Child’s Play

About -the beginning I was at one time very small a child even.. funny I don’t remember much about it. I can remember being given a doll to play with, I decided it was a he, and named him Alan, after being told I had to give him a name. Was the name to call him if he were lost or to introduce him to people, it wasn’t like he was going to answer to it.  It felt just odd even stupid to play like this plastic doll was my baby.  I was sure I must have something wrong with me because other girls played with dolls and carried them around and pretended to feed them and change them. He was naked, also odd. I think my mom made him some clothes he probably came from a yard sale or something. The next Christmas I got a doll bed, what a strange thing I thought, do I now have to pretend he sleeps and be quiet?  Yes, there was definitively something wrong with me. I was born a cute little very pale skinned girl with curly fly away reddish hair and big blue sparkling eyes. I remember a picture of me about a year old or so, I was standing with my hand on a telephone pole, smiling that wrinkled up nose grin that babies do. I had bandages all the way up my legs disappearing under my dress. My mom told me years later that my brother had pushed my stroller into the fire place and burned my legs badly. I don’t see any sign of it now. I looked as full of wonder and curiosity as any little girl. Wonder lasted only a year or at most two. When that was ripped away by who should be the most trusted person in a girl’s life, my father. Well, my hair was once very long and had almost every color in it. I liked it a lot as a child. I remember when we lived in a small town in California, San Miguel, and I would meet other kids and they would ask me what my name was and I would answer with a very southern drawl and they would laugh, I would always ask them “Do you like my Har? , they would laugh.  I would tilt my head and smile. I seemed to be always on the outside. I have memories of a poor little girl being terribly hurt and in pain. I can see her from my place high up in the room almost at the ceiling. She had been afraid to go to sleep and tried so hard to stay awake and vigil. Once again she was aroused by him, pulling on her panties. No, she said , just one time, more from surprise then power. She knew she had no power, she could do nothing but try not to look and keep her mouth tightly shut. I was rather indifferent to her just like watching some dumb animal or something from a story maybe, you know, made up. She must have been very bad. Otherwise these bad things would not happen to her. She didn’t seem bad. Where is her mom, why is she never there? I don’t know where she is, she tells me now about all the fun we had and the good things she did for me. I don’t remember it at all. She must be confused, maybe she is remembering a story, or maybe just lying. She was always mad at me, I was always bad somehow. I’ve seen pictures of me dressed up in cute dresses and smiling, but the smile was kind of scared to. I don’t see pictures of being hugged or kissed or even smiled at. Wonder why I can’t remember that? I prayed every night – well it was more like talking to God. I was mad! What did I do God ? Why if you love little children were you allowing this to happen to me. I had looked at the big bible at my grandmother’s house, it had amazing pictures of Jesus. I so liked the one where he was surrounded by kids. But, me – he just didn’t like me I guess. I know I wasn’t pretty, lots of freckles, and just not pretty at all. But I tried to be good and I would be real quite not draw attention to myself. I knew other kids must know I was a bad person too. I knew they didn’t really want to have anything to do with me. I knew I couldn’t trust anyone, because they always lied. People made fun of me and talked about me, they would laugh when I walked by. I was hurting so much, but I would just walk along as though I was totally unaware of them. If they don’t know they hurt me, I win. Several years went by and I survived somehow. I always knew if anybody ever found out I would be in so much trouble, that’s what he told me, no one would love me, really how could they. So I pretty much got use to this was my life. Then something happened, we, my two brothers and myself were taken to our dad’s parents, our grandparents to stay for a while. We stood in the door way holding our little suitcases and my grandmother said we were to call her “Eva” we tried but mostly we called her grandma. I don’t know for sure how long we were there. One day we got up early and were to bathe and put on our Sunday clothes. We got in the car and drove for a long time, my brothers fussed with each other till my grandpa said he would pull the car over, which scared us all. We finally pulled up in front of this huge building with great lawns and across the road vast strawberry fields. We got out of the car and walked up the marble stairs to the big doors. There was an echo it was a very large room it went up like three stories. I looked up the stairs and at the walls; it was so cool in here too. We were met by a man who spoke quietly to grandma and grandpa then invited us to come see the cafeteria and out to the playground. We were told to go swing, and that’s when it was clear to me. Why did I have such a feeling of total dread? I watched my brothers on the swings laughing and being silly, while I was screaming and screaming, on the inside. I sat looking at the line of dirt in the grass where so many kids had rubbed it away with their feet as they swung away hours. No sign of any thought or fear, but I knew, they were going to leave us here. Why was this happening? I looked up and realized grandpa wasn’t there.  Where’s grandpa? ” I looked over to where the car was parked and saw my grandpa taking our suitcases out of the trunk of the car. Grandma walked around in front of us, when I saw her shoes – black and shiny and brand new looking, I slowly raised my head and paused to see her purse hanging on her arm and her white gloves in her hand, and then up to her neck to her scarf, I always liked the way that looked. She took my chin in her hand and said, “I think you will like it here, If there were only 2 of you we could keep you but 3 is too many, you understand – ” “You be good now don’t embarrass me.” She turned around and walked to the car my grandpa opened the door and she got in, he turned around and looked up the hill where we stood, still and quit, he took his cigarette out of his mouth tossed on the ground and stepped on it. He put his hat on his head and walked around the car got in, backed up and drove by grandma didn’t even look up.  Maybe we should have called her Eva. I decided right then and there, I was not going to be nice anymore! They took my brothers to the “boys hall” – and I was to be taken to the “girls hall” I decided I would not smile or even talk to anyone. When I got to the dorms I was asked how I liked it as they showed me a room.  I cried, so they took me to the “big girl’s hall” for the night. The next morning I got up and brushed my teeth and went to the cafeteria for breakfast, It was really good. People were very nice to me, I just hate for others to be sad, they smiled and talked so nice to me, I could see in their eyes and the way they held their mouths that they were really sad that I was unhappy; I broke down and was nice back… So they took me to my room in the little girl’s hall. My suitcase was on the bed in the little room. I walked in and put my hand on my suitcase, for a feeling of belonging or maybe of something familiar. The lady with me said to pick up my suitcase and follow her. we went to a big room where she opened my suitcase and put all my things into drawers, they were marked “socks sz 4, panties small, dresses small” and so on. I never saw my things again, the socks and panties that I got out of the drawers were always stained and had holes. There was a good thing, He could not touch me anymore. I have always had a hard time with dates partly because I don’t want to remember lots of things, and partly because I just can’t. But, I do know we were in the orphanage for about 3 years. My little brother was only about 3 and I know President Kennedy was assassinated about 63 I think – I can remember all of the kids together in the big TV room, crying over the loss of a president that we cared about..Very strange really when you think about little kids now wouldn’t know or care probably. Another thing that gives me and anchor in time is that in the end my mother came to get us, along with my dad. She had a baby with her, my first little sister, she was cute and about 6 weeks old. I know my sister was born in 64 because she is nine years younger than me. We drove all day to my aunt’s house, where my mom gave me the baby told me to go change her and put her to sleep. That is when it started again.   I changed her and rocked her to sleep and laid her on a pallet on the floor. No sooner did I lay her down, he came in and did it again, with the whole family down stairs and the strange little baby on the floor, I thought I would die and I just left me there again and went up to the safety of the ceiling, that poor little girl, she just doesn’t have a chance. Why God if you love little children, why? On to California, we were packed into the car and off again to a new life. I forgot till now my grandmother was there to, my mother’s mother. We drove for days, I think. We went over the Mississippi river which was cresting over its banks. Over the Rocky Mountains, which I thought sounded so big and amazing. (I now see those mountains all the time which transports me in my mind to dark ponderings.) When we got to California, we ended up in a trailer house on a horse ranch, actually it was two trailers, kids in one and grown-ups in the other, again I mistook that for safety. We moved sprinkler pipes and got on horses and mucked out stalls, lots of farm stuff. Years later I saw a picture of myself sitting on a fence by the horse corral , with a cowboy hat and boots on, so odd how I looked happy. Then the fighting started. We could hear the grownups trailer booming and the yelling and screaming, then quiet. We all laid there awake, staring into the dark for a long time that night. Turns out my dad had knocked my mother over a chair with a skillet, or the other way around, I’m not sure. The next day my grandmother came again she was mean, she talked so mean to us and told us we were making our mom sick with all our fussing, she pulled a switch off a tree and whipped our legs,” get in that trailer and get you stuff packed now!” she barked, she had her tongue clamped between her teeth like she was sticking it out at us. We moved away from my dad, safe again. We moved into a small town, San Miguel, into a small house only a block from the school. I don’t know how my mom took care of us. She sewed clothes for us and other people too. She met the neighbors and spent time with them some. We had to go to this big building and wait in a long line, maybe once or twice a month, I hated to go but we had no car and had to carry the stuff home. We would get a big block of cheese, powered milk, powdered eggs, butter, a big roll of bologna, beans & rice. There might have been flour and sugar & lard too. Our house was clean although it had linoleum that was paper-thin with the design faded off. Mom made me wax that floor till is shined, even the thin parts. It was a paste wax which has to be buffed to shine, so I drug my little brother around on an old wool army blanket to buff it, he had so much fun. My mom started to yard sale at that time, she sometimes got furniture that was thrown away and recovered it. She was real good at that stuff and tables and things. My room was an area off the kitchen that had a sheet curtain across the opening. It was nice. My brothers slept in the little bedroom off the back porch, and mom had the big bedroom off the livingroom, I think Faith probably slept there too, I don’t remember if she slept with me yet or not. Then my dad came back into our lives. My mom had gone to court which in my mind was like basketball…I couldn’t understand at all. So because she lost, we had to go see our dad …alone. My brothers were so excited, I begged, “please don’t make me go” – my mom said. ” you have to go the court said”…”please” , I pleaded, “please” my mom said she would send a tape recorder with me in my purse. What is she thinking? What good would that do? Why doesn’t the baby have to go? Maybe if I hold the baby? So, my mom gets an empty match box and puts black tape on it and stick the earplugs off my transistor radio in the end, “Here put this in your purse”. I did..does she think I’m totally stupid? Anyway my dad arrives and we get into his car, my brothers both say, “she has a tape recorder in her purse!” My dad didn’t react at all. I think I was most stunned that they thought is was real. It was the first time he ..messed with me in this way. We went out to Creston, to a little bar /restaurant. He put money on the pool table and set my brothers to playing. They were sqeelling and I was anxious for my turn too. Then he turned to me and said, “didn’t you need to go to the bathroom?” I didn’t even answer, he took my hand and tugged me toward the door, the best I could muster was to try to drag my feet. He stood me on the sink in the mens room and pulled down my pants and his, I just don’t know what happened after that, I was just numb. I was obviously damned. No one could protect me, I was just going to spend my life forever being bad. I was so sure someone would walk in and see this my mind was racing I thought I would faint, I couldn’t breathe.. We went back inside after what seemed like hours and my brothers were eating hamburgers, I wanted one real bad, I got one and I ate it real fast, and I threw up in the floor right there in the bar. Maybe they won’t let us come back here I thought. I think this is the first time I ate when I was distraught – and maybe why I still want a hamburger when its bad then I will almost always feel nauseousness. Somehow my mom managed to go to a little bar in town and meet my future step dad, Bill King Those details are sketchy at best, that said, here’s what I remember. He was tall about 6’2″, he was a Sargent in the Army, a cook to be more precise. He had a big belly and a beard too. He had tattoo’s – there was a black panther the length of his forearm, and a naked lady on the other whole forearm. He cussed a lot. He would sit on the couch in his boxer shorts and watch tv and have us bring him stuff. Mostly food! My sister Andrea was born in 65 I think, so it was probably sometime in 64 that he moved into our house. We had more food and didn’t have to go get the “commodities” anymore. I think Andrea was born when my step dad was in Viet Nam, and he came home when she was real tiny. We moved to Templeton, to a house that was in pretty bad shape. My mom just started fixing it up. She did pretty well too. In 69 my sister Evonne was born. We got boxes of stuff home from my step dad all kinds of things from Thailand, and places like that. I spent so much of my time watching the babies – they are 9,10,& 14 years younger than me. I had to take care of their meals, baths, laundry, even take care of them in the night if they were sick. I slept with one or the other of them throughout my childhood, got peed on almost nightly for years. Somewhere in all this time my step dad came back from where ever he had been and lived at home after that. He still had to get up and go to work early in the morning. He would call me down stairs and have me blouse his boots, still in the military. And pin his pins on his stiffly starched shirt, then have me go outside and start-up his car and get the heater going so he wouldn’t have to get into a cold car. Really, this was better. My mom changed. Mom started to be angry with me a lot, yelling and hitting me and getting in my face and talking in a low growl , her breath smelled of stale cigarettes and coffee. I got to a point that I didn’t want to go in the same room as her, and if she walked behind me a knife, I was terrified. I never could get things done the way she wanted, mind you I know I’m somewhat lazy and I seem to forget a lot, I have things going on in my head all the time. I’d get caught daydreaming and cuffed when I don’t react to whatever it is at the time. I really just want to get it right and make her