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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Anderson

Jekyll and Hyde

Updated: Jun 2, 2023


Our brains are not recording our lives, our brains are interpreting our lives, and then producing a memory. If five people witness a bank robbery, and then retell it, the details that the brain misses will be filled in by the brain of the person. Details tend to change from person to person. You will get five different stories, told from 5 different points of view. One person will talk about how scary the guy was, and could tell you the color of his eyes, while another will not even notice the man and focus on the gun, they can tell you the kind of gun, but not the color of the eyes.

It is very unusual for anyone to have any memories earlier then about 3 years old. It is called Infantile Amnesia. It is unsure if the brain is not developed enough yet, but it is generally thought that we do have the memories, but there is not a good way to access them. Whatever the reason, I can only tell you the first years of my life are only composed of other people's stories. And, that is problematic, because trauma messes with people's memories. For some reason, the memories do not lay down in the correct order, or cause some parts to be fuzzy, or not remembered at all. Because of this every person who would have told me those stories, was very likely not remembering it accurately.

My mother was especially prone to revisionist history, to be generous. Honestly, I was never sure if she was a compulsive liar, or if she just was not in touch with reality. Stories that my mother told, are very suspect. Never the less, what you are told as a child, does affect you.

Most people agree that it is true that when I was a baby, my mother slipped and fell and broke her back. The details change here is that my mother told me it was when I was three days old. Older sisters say it was either three weeks, or three months, but everyone agrees I was a tiny baby.

This was not my mother’s fault of course, but this was my first trauma. My mother could not take care of me, so I was cared for by an old woman in the community who was taking care of my mother, a retired nurse I believe. My mother told me that she could not really able interact much with me because she had to stay as still as she could as not to make the injury worse. The woman would bring me to her to feed me, and then take me away. Separation from your care giver at a young age is considered a “negative childhood experience”.

So, either 3 day, 3 weeks, or 3 months after I was born, and for the first 6 months of my life, I was mostly separated from my mother, from my siblings. There was no way for me to bond with my family members in early childhood. This is basically the same dynamic of children who are put in orphanages. I wonder if this is when Solo began to develop. Solo is what I call my shadow self. Not bad, but as hard core as they come. Solo is a survivor, no matter how bad it get, Solo will keep getting back up. I also wonder if it was the beginning of a belief and core value system, that I am on my own, that there was no one looking after me but me. You will hear more about becoming Solo, but for now, know that she is a direct result of being born at the gates of hell, and an endless fight to stay alive.

My earliest memory is off standing on a concentrate porch of our farm house beside my father while he shot at my older sisters while they are running for the car. He was shotting at them with the same rifle he carried in the Koreon war. The returning soldiers were allowed to could keep them when returning home. I was old enough to understand that if he hit them, that he would kill them. I remember hoping that they got away, I wanted them to live. He shot, he missed, he cursed, reloaded, and fired again. He missed again. By this time, my sisters had reached the car. He tried to reloaded, but he was drunk, it took him a little bit of time. He shot again. Another miss. More cursing. He tried to reload again, but this time it jammed and he could not get in another shot before the car with my sisters in it, sped away up the lane and to safety. Happy that they got away, I went back into the house without a second thought about the horror I had just witnessed. This was normal to me, and this time there was a good outcome. Nobody got hurt, nobody was bleeding. I was happy with the outcome.

The reason that I think that this is one of my earliest memories is because I remember having my fingers on my mouth. No one ever remembers me sucking my fingers, except there is a picture of me as a toddler, probability about 18 months old or so, and I am sucking on my fingers.

Freddy Ray Jones-The monster and the man.

What would produce a man like that? A man who would shoot at children with a gun that had the power to bring down a full-grown elk? It is the same as us all, the wrong combination of nature and nurture that makes us all some version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide.

I have one other memory of having my fingers in my mouth. It is also of my father. But in this memory, I am sitting on his lap and he is smiling at me and singing to me, and I feel loved. And this memory makes me sad, because I have no memories like this of my mother. No memories of her taking care of me or interacting with me in any way that did not involve being part of the sibling group. Part of the line up. For example, my mother gave everyone a bath on Saturday night to prepare for church. She would take out our messy braids, and put us through the bath military style. She would fill up the tub put two or three of us in the tub and start washing. From oldest to youngest, wash, rinse, next, wash, rinse, next. Then she would go through and rap our hair in rags of clothes that she would tear into strips. As our hair dried, it made crazy mixed-up curls the next day as she took out the pieces of cloth and combed out our hair. Why she thought crazy curly hair was better than crazy straight hair is beyond me.

