'I don't talk about my childhood a great deal. There are not a lot of good memories. My home was not a happy place.
I have an early memory of hiding behind a living room chair. I can still see the ugly upholstery. It was colonial themed, gold with pineapples and eagles holding arrows in their talons. I was hiding there because my mother unpredictable and dangerous, was having an episode of fury, directing it at anyone in her path. I knew if she could not see me I would be safe.
There was a woman who lived 2 houses down our street. She was a single mother to three grown children. Her name was Helen.
She thought my sisters and I were adorable little kids.
I attached myself to her, as she was the only person I knew who actually liked me and I could trust. She had a big tabby cat named Junior. He had quite an attitude but I was fond of him and he tolerated me.
I would wait for her to come home from work. She would invite me in and give me cookies. She never spoke down to me, she didn't judge me. She opened her home to me and never turned me away. I never felt like I had to hide in her house.
As I grew older I would go to her house after dinner and watch TV. She would make tea and we would talk about current events, talk about things like what her grown children were up to, or she would tell me stories about growing up as a Chippewa girl in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
I don't know if she was aware of what went on in my house. It was never mentioned, but I have to believe she had an idea of the chaos that happened there.But I don't know if she really knew how important she was to me, how she taught me the value of kindness and gentleness and love.
When I graduated from high school she gave me a card with some money. I sent her a thank you note and I told her that she had made a difference in my life. She died from cancer a few years later.
She was the first person in my life that believed in me. She took a fragile child and showed her that life didn't have to be unhappy.
When I think of her now, I remember how the smallest kindness can give a child hope.'
The house I grew up in Webster, NY was always in upheaval before I turned the age of four. Although I hid under the bed as close to the wall as I could get.
I have to admit that my good memories consist of running out the door on summer's days and running wildly down beaten paths through the pristine wooded paradise behind the house. There was a perfect clean stream running , meandering through the middle of the wood and it provided life to all sorts of creatures - frogs, salamanders and me. I would sit on the bank or lay on a tree that grew bent over the flowing water and find peace in the sound and movement of the water.
' I go to nature to be soothed and healed - to have my senses put back in order.' quoted from unknown author