I ONCE TOOK A TV COURSE

Many unrelated sentences out of sequence …I thought at first to delete this description – but then realized how perfectly it described me through a time, before that time, then after that time. …turns out, I did take that class, passed it well, but had no better idea of ‘economics’ afterward than before I took that 1st semester economics class so I could collect my college degree.

Lonely vs populated study
This was initially prompted by a news article evaluating studying via computer vs amid other people. I once took a TV course. I needed a credit in ‘economics’ in order to get the B.A.

I mark economics because, as I’ve explained otherwheres in here, separating social-political-economic elements from each other in this, the world we live in, is another deception we’re forced to labor under; those elements form that wholly trinity. Separating them, like all the segregating utilized for profiteering, is basic for our alienation, for our dis-understanding

That was even more evident for me, as I ground through the course – Samuelson, I think; not quite Friedman. To this day, 50 years later, thinking about it recalls my very unfortunate relationship with my parents.

We did not get along. There were only a few times they sat me down, making what for them then passed as the attempt to have a meaningful exchange between us, one at length, one that was a discussion about our interactions as close members of the family. What I heard when they, my mother and father talked at me, those few times, those times that I couldn’t – was incapable of responding, of saying anything, was wahhh wahhh wahhh – like Peanuts’ adults’ sounds. We were to have this heart-to-heart and I was incapable of engaging, had nothing to say, as far as I can remember – Sad, so sad.

I often recall this confusion. These recollections make me sadly wonder as well, over my son’s and my relationship, one that can only be explained as my inability to question my behavior.

I think I lived isolated. For all that family members lived together out of insufficient funds to live apart, I lived without anyone close to talk with. I seem not to have gotten the concomitant challenge to myself to answer the questions that’d arise from doing that – the questions that’d arise from being accustomed to talking with people near me about my thinking and behavior; would the questions maybe have arisen in a classroom of variously minded students of economics…?

This is one of the fortunate events that has made the past 50 years, mostly most recently, such constant, amazing discovery for me.

And of course, makes me so sorry about my abuse of my son… Unforgivable. So much of my behavior was thoughtless, without thought. I was accustomed to thinking what I did was just fine; unquestioningly; even though so much that I did to him was opposite my basic principles. Like beating him up for perceived bad behavior.

How disorderly, how erratic…

All I can think is that my parents were quite youthful too, in their ability to raise me. I pretty much did what I did by example from living among what was then, a very extended family. I did what I heard I was supposed to. …. – except for whatever it was that they sat me down to talk to me about – which I never did find out was. My father called me princess. I did not do anything except once, when I was little, 9years old, maybe, that was not acceptable. I stayed away long, late one afternoon, is all. Somehow that got a lick with a strap, it was so bad.

But I did what I saw them doing; their art, politics, going here and there – and coming back, doing lessons, doing chores (– I don’t remember doing chores;) behaving appropriately with other people, as with us in the house.

My son insists I never picked up on how to walk the walk – of going along with him so that he found grounds to forgive me enough to stop hating me.

I remained ignorant about how else to do being his mother. But he really picked up on ways I couldn’t support. I had not got the skill to live with a person who was different from me. He did fit some requisite basic, principles. But these never meshed to him being able to forgive me – rightfully so. No way you can forgive being under the threat of and being beaten up. The constant fear, and the acting out – rare though it was – no way that can be forgiven.

Looking back at what I’ve written here I remember that I always thought I was doing what was good for me and the world around me. That was the basis of my assessment of how I behaved. I thought I was honest – (too, it turns out, too honest, too true to overarching principles, making me unskilled at getting along). So I didn’t have reason to doubt myself. Now I doubt myself a lot – have for years. Still, I’ve not been able to grab hold of that way to get along with people –

The only thought I have for us socially inept, abusive, badly functioning misfits, is to be surrounded within the community, to surround within the community – maybe that’s curative – I can only guess…

I guess that’s the basis of my son’s inability to get along with me. I haven’t quite erred. I beat him – hit severely a few times – which to him is as though it went on all the time -too many times – one time is too many… These are not cancelled out by the extremely good things we lived, the ways we 3 lived that he can, if he digs back hard, find were excellent – overshadowed by my chaotic responses to him.

I got no space, as children do toward their parents, no space from him about my inadequacy parenting. I never did repair these character flaws, much as I’ve thought I was doing so.

The result is he doesn’t like how I live; …finds me badly behaved – toward him – and anyone. His elder daughter took up the hatred for I’ve yet to learn how-why. More sad.

