By Tyrone A. Moore
I think our house was cursed– because so many bad things was happening in that house. We would hear the silverware rambling in the kitchen, but there wouldn’t be anyone in there. Doors would just open and close by themselves also! On one evening mom had made dinner, and after fixing my father a plate, mom handed him his plate then she turned and walked away.
Dad picked up his plate and threw it against the kitchen wall. The dinner plate shattered in many pieces and the food splattered all over the wall, and on the floor. “Now pick it up!” he demanded mom. And then in a fit of uncontrollable rage, dad got up from the table and grabbed mom by the hair–and said, “are you trying to poison me?” He then slapped her and punched her in the face. Mom covered her face with her hands to protect– further assault from dad. And when she had lowered her hands, she had a black eye! Dad called mom a “f#*@! whore.” He slapped her again knocking her to the floor.
Dad sat on mom hitting her in the face. Us kids was crying and telling our dad to stop hitting mom. I don’t know about my sister or my little brother, but I would get terrified when my parents fought! I was afraid he was going to kill our mother. Dad was a pale in complexion, and a very thinly-built man, dad was a very strong man for his size. He was okay most of the time, but generally dad was anti-sociable. He did not like people coming over to our house. Being a private man, dad liked to come home and go straight to the bathroom–then change his clothes, and sit in front of the TV set, in his favorite chair–in the living room smoking a cigarette. After us kids cried for our dad to stop hitting our mother, dad finally stopped. I guess the combination of us on him trying to pull him off our mother, and pleading with him to stop hurting mom worked.
He finally cease and desist his assault on mom and got off of her. Mom got up from the floor and was fronting like she was okay, and told us to go to our room–because she was all right. Horrific as it was in our house most of the time, things seemed to move right along just the same. As a child growing up in that kind of environment, I didn’t think mom and dad fighting would have any long-term affect on my self-esteem in the future. All that was on my mind while lying in my bed–with the blanket covering over my head in the dark was…”Boy, I am never getting married!”
In the fourth grade my new teacher was another mean old hag named Mrs. Case. If her last name was any indication that she was going to be constantly on my case, I would have gone on a hunger strike or something, just to get out of her class. I had some mean teachers before, but this woman took the cake!
Mrs. Case had giving me more F.U.’s grades then I could count. F-for fail, and U-for unsatisfactory on all our homework and classwork. She even resembled the wicked-witch on the “Wizard Of Oz” movie, with tiny blue-eyes, which looked like marbled “cat eye,” that laid sunken in deep–into her caved in eye sockets! Right dab in between her bitty eyes, stuck out a very pointy snout of a nose, that looked like the classic witch’s nose. Mrs. Case wore her hair in a bun all the time–that she would tighten with her long fingers! She use to shake me real hard with those bony but strong hands.
If I missed an answer in class, boy you’d thought Mrs. Case was going to bust an eye vessel (en la retina) or two. She would get so mad at me, the vain in her face were like lightning bolts–getting bigger and bigger, as she turned red as a tomato! She was just mean to the core. Her voice was cold and stern too like her character. If I had to ask her to repeat what she had just said, she would screech back, “Aren’t you listening? Are you paying attention?”
At that point, my facial expression would fall, and my whole body would just slide down into my chair completely embarrassed–trying to become invisible. Then a chorus of snickers ranged out from everyone in the class room. “Have Maggie help you!” she belted out. Maggie Hernandez was very smart at math and in most subjects. Anything I needed to learn that was hard for me, Maggie would help me like she was getting paid to tutor me. What helped Maggie and a handful of other students to do well in school was the fact that they all went to Catholic school before they went to public school. In Catholic schools, they were very strict about you getting an education. The teachers at my school was so prejudice, they would rather you go to some other school then to deal with you. They had no patients and were not concerned about me learning.
*SAMUEL RETURNING HOME FROM THE ARMY
At this juncture of my school days, I was not having much problems out of kids beating me up anymore. It was the teachers I was worried about. Although there was this one little boy named Jimmy Adams, who used to run up to me during recess and kick me in the chins. He had these big old construction type boots on. My legs were tattooed all over with bruises from him kicking me everyday.
One day as I was getting dressed for school, my mother had noticed all these deep reddish-purple marks on my legs. After telling her how they got there, mom went to school with me to complain to the principle about violent attacks by this little boy at school. That was a very horrible year for me. I flunked everything! The next year was not any easier for me either, because I didn’t do so well the previous year in the fourth grade. My sister Rosita on the other hand, excelled in school! She stayed up late at night doing her homework. I guess because she stuck to herself mostly, and stayed in the house, and helped mom cook and clean all the time. She wasn’t chasing after boys either.
