Lorraine moved in as planned. Only seven days separated our upcoming birthdays, so we planned a bash of epic proportions. Because we were both turning 20, we recruited an older friend to purchase nearly 100 dollars in liquor, and invited everyone we knew with the promise of an open bar. Nearly 70 people showed up over the course of the evening to celebrate with the two of us. Neither of us knew some of the attendees because they were friends of friends, but it didn’t matter and there was an open invitation to everyone to crash anywhere they could find space rather than driving home intoxicated. I spent the evening making friends with everyone I came in contact with, truly enjoying my party. I drank heavily, and for the third time in my entire life, smoked pot.
by Cheryl Vollmar
By the time I turned eighteen, I was more than ready to never step foot in my parents’ house again. I had graduated high school and was ready to move on to college, but even then I disregarded my own desire to major in Music Composition and followed in my mother’s footsteps by majoring in Music Education. Despite thirteen years of piano lessons, six National Piano Guild gold medals, over seven years of band and choir classes, and the numerous pieces of music I had already composed, she said I would never make a living writing music. And while I did see the logic behind her argument that it’s difficult to succeed financially as a composer, it felt more like she didn’t believe in me or my talents. As if all the competitions, performances, and accolades I had received weren’t enough to strive for what I was passionate about. Even though she frequently nudged me into experiences like college level symphony and stage performances as a high school student, it rarely felt like she supported me in my musical and theatrical efforts. She even told me I was on my own when I received an invitation to the Miss Missouri Pageant, leaving me alone in a huge dressing room buzzing with excitement as mothers helped their daughters change for the next act of the show. I’m not sure if it was because she was just too busy with her own schooling or if it was just a general lack of interest. Some have even said that there could have been a bit of jealousy behind her words and actions. To this day I haven’t the slightest clue why she was so unsupportive, but it placed another small bit of self doubt in the back of my mind that told me I simply was not good enough.
by Cheryl Vollmar
It’s taken a long time to fully understand why my mother raised me the way she did. She’d grown up being beaten and raped in a home that was backwards, backwoods, and even more religious than the home she built with my father. Religious applies loosely because my grandfather was a minister who didn’t always practice what he preached. Mother was made to cook, clean, and wait on her family like a servant. Her father believed a woman belonged at home rearing the children and taking care of the home, so she was not allowed the luxury of an education past the age of sixteen when she was old enough to get a job. She also met my father that year; he was thirty-eight at the time. My grandfather thought my dad had money because he drove a little sports car, and happily gave her away in marriage just ten days after she turned seventeen. I was born two years later. She went from being a child to being a wife and then a mother before most girls her age had even completed their first year in college. She hadn’t had the opportunity to date, or get to know herself like most people do in their late teens and twenties. She didn’t know what the world was like outside of her little bubble of home and church life, and never learned how to survive on her own. She was raising me as best she could only with the resources and examples she had from her own parents, and those resources were twisted and absolutely insane.