Images of childhood

Ninny Rhino – day 3

Today I have written a blog post – The next book – about Hemingway, a kind of revue after been listening to his novel,  “The sun also rises”. Good stuff! 😉

Have also gathered all those old Word documents I found yesterday into one, and uploaded the entire text to Scrivener. Read all of it, and found I could divide the text into two separate memory banks.

I also saved these two different documents in Pages. Not particularly necessary to meddle more than I have to with Word and Microsoft.

The first circa 75% was about my childhood, where I lived, and what the house looked like. Also about my family and how we lived. Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandma. Nothing odd or special, really. Pretty nice, and feels good to have those nostalgic notations.

I had named this part “The house of my Childhood”, and not only meaning the actual building. Don’t think I will do anything special with this part though. At least not at present time.

30 pages and 17 510 words…


The other circa 25% text, was all about my first husband, who also is the father of my three daughters. Not a pretty reading. Not at all. Not a pretty life I had way back then…

When I originally wrote this, I had named this part “Memories of a Vampire”. Of course, literally speaking he was no vampire, but it is possible to suck the life blood out of someone in other ways…

Have absolutely no idea now, whether or not I’ll use this in some story of sort. But I feel I need to use this to be able to continue working with myself. Many years of anxiety, overeating, low self esteem, muscle pain etc, has a lot to do with the years I spent with him. And probably the pain and stiffness I still have in my body.

So there is a reason for everything! I needed this information, this push, to be able to continue my healing process. And I got it!

It felt awful to read this part! It really hurt in many ways to be reminded of all that happened to me, to my kids, to his parents, to other people…

And now I saw him a bit objectively in my text – what a manipulative beast he was.

I can’t say I feel particularly well now, with a lot of memories popping up. But I’m okay! All that is in the past, and can’t hurt neither me nor anyone else anymore.

11 pages and 6513 words

Looking back – Part Four – Conclusion

When I started to write here just a couple of weeks ago, it was of course not the first time I reflected over these memories of mom hurting my feelings so deeply. But the reflections earlier was of an other kind, more just: “Ok! So it was! She was not always nice, but she was my mom, and the best thing to do is to forgive and let go!”

Already some 20 years ago or so, I had this “vision”. In my mind I saw her standing in front of a house. I saw her like from a long distance, she appeared very small and the house was a huge four-story building. What I saw was not as much the physical appearance as… her mental self. It was more a feeling of her I saw.

At first I saw her as I had seen her during all the years. Self-righteous, rigid, prudent etc. Maybe not with a stiff upper-lip, but without doubt with a stiff neck. Suddenly there was a shift in my perception. Everything looked the same, though. The huge house, the small woman, her posture, how she held her head. But the feeling of her was changed! Now she looked vulnerable, tired and sad, like if the whole world lay upon her shoulders.

I understood! I finally understood she was a victim! Of her time, of her upbringing, of her society, of all the demands she had on her. Both from within herself, inherited over generations, and from the outer world.

I felt a little bit more comfortable after this, and in a way I forgave her. At least tried to. There were still feelings inside me that popped up now and then. And as times passed by, I got more and more pain and stiffness in my body. Which I, by the way, blamed on other events and experiences.

If I imagined her watching me from some other realm – I felt very uneasy. I had a friend some ten years ago that had the gift of seeing and hearing spirits. She once sad my mom was present, and told me mom said she loved me and were very proud of me. I felt extremely uneasy. To think she was present and watched me!!! Boohhh!

About a month ago, I suddenly got the urge to reread this book, and got it from the library. “Thunder at Twilight – Vienna 1913/1914” written by Frederic Morton. It’s European history, a very interesting and well written chronicle of the events which led to the brake out of World War 1.

The reader, among other events, also meets a lot of still today very well-known people. One of them – Hitler. This made me recall that the psychoanalysist Alice Miller had written a book where she in one chapter went into his childhood and upbringing, and what kind of man he had become due to all the physical and psychological abuse he had suffered. So I turned to the library again, borrowed and read…

… and became aware of that I had been abused as a child. Never physically! “Only” neglect, deminish, belittle… shall I go on?
I remembered lots of it, but never realized this actually was abusive behavior. Never came to think of how wrong it was.