My sister distant herself from me too as usual. Samuel my oldest brother was married for some time now. And my brother Jesus, second to the oldest, was in the Army. He was drafted into the military when he turned twenty. He was stationed in Missouri at first, then he was transferred later back home, to Greenland Alaska. When he came home, he told us stories how the guys carried on, because they did not have a woman for six months–and how it was driving some of them crazy.
One day, the guys were fighting over this poster of a woman–and tore her head off in the process! Boy we just laughed after he had told us that story. I thought it was hilarious that a bunch of grown men fighting over a piece of paper. How simple minded, and pathetic, they must have looked! Before Jesus came home from the Army, it was just me, my sister, my little brother Johnathan, and my mother–and father–living at home. It wasn’t until I turned eleven and in the sixth grade, that my brother Jesus came home from the Army for good. He just moved his belongings back into his old room with little Johnathan.
At the time Jesus was twenty-four years old, and Johnathan was only six years old. Jesus was very close to Johnathan too. He always took our little brother everywhere with him. Instead of acting like his older brother, he treated him like his own son! Johnathan was only two years old when Jesus was first drafted into the military. They shared a room together then, and now for the second time, but this time without our oldest brother Samuel.
Jesus was very glad to be back home in his old room. He also got his old job back working at Girdwood Mining Company, as a diesel mechanic for heavy equipment. And he had even called his old girlfriends he had to leave behind. Little Johnathan would walk around with Jesus’s Army hat and shoes, barely able to see due to hat flopping all over his little head–with shoes clopping on the floor in the kitchen–that was making loud noises as he was trying to walk in them. With the whole house smelling like a restaurant, mom would shoo him out the kitchen. All the windows in the house was fogging up from the steam coming from the stove.
Jesus stayed gone a lot now that he was 24 years old. He would come and go as he pleased, but he never brought any girls over to the house. He knew to respect mom. The nights he did not come home on the weekends, must have been spent in a motel room, or over one of his girlfriend’s house. Because he didn’t have to look for work, Jesus had money, a place to stay, and places to get laid whenever he wanted. He was so lucky that they held his job at the mine until he gotten out of the Army. He’d even bought mom some brand new furniture. She was so thankful and very proud of him! Because he never had to pay rent, Jesus always had money. He had even saved enough money to buy himself a brand-new Jaguar. My brother did not spend his dinero (money) on dumb things. That is why he was able to buy his Jaguar with cash–in one lump sum! The only things that he would buy was some new records, and go out to bars on the weekends every now an then. The rest he would put away.
*THE INTRODUCTION OF ALCOHOL
I did notice a lot of drinking int he house since he had come back from the military. Mom loved her wine every now and then, especially with dinner. Mom or dad did not go out or have much company over the house. Cooking, cleaning, and drinking wine occasionally was her social activity. Mom did not believe in having the boys do housework, so just like dad–they sat around the house scratching whatever parts of their bodies they so choose to. “What’s for dinner?” was their job to ask. Mom and my sister was their cooks! Mom had me to do more chores around the house as I gotten older.
I was already cleaning the bathrooms at the age of eight. Now I was helping with the laundry and the dishes too. Cleaning the bathrooms was the worst chore by far. My brothers could not aim into the toilet to save their lives. They could nail a bulls eye with a bow and arrow, or shoot and kill game, but it was something about hitting the center of the toilet! Maybe it wasn’t challenging enough for them like other sports. There’s no one in the restroom cheering for them I guess to brag to, or no prices could be won for hitting the center of the toilet. My brothers knew they had a little sister to labor on her knees keeping it clean for them. Or perhaps it was their sinister way of getting back at me.
As I had mentioned earlier, when Jesus came home I noticed alcohol more and more in the house–mostly and exclusively wine! My brother preferred a particular wine called Pasono. I remembered very well sometimes when I was left alone to do the dishes, I would sneak a drink of wine that was placed underneath the kitchen sink. At eleven years old, I knew what it felt like to get buzzed from wine.
