Home Not HomeKristin Lieberman
- I was born in 1955. Some other things that happened in 1955: Mary Louise Smith was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama, and Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and was arrested for violating Alabama segregation laws.
- My parents used the word “n-----” when referring to African-Americans. Early on, I knew it was a hate word and so did they.
- Not that all Republicans are bigots, but all bigots I’ve known are Republicans.
- When I asked my siblings or cousins for help with something and they didn’t want to do it, they would tell me, “I’m not your n-----.”
- Later they would throw around this phrase: “I’m free, white, and over twenty-one.” By then I was going to law school on the East Coast and I didn’t engage. I asked them if they knew what they were saying. They did.
- I’m pretty sure they are all registered Republicans.
- It seemed like there was a liquor store on every block in my town. I was taken to most of them by my father. I checked out the comic books while he made his purchase. If he had twelve cents left, I scored the latest Superman comic book.
- My father once told me that he would have joined the John Birch Society, but he didn’t like meetings.
- My father was a registered Republican.
- My family believed that the only success in life that mattered was pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. A masculine pronoun was always assumed. A woman didn’t pull herself up by her bootstraps, because women did not wear boots.
- The examples I was given implied that only white men had bootstraps.
- Also: What if you’re too poor to own boots? What if you’re disabled? No bootstraps for you.
- I read a lot as a child. This led me to realize that the key to being successful was rooted in education, not in bootstraps.
- I never felt like the town I grew up in was home. A place cannot be home unless there is love, understanding, and support. My mother loved and supported me, but never understood me.
- The only place I ever really felt comfortable was the public library.
- I often dreamed that I was Supergirl and was able to fly away from home. In my dreams I made a home in a spectacular cave, and all of the superheroes fell in love with me. I crushed on Clark Kent.
- I didn’t care much for Batman. There was enough moral darkness in my universe without dealing with Batman’s baggage.
- After my father beat my mother senseless for the final time, my parents separated. My mother obtained a restraining order against him for domestic abuse.
- My father died of alcoholism when I was fifteen. The last time I saw him, I was holding hands with my boyfriend. He shouted that I was a whore and then drove away.
- I cried at his funeral, but not because I missed my father. I missed having a father I could look up to.
- I ran away to college when I was seventeen.
- In 1971 the voting age was lowered to eighteen from twenty-one. I registered as a Democrat when I turned eighteen, at a supermarket near my college.
- My first summer home from college I worked in our local doctor’s office as a receptionist. He refilled a lot of prescriptions for painkillers. He didn’t even see his probably addicted patients, he just phoned the pharmacy. One man died the night he received his last refill.
- My second summer home from college I worked a split shift at Denny’s, where I got into an argument with one of the regular customers who believed in absolute police power. He was a highway patrolman. That was the last summer I came home.
- I’ve always lived in mostly white, sometimes Republican towns. My children went to predominantly white schools. Although I liked my houses, I never felt quite comfortable in my communities.
- I have this disquieting feeling that I’m replicating the discomfort of my childhood, but without alcohol or Superman comics.
- I keep thinking I should try harder to fit in; then I think I should just move away.
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