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Junebug Based on a true story

Cherie Doyen Artwork by Emily Doyen

Copyright Š 2013 Cherie Doyen. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Interior Graphics/Art Credit: Emily Doyen Balboa Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting: Balboa Press A Division of Hay House 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 1-(877) 407-4847 Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them. The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In the event you use any of the information in this book for yourself, which is your constitutional right, the author and the publisher assume no responsibility for your actions. Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only. Certain stock imagery Š Thinkstock. ISBN: 978-1-4525-7203-1 (sc) ISBN: 978-1-4525-7205-5 (hc) ISBN: 978-1-4525-7204-8 (e) Library of Congress Control Number: 2013906415 Printed in the United States of America. Balboa Press rev. date: 05/08/2013

I want to send out a wave of thanks to my husband, Steve, and all of those who stood by me through this process. Special thanks to my girls, Danielle and Emily and their Dad, Rob, who wove their expertise together f lawlessly culminating in Junebug, a labor of love. From the limb of our tree...

Tree of family and relatives


y story begins in this sleepy little railroad town. It sits off the interstate in the foot hills. With no through traffic, the town hasn’t had much inf lux of new people or new thoughts in decades. This is a town of secrets. From the outside, a cute little town that hasn’t been touched much by change. The landscape is filled with rolling hills and streams. There’s a creek, big enough to swim in, running right through town. Don’t look too closely at the chipping paint and sagging porches. Everyone is related to everyone, a place no one ever leaves. A place where nothing is as it seems. I live on a tiny little farm outside of town in a ramshackle house. I’ve lived there most of my life, except for a short stint in the city in the very beginning. The house is a constant work in progress. The family consists of me, two younger brothers and my parents…or so they say. I’m not sure. Can I really be related to these people? Is it really their blood running through my veins? The younger of my two brothers, Sam, seems to be on the outside too. He doesn’t seem like the rest. I 1

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keep him very close at all times, for safety. I don’t want them to be able to get to him, his mind. The middle boy, Kenny, is meaner than a snake. They’ve gotten to him already. Our small piece of property is surrounded by a larger farm owned by Mr. Stanford. He has about a hundred acres. The old man has taken a shine to me and my love for animals. He has a beautiful Irish setter named Joe. I love the way his shiny red coat feels sliding through my fingers. Seeing the old man out in the pasture, tall, lean, walking stick in one hand, his faithful companion on the other, makes me smile from the inside. I’m off and running. I cover the distance between us as fast as my legs will carry me. If I’m lucky, we get to spend the day in the garden. He loves to teach me as we go along, telling me about each plant and what it needs to be healthy and strong. This is my favorite time, maybe because he feels I’m worth teaching. Whatever the day turns into, chores are always more fun when they’re someone else’s. Mr. Stanford lets me graze my horse Ginger in his pasture. The grounds are mine to roam whenever I want, my playground. The beautiful hills and cliffs are my refuge. By the time I reach the creek, the grime from home is washed away and forgotten. For the moment freedom and laughter replace reality.


Celtic symbol for mother.... Mother is her nurturing state, maiden in her innocence, crone in her wise experience


randma, my angel. When I’m at Grandma’s, all of Dad’s stupid rules go right out the window. I’m not allowed to be held or rocked. “Don’t want some spoiled brat.” When I’m with Grandma I get all the love and touching I want. She holds me and rocks me, singing me her funny little songs. How much is that doggie in the window? She loves me and she loves me right. When I’m at Grandma’s I’m the favorite. She can barely turn around without stepping on me. I always want to be on her lap; women sitting around the table gabbing, and there I am looking up longingly. “Go play and leave Grandma alone for a while, now,” Mom tells me. “No, no she’s all right,” Grandma says, “Come here, sweet Junebug.” I climb up and cuddle in her arms. The connection most people have with their mother, that’s the connection I have with Grandma. Grandma and Mom all rolled into one. The problem is, I don’t live here. I only get her sometimes. She isn’t my Mom. My support and safety is once removed. 3

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I have one memory of when I was quite small. I’m left in the driveway, in an old Rambler station wagon, while Mom goes in to talk to Grandma. I’m told to wait. I have on a little yellow dress and white hat; my feet don’t reach the edge of the seat. I’m in the front seat, can’t see out and afraid to move. After a few minutes, I hear the squeak of the old screen door and the swing of the gate. Mom opens the back door of the old car and takes a little suitcase from the back seat. She then crosses around the front, opens the passenger door, scoops me up and carts me inside. I wasn’t sad being dropped off there. I got a little vacation. Only, after a few days of being there, the anxiety would start, as if they were calling me. Why would you want to go back there? my brain yells. It’s safe here people don’t hurt you, and you’re the favorite. In my gut there is the feeling that I have to get back home, to make sure things are okay. The battle inside increases, until I’m asking to go home. Maybe it’s the feeling of being dropped off there to get me out of the house? That became Mom’s way of fighting for me after a while—dropping me off at Grandma’s. The separation gives us all a rest for a second. Even though I love being here, it is a weird feeling to know why.


