On The Edge of Insanity
On The Edge of Insanity
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On the Edge of Insanity spells it all out.  For that is where we lived, always on the edge.

Always afraid of violence of one kind or another.  We lived on the edge of hell.

It surprises me we survived at all, yet, finding times for fun were still there.

There goes dad again and we are stuck with mom. Mom went out and got a job.  We wouldn’t see her for weeks at a time.  The neighbors complained to the cops that we were loud and no one was there to care for us. We ended up in court, the judge told my mother somebody had to be with us due to our young age.  My mother told the judge there wasn’t anyone so he could put us somewhere if he wanted, she did not care.  My brother Teddy was shipped to Danbury School For Boys.  Hope and I went to a catholic place called Highland Heights. I don’t know why my brother was sent to Danbury, there were boys at Highland Heights. Not that this place was a piece of cake, the nuns were tough old birds.  They had dealt with kids for a long time. They could tell in a split second if you were lying. I had gone to catholic school most of the time; I knew how to please them.  Work hard and don’t backtalk. It was also good to be at mass a lot. I didn’t mind being in church even if I no longer believed in God.  It was cool and you could think. The nuns figured you were a special one in the almighties eyes if you were always in church. I dragged Hope along with me at times so I could keep an eye on her. We had to get up at five in the morning, go to mass, then make our beds, get dressed and go to breakfast.  I always got up at four, attended the mass for the nuns, then my own mass.  One of the nuns told me I did not need to do this. Hell, I knew that, but they didn’t know that.  I hung my head and said, “he wants me to,” pointing at the cross with the figure of Christ hanging on it.  The nuns never told me not to go again and for the whole time we were there, I attended two masses each day. The worse part of staying there was the punishment sessions.  Every Friday at dinnertime, everybody that had punishment coming was lined up in the dining hall their name and their crime were read off.  They were given lashes, two for this crime four for another one.  If it was bad, ten lashes were applied to the bare back I never was hit neither was my sister. Certainly not due to the fact, we were such angles. I believe they thought they had a future nun in their midst or maybe a saint or something. I got into one knock down drag out fight while I was at Highland Heights.  This tough kid and I got into a battle over an item she took from my sister.  I warned her and she laughed at me.  “Little church mouse what are you going to do to me, I will kill you with one hand tied behind my back,” then she laughed.  I took a good shot, blood gushed from her nose, and she hit the floor.  I jumped on her kicking, punching and biting. She tried to get me but I had learned to fight.  If the nuns had not come, I would have put her into the hospital.  No one else ever laughed at me again, nor did anyone mess with my sister. Highland Heights was pure hell but there were always ways around things. I got to pick the first meat and clothes from the nuns because they thought I was special.  I was, I was a con artist.

Rose grew up in a large family which was very violent.  By today’s standards it would be referred to as dysfunctional.  There were signs of mental illness, alcoholism and other abuse.  How any of the children lived through their childhood is a question unanswered.  There was maniac depression to be sure but much more.


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