So here’s the deal – I’m suffering from writing ADHD. I keep flitting from one project to another. I’ve created this character I now what to explore in a book. She’s kind of like Nikki, the young mom, in my Snarky stories, but totally white trash, which makes her loads more fun. I’m going to keep this up here for a couple of days to get your input. As always no need to point out my grammar and punctuation flaws, but thanks for putting up with them. oxoxoxox
Like I don’t know I’m white trash? Like I need it pointed out to me everyday that I’m from the wrong side of the tracks? Guess what? I know that I’m worse than wrong side of the tracks, I’m wrong side of the tracks aspirational. My screwed up family wishes we were just “wrong side.” We’re more like take a left, veer to the right and drive 10 more miles wrong side of the track. I don’t think I’ve ever had a relative graduate high school and I have to really think about this and do some research, but I’m pretty certain most, if not all, of the women in my family have some kind of courtship dyslexia. That’s a nice way of saying we (yeah, that’s right I’m including myself in this sad statistic) have gotten knocked up before the benefit of holy matrimony. My name is Gere Charmin Winston. I like to think of myself as a little bit Elle Woods. (You know the Legally Blonde chick) If Elle Woods had grown up in trailer with an iffy septic tank. I’m 22 years old, a wife, a mother of a four-year old boy and I’m pregnant again. Here’s how all that happened.
First, let me explain my name. My mother saw the movie Pretty Woman seven times when she was pregnant with me. That’s when, according to her, she became obsessed with Richard Gere – hence my name – Gere. Which as far as names goes is okay, I mean it’s better than Richard or can you imagine – Dick. Oh, did I mention she was 16 freaking years old at the time and to hear my grandmother tell it “a bit” of a slut. I’d put my money on more than just a “bit.” To this day I have never known who my father is. I know that sounds sad, but really it’s not. The last thing I need right now is one more missing limb from my family tree showing up to screw with my “could be, so close I can taste it, perfect life.” I have my husband to thank for this. The most incredible, wonderful, handsome Jackson Augusta Winston IV - Esquire.
I wish I could say we “met cute,” but we met in prison or as my mother would say “Correctional Institution” and since the Turner Correctional Institute for Women in Mills, Mississippi has been her home a couple of times I’ll call it whatever makes her feel better. Jack was 24, had just graduated from Law School and was clerking for a Federal Judge. He was doing research on some sort of case and was interviewing a girlfriend of a Mexican mob boss who was doing time in Turner. I was 18 and visiting my mother who was also doing time for having the worst taste in men of any women in the inter-galactic sphere. This was my mom’s Tiffany Cedes Charmin second tour of duty in Turner for being a dumb ass. Not once, but twice had she gotten herself mixed up with a guy who thinks a date night involves my mom sitting in the driver’s seat while he holds up a convenience store.
After I was done visiting with my mom at the Correctional Facility I was walking through the visitor parking lot to wait for the bus back to town when Jackson literally ran over me with his car. Well, he really just barely backed over my left foot, but he acted like he had almost killed me. He offered to drive me to the Emergency Room for an x-ray. Since I didn’t have health insurance and I could move all the toes (Which is the universal sign that nothing in your foot is broken right?) I declined his offer of medical attention and instead offered up dinner and an ice pack. He took me to his hotel room, elevated my foot, iced it up real well and then went and got me a chicken burrito from Chiptole. Those things are like $7. No one, until that day, ever spent $7 on a burrito for me. I was a Taco Bell dollar menu, all the way, type of girl.
Would you think less of me if I told you we did it that night? Too bad, because it was love at first sight, at least for me. All it took was one smell of Jackson Augusta Winston the IV and I knew, just knew, that I had to have him. It’s hard to explain, but for the first time ever a guy didn’t smell like off brand Axe shampoo and shower gel from the Dollar Store and fryer grease from the Confederate Crispy Chicken. He smelled clean like crushed mint leaves and Downey fabric softener. But best of all he smelled kind and safe plus the fact that he was working broad shoulders and some serious 6 pack abs well, that didn’t hurt either. So, we did it. I lost my gently used virginity all while keeping my left leg elevated. Maybe the whole leg elevated thing is why exactly 32 days later I found out I was pregnant. Who gets pregnant the first time they do it? Oh yeah, every single woman in my family, that’s who!
