Friday, March 26, 2021

I build walls

I'm always telling people I'm not normal.  I realize everybody is different from everyone else in many ways, but I'm "more different" than most and was probably born that way.  Living in Guss, Iowa, for the first seven years of my life put me in isolation simply because Guss was an unincorporated little burg with about 15 or 20 residents, and very few children.  Oh, there were two little boys across the road around my age, but who wants to play with boys?  Actually, I played with them quite a bit, because my parents and their parents played cards often.  However, at some point some hard feelings must have arisen between those neighbors and my parents, because it seems they cut all lines of communication.  I wasn't ever told why, but my mother said things many years later.  I think perhaps she might have said something behind their backs that hurt their feelings, but I really don't know.

The thing is, since I had few other children around, I learned to like being alone.  I'm sure when I got together with other children, I lacked many of the social graces (I still do).  Children aren't shy with their words to others, and can be very critical.  I learned at school that I talked too loud, and repeated certain words too much.  I began building walls then; I made myself as invisible as possible, minded my own business, and went home to happily play pretend games by myself, at home.

We moved to Missouri, away from the one-room schoolhouse.  Eagleville is a small town with a small school, but it was big compared to what I was used to.  There were a lot more children to deal with.  If we played any game at recess where sides were chosen, I was one of the last picks.  Always.  It didn't matter, because I was invisible.  I never ate in the lunchroom at school.  We moved to Kansas City and I ended up in one of the largest schools in the state at the time, North Kansas City High School.  With the exception of two girl cousins my age, I had not one real friend.  Don't feel sorry for me, because truthfully that's how I was most comfortable, behind my walls.

Nowadays when I read blogs, I notice most women like to run around with girl friends to movies, or shop together and eat out.  I don't like shopping, I'd rather watch movies at home, and I don't eat out all that much.  You see, I practiced being invisible starting with the first day of school in Iowa and have really gotten skilled at it.  

I have had close lady friends:  Carol, Terri, Shirley.  Two of those have died.  But even with them, I ended up distancing from them at some point, although we'd still talk if the occasion arose.  I did consider them "best friends".  But I built my usual wall, so we didn't get too close; if I get too close, I'll get hurt.  My mind knows this isn't the way it should be, but I've trained for invisibility for almost 77 years, and it's all I know.

I think perhaps I began blogging so I could tell stories while remaining invisible. 

I'm just keeping it real, folks.


  1. Blogging is perfectly suited for close(but NOT too close) relationships and also to describe the people we are through our activities, feelings and opinions. I have always appreciated your honesty and your acceptance of others and of yourself. I often wonder if people would like me if they met me in person. :) Honestly, some would and others wouldn't.

  2. I have family and a few friends, but I don’t get excited about doing things with friends. I get tired of folks really fast. Not my family though that’s different. I know I’m weird. I’m staying this way.

  3. I can totally relate to this! I am a total homebody. I love having my grown children over but that's enough for me. I do still have two friends that I love but prefer staying in touch with them through the occasional phone call or text message, and same with extended family. Blogging is the perfect social life for me.

  4. For the first few years of my life, I had only my little brother for my friend. Maybe that’s why we’re close. Once we moved to a neighborhood with lots of kids, I appreciated having friends about. I do still treasure friends. During this pandemic, I’ve counted on blog friends to see me through. Thank you for your honesty. Everybody has a different comfort level and have to do whatever is best for them.

  5. I think that whatever you're comfortable with is just find.

  6. Oh, Donna. I'm not quite so isolated, but I'm a stand-back-and-watch sort of gal myself. I know why I am the way I am, and I try to balance it, but I'm always going to be a bit of a loner...and that is okay.

  7. I have always prided myself in knowing the general vicinity of just about every place in Iowa. It all stems from a computer program I wrote decades ago that showed on a map the location of any town when you typed in the area code and prefix. My dad used it for finding farm machinery for sale that was close to the farm. But I had no idea of where Guss was until I looked at a map. I have spent some time in Villisca due to a grade school book that I still have that had a chapter on Iowa mysteries. I'm sure you know which one I talking about.

    Although I am sociable to most people, I prefer solitude and am comfortable just sticking around home like you apparently. When I was single, I could go two weeks without talking to another soul and was happy as a junebug lost in my hobbies.

    1. When we lived in Guss, our mailing address was Villisca. The people across the road, their names were Mitchell. Alvin Mitchell had a blacksmith shop where my dad would go sit and chat with whoever was there at the time. Down the road next door was Hampell's store. There was an old lady we called Grandma Brannen, too.

  8. I'm kind of a social person. I even have some lifelong friends. I am pretty opinionated
    and given to write "letters to the editor" if I have something to express.


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