Sixteen

Daily Prompt Only Sixteen Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

Like Christmas, turning 16 was a disappointment. I’d been told a lot of things would happen when I turned 16, but they didn’t, like I could date. Somehow I thought that meant someone (and of course there was a “someone” in my mind, anyway) would call me IMMEDIATELY. He didn’t. That was pretty much what being 16 was like, like being 15 or 17 or any other age. Of course, I got my drivers license and that was good. Once that happened my mother seldom ever rode in the car with me driving. Going through the learner’s permit ordeal must have been hell for her.

For some girls turning 16 was a big event, but perhaps their families had nothing more complicated going on. One of my friends got a pink Mustang. Another had a “Sweet Sixteen” party. I had a simple family dinner and the birthday cake was angelfood with caramel icing — neither of which I liked.

The point is, it didn’t matter that much. More pressing were the trips to Penrose Hospital where my dad was undergoing his first ACTH treatment and, you know, they did help for a while. At that time he wrote some poetry, too, and he asked me to type the poems for him. He could still write when I was 16, but within a year and half he would lose that ability. I typed his poems (they are not good poetry) sitting on my bedroom floor with the Royal portable set up on its case.

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9 thoughts on “Sixteen

  1. I suspect the reason I don’t remember much is because I don’t want to. It was a horrendous year. 16 and 17 were the worst. There were other bad ones, but they were pretty awful. But most of the girls I knew where having a very difficult time. Hormones, family drama, secret family drama of the worst kind. And we didn’t talk about it because we were all sure it was us, alone, who were the only ones with problems. We were ashamed that our lives weren’t “like television.” Hah. Who knew?

    • I wasn’t ashamed but I didn’t have the stuff going on you did. I was defiant. Anyone who was upset by my dad’s condition wasn’t welcome in my house. End of story. The drama was a drag but it was mostly between my mom and brother but often enough between my mom and me. Luckily my dad was a brave soul and my good friend and I had allies elsewhere, teachers and aunts. I don’t remember much because it just wasn’t very interesting unless you consider coming home from school to find an ambulance in your driveway interesting. It was just a convenience to transport my dad to the hospital, no particular crisis, just a day in our fucking life. 🙂

  2. 16 was no big deal at my place. You were nothing until you reached 21 in England at the time and driving did not come into the question. Too expensive and we didn’t have a car. I think my only thought was let’s go when I can and I did, but had to wait another 4 years.

    • 21 wasn’t much for me. I was married and could drink legally but it was Sunday and all my in-laws had in the house was whiskey and Dr. Pepper. No big deal since I’d already manage to mess myself up significantly when I was 19, but you just didn’t go around telling people that, like “No thanks. I was drunk out of my mind once two years ago.” 😉

    • That’s cute. If it helps at all, and I can’t speak for others, I wasn’t sad at 16 about my life. I can recognize its sadness looking back at it, but at the time it was just my life. My family was what it was and what we had to contend with we tried our best. Now I know that’s what all people do and I understand what my dad’s doctor meant when he told my mom that living with my dad and his illness might teach her kids compassion. I also know now (and didn’t then) that all that is preparation for a much greater role on a larger stage and that’s what he was thinking of.

      • I’m so glad. I can’t stand to think of the torment some of the bloggers went through in their youth. Makes my teenage angst nothing in comparison.

  3. Three months after my 16th birthday, my father died of a heart attack–two weeks later my mother went under the knife for a double-radical-mastectomy. I took my father’s place at the mop factory in a one-horse town in Georgia. My mother lasted another 18 months and died while I was in boot camp. I quit high-school to go into the service, to get better medical for my mother–and to get out of that shithole.

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