I was so angry at myself for letting this happen, but Jackson was like some sort of hero in one those lame vampire books minus the pale skin and blood sucking stuff. He insisted we get married and even said he loved me. Wow, I couldn’t believe it. How does a 18-year-old from backwater Mississippi rate a man of this much awesomeness? I tried to say we didn’t need to get married and all that nonsense, but Jackson wouldn’t take no for an answer so we went to Las Vegas (my first time on a plane, thank you very much) and tied the knot. Right after that we moved to Oklahoma where he began working for the U.S. Tenth Court of Appeals and then to Wyoming, (where our son Jackson Augusta Winston the V was born) Utah and Idaho where we’d relocate for a short time depending on his case load. With all of our moving I joked with Jackson that this must be how people in the witness protection program feel like. I should have taken that as a sign when he didn’t laugh.
The strange thing about the first four years of our marriage was that I was sort in a protection program – from Jackson’s family. It took a year of marriage before he confessed that his parents were big freaking deals and living in Asia. His mother Catherine Charlotte (C.C.) Winston is the U.S. Ambassador to China and was some sort of political goddess. His father Jackson Augusta Winston the III is the American envoy to an Asian/American trade alliance. Jackson also has two sisters Vandy and Winny. The really, really bad part and the thing that will be the hardest to make you understand is that it wasn’t until his parents got back from China (one term president = only four years of ambassadorship) and got re-settled in their super big east coasty mansion that Jackson even told them I existed and that they had an amazing four-year grandson. I know it’s awful, but before you think the worst of him let me explain. He didn’t want this parents butting in and ruining our marriage. Looking back, being kept at least 2,000 miles away from them for four years was a blessing. We had time to develop as a couple and as parents. I’m sure they would have tried to get Jackson to divorce me. Oh my God, if you could have seen how they reacted when they found out Jackson didn’t have me sign a pre-nup you would so understand why it was a very good thing I was protected from my in-laws for as long as possible. My mother-in-law was so angry her face looked like a deep-fried Twinkie at the State Fair. So, don’t be mad at my Jackson. He knew he was doing the right thing.
Now, I’m living in a house that has it’s own damn name – Highgrove Hill. It sounds all fancy, but trust me, Downton Abbey it’s not. My husband is working at the family law firm and I’m being tortured, courtesy of C.C. who with a phony, toothy smile says I’m getting a society “reboot.” She’s attempting to make me take etiquette classes, work with a stylist and get professional help to “eradicate the nuances of southern trailer park” from my speech. (It’s like I’m living the Princess Diaries – You’re F’d Edition.) Well, I’ll tell you what I told C.C. First, I may not have ever had fancy etiquette classes and I may not know what a shrimp fork looks like, but I do know it’s not good manners to tell someone r-e-p-e-a-t-e-d-l-y that they have bad manners. Secondly, I’m 22 years old, four months pregnant, and there is no way in hell anyone is going to stuff me into something that looks like a blanket. I don’t care if it is called a St. John’s Knit. Third, I like my southern twang and I’d sooner cut out my tongue than give up saying “Y’all.”
The big mistake everyone is making here, (my husband not included, of course) is that they think I’m stupid. Sure, I only have a G.E.D. but, I’m plenty smart. I home-schooled myself from the age of 13 and spent nearly every day in the county library reading voraciously (see I told you I was smart). I devoured the library like an America’s Next Top Model contestant on a Krispy Kreme donut binge and purge. I started with current events and worked my way to classic literature. Besides being well read I know people. I notice things you don’t. Like how someone tilts their head or twists their hands when they talk or even that an excessive use of adjectives means you’re lying and ice crunchers, you know those people that chomp ice all the time – possibly serial killers. More importantly I’m what you would call a good listener and that fact alone makes me smarter, on most days, then anyone else I’m with in a room.
