This I Believe: The Autobiography of Ellen Beacham

This I Believe: The Autobiography of Ellen Beacham This I Believe: The Autobiography of Ellen Beacham

Status: Finished

Genre: Memoir

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Memoir

Summary

My name is Ellen Elizabeth Beacham (El for short) and this is, obviously, my story. While it may not be fully considered as rated X, this autobiography may not be appropriate for some. Mine is not a pretty story, though it is completely true to my memory. Critique is most welcome.

Summary

My name is Ellen Elizabeth Beacham (El for short) and this is, obviously, my story. While it may not be fully considered as rated X, this autobiography may not be appropriate for some. Mine is not a pretty story, though it is completely true to my memory. Critique is most welcome.

Chapter8 (v.1) - Family Dys(fun?)ction

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 07, 2012

Reads: 289

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 07, 2012

A A A

A A A



Life at the Pierreponte house was interesting to say the least, and I use “house” quite liberally. Rose lived with her husband, Robert Pierreponte, and her two teenage daughters, Angel and April, in a trailer. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, tiny kitchen and the couches which acted as my bed. The first few months were probably the hardest, since the only room for my belongings was in my duffel bag stuffed in a corner. It wasn’t all bad, and I didn’t complain. How could I complain when they had given me a chance to live? I made due with what I had and did my best to make the best of it.
Rose still talks occasionally about how shy I was, always asking what I could eat, being so socially awkward my eyes would well up if I said or did something “wrong”. I was a mess. When I finally got comfortable enough, I loosened up, but still held back for a while. It took some time for me to start coming out of my little shell, and even then it was extremely gradual. It helped a lot that I had inherited my mother’s smart-assery. Not to brag, but I almost always knew/know exactly what to say that’s either the funniest or the most hurtful, depending on how I felt, but that’s for another chapter.


During this time of settling in, my mother decided to attack me the only way she could, through the family. Her standing in the family allowed her the opportunity, not as a mother, but as the feared gossip. She had heard that during the Fourth of July trip to Washington I had gone around the campsite hugging people, which was true, but she either decided or heard that I had really gone around offering to have sex with people, dragging my niece around with me. Now, it needs to be noted that I have never been a very sexual person. Besides Timmy, and one other case, up to this point,  I had never done more than awkward, half-hearted pecks. There was no reason to for anyone to believe that I had, in one night, with my family near-by, had sex with anyone, much less multiple people. With my mother starting this rumor, however, my family listened. My mother told Barry and Cassie, who told Karen, Sam and Alma, who told Rose who told Phyllis, and then finally I was told, and asked, after the rumor had been known by Rose for at least a few days. In fact, she only asked when her daughter was brought into the mix. It hurt, immensely, but I soon realized it didn’t truly matter. It just proved what I already knew. My mother had power, but it was through fear and lies. She didn’t feel guilt or shame for trying to ruin her daughter’s life. In that, I was better than her, and that was all I needed to know.

Once that situation was “dealt”# with, another loomed. I needed to set aside the past and focus on my future. I finally had options beyond getting married, having kids, serving my husband and waiting for God to crush the wicked. I could go to college. I could have traditional wedding, even. I could join the army, or the Hell’s Angels or backpack to Chile. I could choose. I’m still in the process of fully taking hold of the power of choice, but at that time it was completely foreign to me. I was afraid of making the “wrong” choice, unaware that it could only be wrong if I didn’t approve. So I started simple, with school. After that it was choosing to see a therapist, then move out, things I’ll go in depth with later. For now, what matters is that I was changing. I was already getting farther ahead in life than the majority of my siblings. I was striving for something, whereas the brothers and sisters I was supposed to look up to where content with staying put and floating through life as painless as possible. I used the maturity and manners I had drilled into me to my advantage. I figured out how to use my shyness and even my past as a positive thing. There is little more distressing but empowering than knowing that you have passed up your supposed role models.

