When I was little, things were a kinda crazy. My mother was depressed and rarely left her room except to go to work. My father worked a lot and then partied hard. One morning we woke up and my mother was gone, leaving my Dad with 4 kids. My 2 brothers were technically my step brothers, though I have never thought of them that way, and so because of that they went off on their own or were taken in by others in their family. I don’t really know. I was very young and wasn’t privy to how everything went down once Mom disappeared. To this day, I have never really asked about that time in their lives. We aren’t very close unfortunately and I’m not good at asking about something that seems like it would’ve been a painful time in their lives. I know it was for me. I don’t really talk about it myself except to my sister.
After my Mom was gone, everything went haywire, but my Dad tried to keep things together. We were homeless for awhile living in our car. Sometimes we would get enough money from lord knows where to stay in cheap motels. I was so small, my favorite place to sleep was either on the floor under the glove box in our car or in two chairs pushed together in the motel room. My sister and I were good at coming up with our own imaginary games to keep us busy wherever we were. One of our favorites when we stayed in a motel, was to imagine we were spies. The patterns in the carpets were filled with “booby traps”. We were only allowed to only step on certain shapes or clear areas. We peeked around corners with our finger guns raised before going around them. It was a blast. I still think about it every time I go on vacation and find myself in a motel. The hotels of today have so much more to work with than the motels of old.
When I was with my sister, everything was okay. But there were times when we were separated. I didn’t like to be separated from her for too long. It made me anxious. Sometimes it still does. My sister loved to run when we were little and boy was she fast. We used to go to Chrissy field in San Francisco or somewhere in that vicinity (my memory isn’t completely clear) and my Dad would just let her run. Somehow, she got entered into a marathon. I was not a runner and so I didn’t participate. The day she ran the marathon (I wish I remember which one it was), my Dad and I sat and listened to music. I was having a really hard time because I was anxious about being away from my sister and about everything that was going on in our family. I only wanted to listen to one song over and over. Blues Skies by Willie Nelson. My Dad seemed to sense my need and though it must have driven him crazy, he let me listen to that song repeatedly for what seemed like hours. The words soaked into my brain and calmed the buzzing inside. I must’ve been maybe 4 or 5 at the time and I just kept listening.
Blue skies smiling’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Blue days all of them gone
Nothin’ but blue skies from now on
The melody moved through me relaxing my muscles and making me forget for a little while. All I thought about was laying in the grass on a clear sunny day looking up at the bright blue sky and smiling.