happy, or at least not mad. My brothers and I would be walking home from school and you could hear her a block away, the curtains were open upstairs, where we all slept. We looked at each other and not one said a word. When we got to the gate she yelled from the window, “get your asses in here now!” My stomach felt like I would throw up, but we all ran, ran to our doom again. She was crying and had a cigarette in her mouth and one in the ash tray. She had pulled everything out of our closet and our draws and even the stuff my little sisters had under the bed. My sister Faith loved to draw and play school or store and she loved to keep all her “papers” as she called them. Mom was screaming at us about how hard she worked to give us a nice home and this was the thanks she got, and we were to get busy and clean it all up perfect or she would make us go outside to the switch tree and pick the perfect switch for our punishment, we heard that a lot and made frequent trips to the switch tree. My sisters were sitting lined up against the wall with their knees pulled tightly up to their chest, little Evonne had tears flowing and Faith looked at me and mouthed, “my papers”, Andrea, had her chin jutted out and a mad face on. I looked over at them and smiled behind my mother’s back. I just wanted to make them feel that someone was there for them. Then true to form for Andrea she stood up and stomped her foot and said, “I’m telling MY daddy!” Oooo, we knew we were in for it. “You’re not telling anybody anything!”, she stormed across the room and grabbed my sister by the hair with her hands shaking and tears of anger in her eyes, “You get in the corner and stay there till I tell you to come out” , Andrea wouldn’t turn into the corner, we were all in shock. Just do it sissy, I was wishing and almost chanting it to myself. Somehow, my step dad came home without us noticing and was standing in the door of our room. He never came up stairs, it was surreal. His face was red and he was shaking with anger. “What the Hell is going on up here – you can hear this all over the neighborhood!” My mom threw the pile of papers that she was dragging out from under the bed and was crying hysterically, ” Look at this mess! – they don’t respect anything. Andrea and Evonne ran to their dad and Faith wasn’t far behind when she saw they would make it. “You are totally letting them resist my authority!” She stormed past them, grabbed her cigarettes and flew down the stairs, cussing the whole way. He looked at us and said, “Clean this mess up” he took my sisters down stairs put them in the car along with my mom. We found out later they went for ice cream. When we got home from school if our parents weren’t home we were not allowed to go in the house. We sat out on the front steps and waited. This one day my little brother decieded to taunt me, “bet you can’t rub my face in that dog poop over there – come on chicken..buok boouk bouk, little chicken” I told him to stop or I would, he kept right on doing it. Finally I’d had enough, I reached out and grabbed him by the back of the neck and stuck his nose right on it , trying to be careful not to really get it on him. I went back and sat on the step, here he came. “bet you can’t do that again” Cheez a lou Randy go find Rudy. Randy took off around the house just as the car pulled up, it was getting sunset and I had to pee so bad. Anyway, we all got in the house and in line at the one bathroom. I come out of the bathroom and my mom says, “everybody get in a line right here.” Oh no, now what. We all got in line shoulder to shoulder even my little sisters, my mom says, “Who got into the chocolate cake?” Nobody said a word, she went down the line looking at us in the eyes, then she said everybody hold your hands out” , so we did “Nails up”, she barked “The one with white spots on their finger nails is guilty. She started down the line again, we were all shaking, “I see spot on everybody’s nails” ,”your all getting a whipp’n” She grabbed my little sister Evonne, who immediately started to cry, then she looked up at my brother Rudy, “Are you going to let me beat your little sister for what you did?” , all our heads snapped to the left and looked at Rudy, “I didn’t do it” he pleaded “Well, nobody else could have crawled through the kitchen window and left a size 13 shoe print!” Boy did he get it, we were all headed for the safety of the upstairs as fast as we could go. Rudy got it with a belt, he was pretty whelped up. My mom called me back down stairs and said to get supper going, I started peeling potatoes which was an every night thing. I could peel potatoes in one long string and thin too, that came from a lick’n once and constantly being told I would have to peel the peels if they were too thick. We had beans, cornbread and fried potatoes with ketchup. My mom cut herself a big piece of cake and told Rudy to clean the kitchen and the rest of us we weren’t getting any cake because Rudy got into it. I saw what she was doing, but the rest of the kids were steaming mad at Rudy. Later that night my little sister came down and told my step dad what had happened, he told her to go get us and had me serve everybody cake. My mom sat in the livingroom not paying any attention as we ate our cake and washed up our plates and went back upstairs. The next day when we came down to get ready for school the cake plate was busted and the cake was all over the walls and floor. My mom, stood in the doorway and told us to get busy cleaning it up before we were late for school. I guess school got to be more calm than home. At least at school I could just go sit somewhere and breath and listen to birds and smell grass and read books. I loved to read, I would go away to a different life. It got to where I thought stories I read were memories. I didn’t fit in, I would try not to look at anyone. My grades were just awful, it shames me but I was continually being told that I was stupid so how could I expect to get anything but C’s and D’s. I would get in so much trouble for my report card. I would come to school to get out of a war zone and I was expected to excel… it never made sense to me that I was stupid and they were surprised when my teachers agreed. I decided when a new girl came to our school I would make sure to try to make them feel like someone was glad they were there. I met this girl one day, Bertha, she was black her hair was so wild. She was shunned but I went right over and became her friend. Bertha was a very nice person, I was so sad when she moved away after only a few weeks. I told my step dad that my friend Bertha moved away and he said, “Bertha? she’s a N”..well I can’t even say the word he said “That’s why she’s gone this town ran ’em out” What, would they do that? Why were people so mean. The place we came from in Tennessee, had white bathrooms and colored bathrooms and white drinking fountains and colored drinking fountains, and the black folk were supposed to cross the street and now look at us. It was always such a bad felling. My dad had told us that the colored were more like animals than humans, that they didn’t have the same kind of brain even as we did. I never felt that that could be true. Anyway, after that I made double sure that I didn’t waste any time making sure that new girls felt that they had a friend. They very often would move on to more popular people but I didn’t care. I had spent so much time worrying that someone would find out that I was bad. I would get out a mirror and look down there to see if I saw a baby coming out yet. I know it was going to happen and then everyone would know for sure. It was daily torture. The school sent home permission slips for a sex ed class, my mom said, “No” but my step dad made her let me go. I got into the class and sat in the back. The teacher showed us pictures of sperm and eggs and stuff that I just didn’t understand even though I strained to. Then it happened, I heard her say, “You can get pregnant for up to three days after having intercourse, which turns out is “doing it” Wait a minute, what ..did I hear her right? I did something completely different for me, I raised my hand. “Yes”, “you in the back” she pointed at me. I heard my voice, “So if you have intercourse and after nine months and three days you don’t have a baby you’re not going to have a baby?” “Thats right”. she went on talking and I didn’t hear a word after that. I was free, no one ever had to know. It was as though someone took the weight of the world off my shoulders. My life started to change in that instant. At least at school, I got home that day and as soon as I stepped through the door my mom came from nowhere and started slashing at me all over with a switch, I was so startled, my mind was all over the place. She was screaming that I was going to learn to listen, when I was told something or she would beat me till I did. What had I not done? My bed was made, I did the dishes before school, I didn’t leave a towel in the bathroom floor , in fact I made sure no one else did either. “What? – What did I do?”, I was yelling it at the top of my lungs. She had basically herded me through the house to the back porch, I was pressed up against the washer and she got in my face and said, “This” – she reached into the dryer and pulled out some clothes, slapped them against my face and said, “Smell” I did and they smelled moldy, “What is wrong with you? Why would you put these in the dryer and not even turn it on!” “Are you too stupid to turn it on?” she wasn’t really wanting an answer, I’m sure she knew how stupid I was. I saw my brother out the corner of my eye in the doorway but I dared not turn my head. “I’m sorry mama I’ll rewash them right now” I was trying to calm her down. “You damn sure will and then you’ll hang them out on the clothes line.” “You don’t get to use the dryer again till I tell you.” She stormed off the porch and my brother jumped out-of-the-way, I looked up at him and said, “Mama told you to put the towels in the dryer last night before we went to bed” He looked at me in the eyes and said, “I forgot” then he turned around and went out back to shoot some hoops. I realize on that day, it is not me being bad that makes my mom mad at me. I think she just hates me to the bone. So I started doing lots of cleaning and taking care of the kids and changing my sheets without being told, I dusted and cleaned out drawers, I wiped down walls and windows, I even picked up dog poop out of the yard. One day our neighbor came out and said to me, “Why haven’t you run away?” Well, I was stunned, “I’m trying to be an obedient child, they don’t run away.” Why would she say that? I couldn’t take care of myself out there – I don’t know how. My mom didn’t have any complaints about anything, but she was still mad. I got up on the next morning and I just felt awful. My ears and throat hurt real bad so I asked to stay home from school, she told me I was to get the house completely clean if I was going to stay home. I had a really bad headache and was so hot, and I remember I wanted to keep her happy. She sat down at her organ and played as I cleaned. As I cleaned I cried softly as the day went on my ears hurt worse and worse. I was done cleaning and was going to go get in bed, “Where do you think you’re going?” she said from the seat of the organ, without even looking up. “I’m done and I’m going to go lay down my ears are really hurting”. “Come here” , she put her cigarette in her mouth and took hold of my ear, which hurt really bad, I flinched and yelped. “If you’re not going to let me look, go on to bed” she said out the corner of her mouth and blew smoke in my face at the same time. I went to bed and had crazy dreams of be chased by a monster, when I woke up I was wet from sweating. I went down stairs and got into the bathtub, we only had the one bathroom so I knew it would have to be quick. My mom rapped on the door and said, if I didn’t have the house done when my dad got home she would have him whip me. What? It is clean, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, straightened – everywhere. I got dresses and went out to see what she was talking about. “Mom, it’s all done” I protested. “No it’s not” she said flatly “What do I need to do?” “Well, you better figure it out before your dad gets home” she smerked kind of oddly. I walked all over the place adjusting and checking, wiping and re-wiping. When my dad got home she told him I need a whip’n for not listening. I looked at her with my mouth hanging open, shaking my head no, but my dad pulls his belt off and gave me a few whacks and said, ” listen to your mother!” he walked into the bedroom and slammed the door. I looked her with shock, “What…did…I ….not …do?” I was whimpering and seething at the same time. She pointed to the TV, “See that dust under the TV” , “I told you what was going to happen”. Get it!” ..I walked over to the TV reached my hand up underneath and picked up the tiny thorn in my side. “Start dinner” , she spat out these words as she whisked by me with a snicker. I got up the next morning and my ears were in so much pain, it sounded like I had mason jars over my ears. I felt my way down the stairs with my eyes closed. When I got to the kitchen my dad standing there in his boxer shorts at the open refrigerator taking a big drink from the buttermilk jug. “What’s wrong with you?” he looked concerned. “My ears are in so much pain” I was crying From the other room my mom said, “Put some mineral oil in them” So I did but it didn’t do anything, “I’m going back to bed” I headed for the stairs “Hey make us some eggs and sausage, first” my dad said from the couch where he was stationed with my little sisters. I started getting the stuff out to make the breakfast and I was really crying now, my dad says, “Whats the matter?” “My ears hurt really bad, I can’t even hear very good, like I have jars over my ears” “Come here, he said “Bring me my glasses” I did. He looked in my ears and said, “She needs to go to the doctor”, my mom looked over and said, “it’s Saturday” My dad was angry, and told me to go get dresses. My dad took me to the emergency room. I had a terrible double ear infection, the doctor said it was so bad that my hearing might be forever effected. I got big brown pills that looked like chocolate m&m’s. The next day we were all going next door for dinner. I just didn’t feel like it at all. My dad said, I’ll stay home with her, you guys go on” My mom was mad that he wasn’t going, but she went anyway. I started to go sit in the livingroom and watch TV and my dad said, “hey go fix us something to eat” he was kind of joking the way he said it but he meant it . Was he an alli or wasn’t he. My parents opened a poker room in the next town over and ended up gone through the night a lot, we were to clean up, lock the door and go to bed alone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. I think my brother snuck out sometimes in the night, one night I heard noise in his room like him falling in the window. Then I heard him playing, Ina- Goda- Davida – then I heard him throw up, sounded like into his guitar. “Damn”, he said. I snickered, he said. “Shut up” I snickered again. I heard his guitar hit the floor with that hollow twag they make. Sometimes when we got up in the morning they had left us a note to be quiet and not to have the tv loud. Sometimes they weren’t home still when we got up, or they left early again, not sure. I was supposed to feed everybody and look after the little ones. My one sister was so picky about what she would eat, but my dad made it clear to me I was to prepare meat, potatoes and vegetables even for lunch. I did and she would never eat it and my dad would come home she would climb up on his lap and say, “I’m hungry” , he would jump up and pull his belt off and start beating me. I wasn’t able to give an explanation, just try to stay standing till he was done. I decided this wasn’t going to happen any more. It was again the weekend and I cooked lunch and she didn’t eat. I sat down in the chair across from her at the table and looked her in the eyes and said, “If”, “when dad gets home, you crawl into his lap and say one word” , I held up one finger, “I will grab you off his lap and beat – “You” with this belt” , I held up my belt. She just sat there and glared at me. When dad got home he sat down and she went over and sat on his lap and said,”I’m”, that was it. She didn’t get another word out, I had her by the arm and swatted her three times