Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You Don't Deserve It

The Rogue Speaks:

Hahahaha!!!  I can really sink my teeth into this one, and with an absolutely true story.  Anyone who has been following my blog since the beginning knows all there is to tell about my relationship with my parents and siblings that made ours one of the most dysfunctional families you could ever meet.  Rod loves to tell this story—"a Frances story", as he calls it.

The prompt that Jenny has given us for this Saturday Centus is “my mother turned 80 today” and we have 100 words, plus the prompt, to write our little vignette.  But first, you need a little background info on the family dynamic.

The year Mother turned 80, my younger sister (my mother’s clone) planned the party.  The guest list reads like a family reunion, which it was.  As usual, my sister  presented her siblings with their portion of the bill for the food.  We had known this was coming, and I had asked my BIL in advance just what he thought the breakdown would be.  He told me around $200 per sib.  Turns out, that was FAR from correct.  Since none of us, least of all me, were consulted beforehand,  it came as a REAL shock, especially to Rod, who pays the bills.  We were furious, and informed her that the amount was way too extravagant and was totally ridiculous for what was served.  We gave her $200, the amount her husband had quoted, and that was that.

You Don’t Deserve It

My mother turned 80 today.  Family gathered at my brother’s for a catered affair.  As was tradition, my other siblings gave mother gifts they knew they would get back eventually. 

“You’ll get it back when I die,” she always said.  So she got some pretty nice stuff!

I painted and framed a cabin at a plantation in New Orleans.  We had been there for Mother’s 75t.  The trip, my sister’s idea.

As the party ended, my mother’s oldest sister came through the line of well-wishers.  “A lovely party,” she said, “but you don’t deserve it.”  Everyone laughed. 

Aunt Alice, however, was not joking.

Thus ends my Centus for this week.
About a year later, Mother left Atlanta to live with my youngest brother in Knoxville.  We were asked to come fetch the stuff that she left behind.  My sister was in charge of distributing everything. 

My mother had never kept any of the paintings I had given her, except two.  One hung over her fireplace, and the other, the painting of the cabin, hung in the foyer.  I had NEVER intended to give her the one over the fireplace—she just took it, and I was afraid to say “no.”  That was before I got strong enough to think for myself.  The rest of the paintings she had given away.  I asked her once where she had hung the large painting I had given her of my brother’s two girls dressed as pilgrims.  “I was afraid you were going to ask me that,” she said.  So I started asking about all the other paintings I had given her.  Same story—all given away.

When I went to collect my stuff, my sister informed me that she wanted the painting of the cabin.  “You must be kidding,” I told her wryly.


Tracy said...

Is this a real story love it.

Naperville Now said...

oh, my. families. a story that made me sad, and I don't even know you OR your family. my advice, which you didn't ask for, is to keep painting, however. only good can come of it :)

Judie said...

As you can tell, I now view these stories with a lot of humor. When Rod tells "a Frances Story," everyone knows they are in for a laugh. I am happy and grateful that I shed myself of that toxic bunch and have lived my own life the way I wanted to.

Kris Osage said...

OMG Judie, that was so great !

I also wrote a true story about our family. I always tell my brother we should write a book about our life with our parents. He always says,'No one would believe it !' so I've begun to write them on SC a bit. :)

Robin said...

Nothing quite like family dysfunction. They can really hurt you in the heart until you decide they can't. That day is one of Revelation. I am glad that you had your A-Ha Moment. Toxic people can suck you dry.

Bethe77 said...

Our families surely can create wonderful stories for us to tell. If they only So did you get the cabin picture? Loved your story of your mother and family. Reminds me of few family events of my own.

Angelikas Photographic Sketchbook said...

How could your mother not keep your paintings? That's cruel. So sad when the family does not support the artist in you.

Sue said...

Can't believe your mom gave those paintings away.

I am going to have to work on finding any humor in that at all. Those are family treasures!



