“The Life and Times of the Pool Hall Kid” by Larry Dablemont
I can’t remember much about my first couple of years, but I remember a couple of things when I was three…one was the horror of getting a fish bone in my throat. That happening, I think, causes me to remember the old shack where Mom and Dad and I were living near the little community of Yukon Missouri, which was not even on the map then. I got my first whuppin’ from my mother when I was only 3 years old. I remember that! I had simply tried to save her life, following directions Dad had given me.
Something like that first spanking can influence your entire life, as it did mine. I still am affected by that spanking I think. First though you need to understand that I had done nothing wrong. You see, my mom was only 16 when I was born. She was the youngest of five children and had been babied by her dad and older brothers because as a child she had been in poor health. At the age of 19 she was still very spoiled, as my father had continued to baby her as someone special. Dad was crazy about my mother. That is to be expected if you are only married for a short time, but after almost 4 years?
Anyhow, he worried about mom because she passed out once. Myself I think she just did it so Dad would giver her special attention and stay home rather than go fishing, or duck hunting or to the town pool hall.
Anyhow, Dad told me that if mom ever fainted again when he wasn’t there, I was to find some water and pour it on her face, which would cause her to come back to full awareness.
So one day we were over to Grandma McNew’s house and Dad was gone. Grandma McNew was my mom’s mother. Mom needed her help because she was about to have my first little sister.
You don’t know a thing about nothing when you are three, you just know that Grandma is some wonderful elderly lady that treats you special and reads to you and gives you things like ice cream and soda pop and pennies. You don’t need much more out of life when you are three.
Anyway, I was playing with the dog or something when I spied my mother lying on a blanket out in front of Grandma’s house, just napping and enjoying the warm sun. As far as I was concerned I was faced with the awful situation Dad had tried to prepare me for and I had to find water to pour on her face. The closest I could find was a pan in the chicken pen and while it appeared to have some feathers in it, and maybe a tiny bit of chicken droppings, it was water… lukewarm, rusty and a little bit polluted, but water just the same. So that summer afternoon I followed my dad’s directions and saved her life by pouring it in her face. She did indeed come to full awareness.
Imagine what that did to me at the age of three, expecting a hero’s treatment and instead receiving a paddling, unaware of what it was all about. Up to then I had been perfect. Up to then I had been loved and wanted. Then in the flash of an eye I was an outcast— a n’er-do-well — a brat about half worthless.
I remember only a shadow of this and I feel it is not because I was only three. Dad told me about it several times and so did Grandma both laughing heartily as they remembered it.
It has no doubt remained in my wounded consciousness, taking away all memory of my life before I turned four. I can’t remember my first steps, or the exhilaration of my first success in potty training, or the day when I grew my first tooth.
On the same day I got my first spanking, I was working hard in front of my grandmothers house, filling my wagon with weeds. -summer–1951
Other spankings were less traumatic perhaps as I grew older. I recall how mom would grab me by one arm and I would run in a circle around her screaming, ‘I won’t do it again mama, I won’t do it again,’ while she whaled away at my rear with her free hand, or, as I grew older, a leather belt. How and why Dad let that woman get ahold of one of his belts, I can’t fathom, but that made punishment a serious thing.
But the point I am thing to make here is that most of my problems throughout adulthood goes back to the time I was paddled for doing what thought was right and good at the time. It was the only water I could find, and dad said it was the thing to do. You mothers out there take note of this, remember that it has near about ruint me and don’t never spank your kids.