with the belt and said “Get up stairs” …she stood behind me in shock, dad was so surprised he had not moved from his spot, he looked so puzzled. I was shaking and crying to but I was into good this time, “I will not be held hostage by that brat anymore, I cook for her just like you told me too and she doesn’t want it”, “if you want to beat me fine but this stops, Today” I tossed my belt in his lap and went out the front door. I sat on the front steps because I dared not leave the yard without permission. I heard my mom, say to him, “now can you see what brats your raising?”, was she defending me? I sat on the step till it got dark than I walked around and went in the back door and up to my room to finally sleep, cried out and exhausted and somehow stronger. Time flys forward and I’m in high school, I am happier because I have been able to develop into a different me. I can be funny at school and even laugh at myself. I wanted to go to the home-coming dance, I didn’t have a date, I was a freshman, we had a oppertunity to serve punch and cookies for the Juniors and Seniors. I ask my mom and pleaded with my dad, and he finally told my mom to let me go. She said ok, wow really I thought, I just hoped it wouldn’t be like so many other times when she would say yes, and make sure I had done something to not get to go. I ask her if she would make me a dress with puffy short sleeves, and she did! She curled my hair, and even let me wear some make up, I looked myself in the mirror and smiled, but closed my mouth quickly, I had braces on my teeth. So I walked out in my dress and twirled around, my mom looks me over and says, “Thats the best I could do with what I had to work with” . , I felt my shoulders drop and my heart too. I walked out the door and the two blocks to the school. I was pretty and turned ugly before I ever got out of the house. I listened to the music and watched people dance, I pretended that I was one of them. That night several girls said they liked my dress, and I would say, “My Mom made it” ,with pride. Why did I have pride in that ? I had to be home by 10, my dad drove down and picked me up so I wouldn’t have to walk home in the dark. “Did you have a good time?” “Ya” , “Did you dance?” ,”No, I was there to serve the punch” “Oh, I thought you got all prettied up to meet some boys” “No!” ” He laughed, “Your telling me that no boys asked you to dance?” “No, why would they I’m just a freshman.” We got home, I kissed my dad and hugged him and he hugged me back then I went upstairs to bed, I can’t imagine a boy would ask me to dance. We went to church most Sundays, when I say we I mean me and my brothers and sisters. We would sing and go to Sunday school and do crafts and get snacks, and hear stories about God and Jesus. I remember going forward one Sunday, although I went forward a lot of Sundays, but this particular one , was crying and praying, I wanted to have a beautiful life-like the stories we heard. I asked God to help me be good, and to let my mom see that I was good. I wanted her to not hate me, to even love me. I wanted to please not have to be so different. We got home that day and my sisters told my mom I was crying in church, “What?” – why are you crying in church, you trying to get sympathy of something?” I wasn’t sure what she meant, “No, I was just sad about something”, I was praying to myself, please God just make her let this pass. “If I hear of this happening again, I’ll give you something to cry about! – do you hear me?” “Yes” I said with my head down, God I asked you to help me..why don’t you help me. A week or so later we saw a girl from school at the store with her mom. Judy had glasses and long red hair, she was smart and real quiet when she spoke, she liked me though. Her mom told my mom she should let me come out and ride horses with Judy. My mom said how nice of you to ask we will definitely do that, I was I’m sure standing there with my mouth open. Judy’s mom said “We can pick her up on Saturday if that’s alright” My mom said, “oh you don’t have to do that we can bring her out, my mother lives near your place and I can drop Ty off on my way” “That will be fine, see you then Ty” “Thank you” , I said and looked up at my mom she was smiling, she looked really pretty, then they walked away. It was like a spell broke or something. “If you don’t have your chores done by 9 o’clock Saturday morning you won’t go” “Oh, I will mama, I will” Friday night I could barely sleep I was so excited, I got up at 7 and worked like crazy, I asked if I was done at 8:30, no answer so I kept finding things to do. Quarter to 9 came, and my heart sank, it was going to happen again, my hopes up high enough that they would completely shatter into a million pieces when they were once again dashed to pieces. My mom told everyone to get in the car and she headed out the door behind them. I stood there and watched, she started to back out and stopped, “Are you coming or what?” I ran like the wind, I spent all day with Judy riding horses and we talked about God and being a Christian. About, pg. 2 A new chapter in my life , things began to change – some good some worse.  My mother started to have more of an issue with my step dad than me or the rest of  the kids.  I think it started one night when she told us to get to bed and we all got up and said good night and started up the stairs, my dad said, ” you never hug these kids or kiss them or  tell them you love them”   We all stopped on the stairs and looked up and down our ranks in stark realization that dad was right.  I heard my mom say, “ they know, and I do to anyway”  But she didn’t ever.  We had never realized this, it had never occurred to us to expect it.  It wasn’t long after that, they went out shopping for a new couch.  It was delivered the next day while we were at school.  When I walked in the house I said, “oh is that the new couch?” it had a sheet over it which I figured was to keep it clean or something. I rush over and she said, “Don’t touch it”  It was then that I realized it had little notes pinned all over the sheet. They didn’t make sense to me, they were all kinds of things with the words “that I didn’t want” after each thing.  “What is it mom?”  I asked. “Just one more time when I didn’t get what I wanted”  she was crying and real mad too, “He takes me to pick something out and then says., “that’s not what you want, We’ll get this, piece of Shit!”  She started to whin and it turned into a very scary almost banshee. I was frightened.  My sisters were huddled together at the bottom of the stairs, they said all together, “whats wrong with her?”  “I think she’s sad, but it will be ok, let’s go out back and play in the yard, dad will be home soon”  When dad got home  the first thing he said was, “What the Hell is this about” ,they started screaming and yelling and she was hitting him and screaming terrible names at him, dad just kept holding her hands trying to get her to calm down. He kept saying her name over and over which seem to make her madder.  She went in the bathroom and he made a call.  Is it over? , was that it ?  We all sat in the kitchen at the table afraid to move or even breath.  In about 10 minutes an ambulance pulled up and these men brought in a stretcher and they wrapped up her arms and put belts around her and took her out on the stretcher.  “Whats wrong”, I was following the stretcher out the door, no one answered me, I started praying please let my mom be ok, please God please God.    Dad said she would be ok she just needed to go to the doctor. The next day when I was walking home I saw some men carrying our new couch out to a big truck and took it away.

It was about a week before mom came home, we were all so happy to see her we ran up to her and she patted us on the head and had gentle tears streaming down her cheeks.  She was so quiet after that she slept on the couch and was sick a lot.   Sometimes she would be up sewing stuffed animals or playing her organ at 2 or 3 in the morning.   My dad would go to the poker room by himself and mom would work on making quilts and or sewing clothes. She was so different.  The bad thing was we could ask her, can I go here or have some of this or do whatever, and she would have no idea she had said yes, and would be so angry with us for not knowing she wasn’t paying attention or something.   Grandma Alice, mom’s mom, came to see us and she would be so stern with us always talking mean and she had no hesitation to pick up a switch and switch us for just about anything. They would play cards at the kitchen table sometimes with one of my aunts,  me or my older brother would have to sit in if they were short a person. They smoked so much, there would be an ashtray on either side of me  and I would choke and my eyes would burn, my brother’s too. I was scared to play the wrong cards and get yelled at or smacked on the head.  They would both say, “Stop acting like the smoke bothers you, it’s not that bad”   I probably have enough smoke in my lungs to cause permanent damage without ever smoking. I still hate cards. I met a boy, I  had a few good friends at school and one was a particularly good friend, I wanted him to ask me to our junior homecoming dance. I was so excited, but I was sure I wouldn’t be allowed to go.  But, he drug his feet and another boy asked me, who I didn’t want to go with.  I went home and told my mom that he asked me but I didn’t want to go with him, my mom said, “he was the first to ask, you’ll go with him.” then she asked, “is it formal?” . “uh..I think so” oh my heres my out she will never go along with that but still I had a sinking feeling. “Well we will have to look for you a dress”.. “really ? I can go”  I had to go back to school and tell him I would go with him.  My mom went to the thrift store and found two dresses that were really pretty, one a yellow chiffon and the other a green.  I wore the yellow,  when the boy came to pick me up he came in and my mom took pictures of us and said,”have fun and be home by 11″  We walked out to the car we were going with his older brother and his date, we had to ride in the backseat.  I scooted across the back seat and he jumped in next to me, the second he touched me he got shocked by the static, I grinned and said, “that will teach you not to touch me” It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t wonderful either. The best thing was that I got to go on a date without the nerves because I didn’t feel like I needed to impress him. Great “starter” date. My good pal, that was just a part of our little group of four friends, started to give me a lot more attention. It was so strange at first but we kind of worked into a relationship kind of with ease.  Gambler was his name, he is blonde and tall and thin, with really curly hair.  He smokes, I don’t smoke but I don’t mind that he does.  He writes me love notes and gives me little gifts. It feels so good.  We kiss a lot and that’s it, which I am so happy about.  We are so comfortable with each other, he even tells me what looks good on me and how to change my hair and stuff like that. Its nice to have the positive attention. I too am tall and very thin, 5’8″ and 101 pounds.  My mom didn’t trust Gambler because he had a car and smoked.  I guess thats why, anyway.  He was so tan and handsome. My mom would let me go out with him with another couple to the movies and back home by 10.  No body wanted to be home by 10, just as well, we never went to the movies.  I always wanted to go, but everybody wanted to go park someplace and drink and kiss.  I would have loved to see a movie, especially when I was expected to give my mom a report on the whole thing!  I didn’t really drink, maybe one or two, but I don’t want to ever be in a state that I can’t take care of myself.   Gambler, knew, kind of what my home life was like and he was a good shoulder to cry on or just complain to sometimes.   My mom gave me a birthday party for my 16th birthday, which I will never forget.  My 17-year-old cousin was like 7 months pregnant and it was a combination birthday/baby shower.  Then the end of that month was prom, and we had to take her with us, because it wouldn’t be nice to go without her.  She wore this bright orange and purple satin dress that looked like she was smuggling beach balls under it.   Gambler was so nice about it he actually felt compassion for her.  It was shortly after prom that we split up, I had become attracted to a boy from Paso which felt so different then with Gambler. I wrote him a note and he was crushed.  But I told him it would be worse if I really didn’t have ‘those feelings” for him. (Years later I would find out Gambler was gay, and I would smack my forehead and say, Duh!  We are still friends today, we still squeal and hug each other and he tells people I was his high school girl friend.) My mom liked Art, not the activity which includes painting and such, my new boyfriend Art.  He drove a little sports car and was Italian. He was handsome too and he made me dizzy when I though of him.   I was 100 percent – ruined for the rest of my life in “Love”   He got permission to take me to church with him. Wow! – I was going to a Catholic church.  I was so excited to go, he said we were stopping by his house for a second on the way. ”Ok” I said, I was wondering if I needed to wear something on my head, don’t Catholic’s wear something on their head in church, or is it mass ?   I don’t know how it happened.. How did I end up in his room naked? I was almost in that scary place I went to when I was a little girl.  I was crying, he said, “are you ok?” ”Was this your first time?” , my head was spinning and I was going over it all, I was mad, in my head I’m yelling, “No it’s not my first time! my dad stole my “first time” I didn’t want to do this, why can’t I, NOT do this.  I can’t talk to him, I can just cry.  ”Are you a virgin” , he was really looking concerned.  “Well, not anymore” I said and walked past him, trying to act like I didn’t care if he saw me naked.  If I am just really tough about this he wouldn’t know I’m so destroyed.  He pulled me into the shower with him and I panicked for a moment because my hair got wet, it took so long for my hair to dry, then I laughed out loud at the thought of my hair being wet, being a problem.  Art took that as a sign that I was alright, I was laughing, I must be happy. I was now thinking about I could pregnant. It had only been six months ago that I came home from school with blood on my pants scared I was dying.  My grandmother was there and saw my pants, she said she’d call my mom.  I was really worried. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet and waited for all my blood to run out.  Some time went by I don’t know how much, my mom opened the bathroom door and tossed a box at me , “Read the Box” she said and slammed the door.   The box said, “Kotex” – hmmm? odd. So I read the box the whole box every inch of the box. I’m not dying!  -but this is going to happen every month!  I was the last one in my class to get her period.  It took me forever to reach 100 pounds which is one of the triggers for your body to start to change.  So 16 years old, and finally I got the “curse”. My dad was starting to talk to me about college and maybe being a nurse or something, I could live at home and  go to a local school. I would shake my head and say, I’ll think about it. But who was he kidding, IF I was smart enough to go, IF, I wanted to go, no way in the world I would stay in this house one minute longer then I was 18 years old!   I got a job at the Wagon Wheel Smorgie in Paso, and was making pretty good tips, I actually started helping in the kitchen, I saw one of the cooks tossing out chicken off the buffet,  “Hey, what are you doing?”  ”It won’t be any good tomorrow, so we just toss it”  ”Why not make it into a chicken pot pie?”  I lifted my hands formed a pie, ” Can you make a pot pie in a hotel pan?” he held up this huge stainless steel pan, ” Sure I can, I cook that much most of the time anyway.”   “If you can do that I’ll put you to work on the line.”    So I went in the kitchen and put on a big apron and had him show me where somethings were – in no time I had made the crust for that big ol’ pan and started my filling.  