I have the same tenor of relationship with him as I had with my parents; my mother wandering incapable through the parent-child relationship with me – and then again but milder, different, with my 10 year younger brother. And I have the image of my father as being altogether unable to contact his ability to be loving. He was always defensive – snide – at my mother. …and distant with me. I know he too would have preferred to be otherwise. But his parents were the same – cool, distant, just unable to appear to be loving. This for us – them, me – who are/were committed to a social order based on loving relationships!, unable to express that.

There must be a book that explains these inadequacies, brutalities – as the lack of display of loving is, brutal.

So much for the lack of clarity.

Talking about dysfunctionally relating with people regarding being in a study situation with other people rather than alone, is me thinking why I think that’s a recourse, a recourse for being able to learn better and to learn better how to relate better with people.

Meaning I could be wrong – thinking that on-line study is not a good way to do it.

Of course, integrated – researching some stuff on-line, integrating it to study among other people, particularly attempting to apply the study into experience – sure, that makes sense. Maybe I’m seeing studying at the computer screen, then taking and passing the test and getting the grade, is what I disapprove of.

I managed an A in the TV course. I didn’t understand the material. I didn’t have the opportunity to watch ideas rise and take hold or be looked at, reconsidered, …all that goes along with thinking. This course was kind of like being taught arithmetic for me in grade school – or math my first year of college at U.Chicago. It was so foreign – like another language. All I could do was memorize it and hope or wonder if it might become clear-er to me sometime along the way.

It never did, of course; not until I began to encounter Marx’s thinking.

Arithmetic-math became clear when I took the teaching arithmetic class. Teaching = learning….

I explain myself by saying that capitalist economics NO WAY could make sense to me, a basic marxist, unknowing though I was. My parents, while committed to Communism, didn’t know or talk with me about the analysis. It was a matter of being nice, that all people should be treated nicely; that anti-Black behavior was anathema. We are Jews. We know oppression. We knew it was wrong.

I didn’t get any of the thinking about it until I was middle-aged, until I was drawn up by the women’s movement.

That was sort of accidental. I was living in Roanoke then.

Up until then I’d done badly at getting hired to teach in Chicago, where I’d lived for those first 28 years of my life, where I’d gotten my B.A. ‘in education’, a degree given after having gotten 4 years of credit ‘in education’, the area I’d sidled into. I’d chosen ‘teaching’ because I’d begun to get some clarity about that I needed to get a job. I had no idea how to get hired except to select ‘teaching’. The other jobs were out of my reach emotionally; I rejected store-clerking, or office clerking, or any factory-like work. My father and 7 male relatives, uncles, grandparents, were Eastern European immigrants/grocers, grocers’ children – funny way to say it. They were after all, people. They did grocer-ing. I, naturally for those times, if I didn’t marry a man who could pay my way, was to work in some more honored position. Teaching was acceptable. I knew of no others.

I went to a school which it turned out I learned decades later, was a seat of radicalism!. and had no idea that was the environment. What I missed! What I could have enjoyed had I known to access it. But I was caught up in trying to get along. I’d born a child – a result of not being able to hear the Planned Parenthood explanation of how to use the diaphragm I’d snuck my way into getting, on the happenstance of overhearing one of the comrades in my Young Progressives group, 17 years old!, describe having gotten one.

This was in the time when we knew, not out loud, that Progressive meant Communist. …and didn’t talk birth control…

I’d met the man who’d be my 2nd husband at the Jr. College near where I lived with my parents (what a trial – for both them and me!) after I divorced. I had no idea divorce was a choice. Doing it, too, was accidental – and essential. Again, I had no idea what I was doing – getting married in the first place – then seeking the unacceptable, divorce, having done the altogether wrong thing, marrying wrong – for no one to talk with about it. I wanted love. I wanted to lie with a lover – in the total sense; hold and be held through the night – and day – which of course, was not possible. He had to go to work. I was devastated at that separation – him to the job, me at home. I had NOthing to do. I lived without focus. Then, of course, I got pregnant and had this wholly unwanted requirement thrust upon me.

I read only the first few pages of Spock’s – Dr. Spock – Benjamin Spock – candidate for President in ’72 – I read only the first few pages of his Baby and Child Care. I really didn’t know I was to gain information – that I didn’t know things just by sensing them, but that I was to increase my skills and knowledge and all by reading! –and studying, and talking with people, and researching, and practicing – as on the piano. Jack – my 2nd husband – of course, did! He read and studied and entranced me by his non-stop out-loud thinking.

Spock said that I was to respond to the child on his and my terms. I then knew all I needed to know!, and proceeded thoughtlessly, again, – well, with a bit of a thought.

normaha@pacbell.net

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