Me and my sister started sampling wine when I was about four, and she was seven years old! We use to sneak wine from Mrs. Athans house when mom went over to visit her. When we would go over to her house across the street, she would give us a glass of milk. We would dump the milk and pour us some wine instead. I just liked the taste. Now, I just go for the buzz! Rosita could be found with her head buried in her homework. My mom would be tending to Johnathan or washing clothes. In the evening after work and after dinner, my dad would be found in his favorite chair watching T.V. My brother Jesus maybe on the phone talking to one of his girlfriends, or either gone out.
Nobody cared or paid attention to me as long as I was out of their hair. With the blue flickering light that cascaded off the walls from the TV set that dad was watching, laughter from him could be heard echoing from the living room, compliments of the “Jack Benny Show.” Just one of many of dad’s favorite shows. There was the “Bonanza,” the “Gary Moore Show”, also Elliot Ness and “The Untouchables,” ‘Naked City,’ “Gun Smoke,” ‘Raw Hide,” the “Roaring Twenties,” was about a news reporter covering the world of cops and gangsters, staring Dorothy Provine, Donald May, Gary Vinson, and Mike Road, just to name a few. Another one of all of our TV shows that we all watched as a family was Walt Disney Movies!
In the early 60s, Walt Disney did his own narration during his movies. Back then his all his movies came on on Sunday nights. Mom always cooked a roast on Sunday evenings. We didn’t go to church much, so instead we watched a lot of great movies and TV shows. To me, for that reason, Sunday’s was always a treat! Jesus worked the swing-shift and got off work between 11pm – 12 midnight–my sister usually would cook him something eat. Normally she was up doing her homework. On the weekends she had to cook him something to eat when he came home from the bar, or hanging out with one of friends. Most of the time I’d be sleep during those hours.
On Tuesday nights the mine my dad and brother worked sponsored the “Tuesday nights at the movies,” and they were good too. During the commercials the mine would advertise, promote, and educate the community about itself, its purpose, and the people that worked there. The mine took turns featuring certain employees. One time my brother Samuel was featured using a caterpillar bulldozer in one of the mine’s pit. We all screamed with excitement..”There’s Samuel! There’s Samuel!” We were so very proud of him of course. He’d be on that yellow mammoth machine–wearing his yellow hard hat operating the piece of equipment–like an old pro!
*THE YEAR PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY WAS ASSASSINATED!!
Samuel was a very husky guy, but being on that huge machine made him look tiny, in the huge mining pit. He looked like a brave, and courageous hero, that had just defeated a fiery an deadly dragon in victory! That was the only time I felt proud of my oldest brother. The rest of the time, I only experienced nothing but mental, verbal, and physical abuse from him. I was his very own personal punching bag. The resentment I had built up for him through the years, was like no other hate I had for another human being on this planet!
The hatred I had for my brother Samuel–was worse than the hatred I had for my godfather who had molested me. If my brother was ran over by one of those bulldozer, or a semi-truck in that mine, it couldn’t have happened too soon–is the way I felt about Samuel.
Anyways, another one of my favorite T.V. shows was the afternoon cartoons during the week, and the early morning cartoons that showed on the weekends. But of course I would miss the weekend’s cartoons, because I would always sleep in. But on the weekday afternoon shows, me and my sister watched cartoons like “Heckle and Jeckle” (the talking twin magpies created in 1946 by Terrytoons), “Felix The Cat,” another classic “Betty-Boop,” ‘Little LuLu,” that was created by Marjorie Henderson as a comic strip in 1935 in a single panel, appearing as a little mischievous flower girl.
Also we religiously watched little “Richie Rich,” the world’s richest kid, “Dennis the Menace,” actually preceded The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings on CBS from October 1959 to July 1963. A cast of other popular T.V. shows like, “The Howdy Doody Show,” created by E. Roger Muir, “Superman,” and “Sky King,” a WWII naval aviator-turned rancher, who flies his twin-engine Cessna high above the Arizona plains. Accompanying Sky on his adventures are his nephew, Clipper and his teen niece, Penny.
Their mission was to fly places and rescue people in need. Sky would be seen always wearing his cowboy hats while flying his plane. We’d also watched “Rin Tin Tin,” and “Lassie.” They were two different dog shows that were involved in rescuing situations. “Rin Tin Tin” was a male German Shepherd born in Flirey, France, who became an international star in motion pictures. He was rescued from a World war I battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan, who nicknamed him “Rinty.” Rin Tin Tin was an immediate box-office success and went on to appear in 27 films, gaining worldwide fame.
“Lassie” the other famous dog TV show was about the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both humans and animal. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973.