Carrots, peas, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, chicken, and I poured some milk into my dough bowl which had just the right amount of flour left in it, salt and pepper next and it was ready for the top. I cut out some leaves from my top dough leaving vents and put the leaves around the top. Brushed it with a slightly beaten egg whites and into a 400 degree oven for about an hour. When the dinner crowd came in the pot pie had filled the whole place with that divine aroma.   It went like crazy, and of course I got to work more in the kitchen.  I made lots of comfort type foods, my meatloaf was also a big hit.    I managed to save up $400. dollars, which I was saving for a car.  One day when I was looking out the window of the restaurant I saw and lady across the street pull a little car out of her garage and put a For Sale sign on it.   I figured it was way to much, it was older but real cute and real clean too.  When my mom came to pick me up from work, I pointed out the car and she said, “Lets take a look” , “Ok, why not”  I figured it was just an exercise in futility, so we looked at the car and the lady came out and talked to us.  It’s a Nash Rambler, push button.. Ok – that is old.  She wanted $250.00 for it.   “Wow! that’s all!”  mom said, “keep it down we don’t want her to change her mind”  We got to take a drive around the block, my mom drove. When we go back my mom  looked at the lady, “you been canning today” “Yes, she laughed, ”putting up a lug of peaches” ”Well  it is a  nice little car”,  she walked around it and then said,    “I just need to talk to my husband, but will you hold it for us until tomorrow?”  “Sure”, she smiled big , she was wiping her hands on her apron, “I’ll just park it in the garage for the night”  We told her good night and mom added she hoped all the jars sealed.   We got in the car and started toward home, mom looks at me and says, “here’s what we do”, oh man “WE” are going to do something, I was grinning so hard my face hurt, but I couldn’t stop.  “Ok, we’ll tell your dad that – the paint is peeling , “but, Mom – the paint looks great” . “I know she said, just listen” – the smile was gone from my face and my eyebrows were about knitted together by the time she laid out her plan.   She told my dad  that the headliner was ripped and hanging down, that the painted was peeling and that the tires were bald and lastly that it smoked something fierce!  I’m standing there with my mouth hanging open trying for the life of me to figure out how exactly this, helps, me get this car.  She got him to promise he would go and look at it with me tomorrow when he took me to work.   I walked in the kitchen and stood there out of dads sight and shook my head.   She came in the kitchen all smiles, and even dancing a bit.  She put her apron on and was at the sink washing her hands, I walked over a stood by her, looking at her and waiting,  “Don’t you see,? …uh No I don’t.”.I said,  “Tomorrow when he takes you to work he will be so relieved that the car is so nice he’ll buy it on the spot”   Well, she was right!   He bought it and I paid him back, but I think he would have let me have it if we told the truth.  It was the oddest thing.  I drove that little car home that very night. I was way cool! I was walking home with my guy friend Ron who I had a unendding crush on but we were just friends.  Anyway, he was on his way to our neighbors house because they were some of his relatives and he was going there to see them.  So, I’m looking down the street as we walk and I see a man looking over the gate at the neighbor’s house.  Something feels strange I am almost going to vomit, why does he look so familiar? ” Ron, who is the man your going to see today?” , “It my aunt Gertrude and her husband Jim”..what? “What is their last name?”  ,”Oh, Hawke” , no wonder I felt sick its my real dad.  “I gotta go, talk to you tomorrow.”  ,  I had to walk right past their house to get home, “Hi Ty” he said to me ever so casually.  I didn’t turn around or falter a step, I was pretty much running like I’d seen a terrible monster.   When I got in the house my step dad was sitting on the couch, “Dad, I’m so glad your home!”   I sat down on what was left of the couch in front of him, his 300 ish pounds took up a lot of room.  “Your shaking, you look like you’ve seen a ghost”, he laughed.  “Its way worse than that, I wish it was his ghost at least he wouldn’t be alive anymore”   “Who?” my dad actually looked like he was going to go kill someone.  I told him my real dad was across the street and that he has actually talked to me when I went by.  I had talked to my step dad about what had happened to me at least a little bit of what happened.  “Ty, some people believe there’s nothing in the world wrong with a relationship like that, they even say that – they usually pick the one that they really love.”   “Dad! – that is disgusting are you crazy”  “that is just the worst thing I’ve ever heard”,  “Do you know that, that man actually sent me across the street to the store when we lived in this little room under some stairs somewhere, to get some cookies” . ” I asked for the money, and he said it was already taken care of.”  “So off I went maybe 6 years old, and walked into this little store with hardwood floors and a bell that tinkled when the door opened, It squeaked when you walked around.  I walk up to the counter and tell the man, “I’m here to get the cookies”,  “oh, –ok..” he seems nervous or something my little radar was going off. He walked to the end of the counter and around the end and said,” there back here” , I stood there, what was wrong here?  Again he said, “there back here do you want them or not?”,  I put one foot in front of the other and still remember the squeak each plank on that floor made, when I got to the door way he stepped inside and turned to me,  I took one step and saw a bed, my dad sold me to the store man for a box of cookies, I was screaming inside and my little voice was screaming run RUN!  So I ran right out the door and across the street. When I got to the house and through the little door under the stairs, I went straight to my bed and backed up as far as I could with my back to the wall.  My dad was just sitting there, he didn’t say a word, he didn’t ask where the cookies were or if I had been in the man’s bedroom ,nothing.                           Now  I’m  back in the living room and 16 years old, and still not safe.    My dad, looked up at me and said, “Do you want me to go talk to him?”,  “And say what? ,What will you talk to him about? , No, I don’t want you to talk to him”  …My dad got up and went across the street.  I watched from the upstairs window.  he stood at the gate at the neighbor’s house and told one of their kids to please go get Jim.  He came out to the gate and my dad reached across and shook his hand, he shook his hand?… they stood and talked only a few moments and my dad turned around and walked back across the street.  I was down the stairs and waiting by the door when he stepped inside.  “What did you say, what did he say?” “What happened, why did you shake his hand?”   My dad plopped down on the couch and clicked on the TV he looked up at me and said, “He seems like a real nice guy”   I don’t think I was breathing,  I felt like it was a bad dream, “How can you say that?”   ”Don’t worry about him he won’t bother you again, your too old.”   I tuned around and walked upstairs, I’m too old?  I am so confused, I am scared to walk out of my own house. I am so scared of that man. I don’t understand how my dad could think the things he thinks.. I decided to ask my mom about when she was a kid.  I went out front where she was planting some flowers in front of the house and sat down on the steps.  “Mom, what was it like when you were a kid”  She sat back on her feet and looked at me with question in her eyes, she wrinkles up her forehead and laughed, “What are you doing a report or something?”  “No, I just wasted know what it was like in the covered wagon days”..we both laughed.  She kept working as she swept us off to a life of constant moving and the efforts that her mom and dad made daily to feed and take care of nine kids.   My mom had learned or taught herself to sew which of course ended up being a life-long love.   Her dad was very strict and they weren’t even allowed to wear shorts for school PE class, she said they would sneak shorts with their moms help. She told me about singing on a radio show, “Really, you sang on a radio show?”   “Don’t act so surprised! – I had a beautiful voice before they did my thyroid surgery and they nicked my vocal cords”  ” I still think I should have sued that doctor”   “I never had a new anything, I got hand me downs that I mended, washed and ironed, I found a sweater that my sister had thrown on the trash heap and I fixed  the holes so it looked brand new, I washed it and got the spots out too and dried it on a towel.  I got up the next morning and put it on for school and my sister ripped it off me”   she seemed to be right back there pulling for dear life on that treasured sweater. ” Mom, did you date?”  “Pshhh!” she chuckled at that, ” My dad would kill any boy who looked at me or my sisters, and they all knew it too”  “How did you end up with Jim?”   “Well we had gone for a drive and fell asleep in the car, when I got home my dad said we had to get married, because I’d slept with Jim.   “So we did.”  the phone rang and she jumped up and ran for it.   It was a few minutes before I got up and went back inside, I was just savouring this most rare moment in time. Later that day I tried to talk to my dad about his childhood.  He wouldn’t tell me much just that they were poor and lived in shack of a house that was so badly made there were huge spaces between the boards on the walls and the outside so bad they had newspaper applied to the walls with flour paste to keep out the draft, that paste in fact would be dinner some time, flour and water soup.  Mom told me that he was starving  most of the time and that he had danced on the street corners for “ho-cakes”  I don’t know what that means, but it sounds sad.  I guess at some point his dad had a still in the woods and they sold moon shine for what money they had.  Till this one day my dad was sitting on the porch just doing nothing, just keeping an eye on his only brother who was mentally ill, when a car pulled up and two men got out and wanted to buy some Shine.  Dad said, “Sure come on I’ll git ya some”  So they walked around the house and he uncovered the mason jars and ask, “How many of’m do ya wont?”  I guess they took all of them Jars and his daddy too. They were the revenuers . He stood there and watched them take his daddy away, it he believed it was his fault too.   They ate squirrel, which has to be stewed for a long time cause it’s so tough, and I if I remember from when we had gone to see our grandma in Georgia, you needed a lot of gravy to choke it down.  My dad ended up joining the Army when he was 16, he lied about his age and they took him.  He had been cross-eyed since he was little and the army told him they could fix it.  He did get his eyes fixed and that made his life better, he had been teased and worse for as long as he could remember.   Dad became a mess steward. He was a real good cook, he cooked big batches of everything too.  He stayed in the army till he retired after 30 years. Despite everything else in my life, graduation was upon us.  My friend Judy and I were to sing at baccalorite,”Time in a Bottle” , I had a bad sore throat, and my mom was making my dress and Judy’s for this occasion.  My sisters were all over the place running and playing and just under foot, I herded them upstairs and told them to lay down for a nap.  They were complaining loudly, but I told them stay put!   I needed some throat lozenges.  I decided I would just grab some change out of my car and walk down to the store, I wasn’t allowed to take my car out except to go to work and back.  The little store was 1/2 a block over and one block down and one more block down main st.  I got the lozenges and was slowly making my was back home just enjoying sights and sounds of the beautiful May day.  I see a car zooming up to me, its my mom? “Where the Hell do you think your going?  she is seething and got her lips pressed  hard together as though trying to keep her words from escaping.  “I have a sore throat, I was-”  she stopped my there with. “Get in this car” , I walked around the car and as soon as I stuck my head in the car she had me by my hair, “I’m working on a dress for you and you can’t even watch those kids” , “Mom, I was on my way-” again she stops me this time with a hard slap, “Where did you get money?”  I was now crying and mad too, “I got it out of my glove box, it was only 35 cents.”   It was only a half block to home from there, thank God.   She ended up finishing my dress and I was upstairs with the kids till time for me to go.  I was so upset here I was almost 18 years old and I couldn’t walk out of the yard without permission.  I had no children yet I had constant responsibility for at least 3 all the time. I vowed  “I will never have any children”  and if I do I will be the mom, not make them do my job.   There was a party a few days later for the seniors and by some strange aligning of the planets, and the tides and her bio rhythms, I got to go, and got permission to stay at my girlfriend Robyn’s house that night.  The next day was my birthday I would finally be 18, freedom was only hours away.  I felt as though I had been in a prison camp and I could hear the alii’s coming over the hill.    I stayed at Robyn’s house that night and we talked with her mom about me staying there while I saved enough money to get a place of my own.  I called home the next day and told my  dad that I had moved out, and would like to come over later and get my things.  He said that would be fine.  I was actually getting was like a dream, kind of an unsteady and confusing dream.  Robyn drove me over in her car because I was afraid that my mom would try to take my car away.  Robyn’s car had a radiator leak so everywhere we went we had to constantly refill the reservoir.  We pulled up to my house and Robyn popped the hood while I ran for the hose. I turned on the hose and handed it over the fence to her, she started to put it in the top of the radiator when the hose was ripped through both our hands, leaving cuts from the treads on the end. I was in shock, what just happened?  Robyn and I stood looking at each other for a brief moment then I noticed Robyn’s eyes were looking past me. I turned around and my mom was holding the hose, “Your not coming over here and stealing my water” she was crazy eyed and actting like we were thieves. “Mom its just water”  “MY water”, she spat the words at us.  “Sorry Robyn, let’s get my stuff” , “She’s not stepping one foot on this property!” I could see Robyn really wanted a piece of my mom,  “Wait here Robyn, it will be ok”  I walked past my mom with fear of entering that house and not getting out again, but I went forward.  My grandmother was there and she also was very angry, “Why are you doing this to your mother?”  “I’m not doing anything to my mother” ,  I went up the stairs and got boxes that I had already packed in hopes of getting them out of the house before this so I wouldn’t have to come back. My grandmother followed my up the stairs and was slapping me in the back and telling my how awful I was. I just kept going and not answering her.  When I got down the stairs with the first box my mom grabbed it out of my hands, “Lets see what you’re stealing of mine”  I just stood there, I was suddenly aware that I was standing tall and stern, was I getting some power?  I picked up each box after she rifled through them and handed them over the fence to Robyn who put them in her car.  My grandmother had now followed my up and down the stairs four times, slapping me in the back and telling my how awful I was and how I was leaving my mother at the worst possible time. “Your mother is sick, she can’t take care of these kids by herself”, I heard those words from my grandma and I finally snapped, ” Listen here old woman”, I was shaking, If you lay a hand on me one more time, I’ll knock you down these stairs, do you understand me?”  ”If I wait till my mother is not sick to leave I will never be able to leave and these are HER children not mine, moms take care of their own children!”   Grandma didn’t say another word, she went down stairs and got a cigarette and stood by my mom.  I walked past the couch where my mom sat, my last trip and I was free. “You better have everything ’cause your not coming back”  No goodbye, no I love you, just good riddance!  