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Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend

A Story by barleygirl
"

true story . . .

"

A large family of meager means living on a farm, holidays didn’t mean much to us in the early days. We still had to gather eggs and milk cows. I’ll never forget the first time I got up and dressed myself for school in kindergarten. I was so proud for doing this all on my own. But then my older siblings laughed when I entered the crowded bustling morning kitchen. It was Memorial Day and there wouldn’t be any school! I was humiliated and confused about holidays.

In time dad worked his way up to a decent mid-level executive position in the parks department. We lived in the growing metropolis of San Mateo, about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose (long before it was dubbed “Silicon Valley”). My parents bought mom a beauty salon in San Bruno and some of my older siblings were in their last years at Aragon high school. Of course they didn’t want to move. But dad chafed at the constraints of bureaucracy so he applied for a far-fetched position as Superintendent of San Antonio Lake. This fifteen-mile-long recreational lake is located at the southern tip of Monterey county where it borders on San Luis Obispo county. That’s about a trillion miles south of the bustling San Francisco peninsula.

I still have a vivid picture in my mind of the first time we drove down to check out our new digs. As we passed miles and miles of dry deserted hills, dotted with oak trees and cattle, my childhood family groaned. Everyone except me, that is. I thought it was great and couldn’t wait to live in a remote area again so I could hike for miles and explore with my dog. I’ll never forget the horror on everyone’s faces as we turned that last curve and saw the sign: “Welcome to San Antonio Lake Recreational Area, Entrance Ahead.” This might’ve been the most barren stretch of road anyone had ever seen. There was no lake in sight, only miles and miles of dry grass. And it was ferociously hot all summer long.

Since most of my family hated this remote hellhole, my older siblings didn’t stay long after graduating high school. Mom hated dad fiercely at that point, so they bought mom another beauty shop in town, an hour’s drive from the lake. She was gone all the time, immersed in town life, her church and friends, plus working long hours. Dad got even weirder in those days, feeling freedom in his job and not caring what anybody thought. Often he worked half days in his office and then he’d come home and take a two-hour nap before driving around for another hour “patrolling.” I inadvertently walked in on him as he was trying desperately to f**k my sister’s large dog. Who knows what that lonely old pervert was up to? I didn’t want to drop in again and find out.

Even though I loved living at the lake, I was sooo ready to ditch the scene of our family home. That’s where my early years were pocked with regular raping, fist punching, and verbal abuse. My family was so dysfunctional, I just slithered out of there every chance I could and nobody even noticed I was gone.

San Antonio Lake is where I did most of my growing up and it happened pretty fast. I was eleven when I moved there, but quickly I was an independent operator. Especially during summers with school out, I rarely reported home as I bounced from one adventurous foray to another. This was the country version of getting streetwise. There were always different groups having waterskiing parties along the shoreline and bonfire barbeques at the campgrounds later on.

Shortly after we moved there, my dad got a call from the guy who leased and operated the snack bar, grocery store, gas station, and marina. Bryan wanted to know if I could work at the snack bar and grocery store for the summer. This was the most memorable and treasured phone call of my young life. This was my ticket out of hell. Every spring, I awaited Bryan’s call so I could go back to work, weekends. Then Memorial Day marked the start of working full time for the summer. Ever since, I’ve felt excited anticipation this time of year.

I loved hanging out at the snack bar whether I was working or not. There were lots of other kids between my age and twenty-something who worked and lived at the lake all summer with no familial supervision. There were a few beloved old characters to man the central positions and half-heartedly keep us younger ones from doing anything too wild and dangerous. My personal favorite was Bob the cook. We both opened up every morning at five to get coffee and breakfast rolling for earlybird fishermen. Bob affectionately called me “Petunia” which I hated. He sang that I was a petunia in an onion patch (an old song he knew). But I adored his effeminate flouncing ways and we were totally synchronized in the kitchen. Living in a trailer with dozens of feline friends, Bob was the original “cat lady.”

All of us young summer workers were very industrious on the job, but watch out when we clocked out. There were swarms of tourists mingling and inviting us out for a ski tow. Deeply-tanned congregations loitered on an expansive patchwork grid of beach towels, slathering baby oil on each other. Sometimes we’d pool our paychecks to rent a massive pontoon boat and buy a keg of beer so we could go “catfishing” . . . we never caught much, but those were some simmering summer nights! It was against the rules to be on the lake after dark, but my dad was the superintendent, so the lake patrol never busted us if I was on board. In other words, I was the ticket and I played that advantage to the hilt. There was never a dull night back in those days.

It was the coolest way to grow up and the ultimate escape from my bad family scene. Memorial Day has always summoned a warm fuzzy feeling in my belly. Once I was an independent operator (about twelve), after moving to San Antonio Lake, that’s when I became assertive enough to stop being raped by my father. So you can imagine why this time of year brings a special deep-down joy most people can’t imagine. Those were the summers that freed me.

© 2018 barleygirl


Author's Note

barleygirl
Photo: swimming with young friends in San Antonio Lake (1968) . . .
I'm the second one from right, turquoise swimsuit strap.

My Review

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Featured Review

The girl can write, and when she does her words just cry out to be read....This is one of the most amazingly revealing and emotionally charged accounts of a young girls journey through childhood, filled with serial abuse, trauma, pain and hurt... she self discloses not for any other reason but to demonstrate how it is possible to overcome such horrific experiences and come out not only intact, but as a mature, solid, sensitive and extremely compassionate and loving woman and one whom I am both honoured and proud to call my Friend......I raise my glass to ya Margie.......Neville x

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Such a stellar review coming from you! Coming from an astute guy who has put in a ton of time with b.. read more
Neville Pettitt

1 Year Ago

Hey you are an inspiration & true oh' for what it's worth, it is my inadvertent pleasure... Neville .. read more



Reviews

Quite often the best writing comes from the most painful episodes of our lives. The anger and pain
we pushed down and hid away in the hope they would never be seen, eventually surface. When those memories spill onto the page it becomes cathartic at times.

