn’t. In my stories, I was a beautiful, rich princess who was admired and envied by entire towns. When I was in the first grade, for some reason I wrote pornography. A fellow classmate, Ricky Staenberg, liked to read my writing. He told me that he would know my work by my adjectives. I had a way with words, but I was not creative. I could not come up with a storyline. Not until I had a stroke and felt like I finally had a story to tell!
I had a very difficult transition to middle school or junior high school as we called it. Changing classes, classrooms and teachers was challenging. I was now treated more like I was supposed to be this more mature adult person which I wasn’t. There was one shining light to my junior high experience, my mother’s best friend, Doris Ullmann, taught at the school, and it was here that I was reunited with my longest friend on earth, Elaine Ullmann.
When I was born, my parents were best friends with Doris and Bob Ullmann. Bob was an engineer and also a fireman. So the engineering at least they had in common. Doris was my mother’s best friend. We all lived at 449 Mountain View Avenue in Orange, New Jersey in an old apartment building. The Ullmanns’ lived in an apartment directly above ours. When Elaine and I were playing together In my apartment, and it was time for her to go home, her father would bang their ceiling, our floor with the broom handle as notification that it was time for Elaine to return home. We were both born in the same hospital in Newark, two years apart. Bob was extremely proud of his two girls to the point, according to my mother, that it was obnoxious. My mother never liked Bob. I remember her telling me as much. Elaine’s sister, Shelly, was five years younger, the same age as my brother. Elaine and I played together when we were very young, playing in the snow and eating ice pops in the Summer. My brother maintained a crush on Shelly for years. Bob was more ambitious with his life, frugal with his finances, good with investing and their family always did better than mine and was more esteemed in the community since Bob donated money and was a fireman.
Doris Ullmann taught science in junior high school and I felt comfortable in the class. When she asked questions I answered confidently and correctly. She treated me like I was smart, and so I felt smart, and so I behaved like a smart student. She told me that I was smart. It’s just too bad that the rest of my teachers weren’t as accommodating. I cried a lot in math class because it did not come easily to me and the instructor covered a lot of material quickly, and I was lost, and I knew I would most likely fail the test. I never failed a class, not even math. I got some Ds. But a D was still passing.
My home life was still not good. Both my parents were depressed. I later learned that they were not happy together. My mother was a cold fish sexually. She was very uncomfortable with sex. I’m guessing that my father took it all too personally
My mother grew up in the shadow of her older sister, Anita. Anita was built tall and thin like a model, while my mom was short and squat. My mom would often have tamper tantrums and run to her room and slam the door when she was upset when she was young. She never really learned to grow up. And these were the days before psychology and insurance when we learned to verbally express feelings. Perhaps this is why she never sought help for me.
The Suicide Attempt
I remain unsure as to when my dad attempted suicide, but it had to be about the time I was just starting to be too old for a babysitter. I was never told anything other than that my dad was sick and had to go to the hospital. I must have sensed the enormity of the situation because it was about this time I became extremely insecure and panicked whenever my parents would leave. I was sure that they were not going to return. One evening mom and dad were going a few blocks away to my school for Open House. Jeannie’s sister, Virginia was coming over to babysit. I could see directly into their house from our upstairs window. I was alone for a few minutes while I could see Virginia getting ready, rushing around and her mother was yelling at her to hurry up. Despite the fact that I could see the babysitter on her way, I was shaking and panicked to be alone for even a minute. I had never acted or felt like this before. I have never learned the details or really anything at all about what happened. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned of it all.
I was allowed to date at 12. I was basically on my own most of the time left to my own reconnaissance to figure life out for myself. The rest of the family was so consumed with their own problems to help me with mine. My first date was when Robert Buildner asked me to go out with him after the glee club presentation. We went to an ice cream parlor. Robert’s father was either a doctor or an attorney. They lived in a beautiful large house at the top of the hill where the other well-off Jews lived. He was friends with Andy Stern who later became head of one of the most powerful unions (akin to the teamster union) and he met with President Obama weekly. He was instrumental in getting Obama elected. Robert went to Yale and became a lawyer. The female offspring of the upper mountain elite wore expensive fancy clothes and accessories, and I was so envious. They were also the popular crowd. Elaine became friends with them. At our 40th high-school reunion I confessed to Andy that he was my first crush and he, in turn, shared with me the fact that he’d had a crush on Francine from the bottom of the hill. Andy was probably the most popular boy in school and his picture was plastered all over the yearbook. West Orange was about 20 minutes from New York City and a few hour’s drive to Washington D.C. The question in school was never “Are you going to college?” The question was “Where are you going?” Perhaps out of hundreds in my graduating class, three did not attend college.
It is ironic how early traits and behaviors remain throughout life. I am 70 now and Elaine and I are still friends, probably better friends now. All our parents are dead now. After Doris died, Bob married my mom who he had always liked. My mother with a fuller face than my aunt, Anita, was actually prettier. This was after my mother left my dad and moved to California.