There’s a lot to listen to. My mother-in-law C.C. Winston who at first, I tried to give the benefit of the doubt to and attributed her less than welcoming attitude to the fact that she was mega uncomfortable due to the great big old stick up her butt, I’ve now decided is, quite possibly, pure evil. (Oh and get this she makes my son call her “grand mere” – gag.) At first glance you’re kind of in awe of her. Tall, once gorgeous, but now what we in the South would call handsome, with one of those serious, take no bullshit pant suits on all the time. C.C. is always scheming and saying b.s. things like “What will my legacy be? How will history remember me?” (One word answer for you C.C. – bitch – that’s how you’ll be remembered.) Her next career move and I’m not kidding, really I’m not, it’s hand to God time, is to run for President of the United States or if that doesn’t pan out “settle for” Governor. Make no mistake she would sell her soul to (or sleep with) the devil to get there. I can see it now, her and Satan doing the deed. C.C. would just grab on to the devil’s horns, get some really good leverage and go to town. She plans to use the next four years of someone else in the White House to formulate her attack plan. My white trash lineage is a huge thorn in her “might be” presidential side. Which really ticks me off. It’s not like I’m Bristol Palin. I was married when I gave birth and not to be mean or anything, because I’m sure Bristol is a darling girl, but I’m way cuter, like, way, way, cuter.
Meanwhile my father-in-law, Jackson the third, is toying with the idea of running for Senate. Take a big breath because all these politic stuff is not, as far as I can tell, because Jack’s parents are huge believers in public service. Hells no. It’s becasue his parents are the most competitive people I have ever met. They’re the one upper of couples, each one is always trying to outdo the other. You should see them play tennis. Scary. Jack 3 does have something going for him that C.C. doesn’t. He’s got that late middle-aged sexy thing going on. When he smiles it’s lethal.
My two sister-in-laws are also real pieces of work. The oldest Vandy (short for Vanderbilt) is also an attorney and has been engaged for five years to Wilton Passwait. There’s something not right about this whole engagement thing. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will. The other sister Winny (short for Windsor) is a party girl with a capital P. She’s also a bit of a dumb ass and skipped regular high school for oh, what’s it called? It’s something that sounds weird – Oh, I got it, Winny just got back from “Finishing” School in England. That must where she learned to “finish” a 12 pack of Bud and a freezer size Glad bag of weed. She wants to marry Prince Harry, like that’s going to happen.
I’m working on getting the Winston family under control or at the very least giving me a little breathing room and I’m sure I could do it if I didn’t have my own family problems to deal with. My mother Tiffany, who at 38 and with 2 prison terms in her rearview mirror still oozes hotness. You think prison would have aged her with the lack of skin care creams and stuff or at least fatten her up. But noooo, because she hasn’t seen sunlight in a couple of years her skin is wrinkle free and she’s still got what she calls her two best features – her “heart shaped hiney and bam bam boobs.” (Please note her words not mine.) When she found out I married money she got herself a couple new outfits from the Jaclyn Smith collection at K Mart, bought a bus ticket and hightailed it to Highgrove. Apparently, she watched way too many “Real Housewives” shows while she was in prison because she showed up saying ridiculous bull shit like, “Let’s have some champs.” I asked what the hell that meant and she explained that all the Housewives call champagne “champs” and then began quoting the entire Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. That kind of crap she pulls just annoys me, but I can tolerate it. What really pissed me off is when she crossed the line and started flirting with my father-in-law. She really, really crossed the line when she showed up in my kitchen and in front of my four-year said, “Oh my Gawd, what if I did sleep with Jack 3 and got pregnant with your father-in-law’s baby? You would be it’s half sister and sister-in-law.” I can’t even begin to process that information.
Worse, yeah, there’s worse, is my grandma. Mee Maw is 54 and if you squint your eyes while staring into direct sunlight she can look like Marilyn Monroe, the later years, and until six months ago was “managing” the “Big Wheel Keeps on Turning” Gentleman’s Club in Blanton, Mississippi. The inside of the “club” is designed to resemble a River Boat and the girls use the fake boat funnels for their poles. (It doesn’t get much classier than that, does it?) Now, she’s tagged along with my mother to look for “investors” for her next business venture. Awesome, because that’s all I need is my grandmother running a strip club in the Land of the Anal Retentive as my mother-in-law “investigates a run for the Presidency.” But, I’m not going to give up. I know I can do this. If I just stay focused and on top of all the crazy I can keep everything from going to hell. Right?