My name is Peter and I need to tell you a story about growing up in hell.
Grandma Miller was a bitch. When I was little, I hated her nasty ass with every fiber of my body. Hell, even as I think back on it today, I still get sick thinking about her and just want to fart! Probably not the relationship you would think a young boy would have with his grandma.
But Grandma Miller was not one of those sweethearts that hugged her grandchildren and gave them home baked cookies. She was one of those old cranky nasty evil women who believed that children should be seen and not heard.
I remember when I was about 6 or 7 and the family used to go visit her. I remember how she would expect us kids, my sister and I, to sit on the floor quietly beside her rocker and let the adults talk. If we started to say anything, it would result in a knuckle rapping down on our heads. And to make it worse, mom and dad never said a thing about it. I believe I can still feel scar tissue under my scalp to this day.
"It's just the way Grandma is Pete," my dad would often say. "She whacked my head when I was little in the same way and I lived through it and you will too!" Obviously there was no sympathy from him.
I was grateful we only went over there on Sundays to visit. My hatred for her was shared by my older sister, who was a couple years older than me. And that was about the only thing that Annie and I ever agreed on. We both hated her guts. But we figured we could put up with her since it was only for a couple of hours one day a week.
Then life changed for the worse.
Grandma had a stroke and didn't have the decency to just die from it. And as it was, she had no one to take care of her. I was about 8 at the time, but understood that she had almost bit the bullet. Secretly I asked God why he just didn't send her straight to hell ... I mean why wait, she was going to end up there anyway.
But the real misery was just about to get started.
Dad had been working at the paper mill and when the company relocated from Michigan to Alabama, he found himself out of steady work and holding down several part time jobs to make ends meet. Grandma Miller's stroke was an answer to his problems.
Since she couldn't take care of herself, Grandma Miller suggested that our family move in with her. There was plenty of room she said, and truth be told, her old house was pretty big. And it wasn't out in the country where we lived back then. It was just a few blocks from the town center. That would make it nicer for me to be with my friends and walk to school. Still, I had major reservations, which would prove to be well founded in the future.
Annie and I would get the two upstairs bedrooms along with a full bathroom. Mom and Dad would get the downstairs bedroom and there was another full bathroom for them as well. Grandma Miller would take the den which was in the back of the house and turn that into her bedroom.
Annie and I had no voice in the matter. Money was tight and this would solve everything, at least that is what Mom and Dad said. And we eventually made the move. This is where the real nightmare begins.
Grandma Miller was what you would call high maintenance. It wasn't that she needed constant care, but she sure in the hell acted like she did.
Dad was the smart one. He was still holding down two full-time jobs. I think he did it just so he didn't have to help around the house. That left mom to do all the domestic stuff. Back in the 1960s that wasn't so unusual, but still it was a lot of work, especially with Grandma Miller.
Within a few days of getting ourselves settled, one Saturday evening Mom and Dad called Annie and me into the living room one evening after supper. I'll never forget the conversation.
"Annie, Petey" Mom began, "I think it is time that you two started to have a little responsibility around here."
Already I didn't like where this was headed. I looked at Annie and her face kind of squinched up at that statement.
"Your dad and I both think that this will be good for you two."
"Uh," Annie started, "Exactly what do you mean? I already help you sort the clothes, and Tommy takes out the trash every day. And we both do dishes together."
"Yes," Dad said, "And you do a good job of it all too, but we think that you need to start helping with Grandma. It's too much for your mom to do alone, and I'm working all the time, so we need you to step up and pitch in with her care as well."
"It's not going to be a whole lot of work," Mom interjected quickly, "Just some basic duties so I can do other things like get breakfast going in the morning and do some other things that need to get done."
I was really curious as to what she expected us to do? I mean I was only 8. Okay, so I was almost 9 and Annie was almost 13, but still we were kids.
