“What Remains To Be Said” Part VII
It was a perfect painting. There was Dodo holding little Gloria’s tiny hand. She picked greens and blues for the trees and leaves and the heavenly light, the contrast was quite beautiful, a color combination quite fitting to paint this image of her and Dodo. Now their love for each other would remain boundless and eternal through the image of this painting. Little Gloria fulfilled Dodo’s heart, she was the daughter she dreamed of and in return all this love was returned to little Gloria. Dodo saved little Gloria from a more hurtful neglectful past. Sometimes there are angels that come to watch over us and isn’t obvious till we’re old enough to understand.
As in every court custody case the decision that is made on behalf of the child affects the child the most. Gloria’s son said, “The horrible irony is one of the first things the judge did after taking my mother away from my grandmother was getting rid of the nurse Dodo as well.” Gloria said, “My mother’s lawyer said Dodo was influencing me against my mother and that’s why they took her away. So all my hopes were all for not; really. I have inside of me an image of a shiny rock hard diamond, that no matter what happens to me nothing can get at it or crack it and I’ve always known this about myself.” We build coping skills as children when life and those adults around us were supposed to nurture us and for many reasons they fall short of what we needed most from them as parents.
Gloria was now a grown woman at 91 and yet she looked like she was only 30; really remarkable. The camera zooms closer unto her face and in the gloss of her beautiful brown eyes there is still that pain and strength intertwined. Memories flashing through her mind knowing she would survive and would reap the benefits of how she would shape her life. That’s the extraordinary thing about life that though we only live once, we have opportunities to inspire ourselves to begin once again on another charted path. The rock hard diamond was Gloria’s eternal strength.
We are magical and I believe that wholeheartedly. I always have and I always will. My writing keeps me in this safe eternal world where I really don’t want for nothing; except to love more deeply. This life is just a dream, it only comes once, therefore you only live once, it is our aspirations and dreams that leads us to a greater purpose. So my advice to you, if there is something you have been meaning to accomplish, then by all means let nothing stop you, let perseverance take the lead in your life to your new endeavor. Challenges do come and go, their contributions shaping us as well. Sometimes their unavoidable, other times you have a choice to make to improve your life. Most of us are stronger then we know and that is not apparent until you are faced with some unforeseen challenge while moaning over it’s ill affects of realism. But at this time, this was just the beginning of Gloria’s life which she would purposefully take into her own hands and become the woman she wanted to be. We were both thirteen when we had to face the truth and irony of our lives, this undoubtedly changed us forever.
Gloria said, “I think that’s enough for the day.” That statement, the boundary she drew and voiced to the camera crew and her son made me think of how I was constantly as a child trying to please Janis and Nick in every possible way I could. There were no boundaries in my household and Nick was the great Lucifer for following no rules and that seemed to shape my way of life and view as well. I called it “Pulling a Lorie”. I did it in all sorts of ways, my driving for one thing, my tenacious ability to defend, like the time when the Neuro Surgeon told my mother, “Well that shouldn’t concern you.” I looked at him and said, “When my mother or myself and any other member in this family asks you a question concerning my father’s vital signs or any other medical question, it is your responsibility to answer our questions. Believe it or not we are very intelligent people. I hope I made myself perfectly clear.” That was my role in the family to defend either Nick from Janis or Janis from Nick. I could be funny. Yet, you might think there isn’t a funny bone in my body as I write mine and Gloria’s story together, but I am funny all my wonderful aunts knew this. I could always make them laugh.
At thirteen Gloria was tired of all the cameras filming her personal life. She turned away from the camera, she was done with all the notoriety of her personal life. I assume she was thinking, “Who are they? They don’t know me at all.” Which is particularly true for most celebrities in front of the cameras and salacious stories with half truths.
At thirteen I was a tomboy. Comparing myself to all the other girls in the neighborhood I clearly lacked in all the ways they didn’t. But I grew tall 5’5″ by sixth grade and I was very thin. I could eat anything I wanted to and still not gain any weight.
At thirteen my life consisted of visiting Nick’s parents ranch practically every weekend. This was a full functional farm with all kinds of animals. Of course Blacky, Nick’s beautiful black horse remained my favorite part of this world and it’s painful for me to remember and talk about Blacky. I didn’t know this till I started to recall all the memories of Blacky. His large black head moving up and down with a black mame snorting when we arrived back at the ranch to unsaddle and put him out into the pasture. I could sense his joy to go out back and forage and remain as he was without Nick’s presence. I remember riding Blacky and how it felt to go fast on such an animal with great strength. I remember his eyes, his stubborness, his strength and his will that he clearly he passed on to me, as Nick did, I just didn’t realize it at the time. That all was going to be a part of me. We do want to love our parents regardless of their vices or their inability to do better for us. But I was one child for seven years I wasn’t adored nor considered special. I suppose I didn’t need their praises, I had managed to find that about myself all on my own. I was driven with great confidence. The secret had this power over everyone including myself, that more than anything else made me stand out. No one said a word. No, that would ultimately be my grandmother when she felt she was forced to. Now thinking what if she didn’t? It had to be then. It would have been a lot worse if I were fourteen or even fifteen. I would have responded with more anger and defiance.
When they arrived home from the Christmas party Nick was drunk and happy and he tripped and fell to the ground. I was waiting for them at the back door. Janis was furious with him. Thinking back this memory reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Janis jumped on him grabbing his hair and his ears and hitting his head on the ground over and over again. I called out to my grandmother to come quickly her daughter was trying to kill my father. I opened the door and ran out to try and stop her.
That was when my grandmother pulled me to the side and said in Spanish,
“Tu No Sa Vez Lo Que Sta Pasando.”
“You don’t know what is going on.”
Then she revealed the truth after thirteen years of secrecy and conspiracy within the family.
“El Nick, No es tu Papa.”
“Nick is not your father.”
Within that moment I would change forever.
So here we are Gloria at thirteen faced with losing the only mother you knew; Dodo. I was faced to let go of the image of who I thought was my father. It was like taking away the old Nick who I thought was my father.
There were no conversations of how sorry they Janis and Nick were that now I knew the truth and it was devastating to me; a big blow in my gut and in my heart.
“What Remains To Be Said” Part VII
Here with you Natalie Keshing Editor-in-Chief of NatsWritings.com and NatalieKeshing.com