Where to begin?
Most people would tell me to start at the beginning, but even that is complicated. Let’s start with an introduction.
My name is Mimi Francis. I use a pseudonym, not necessarily to protect my identity, but because my first and last name are not easy to spell and as a writer, I want people to be able to find me without a lot of work. I am fifty years old, I have three children all over the age of twenty, five grand kitties and two grandpuppies, three Shih Tzus, and a husband (order does not indicate preference-wink, wink).
My life has been complicated. I’ll use that word a lot, for good reason. Complicated is the best way to describe many aspects of my life – my relationship with my mother, my childhood, my relationships with my siblings, and the status of other parental figures in my life.
I am originally from Montana. I’m not from any town in particular, as I lived all over the state in the eighteen years I was there, but if I’m hard-pressed, I will say I am from Great Falls.
Let’s start there, shall we?
I don’t have a hometown, I don’t have a childhood home. I barely know where I come from.
I attended eleven different schools from kindergarten through eighth grade. I lived all over the state – Butte, Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls. Back and forth across the state my wayward mother dragged me.
My schooling suffered, in particular my math skills. In one city, I learned multiplication tables through three. We moved across the state and suddenly, I was supposed to know multiplication tables through twelve. I never learned about prime numbers. Long division was hard because I never worked on easy division or learned all of my multiplication tables. I struggled to keep my grades up in math. To this day, I struggle with math. Thank god for calculators.
But I digress. Some of you might be wondering why we moved so much. The reasons certainly aren’t glamorous or cool, or even logical.
It was my mother. She couldn’t seem to stay in one place for too long. Sometimes, we moved because of a man. Sometimes, it was on a whim. Maybe she was looking for the next big thing or the next man to take care of her, or her next big break. Who knows?
I was a kid. All I knew was that every time I made friends, we moved. I was always the new kid, the weird girl, different from everyone else, always behind, painfully shy, lonely, and perpetually sad. Nothing in my life was stable, not my home and certainly not my parents.
Books were the only constant in my life, the only way I could escape and forget how much my life sucked for a little while. Books meant everything to me. Everything.