Chinese symbol for father


y first memory of my Dad is far from a pleasant one. The three of us lived in the city for a short while at the beginning of my life. Times were hard on my Mom; she was moved away from her family. She hadn’t ever really been anywhere, much less lived anywhere other than her sleepy little town. She was far away with no car. Her pride got in the way of admitting what life was really like with her new husband and baby. The baby cried all the time, especially if her Daddy was around. Yes, I was already scared to death of him. They think kids don’t remember things from this young of an age. I’m here to tell you they do. One particular day Mom had gone out to run errands. She was allowed this luxury within an allotted amount of time, whatever he deemed appropriate for the task, a curfew of sorts. I was left alone with my Dad. On cue, I begin to cry and when he enters my room, I begin to howl. He checks my diaper, and with his touch my cries grow louder and even more intense. There’s nothing to do but lift her and give her a little shake; see if that shuts her up. No, that didn’t work. How about a good smack? What do you know? That didn’t work either. What now? He lays me down and leaves the room. My howls are deafening at this point. 5

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He shuts the door, pops a beer, and paces in circles around the tiny apartment, the cries wearing on his every nerve. How long can she possibly last? He’s not able to bear it another moment—oh, wait, first another beer, that always helps—he then decides he’s going to have to teach me a lesson. He lifts me from the crib saying, “You better shut up if you know what’s good for you.” I didn’t. Another good shake…. More crying. A few more smacks. Finally, exhausted and in shock, I gasp for air. Then, the quiet. Only the heavy breathing from crying so hard, for so long. He leaves the room, proud of himself. Mom returns right on time. “I taught that screaming kid a lesson”, he tells her, gloating, “Finally got her to shut up. You just have her spoiled rotten.” She quickly takes the few steps to the baby’s room. She’s horrified. The bruises are already beginning to appear on her little baby’s body, and she’s quiet, eerily quiet. Tears stream down Mom’s face. Holding me in close to her body, she makes a beeline for the door. If she can just get to the door, maybe she can get to the neighbors. She never made it. Screaming, hitting, crying. She was still fighting for me then. The settlement was to move back home, back to the safety and comfort of her family. Of course, there were promises of no more hitting. I watched this from my safe spot, in the corner from above. I watched it all. It was before I was called to the other place. I was about six months old at the time. We remember. Eventually we always remember.


Chinese symbol for younger brother


he boys and I are all three years and some months apart. I’m the oldest, then Kenny…Sam’s the baby and my pride and joy. I feel as if I have birthed him myself. He is so weak and so tiny. My goal is for him to be a kid, to believe in fairy tales, Santa Claus, and the Easter bunny. I want him to have the part of life I’m missing, the magic. He had a hard time in the beginning and had to stay in the hospital for a really long time after he was born. The waiting: it was bad enough to wait that whole time he was in her belly, but now this. She’s back home, and he has to stay there all by himself, and here we are like nothing’s happening. It feels like it’s never going to end. Then finally the day comes when they get to bring him home. There is no sleeping the night before. I have been waiting for so long. The crib was set up outside my parents’ room, in a little alcove. I’m not allowed to go with them into the city to the hospital, so I wait, and wait, and wait. Grandma does her best to keep me distracted, but I can’t pay attention to her stories today. I hear the tires on the gravel drive and bolt from the house. I’m about to pee my pants I’m so excited. Mom has him pulled in close to her chest. “Wait, I can’t see.” 7

JUNEBUG - by Cherie Doyen  

June’s story begins on a tiny farm in a sleepy little railroad town, buried in the depths of rural America. Don’t look too closely at the sa...

JUNEBUG - by Cherie Doyen  

June’s story begins on a tiny farm in a sleepy little railroad town, buried in the depths of rural America. Don’t look too closely at the sa...