In my mind, at least, there seems to be some mystery surrounding my birth. I was told that I was an “un-planned birth.” This seems odd considering the birth control methods of the day; the early 1950’s. Were there planned births then? I was also told, by my mother, that while she labored with me, my father was out buying another woman a fur coat. This seems oddly cruel. I was told that I was born premature, with weak lungs, allergies and a myrid of auto- immune problems. I had A negative blood which was problematic since both of my parents were positive. Back then, conventional medical wisdom declared this an impossibility. My older brother and sister also had negative blood types, and my mother (to this day) says that she was a nineteen-year-old virgin when she married my father. This was the generation where secrets were buried within crypts.
Harold B Kelly, as a physician, set about to keep me alive. My nursery was set-up like a neonatal unit. I was fed glucose water I.V. I was allergic to everything on the planet-including milk. I was born during the time when it was extremely unfashionable to breastfeed. I was not given the benefit of the immunity -laden properties now attributed to breast milk. I could only drink whey. I was told that I lived in an oxygen tent for two years.When I say, “I was told,” it is because I have no memory prior to kindergarden. This alone has been a question on the lips of therapists and psychiatrists alike. They quickly make a notation and attribute my lack of memory to some early trauma. If that is the case, and I cannot remember such a trauma, then there is a great possibility of what can be described as a “shattered-soul” For all intensive purposes, this is just a theory that is one of many out there describing such traumatized persons. I believe, however, that I lay between life and death through my early years, and that I might have been sedated at some point because of the many invasive procedures used to keep me alive.
My sister Rhonda, became the story teller in my life. She interpreted events to me so that I could understand. She was and still is highly itelligent and imaginative. She told me that my mother was a “white witch” and that someone had stolen our real mother. I was told to keep looking for our real mother under the beds. I grew up neither close to my mother or my father. My siblings were my only companions and my confessors of choice. When I was one, my mother, brother, sister and I sailed on the Queen Mary to meet my father in France. He was a captain stationed in Fontainbleau, France. We lived in a chateau that had formerly belonged to some wealthy Jewish family that had been taken by the Nazis.
This chateau became the focal point of many nightmares for me. We had two French maids; Antoinette and Louisiette. I was told by my sister that we were locked in the cellar when our parents were vacationing in Europe by the maids as they entertained their lovers. I can recall recurrent nightmares regarding fears of a black rat. Now, my sister tells me that there were only spiders in the cellar. My mother denies any dangerous or traumatic capability within an old cellar with a forlorn past. Rhonda was always the trouble -maker. She took a wooden hanger and dropped it down from the top of the winding staircase onto the head of one of the maids. My parents slowed down on their travelling after that. French was my first language since I did not leave France until the age of three. To this day, French will roll off of my lips as I stand at counters paying for groceries or services. It becomes a “hoot” when I have been given some wine. My favorite French recitation is about “Blue-beard” and his many wives. Due to frequent trips to France and studying in Montpellier during a summer session, I have a Southern twang to my French, certainly not what is considered cultured, spoken in Northern provinces like Paris.