Change

Change
Turning Over New Leaf

Monday, March 15, 2010

Traumatize A Child? – Anyone Can Do It!





Traumatize A Child? – Anyone Can Do It!




It is hard to believe this story emanates from my own family. I recall an incident a many years ago when I was teaching near Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds in England. It was the first trip for my wife and me outside of London, and the scenery was magnificent, but we knew by then England is synonymous with rain. It poured!

 
After walking several miles that morning, we were resting at the old market (pictured above) when the first torrential outburst of water befell the quaint little village. My college exchange students, traveling with us through several European countries, were still in London researching an art project for a final semester paper. They expected to meet us again in Dublin later that week. Despite the downpour, we were determined to enjoy the time alone. Thus, we paid no mind to the weather.

It was not too long before we figured out the rain was there to stay. Since England is the land of knights, I sprinted down the block into the doorway of a little shop, picked up two umbrellas, and darted back to my wife to surprise her with the portable shelter from the elements. It was I who received the surprise. She refused the gift, and I could see the lady who never gets agitated was quite disturbed at the offer. Upon my persistence, she related a tale from her past.

In her pre-teen days, my wife had to walk a few blocks from her apartment building to the local grammar school each morning. On rainy days, her mother insisted she wear silly rubber boots, and take an umbrella to keep her dry. Unfortunately, even on cloudy days, the red boots and umbrella would come out, which produced a level of anxiety difficult to explain. While it sounds reasonable, it devastated the child who was forced to endure the teasing from her abusive peers as she entered the school grounds. Her family lived on the third floor of the building, and her mother would accompany her to the elevator, ride the lift down with her, and kiss her goodbye. As soon as the door closed behind her, she stashed the boots and umbrella in the lobby fireplace and bolted out the main exit. This continued for years, each day of incumbent weather producing more trauma than the last. My kind mother-in-law, a woman who would never hurt a living thing, had succeeded in the indelible implantation of fear into the mind of her daughter, which has not left her psyche as of this date.

 
In all other respects, most people would say I am the partner in our relationship that is out there. But when the clouds roll in, a soaking wet Mrs. Hyde surfaces whenever someone produces a bumbershoot. It is easy to traumatize a child. Anyone can do it.

6 comments:

  1. i don't use one either. it's not cool! charity

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can relate - my coworkers never miss the opportunity to make fun of my Daffy Duck umbrella.

    ReplyDelete
  3. JJ, I spent a week in Chipping Camden a few years ago, in a charming cottage on High Street. I love that little town and the entire Costwolds area. I was very pleased with the number of fine restaurants. And the weather was superb, luckily.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A DD umbrella is better than pneumonia!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lee: I agree about the restaurants. The say the food in GB is not so good. They are wrong! You must look for it, but when you find it, it is superb.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.