Sunday, when I talked to my mom, I asked her some questions about her mother: "Did she have a temper?" "Did she hit?"
"Oh, she yelled! She had a temper. I can't remember why, but one time she broke a broomstick on LM!" LM is Mom's younger brother. Mom kept chuckling. "I remember her chasing after him. He told me last year why she beat him, but I can't remember."
"Did she ever hit you like that?"
"Oh no. I don't think so."
"Because you were better behaved?"
"You never did anything to 'deserve' it."
"Not that I can remember!"
Once when I was about five or six, I broke Mother's stick -- the one she used both for pushing laundry down into the washing machine and also for hitting us. I balanced the stick on top of a rubber ball and stood on both ends. I probably got the idea from some book or T.V. show. The stick broke. She replaced it with the leg of a disgarded chair.
Lately, she's been heard telling relatives she never hit or yelled at us when we were small: "My husband wouldn't allow it!" Nobody corrects her. And she's not lying -- she honestly doesn't remember hitting us or yelling at us. She also doesn't remember being hit by her mother. I'm not sure what really happened to Mother when she was small. Neither is she.