This woman had bore me I did not crawl out of her womb some grotesque monster that she was stuck with, I was a sweet little curly-headed girl with big blue eyes.   Robyn and I got in the car and drove off I was still shaking and started to cry, I cried all the way to her, – make that our house.  At least she can’t hurt me anymore I hoped. Off to work as a grown up!  Wow, it feels so good to get in my car and go where I want, don’t have to look over my shoulder or even fret over the slightest decision.  I walked into work at the little breakfast spot and was actually whistling.  “Why so happy?” , Mary asked me “I moved out last night!”  “Oh that is good news” she ran and hugged me, “You’ll be just fine you know that right?” , she stepped back and looked in my face with concern and sort of pride too, how odd.   Mary had encouraged me to just keep it together a few more months, that was three months ago. “I made it!”  “I’m free as a bird”    I made lots of tips and headed home to my new digs with my radio turned up loud, I was keeping time to the beat on the dash the steering wheel and my knee too. What a great day.  When I walked into the house Robyn’s mom looked worried, “Are you alright – whats wrong?” I was by her side puzzled that she looked at me so funny.  “What did you steal from your mom?”  she was obviously pained to even say the words, “What?” ..”What are you talking about”  I had both hands on my head – it was spinning..”Your mother called and said she wants the money you stole from her”  she put her hand over her mouth. “I have never stolen anything from her”  I was so shocked, even my mom would not do this, would she?  “I’m calling that witch right now!”  ..I got the phone and dialed home, my dad picked up the phone and I started with” Where is she?”  “Who?” he asked “Mom!” “Where is she?”  “Whats wrong?”  I told him she had called and told Robyn’s mom that I had stolen money from her, he was very calm. “I’ll get to the bottom of this, let me talk to Robyn’s mom”  “My dad wants to talk to you please” I handed her the phone and stood watching her face as she listened to my dad.  “I see, oh I see, yes, ok, alright thank you Bill”  she hung up the phone.  She looked at me and said, “Your dad assures me you didn’t steal anything but he will talk to your mom and call back.”   He did call back about 2 hours later. My mom had told him that she had made me clothes and I took them with me and they weren’t mine.  She wanted the money for the fabric and to be paid for her time also.  He said not to worry about it, she wouldn’t bother me anymore.  That Friday was graduation, I graduated and no one came to see me. I had finally accomplished something and nobody came, nobody cared.  When I got home that night, Robyn’s mom decided I would not be able to stay there after all.   I talked to my brother, who talked to my aunt and she said I could come stay with her while I found a place and a job and all that.  I drove my car to her house and threw a rod, which meant I was now on foot the car was toast  in Dos Palos, Ca.  I applied everywhere and looked for apartments, which until I had a job I couldn’t get anyway.  I walked into town daily checking every sort of place.  I was really discouraged after about 3 weeks and nothing.   I was feeling like I would never be able to take care of myself.  I sat in the park  just thinking of nothing, this guy walked up and offered me some pot, sure why not!  It was very strong and I was sorry immediately I sat there while those around me were talking about me and I was able to get to my feet and start toward home, God only knows what could have happened, lesson learned.  By the time I got there I figured I was about  alright   they  were making ice cream which would not freeze we just drank it like a milk shake,  It made me sick, and I was in the bathroom laying in the floor trying to throw up .  My aunt  had called my parents and told them she was afraid I was on drugs, she had called while I was in town because they got there about 1/2 hour after I got sick.  Home was some 5 hours away.   I hear a rap on the door and, “Tybeth your mama is here”, it was my aunt. “What?” ..what in the world are they talking about?  I got up and opened the door and there they stood, mom and dad.  “Get your stuff your coming home with us”   I didn’t even argue, just got my stuff and got in the car.  My parents got in the car and my mom turned around in the seat and said,  “I came to get you, not because I love you or I need you, but because YOU need me.”  I was quiet the whole way back to Templeton. Now what?  What happened, how did I end up here again?  I called Robyn and she picked me up.  “Why would you ever in a million years go back there?” , Robyn looked at me like I was mentally challenged at best.  “I didn’t have a choice, – “You always have a choice”, she said.   I just felt completely blank, like my mind and my body were going about their own business without my consent or input.   We made plans to go to San Luis Obispo on the weekend, this big college town some 30 minutes away.   I was determined not to let my parents have any control over me. Please God let me be strong.   I’m 18 years old its like a magic number, but when do you feel like an actual grown up.   I decided that  I needed to be someone else, someone who was tough and smart and did what she wanted  to do, and I’ll be foreign too!   Robyn and I got ready at her house and I told my dad I was staying at Robyn’s so don’t wait up.  No reaction at all, just, “Ok”   So we got in the VW van and headed over the Cuesta Grade to SLO town.   We decided to go to this little bar called “The Darkroom” , it was full of college kids.  We sat down and  Robyn ordered us two beers, which that brough no questions asked.  Robyn said just sip it. No problem with that I don’t really like beer.  It wasn’t long before we had a couple of guys ask us to dance.  I talked to Robyn is some jibberish that sounded Germany and she told the guys that I was from Germany and didn’t speak much English.  I was a very good actress, who knew.   This guy is asking me where I’m from in Germany, I told him Cologne, near Worms, all with a very heavy accent.  We talked for a long time till I got tired of it and said, “Kidding! I’m from Templeton”  He was floored, “you have been putting us on this whole time?”  “Yipe! “  The problem was that as soon as I became me again, I was no longer strong or smart either it appears.  “He got me to go back to his place and I was a zombie, it was like I was 5 years old again. He didn’t even notice.  He was so self-absorbed that he figured I must have had a good time.  Inside I was so disgusted and angry at myself.  My brain said  don’t let him know he has power over you, act like you do this all the time no big deal big deal at all.  He asked if he could come see  me in Templeton, “Sure”, I gave him my phone number, which I didn’t want to do.  Robyn later said, “Never give out your real number make something up”  “No need to worry about that, This will never happen again… After he met my parents and told them what capitalist pigs they were, I moved in with him, then 6 months later we got married. No, I’m not pregnant. When I called my mom and told her we were going to get married the first thing out of her mouth, “Are you pregnant?”  “No mother, I’m not pregnant.”  “Well time will tell won’t it.”  she laughed like she was sure she would be right on this one.   Mom said she would make me a dress and him a shirt for the wedding.  “You know you can’t wear white, right?”  she looked at me and did the  clicked her tongue head shake combo.  “Yes” I know”  I was hoping for a pastel floral , like in a Juliette style.”   So we browsed and found a nice fabric for the dress and a complimentary one for the shirt.  We carried our selections to the counter and laid the simple wedding dress pattern down and the lady said, “Oh, that will be a beautiful wedding dress”, my mom steps up and says, “Ya, girls now a day don’t want to wear white anymore”   The dress was cute and the shirt also. She even made me a little veil, nice touch.   We got married in the little church we had attended as children, complete with a pound’n – which if you’re not familiar with country tradition is when everyone brings you a pound of something. I had told mom that we needed towels and ended up with 8 sets of various colors, and a lot of flour and sugar.   The pastor had a small problem at first, he asked us if he should wear his walking around glasses or his reading glasses? My suggestion was to wear the walking around glasses and put the reading glasses in his pocket then switch them when he got to the front.  He stood there a moment pondering and smiled, “that’s a perfect solution”  he walked away with a spring in his step, obviously he had thought of other times when this combination would come in handy. This of course was one on my biggest mistakes I believe I was the only one fooled, of course my husband was too. He felt that he was the most viral and desirable man on the earth, at least he spouted that a lot.  I remember when he proposed.  He sat down to dinner and ate up everything in sight – he was very appreciative of my cooking for sure.  He scooted his seat back and put his hands on his stomach, “Well do you want to raise the GI bill?” , I was confused that string of words made no sense at all to me. “Excuse me?”   “If we get married, they will increase my GI bill”  “Your check will increase?”  “Yes, so – that’s a yes, then”   “yes, I will marry you” , I was so disappointed. I really didn’t want to be with him, even though he was sooooo romantic.  I heard the words of my mother, you can only hope to be some poor mans wife, you have no other options.  I had been trying to be everything he wanted, I liked what he liked, ate my eggs like he did, kept the house spotless, cooked big meals, watched Bridge of the river Qu- something, over and over.   He actually had to take me all over to put in applications for work I didn’t want to even try.  I think now it was in some way passive aggressive.   He was  extremely boisterous and his opinions were gospel, seriously anyone who disagreed with him was an obvious idiot.   He had a get good grades brain, but not so much, come out of the rain brain. I on the other hand had so much day-to-day common sense but couldn’t make my voice heard.  I had stated to take some classes at the city college although I was sure it was a waste of time, I just wasn’t smart enough for college.  This one day I was waiting for my class to start, sitting  on a picnic table outside a classroom.  Phycology, they were watching a video about elephants. I decided to peek in and see the baby elephant.  This little gray elephant was standing almost underneath his big mother, swaying back and forth slowly.  The professor pointed to the chain that was around the leg of the baby elephant, and then to the chain around the leg on the enormous mother elephant, the two chains were the same? I got closer so I could hear what he was saying, “The chains are put on the baby elephant and the baby learns that he can not escape that chain and stops trying, that same chain is used for his whole life – he  won’t even try to break it because, hes broken.”  I stood there puzzled.  “That is what happens to people who experience abuse, physical or mental both equally  effective, they become sure that they are unable to do anything about it and are resigned to continue not only their lives that way but also to pass it from generation to generation. It is quite difficult for these people to change their lives because they are completely chained to the idea that their situation is set in stone forever. ”   Am I a baby elephant? I walked around campus for a while, just thinking.  I came around this corner and there were a couple of girls sitting on the stairs next to a building which caught my eye, and stunned me in my steps.  I was flashed back in time to the orphanage.  I had taken a rolling basket of clothes over to the laundry area, I walked inside and could smell the hot soapy water,  I saw huge barrels of powdered detergent, commercial washers and dryers, and concrete floors.  I parked to cart inside and turned to leave, 2 girls were in the doorway. My stomach gnarled around and took my breath away, I was immediately on alert.  “Hey, what you doing over on the big girls side?” , they walked over to me, one put her hand on my shoulder and the other went around behind me and urged my forward.  “I’m supposed to get straight back” the girls were now on either side of me herding me toward the wooded stair on the side of the building.  “Come sit and talk to us for a few minutes”, I felt sick, I couldn’t say anything. The girls sat down next to me and pulled up their skirts, that weren’t wearing panties, each one took one of my hands and put it  in her crouch and started to move my fingers up and down. “Just play with us for a little while and you can go back to the little girls side”  I was once again held prisoner,  why? God  why ?  Help me ..please someone help me.  The girls we’re sitting with their heads leaned back and eyes closed, I decided to run, I jumped up and ran as fast as I could.  I could smell them on my fingers, I gagged and threw up. I was trying to vomit and hold my hair back with the backs of my hands, I didn’t want to touch me with their filth!   I told the hall matron that the soap made me feel sick, and they didn’t make me go to the laundry room anymore.     I don’t know why I got that memory right then but I would have many such incidents where  a smell or a sight would transport me to another place.  What a long day I was emotionally wiped out as though this experience had occurred today. At some point the sweetness wore off. I can’t put my finger on what went wrong, although it was very likely when I had an opinion that I felt strongly about – that differed from my husbands.  He quite literally believed and still does today that his is the only opinion that is correct or that matters.  This was amazing because of all the people to try to assert myself with “he” was the all time worse.  I truly believed that if I said something was black, he said it was white and not only white but any idiot would clearly see it was white. So I wasn’t even up to “idiot”.    I tried to be what he wanted in every way as much as it was possible for me.  I can remember telling him about something from my childhood and he told my you think that was bad..well this is what happened to me!  I told him I didn’t want to have an “I had it worse than you did” contest.  Granted he lived with a step father who was a mean drunk according to him, and who had no problem with beating him.  But, he told stories of wearing black socks which him father objected to as a sign of being wild or something.  He would wear those black socks every day knowing full well he was going to get beat, he’d do it anyway.  His father finally gave in and told him he could wear the black socks to school two days a week, he choose..Saturday and Sunday..because he should be able to wear them any day he wanted.   I told him his dad had a problem alright, he of course thought I was referring to the beating, I was thinking more of the strong-willed – idiot..I think he was “up to” Idiot I think that I had started to meet other college age people and was beginning to have my world expanded with thoughts and feelings and actions too.  I drank beer on occasion and wine some times too.  Pot was everywhere,  I couldn’t believe how people just lit up anywhere you were, breakfast time, driving to school time, lunch time, driving home, before dinner after dinner.  I just couldn’t understand how people coped with life and living when they were well, altered all the time.  For me it just came down to safety, I could not take care of myself if I was ..altered – didn’t matter drugs or alcohol.  This is not to say I have never been altered, because I have thrown up my toenails from too much drinking  – carried away having fun. But, I do believe I have learned my lesson..funny how often that statement is preceded and followed by a sad revelation.. Choices, I started to see I could make choices, seeing and doing are far apart sometimes.  It was one of the first times I was able to say no to things, well somethings that I didn’t want.  Frequently I made a choice not to choose.  