lock myself in the basement day

i spent most of the day in bed today, texting “migraine” when anybody called.  but really, just being scared.  i had a “lock myself in the basement” day.

i was born in 1960 to aleta and justin leiber.  they lived in chicago with justin’s parents fritz and jonquil leiber.  here’s the cheesecake picture (it was given to me by justin when i met him when i was twenty five)

at some point, justin and aleta put me up for adoption through the children’s home and aid society of chicago.  i went to the patrick family of western springs, illinois.  here’s a picture of me after i had been adopted–it was the day i was baptised into the patrick’s methodist faith which was important to them.  i’m the one on the left.

very soon after this picture was taken, mrs. patrick had some kind of reaction to the world and to me.  it must have been overwhelming to be a new mom to a kid who wanted to go back to wherever she came from.  mrs. patrick was frantic about keeping order.  my most common transgression was to steal candy from mr. patrick’s desk or cookies from the treat drawer in the kitchen.

she would lock me in the basement.

i might sentenced to a day.  morning until bedtime.  if longer than a day, i would, upon waking, go back to the basement.  oddly, she always let me take a book with me.

sometimes she thought the basement wasn’t punishment enough, because i was so stubborn i wouldn’t cry, and so she would make me take off all my clothes or she would mark out parts of basement where i could sit and other parts where i couldn’t.  but if i had a book, i didn’t care where i was.   sure, i did other things than read.  i devised a series of number games played on my fingers.  i can, if we meet, show you those games.  kind of like solitaire but no cards.  almost everything i know comes from the world book encyclopedia for young adults, volumes 1-20, which the patricks owned and i kick butt on the caribou coffee trivia question every day because of that series.  i would take one volume each day into the basement.

the punishments the world gives us make us stronger, but only stronger at taking that particular punishment.  i’m great at being locked up but i want to be good at being unleashed.  i want to go out into the world this year to meet every friend, to charge across streets in a city i’ve never been, to get lost on a highway, to find out somebody’s passion for their lives*, to have the whole horizon out in front of me, to not know what’s going to happen next, to accept that the world is way more chaotic than the first two steps of the basement stairewell where nothing changes and the only sound is the furnace firing up and the comforting world is printed on a page.

tomorrow i pack for the first leg of the journey.  i am commuting my own sentence.  if you’re one of my facebook friends, help me do this.

*i mean, jeez, how much better can it get than chris castino’s passion for voluntary mutism?  and i haven’t even uploaded facebook friend peter lind’s account of reopening hospitals in new orleans after katrina.

4 responses to “lock myself in the basement day

  • Susan

    I didn’t know this story. Remember, dear one, that punishment to a child cannot be forgiven or forgotten. It is ever there. And it is over. You are free. You are loved.

    Courage is not bravery. It is having the heart to move. You have chosen this adventure. It is not a requirement, not a trap, but a choice. If at any time you decide it is not where you choose to be, guess what? You can go home! That’s OK!

    So breathe in love and light and see what happens.

    love, Susan

  • Jeanne Beckman

    I would like to meet Susan, as her loving comments are far better than those that immediately popped into my mind.

    How scary that must have been to be locked in the basement, and now this upcoming trip is bringing back those feelings. Or are those feelings actually your inner radar telling you to be careful?

    Today, I think you know that locking a child in a basement all day is considered abuse. Nothing you could have done would have warranted that kind of treatment. The fact that you not only survived, but seem to have thrived speaks to your innate resilience.

    I guess I would add to Susan’s comments to be really careful, as there are many who may claim to be your Facebook friend because you’re so open to others, but they may be more selfish that you’ve imagined.

    If you still decide to go, this first trip could be reconnaissance that could be modified or ended at any time, followed by virtual travel (Skype) for most of your “friends,” because the safety net is that you can always sign off if it gets too weird.

    I look forward to reading of your adventures but, more importantly, of your safe return.

  • Mark Del Rosario

    Thanks for sharing this. Hats off to you my brave friend.

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