secrets of the Deep South
are etched in and on my body
scars and memories fester
even as they grow faint with age
what I love about Savannah
no longer makes up for what I loathe
steaming fear and flashbacks
to my growing up years sometimes boil
transporting me back to childhood trials
and the belief that I’m a misfit
not entitled to happiness or joy
or feelings of deep satisfaction
hence the necessity of these two words
I don’t want to say–
I’ve been pondering these two words for the past week. My youngest sister (#4) is selling the last house she and her deceased husband, and our deceased parents lived in. It’s a small, cozy, beautiful little house. Full of memories and full of heartache.
I didn’t grow up in this house. I grew up in a large house that looked out on the Vernon River (above). I only know the house that’s now up for sale because I visited as often as possible after my parents moved in. It’s a lovely house in a small semi-rural community. A great place to visit. Neighborhood houses are built along and near marshy muddy banks and creeks near the end of the Vernon River.
It isn’t that the house holds memories (it does). It’s the reality of the Deep South and the way it both encouraged and covered up abusive behavior in families like ours, in churches, in schools, and in work places.
Sometimes, when I’m discouraged or frightened, my mind, body and emotions revert to childhood fears and realities of my growing up years in the Deep South. Especially, but not only, my father’s treatment of me. I’m tempted to believe The Big Lie that says I’m Nobody. Or the other Big Lie that says Things Will Never Change.
It’s time to move on. Which is exactly what my youngest sister is doing. I celebrate her bravery and her sense of adventure as she moves from Savannah to be with her granddaughter and family far from the shores of the Vernon River.
Thanks for stopping by.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 April 2021
Photo of the Vernon River taken by DAFraser in 2010