My will and my rights weren’t important, the happiness of everybody else was supremely more important to me. At least that’s what I thought, I now believe that I needed with every fiber in my body to please everybody, where by proving I was completely loveable and worthy.  I was dragged into many dark and terrible places by my husband, following his lust.  He needed for me to do whatever he wanted to do so he could also do it.  I know this is cryptic but it is as graphic as I can put down, he is still the father of my children and he and they are important, My children because they are amazing gifts and their father because and only because they love him. I will always treat him with respect as I would any other human and never make them feel that they can’t see, talk too, or spend time with him and have nothing but Joy from me about it.  Even with all the dark and sadness I did learn to be self-sacrificing and I do dearly love and work for the happiness of my family and friends always, which is wonderfully reciprocated. I wish that I could say that we worked everything out and lived happily ever after, but not so fast.   I was more and miserable and we had three sons which are wonderful but that didn’t fix anything.  After being told one evening that I was stupid, fat, and ugly I quickly replied, “I am not fat!”  Whoa- whats wrote with this picture?  He told me daily whether by words, actions or just look that I was unappealing and a burden. If I had a nickel for every time he said, “If it weren’t for you and these kids, I could have a decent life”,  I was too pale & too flat chested, at least they were the main complaints.  He was at one point going to bring home a prisoner from where he worked – as soon as the guy got released – to show us some sex tricks along with his girlfriend.   It was that night after hearing that  I went to work so upset I could hardly think.   I had a guy come in, a regular who said he hated to see me so upset and I should just go for a ride with him after work, long story short..I did.  My sex life with my husband was disgusting to say the least.  I was not involved and it didn’t matter because I would have just been more frustrated.  He told me I was frigid.  I tried to get better, I watched a talk show one day that talked about sexual relationships in marriage, they said you needed to talk to each other say what you want that maybe he just doesn’t know. Hmmmm?  Ok, it took so much will to finally say to him, ” When we “do-it” could you touch my breasts?” –  He jumped up with such disgust, “what are you gay or something?”   I just looked at him,  that night he had sex with me, he was sweating and dripping sweat in my face and I was just trying to keep it out of my eyes and mouth, he was done and I started to get up and go clean up – “why do you do that?” , he was mad.  ”Most women just enjoy laying and even go to sleep like that”   I had to try to sleep like that all night, I dared not try to get up.   So anyway I went for a ride with the guy, I thought of course we were just going for a ride, I am an idiot.   So of course we had sex I didn’t want to but I felt like I was going to get in some big trouble maybe this would get me out of the whole situation.  Wow, that was what sex was supposed to be like!  I was in shock, I’m supposed to like it and  I do!  He was interested in me and my body he made me feel so sexy and beautiful. Home to face the music, I didn’t know what he would do.  By the time I got home I had lost my bravery that I was going to have, he meet me at the front gate with a gun.  I was in so much pain, he had a handful of my hair and slung me through the gate onto the driveway. ”Where have you been?”,  he grabbed me up again and sent me tumbling toward the lawn. “No where” I was in total self-preservation mode, “No Where I swear” “You lying bitch”  he was fuming, “I can smell sex on you!”  “NO – NO , I didn’t”  I was in fear of my life and I felt like I deserved what ever happened. He started tearing at my clothes and I was naked in our front yard, he raped me.  It was my husband and it was rape.  “I can tell you were with someone else” he was so excited it was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever experienced at least I thought so then.  He smacked me with the gun and said,” get in the house”, I was grabbing my clothes and running for the door.  He came right behind me and grabbed my hair again and just kept going to the bedroom.  “Get on the bed”, he was shutting the door and pulled off his shirt. I sat on the side of the bed which pissed him off again. “GET ON THE BED!”  he was waving the gun around and jumped on top of me.  I could barely breathe, he sat on my chest with his knees on my forearms, one hand was on my mouth and the other had the gun on my forehead. I was wildly thrashing but I could not move him.  He hit me in the side of the head with the gun which was so painful I almost passed out.  “So, by rights I should just kill you, but I really like this bed , and it will be ruined.”   I was sure I was going to die and it was my fault – my babies… “If – I shoot you here”, he stuck the gun in my mouth “I will be stuck with those kids”  he had one hand on my throat and I was gasping for air, I was starting to pass out I heard like tinkling and then blackness.  Next thing I know he’s shaking me and saying don’t you die yet bitch. I’m not dead…I opened my eyes and he actually looked relieved. “Just go to sleep, we’ll talk about this tomorrow”  he took off his pants and turned off the lamp and got in bed.  I couldn’t move I was totally paralyzed with fear.  Suddenly he’s mad again,” Stop acting like your afraid of me!”  I didn’t move, he pulled back both feet and kicked me out of the bed into the wall, I was scrambling for the door knowing I only had one chance.  I managed to get the door open and to the livingroom, as he caught me again by the hair and slammed me into the rocking chair, he grabbed my throat again with both hand and was pressing so hard I though he would break my neck, my little sister was sleeping in the room behind that wall as well and the baby.  Then suddenly for some reason he stopped and stood up, very calmly he said, Lets go back to bed, we’ll talk about this tomorrow”   I woke up the next morning and he was gone to work.  I called the police and they took me and my kids to a womans shelter.  We divorced which was another ordeal, crazy thing is, he tells everyone we split up because I cheated on him.   I get asked every now and then if its true,  I say “Yes” This is just the end,of the most recent calamity the next act cues up real fast. A lot of drama came after this, I was like a ship wreck victim. I was tossed and dunked and scared – but relieved as well.  It was an enormous challenge I had never taken care of myself let alone 3 babies.  It felt like I was playing house all of a sudden, I think I was subconsciously planning to get help!  I applied for assistance and it took almost 2 months to get anything, meanwhile I had taken a job in a little biker beer bar.  I had only worked there about a month when I met my next challenge.  He fell off his bar stool and was passed out cold in the floor -now what?  I got some of the regulars to drag him outside so I could lock up.  I finished cleaning up and put up the money – turned out the lights and out the back door.  When I got around front to my car  -he was still slumped against the wall.  I got in my car and then I told myself you can’t just leave him there! Now why would I do that?  So, I got him up and put him in my car and took him home with me, he roused enough to tell me he would not be having sex with me, whew! that’s a relief.  I never got rid of him, although for the first time ever I tried to – I said the words “I don’t want to be in a relationship with a drunk..i.e. you”  He sloshed his beer down the wall as he fell into a chair and said, “Sure you do” Party girl, me?  I was hanging out with people who were always in bars.  Even though I could see they were for the most part pathetic and lost lonely people, I sort of fell into the ranks.  I had never really been a drinker and certainly never touched cocaine.  As I cleaned the vacant spot at the bar this guy was putting a line of cocaine on the bar, I was watching him out the corner of my eye.  He called me over and had one hand palm up in a very Vanna White style, highlighting his offering.  I walked over and blew the white powder off the bar and it floated silently to the floor, he did catch his breath and threw both hands into the air. I never looked up just wiped the area with my bar cloth and said, “sorry about that – don’t know what is was but its gone now” he still hadn’t spoken,”did you want something?”  With a DAMN followed by an IT, he slid off the stool and stormed out the door. All the regulars just busted up. Never say never, why do I have to learn so many things the hard way.  God saved me from some terrible disease and from running into trouble with the law, because I could so easily been in a really bad place.  I had decided that I hadn’t gained anything but heart ache by trying to be a good christian.  I decided to do what ever I pleased,without a moral compass.  I can look back now and see someone I just don’t know at all. I am thankful every day that God did not allow me to be corrected by this world but he waited and quietly kept calling me back to his unending love and forgiveness.  That is an awful and wonderful day to be able to drop to your knees and just give it all up to God. The shame and the lifting of burden at the same time.  Being the human that I am I still take myself to task frequently about what a wretched sinner I am and only because of the covering of the blood of Jesus can my God even look at me.  At the same time I am condemned I can see me running into Gods arms someday because His word is Alive, Active, and True today and always. He “is” my Father, I never knew the love of a father but my Spirit knows Gods Love.  Oh, but this were the end of the bad and the total return to the right path.  I had and abortion about 4 weeks later.  I once again put myself on the other side of the divide I had constructed.   Never, I would never! How many times had I stood up and said, “I would NEVER”  God forgive me ,  I closed my heart and did it, I was ashamed that I got pregnant out-of-wedlock, I was overwhelmed that I had three littles ones already that I felt I was a terrible mother to.  I was just going to hide this sin from the world,   I broke my Gods heart again,  I was down to the point of just dying and I called my mom.  I was crying and I told her how terrible I was and how unforgivable it was, she said,”YOU MURDERER! – you are the spon  on Satan, you are not my daughter, you murder!!”  She was still screaming at me when I hung up the phone.  I knew I should just raise my children as best I could and found hell in the end.  I cried till I had no tears and no sound came out only a contorted face of eternal agony.  PTL club came on..I started to turn it off and then decided to call their number.   This amazing woman of God whom I know I shall be able to thank someday, gave me hope again. Romans 7:7-24 talks of mans sinful nature a slave to the law of sin, Romans 8:1 says, Therefore(because of our sinful nature) there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death..the rest of that whole chapter is a miracle salve that has healed me and freed me time and time again.  I now start with the Renewing of my mind and the giving my life over to the guidance of the Spirit. An extra gift God gave me is complete and total forgiveness for those I know and those I don’t.  I try to remember to assign good motives  to people, which is contrary to how people usually work.  I am not perfect but I do have the tools now to know when I’ve set off in my own way,  which I still do from time to time but,now I can quickly turn around back to my Father.

Continued…… My step dad, was now a single man.  He stayed with my mom some 18 years and finally could not take it anymore.  He was not an innocent in the mix of course although I think to use a term that applied to him, the deck was stacked against him. He was a gruff but oh so lovable big man, not given to yard work or manual labor period.  He hated for my mom to mow the lawn because people would think bad of him.  He had no intention of mowing the lawn even if it got 9 feet deep.  My mom would get mad, “Am I supposed to wait till it dark?” she would storm out and mow extra long.  Dad would be shaking mad, red-faced and storm after her,”HIRE someone, expletive, expletive, expletive”  Funny I guess he thought the neighbors couldn’t hear him or something…I think they might think bad of him..  The older ones of us had already left home so it was just the 3 girls at home, my dad would not allow them to have to do this kind of thing.   My mom still stalked my dad even after he left.  She would go to the poker room and make a scene, got to where the regulars were afraid to go there.  It made my mom so mad anytime someone said, “I’m afraid of you” she was completely blown away that anyone could possible be afraid of her..why?   Also, that people said, I’m afraid of you, often enought to make a memory.   I had thought that my mom would get happy when they split up.  She makes you believe its someone elses fault never hers.       My dad lived in town and played poker every night and lived like a slob ..he didn’t do “cleaning”… I got him to meet me for lunch one day and we had a talk about what I was doing and what he was doing, then he looked down at me and said, “I know I was a terrible father to you, can we do something about that?”, he looked like he was in so much pain and his eyes were welling up, “Dad , there’s nothing we can do about the past” he looked shocked and sad, “But – we can start all over from this day forward you can be the best dad ever”, he bundled me up in his big old bear hug, and we both cried in front of Taco Bell.   I started to go clean his house once a week and my sister would go in between and the two of us loved him up and we both had chatted with him many times about giving his life to the Lord.  It was a slow process because he had such self loathing, he had such a painful and terrible childhood going hungry and doing literally anything to eat.  We never realized until later that what we thought was a jolly big man hated himself daily. What joy, my dad went to pick up the kids from school for me because I was tied up at work, the joy came when they told me how fun grandpa King was.  My heart just was full to over flowing.  They went to McDonald’s and had lunch and back to the house where he watched TV with them..kid shows even.  I believe he was happier with himself then I was if that could be possible.  I made it a point to get over to his little apartment and clean for him and trim his hair and beard, then he would try to pay me and I’d let him take me to lunch.  He was a slob..he didn’t care..he liked clean but not done by him. He lived at the beach for a while and then in a little place behind the poker room, then my little sister was coming back to California, from Oregon with her little girl.  So dad decided to move back to Atascadero a get a place big enough for her to stay with him.   He tried the best he had the ability to.  It was hard for both of them, and the baby too.  My next younger sister came to help him out in between the times I was there we both talked to him about being a christian, he would always say he had done too much bad that God couldn’t forgive him.  I told him and I’m sure my sister did to, that he was wrong, we serve a Big God, he has already paid the price for every sin forever with His Son’s own blood, just take the Gift.  Not this time…maybe next ..don’t wait too long. Dad always told us that he was going to leave money for all of us kids.  He made it a point that I would be in charge of passing it out.   We always believed him and never really thought about it on a regular basis.  I went to see him this day, my day off, he was in an odd mood.   He looked at me and said, “I could take you to bed in a heart beat”..what? I was stunned, “Dad! ..what are you thinking?”..”We’re are not really related you know, it wouldn’t be wrong”.. WHAT?  “Dad, you know what has happened in my life and how messed up I’ve been, How could you say this?,,,You are my DAD and you will act like my dad, stop these thoughts and be my dad” .. “Ok” he said, “Are we ok?”  “Yes – we are ok, this never happened and it will never happen again”   I was really shook up by this whole exchange, but I didn’t let him know how much.  