These writings now, have made me see that more clearly! Even though I only have written about some of the events and kept many others left in my mind, I don’t feel the need of wallow myself in this any more. I can still think about it and write about it – but not wallow! I got the picture! I got the lesson!

I had anticipated, though, and hoped for, that I should experience great anger and sadness. Yes! I have cried quite a lot these last weeks, for different reasons. Missing Dad is one. But I can’t find any anger within me! I thought I might have wanted to hit something, scream, hate her! But no. I can’t.

In all the memories I have dwelled in I have felt and experienced the situations almost as if I were there again. Both as a participator and as a spectator. And I came to see her as a couple of different personalities.

One persona is mean, egocentric, self-rigtheous, manipulative, and playing other people with feelings. But there is also a persona that is deeply, deeply wounded! The more I was thinking, reliving, writing – the more I felt sorry for her. Say! How can I be angry at that little girl inside her, who only wants to be loved and accepted?

No! No anger!

I don’t doubt that she loved me. She just didn’t have the ability to show it, or act like it. I know she loved dad, even though she terrorized also him from time to time. I am sure she loved my brother and sister as well. She just had a huge knot inside her!

I think I can truly forgive her now. And feel the love for her, that I have been hiding as a knot inside me for so long. But I’ll still work on this, since it’s very possible that the anger might lie deeper in me and needs more time to show itself. And I’ll still be writing about me, mom and the rest of my family. Among other thing.


Painting:  Salvador Dali – Time exploding

Salvador Dali

Looking back – Part Three

I never liked the good-night kisses Mom gave me. She pouted her lips – and not in a cute way – they became like a small hard beak, with which she pecked my forehead. Very quick, and very “let’s get this done. I have other things to do”.

The only other times she kissed me, or tried to, was when she was very sad. Over what, I’ve absolutely no idea. She was crying, tears wet her cheeks and mouth. She  was usually sitting on a kitchen chair when she saw me and begged me to come nearer. Reluctantly I approached her, she hugged me and kissed me and burst out while sobbing: “OH! You’re the only one I have, my little sunshine!”

Those wet kisses and the sobbing made me feel very uncomfortable and I just wanted to go away. The words and something in her voice! So needy, so… I don’t know what! It’s hard to find the words to describe my feelings there and then, but I hated it. It was just so icky!!!

Awkward! I don’t remember any time when she hugged me and kissed me, and seemed happy about it! And made me happy… 😦

Mom also had the habit of threatening to leave us. I guess she and Dad had quarreled, they often did, and she reacted by putting on her coat and hat, taking her purse, handbag, luggage-something, and then sat down on a chair as close to the front door as possible. She cried and said she should go away, because no one cared for her. “No one will ever miss me!”

She did that over and over again, during my childhood, my adolescents and further on. Until her death. I guess.

Now when I compile these memories, I realize that the crying-kissing-part occurred when she was alone with me as a little girl. The “go-away”-part occurred when at least Dad was around too.

Naturally she never did “leave us forever”. My eight years older brother got irritated when she got these tantrums, and went up to his room. And so did I, when I got older and had a room of my own upstairs.
But mostly she actually did go – out for a walk – and Dad went out after her. Later they came back together. Seemingly everything sorted out between them.

Some courage I still must have had as a child. I remember once she sat there in the hallway sobbing and feeling sorry for herself, threatening to leave. I might have been four or five.

I looked at her, opened my mouth and spoke: “Well go then! You always say you’re going, but you never do it!”

She just stared at me. As in chock.

Wish I could surely remember what happened next. I have a faint memory, of how she without saying a word, went to the kitchen and started to do the dishes or something. Did it loudly…

However, I might be totally wrong about that. Can’t see her going out for a walk that time, though.

Much later, during the period Dad was sick in cancer, before he died, we had the possibility to talk with each other a couple of times without her with us, and also wrote some letters to each other. We were both totally honest and therefore able to talk about things, events, feelings we had kept as secrets, and sort of straighten some things out.

One thing he told me, was exactly the same I had experienced! Namely! If she had a quarrel with Dad, she was always asking me who I thought was right. Herself or Dad. And I had to answer that she was. Even though I actually thought that Dad was right. Otherwise things would be a lot worse. She would be furious at me as well. And if she quarreled over me – not “with” this time – she asked Dad who he thought was right. He had to say she was, for the same reason. Things would be a lot worse, and he got it afterwards.