"I think what we need you two to do is help Grandma in the mornings before you start getting ready for school. Annie, what I would like you to do is when I call for you in the morning, I would like you to help grandma get on the portable commode. When she is done with her morning toilet, help her wipe herself, bring her a washcloth to clean her hands with and then call Tommy.
Tommy, you need to take the commode to the bathroom and dump it and wash it out. When you are done, spray some Ajax cleaner in the bowl and then roll the commode back to Grandma's room.
This normally takes me about 30 minutes total, and if you two will pitch in and take care of that, then I can concentrate on making lunches and getting breakfast going."
"YOU MEAN I GOT TO CLEAN HER BUTT!" Annie yelled.
And I was quick to add, "AND I HAVE TO DUMP HER STINKY POOP!!?"
Dad in a moment of his self-righteous indignation stood up and let himself be heard.
"That's enough! I don't want to hear another damn word about it from either of you two. Your mom told you what you needed to do and you will do it. Do you understand, and your answers had damn well better be 'yes sir."
"Yes sir," I said meekly. I knew dad was pissed.
"Yes father," Annie added looking at the floor.
"I'm disappointed in the both of you tonight; I think you can go to your rooms until bedtime to think about how you behaved this evening."
And that was it. Without muttering another word, Annie and I slinked off to our bedrooms.
Before entering my room, Annie looked at me and said, "You got it easy, all you got to do is dump her shit. I have to wipe her nasty ass and wash her stupid face. You always get it easy."
I knew Annie was right, but still I countered, "Oh yeah, well you will graduate from school in about 5 years, I still have 9 solid years of poop duty if the old hag is still around."
Annie thought about what I said, and then gave me a smile. Not one of those smiles that say, "I love you brother and understand your pain," no, it was one of those smiles that said, "Ha ha, I hope you suffer for all 9 years too!"
Poop duty started the very next morning. Mom woke us both up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Annie and I wandered downstairs. Mom had told me I could go and get a quick shower while Annie was working with Grandma and then dump here commode afterwards. But I didn't want to. I figured it would be better to shower after handling her shit than before.
As it turned out, I got screwed again. After Grandma Miller took her morning dump, Annie couldn't wipe her and hold her by herself. So I was called in to hold Grandma Miller upright, while Annie lifted the back of her sleeping gown and wiped her butt.
She stunk so bad I almost vomited.
"Don't you let go you little shit," Grandma Miller started, "You hold me tight!"
"I won't let you go grandma," I said while thinking how much fun it would be to do just that.
As I was holding grandma, Annie was wiping her, wrinkling up her nose and eyes at the disgusting sight and smell.
Grandma Miller took a laxative every evening and it made her poop all smeary and messy and it really stunk bad.
"Go easy there girl," grandma hollered out in her funny speech, "That ain't a frying pan you are trying to scrub, I'm tender back there!"
Annie finally got her clean and dumped everything in the commode. Together we got her back into bed and then Grandma Miller added, "I bet both of you little bastards will be glad when I croak, don't you."
I never said a thing back; after all I didn't want to lie to her. Still after I left the room, the idea made me grin.
Annie ran off to grab the shower while I took the commode to small half-bath off the kitchen. There I dumped her nasty stuff and then rinsed out the bucket, finally spraying it down with Ajax liquid disinfectant. I felt like maybe I should spray myself down as well. By the time I had finished, I rushed back upstairs to take my shower since Annie was done and in her bedroom getting dressed. As usual, she had used up all the hot water and I took a shower in tepid water that eventually turned cold before I even got out. Such was the life of an 8 year old.
Evening time wasn't quite so bad. At suppertime, Annie would carry in her food and put it on her bedside table and grandma would sit up and eat. The rest of us would eat our supper at the same time grandma was eating. I don't know why she didn't come to the table; she could have easily in her wheelchair. But she didn't.
After eating, Annie would go pick up grandma's dishes and carry them to the kitchen and start washing them.
.... There is more of this story ...