I have always been that way, if people don’t know how much they get to me or If I can cut them off at the pass, as it were., by being more shocking is some kind of a crazy coping skill or something.  It happens fast and without too much thought on my part,like one of the voices takes over.   I was so close to my dad, but I was able to know somehow in my heart that he was a very damaged person.  It was a very difficult day, I cleaned and went home no beard or hair cut no lunch.  I got in my car and pulled out of his driveway and cried all the way home. I was working  two jobs one was my cleaning company cleaning I had started doing house cleaning which progressed to offices and then commercial.  I even began to bid State contracts, I ended up getting every contract I bid on for some 10 years.  The other job was for a car lot I wanted to sell cars, don’t ask me why.    Prior to this  I married the drunk, turns out I had a tumor on my thyroid which needed to be removed, I was unsure what to do with no insurance and little money. So my future husband, says, “it will totally ruin you to have this surgery, you will be financially ruined for life!”  “Oh, no  what am I going to do?”  he hemmed and hawed a moment and as though the perfect idea came to him he says, “Well. we were going to get married eventually so we might as well do it now and you’ll have insurance.”  I was so sure he was right, not about the getting married part – but the ruined part.  I was ruined alright but not financially.   He pretty much picked up where the last guy left off. Abusive to me, and worse than that my sons were a thorn in his side and my first husband was constantly being brought into question,”Why don’t you get more child support?” I would beg him to leave it alone and he would accuse me of still having feeling for the last schmuke! .. I was in the middle of him and my kids, we would sit down for dinner and I knew no matter what he would end up jumping on one of them for eating too much or having elbows on the table or slurping or you name it.  He said he was teaching them manners, but there was so much animosity he just begrudged them everything. My kids have great memories of childhood fun and good things I thank God every day that they have good memories too, because I know they have bad ones. I didn’t want more kids, I felt like I was an ok mother occasionally and a terrible mother usually.  After we got married he wanted a baby. I don’t want anymore kids I can barely do this. I told him as long as he was drinking we would not have more kids. He quit drinking.   My mother in law of sorts..really his aunt who had raised him since he was in kindergarten, because his parents died in a fire – drunk.  They never even told him for months, his aunt still had a mother’s day card he’d made for his mom after her death.  His aunt and uncle had raised him and part-time his sister, who is a mentally handicapped adult now.  It wasn’t until some years later like almost ten, that I found out he and his sister waiting in the car outside the bar where his aunt and uncle liked to visit.   He always thought they were very cool, because his aunt would let him have his buddies over to house and drink.  He was a functioning alcoholic from a young age.         Shortly after we married his aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer, she had stopped smoking about a year before after a life time of smoking.  She begged me for grandkids.  I told her, him and anyone else who would listen that there were 26 sets of twins in my family already that usually skipped a generation, but I had twin uncles… It was about two months later I found out I was pregnant with twins.  My mother in law passed away before they were born, I had wanted a girl so bad but had given up.   I wanted her name to be Kacy Marie, I just could see her in my mind.  Three boys in a row no Kacy Marie.  So my mother in law on her death-bed asks me if one of the twins is a girl would I name her Megan, yes of course I will – I was sure she would make it, but she died a week later, it would be the first time cancer took a member of my family. The twins were born right on time after going through months of continually hospitalization.  I was trying to keep them contained until they were big enough to survive.          I ended up full term C-Section with a7 lb 15 oz boy and a 7 lb 2 oz girl. It was amazing start to finish.   They were so difficult couldn’t get them on the same or any schedule for that matter.  I was literally going crazy.  I was nursing them and up all night – one would wake up and I would change, feed, burp, rock back to sleep and start to go back to sleep and the other would awake starting the whole thing over again.   My husband walked in one day and I was standing over the basinette of two infants yelling “SHUT UP” at the top of my lungs.   He told me I shouldn’t be yelling at the babies…I turned around and walked outside and shut the door behind me.   He followed me out and said, “Their still crying?”.. “I know, but if you shut the door I can’t hear them from here”  he was appalled but he walked away and turned up the tv. I am sure I was suffering from post partum depression, but I fought my way back to sanity one day at a time.   They grew like weeds and it seemed like no time they were starting preschool.  Three years old, I had made it.  I started back to my crazy work schedule around that time.    It was about this time that my husband told me he obviously wasn’t a drunk because he had not drank in almost 4 years, he promptly picked it up again. It was not easy, we had my husband’s sister living with us for a short while.  She was a high functioning retarded adult.  She would not talk unless she had to answer a question that wasn’t a head nod yes ,or no.  While the babies were small it was like having 3 infants at times.  She could not get  a bra on with out some help and if she had her period and there was no feminine protect products she would just not use one, and if there was no toilet paper same get the idea.  She had been able to make her own tea at her last care home and at her aunt’s house too.  So she made her own tea at our house.  One day I noticed a terrible burn on her arm – big blister, I asked her what happened, she shrugged, no information.  When her brother got home I told him and he asked her and she said she did it on the tea-pot. I told him no more tea-pot! He had a fit how could I say that, she had tea every night for some 30 years.  She will have to use the micro wave or no tea.  We finally settled on the microwave which she picked up real fast.  Unfortunately my husband found it necessary to intercede and take her side over and over.   I ask her one night if she wanted salad dressing and she said, no.  Then when her brother came in he said why doesn’t she have salad dressing?  She didn’t want any,  He turns to her , did Ty ask you if you wanted salad dressing?, she answered , No..very clearly.  Ok, I thought what do we have here?  There got to be more and more friction.  The other kids would turn the channel and my husband would have a fit..”She was watching that”  she would just watch whatever was on and didn’t really seem to care one way or the other.  I told the kids, just ask her if you may turn the channel.  She would always say no to them and laugh.  But I ask if I could turn it. she would just shake her head no, she didn’t care if it was turned.  There got to be constant problems with her brother trying to defend her or protect her would end with the boys being sent to bed with him yelling at them. I went to check on her in the shower one morning and the tub was almost full of dirty water, I had ask, then told her to not put the stopper down when she showered.  I saw red! – I opened the shower door and slap her on the butte like she was 6 years old or something. I pulled up the stopper and told her I had enough of this, “You can understand I don’t want you to put the plug-in Right?” she shook her head yes, “Well why in the world do you insist on doing it?”..she smiled and shrugged.  This situation had to change obviously I was out of control, my anger was building and it wasn’t just toward her but, she was not safe here I knew something has to change.   I finally had enough and told my husband either she goes or I do.  We went to a councilor,  and of course my husband told him what I said, and the councilor said, We’re not her to determine whats best for you or your wife we’re her to determine what best for your sister. “Hold on there a minute, I stood up, I want it to be clear to everyone that “if” you decide that the best thing for her is to live at our home , she will being living alone with her brother”..”I will not be there”  She went to a care home with other gals her age and ability to.   We were getting about 900 a month to keep her, which turned out to be the biggest reason my husband wanted her there, but his guilt or something made all our lived miserable.  Things did not improve, now  I had non-stop reference to my cold heartedness and my lack of compassion.  “She is your sister, and your own aunt told you on her death-bed not to bring her here to live.  But all you could see was her money ” , ” hey we took care of her for the money!..well not for the money but it was right for her to pay her expenses”   “WE, did not take care of her -“I”  took care of her”   It took a long time for this banter to stop.  On holidays he would come in and say, “would you mind too terrible if my sister comes over?  I mean it won’t ruin your day or something?”  He could never be gracious or ever forgive.  I started hearing from him like a broken record,” I’m sorry – I forgot – it’s not my fault”  mocking me  I seemed to be constantly defending myself over all kinds of crazy stuff.  If I cleaned the kitchen he would blow up, “Why don’t you have these lazy slugs in there doing the dishes instead of sitting on the couch watching tv?”  He would go in the livingroom and grab them up by an arm and drag them to the kitchen.  He left the twins on the couch of course.  “I can clean my own kitchen If I want to!”  He would storm back in the kitchen and yell in my face while poking his finger on the end of my nose. “Don’t say I didn’t try to help you ”  back in the livingroom he went and turned up the ball game.  Oh that was it, he wanted to watch the game and couldn’t just ask or turn it…The kids helped me with the kitchen then we went in their room to watch tv, the twins came in the bedroom with us, we were laughing at some funny video show when my husband stormed to the bedroom door and slammed it . We all jumped, “Guess we were too loud or too happy” I had a dream, it was so real I woke up crying.  I drempt that God told me that my dad would come to him and my husband would go to church.  I was so happy wow my dad is going to become a Christian.  I felt it in my bones that is was true. I told my husband and he wasn’t even sarcastic or anything..he seemed to just ponder the idea and said, “that’s great about your dad”  I didn’t notice till later he’d left himself out of it. I talked to my dad that night on the phone and told him I would be over and see him in the morning and spend the day, I told him I loved him so much, he told me too.  I had worked 6am to 7pm that day so I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep right away.  My husband woke me up around 10 to say my dad was going to the hospital did I want to go? ,”No, hes ok,” I was so tired I could barely talk,   Again my husband woke me up and said, “Honey, your dad is gone”, I fought to wake up, “He’s at the hospital remember?” “No -Ty hes gone..he died as soon as he got to the hospital.” My brain was fuzzy and I was so confused..”No – no  no he’s ok.. he just went to the hospital, I have to go see him” I got out of bed and grabbed the car keys and was headed for the door, “your wearing a t-shirt”.. “I don’t care I have to see him, this is not true, oh God my dad’s in hell” I was all of a sudden over come with terible greif, why had I not tried harded to get my dad to believe.  My husband put his arm around my waist very gently and said, “Ty, look at me, ” I stopped and turned to face him, ” remember your dream?” “What?” “Your dream, that your dad would go to God and I would go to church?” “Your dads in heaven, God told you he was”  “Why now?” we were doing so good, why now…I remember someone told me once that sometimes God takes a person like my dad at the first opportunity because hes as good as he can get in this life..crazy.  It took a long time for me to realize that God said my husband would “go to church” which means a building not a savior. I could not believe something could hurt this much. I missed my dad like part of me was ripped out.  I was in total dispar.  We had to pick him out a coffin.  He had told every single one of us that he was to be buried in the cheapest pine box they had.  He made us all promise.  So it was me and one or two brothers and sisters that went to the funeral home to pick out “the Box”  …if was awful.  I told the man,” he wants the cheapest wooden box you have” felt awful to even say the words.   The poor man goes in the back and rolls out a Dracula coffin…just like on tv…it was awful…what did we do.?  We all laughed.  I told the poor man that’s the box.  How awful…we left there and I know I felt just terrible.  It wasn’t long the guy calls me at home, “Mrs King, I don’t want to be indelicate, but …your dad won’t fit in the box.”  I laughed again, “Ok, well then lets got with the least expensive next step up”..”after all he can’t get mad now , we tried”  the poor man offered to let me come down and see our father  with his shoulders rolled forward trying to fit in that cheap box..this made me laugh too.  Don’t ask me why it was so funny, but as I described the scene to each of my siblings they laughed also.   We went and cleaned out my dads apartment, my husband and I arrived first then the rest slowly filed in too.  We took out so much junk and things that a daughter doesn’t want to find of her dads..enough said on that line.  Anyway we cleared it out and cleaned it up. The funeral was Friday, we were all 6 there and mom too. My poor little sister broke down so bad, yelling at him that he had told her he would always be there for her.   It was just surreal.  We had placed some poker chips in his pocket and fixed his hair, I was shocked that his beard was so cold,when he looked like he would just open his eyes at any moment and this would just be a terrible joke.  That evening I got a call, that all the siblings wanted to meet at my sister’s house to pow-wow – NO spouses allowed .  When I arrived they were all there already.  I was talking to my older brother he had been gone a long time and just came back for the funeral. My brothers didn’t have much of a relationship with out stepfather, so I was really glad they came, even if it was just so we could all be together.      So my sister starts with, “Dad always said he was leaving us all money” then she turns to me and says, “Ty, where is the money?”,  “What?” , “We all cleaned out his house – there was no money” , I was stunned and in total disbelief, “You, got to the house before the rest of us, Now where’s the money?”   I was waiting for someone else to come to my defense, not a word, then my little brother stood up,  oh good someone with a cool head I thought, “I know you took the money!” It was like I was slapped into some other reality, “I have never trusted you”  .. I was reeling, I had sat up nights with all but one of them when they were sick or just sad. I had taken care from almost birth..they were almost like my children. “I would never steal from you, what ever would make you think I would steal from you?”  No one else said a word defend or acquit me.  I walked out of that house and I was not ok.  I told my husband what had happened and he wanted to go back in there and do something, I don’t know why he listened to me but he didn’t go in.   I had to go get some counseling.  I believe it changed my whole life, so in a way I’m grateful to my family.  It took about 5 years to work through everything “soup to nuts”  but I got healthy for the first time in my life. I learned that I had choices and that I didn’t have to worry about what other people thought and that I was a good and valuable human being, that it was ok for me to love my children and that they were not a punishment.  