Analyze Me Or Not by Christine Schimanski
My father Herman, would get up in the mornings and sit on the front porch with a case of warm Schlitz beer. He would finish all of them before coming in the house for breakfast. He would sit at the end of the kitchen table and smoke cigarette after cigarette, while us kids ate our cereal. We all tried to hide when the fights started. Usually we go to the bedroom and huddle together and listen to the screaming through the walls.
The earliest memory I have was when I was about four years old. I remember getting up really early in the morning putting my clothes on and packing a small suitcase. I than went downstairs of our house and waited, standing in a dark hallway with my suitcase in hand. My mother and father came in and asked what I was doing? I remember saying to them "you said I wasn't going to live here anymore and that someone was going to take me away today". I remembered feeling really sad that they didn't want me. My father told me he changed his mind and to get back upstairs.
We lived in a very small house of about six hundred square feet when I was about six years old. It had only two bedrooms, a small kitchen, small living room and one small bathroom. Part of the basement was converted into another bedroom to fit the six of us kids and my parents.
Everything was a secret to my mother. “Don’t say anything to anybody about anything” was her motto. She came from from Kracko, Poland and she always spoke polish with her mother growing up. I never like going to grammar school or high school. I found it hard to make friends because in order to do that, I would have to talk about myself and my family. I did not want to do that, for sure. As I became older I started to rebel. Rebel against my parents and any kind of authority.
This is my story about growing up in a highly dysfunctional family. Now I know now that there are lots of family’s out there that have difficulties and challenges that may far surpass my own childhood but like I said this is my tale to tell. A tale of a father who was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to me and my brothers and sisters. Of a mother who always seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The consent yelling and screaming and fighting between them. Of constantly being told how we were all no good bums and that we would never become anything good. How being told throughout your childhood,” what’s wrong with you”? And then there’s my older brother, who was diagnose with schizophrenia when I was about fifteen. And how scared I was when I caught him at times staring at me from my bedroom door at two am in the morning. He would follow me whenever I went out of the house and I didn’t understand what he was doing or why. I was so creeped out. My father was also afraid of him, which was a strange thing to see, since he seemed to be the toughest person in the family. My father installed locks on the bedroom doors because he thought my brother would “do something” to him.
These stories are of witnessing alcohol abuse, mental health issues, gambling, angry shouting fights and mobster ties? All of this at very young ages which greatly affected me. This is a true story of a little girl growing up in a highly dysfunctional family. She is shocked by the going's on within her family and changes from shy and afraid to rebellious and angry. It a journey through yelling and abnormal behavior between my parents. The truth about who we were and about finding out about disturbing past family history.
Follow Christine through her earliest years of about four to her teenage years up to eighteen. Her experiences of being abandon in shopping malls,car accident (her father being drunk behind the wheel), a chaotic family environment, constant verbal abuse and never knowing what was going to happen. Of being angry at her situation and rebelling. Of getting in trouble with the police and than have to join the Army to avoid jail.