I recall a show called “Lost In Space” with the lead character named Will Smith, the captain of the spaceship. On board this capsule was his wife, son, his daughter, a doctor, a young mechanic, and a talking robot. They were set in a mission and ended up lost in space. And let’s not forget the “Flintstones.” Yes that was the year 1963, I was then 11 years old. The year Kennedy got shot!
I remember that incident very well, because it was a very sad time for everyone. We were in the middle of class watching the president’s parade on TV as a classroom assignment. Mr. Lawrence my six grade teacher was a kind and caring man. He never raised his voice or got angry with us. He always dressed very well, with clean pressed slacks, white dress shirt, and wore a tie most of the time. Although he was an ex-military officer, Mr. Lawrence was not strict–he was the opposite with a great sense of humor.
One time he taught us how to march like they did in the military. It was so much fun, we were so glad to do it on a routine basis. Plus, we were outside in the schoolyard instead, of being stuck inside the classroom all day! But today he had brought in a TV that was already positioned behind his desk in front of the blackboard–facing the classroom.
As we entered the room and had noticed the television, we knew we was not going to have any reading or writing assignments that day. I was very thrilled especially, because I personally hated reading assignments. I just never did well–plus it was embarrassing for me! Making it to our seats (my seat was clear in the back of the classroom), Mr. Lawrence started the roll-call from behind his desk. After he had finished calling out the last name, he marked the roll-call sheet for those that were absent in class with a quick scratch of his pen–then placed everything in his desk drawer.
He immediately pulled himself up closer to his desk leaning forward, he announced that we were going to be watching the President’s Parade–that was taking place in Dallas Texas–as a classroom history assignment. Mr. Lawrence was always a humorous and fun-loving teacher. But today we sensed that this was a serious non-reading and non-writing assignment that was very dear to him–and that he thought that it would be very important for us both historically and educational wise. Maybe the most important assignment of the year for us. He said, “pay close attention to it, you are going to be graded on this event.”
‘This parade will go down in history, and you all will be a part of that.’ Mr. Lawrence said with great assurance. “And now I need everyone to be very quiet as we watch the parade. He then asked if someone could get the lights? The clock was 12:15 pm I noticed as Mr. Lawrence turned on the television. The second hand on the clock clicked loudly as it moved to the next slash mark. Everyone in the classroom became very quiet immediately as the lights dimmed. The second appeared to have gotten louder now. All the lights were off accept for the ones in the rear of the room.
It was a certain calm in the room–that felt very soothing–and safe. Both relaxed, and excited, I looked on as Mr. Lawrence went and stood behind the classroom–into the slightly lighted part of the room–in the rear–where I usually sit during class. But today, I got to sit up front with the rest of the students. Besides me, in the rear of the classroom is where they kept all the art papers, crayons, pens, pencils, the pencil sharpener, and a sink to wash our hands. The blue glare from the television set dominated the front of the classroom where we turned off the lights. The President’s Parade was well on it’s way.
There were a lot of security surrounding the president and his motorcade. It was a tactical body of police, secret service agents, CIA, undercover, and motorcycle officers, that swarmed around the procession like bees protecting the queen bee. There were personnel walking in front of the president’s convertible, on both sides of his car, and was flanked by more protection from the rear of president Kennedy’s car. There was a sea of at least two hundred thousand spectators lined up on the sidewalks to get a glimpse of the very popular president. There was even more spectators blanketing the grass lawns–and parking lots–with lawn chairs.
People were standing where ever they could stand waving their flags in support of one of the most famous and beloved president in history. He had a large amount of supporters from the minorities, and obviously, a lot of support from the democratic party. It seemed like everyone in our neighborhood voted for the 35th President of the United States Of America. I don’t know for certain, but I think my father voted for president Kennedy as well. The streets in downtown Dallas Texas–was literally littered with confetti thrown up into the air–that caught gust up winds which blew the loose colorful-thin paper all around the place.
*END OF “Spanish Butterfly” 🦋 Season 1*
- This story will continue in the next BRAND NEW “SEASON 2!!” You are cordially invited to continue reading this tragic, sometimes funny story–about the innocence taking from a naive and trusting little girl. Find out what happens next as Maria tries to survive another horrific season of abuse at school, home, and from the neighboring kids on the block !
- So far I hope, that this was time well spent together. Please leave a reply below, describing what you think of this tale, thus far.
- I would most appreciate your feedback.
Tyrone A. Moore