Thursday, January 10, 2008

Agony, Ecstasy, & Bears

[Reminder: Some of my posts, including this one, are memoirs of my abusive childhood. In this post I'm relating events that happened in 1957 after my 8th birthday. The links to the right can be used to follow backward through the memoirs, or to restrict viewing to other kinds of posts.]

[Above: Your government doesn't want you to encourage this sort of behavior.]

By now I'd been driven back and forth across the country four times, three that I could remember. This trip, east to west, was to take a mostly northerly route, since we were traveling in late July and early August.

A side effect of the constant sexual abuse made the first half of the trip hideous. By now I had a phobia of detectable bowel movements. I needed to do my business stealthily. But how do you do it stealthily in a cheap motel with flimsy walls and both parents in the only other room?

In one week I got backed up like Kennedy International Thanksgiving Eve. My Mother noticed the lack of BM activity (being very alert to such things) and was starting to talk about trying to remember where in all our bags she had packed the enema apparatus.

At the same time, she let up on the sexual abuse, no doubt for the same reason I let up on the bowel movements. She didn't want anything she did to be heard. It spoiled her fun to keep me quiet during a rape. The whole point is to force a reaction. The more extreme the reaction, the more power the rapist feels he/she has. If she couldn't make me cry or scream for fear that my Father would intervene, why bother?

It was a full ten days before we arrived at Guy & Zenobia's house in Springfield. As usual we were put up there.

You may remember that Zenobia was my Mother's best friend and Guy and Zenobia were so attached to us I called them Uncle and Aunt. Their house was big enough that I could feel I had enough privacy, if only I wasn't now so backed up that I was almost terminally constipated.

Fortunately we were there long enough for me to work it out myself without having to beg for an artificial assist. Three days after our arrival I had two weeks worth of bowel movement. I felt lighter by the equivalent of a bowling ball.

The rest of the trip veered north to take us through the South Dakota Badlands, Wyoming, Yellowstone, and Idaho. I still had the BM problem but was saved again at Yellowstone when we rented a cabin with a detached outhouse.

My first memorable trip east to west 2 years earlier had made me aware of the beauty of the Southwest and exposed me to Navajo and Hopi art. This trip I fell in love with the Western Plains and the Rockies.

At Yellowstone we were surrounded by bears all the time. Back then the rangers went to much less trouble than they do now to keep people from feeding the bears. Consequently bears swarmed all the cars lined up at the entrances. You had to drive through at a stop and go crawl as cars in front of you stopped to toss food out to attract bears. Everybody had to have a picture of a bear leaning over their car, begging for more. It was both disgusting and thrilling. Too bad it was wrong.

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