Cinderfella
Based on actual events.
August 7, 2022

Cinderfella [sin-duh-r-fel-uh]
noun

  1. (Informal, sometimes used attributively) A man or boy who shares qualities with the character Cinderella.
  2. A middle-aged single man with an insatiable hunger for intense emotional and physical intimacy,

If you believe in immaculate conceptions, you will be misled as this is not that kind of story. 

In a rural part of the province of Nova Scotia, there was a sixteen-year-old girl, named Patti, Patti lived at home with her parents as all children do, especially in the mid 1970’s. As the youngest child of nine, it was customary for her to hang out with her sisters, Lilly, and Lizabeth, along with her brothers, Willie, Peter, Matthew, and Mikey.  As all teenagers do, she and her sisters began to rebel against their parents and started hanging out with boys in town, drinking, smoking and not listening to their parents as to what they should be doing for young ladies their age. With the girls not listening and doing what they wanted, when they wanted, and sometimes it got them into trouble, however, despite Patti’s older brother Matthew trying to protect and keep his sisters out of trouble, Patti ended up meeting a good looking dare-devilish older man from around the block, she and Robert began courting one another and hanging out, soon she introduced him to her family, immediately, they did not approve of him as they were told of stories of him and his family and did not want their youngest daughter to be hanging around “the likes of him.”

Despite of what Patti’s family said or wanted her to do, she started to hang out with Robert more and more, things started to become more intimate between the two of them, the soon 16-year-old became pregnant with her first child, Robert junior. With times being difficult at home with her parents and for a mother and father to feed 10+ people, Patti and her boyfriend, Robert decided that they would move out on their own.  Robert’s sister Elise and her husband had a huge property and let Robert, his girlfriend, and their son to move into a trailer they had available on their property. With help from Robert’s and Patti’s parents, they were able to provide for their little boy. However, at this time Robert knew that he now needed to provide for his family and became a wood worker within the town he and his family resided. A year and two-weeks later of Robert Jr’s birth, Patti gave birth to her second son, Colin. Things at home became even tougher, there was lots of tension, hostility and lots of emotions coming from these young parents on how they would be able to live with two young babies and only one income. 

With all that has been going on with the tension, hostility, uncertainty and all the emotions, Robert began to drink, he started hanging out with all his friends, more and more, leaving Patti and her two sons at home, two crying and fussy babies. Patti had a lot of difficult raising two babies alone, so she turned to her mother, Susan and her father, Cecil.  Cecil and Susan loved and attended to Patti’s two boys, they loved them as they were their own, however, Cecil and Susan immediately saw that Patti was favoring one son over another. Patti would attend to baby Robert more than Colin, leaving Colin to cry, not pay him any attention. There were many hours and days that Colin would be neglected and ignored. Susan and Cecil were concerned that Patti and her husband (who was vacant a lot) had too much on their plates and wanted to help with the children more. They would take the children to their house over night and for days at a time, so that Patti could have some time to herself – to recuperate. Over time, Susan and Cecil had noticed that they were tending and babysitting Colin much more than baby Robert, not that they minded as they loved Colin. Cecil spent a lot of time with Colin, taking him for walks, attending to his every need, he even would get up early with him while Susan slept. Cecil and Colin had an unspeakable bond. When Colin was home with his parents, he would spend his days crying, being neglected, not being changed and often overlooked. Susan did not like that Patti was favoring one child over another and told Patti that what she was doing was wrong, however, Patti did not seem to care as she did not connect or bond with Colin, Patti indicated “he was always restless and crying and she did not know how to care for him”, Susan and Cecil provided Patti with all kinds of remedies and gave her insight on how to care for her new born son, however, she did not listen to their suggestions and continued to ignore Colin.  It was like she only had one son, and one son alone.

As Colin spent more and more time with Susan and Cecil, baby Robert appeared to spend more time with Robert’s mother and father, Roger and Cindy. Patti and Robert began to enjoy their freedom and started partying more than they did previously, not needing to tend for their children as much as there able to count on their parents for childcare.

A little more than a year after Colin’s birth, his grandfather, Cecil passed away. With the passing of his grandfather, Susan was in mourning, trying how she would survive with her husband now gone, a single mother who never worked, how was she going to maintain her household with her husband gone.  Susan and was now unable to care for Colin has she had in the past, what was Colin’s fate to be?  Susan knew that if she did not care for him like she and Cecil done in the past, Colin would go unnoticed, abandoned and all alone again, Colin spent a lot of time with Susan and Cecil, she could not give up on Colin.  If it weren’t for Cecil’s passing Colin would have been raised by his grandparents. Susan did not know if she was able to raise another child even though she loved him like he was one of her own.

As the children grew, Patti and Robert began to realize that the trailer where they resided was becoming cramped, no room, as they were always on top of one-another.  Patti and Robert talked about moving to a larger place, having Susan move in with them as she just lost her husband, and she could be helpful with the toddlers. The family move to a larger apartment, Susan moves in and helps with the raising of the toddlers.  Susan and Robert did not see eye to eye, Susan seen that Robert was always out, drinking, parting, racing, and hanging with his friends, and she felt compelled to say something to Robert, so he would see that he needed to be at home with his wife and children. This did not go over well, and he asked Susan to leave. Susan shortly moved to Dartmouth to be near her other two sons.

