Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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at the dinner table

at one end of the table my father—at the other my mother
in between three children—sitting on each side of the table
my place was at my father’s side

I watch my father
he shovels his own, special food into his mouth
rarely looks up—rarely says a word
and regularly dribbles his food down his front

I observe my mother at the other end
she constantly criticizes her children and demands
sit straight—hands on the table
don’t talk with a full mouth! behave yourselves better!
don’t spill! don’t dribble! don’t wiggle your chairs!
don’t, don’t, don’t
her constant criticism often grows into yelling
until she leaves the table furiously
the meal and the joy of sharing food—ruined

how confusing and painful it was to sit in between them
to look back and forth
I looked to the right—I looked to the left—is life about
how my father lives—or how my mother tells us to be?

I watched my parents just as helplessly
as my mother saved every penny
bought the cheapest, most unappealing food
only basic necessities—with the reasoning
that one has to be prepared for wars when one might lose everything
often there was barely enough food for all the children
then we fought over it

I saw how my father spent money lavishly
he did not seem to have any limits
came home with trays of fruits and cake
he brought home delicious things
there was enough good food for all of us
he took us out for wonderful meals
then we had fun times together

one parent was a religious fanatic
the other avoided church and prayed in nature
one was afraid and hated to travel
the other traveled all the time and loved the world
one despised
good food, nice clothes, going out
while the other enjoyed
dressing well, smelling good and eating well

my heart sank—my soul filled with sadness
as I looked powerlessly back and forth between my parents
with my head spinning
how shall I live—what is the right way?


© Barbara Rogers


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