Personal is Political: Daddy’s Little Bluebird, Daddy’s Little Girl – The Feminist Wire

Personal is Political: Daddy’s Little Bluebird, Daddy’s Little Girl

By R. B. Stuart

Flashback 1976

My heart dragged as I slowly trudged up New York City’s Madison Avenue toward the infamous pimp and ho hotel, The Warrington. Each step I took with dread as my new three-inch, multi-salmon colored snakeskin heels magnified the foreboding by cutting blisters into my big toes. At the desolate midnight hour, the thumping metal sound of  yellow taxi cabs wheeling over manhole covers echoed through the darkened avenue along with the pleas of a young girl returning after working at a Whore House.

I was on my way home to see DC, my pimp of two years, who lay waiting in our hotel bed for the collection of my night’s trap. Pressed against my skin by a nylon sock were ten $10 dollar bills creased in half, scratching against my inner ankle in the hooker’s pocket.

With each step my womb throbbed and tugged towards the sidewalk as if magnets were attempting to suction my insides out. I normally worked on the street, but DC heard from his homies that their women were making beau-coupe money on Sunday nights at this high volume, low wage Madam’s House. At sixteen years old, I found myself living in New York City with my 36-year old pimp in a dumpy, mouse ridden hotel. We’d skip town when the police got too hot. In the fall of 1974, we left Boston for Springfield, Massachusetts and in 1976 moved on to the Big Apple. I met DC as Robin, my birth name, and would over six years fuck away my identity. I became Cathy in Boston, then Rachel, Elizabeth, Sharon, and Carol.

Love kept me selling pussy for DC—I thought I loved him. As a teenage girl it was a convoluted love, mixed with domination and fear, and the emptiness of losing my father at six-years old, wrapped in the daily brainwashing that DC loved me, too. “I love your last years dirty-draws little bitch,” was his version of a Hallmark card.

He loved the money—no pimp would admit to loving a ho. We were scum of the earth, filthy, cum drinkin’ bitches. And no matter how much money you’d make in one night, it was never enough. The praise of a good night’s trap would wear off in hours and you’d be right back out on the street at seven o’clock the next night for another 10-15 hours of turning tricks. It was a work ethic superior to the Unites States Post Office, seven days a week, through rain, snow, sleet and hail. Working girls would deliver sex to any paying John and then proudly hand over the profits to her demanding man at home—whether he was waiting nestled safely in a warm bed sleeping, or his legs were kicked up watching television, wolfing down take-out steak and eggs, or snorting a line of blow with the influx of daily cash.

Depending on your night’s trap and his state of mind, when you tip-toed in it could result in a back hand or ass kicking, especially if he was high. You were easier to whip into submission if your man was high on cocaine. He could beat you guilt free and fuck you while tending to your wounds—then boast about it to his cronies. After all a pimp demanded r e s p e c t. Short money, a sideways look at him or another pimp, or a smart-ass crack would be considered disrespectful and would warrant a beating. So, an unpredictable fear kept you in line and subservient.

That night while working inside a Times Square Whore House, I had sex with ten men in less than three hours. In a small room behind a weathered brown floral curtain, on the top bunk, they pounded away at my nubile womb. I laid in the haze of a red light bulb concerned about keeping the rubber from sliding off and hoping he’d cum. I felt hatred while this grubby, smelly, inebriated slob rubbed his sweaty face against my neck in unison with the thrusting. His skull punched against the old, gray tattered pillow beneath my head until there was a final heave of breath and release of semen.

He laid on me in exhaustion, waiting for me to grab onto the filled, warm condom so it didn’t slip off. Then he jumped off the bunk. I tied the top of the rubber cock-sock and threw it into the trash. He left, another one came in, a different ethnicity, age, height, thinner or fatter, a bigger or smaller dick size, cut or uncut, all wanting the same thing: to get off.

It was 1976 and $200-$300 hundred a night was the quota placed on most girls, $1,000 or more if you were a thief. This night DC would surely be angry with me, for one hundred dollars would be a waste of his pimping potential.

Frightfully, I walked to East 32nd Street. Musty steam salted the air. My body never experienced such exhaustion. After having intercourse with so many tricks the near crucifixion of the tender crevice between my legs began to weep. An uncontrollable bleeding…soaking through to my blue jeans…melding with my tears as I grieved over the life I was living. It wasn’t what I planned or even knew about as a child. I didn’t know what a pimp was until my sister introduced me to them at fourteen. Now this was my life in “the life.” But this wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

I cried to God begging him to never let me have sex again, calling out to my father, who died too soon, for help.