Robert decided that since he was a carpenter that he and some friends would build his family a home. They decided on the same neighborhood that both of them previously lived in which was not far away from his sister Elise, nor where their family homes were.  After a year and a half, their family home was built, Patti and Robert later moved into their two-bedroom house with their sons. 

Patti always seemed unhappy that her second child was not a girl, she always fantasized about having a girl and spoiling her. Her overall dream was to have two children, a boy, and a girl. She and Robert talked about having another child but knew that having another child was out of the question, they could barely afford to feed the two children and themselves as it was. Work was hard to come by for Robert, and Patti was a stay-at-home mom. 

Almost a year after moving into their new home, it is now, January 1980 and Patti has become pregnant again, with her third child. She was unsure as to why she allowed herself to become pregnant again, as all she and Robert do was fight, it seemed like all he wanted to do is hang out with the boys and get drunk, then come home and argue and fight with her and punish the boys for crying, for laughing, and for being in the way. Nine months later, Robert and Patti are arguing again over money and what she is doing wrong, after a few choice words are spoken, Robert is about to reach out and strike Patti, Patti’s water brakes, she is admitted to the hospital to give birth to her third child. After being admitted to the hospital and a few complications, 10+ hours pass, Patti finally gives birth. She has had her dream child, a bouncing baby girl. She is very happy and overwhelmed, she starts crying, the nurses ask her if she wants to see her new baby. Patti grabs on to Clementine for dear life. Robert looks at her lovingly, Patti hopes that having Clementine will save her and her marriage. She is very doubtful, but hopeful.

The nurses advise Patti that due to the complications with birth that she will need to stay in the hospital for a few days so that they can observe her to ensure that she is fine before allowing her to go home with her new baby. Robert is worried, how is he going to care for two toddlers, he is a man of few domestic abilities and feels as though he cannot care for the boys alone, he is hopeful that Patti will be home soon. Later that night Robert and the boys go home, he calls Elise to let her know Patti had a baby girl and that there were a few complications and that she was admitted for a few days while she gets better. He asks Elise if she was able to help care for the boys during the day when he is working. He knew it would not be an issue as Colin and Robert junior loved spending time with Elise, and Elise was also a stay-at-home mother. Elise cares for the boys, she thought it would be good for the boys to be social and be able to spend time with their cousins, Craig and Donna. Elise was very happy to care for the boys as she knew how they are being treated at home, she is worried and wishes that there was something that she could do to protect the young boys. She fears that Robert and Patti are beating the boys but is unable to say anything to her brother about it, as she does not want to make him angry at her and to not allow her to care or see the boys. This is her way of keeping an eye on them to ensure that they are okay.

After a week, Patti and Clementine are allowed to come home. Patti is very excited to go home and spend time with Clementine. Colin and Robert junior are introduced to their new baby sister. The boys are very happy to meet their sister, but immediately know and feel a shift in dynamics. Everything is now about the baby they are being ignored and told to go play in their room on a constant basis. When family members come to visit the home to meet the baby, Patti insists that the boys not be in the way it is important to spend time with Clementine and to have every waking moment be about her. Immediately upon coming home, Clementine receives a nickname. Patti feels as though that now she has her baby girl her life is complete. Patti nicknames the baby as if she is a term of endearment and calls her “Honey.”  Honey this, and Honey that. Patti names her baby Honey, because in her eyes she is the sweetest little baby of all time, and she cannot get enough of her. She is obsessed with her new baby and wants to be with her all the time, with no time for her other two children. The boys are now bothersome to her, and she wants to spend as less amount of time with them as possible. 

Patti’s mother, Susan, is very excited that Patti is home with her new baby, but fears and remembers how they used to treat the boys before the baby was born, she decides to come to their house for a few days to visit with the family and to meet baby, Clementine. While Patti is tending to “Honey” she and the boys are doing fun activities, keeping them happy so that they do not agitate Robert or Patti. During her visit she sees that Robert is barely home, he is out a lot and when he comes home from being away most days, he comes home drunk. Patti and Robert get into arguments, Patti asks “where he was all day and why he is drunk.” Then Patti gets upset and start calling him derogatory names, saying “he is no good”, and that “he needs to grow up and stop drinking all their money away.”  She tells Robert “That they have a family that they need to support.” As Robert and Patti continue arguing Patti starts to cry, Robert decides as they are arguing he needs to get a drink, so he opens the fridge door and grabs a two-litre bottle of Coca-Cola from the fridge. Susan cannot continue to allow them to fight with the children in the house and tells Robert that she thinks he should leave, this infuriates him as he is telling Susan to mind her fucking business, they now become engulfed into an argument. She tells Robert “That he is no good, and he is the problem and that he is the one that needs to leave the house,” Robert turns around and slams the fridge door and biffs the two-litre pop bottle at Susan’s head in the next room. The pop bottle is coming with such force. Susan sees the bottle coming right at her head and ducks, the pop bottle explodes all over the wall. Patti tells Robert if he does not leave, she will call the police. Robert leaves the house but returns later that night, he has time to reflect and collect himself. 

