I have been wanting to tell this story for a long time but the issue always arises of how to begin. How do you tell a story, replete with the adjectives, adverbs and many nouns that will not only adequately communicate the story you wish to tell but perhaps, maybe, move someone. I do not mean move in the sense that their bodies will move, rather their psyche will be forever changed by the story. How to begin a story that really begins in the same way every other story begins, at the beginning of the life of a character or two. The problem as I see it is that this story began long before the teller has any knowledge of the facts and behaviors of the characters. One could make up the back story. Does that make the real story any less real?
Let’s try and see how this process goes from moment to moment. You see, the story of the story teller really began long before she was even a thought in the mind of those who were destined to bring her into this world in a very ordinary way. Her arrival was really the last bit of ordinary though, at least for her, for almost thirty years….
Their family looked like any other family from the outside looking in, as the five boys and one girl were all born in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to a most unassuming looking couple. The method and manner of their meeting is unknown, though I am sure it occurred in the most usual of ways. Perhaps it was an arranged marriage as was not uncommon during that era. Or perhaps they met at a sock hop at the local church. They were both small town kids from apparently traditional families.
Gary was a dark haired, dark eyed young man of average build who did not stand out in any particular way. Although he was of above average intelligence though, and a man who liked to start out with a cup of coffee on any given day. Mary was a very petite girl of 14 when she married Gary and this did not change much even while she carried each of their children in her womb. The babies all came pretty much one behind the other with birthdays happening about two years apart with the exception of the youngest boy Timothy. Timothy was not exactly planned but came along in the usual way to join the family.
This family was large by the standards of today but not during the decade in which they came to be. Every able body had a job to complete and you had better finish your chores without being told if you really wanted to eat. The relationship between Gary and Mary was strained and I’ve heard tell that it was odd at times as well. Their economic status was not all that wonderful and Gary had a roaming eye for the latest pretty thing walking by. There were stories told down at the local diner, where all the good gossips met, that Gary often brought home a guest to spend the night on a bet. Fact or fiction, the author does not know. Only that there were many stories told by the mongers who could give a listening ear the blow by blow.
An open arrangement is the term loosely used today but for the sake of this story, please understand, that it was not an ordinary household by any stretch of the imagination for children to be raised. It was said that when the older children had sleepovers, it was common to find them all in one bed and even in the bed of Gary and Mary. Timothy may have had life the easiest since by the time he came into this family it was about to be split apart. But, the elder children: Diana, Johnny, Jimmy, Joseph and Marshall were subjected to the odd personality quirks of their parents and their wandering hearts.