“Mother May I? Mother may I take five giant steps back in time? To a place where the land was all we knew—and all we ever wanted. Please Mother—may I?”  

One July day in 1966 my image of men, love, and happiness were shattered. What lay before me was a life of sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, and that was while I lived at home. All my father planned for his seven children and adoring, young wife was sprawled out on vast acreage of private wooded land. After building his dream house by hand on five of those acres with Mum as his apprentice, he promised when we grew-up and married he’d give each of us an acre to build a house. Our future would be living in a family commune under the watchful eye of our parents and Smokey, the brown and black German Shepherd Daddy brought home years before for protection of his land and children. Smokey lived in a dog house on a corner mound in front of the house, and steadfastly through the elements patrolled the land for his family. Among the free flowing Oak’s and forest of Pine trees were sheer pink bulbous Lady Slippers and Violets popping up from the earth with a spray of miniature purple satin petals. Smokey and safety was ours.

Our neighbors were Blue Jays, Robins, and Red Tailed Hawks flying in for their daily feed of suet that Daddy placed high a top a grated pole. The rock quarries were our entertainment, where we played every summer collecting and smashing rocks looking for Mica, all the while being protected under a canvas of blue velvet skies and glittering, black night. It was what Daddy hoped and dreamed of. And in turn, what we yearned for. Being akin to the wild animals was a part of the world in which we lived—but God had other plans.

Dad had a sore on his bottom lip that wouldn’t go away and told Mum a spark hit it when he was welding without a mask. He continued to ignore the symptoms and by late 1963 he prepared his first-born daughter Louise, when she came up for a visit. She climbed into his pick-up truck and during their conversation Daddy informed her that he wouldn’t be around much longer and would die. The teenager turned and said, “Daddy don’t say that—I don’t want to hear that.” Harboring a cancer diagnosis, gradually he said his goodbyes. By then he had developed a tumor under his chin. But it wasn’t until the fall of 1965 that he had a tracheotomy.

When he returned home from the hospital a white square of gauze covered the hole in his throat where his voice box was. I’d sit on his lap in my one piece pink flowered pajamas with feet and in a gravelly, garbled tone he’d attempt to speak by holding his hand over the gauze. At five years old I was fixated on the gauze patch taped to his throat. No longer was he able to bounce and sway me from side to side singing, “Daddy’s little blue bird…daddy’s little girl,” or throw me up into the air with glee. As a family we attempted to maintain normalcy and pretend everything was fine. After all, he and Mum just had their sixth child, Ella.

Daily we watched Mum remove long white, mucus laden tubes from his throat to clean them. As children we didn’t know what illness was, never mind cancer and death. I remember hearing my mother in the kitchen whispering about her sickly, beloved husband to a friend. Nine months later he’d go to the hospital and never return home.

In July of 1966, Mum went to the hospital to visit Daddy. Three of us went with her, Nita, Karen, and me. But we had to wait in the car. Daddy didn’t want us to see him in his final stages of cancer. We sat quietly looking at the entrance of Leominster Hospital. When she returned she told us to look up to the second floor window where Daddy was standing, waving. Karen and I knelt at the back window looking up at the red brick building waving with all our might. The narrow window framed Daddy as he was dressed in a blue and white hospital gown. He smiled, waving back. Our sky blue Chevy station wagon slowly left the parking lot. In between the sobs, we were screaming, “Daddy, daddy!” Our noses, eyes, and mouths dripped a flood of tears as our little hands frantically reached out to capture him. His heart must have ached knowing he’d never hold us again. He grew smaller and smaller as the car rolled out of sight. Sensing the loss of his friend, Smokey howled in pain. I hadn’t known it then, but my only protector had died. And so did my childhood.

R. B. Stuart is an investigative journalist, blogger, author, columnist, comedy writer, editor, poet, and photographer. A literary risk taker, she prides herself on creating original, thought provoking, compelling content for print and digital media. She has written for The Huffington Post, Poets & Writers, and the New York Times.  Stuart is currently working on her memoir “What is Your Soul Worth.”