The worst memories can also contain bits of intense joy. The life we led is conjoined to the life we lead.
The person we have become would not exist without the person we were. One becomes the other as a result of those interactions with friends and relatives, good and bad. All we can hope is to remember that we touch lives and change lives with luck, for the better.

Your writing is brilliant.

A good write Bgirl.


Posted 12 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

12 Months Ago

Thank you for appreciating this part of my story. I never plan ahead where any of my writing might g.. read more
Margie - what a truly brave person you are. To read and think about all that you have endured in your young life, it is truly awesome. You are such a good writer - you were able to encapsulate so well the horrors inflicted on you. For all of that you are able to share with us the beauty you see through your stories and poetry. I would greatly appreciate it if you would allow me to once more be your friend.
Take care - Dave

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Thank you for your kind words. I’ll send you a friend request. One of these days I need to explain.. read more
Dave

1 Year Ago

I'm sure you had your reasons, but still I'd like to know, when you are ready to tell me.
Tak.. read more
The multiple lines between living it, burying it, re-owning it, and writing it are indeed permeable, regardless of what the "it" is. You have enabled us to glimpse all of these shifting lines in this one short story. Thank you.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Your comment is one of the most astute I’ve read in any review lately. You are so right about how .. read more
With every new revelation that emerges from your life stories, I become more intrigued by your powers of resiliance. Now days, the slightest "setback" seems to be an excuse to indulge in media misery and dangerous drugs that solve nothing and only lead to greater problems.

As others reviewers have hinted, your writing could be the realistic "shot in the arm" that they need, rather than the expensive psycho-babble that simply becomes self perpetuating.
Margie, I love your straight from the shoulder analyses of how you have overcome the emotional and physical traumas in your life. (((Hugs))) Norm.


Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Thank you so much for this heartfelt & uplifting review! When I first started writing about my abuse.. read more
I love this. Very nostalgic. You seem to have an amazing memory and have translated that into a beautiful story.
It's very interesting to hear about times like these, it's almost a breath of fresh air from the society we live in today.
Very impressed.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Even tho my family had the misfortune of rampant abuse, this bad part is far outweighed by the pleas.. read more
Have you ever thought of putting your life in print, Margie?
It has everything in it. The good, the bad, the ugly.
You are one of lives survivers.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

This is a cop-out for sure, but if I write my story & put it out there, at the same time there are p.. read more
Paul Bell

1 Year Ago

Yeah, short stories seem to be the way.
"Bob affectionately called me “Petunia” which I hated. He sang that I was a petunia in an onion patch (an old song he knew). But I adored his effeminate flouncing ways and we were totally synchronized in the kitchen. Living in a trailer with dozens of feline friends, Bob was the original “cat lady.”"
At least I won't call you "Petunia" but the "Wildlife survivor" literally and metaphorically and the "Poetry heroine " of writer's cafe. Autobiographical and inspirational to women and men with the fighting spirit and the compassionate voice. Enough said. Keep inspiring us.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

This is such an uplifting review! I think you may have gone a bit far in praising me, but don’t wo.. read more
Sami Khalil

1 Year Ago

Worthwhile. You are welcome...
Usually summer holiday stories and growing up memories are all about boys becoming men! Your Memorial Day weekend memories are about an young cute Margie finding freedom and happiness away from home, even then i can see how smart, fun and nature loving you were. By the tender age twelve you were finding ways to protect yourself. This is the most beautiful story about a beautiful girl I have read in a long while and loved it. Absolutely brilliant!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

As with all my writing, I did not have an idea of where this was going, when I started writing it. T.. read more
Mrudula Rani

1 Year Ago

Even though there is this dark character, your father looming in the background like a thorn ... you.. read more
Margie my friend, this is a story of your young girl truth. That you survived it is a miracle, that you have the courage to write about it is important and inspiring. I wish this was a book or a movie available to young women all over the world. Of course, written by you, it’s technically perfect, eloquent, seamless, ingenuous, absorbing from beginning to end. But far above and beyond that, it is he open heart of a child, laughing, crying, demanding to be heard. An American story and a universal story of innocence lived and lost, and the courage of a woman born to rise from the ashes like a fiery phoenix and make her life an example of strength for others who also suffer. You are undefeated. To you I applaud. With you I stand strong and smile, invincible. Xo

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Thank you for a heartwarming review, as always. Your caring spirit & understanding -- always a balm .. read more
Annette Pisano-Higley

1 Year Ago

You are so welcome sister Margie! Yes, keep writing them when you can, when you’re ready and you f.. read more
This is an incredible mixture of the adolescent joy of freedom and escape and the darkness in the background. In all your tales Margie your honesty and joy in life shine through. You've given us enough snapshots to suggest that an autobiography would connect with a lot of people. Your part of the world sounds idyllic - Scotland without rain!
Bravo!
Alan

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Year Ago

I really do wish I could write an autobiography, but I have very little control over where my writin.. read more
alanwgraham

1 Year Ago

Likewise! Its comforting to know that there is at least one 'like minded' friend in the cafe.
.. read more

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18 Reviews
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Added on May 24, 2018
Last Updated on May 24, 2018

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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