The Mind of Bluesleepy

Something in my veins 7 June 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 9:01 pm

And… it’s begun.

So we’re moving this summer.  I’ve known this ever since we moved here.  Three years and then it’s time to pull up stakes once more.  But I’ve been conveniently ignoring this piece of information because dammit I like it here.  Bahhh.

Last night I was reading, a book called The Glass Castle, if you’re interested, until about 1:30am.  Hey, it’s a gripping read.  I’d gotten to that point where I was laying on my back, and my eyes, oh so heavy, kept closing of their own accord… until the next thing I knew, my book had fallen onto my chest.  Aha!  Time to sleep.

I turned out my bedside lamp, snuggled down under the covers, and WHAMMO.  I was wide awake once more, stressing about all kinds of crazy stuff.  What we have yet to get rid of, what we have to pack, having to go through all of our stuff before we pack up, going through the garage and getting rid of stuff we haven’t touched in three years, taking it to the charity shops, scheduling a date with the movers, getting on the wait list for housing in southern Virginia… the list went on and on.  And my heart started beating out of my chest, and it was just bad juju.


I ended up turning on my light once more and reading another ten minutes or so.  Fortunately by then I’d managed to shut off my brain sufficiently to sleep.  This won’t be the last episode of late-night stress, though.  It’s just the way I roll, I guess.

I wish I could stress over things I could more easily control, though.  Jeesh.

So The Glass Castle.  Wow.  What a depressing book.  It’s the memoirs of Jeannette Walls, whom Wikipedia told me is a journalist best known for her gig as the gossip columnist for  I had no idea who she was before reading this book.  I tell you what, this lady went through hell as a kid.  Her parents figured that kids are better off raising themselves, so her father would go off for days at a time, usually on benders, while her mother either filled their home (such as it was) with her art or stayed in bed all day reading.  The children, of which there were four, barely avoided starving through hot desert summers and frigid West Virginia winters.  What amazed me was her parents were intelligent people.  Jeannette and all her siblings could read by the time they were three, and their father taught them all sorts of complex mathematics and astronomy.  In fact, when she was eight, her father thought her homework wasn’t difficult enough, so he had her do all her sums in binary — which meant she had to re-write everything before she turned it in.  One day she didn’t have time, and her teacher couldn’t figure out why she had done such a thing, and probably had no idea what binary was.

I’m a computer science major and had to do various sums in binary while in college.  I tell you what, it’s not the easiest thing to think in binary when you’re so used to base-10.  That, and I can’t remember how to do almost anything in binary.

I just can’t fathom why these parents would not be more concerned about their children’s welfare, and it makes me angry in a way to see what Jeannette and her siblings had to go through — from never having the proper clothes for a West Virginia winter to living in an unheated shack without running water to digging through the garbage cans at school for food because their parents couldn’t afford to buy any.  Yet none of that really fussed Jeannette’s parents; they saw it as enriching and developing character.  It was so sad for me to see that the children felt all they could was rescue each other — and that’s exactly what they did, even before they were legal adults.

I couldn’t do what her parents did.  At one point, Jeannette’s brother realized their mother was sneaking something to eat when the kids hadn’t had any food in days, and come to find out, she’d bought herself a Hershey bar.  I would be damned if I ate before my kids if I were in such dire straits.   But then I would be working my ass off, trying to make ends meet as best as I could, so my kids could see I was at least trying my best.

It’s mind-boggling.  Absolutely mind-boggling.  And I guess what makes me so very mad is I saw too much of my biological mother in Jeannette’s mom, the same sense of being a victim, of not being able to help it, of putting herself before her kids.  That attitude didn’t bother me much, until I had kids.  Once I had children, and realized I would do anything for them, that attitude really started rubbing me the wrong way.  And I have very little patience for it now.

But now it’s on to another book, a psychological thriller given to me by a dear friend.  It should be good!


7 Responses to “Something in my veins”

  1. cardiogirl Says:

    First, I’d never heard of Jeannette Walls before reading this post so I went to Wikipedia to learn that this book you’re reading also espouses her deep love for her parents, regardless of her upbringing.


    It doesn’t look like she has children so I’m betting that she feels the way you did (and I do) *before* you had children. Having children just forces you to look at your own childhood and to compare or reference how things were done when you were a kid.

    And you know I’m not a fan of my heritage. It is unbelievable that the mother would sneak food when her own children were starving. I *have* eaten chocolate, in secret, but my kids have always had plenty of food when I did it.

    And next, it never once occurred to me to try to read a book when I have insomnia. I’m so shocked that I never thought of that. Thankfully I’m on a solid sleep schedule these days (sounds like a toddler with the solid sleep schedule, doesn’t it?) but I’m also a voracious reader, so I really am surprised I never thought to turn to a book before a sleeping pill.

    I’ve learned so much today at Chez Bluesleepy.

    • bluesleepy Says:

      I think you’re right, CG. You and I both had difficult childhoods (though mine was a lot easier than yours), and if anything, it taught me what *not* to do with my own children. I can’t imagine doing what these parents did. I’m not saying that Walls should be angry at her parents; if she loves them in spite of everything, that is to be commended. But it does mention at the end that she doesn’t have a whole lot of contact with her mother, which is probably for the best. They’ve pretty much gone their separate ways. One can only take so much at a time, right?

  2. SJAT Says:

    Ever been here:
    ? If not, perhaps you should before you head south. At least you’re heading somewhere nice. Imagine some of the places you could have gone…

  3. whatdayisit Says:

    I was sure you would get a lot out of that book. I guess what got to me was when the money was taken before the big plan to move to NYC was successful and…that the mom had all that land all along that could have helped. You should also read her second book HALF BROKE HORSES which was about her grandmother……wonderful reading.

    • bluesleepy Says:

      Oh, yeah. That part just pissed me right the hell off, when the money had been taken. WTF?! Who DOES that?? And the land that was worth so much… Sometimes I wonder where the parents’ brains were. I couldn’t do it.

  4. cocoabean Says:

    Eat while my kids are starving? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.

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