Sunday, February 26, 2012

Repressed Memories

I woke up the other night frightened and confused.  I had the "The Dream" again.  I tried to shake it off and returned to sleep only to be caught up in it again and again.  Finally I dragged my tired butt out of bed and gave up on the idea of sleep.  I usually don't dwell on this dream and have told only three people about it in all of my life.  It is not the kind of dream you want to share. But it has been nagging me for days and I think it is time to share.  Yesterday was my wife's turn to hear about it.  Today it is your turn.

When I was a wee lad about 5 years of age we had moved to Illinois.  Jobs were in short supply here and things were booming there.  We lived in a trailer park close to my mother's sister and her family and my dad's brother and his family followed us there.   I remember a black family lived in the trailer park too and I used to play with their older daughter and two sons about my age.  My dad worked in a local foundry with the man and they became friends.

One morning I went over to their house to play.  I knocked on the door and heard a voice from inside, but it didn't sound right.  Cautiously I opened the door and said "Hello".  At first I heard nothing, but then the groans started.  I stepped in and looked around the darkened home.  The curtains were still drawn and no lights were on.  I could make out the red and black checkered sofa and the red chair by the door.  I had to step around the chair to see down the hall where the noises were coming from.  I could hear more groans and things falling over.   Suddenly the father appeared in the hallway.  He was wearing a white tee shirt that was covered with blood and held a knife in his hand.  He was stumbling towards me saying "GET THE ______ OUT"!!! 

I must have run home and told my dad as my next memory is of him and my uncle entering the house and my uncle hollering at me to go home.

This is usually where I wake up. Very frightened, shaking all over, and confused about what is going on.

The dream doesn't come often, but the vividness and the feelings are as horrifying today as they have been all of my life.  Sometimes many years pass between episodes, but they are always the same.

About seventeen years ago I had one.  It was shortly after my mother died and I had been talking to my dad a lot about the early years of our family life as I had gotten back in to my genealogy project.  I asked him about the black family in my dream.  He got a far away look in his eyes and quietly  said, " remember that do you". He then hung his head and in a voice barely a whisper said, "A man has no right to do that to his family".

After a long pause I hurriedly changed the subject.  My dad had been through enough lately and I really hadn't meant to stir up bad memories, but I had to know if the dream was real.  For the past few days I have been haunted by this dream and am on the verge of investigating it further.  With the internet it shouldn't be too hard to look up old newspapers.  But still something holds me back.  It has been so long since the last time I have been this concerned about the dream.  I am no longer sure if my memories are true of if it is just my over active imagination. Do I really want to know?


robin said...

I so want to hug that poor little boy and take his fears wasn't his fault, he couldn't have changed anything, he did nothing wrong...that might be why you are again having this need to know you couldn't change what happened, and were lucky that man didn't attack you. The truth to what happened you might never find, even if you looked. It may however bring a peace of mind you seem to be looking for. What ever you decide to do, I hope it eases your mind to put this awful memory behind you and the little boy can finally rest.

GreyWolf said...

Robin: Thank you for your kind words. I talked to my older brother yesterday and he remembers the family , but not what happened. He does have fond memories of riding bikes with the girl though. And we had a great time reminiscing about our younger days.