Mommy

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Barbara*, 1939-

“But to me growing up, she was mommy, I believed her stories; bought them hook, line, and sinker. ”

My mother was mentally ill. I don’t think she had a labeled disease, but she did not relate to things like a normal person. She had a difficult life herself, her father died before she was born. She came from a wealthy family, upper crust; dad was a German immigrant. That was a head-on collision. And that’s what I remember, their fights.

She told a lot of lies, and I don’t know what lies are about. Is it schizophrenia? But to me growing up, she was mommy, I believed her stories; bought them hook, line, and sinker. You don’t see through them, it took me years to understand. I remember one, she said that grandmother was dropped as a child. She said she was in direct line in the royal family. ‘She was!’ she insisted. But the drop caused her to have a hump on her back, and so they didn’t want her as queen. Even I could see through that one! she smiles

Adults were not as gullible when it came to her. They would take one look at her, and they would be polite, and say, ‘Thank you, Ms. Whatever.’ One time they called her to school, I must have not participated a lot. Right away, they realized my problems stemmed from a crazy mother. She was a good mother in many, many ways, but she did not realize you cannot raise a child on lies. Me? I try to excel at being honest. My brothers, on the other hand, both rich, but one is a compulsive liar; rich but floundering.

Positive memories of her? Oh yes, mommy! I mean, I loved her!

To listen to snippets from the interview:


[* She asked to use a pseudonym, without photos]

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