I can remember pretty early into my childhood. I was born with what they called, at that time, a lazy eye. I am sure that now there is some long, fancy name for it, but in 1965 it was a lazy eye. I can remember being at the hospital, I was about 1 or 2 years old, and my parents beside the bed as they were rolling me away for surgery, telling me they loved me and that everything would be okay. My next memory is of being up, in the hospital eating chocolate pudding! Over the years my dad would laugh, retelling the story of how the only thing I would eat in the hospital was the chocolate pudding. Thus, my love affair with chocolate had begun!
I remember not long after that my uncle coming over to our apartment and it must have been not long after the surgery, as I still had a patch over my eye. I don’t know why he came over. But I do know these were happy times for me. The nightmare had not yet begun. I remember feeling very safe and happy.
When I was about 3 or 4 my parents bought their first house, not far from my grandparents. My aunt, my mom’s younger half-sister, would come over and spend the night and how I loved that and loved that time in my life. Things were very, very good then. My dad would play with me; his favorite game was to put his ear to the floor, tell me to do the same and say, “Cheryl can you hear it? The devil down there in hell?” I am not sure if I really knew who the devil was back then, but I thought it was a hoot. Soon enough I would come to know the devil sometimes lives in your own home.