Counting up to 60 and what I’ve learned – The first decade

I was born in 1959 in a little town in Northern California. While that is probably not very significant, the fact that I was my mother’s ninth child, my father’s tenth child and my parents’ fifth child together is significant. I know, confusing right?

Me at 10 months old. My Mom crocheted that bedspread

From the moment I can remember anything about my life, I was surrounded by lots of people. Not only did I have a bunch of siblings but I also had many cousins. There was always someone to play with.

My parents were hardworking people who made their living off the land.

As a matter of fact, my father’s occupation is on my birth certificate. Ranch hand. I find it interesting that my dad’s profession was necessary on my birth certificate. In a way, I have been “classed” from the beginning. 

I am almost one here

I don’t recall much about my years in Paicines, because we moved to Michigan when I was two. One of my first memories in Hart was when my father was going to see the house he and Mother had just purchased.

I snuck in the back seat of our big DeSoto and hid there, and after about a minute on the road my father said, “You might as well come out now, sis, and sit in the front seat.” I guess I hadn’t been as stealth as I thought. I happily jumped into the big front seat and bounced around without a seatbelt.

My dad told me to open the glove box and when I did I saw a big Hersey’s chocolate bar that was all for me. We arrived at the new house, and with chocolate on my face and hands, we walked in to take a look around.

I have a picture in my head of the house bare, and I am looking out the pretty French doors that would never be used. It seemed so big at that moment. We filled that house with furniture and belongings and ran in and out the backdoor many times.

Family dinner with my sister, Linda

We grew up playing and working outside, but every single day we sat around the dining room table together while Mom dished up our plates and we chatted away. I loved playing outside with my brothers and sister and have many good memories of that home.

Dad and Mom, four of my brothers, my sister and me

I also have memories that are hard to understand.

One time I saw my father pick up one of my brothers and throw him on the ground. The same man who called me sis and gave me that chocolate bar was also the one who could be mean and abusive. Those things can be hard to reconcile.

When I was seven or eight I ran away with my sister, Janet. She told me she was being abused and wanted out. So we packed a few things and slinked out the back door early one summer morning.

I had no idea where we were going and neither did my sister. We wandered around for a bit and then found a road to follow. By mid day a police officer drove by and stopped to ask our names.

That was my first and only ride in a police car.

We had good times and bad growing up in that house but everything was about to change for us all. We would find out the hard way what, or rather who was the glue that held us all together.

Me at 10 – My Mom made that dress

What I learned: Things are not always black and white.

Reader Comments

  1. Amy Kennedy

    Oh Loretta! Oh Loretta! My heart! Life is so hard and yet beautiful, frightening and yet exhilarating! Your story is the untold story of so many… each one a chasm of pain, fear, love, anger, courage, so many many things! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Amy, thank you for reading, as always. It can be so easy to think of things from our past as either good or bad, but I’ve learned that it is rarely that simple. It’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about the abusive side of my dad much because I was the one who took care of him during his recovering from near death…so those memories stand out more than others.

  2. Rosie Bermudez

    Dear Loretta:

    Your blog post brings many sad memories for me. Honestly, I am proud of myself for whom I have become despite all the adversity in my childhood. I am resilient and I have learned to walk away from negative people even though it is hard and many family members judge me. It is not not an easy journey. I have seven siblings and I am the second to the oldest and I am the only one who completed college and a Master’s degree. I have minimal interaction with my siblings. I also once took a ride on a police car while my grandfather was visiting my young uncle who was in juvenile. My grandfather told the officer, I am not walking late at night with my granddaughter. The officer respectfully drove us home. When I was removed from the home at age 16, I turned myself in as I did not have a place to live. Great things started to happened and I got myself a full scholarship to a private university. Hugs to you for accomplishing so much in your life and also for being the most authentic role model in my life. Much love and appreciation to you.

    Best regards,


  3. Sara Beyer

    Thank you for sharing these stories. My father never talks about his past. He did love your guys mother very much. I am not one to share my past with people either guess I got that from Dad. But I do love the pictures my dad does not have any so it’s neat to see them. I have enjoyed your blogs very much.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Sara, I’m so glad to hear from you. I have so few pictures (only because I stole them from Joe!) We did have good times, but oh were there some hard ones too. I’m happy you are following along and if I can pass any photos along, please let me know. Much love, Loretta

  4. Kim Cook

    When I think of my past, I always remember those things made me who I am today. I agree, you can either make those things good or bad in the way you think of them, it’s your choice. We can tell ourselves that life was bad but was it? I have very fond memories of my Dad and then not so fond ones but I choose to always think of him in a positive light.

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