Wednesday, June 03, 2009
In Rockland MA when I was born...
My name was Linda Lee Monk when I began life. My mother (Gwendolyn Mabelle Stimpson Monk, father (Harold Richard Monk--on his birth certificate it still says "Baby Boy Monk")and I lived with my paternal grandparents ('Nana' Dorothy Tower Monk and 'Grandpa' Ernest Lysander Monk) for about the first 3 years of my life. My sister, Judith Ann, came along 11 months after I was born. We experienced things like, being tied up out in the clothesyard (because things like that were done way back then) and we revelled in taking off our clothes (whether for attention or just sheer joy, I am not sure). The neighbors would call my mother and say, "Gwen, they did it again..." I'm sure this was the start of my dancing and entertaining career although I couldn't tell you why Judy did it. smile. We also didn't have a very happy time of things because my family was quite involved in alcoholism and psychotic behavior. Everyone in my family, except us children, was highly involved in lots of anger. My father had been in WWII for 6 years and had his arm shot off on the battlefield. He got the Purple Heart and Bronze Star plus other medals. He was a hero and I didn't know it then. My mother was a heroine because of what she had gone through in her life and I didn't know that then, either. It would take many years before I could have a clear shot at loving my mother and father. I have never blamed them for my life, thank God, and have always understood. I always knew that God was watching over me. When things got to be too much for my mother and father, they moved into a project in Brockton MA, named Richmond Street Project. It was so much fun living there. I met my best friend, Pat Nagarya, there and attended school at the B B Russell Elementary School. I remember the games we used to play in the schoolyard (tag, 'Red Rover Red Rover', jumprope, I was the fastest runner in our school!, Jacks, marbles, etc.) and I remember the shots for Polio. We all stood in a line and everyone was crying. It was mayhem. Wow. My teachers: 1st grade--Ms. Garrity; 2nd & 3rd grade--Miss DiDeo; 4th grade--Miss Kula (we used to say "Miss Kula does the Hula," funny children we); 5th grade--Mr. Pritchard. My first male teacher. His "reign" was traumatic for me. I left home one day without clothes (there were none in my home that I could find and my mother kept saying, "Get to school," and I was afraid of her. When I got to my classroom, Mr. Pritchard asked me to take off my coat and I told him I couldn't and he asked me why. I told him "because I don't have any clothes on." And he made me come up to the front of the room and show him. When he say that I only had my underwear on--back then we wore t-shirts, too), he sent me back home. So now I am stuck halfway between home and school trying to figure out what to do. Well, when you have no choice, you go home. And there in the middle of the living room was all the clothes that had been missing in the morning. I dressed and went back to school. It was an interesting event for me. I knew that I wasn't crazy because I had lived this "interesting" occurrence and I learned to trust my brain and no one else's. Thank You, God. I will continue this tomorrow or another time. I did want to put down on "paper" part of my life.