One or the other of us always got it afterwards…

Painting: Picasso – Bullfight 1934

Looking back – Part Two

When I was little, I often thought I didn’t belong in my family. Sometimes I thought I had been kidnapped from my real mom, sometimes that I was adopted. But soon, my real mom would come looking for me.

Once I had a dream, where I’m sitting in my real mom’s lap all surrounded by her arms and her love. She is young, blond and beautiful, and dressed in pale blue. She talks to me, looks at me, hugs me, cares about me. Really loves me. I know she’s a nurse and her name is Marie.

At that time I was old enough to know how to write, and made a note on a piece of paper saying: Mama Marie, nurse. Then I hid the small scrap of paper in a book. A safe place from moms eyes, I reckoned.

Many years later, while my eldest daughter was studying to be a preschool teacher, I told her this – without the details though. She immediately snapped at me: “It’s a very common fantasy among children!”

So! There I got hit!

No! I wasn’t kidnapped in to my family. Nowadays I actually sometimes see my mother in the mirror. Mostly on bad days. Don’t say I like it, but that’s life! So, get a grip, gal!

What else is not to like? Hmmm…. so many moments… so many incidents…

Like when Dad suggested I would sleep in mom’s bed for a change – I preferred to sleep in his arms – and she, as soon as I got there, turned her back on me. No warmth or softness of any kind. No feelings of comfort and safety.

Or… Like when I was struggling with sewing a dress for one of my dolls. She came, saw what I was doing, and said she would make one for me, a proper one. She didn’t understand, it was the making of it that was the most fun. I was a creative person already as a small girl.

But I could do nothing! She was determined, found a pattern, a piece of fabric SHE liked, then cut and sewed. Then handed me the dress, probably expecting a “Thank you” and a “how nice it is”. Can’t remember me saying anything. I was just so devastated, and thought the dress was ugly. Hated both the fabric she had chosen and the look. The feeling I got out of this, and many more incidents similar to this one, was “you can’t, you’re worthless, I do everything better than you, and know how to do things the right way”.

I never let the doll wear that dress…

My self esteem went down, inch by inch, for each time something like this happened. However I must have had some strength within me after all. Or perhaps it was my creativity that was too strong to get killed. During the years that followed, I kept on knitting, sewing, crocheting – but always in secret. I never showed her anything, never told her anything. Nothing! Never more.

As a grown up and no longer living with her, I kept on sewing and knitting. Mostly clothes; dresses, trousers, jackets, sweaters. To myself, to my daughters, to my husband. Of course she must have seen what I made, but can’t remember she even once said “Look good! Well done”.

My sister was also creative. With knitting, sewing, also making needlework, a lot more than I did, and she learned me a lot. I don’t know if mom ever gave her any credit for how skilled she was, but I doubt it. Much later, my sister had developed MS and had in periods trouble with her eyes, with double vision. Of course, according to mom, all her eye troubles were due to all the sewing and knitting.

Apropos that: all the books I used to read, could of course damage MY eyes!

Painting by Picasso


Looking back – Part One

July, and the sun is lowering
will soon reach the treetops
on the other side of the road.

The air is lukewarm and soft against my skin,
one year old and a half, I must have been,
when sitting there, on my mother’s arm.

Her dress is covered with light gray flowers
on windy crêpe de Chine,
with ruffles down her bosom,
her neckline and her shoulders


I always loved that dress
and used to go into her closet,
just to feel the texture in my hands.


Suddenly I pull out one of her breasts
from under the light gray flowerbed,
and drink the milk she still can offer.
Deep gulps, and then I wipe my mouth
with the back of my hand

Mom laughs.
A warm and happy laugh.
And the moment is caught for ever.


This is a memory of my own, but placed in time with the help of some facts and logic. Mom said she had milk for me until I was two, so just a simple counting and the summer made this true.

Sometimes I wonder, why one remembers one event and not the other, especially when originated a very long time ago. I think those which one still carries, must have been those very special. Perhaps out of the ordinary…
Or maybe not… maybe it can also be what is repeated a lot…

This one is a very early memory, but perhaps not the oldest one. Though probably the most significant one. The  ones prior to this are only as I’m standing in my cot. First my eyes are under the upper edge, me glancing between the laths. Later I had grown a bit, my eyes at the same height as the upper edge. I remember standing on my toes to look over, or having to bend down a bit. Then came a time I didn’t have to stand on my toes any longer.

