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  • Carole King, Tapestry.

    I was 16. My closest brother, Steve, was 18. He was attending the University of Maryland, It was spring break, and he was home, no where else to go. Mom had him sleep in the basement, where he slept on a cot, His belongings under the pool table. I remember, Mom found a little baggie of pot in his jeans. My bedroom was right next to his "cot space". She called him a "drug pusher" and hit him with her fists. He wasn't feeling well, and he stayed on the cot as she hit him. The next day, he started vomiting. He was moaning. Mom yelled down the stairs for him to Shut Up! . His moaning got louder, she got madder.This went on for 4 days. Mom was furious at his moaning, vomiting,( laundry) and crying saying he was sick. She was sure he was on the" God damned dope" Mom and I went to Thriftway, where you got an Ice cream cone for 5 cents. She took me along, and said to the ice cream girl....without me asking.." O.K. Sarah, yes you may have a cone. Oh , and I suppose I'll get one too, since we're here., a double scoop please..." She was very overweight at the time, and this worked for her. When we got home, my Dads car was no longer in the driveway. Dad was out of town, working, and Mom had dropped him off at the airport. Where was his car ? We went into the house. There, on the kitchen counter, I remember it so clearly, exactly, vividly.....It read in scribbled writing .."Gone to base hospital" It was from Steve. I remember her leaving. It was just me and my two younger brothers in the house. The kitchen was forbidden, always......but, we did go in and take a pop tart for dinner. Didn't toast it, too much evidence..and if Mom found out......
    I remember she came home sometime after midnight. I stayed in my bed, afraid to ask. In the morning, she told us, that Steve's appendix had burst. He had a big operation. He was very ill, and had a huge incision from his chest to his "privates", and he looked like a monster. A few days later, Steve still in the hospital, Mom took me to the base PX. She said " Sarah, what ever you want, I'll buy it for you" I was numb. Never, ever did we ever get to have anything other then the necessities of life. I thanked God for guilt. I picked out a small stereo. Plastic, record player, 2 plastic speakers, and one album, Carole King, Tapestry. I brought it home, got it going in my basement bedroom, smashed the speakers hard to my ears, , and listened to it as loud as I could, pressing those speakers til they hurt my ears... learning all the words to the songs. I remember....
    " Beautiful"...Sometimes you got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, and show the world all the love in your heart, and people gonna treat you better"..........and in the chaos, this made me feel happy.
    Steve is totally blind now, we all have early onset of glaucoma....I picked him up to see Mom one last time near her death, he held her hand, touched her face, and told her God and Daddy are waiting for you..what a party you will all have!!..she smiled at him, and held his hand tight.I left them alone for an hour, and I sat in an empty room on a little bed in the nursing home..I left them sit.
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