I was born in Minneapolis as a boy. Mama took one look at me and exclaimed, “I thought he was going to be Rebecca!” Needless to say, I was scarred for life. In those days, getting an ultrasound to determine the sex of a baby wasn’t a bygone decision and people essentially relied on the doctors and midwives to make educated guesses based on measurements, heart rates, and old wives tales.
Yes, I was born in a hospital. My mother birthed all seven of us children before she entered the world of Bill Gothard (Billy Boy G.), i.e. no home births. Thus, there were no complications when she had to have an emergency C-section with my younger sister (though she constantly attributed that sister’s rebellion to not being squeezed through the birth canal).
I was the middle child of seven. I had an older sister, two older twin brothers, two younger sisters, and my baby bro. We were all within 7.5 years in age, allowing us to be very close as we tried to navigate the hell that was to be our childhood and young adult years.
My father tells the story that he knew something was wrong with Mama when my older sister (I’ll call her Marie) was beaten at the ripe old age of six months – for crying. This practice helped Mama fit in to her new-found faith once she found Billy Boy G in 1987, 10 years later. Marie was beaten until she escaped at 25 years old, a fact you might remember from my previous installments.
The only memory I have of being beaten during my “little years” was when we were being babysat by an aunt. The aunt was a good woman and allowed kids to be kids. I climbed up on the dresser in the boys’ bedroom and knocked a bunch of clothes off of it. As a young whippersnapper, I never cleaned up my messes – unless I was beaten. Children tend to learn things like that quickly. Mama came home and found the mess and lit into me. I have no recollection of the beating –just the narrative. And she never let me forget. Years later, she still used that incident as proof that I was a disobedient, evil, louse.