Sunday, October 25, 2009

I would have been burned as a witch.

My dad is fond of saying that if I had been born in another century, I'd have been Joan of Arc.

I'm not quite that brave - I think had I even been my age in the 1950s, though, I'd have been burned as a witch. (By the way, Peach Tart wrote an interesting post about being glad she wasn't stuck in the 1950s.)

Both of my grandmothers are married to chauvinistic jerks. I don't feel bad about saying this because none of my grandparents (and all four are still alive) have bothered about their grandchildren, so the only bits I have seen are what I observed at rare reunions and gatherings.

My grandfather on my biological mother's side is just a bastard, honestly. I had to spend two days with him and my grandmother a couple of years ago when my great aunt (my grandmother's sister) was dying. I had some choice words for him when he continually picked on my grandmother - just mean, unnecessary, bullying stuff. Thing is, he shut up when I told him to knock if off. She hasn't spoken up for herself in 55 years of marriage, so she probably doesn't realize that under that bravado varnish, he's just a coward.

He has been in the hospital with a staph infection and my dad and I were debating whether my mother would go to his funeral if he died. We both agreed that she shouldn't, because he was just a terrible father. Neither of us communicate with her, but I think he really fucked her up.

Anyway, he told me a hilarious story about one of the times we had visited my grandparents while he and bio-mom were still married. I was maybe four years old and I asked why my grandfather was served his dinner before the rest of us. (Yes, it was that kind of sexist household.)

My dad, who these days would never sit at a dinner table with this kind of shit going on, said it was out of respect.

But I wouldn't leave it, even at age four.

Me: "But why?"
Dad: "Because...he's the head of the household."
Me: "Why? Who decides that? What if we're hungrier than he is?"
My grandfather (to me): "I'm glad you don't live here."
Me: "I would never live here!"

If I would have ever had to live in that house, I think I would have been burned as a witch.


Passion Fruit said...

I think if you would have had to live in that household you would have wanted to be burned as a witch.

The Peach Tart said...

Oh hell no.

Aliceson said...

It's truly awful that some people act that way. I have a wonderful set of grandparents and am thankful for them every day. It's just too bad that not all people can be as accepting and loving as others.

My grandfather's motto is (he's 91)"be as nice as I am". And he lives by it.

Trust that not all people are like your grandfather and you did the right thing by standing up to him. Even at 4 you had great instincts!!!

Fireblossom said...

You know I love Saint Joan. Almost as much as I love my Twin. ;-)

LL Cool Joe said...

You did good standing up to him like that.

I lived in a house where my mother completely dominates my father, with fists too. Of course he was brought up to believe it's wrong to hit a woman, so instead he gets brutually attacked by her.

Of course no one takes violence on a man seriously, but it exists. My mother has always been the head of the household.

Cuts both ways.

Lynn said...

I am so pleased that you stood up to your grandfather like that. Your dad sounds like a stand up guy - it's good he went his own way.

Riot Kitty said...

PF: I think you are right!
PT: Seriously. Most of my extended family is all fucked up.
Aliceson: Can I adopt your grandfather as mine? :)
FB: You are sweet! Mwah!
Joey: That is awesome about your mother. You are right - female-on-male domestic violence is almost never recognized; here in the states, it's only recent that violence in same-sex relationships has been recognized as a problem. Honestly, why call it "domestic violence?" I mean, WTF? Violence is violence, period.
Lynn: My dad is cool. And thanks!

Ekanthapadhikan said...

I see a real rebel speaking her heart out. Good for you. But I'm surprised that this kind of attitude is prevalent even in that part of the world! My paternal grand pa did something really bad. He had a twin daughters and when he found that the husband of one was unfaithful, he got them both divorced! I mean, my other aunty was having a fun married life. I was ashamed when my would be niece joined my school as a junior to me. She was such a lovely kid and used to tug behind me calling me her uncle!

Green tea said...

I only knew 2 of my Grandparents..
My paternal Grandmother made the best Pecan pies, homemade cinnamon rolls and noodles when she would visit us..I loved it.
She was 90 when she died..My maternal grandfather was a short little guy who liked his booze.
But I remember him as a sweet old guy who loved to listen to baseball games on the radio and play cards.
I only have good memories of them.
I am sad that you didn't have that Kitty..
I'll be your Grandma..:)

Darth Weasel said...

I found the "before others" part particularly strange. Most families that seek the patriarchal model eat together as a sign of family. To each their own, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Can't say much on this - I've got just one grand person left - a grandma on my mums' side. She's almost 90 and she makes me pancakes every time I go to visit her. o.O

under that bravado varnish, he's just a coward

...aren't all men?

themom said...

Like you, I would have been burned as a witch also. Being outspoken as I am, if I see that type of existence today - I'm in their face.

Shionge said...

Glad you didn't live in that household because kids learn from the adults and it sucks big time.

Hi!! :D Sorry been missing hope I'm not out of sight out of mind ya;)

Mr. Riot Kitty said...

Challenge answered!
---sticks toungue out

Riot Kitty said...

GT: I don't think you're old enough to be my grandma, but I'll take you! :)
E: Don't you hate it when family interferes in relationships? I haven't had anything that bad, but there are other examples.
Darth: They're beyond patriarchal - they're shitheads.
RB: Good point ;) And welcome back!
TM: Good for you!
Shionge: Hi! You're so right about kids learning it, unfortunately.
Mr. RK: Aren't you clever?

Scarlet said...

This blog post is exactly the reason why I think you and I would be good friends...especially that last part (the dialogue between you, your dad and your grandfather). Way to say it, Chica!!

Riot Kitty said...

Scarlet: Gracias! I agree :)

pheromone girl said...

I was lucky to have a very positive figure in my gread grandfather. I see so much of him in my son.

I also remind him not-so-gently when he acts like his father. That shuts him right up.

My favorite kid moment with my mom's dad was the day I looked at him and said "Being a bigot makes you smell bad." I was 4 at the time.