I was born on the Souix Indian reservation in Nebraska, the illegitimate daughter of a young native woman and a married Irishman, an illegal immigrant who worked for the railroad. I never knew my mother she died before I was three months old. I was turned over to my father - you can imagine how thrilled his wife was with this particular gift.
I was hurriedly turned over to my married half sister and her husband and passed off as their second child. The truth was quite effectively buried for decades. I did not find out the truth of my birth until well into adulthood. I did however notice clearly the difference between my "siblings" and myself. They were all pale skinned, light-eyed and blond (one was dark haired, but pale skinned with freckles) and I bore only a passing resemblance to any of them. I also noticed the difference in my position in the family.
No opportunity was wasted to let me know I did not belong, I was not welcome and that I was a curse upon the family. A favorite phrase used reminded me relentlessly that if it wasn't for me they all might have had a chance ay happiness but I ruined it.
By the time I was ten years old I had suffered the usual potpourri of childhood dings, scrapes, bumps and bruises. I had also suffered a number of concussions, a dislocated shoulder, fractured cheekbone and eye socket and dislocated jaw, all my fingers had been broken, several of them more than once, two fractured wrists, a lacerated kidney, ruptured eardrum, nearly lost my eye to an errant belt buckle during a beating, and, of course, the permanent scar causing beatings with belts, brushes, iron rods, broom handles, etc.
I left home at sixteen continued high school and worked full time. Yes, I got into trouble - or at least tried to. I never went to jail, hurt anybody, or caused any damage. I always had enough good sense to stop short of real trouble - but I did learn a great deal.
By the time I was 23 I was happily pregnant with my first child and owned my own successful advertising agency. I had completed my first national advertising campaign and had wonderful plans for my future.