My family was never high-functioning. We always seemed to be on the lower ends of things. We were smart and talented, but utilizing those talents was beyond us. We often lacked the motivation. Some of my siblings might argue this me, but all it takes to prove them wrong is a look at our lives up to now. Incest and spirituality aside, we weren’t that different from other families, but we always seemed to, ironically, stand out. In a larger community, I’m sure we would have blended into the background, but in a town of under 4,000, we didn’t have a chance. We were always the “Whicker kids” or, recently, the “Pratt kids”. Of course, until the fiasco with Timmy, few, if any, of the TLC members knew how different we were.

My family, before I was born, moved around a lot. The birthplaces of my older siblings are scattered around Nevada, California and Utah. We finally settled before Hannah was born and after my mother found the TLC church. If I could choose any type of house to raise kids in, I would choose a house close to the one in which  I grew up. The yard took up the majority of the block it sat on, and had room for a dog pen, a chicken pen and house, two fairly large sheds, a goat pen, a garden and plenty of empty space all around. The house itself was quite old, equipt with a root cellar and an attic, perfect for the curious minds of children, safe but mysterious. There was a tree house bordering the field we never fully put to use. We had rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, and even goats when I was younger. We almost always had a new litter of puppies, our older dogs more than happy to continue reproducing. There was an old adobe shed near the house when we occupied it, which we eventually demolished and built a more modern storage shed. In the later years, we had an above-ground pool and a trampoline. We had a large pear tree in the front yard which was neighbored by plum trees. We had a tire swing on the other side of house and a flower garden in front.

The house itself had just enough bedrooms for all the girls to share one room, boys another, and for the parents to have their own master bedroom. At some point, Chuck refurbished the attic to be a new bedroom for us girls, and our old bedroom, downstairs, was turned into a family room. Our pantry housed the entrance to the root cellar and the sugar we would eat by the handfuls. In general, my childhood here was full of wonder.

Our neighbors were also terribly exciting as far as neighbors go. We had a crazy cat lady, a possibly crazy but very nice dog lady (known only by “the Old Lady”), a crazy old man, three families with kids our ages, and a very nice family with a crippled son. There was abandoned farm houses galore and many forgotten roads and houses. The Manti LDS Temple sat atop a steep hill which was connected to many other explorable hills, complete with the occasional hieroglyphics. The Manti canyon, and the mountains surrounding the west side of town, was the home of many adventures involving rock climbing, wandering, camping and sledding. On the surface, Manti was the perfect place to grow up.


There are so many memories of my childhood adventures, both good and bad, that I scarcely know where to begin. There were so many seemingly magical happenings, memories that I will forever hold dear, whether things ended in tears or cheers. For the most part, my family was to thank. In those early days in Manti, my mother was fairly easy going, as long as we were quiet and didn’t ruin her image. My siblings were more than willing to wander around, finding places to play various childhood games and occasionally put up with watching the younger kids. Sometimes it gets quite difficult to connect the great memories to the unfortunate ones. All other times, though, it’s painfully easy.

All in all, the only things that messed us all up were our parents. We would have been alright kids, teenagers, and adults if our parents would have just learned proper parenting, or just appropriate living. Stephan fucked us up with his literal fucking around, Don fucked us up with his paranoia and anger. Chuck fucked us up with his lack of touch with reality. John, with his extreme hold on religion, and lack of enough balls to stand up to my mother. My mother, well I can’t even count the multitudes of ways she ruined us.

I can still see, very rarely, the innocence and potential greatness in my siblings. Before we parted ways, and separated so greatly, there would be occasions where love and joy would color their faces and show through their actions, and I’m sure mine also. We are a family, as positive or negative that may be. I believe that nothing has changed that, even now. We’re spread across three states and communication is fleeting, but we are still a family. Rose had proven that when she took me in. Sam proved that when he ran to hug after a year of not being able to see me. Cassie proved it when she choose to interact with my mom for the sake of watching over the younger kids. Even my mother managed to prove it occasionally when her front would falter. I hope I am not the only one who sees our potential as a family. We could have been and we could even become a family of greats. We could overcome the challenges we were born with and born into, and be one of those grossly loving families you read about in stories.

I fear that will never happen, due to the pride we were raised to absorb. Along with the innocence and potential, I’ve seen too much anger and hurt in my family for any hope of healing to flourish.  However there’s too many stories to tell, so I’ll leave it all at that. Needless to say, my family truly has put the “fun” in dysfunctional.

 


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