38 Comments

Karma, She’s a Bitch: writing prompt, childhood memory

Not a Pretty Story

My childhood was fraught with much turmoil after my mother’s death at my young age of eight years.  We were placed into foster care, my sister and I, due to my father’s choice in wives (plural for a reason).  One foster home that we went into was with Juanita and Lou Acres.  They were an elderly black couple.  They were loving and kind and took us to Church every Sunday morning and said prayers with us every night after our Bible readings.

Juanita had inherited the big old farmhouse we lived in from an old lady she once attended.  We tended a garden and hung clothes on the lines outside.  We managed the farm animals and cooked all the meals.  There were 14 of us children, and we were every color of the rainbow.  There were white, black, Korean, and Vietnamese, all living and getting along well under one roof.  I was the eldest at the age of 12 years.  It was like Old Mother Hubbard in the shoe, but Juanita would never think of spanking anyone.

One day, we were out waiting for the school bus.  Two young boys, Mark and Drew Wright, were out joy riding early in their souped up, chopped off convertible Charger.  Their father owned the hardware store in town. There were pressurized paint dispensers at the hardware store. They sped past us at the bus stop, spun around and came back.  They threw paint filled balloons at us and screamed out nasty racial slurs.  Our clothes and shoes were ruined.  Our school books destroyed.  Our self-esteem wrecked.  The little ones cried and consoling them was not easy.  We all went inside and stayed home from school that day while Juanita cleaned us up with mineral spirits.  She told us to pray for those boys.  So I did.

Weeks later, we were divided and sent to other foster homes, none of us being young enough for adoption.  Lou had a stroke and Juanita was overwhelmed. We had found ourselves taking care of them more than they were able to care for us.  At my next Foster Home, on the very first day there, my new foster father was reading from the local paper. “Two young boys, Mark and Andrew Wright, were speeding across the top of Pine Mountain at faster than 100 miles per hour when they lost control of the car, hitting the stone bridge at King’s Gap, bursting into flames, and tumbling down the mountainside to their deaths.”  Now, I don’t wish death upon anyone.  How tragic, but I did think, at 12 years old, “Karma, she’s a bitch, I wonder what color they are now!”

About S.K. Nicholls

is a steel magnolia from GA who currently resides with her rocket scientist husband in Central Florida. Even though she had a reputation as the class clown in grade school, she managed to successfully achieve a career in nursing that spanned thirty-five years. Putting down the stethoscope and picking up the pen, she started writing compelling, thought-provoking historic novels and riveting contemporary crime romps, telling it like it was and telling it like it is. Orphaned from her mother at an early age, she survived foster care, and in her youth resided in an orphanage in the North GA Mountains, the Ethel Harpst Home. Four adults call her mom and four little people call her grandmother. She enjoys reading, comedy shows, salt-water fishing, boating, and brewing Kombucha. Her family owns and operates one of the oldest and largest nudist resorts in the nation located in Florida, Cypress Cove.

38 comments on “Karma, She’s a Bitch: writing prompt, childhood memory

  1. A story that speaks of everything; life death, fate, destiny, racism, care, prayer and of course karma.

    I hope you are doing alright. 🙂

    Best wishes,
    HA

  2. wow! Life is terrible. You are brave. Honestly!
    and the color of those boys … pale white ghostly 😉

  3. Wow. That’s disturbing. Karma really is a bitch.

  4. Too bad those boys didn’t know about Karma. Your childhood sounds so like a southern version of a Dickens tale, yet it also sounds like you were well-loved at times.

  5. Reblogged this on mybrandofgenius and commented:
    A tragic, but profoundly educational tale.

  6. Wow, that’s a powerful piece, Karma is deffo a bitch, lol Great job

  7. What a life. You have a wealth of experience on which to base your writing. Thanks for sharing this.

    • I think so also. That it has been a good life for the experiences. When we left foster care and went into an orphanage, The Ethyl Harpst Home, my younger sister did get bitter, as she felt denied so many of the pleasures of youth. I looked at it differently. We were introduced to missionaries from all faiths who had traveled the world and exposed us to their stories and their artifacts. We also learned to paint in watercolors and oils, and to throw on a pottery wheel and fire in a kiln. Yes, there were locks on the fridge and the kitchen cabinets and daily chores could be rough (Not so much for me because I tutored younger kids after school and got out of kitchen duty), but kids always have chores. (or should). The House Parents were generally good people with genuine concern for us.

  8. I am not quite sure where to start. Firstly, losing a mother so young and bouncing homes could have affected you in so many ways and here you are encouraging and brave with your writing and to others.
    Secondly, it is frightening to think what happened to those young men. Most of us never see the life plans go full circle. Definitely a cautionary tale!

  9. These prompts are worth so much, when you read something like this coming out of them. Thank you for giving us this important slice of your life. Your writing was wonderful too.

  10. What comes through — loud and clear — from this story is what special people Lou and Juanita were. I wonder, did you stay in touch with Juanita after Lou died? This is really a terrific story that, if it were mine, I’d try to work into a novel. The beauty of doing that is that in a novel you can change some of the bad stuff to be whatever you want it to be.

    • I felt they were special. The social workers moved us so very frequently that it was difficult to keep in touch. I have a sort of autobiography in the works, but I have put it on hold for a while as I am trying to complete another work in progress. Thanks for the comments and the interest.

  11. Wow! What a story! It sounds as though many people–young kids in particular–were relieved when those two boys died.

    • It was a shame, but it was true that they were bullies. I felt sort of bad after writing this, being a mother and all. I am sure it was a tragic loss for their parents, but if you have read my book you will know that I tend to tell it as it is and sometimes the truth ain’t pretty.

  12. Nope, not a pretty story but very well written.

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