I was born in the kitchen like the family cat, and laid in a basket near the big kitchen range, where I kept warm.
You may say it is impossible for a baby to know it is not wanted and should not cry, but I tell you, I knew. I did not cry and I knew I was not wanted.
My mother was cook of a very large house. I don’t think they even knew she had a baby. But the young man of the house–he knew. I think it was he who made my mother pregnant, but I did not figure out all these things until I was much older. My earliest memories are those of the young man of the house coming up behind my mother and lifting her skirts. She kept stirring the pot of soup or stew as he pushed himself up against her. I did not understand what he was doing until I was four years old.
Then one day, the young man of the house showed me a piece of candy and beckoned me to follow him. My mother did not see me go. She was talking to the lady of the house about dinner. I followed the young man of the house out to the barn, where he closed the door and pushed me down on the straw. He pulled down my knickers and unbuttoned his pants. A big pink worm popped out. I was afraid of the worm. It was hard, not like an ordinary worm at all. He made me touch it and h e made me put my mouth on it. I was terrified. Then the worst thing happened; he pushed my legs apart and put the pink worm into my bottom. It was the worst pain. the pain was indescribable as he pushed the pink worm in and out of me. finally he shuddered and the pink worm became soft. He took it out and buttoned up his pants.
“Don’t tell!” he said. “No one will believe you and your mother will lose her job”. I pulled my knickers back up and waited until he left. then I went to the outhouse and felt myself. I thought my insides were falling out but nothing was on the paper I wiped myself with. My bottom burned and I was ashamed. I thought I had done something very bad.
That was just the beginning. The young man of the house lured me to the barn any times and I, being a silly little girl, fell for the prospect of candy every time.
When I was seven, the young man of the house went away to school. I thought I was saved but then the Gentleman of the house, the husband of the Lady of the house, coaxed me into the drawing room and made me sit on his lap. He put his hand into my knickers and squeezed my bottom–then he unbuttoned his pants and out popped the pink worm! Just like his son’s pink worm! The gentleman of the house told me I must suck on the pink worm, suck, suck, until the worm was happy. This I did. the lady of the house walked into the drawing room just as the pink worm went soft. The gentleman of the house quickly hid it. I understood to keep quiet.
“I was just having a little conversation with Abigail” he said. “Don’t you wish we had a little girl like this?”
“Indeed!!” said the lady of the house, nothing perhaps my rumpled dress and flushed face.
Later in the day my mother said we must leave this house. The lady of the house accused mama of stealing some silver spoons.
We had to go far away to another town. Mama was going to have another baby. I wondered if the baby would be a boy and have a pink worm. I didn’t ask my mother. I never told her about the young man of the house or the gentleman of the house.
Sandra Lee Smith
September 2012/Past Lives