Alone in my own world, I sometimes pretended to be Shirley Temple. Her dimpled smile and blonde curly-locks got her noticed. I imagined if I pouted like her and smiled like her that I’d be pretty like her. But in the bathroom mirror, a brown-eyed, freckled-face girl peered back. She had straight dark-hair and dingy clothes that hung loosely over scrawny legs. She looked plain, clumsy and insignificant. She was me.
I didn’t know we lived below the poverty line. I knew the hunger pangs that clawed at my belly. I remember eating cold pork and beans right from the can; it tasted really good with bread. I remember surviving for a timed on government surplus with tins of soft butter, brick cheese, powdered milk and creamy peanut butter. When we had it, smearing slabs of mayo over bread was a slice of heaven.
Food was scarce. Even after Daddy started sending money to Mama, I saw little food on the table. Liquor bottles and empty beer cans reeked and saturated the air. Constant bickering between Mama and my step-dad punctuated the tensions in our rodent-infested, cockroach matchbox. I’d see those creepy-crawlers on the walls, tables and dirty dishes on the counter. I’d hear them scratching behind the walls, or running across the linoleum floor. I could even smell them. Those pests were our relentless unwelcome guests.
(Excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)
© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved
Note: “What happened to your bangs?” I am asked this question countless of times. You will have to discover the answer to that question … but not until my book is published. 😉