“I used to live in what is now called Aïre-Le Lignon. It was the countryside with crop fields. There was also a huge pig farm, and everyday at 5pm we would hear the pigs screaming because they were being fed. We lived close by, in a small and very rudimentary house. We had running water, but no hot water. We didn’t have any bathroom, we wash ourselves in the kitchen with a basin. The house was made of adjoining rooms, bits and pieces that my father would add every time there was another kid. Not one window looked alike and all the shutters were different.
My father was a vulcanizer, his workshop was opposite of the Eaux-Vives school, below the archway. But money was missing by the 15th of each month, and we had to write down our purchases in the booklet of the grocery shop. At the end of the month, as soon as the salary would arrive, we had to pay for the 15 last days. It was a vicious circle, and it lasted for years! We didn’t have a happy family life. My mother was an alcoholic, and my parents used to fight and beat each other up. I can say that there was a period during my childhood when my mother was drunk 5 days a week. My father would come back from work at noon, and there was nothing on the table. They started to yell, to insult each other, and then they would start to fight physically. It lasted for several days, and we, the kids, were in the middle of all that. My father didn’t drink, but when he had taken a small glass, which was very rare, it would get bad. As I was the eldest, I would lock up my brothers into my room.
I used to hide my condition, no one ever came to my house. I was ashamed because I was very conscious of the fact that things were not normal at home. I was too ashamed that my mother would end up drunk, or something like that. I had friends who lived in beautiful villas, they went on holidays, the children were well dressed. I would often go to their home after school, and I was well aware that it was their home which was normal. Just for that, I wouldn’t want to come back on this planet. If I’m going to end up with parents like these: no thanks.”
(Parc La Grange | translated from French)