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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: I Remember
By Jim Hall


I have heard it claimed that a person is incapable of remembering events that happened before the age of four or five. To many, I suppose that argument still rages. Not to me, I remember.

I remember the breathtaking fear shooting through my heart every time my mother would walk into the room. I remember pulling away with every ounce of strength that my tiny body could muster hoping for just one more inch of space.

I will never forget those eyes, wild with rage that seemed straight out of a late night horror picture. Looking back, I would say it was nothing short of staring into the face of Satan himself.

My stomach still knots at the memory when as a two, possibly three year old I was sentenced to a torturous punishment at the hands of the very one who brought me into this world. The crime? An accident in my pants.

Then there was the time I found a bobby pin and thought it might be fun to slip it into a wall socket. I was quickly scooped up from where I landed displaying a terrifying burn on my hand. My sweet grandmother held my small arm out and examined the injury and then did what grandmothers do: she took me to my Mom.

The pain of the shock and the agony of the burn should be what are most clearly seared into my recollection but they aren’t. All I remember is the horror as I was passed from the gentle, arms of my grandma and handed to my mother. I remember staring into my mother’s face.

I vividly recall the day I watched my Mom walk out the door and leave her three children alone. But more than that, I remember her voice. The words have faded from memory, thankfully so, but I remember the sound as vile curses were leveled at three little boys. My older brother, only five, was left in charge.

Few of her words from those early years come to mind in specific, but with crystal clarity I can recall every: “I hate you.”

It was my first, but unfortunately not last, ride in a police cruiser as the three of us were taken from a home devoid of an adult and whisked to someplace I can’t recall.

Of the foster homes I only remember one. My brother says there were others.

How do I know that these memories are truly from such an early age? Because my parents divorced when I was three.

It seems that in every Hell this earth can offer God sends angels our way. Mine were my grandparents. Swirling around among all of the horror I can vividly recall numerous times waking up at my grandparents house. Of the memories of those years I will never allow those to fade.

I would trudge into the living room with the feet of my pajamas dragging under my heels and the first image I would see was my grandpa sitting at the old wood stove with his huge belly hanging nearly to his knees.

The moment he would catch sight of me his huge arms would stretch my way and he would say: “There’s my Tiger.” I would be swept of my feet and planted on his lap.

There is more, much more. My mother was not nearly through. But, that’s not the reason for this story.

Oh yes, I remember and strangely, I am glad I do. But I don’t live there anymore. That old fella, the one tormented daily by the memories, well, he died. His body fell at the base of an Old Rugged Cross. And a new guy burst on the scene.

Today my mother can boast nine marriages, maybe ten; my father three.

On the other hand in less than a month I will be stepping onto a ship and sailing into the sunset to celebrate twenty-five years with the girl of my dreams. Who would have thought that in me God would have a testimony? He turned to good what was meant for evil.

At home will be two children who love Jesus Christ. I am a father, did the cycle of abuse continue? Because of the blood of Jesus Christ: no. And because He defies the experts, my children’s memories are clear of abuse.

In my case, the score is: the world’s wisdom “0”, the power of God “1”.

The verdict: I have had a blessed life full of wonderful memories.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 04/20/08
I've always wondered about your opening statement. I'll have to take your word for it. :) Wow! This is so heart-breaking. It's wonderful to read that you were changed at the cross. Congrats on 25 years with your wife! I like your reference to Joseph with "He turned to good what was meant for evil." You are truly blessed.