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Monday, March 11, 2013

When the pickups got real

 Growing up, my folks liked to watch a lot of documentaries about UFOs. It was of interest, I think, more to my father than my mother although she enjoyed the shows as well. As a child, I took it for granted I think... when my father would play "psychic cards" with my older brother and I, how he taught us to use the pendulum, or would talk for hours about things he had seen, done, and how the paranormal world worked. This was the norm for me.

The documentaries of then aren't really that different from now - except talk of what happened to people who made contact of the third kind (abductions) was rare. It was equally rare to talk about the horrors many people faced, from stolen babies to rape to painful experiments. Hell, it's almost as rare still today what with all of that drowned out by people preaching love and light from the same entities that do these frightening things.

So I'm a child of 11, or 12.. maybe younger... and it was my fervent hope to be picked up by one of these saucers. I didn't want to be on Earth - never felt like I fit in really and was bullied at school - and I saw the aliens as a means of escape. For a while I'd step out into my backyard and think as hard as I could, Here I am! Please come get me! And of course no one came.

It was hot weather - summertime I believe - when my mother stopped hanging clothes to look at the sky. I had been playing by the back porch and my older brother was hanging somewhere about. "Look!" my mother said to us, "There's a UFO!"

So we, all three, stopped and stared in the sky for a while. I didn't see it at first and when I did think I see it, it was nothing more than a grey dot in the distance that didn't seem to move. I was actually disappointed that it didn't come closer or wasn't, at least, close enough for me to see better detail.

After a while, my mother got bored and went back inside. My older brother had gotten bored and wandered off a long time ago. It was only me standing there, staring at the sky, hoping. After a while I gave up, too. I can't remember if I saw the UFO wink out of sight or not.

The incident was forgotten over the next year or so. We were a poor family - what with the new fishing laws squeezing the already-thin wallets of generation shrimpers like my father - and real life seemed so much more important. Our living conditions were changing - we had gone from living in a converted church bus my father had bought when our trailer was repossessed to a one bedroom trailer with the church bus stowed in the far back of our acre yard. My little brother was getting too old to sleep with my parents, so Dad converted the church bus again into a two bedroom suite for me and my older brother. My little brother was given a space in the trailer with the parents.

I hated sleeping in that bus. I was caught between feelings of being abandoned by my parents, jealousy that my little brother got to be in the house, and insecurity over being so far away from Mom and Dad at night. I was already given to having night terrors. The situation didn't help me any more.

But on a side note, my parents were doing the best they could. As I said before, we were very poor. We were probably lucky to get food on occasion, and I can remember my parents going hungry just so me and my brothers could have something to eat. They meant well by building that bedroom bus for my brother and me. They were providing as best they could.

It’s just that as a terrified child, I couldn’t understand all of that.

At first, right before being exiled to the back yard, things weren't as bad. I was always given to waking up screaming in the night, so much that my parents had stopped coming to my aide years ago when I was about five or so. I thought nothing of the reoccurring dreams I had of my dolls coming to life, always to come and hurt me. I would never have confessed, of course, that I was terrified of my Raggedy Anne doll. To be honest, I thought I had gotten the idea from a book I had read. The doll in that story would come to life, too. And, I thought, this only happened in dreams.

I hated to be alone, too. I always felt like I was being watched - unless I was in the woods. There I would find peace. But around the house I was jittery and always looking over my shoulder, especially when no one else was home. But I couldn't tell anyone how I felt. My parents had no patience for my insecurities, and I didn't have much in the way of friends.

My time in that back yard went from bad to worse in just a matter of weeks, it seems now that I think back on it.