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My Grandmother had to leave me with her sister in Los Angeles ,while she returned home to the Midwest to attend to some business. What the business was I never knew, because I was just a little kid, and when you're a little kid, they never explain, they just leave and tell you "they'll be back" and how you should be "good".
My Grandmother's sister was named Donna and she worked as a bartender at the Brown Derby. My babysitter was Ethel, who turned out to my deceased Grandfather's sister. Now my Grandfather had always passed for white, but his sister Ethel couldn't, she was definately black. Nobody told me that she was also my great aunt. To me Ethel was just my babysitter.
Anyway, I don't know what happened, or what nosey neighbor, got all up in arms, but one night, when my aunt Donna was at work bartending (mind you this was the early 1950's) and my aunt Ethel was babysitting, there was a knock at the door, and a man and lady in a suits with badges came in and the next thing you know, I was in a car and on my way up the coast to a place called the Sister's of Mercy.
I called the nuns there hateful penguins, and there was no mercy to be found. They were evil. I didn't take orders well, and I was left handed, which in their minds made me a child of satan. They had this way of beating me with oranges in a pillow case. It hurt like nothing I ever felt before or after, but it didn't bruise you on the outside, so when you went to the infirmary, the doctor just thought you were a faker, and I just got in more trouble and it was put in my file that I was a liar, a blastphemer, a faker and a shiftless no good for nothing, trying to get out of doing my chores.
They tied my left hand behind me and forced me to use my right hand. If I was ever caught using my left hand, I was beaten on the spot. I learned how to use my right hand, I became very good at it, you could say that I became right handed. To them I had become right handed, they had saved me. Actually, I became ambidexterous! But they still hated me, perhaps they saw in my eyes that I hated them. I never looked at them, not in their eyes anyway, I never made eye contact, because looking in their eyes was like looking into darkness. They scared me.
One day they summoned me to meet Mr & Mrs Del Monico. They wanted to take a foster child out of the orphange for the holidays. They had been looking at the photos and decided on me. I said "No" they can't take me , my Grandmother would be coming for me any day now!
But my bags were packed and I was in the car and on the plane and off to New York. And these people scared me they seemed to be angry all the time, they were always yelling. I was quiet and always on guard, ready to run and hide, ready to protect myself at all times. Animal instinct, fight or flight response, or just a scared little kid, I don't know!
Next there were legal papers, pictures and more papers, then long airplane rides,we were going to Italy for Christmas. That's where I met Inga, my nanny. I say my nanny, because she was only mine. She stayed with me, gave me a dollie, a blond doll. Inga was Swedish, and she taught me to speak some of the language. Then she said we should play a game. She was going to be my Mother and I was going to be the Daughter and we would practice the language. So we did.
Then we went on a train ride. Then a boat ride. We could only speak Swedish, we could only play the game. I was happy I had my doll and Inga was nice to me and the game was fun, I liked pretend. One morning my doll was missing when I woke up, but Inga had her, said she was mending her dress. I didn't quite buy the story, but Inga was so good to me, why would she lie? My doll feels lumpy, I started to say something, but we have to hurry up, we have to go!! She was lying and I knew it, deep inside in my heart of hearts, I knew it!
Then we went to a party and met some people at a big house, more people like the Del Monico's, loud dark skinned, black hair and always sounding angry. Inga says they are not really angry, they are just loud people, they are Italian, sometimes they get like that! I said I think it's cause they drink wine too much! She laughs at me, then shushss me, reminding me to speak only in Swedish!!
The next morning we take the train to the boat and I am very sleepy, we get on the train, we were in Sicilcy, now we are back in Italy. I start to cry, I realize, I don't have my doll! "Where is my doll?"
Inga tries to comfort me, but it's no use. She says she'll get me another doll. She is speaking English. She's not being so nice anymore. She's being rather harsh. I feel a change, I no longer feel safe with her. She takes me back to the Del Monico's. I go to my room.
The next morning, I wake up my bags are packed the driver takes me to the airport and Mr Del Monico's lawyer goes with me to the airport we fly back to California, back to the Sister's of Mercy. The lawyer gives the Head Penguin at the orphanage an envelope, probably a big check, I think in my very suspicious detective child's mind. And they wonder why I don't trust adults! Where is my Grandmother and when will she come for me? Does she know where they have taken me? I must find a way to get word to her! What city is this orphanage in, and how do I get back to Los Angeles? I'm just a kid, what can I do? I'm a smart kid, with a high IQ and I read a lot of books, I'll think of something!
To be continued.....
Good grief, Aubergine9! I could barely believe what happened to you. This is an astounding story--eagerly anticipating the next part.