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When you were a just a toddler, you weren’t yet all that.

It begins for you in Gary, Indiana. Your father, Joe, works nightshift as a crane operator at a steel Company. Your mother, Katharine, has suffered from infantile paralysis since the age of two and now she walks with a permanent limp. Some might say she has a psychological limp as well. She lets Joe keep guns under the beds, lets him beat the living crap out of the entire family, and gives him carte blanche to generally ruin the lives of all of his children. This is quite an accomplishment since there are so Osmond-many of you. You see, Joe does not believe in birth control. He’ll have as many god-damned children as he pleases and Katharine will like it. Memorize them, Michael, for you will be spending an unnatural amount of time cooped up with them.

Maureen (Rebbie) 1950
Sigmund (Jackie) 1951
Toriano (Tito) 1953
Jermaine 1954
Latoya 1956
Brandon & Marlon 1957 (only Marlon survived)
Michael 1958
Steven Randall (Randy) 1961
Janet 1966

Your life as a little Jackson is pretty grim. Dad considers himself a disciplinarian if you consider cruelty a disciplinary strategy. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to call him Dad. That would be too lovey-squishy. You must call him Joseph. Latoya complains about being sexually molested during the night by Joe. She sleeps with all her sisters on a pull-out sofa in the living room. Latoya claims that Rebbie once confided to her that she was sexually molested by Joe well. Under no circumstances are you allowed to talk to other kids in the hood. Once Joe catches you playing with a neighborhood kid. He grabs the kid and holds a knife to his throat. But even though Joe frightens you and you often have nightmares about him, you still talk back. You have no respect for him. He chases you, red-faced and hollering but you are a fast little guy and you usually get away.

Yet another challenge for you is the religion your mom has chosen: Jehovah’s Witnesses! What a tough break! It would seem that even she is against you. Mom takes you along on her 15-hours of door-to-door proselytizing each week. Lots of doors get slammed in your face. You aren’t allowed to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or even Christmas. Your childhood is pretty joyless.

Your father is an aspiring musician. He plays blues guitar in a local band called the Falcons. Given his trigger-spring temper, who do you think would be foolish enough to play his guitar while he is out of the room? Who would attempt such a life-threatening stunt and did they live to tell about it?

Latoya plays the guitar and gets her first nose job.

Michael picks up the guitar and his pet rat Ben is beheaded.

Tito does a guitar solo and is sent to a work-camp.

Back to the Beginning of the Story


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