My mother's new husband was from Germany and he hadn't been in the U.S. that long, so he was still learning his way around the language. For a while things were great. My mother's family was excited as my great-grandmother was 100% German, and we were celebrating our ancestral connections. We loved hearing him speak the language, and we were constantly asking him how to say this or that in German, and we looked forward to a time when we could visit Germany with him.
In the beginning, he seemed like a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy. At least for the first few months. Until his first violent explosion that rattled dishes off of the dinner table. From my mother's expression, I could tell she was as shocked as I was.
In the early years, the verbal violence surfaced sporadically and we never knew exactly what might set it off. Part of the problem was that the guy had been swindled by previous employers, and without a steady job, he was in the throes of an identity crisis. But that excuse wasn't valid forever, and after a couple of years when my mother was the only bread winner in the family and my stepfather was in search of a new business venture, the excitement and romance of the relationship with this exotic man wore off.
It wasn't all bad; he had his good points and his good days, but the controlling and violent rages soon eclipsed the good times.
He didn't like that my grandparents lived so close to us and that I ran to their house during violent arguments. He didn't like that my grandmother meddled in our family affairs (understandable on some level), and he didn't like that Kingsport was such a small town where everyone knew everyone else, and he couldn't break into the "old boy's club." Secretively, he began to formulate a plan in which we would leave the area and move to a big city where he would have more opportunity.
But what we all knew without him saying a word was that he wanted to get my mother away from her family. He needed to have complete control, and that was only possible if he could move us to a place where we had no place to run.
We reached the end of our first year with my new stepfather. It was 1983 and MTV (Music Television) was in full swing. I spent hours in front of the television watching videos and planning my future as a singer. I was sure that one day I would see myself in one of those videos. The first video I ever remember seeing was "Der Kommissar" by After the Fire.
What is the first video you ever remember watching on MTV?