Jo said...

wow, Judie ... I am so not getting this ... This Christmas my mother gave me a package of paper christmas ornaments that i had made when i was maybe 8. I had forgotten all about them and my mom had them carefully saved and preserved for the last 4 decades ... she still has my first sculpture on display in her study ... I can't relate to those that do not support or honour their child's creativity.
Your story, was beautifully written ... i just feel for you having to experience such a level of disfunction.

Judie said...

To all who showed me such loving support:
"What does not kill me, makes me stronger."
I am grateful that I am so much stronger than any member of my immediate family. I escaped their madness. For years they kept trying to drag me back into the fray, but they never succeeded. As a last resort, my crazy brother wrote me a long and disjointed epistle, essentially blaming me for all their problems and officially kicking me out of the family. What a relief that was! My dear Aunt Alice, who was smarter than her siblings, and who lived her life the way she wanted, told me once "We are the black sheep of the family." What a compliment that was to me!
I really don't keep a lot of my own paintings. I have sold most and given some to friends. Art is not meant to be hoarded by the artist--it is meant to be shared.

cj Schlottman said...

Hey Judie,

Wow. I'm so glad you escaped the madness. Families can be so hurtful, and you are to be congratulated for removing yourself.

How is Brunswick?


JJ said...

Show me a family that isn't dysfunctional, and I'll show you a dysfunctional family.

ChrisJ said...

Sigh. Glad you're past it all.

We had a long lost cousin of my
Dad's appear with dolls his wife had made for all the aunties and some of us younger cousins. Everything hand crocheted, dolls hand painted, etc. My cousin threw hers in the garbage because she didn't "care for that kind of junk." So disrespectful and someone else might have enjoyed it, but, no, she had to see it as an insult to her taste.

Ames said...

Hi dear friend. This was a very good story. One of which I can relate to. My husbands sisters, of which there are seven, are greedy. Every nice thing I ever gave gave their mother, on behalf of my husband, ended up with them and not my poor husband after she passed away. Even the expensive portrait I had made of her before she passed away because I new she would eventually pass away and there wasn't a decent picture of her except when she was very young.

I miss you!~Ames

Annesphamily said...

Oh JUdie, that is sad! I would relish having an art work that you created! 19 years ago, when Nick was born my friend Sharon had her friend, a Native American artist paint a photo for me as a gift. It is something I cherish although it belongs to Nick. It shows a small boy climbing thru the barbed wire fence which caught his pants and his lil behind is peeking out! I adore it. The artists brother had died from HIV and she was furiously painting! It holds so many memories for me. I found a few odds and ends in my moms cedar chest when I inherited it. A handmade book from my kindergarten year. It is so wonderful to have that! But lots of nice things given to my mother probably ended up on the yard sale table! I was not given a lot of information when the house was closed up and her things taken away! So sad. My sis found lots of our phamily photos at my grandmothers house which she inherited. She has been sending lots of emails to me and my hubby has printed them for me. I love old phamily photos and sometiem I will have to tell you about a couple of large phamily portraits I was "suppose: to get! Never did! My brother gave me the frames from my dads two brothers portraits! I was sick and those beautiful old frames are sitting in my garage! I can hardly bare to look at them. I don't know what the heck he did with those photos! When my auntie Ang, married to my moms brother, was alive she walked up to my maternal grandparents wedding photo on her wall and said take this home with you. It was, afterall, your grandmother! I am smiling at that photo as I write this today!
Phamiles! Some you love, some you....well....tolerate! As the saying goes, "You can choose your friends but not your phamily."!

nothingprofound said...

Judie, you're the free bee who escaped from the mad beehive and started a new family tradition: sanity

Jenny said...

Ah. Families. Not for the faint of heart.

I love 'nothingprofound's' comment.

I totally agree!

And you escaped with all the beauty, creativity, kindness and compassion as well!

Sandra Tyler said...

the butterfly image is especially poignant and striking.