The Book of Sunshine: Chapter 1

Date: December of 1976-1981

Age : infant-5years

Husband: J.D.

In the 70’s there was a movie titled: Sunshine . I can’t really tell you why but this is where my mom says she got my name. As with the first few years of my life and what led up to it, I never asked my mom about the origin of my name until after 2001, after I turned 25, after my mom had a major stroke and really couldn’t tell me much.

This movie was a “made for T.V.” special and it’s soundtrack consisted of 7 songs by John Denver, one of which was “Sunshine on my Shoulders’ for which the film is named: IMDb

There’s a menagerie of memories I have up until 5 years old. They are kind of thrown together and all mushed up. My most vivid memories are from 2 different apartments in the same apartment house.

The 2nd floor apartment consisted of a living room to the right when you walked in, a small bathroom just to your left, the kitchen straight ahead and then the only bedroom was to the left of the kitchen. In the upstairs apartment we had a female German Shepard name: Lady and when I was around 3 she jumped up on the roll away bed with me during an argument and her paw got my cheek leaving a scar on my cheek right below my left eye.I also remember a picture of me or maybe it was just my favorite dress pictured in my head hanging on the door frame leading into the living room from the hallway. Either way I remember my favorite pink dress, the one I wore in the pics that actually hung at the neighborhood bar: Julies Tavern, in Decatur, Il , right down the road from where I grew up! I never have come across these pictures as an adult but I remain hopeful!

In the downstairs apartment I have several memories mostly good! My mom would always take me to the public library to rent Little Golden Books & Dr Seuss! I loved reading and being read to and the fun poetry world of Who-ville would leave an everlasting impression (positive impression) on my life! Additionally there was an incident in which I washed my hair with Nair (a bottle of cream rinse used to remove bodily hair which unfortunately included the hair on your head) and to “teach me a lesson, or whatever, my mom cut all of my hair short”. Also we grew up in a time when kids in Africa were starving so it was our duty as a member of The U.S. to eat every thing on our plate no matter what! This particular night it consisted of a bowl of chilli that I did not want to eat for whatever reason so I added A LOT of salt to make it better! Of course it actually made it worse but I had to eat it anyway because we did not WASTE food back then!!!! Lastly, the memory I tell no one about: My stepfather was an alcoholic and he believed in whippens! If you did wrong then you got a spanking with this red and white belt! Well I clearly did something wrong that warranted a whippen with THE BELT!!!! After getting the spanking, I rolled around on the bed in a “convulsive fit” and rolled off the bed and broke my left jaw on the “end table” that sat next to the bed. Who knows what the Dr was told but ultimately the dentist wired my jaw shut to allow the break to heal which meant I had to eat baby food in preschool…..it didn’t last….I pulled the wires out and the dentist gave up.
I honestly don’t remember how soon after this incident my mom and I moved out but I do believe anything longer than immediately would not have occurred if the roles were reversed!

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