iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Donna Simpson

GET UPDATES FROM Donna Simpson
 

A Fat Christmas Story!

Posted: 12/21/11 02:42 PM ET

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't written anything in a while. I was filming an episode of "Supersize vs Superskinny" for British television. It should air early next year on Channel 4. I wanted to get in my last blog for 2011, so I decided to skip the usual holiday stuff and continue with addressing the serious issues that I face. I really feel that an integral part of the transformation I wish to undergo will be psychotherapy.

No psychiatrists have stepped forward to help me deal with my emotional problems. I would love to be in therapy, but just can't afford it. I've heard that writing down one's thoughts can have therapeutic effects, so I think I will give it a whirl. I'll just pretend I'm on the shrink's couch and tell you about my childhood.

I was raised in a country setting, farm lands, no street lights, no black people, a Norman Rockwell setting, very low key. We grew almost all of our own food and never went to a grocery store. We never went out to eat. Our joy in life was taking a 30-minute car ride to Kmart to get frozen Cokes. My mother was one of seven children. When my grandmother was pregnant with my mom, she packed the children up and moved to Ohio from West Virginia. They made the move because her husband (not my mother's biological father) was promised a job in the tire industry in Akron, Ohio. When they finally arrived, the industry required a complete physical before being allowed to work. Her husband had heart problems and was denied employment. He became very sick after the move and having seven children to support made things very difficult. Luckily, my father's family lived down the street and was quite well off. They sent a cow to my mother's family to be butchered so the family would have meat to eat for the winter.

My Grandmother on my Father's side tells the story of fixing fruit baskets for Christmas and seeing my Mother stand on her tip toes to try and see what goodies this nice neighbor brought. My Mom's house had dirt floors and I remember it being one room. My maternal Grandfather was very appreciative of all the help my Father's family gave them. Mind you, my Dad was maybe 8 years old and my Mother was 5 years old. When my Grandfather got his strength back, he went to work for my Paternal Grandfather and wanted to repay him for the livestock. He worked off every dime of his debt for that cow. My Grandfather didn't want to be repaid, he just wanted to help. He was a good man. My father's family employed most of my mom's sisters to work on the farm. The girls picked strawberries and they got a penny a bunch. My dad's family had an egg route and made money supplying the town with milk, corn and other food that they grew.

I know all of this must sound like I grew up during the depression, but it was the 70s. It wasn't like those kids on that TV show in Point Place, Wisconsin. There wasn't always enough food to go around. Maybe there is a correlation between my upbringing and the person I grew up to be. Hey, I think I just had a breakthrough.

My dad was born in Toledo, Ohio. He had two sisters. His father and mother moved to Akron. During their time at their new residence my grandfather got the flu and passed away. Something also happened to my grandmother and she had a nervous breakdown and left the house. My father was three and was diagnosed with rickets; his sisters were one and two years old. After the neighbors heard the crying babies they went to investigate and found that all the children were undernourished and dehydrated. They were all sent back to Toledo and were placed in a home for children. My grandmother was arrested and thrown in jail. She was denied any involvement with her children and they never saw her again. My two aunts were sent to live with foster families. The Chief of Police in Toledo provided a home for one of the girls.

My dad was adopted, but not legally. He is a Native American and at that time the law stated that Native Americans could not be adopted. My father was taken in by a man named Durant. My father's name was lost in the shuffle, so he was called Harry and grew up with that name. Mr. Durant took Harry to Chicago where Mrs. Durant was very mean to my father. After months of abuse my father was finally taken out of that environment. The last straw; one evening she decided she would make Harry eat even though he said he wasn't hungry and didn't feel well. My dad threw up his food and started crying. I guess Mrs. Durant didn't feel like cleaning that mess so she forced him to eat his own vomit. Mr. Durant moved away and took my dad with him.

He met my grandmother in Akron; they fell in love and got married right away. They lived on a farm and took very good care of Harry. Everything was fine for a while, but then Mr. Durant decided he was going to leave my grandmother. No reason was given; he just wanted to move on so they had to decide what would become of Harry. They asked my father whether he wanted to live at the Children's home or stay with my grandma at the farm. He opted to stay on the farm and my grandmother was thrilled. She never had any other children so Harry was her only child.

Dad worked on the farm and spent his time daydreaming about flying. When he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the military. However, there was one problem; Harry Durant was not a real person. No birth certificate could be found and to make things worse, his mother was born on an Indian Reservation, where no birth records were kept. It was quite a while before he found out his real name was Walter Markley.

He then made contact with his sisters and their big reunion was covered by the media. After the celebration he was off to the Air Force. During his time in the military, my grandmother's father was dying and was given hours to live. The Red Cross sent word for my father to come home, but his unit was to be deployed within hours and he was refused leave. Harry was visibly distraught and a sergeant who happened by asked him why he was upset. Dad explained and the sergeant said, "Whereabouts would you be going?" Dad said, "Oh it's a really small town in Ohio called Mogadore." The man said, "Oh really? I'm from a small town in Ohio, I'm from Barberton." Barberton is 30 minutes from Mogadore. He asked Harry to follow him to his office where he told his commanding officer that private Markley was to be sent home. By the time the paperwork was finished, the plane that was to take my dad home was loaded and took off without him. My father was beside himself, he wouldn't be there when the man who helped raise him was buried. Later on, he was informed that the plane he missed had crashed. There were no survivors.

Well, I feel better. Too bad there's no doctor to ask me how that makes me feel, LOL. Well folks, I've lost some weight. I'm down to 515 pounds and that's a start. I still would like to have some help doing this, maybe a dietitian or a personal trainer. I'll still keep at it and hope for the best.

I'd like to take this time to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday. I know what my New Year's resolution is, the same as it is every year.