Here I am again, looking pretty country, seated on the steps of the porch of my grandma’s house. The galoot to my right figures in my earliest memory. I am down on the floor on my belly and I am looking at my little potty chair and I am pissed because somebody else is using it. The person using it is was the galoot sitting next to me in that picture. He was not supposed to be using my potty. After all it was mine. Also he upset the height hierarchy. I was the first born and taller than my little brother who must have been two or three at the time of this picture. But the galoot, who was less than a year older than yours truly, had a number of inches on me and quite a few pounds.
The big galoot was my Aunt’s son, the son of the sister of my mother. He was Aunt Betty’s son and for some unknown and ungodly reason she had name him “Skipper.” That’s how I always knew him and that’s what he was always called. I don’t think it was a nick name. I don’t know what my Aunt was thinking about when she named him but I doubt she was thinking too clearly.
She had fallen for this military guy, and just before he headed out during WWII to the South Pacific, they went to Tijuana and got married. I doubt my Aunt was into premarital sex, so I guess they had the time in between getting married and his heading out to sea to get Aunt Betty pregnant. Well, she bore the child and decided to go back with him to her husband’s ken in Arkansas, his having not yet returned from the war. But when she got there, she found they didn’t know who the hell she was because her so-called husband was already married and had not communicated to his family—through he had written otherwise to Aunt Betty—anything about her existence.
Talk about your embarrassing moments. And they were not welcoming in the least either and sent her packing.
So she went back to California, and when the old man drug me and my mother back South, she stayed there for a number of years. But I think it was probably pretty hard being a single mother back then or any time for that matter, and she must have gotten lonely—though she and my mother hated each other—so she came back to South Carolina and got a job up in Greensville as a telephone operator. And while she was looking for work and getting a little money together we took in Skipper. He was with us a number of months I think, and returned for extended stays on other occasions.
But after a while, Aunt Betty went back to California to San Diego to be with her father who was dying at the time. I don’t know why she wanted to go back to see that asshole; but maybe she hoped to inherit his trailer, that he was living in at the time, and get her hands on whatever valuables he had stashed away. After he died, she stayed in San Diego.
After we moved back there ourselves, we were told, after the fact, that one reason we had moved was so that my mother, who hated her sister, could be near her sister in her time of need since Skipper who suffered some sort of hormonal abnormality and grew to over six feet before he was 12 had developed cancer.