Monday, October 31, 2011
October; or why I don't really bother with Halloween
The best part of Halloween in my opinion is that it means October is over. Since I was little, I have always just had bad memories that are associated with October, and because of it, I wanted to move onto something happier. This week specifically, I'd like to move on to something a little better just because my back hurts insanely, because of a sciatic nerve problem I've had since I started working jobs that required 8 hours of sitting a day. Seriously, I went to go get groceries today at Carrefour, and I felt like I was walking like an old man. Ridiculous.
There's no better place to start than with my time back when I was a kid as to why I am slightly bitter about Halloween. As they say, you attract more flies with sugar than honey. My mother never really knew what to do for Halloween costumes for boys. When I was a little kid, my options were pumpkin or dragon. These were hand me down costumes from my older brother. One of the most fun parts about Halloween is supposed to be choosing what you want to be. For me, the choice was already made. My sisters could always do something with what we had, like wearing one of my mother's old bridesmaid's dresses and be a Southern Belle, or wear a lot of jean material and be a hippie. For boys, it always seemed like it was harder.
As I've mentioned before, we lived in Cornfield Central. Because of that, our nearest neighbors were a ways away, and walking at night was scary. Our other option was to take my mother's old car. It was a really nice muscle car back in the day. She had a 68 Firebird that she drove off the showroom floor in Defiance. Now; however, it was 1987 and no one had rebuilt the transmission since it was bought. So when you'd be driving the transmission bands might slip, and you'd drop from 60 to 0 in less than a second. If the transmission didn't kick back in, you'd be pushing the car home. We only used it for short trips, like to church and back.
We did it one year in the Firebird, and that was kind of disastrous. There weren't a lot of young families in our neighborhood, so some of the families didn't have candy. So we had to figure out which houses to go to. Another problem was space. A Firebird isn't designed to hold 6 people, regardless of age. It also had no heat, and no radio. Those were stolen when a cousin had the car on the local college campus. On top of that, my youngest brother was all of 2 years old, and really didn't want to be out that long without making a fuss. So between a young child, and nearly getting pushed off steps by one of my siblings for a snickers bar, that was the first and last year we did trick or treating.
That's not to say that my mother never tried to have fun on Halloween. When we were younger, we actually had a really fun party among the 6 of us. Since my dad worked second shift, we only had one car with a dependable transmission until 1996. So instead of feeling sad about not being able to go trick or treating, we each got a sack of candy, dressed up in our costumes, and had pizza. It was pretty fun. I guess I just never really got into the spirit.
One of the worst parts about October was that my mother always used to get really depressed during the month. She just seemed like she didn't want to do anything, and most of the time we'd just be curled under blankets watching Must See TV, hoping that no one would bother coming over begging for candy. I never really understood why until I remembered that my grandmother died on October 21st.
My parents moved in with my grandmother back in 1981 to take care of her, and because the rent would be free. My grandmother was getting to an age where it was hard for her to get around, and she would forget things sometimes. My mother was a stay at home mom at the time, and she already had three kids. It was pretty ideal. After she had me in 1983 and my younger brother in 1985, it started to get more complicated for her. My grandmother's condition was worsening. She started to get more and more confused, and angry. Finally in 1987, my grandmother passed away.
It took a good 10 years for my mother to really move on from the death of my grandmother. I think much of it had to do with living in the house and seeing all of her clothes and possessions around her 24 hours a day. My parents even moved into my grandmother's room a few months after her passing. On top of that, there were some problems with family because of the will. My grandmother wasn't insanely rich or anything, but she had more than enough to live comfortably. It was so bad, one uncle and aunt wouldn't come into the house for the wake. They were that ashamed of what they had done to the rest of their family.
Growing up with all this bad stuff happening in October, it seems like it's when bad stuff happens to me. I always tend to have health problems in October. I think the first breakdown I had was in October. My sophomore year of college I got a sinus infection for the first time in my life and guess which month it happened? The first time I had really bad sciatic nerve problems was in October. I'm also pretty sure I just lost out on another job today. It gets me coming and going.
So you'll have to understand that none of this is blaming, or whining, even though it may sound like it, but statements of fact all. I don't actually mean to sound as crotchety as I probably do. If I'm invited to a Halloween Party, I'll try and find a costume and go. I'll smile and say Happy Halloween to people, but after I'm done, just let me go home and curl up on the couch or if it's been a particularly bad day, in the shower with the hottest water I can stand either running over my head or against my lower back.