The boys are now in school, Colin is in grade primary and Robert junior is in grade one. The arguing and rage persist on a daily basis, every day, and every night. Colin has become the Primary teacher’s favorite child in the classroom, she sees that he is hurting, lonely and gets no affection at home and wants to help him in any way possible, this worries Ms. Cotton. 

Robert junior’s behaviour is becoming worrisome, he is starting to become aggressive, he sees what his father is doing all the time to his mother, to his brother and himself. He starts becoming aggressive to his brother, Colin. Colin is younger and smaller than him, and he can get away with punching, biting, and kicking him around. Colin is tender, he cries to his mother and tells her that he is being bitten and kicked around by his brother, she tells him to go and play and stop being a baby. Robert junior sees that his aggression is not going to get him into trouble, so this behaviour continues on a daily basis, if he gets in no trouble at home, perhaps he can do this in school and not get into trouble, however, that’s not the case. Robert junior gets in trouble at school regularly, the parents are called. While Robert junior is being problematic, Colin is told to toughen up, stop being a baby and fight back, so this is what Colin did, he starts biting his brother when he is being picked on, beaten up. Fighting Robert junior is no good, as Colin fights, Robert fights back twice as hard.  It’s a no-win situation for Colin. 

Robert junior meets a boy next door and they become friends. Robert junior’s new friend, Trevor, and he do not allow Colin to play with them most days, and when they do play with him it’s to pick and aggravate, punch and push him, being a bully, they make him cry which they think this is funny. This makes Colin upset, he wonders why doesn’t his big brother want to play with him, why is he being like this to him all the time? Trevor and Robert junior play rough, sometimes they pick on Colin even more than the day before, they throw rocks at him and laugh. Most days, Colin plays alone. Colin is the brunt of their destructive behaviour. Over the coming months, Colin is allowed to walk up the road and play with other kids in the neighborhood. This makes Colin happy; he can play with other children who are not mean to him. Craig becomes friends with kids from the neighborhood and they have fun playing outdoor games, like dinky cars in the mud/dirt, tag, red rover and other fun games. Robert junior gets jealous of Colin’s friends and starts playing with the neighborhood kids and they start to exclude Colin from playing with them as Robert junior tells them that he will bully them too, if they play with Colin. Colin gets upset and tells his mother, again, she tells him to go outside and play. After being excluded over and over again by friends in the neighborhood Colin starts to visit his Aunt Elise and his cousins, they are older than him by 7 and 8 years.   Since Elise lives on the street with most of the children in the area, she sees that Robert junior is being rough and picking on Colin a lot, she would go outside and yell at him and to tell him to stop picking and making Colin cry and that she was going to call his father if he didn’t stop.  This scared Robert junior as he did not want to have his father know what he is doing as he did not want to get a spanking (the belt) across his butt.  However, as the days persisted and Robert junior and Colin are sent outside to play - the rough housing, the crying continues. Aunt Elise tells Colin “To come inside if the kids don’t want to play with him.” Colin spent a lot of time inside with his aunt, they would talk about school, about how things were at home (not that she did not know), she would feed him snacks and they would watch the TV, usually soap operas. This was one of the happiest times in Colin’s life, he got to spend time with someone who actually cared and wanted to spend time with him. Colin being the middle child felt a lone most of the time, he was ignored at home, when not picked on, he had no emotional connection with his parents. The only one who really showed him any kind of affection was his grandmother, Susan and his aunt, Elise.

A few days after going to his aunt’s place after school and being forced to “go play outside”, Colin got in trouble for going to his aunt’s place as he was not playing with others, they did not want to play with him, or he was not interested in playing. Robert junior told his parents that he did not know why Colin was allowed at Aunt Elise’s place and he was not. When Robert junior went to his aunt’s place, she would chase him outside. Patti called Elise and told Elise to “not allow Colin to visit with her after school,” and that he “should be outside playing with the other kids.” Elise told her that “Colin is being picked on all the time by his brother and others, and they are following suit.” Patti did not care, she told Elise that “he should be out playing with others, blowing the stink off of his ass.”

Not only did Patti not want Colin around, now she is forbidden Elise to allow him to visit with her after school. Elise did not listen to what Patti had to say and allowed Colin to visit whenever he wanted.

As “Honey” becomes older, Patti wants Colin to play dolls and house with her, to keep her entertained. Most times Colin does not mind playing with Clementine, but he felt as though he needed to play with her all the time. Clementine was the type of child that could no wrong in her parents’ eyes. She could do something for which she is not allowed, like cause mayhem, break things, or lie about something/someone, and the blame would be placed upon that person, even when they had no idea what was going on. There were many times she would break something of value and blame it on the person who was closest to her, she would get coddled, and the other person would get in trouble for breaking something often time a spanking, and/or getting sent to their room.

Children in this era grew up visiting grandparents, aunts’, and uncles’ homes, playing with their cousins. Now-a-days, kids don’t visit their extended families, nor do they even know who their cousins are. 

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