Kids Say the Darndest Things
I was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, a city I liked because it had at once that small town charm together with the feeling of a large city. The one was good for the feeling of nostalgia and the other was
helpful in acquiring a sense of futurism because life is so crowded nowadays and problematic that the
more practice a young person can get, the better. I'm thrity now and I've been through a lot of hard knocks. I have a lot of stories I can tell, but this one about the twelve-year-old Rod Cullity, me, will have to do for now.
Today I live in Fisher, Indiana and am thirty-years old. I am married and have a son and a daughter. I work in an auto insurance office and always have a lot to do. I am mature and capable, but sometimes it doesn't always seem so. So, was I a problem child? I think not.
When I was twelve, I was in the seventh grade and I thought I was a good student, but learning math and language arts was not all that interested me. I started to notice girls were pretty. I liked baseball and basketball. I got a part-time job when I started freshman year of high school.
I don't know what it was, but one day (March 1972) when I came home from school, I suddenly worried my mother. Mama was a quiet and gentle woman who ran the house very well. She wanted things to go well for me. I believe she was like a devoted fan rooting for me to win the game all the time and kept a pleasant attitude toward everything I did, hoping all would turn out right. My father was a magazine writer, who knew a lot about a lot of things. In retrospect, I admire them both.
On this March day, I was not my usual self. My mother was.
"You know your mother loves you. You know that, don't you, Rod? You're being a good boy. Dad loves you. I'm just telling you that we both love you, sweetheart, and...," My mother was saying.
"Oh, get out of here with that "love shit"!" I yelled.
My mother responded with no emotion, but she was upset by my outburst. She was too motherly to think that I had just attacked her. "What's wrong, Rod?"
"What do you think I'm a sissy and a baby to start talking to me like that? I have a lot of homework. I have
Liitle League tryouts. What's wrong with you? I'm almost a grown man," I said.
"I'm very aware that you're growing up. You're reaching adolescence. I'm very aware of all the things you're doing," mama answered.
"Well, alright then, act like it. Don't start talking to me like I'm an infant," I said, angered.
"OK, if you say so. But we have love in our family and it's not wrong for a mother to express herself to her children every once in a while. We all grow up and separate and sometimes a child never realizes that his parents felt affection for him," Mama said.
"There you go again. Love, love, love," I said.
"Let's wait for your father to get home. I would like to know what is bothering you. We will have to talk it out. Let's see what he has to say," Mama said. Dad was always the final judge with all issues in her mind.
"Oh, come on. There's nothing to decide. Don't make a big deal out of it!" I replied.
"Let's just say that I'm rooting for the home team, Rod." Mother left it at that until Dad got home an hour later. I was glad to see Dad, of course, and did not feel that I had said anything wrong. Nonetheless, my mother had explained how I had just startled her in the kitchen. Dad called me in to the living room to discuss the matter.
"Your mother says you were a little rude with her," Dad said.
"No, Dad, I was my usual self. I might have said something that she didn't agree with. I wasn't rude," I said.
"Your response sounded rude to me. Watch your language," Dad countered.
"I don't think I said anything wrong," I said.
I went over to my friend's house right after I had faced my father's questioning.
It made me very nervous that my parents had discussed my response to my mother. I guess I was a little harsh, but children have swirling emotions sometimes that they do not control as well as they do when they are adults. It just takes a while to control and rein them in when they are young. So, I was not trying to hurt my mother. Something just jarred in my mind. So, you must understand that the resultant conference about me bothered me.
I had to go over to my friend, James', home to talk with him a while. He didn't see anything wrong either. My parents started to watch my behavior for the next month to determine if I needed counseling. I didn't want counseling or any intervention implying that my speech was incorrect. What I resolved to do when I returned from James' home was imitate my mother as much as I could. I was so glad that I chose the right idea to appease my mother. She might have reached the conclusion that I was schizophrenic or something. Let children think--they very well may reach the right conclusions.