I do not know too much about my father’s family, even though they lived only minutes from us. My grandfather died long before I was born. I heard stories that my grandfather on my father's side was a kind man, but he suffered from depression. I always thought my own father was clinically depressed. My own experience of my grandmother on my father's side was a cold woman. None of us kids ever wanted to go to her house. It was very clean, and she did not seem to like kids. This could indicate an anxiety disorder. Now I am sure that her other grandchildren had a different experience with her, but I cannot image that my father ever felt love from her. I have never talked to anyone who countered my idea of her, but I am open to the possibility.

He may have of inherited mental health issues of depression and anxiety disorder. Then there was the disability of my father himself. My father had serious learning disabilities. Not many people know this, but my father could not read or write past about a second-grade level. I used to have to help him read and understand things, and help him write even simple things. As people who have this issue do, they had little tricks to cover it up. Like writing a check. He used to just sign the check, tell the cashier that he did not have his glasses, and give it to the cashier to fill out. But I knew, he could not write out the numbers. I was young, and a bad speller as well, and one day me and my dad were trying to figure out how to write the number eleven on a check to school for lunches. He failed at school, and eventually dropped out completely. He worked on the ranch until he lied his way into the military at 17, and went off to war.

The war broke him. There is no doubt in my mind that he had PTSD. When he was shooting at us, even as small as I was, I somehow understand that he was not home. He came home from the Korean war, as many soldiers do, a broken soul with a serious mental health disorder, and a drinking problem. Alcohol and PTSD do not mix well.

Many of my earliest memories are of me sitting on my father's lap. He was drunk, but not triggered. He would listen to songs of his past. He would tell me stories of his life. His pain as a child, of feeling like an outsider in his own family. Stories about the war, about the horrors that he witnessed. Anger and resentment, then became sobs of tears and pain. I watched as his heart broke. He told me about how he watched as another soldiers destroyed people's homes, killed their family members, he was so sorry about the pain he was causing to the people of Korea. He spoke of lost loves, and broken relationships, pain of grief and loss, and regret. He would sing, and cry. The pain and grief and loss flowed out of him in great sobs, as tears flowed down his face and snot ran out his nose. These women were right to leave him, but every time, it damaged him more. I honestly believe that my father was mostly a little boy who just wanted to feel loved. Unfortunately, he was broken in way that is not conclusive to getting love from people.

He purred out his pain to this tiny child sitting on his lap, but this is how I learned to separate the monster from the kind and loving face that seemed to delight in my laugh and my smile. The saw something that I doubt anyone else was able to see, a broken unloved little boy who just could not cope with this big bad world. But he also abusive in every way, and he has destroyed other people's lives, for generation to come.

I honestly loved my dad, despite everything. I have come to be able to forgive him for the things that he did to hurt me. But the damage that he did, continues in his children, as repeated negative coping strategies that become dysfunctional.

I know this did not start with him. Freddy Ray Jones was a victim of his parents, and their trauma. He was a victim of a failing education system. He was a victim of fat cats in Washington who sit around a draw up plans for glorious battle, big money, world domination, or whatever justification they have to send a 17 year old child, to kill innocent people.

The thing is, it was not just my dad who suffered from the war. The families and homes that he destroyed in Korea. They have war trauma for generations to come. But, he came home and brought the war with him.

This is a response to this post from one of my older sisters who has done extensive family history work on my father’s side. This is what she had to say…

“Here is a little bit from Lilian Hopkins (my father’s older sister) about my dad. When he was 8 years old, he was sent to the cabin (in the Big Horn Mountains) by himself to live and to watch the sheep all summer long. Once a month someone would bring him supplies. This was until he was 14. One day Lilian went up to bring supplies and was using the outhouse and Dad did not know that she was there. He shot at the out house and into her back. She was a cripple from that time forth. She said she knew that it was an accident. Fred was her son, because she raised him. His mother tried to kill him when he was born. So Lilian took care of him and protected him from his mother. Dad had a hard time forgiving himself for it, and felt he was never wanted.”

I know that this is true. It is one of the deep pains that my father poured out to me. And more then that, it feels true. Lilian was a good woman, that was kind and loving, and I always respected her.

Most of the monsters of this world are not born, they are made.

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