I moved out to California with my mother. We rented an apartment in North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley. My mom got a job with the Psychology Library at UCLA. I enrolled in Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys for $12. a semester. It was a two year or junior college. I still had difficulty with tests. I never learned how to study. I took a lot of classes that sounded interesting and turned out too hard like Astronomy. I started out thinking I would minor in art but gave up when it turned out to be too much work. I got some Ds, but passed and when I transferred, after two years to what was called Valley State at the time, I got credit for all I had taken in junior college. It was California State College, at Northridge, Ca. Valley State was a state college then, and now it is a state university. Now called California University, at Northridge or CSUN. I always majored in Psychology. Perhaps because of the hard drive toward college in high school, I was set on obtaining a BA above all else. This had to happen. I worked three jobs all through college.
In high school, I had no clue where to apply to college. My mom cared about my going to college, but never having gone herself, she couldn’t help me much. My father could see no reason why a woman would go to college. I worked with a school counselor who suggested Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut. With my poor grades, I had a chance. I applied to several, mostly in California because that’s where I wanted to live. I got rejected from every school, I applied to, including Quinnipiac. Based on my counselor’s advisement, I applied to both Quinnipiac’s two-year program as well as their four-year program. I was rejected from both until my counselor spoke to admitting and explained that I was a good candidate for the four-year program, and they accepted me into the four-year program. I finished my first year here with a C average. Valley State accepted all my first-year credits from Quinnipiac College which was situated close to Yale which didn’t accept women at this time. Quinnipiac was referred to as Yale’s bedroom. I went on to graduate from CSUN in 1973 with a BA in psychology.
January 12, 2021
I finished my book, The Little Things, and because Brenda from Dorrance Publishing said she liked the book and was concerned that it might be too short; I added the prologue which was 14 pages long. If you haven’t read the prologue please go to this URL at https://finallyhelp.com/the-little-things/
December 28. 2020
I wrote this book because I have always wanted to write a book. When I was in elementary school I wrote to escape the depressive qualities of my life. I wrote my young version of pornography for some reason. A fellow classmate friend of mine, Ricky Starnbery, at the time, used to read my writings. He told me that he could always tell my writing by my adjectives. I took this as a compliment.
But one of the problems I had with writing was with storytelling. Following a class I took once, I realized that my talent was one with words and with not creating stories. A problem with creativity. After I had my stroke and hearing an employee at the hospital complain about the fact that the institution cared more about making money than anything else and this coupled with my suffering and my anger inspired part of the story. The other motivation derived from my finally having a story to tell.
The stroke occurred due to a genetic birth defect that had been restricting blood flow to my right (creative) brain all my life. The brain injury discharged long-term memories that aided my reliving parts of my past that as a psychologist I am trying to understand and impart a case study of myself to the field of psychology and those so interested.
December 12, 2020
I have always wanted to write a book, ever since I was a very young girl. I was a depressed child and I found an escape from my miserable life through writing. Writing was my escape through fantasy. I would write about my being a princess, very beautiful and rich. All the things that I wasn’t in real life, or I didn’t feel like I was. It helped me pass the time. I enjoyed writing. And as I grew up and excelled at it. I could never come up with an interesting story or tale to write about.
As it turns out, I was born with a genetic birth defect in my right carotid artery, severely curtailing, the blood and oxygen flow to my right brain. Later in life in college, I learned about the fact that the right brain is known as the creative and unstructured brain, as opposed to the left brain which focuses more on language, cognitive, or thinking processes and is more scientific and systematic.
My story is a memoir about how this genetic glitch, which I had been completely unaware of, caught up with me in an extremely cruel way and destroyed my life!
My other talent was athleticism. I can’t give myself credit for being born with a talent, but I can give myself credit for making the most of the predilection which I always did. Growing up in my household for me was an unhappy experience, due to both my parents being depressed. My mother was an unhappy child who grew up in the shadow of her more strikingly attractive older sister. The older, Anita, was tall and thin, a model type. Anita was all the things that my mother wasn’t, outgoing, creative and a great dancer. My mom was shy, introverted, insecure, and lacked the confidence that Anita claimed. My mom was also very warm and loving with an inherent maternal instinct, that my aunt lacked. But she remained depressed most of her life with low self-esteem.
My father possibly was bipolar or manic-depressive by nature, and he also suffered through life with unhappiness. We, a Jewish family, surviving World War II. My father’s side were Russian immigrants, my mother’s Romanian. I was born in post-war 1950. My mother worked for the war effort in a factory, my dad fought in the battlefront in India, Germany, and Russia. They married after the war. Both families were uneducated. My paternal grandparents spoke poor, broken Russian English. Mom worked instead of going to college.
My father related to males much more comfortably than females. Shortly following my birth, my father attempted suicide. All I remember about this, which I learned in retrospect was my father being in the hospital and after he returned home, I was afraid to be alone. When they went out, even though they hired a babysitter, I was terror-struck that they were not coming home.
I also learned years later, when I was grown up, that their sex life was not good. I’d always been aware that my mom was shy and prudent about even talking about sex. It is also possible that intellectually and interest wise they were mismatched. Whatever the reasons, they were not happily married, and often argued which was stressful for me. And my father obviously preferred my brother to me. Both my father and my brother talked down to me, causing me to feel like I was less than them; less intelligent, less talented, less than in every way. I know now that it wasn’t true, isn’t true, and never was true, but I think that’s how they both felt as men about women. At the time women were second-class to men. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now. But it had a profound effect on me and my self-esteem and self-confidence.
This is the background to my story…
Currently, my book is still (free) in draft form awaiting comments and suggestions. You can view it at https://finallyhelp.com/the-little-things/