Mother always loved to tell anyone who would listen about the incoherent speech I had developed when I was a little girl. In fact she said that my first sentence that she could actually understand was
Birdie took my string.
Now, I always thought this made no sense. Since when would a bird come down and take a little girl’s string and what the hell was I doing with string and hanging out with filthy little birds?
The case of this particular nonsensical phrase is recorded for all future generations to read in my baby book. When I asked Mother about it many years later, she said
Well, it’s the first thing you ever said that I could actually understand. The rest of your blabbing sounded like a foreign language. Somehow your sister Abby and your Dad could decipher your gibberish. I don’t know how they did it, I just know that I didn’t have the time for all that nonsense. I was too busy raising you and your sister.
But I know how addled mother’s memories were. And I have to wonder…had she read this in Reader’s Digest and thought it was cute so she decided to make it my first sentence? Or was she so into her “special drinks” that she misheard me. Perhaps what I really said was
Bitch took my things.
That would have made as much sense as what she wrote down.
I guess I’ll never know. One of the things about Mother was when she made up a story, she stuck to it and would repeat it over and over again. I’m not sure why she enjoyed telling this inane little tale but she never wavered in the telling. And in looking back, I think that as she told her made up stories time after time, eventually they became real to her.
As I look back on her storytelling, I know she was making up some kind of memories to fill up that baby book. Since she was too pill-addled or drunk (or both) to remember half of what was going on, she chose to just jot down some far fetched phrases. I guess I should be glad she didn’t feel like writing down some of those soft porn phrases she read in her little trashy paperback books.