Day 10: A photo of me that’s over 10 years old

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You know, I wasn’t always this amazingly beautiful, poised and successful business woman you know today. I didn’t always have “the world on a string”; there was a time when I didn’t have at least $500K in the bank at any given time. I rose through the ranks of the corporate world, it’s true… today, I’m admired by my peers all around the world. I’m a jet-setter. I’m stylish, the life of the party, and my home is impeccable.

But, as I’ve said…it wasn’t always like this.

Ten years ago, times were very difficult.

You see, back then, the world was set upon by a terrible financial blight. The stock markets dropped and entire families were forced from their homes because they had no money, and there were no jobs. After a few years of this hell, some people even resorted to moving out West, where they thought they could live off the land and do their best to raise their families.

They were wrong. Turns out? God sent a fucking thing called The Dust Bowl.

So, there we were. Me, and my two moppet-children, Florence and Joey. We were living out of some horrible tent my then-husband pulled together from some old tarps and burlap sacks he took from the feed and tack store on our way out of St. Louis. We had to fight off roving gangs of starving people pretty much, like, ALL the damn time. They’d creep up and try to steal our potatoes.

Do you know how many people I had to smash over the skull to keep my family’s potato-sacks safe? A lot. Thank goodness for that sturdy old tire iron. Ol’ Sally, I called her. Yes, me and Ol’ Sally saw a lot of hobo brains together in those days.

But a person can only live in this kind of squalor for so long before you go a little bit out of your head. It was late August. By this time, my husband was nearly dead of tuberculosis… or so he said… I knew it was really spotted-dick-disease he’d gotten from that one hooker he messed around with one night while hopped up on moonshine, that bastard… and so, without him working in the dust fields, we had nothing.

I began to feed the children dirt. Yes. Dirt.

I’d sift the pebbles and as much animal waste from the dirt as I could by running it through an old pair of nylons, but it was still DIRT. The children hated it. They’d cry. “Please, Momma…we don’t want to eat anymore dirt!” they’d wail, clinging to me like I was the shelter from the dirt storm.

Eventually, I had enough. I politely asked the children to leave.

So, Florence found her fortune with a nice family heading to California to work in the gold mines. Joey was a hanger-on, though. I had to beat him with what was left of one of my shoes to get him to go away. “Go find a job, Joey, GO!” I would holler, and he’d cry and say he was but four years old, but I knew damn well there was work for boys of that age. When he still refused, I took him to the nearby railyard, slipped him a “Depression Mickey” (no, you can’t have the recipe, LOL!) and left him sleeping in some tall weeds next to a conductor’s station.

I do wonder how those children fared, sometimes.

Mostly, though, I’m just relieved to be rid of them, and that stupid, depressing Dust Bowl. I moved back to The Big Apple and by then, the market had recovered, I went to school, and one thing led to another and, well… here I am.

Life sure changes a person. Sometimes for the better. I mean, I looked absolutely dreadful back then! And those children were honestly such a hindrance. (Sometimes I say I miss them, but it’s not true. I don’t miss them.)

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7 responses »

  1. I LOVE it! I can’t decide which part is my favorite- it might be a tie between the moppet-children (why don’t we use that word more often?) or “I had to beat him with what was left of one of my shoes …”

    OMG! Best post, ever!

  2. Thanks! I’ll admit I amused myself with this one. I like thinking that somehow, the Dust Bowl was only 10 years ago. I was going to find a picture of the orphans in Annie and talk about life as a singing orphan, but then I stumbled upon this famous picture and my tale was born. (Doesn’t it seem like she is thinking about how she wants to just get rid of those kids? Or is it just me?)

  3. Ha ha! Just posted my photo…and my explanation of the photo reminds me a lot of this one! LOL. (At least, that’s how I feel about my life back then. It was like a stupid Dust Bowl.)

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