From Trauma to Drama

By Pat Kovsky-Dotson

Trauma in life can last a lifetime….
Drama most likely is the following result…..
if you are a kid!

In relating memories of childhood, most people have a handful which may or may not last forever. Here is a story that is with me even as I write about this event!

Many of my stories are set during the time of or after the Great Depression when I was born in the 1930s. Here is an event that took place at the end of this time when my daddy had lost his job for several years, and we had to live in another place with my grandparents.

As time and place would have it, we had just moved back to the Copper Basin and my daddy had just been called back to work at the Tennessee Copper Company. As a result of this, he had found us a small apartment where we would begin another stage of our lives.

We had just moved into an upstairs apartment which was already furnished – a good thing since our furniture was in storage. I do not remember leaving grandparents nor the move to the apartment. All that lingers in my mind about our new home was a huge overstuffed chair, covered in a fuzzy dark blue upholstery. This was my chair, and in it I thought I had arrived in its cushy goodness. Well, that is, until more began to happen!

Daddy had just come from work and had gone by the grocery store so we could have food in our new home. I remember meeting him at the door even if I was only about 3 years old. I had a fit to help him carry in the groceries. In an effort to shut me up, he handed me two cans of something to carry.

Off we went to the dining table. I remember standing there with the cans in my hands, and suddenly I began to scream to the top of my lungs! Daddy thought I had mashed my fingers on the cans and began to set them down.

This was not the case at all! I began screaming and squirming violently, and he could not figure out what was wrong. Suddenly, I yelled, “On my back!”

He looked and there it was! He knew it was under my shirt and began to pull it up. The next thing I knew, he came out with something and slung it across the room. Upon my investigation, he told me it was a mouse which he had found and slung by the tail to its death. I never shall forget this sight and can still see it in my mind today. My blue chair had done me in!

Now, here is where the drama begins! There was enough screaming and carrying on during the incident and no telling how long it lasted. I can remember my parents trying to console me, which I guess they finally did for I don’t remember anymore about this apartment. That was enough to last a lifetime, and it did!

We never had mice in or around our house, or at least not for very long. All my growing up years I had an extreme horror when I saw one or if I even thought of one in my mind.

Here is where the drama continues! Upon seeing a mouse, I let out a blood curdling scream, and my folks knew exactly what it was all about. I not only screamed but ran as hard as I could and jumped up on furniture or even out the door to escape what I thought was a big ol’ monster. Afterward, I would never go in the same place where I saw it just in case it would come back to haunt me! I even had nightmares about this at night.
The drama went on in my life until I could never look at a picture of a mouse, see it in a movie, or later on TV. Even the word “mouse” tore me out of my frame. Most folks are more afraid of a snake, a vicious dog, a huge bull with horns to name a few. But a tiny mouse still gives me shivers and loud screams, and I have never overcome it.

In my adult years, I decided that this had gone on long enough! I would deliberately look at pictures or maybe see a mouse to get over this. I said an adult should know better, but this fear will go with me to my grave.
Not long ago, there was a commercial on TV with huge mice all dressed up like adults, talking and driving a convertible down the street. Crazy as this was, I will always remember trauma and drama when I see it, and hoped they would get killed at the end of the commercial.

What does a poor kid have to experience in the early years of life? This next event happened when I was just probably a year old or less. I certainly do not remember this, but I have heard my parents tell it so many times that I feel I must be remembering. It is a most unusual event which almost put me in the headlines and brushed me with the rich and famous! It is a shame I don’t remember this happening!

We were going to my grandparents’ house and had just stopped at what we then called the filling station to get gas. We were just outside Atlanta going to Eatonton. If my folks had known this event, they might have kept going.

This was at the time when prior in 1927, the world famous hero and aviator Charles Lindbergh had recently completed his trans-Atlantic flight in his little plane called “The Spirit of St. Louis,” which was a newsworthy event.

My story happened in the early 1930s when Charles Lindbergh’s baby had just been kidnapped, and the news was everywhere. How did news travel so fast across the country back then? The only media was the newspaper and radio, and some folks had neither during the Great Depression.

Since we were in the city, the photograph of the Lindbergh baby was plastered all over billboards and the newspapers, so everybody knew what the baby looked like.

To top all of the news, they were having roadblocks everywhere, and every cop in the USA was on the lookout for the kidnapped child, for they did not have a clue as to what area of the country the child had been taken.
Here is the great drama scene. While we were at the station, a policeman approached my daddy and was almost sure that I was the famous Lindbergh baby. I was, no doubt, the spittin’ image of it, as I was the same age and size. To make it even more believable, my hair was so blond it was almost white and I had curls all over my head. Well, so did the missing baby!

I am sure that the cop thought that he had hit the jackpot right there at the station! My daddy said he kept telling the policeman that I could not be that baby for I was a GIRL. The drama continues as the policeman did not believe him and made my parents prove it right there and then that I was a GIRL!
It would have been a bad scene if I had been a boy! They might have even taken me until it could be proven that I was not the Lindbergh baby. You can imagine what kind of dramatic life I would have had literally flying high with my “other” daddy.

If I had been taken by the Lindbergh family (provided I had been a boy), I would never have experienced all the events of my life and even the mouse trauma! But the important thing, if I had, I would have gotten my picture on the front page of The Atlanta Constitution!

A later trauma/drama event happened in my life! Actually, my parents could not have proven I was their child for I did not have a birth certificate! I was born on June 6, 1931, in a hospital, delivered by a certified doctor. Back then, most children were born at home. You would think with this privilege I would have had a birth certificate.

When I began to apply for my Social Security, I was told by the State of Tennessee, that they have no record of Patricia Ann Holden. Upon further investigation, I found that the courthouse had burned at the county seat before my birth could be recorded, thus no birth record.

Maybe I am not in existence! Maybe another trauma would relate that I am not really me! To ease your mind, and yet not proving that I am who I am supposed to be, I got my Social Security by church record proof.
Anyway, I was born into this family as the first child and was the first grandchild on either side of the family. Yes, I am really me. I am grateful for all childhood experiences except maybe the mouse one, on which I continue to have trauma and drama!

By the way, I forgot to tell about the time lightning ran in on me in my baby bassinet. Do you suppose this experience is the reason I am writing all of these crazy stories?

You never know what can happen in the mind of a child, especially to one with so many trauma/drama events!