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Fat Like Your Mama

mom

Mama loved to cook almost as much as she loved to eat. Her chicken-fried steak with gravy, smothered potatoes fried with onions, chicken and dumplings, Mississippi Mud Cake, Banana Pudding and every calorie-laden, heart-attack inducing dish you can imagine were the staples of my childhood. I always woke to the smell of breakfast cooking, even on those early pre-dawn mornings before school. She managed to make homemade biscuits and gravy for us on most mornings, her apron tied around her round midsection, before leaving for work as a cook in either a nursing home or school cafeteria. For Mama, feeding us was her way of showing her love for us.

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Sister vs. Sister

Soon, a police officer showed up to the scene, as did Mama. She had to leave work to come check on us, and still wore her white plastic apron and hairnet. Below the hairnet the pencil-drawn eyebrows were furrowed, she was very angry.

normann

Pictured, in earlier years: My sister Annette, my brother Troy, my sister Norma Jean and me.

When I was six, we had the misfortune of living in an old farmhouse located across the street from the local high school. I was the youngest of four children, with two sisters who were nine and twelve years older than I, and a brother who was only eighteen-months my senior. It was as if my mother had given birth to two sets of warring opposites. Read more…

Accidental Target

20131112_112938The day my father shot the neighbor’s child was just like any other warm, September day in the South.

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The Beginning

Sometimes I dream of my childhood, and sometimes there are nightmares.

usI dream of pre-school mornings spent outside in the sun with Tonka trucks and roads created by a garden hoe in the sand, my brother more often than not nearby. Our feet kick up the sand on tanned legs as we drive the Tonka trucks on newly paved roads in the sand pile near our back door. I can smell the bleach emanating from beyond the weathered screen door, which is latched shut to keep us out while our mother cleans.

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