I am me
My name is Beth. I am the second youngest of five children. My brother Dean was the
eldest, Andrew was the second eldest. Catharine was my older sister and Theresa the
youngest by a year. I was a timid and extremely shy child and kept mostly to myself.
We were an average middle class family and as close as most families are. Due to my
fathers job we moved quite often but it didn’t seem to have any negative effect on any of
Since I could remember, I had always been my father’s favourite child yet he treated us
all with equal respect and love. He often worked away from home and would sometimes
be away for a week or more. When he was home he would play games with us or tease us
to distraction and he loved us. It was always a treat to just sit near him while he sat
reading or visiting with family and I loved playing with his hair. Sunday afternoons my
parents would always take a nap unless mom had visitors or if she was busy with
something, but dad took his nap no matter what. It was at these times that I would quietly
lie down beside him while he read or until he fell asleep. We were seldom punished by
him and discipline was left, mostly, to my mother.
My mother was not a very affectionate person, hugs and kisses were few and far between.
Punishment came in the form of slaps to the head or a slipper to whichever part of the
body she could reach. Wooden spoons, boxes, brooms, pots and pans, in fact, anything
within reach became weapons or missiles when her temper flared. Please, don’t
misunderstand, my mother was not abusive toward us but she did have a terrible temper.
My Dad adored my mother and although they had their arguments they were happy. No
matter what had happened during his time away we were never allowed to say anything
bad about my mom. If we were punished for some obscure reason and told him, he would
patiently hear us out and then say, “Mommy wouldn’t punish you if you didn’t deserve it,
so I don’t want to hear any tales.”
My parents always backed one another up, no matter what. This was a trait I admired and
one I wished for in my own little family.
I was four or five years old when my father came home after being away on business for
the week. It was December and as was usual my dad greeted us with hugs and kisses and
while having supper was told all that had happened while he was away.
Our dinner table was the one place where we were encouraged to share things and dinner
time was usually an extremely noisy affair.