The door between the bedroom and the hallway was always a little bit ajar.

I wonder how much time I spent in that bed when I was little. I can’t seem to remember anything else from that time, long ago…

Link to: “Looking Back, Part two”

Painting: Surreal digital paintings, Marcel Caram

I’ve always loved the color red

A snowy afternoon by the time of Christmas
The heaven is dark but lots of lights are glittering
from every street, every building in the city

I’m twelve, or maybe even fourteen,
a most sensitive age, for a girl
who still hadn’t been kissed or looked for.

“Ah”, I said
and stopped in front of the large store-window
“Look, mom, what a beautiful red coat!”

I could hear her frown when she said:
“You, who are so gray and insignificant,
shall not wear red.”

Later on I got a new winter coat, a gray one
with a collar buttoned  up to the chin

And I can still feel the pain

Painting by Esias Thorén – Foot steps

The wall of silence

Abused as a child?

The very thought is hard to embrace. I was never hit. Never experienced any sexual abuse of any kind… never…

(gasp)   … except once when it could have been… something… perhaps…

He was a friend of my dads. Well… friend or friend… I don’t know now, and didn’t know then, the extent of that relationship. They might have met at work, and my dad always liked to talk to other people. Help with something if he could. He talked to the black-dressed missionaries who was biking around in the neighborhood, talked to people he met at the library, in shops et cetera. He was always kind and always showed interest to their stories.

This man came from Estonia. As a four or five year old I had no idea whether he was a refugee, or had moved to our country for some other reason. He had lived here for many years though, but I never saw any wife or any children. I guess she might have been dead for some time, and the children were grownups with children of their own.

Or I might be totally wrong.

To me, however, he was a very old man, older than my dad. With wrinkles in his face and grey hair. Slim, almost skinny, not particularly tall and with a somewhat crooked figure. And a mysterious accent when he spoke.
He taught me to count to twelve in finnish. Yksi, kaksi, kolme…

At least once I followed my dad to his house. Big old house. Big flourishing garden. Fruit trees and berry bushes. Raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries. Black and red currant shrubs. Apples and plums. Ripe cherries in my hand.

What impressed and amazed me the most, was a swing I had never seen before. Like two wooden sofas built together facing each other. Very odd. And there we sat. Me and my dad in one sofa, the man in the other. They were talking. We swung slowly while the shadows in the garden deepened, until it was time for dad and me to return home.

The man used to visit us once in a while. Sometimes he gave us something from the garden. Jam, or pickled something. Once he gave us a bottle of home brewed wine. Since my parents never touched anything with alcohol, they just smiled, said thank you and pretended like nothing. Afterwards they laughed a bit, but kindly. He meant well, they said. He didn’t know.

And I don’t know what they did with the bottle.

One afternoon the man had visited us and was on his way home. I stood above a stone-stair just around the corner of our house when he saw me and approached.

“Can I have a little kiss”, he asked and pointed at his left cheek. I giggled a little and was about to hastily peck him on his cheek with closed lips.

Then he turned his face to me and opened his mouth wildly, closing in on my mouth.
Oh gosh what a big mouth he had!
Quick as a squirrel I turned around and skipped away to the back of the house, loudly singing  some la la la la laa laa…

I don’t remember him grabbing me, maybe he tried to. Maybe he started to reach out for me. Did he manage to put his hand on my arm?
I don’t even remember being frightened. Maybe I was, at least a little. Yeah! I think so. A little. But since I got away so quickly…
… I kind of won.

Was that a sexual abuse? Did it hurt me? What were my feelings? Really!

It never happened again, I’m sure of that, and I never told anyone either.
What would have happened if I had?
That, I will never know.

Well! This episode occurred, I remember, and I must have recognized it as something grown ups don’t do! The wide opened mouths I had seen so far, was when someone had laughed out loud and such, not while closing in on my face. It was totally unknown to me.

No, he didn’t hurt me physically, I don’t remember he even managed to lay the tip of a finger on me. Didn’t I easily slip away? Yes I did!

But psychically?
Honestly! At this moment – I don’t know.

But there were other things going on in my childhood, that I wasn’t consciously aware of at that time.