And finally that I didn’t have to stay in a relationship that was well, toxic to put it mildly.   It took me a few more years but I eventually decided that I could take care of myself and I left my husband, who was now literally a falling down drunk.  He would pull his truck into the driveway and open his door and fall partway out and pass out in the driveway, where I would leave him.  Most night when he would get home and the kids saw him pull into the driveway, they would all get up and say goodnight and head for their rooms.  He got up on Saturday morning and laid on the couch says he was sick, and someone needed to make him something to eat.  I walked outside and pulled weeds, but my little daughter made him some soup.   Then he came falling into the house one night and said he was hungry – I told him there was leftover dinner in the fridge.  He said he was sick, couldn’t I just make it for him.  NO I’m going to bed, my little girl was so upset, “mommy he is sick and he’s hungry, you need to make him something” , “he can get it himself, and he’s not sick”, “She was so upset, I’ll get you something daddy”  she started to the kitchen and I stopped her, “Go to bed” ..”I have to get daddy something to eat” she had her lip pushed out and hands on her little hips,” You go to bed I’ll take care of daddy”  “Fine!” , she went back and kissed him and went to bed giving me a very dirty look.   He looked up at me and said, “I want eggs”..I laughed a little laugh and said, ” you know where they are”. he called me a bitch and I went to bed.  At one time I had tried to help the kids have some kind of respect for him which was just impossible.  I suffered all my life wondering how to, as the Bible says, Respect your mother and father” how was I to do that?, but it doesn’t say, “IF” they are nice and good or lovable  It just says, honor your father and your mother.   I for one don’t believe the Bible ever is wrong, and I do believe that my thoughts are nowhere near God’s thoughts, so this is one thing that he will make me understand some day. I started to have nightmares, as a child I dreamt several times that a man broke into our apartment and cut a huge X in my back with an enormous knife.  I would go running down the hall trying find my mother. Finally I would burst into this apartment where I saw smoke coming under the door, my mom and 3 other people, sometimes my aunts and my grandmother and sometimes strangers, would be playing cards, l’d run up to the table and turn around to show them my back, each one took a piece of the flesh and peeled it back as I went around the table, and when I got to my mother, she grabbed a big box of salt and poured it in the wound.  And then I would wake up.    But, why would these dreams start again now?  I told the councilor, about my whole life it was so draining. I would come home and just be wiped totally out.  I got my husband to go with me and by himself a few times too.  It was a good idea, but he just wasn’t ready to make any changes in his life.  I did learn not to help him as I said earlier, and to let him have his own consequences.  The kids did not understand this at all mostly the twins they we so young.  The councilor told me that my mom had know what was happening with my dad. “Wait a minute?”,,”No – I don’t want to know I had no allies – why would she, her little girl?”  she grabbed a box of tissues. “Ty she knew”, I was resigned to it, I let out a hard breath and accepted it.  This answered a lot, maybe…  I went that weekend and told my mom what the councilor said,” that mom knew” – My mom jumped up and said” I did not know!” she was frantically looking for her cordless phone, and protesting the whole time, “I did not know , we are calling her right now, Ty Beth , I did not know” “Whats her phone number? ” she was near tears, “Mom, it doesn’t matter what she thinks, I just wanted to tell you”, she was again frantic lighting her cigarette,” Ty Beth , I did not know” , she fell into her big chair and started telling me about how the whole thing with us going to the orphanage wasn’t her fault that she was lied about then to.  I calmed her down as best I could and went home…. She knew….  Now I was sure she knew, it hurt so bad, I almost felt as though I was that little kid again left for anybody to do anything to and no one to protect her. More revelation, as I continued to see the councilor I became more and more aware that I was reliving my hurts and magnifying every hurt my kids had till I was sure that I was letting them down and not protecting them.  I projected my enormous pain on  every little disappointment they experienced.   I didn’t want to see them miss anything in life, I thought they were, – but they weren’t ..  I had regular altercations with my husband.   It seemed like he needed to make sure I knew just how stupid I was and how terrible I screwed up.  I went to the store and he had asked my to pick him up some – some size? , some kind? of screws.   I was rushing around to get the things I needed and back home so he wouldn’t be angry that he was left with the kids.  When I got in the house he came up to the back door and said, “Wheres my screws?”  – oh no , I had forgotten, “Oh man, I forgot -”   “I forgot..I forgot!”  he was seething at me and in my face with his finger poking me on the end of my nose.  “You get back in the car and go get them now!”   I just backed up through the house with him pressing the whole way, I got to the bathroom and ran in and locked the door.  He was so mad he was yelling and beating on the door, I had my hands over my ears and was crying, “What are you crying like a baby for ?”  “Get out here now!”  I just stood with my back to the sink and hoped the door would hold. It got quiet  and I decided he had given up and gone out side.  I unlocked the door and turned the knob and the whole thing hit me hard, It broke one of my fingers and I fell to my knees in pain and fear.  “Let me see it” – I held my hand to my chest not wanting him to touch me. “This isn’t my fault, -its your fault you should have opened the door like I told you, and this wouldn’t have happened”  I stayed in the floor and didn’t answer anything he said, “If you’re not going to let me see it, then get up and come out of there.”   He stormed out of the bedroom and out the back door with a loud slam, when I heard his truck start I got up and went to look out the window to see if he was gone.  I taped up my finger and took some aspirin.   I saw the councilor that next week.   When I told her what happened, that it was my fault for being in the way of the door and he didn’t mean to break my finger, and that I just couldn’t seem to remember stuff, she just sat and looked at me.  “Ty, who was outside the bathroom door?”,  what? I was totally thrown, was she not listening to me, “My husband”, I said and shook my head, “No Ty who was outside the bathroom door?”, “I told you, my husband.”..”No Ty -it is your father,  she stopped and looked at me for a moment and I just stared,  “What?” I was really confused and at the same time had a terrible fear. “Ty when your father molested you didn’t you go lock yourself in the bathroom?”,  I felt like I might faint – I started to cry and I felt so mad, “Ty, your father has backed you through the house and into the bathroom for 38 years”   “You have to stay out of the bathroom and stop him from ever doing this again”, I didn’t answer , I just sat there and believed I could never get out of that bathroom.   It was about a month later that we had this lady come to church that had helped a lot of women with the same sort of pasts.  She had me close my eyes and she ask me where I was, “in the bathroom’, I said. “Why are you in the bathroom?”, I started to open my eyes, “No Ty stay in the bathroom” I closed my eyes again, “Who is outside the door?” ..I felt silly, “My dad?”.  she said ,” look around the bathroom, who else is in there with you?”,,,in my mind I looked, “no one is here but me”, I said,,,”Ty – isn’t Jesus right there with you?”  “NO” I didn’t even hesitate, “I’m all alone”,  “Ty, is there a window?”  “Yes,”… “Ok take Jesus’ hand and let him pull you through the window”, I started to have tears slowly escape my eyes, “He can’t”, she touched my knee and I jumped, “Ty he can pull you out, take his hand”,   I was so sad, “He can’t, the window is very high and very small” I felt as though I was sinking into the couch that I sat on, it was something that would happen when I was just going away to the ceiling and not being part of me. I opened my eyes.  She looked at me and seemed disappointed in me, “Ty you have to want to get out of the bathroom”, I felt like a failure again, why wouldn’t anybody believe me, “I can’t”..  Two days later, I found myself in the bathroom with my husband once again at the door, this time I opened the medicine cabinet and search for someway out.  I was looking at prescription bottles and nothing was lethel.  All of a sudden, I could hear the councilor’s words telling me to get out of the bathroom, I was overcome with anger. I had carried a pile of folded towels into the bathroom and sat them on the counter.  I started beating on the towel with every bit of strength I had and beat all my anger out, then I grabbed the door knob unlocked the door and stormed out into his face and I yelled, shaking and crying – YOU will never do this again, don’t you ever think you can do this again,  Get out of here!”  ..he stepped back and as soon as he got through the door he wrinkled up his nose and said, “good god your crazy or something”.. I looked at him and said, “Or somthing”..three days later I told the councilor about it, I could barely walk up the stairs to her office, every muscle in my body hurt, she told me that I had had a total adrenaline over load.  I started getting a little better after that, serious steps were happening. I was having a terrible time with my moods, crying and really being irritable.  I had an appointment for my pap smear in a few weeks so I figured I would talk to the doctor then and see what she suggested. I had been having a period for 10 days at a time, twice a month for 5 years. The doctor wouldn’t do anything because I was not annemic.  I was actively trying to work out an exit strategy.  No matter how I worked it I was unable to see a way out.  I  went for my ob-gyn appointment and the doctor sent me over for a pelvic ultra sound.  She wouldn’t give me any details just that I needed to go.  So, I got an appointment for 3 days later, talk about nervous it was torture to wait and wonder.  I got the ultrasound and the technician told me to check back with my doctor that she couldn’t tell me anything until she read the films.  I got dressed and walked out of the room looking for the front desk, there was a group of staff standing in front of this wall of films, shaking their heads and even some oh my gods,”Excuse me, I interrupted “How do I get out of here?”, One of the ladies said, “this way I’ll show you”  I started to follow her and I heard someone say, “that was her – so sad”.  I think the lady that showed me to the front heard her too, she winced and looked over her shoulder to me.  Later that same day I received a call from my doctor.  They found masses everywhere, the uterus was full of masses and the ovary was covered to.  I had an ovary removed when my first son was about 2 with a tumor on it, so needless to say , I had boy – girl twins with one ovary. Thats TWO eggs at a time. Can you say fertile.  Without a biopsy or any kind of test , the doctor told me they would do surgery that Friday..I had 3 days.  He said they would remove the uterus the ovary and anything else that was involved.  They would check lymph nodes and take the appendix, gal bladder and anything else that looked suspect.  He looked at me and said, “You may wake up to find you are terminal, or that you will need chemo, or that it was nothing, you should get your affairs in order.”  It was like I was in slow motion..this just can’t be real?  My husband, my sisters and my mother came to the hospital while I waited for the surgery to start. My husband sat in the floor at the end of the bed, my sisters joked with me and my mom brought me a gaudy ring with a huge pink stone in it. They all prayed and they took me away.   When I awoke I was told I would know sometime the next day about what the surgeon found.   Are these people just master torturers or what?  They had done a full abdominal hysterectomy and found nothing anywhere else.  I was free of that pain in the gutt uterus!  The tests all came back and no cancer..the second time anybody said that word out loud to me.  It took so long to heal up, I was flat of my back for a total of 6 weeks, If you don’t count the times I got up and ended up back at the hospital. Maybe it’s not so bad, after a few weeks in bed I started to think my husband had changed that he was changed by this whole ordeal.  Prior to the surgery I had gathered several books, some christian teaching tapes and some magazines too.  If I took the medicine for the pain, I had no pain but I could not read my bible or understand the tapes.  So less meds, I could read but boy the pain was terrible I could barely move.  But I wanted to be able to know what was going on in the house and know the kids were ok.  I had moved forward on the divorce and then been dealt this little surprise so I was all of a sudden sure I was unable to take care of myself.  Maybe it would be better now.  I had got to do some studying and was praying for guidance, I needed to go to the bathroom so I called my husband.  He came in and bent over and put his arm out in front of me to hold on to in order to sit up.  Right then clear as a bell, God says to me, “just keep leaning on the arm of flesh”.  I was jolted inside, “Oh lord I am sorry forgive me” ..I was going to rely on the man of flesh who had let me down over and over again.  “Lord, as soon as I can walk I am leaving this place”  That very afternoon, I went to the livingroom to just get out of the bed, it took a lot of assistance and much pain.  My youngest sons were arguing over who got to ride the go-cart.  The go-cart was a christmas present to the two of them, but my husband had decided that Sean was too big and it was to be for Travis.   They were arguing, Sean and my husband, Sean was very angry because there was very obvious favoritism toward Travis.   My husband got in front of Sean and called him a baby and every other thing he could think of trying to get him to fight with him. I told Sean, “Dont you move”, his nose was flaring and his step dad just stepped up the torment. Sean looked like he would get up, I sprung off the couch and in between the two of them. As I had gotten up and lunged I felt a terrible pain inside as though a huge tear had occurred. I was instantly crumpled, ” Get me the phone Sean” I said, He looked mortified, “Mom” . “Get me the phone now Sean”, he skirted out and brought back the phone, “Dial Andy’s house”, Sean dialed and I talked to mama Marquez, “I need for you to come and get Seany and keep him till I tell you to bring him back”, she didn’t hesitate, “I’ll be right there”, I told my husband I need to go to the hospital”, he stared at me , ” I need you to pick me up”, he bent down and started to lift me and I screamed, he stopped.”No matter what I do Pick ME UP and take me to the car”  He picked me up I could not help but scream, we went to the hospital and into the emergency room. I explained what had happened and my husband stood there without saying a word.  They ended up giving me several injections in my stomach and told me to take the pain medication or I would not get better.  We  went home and I took the knock me out meds till I was able to walk again. I packed my bags and left that very day. I lived in one room where I worked. We had a vacant apartment attached to the building where I worked for a big pest control company. I took Sean with me and took the twins when their dad was at work. He was a fireman and worked 3 days on and 4 off.  It was all I could do.  At that time I was waiting for the check from my husband for a part of the value of our home.  He wanted the house and I was fine with that.  I started looking for a place to rent and ended up finding a condo to buy.  With my equity check I had a good down, I was to meet my husband at the title company to sign off on our house and he had to sign off on my new place, technical reasons of some sort.  He had a paper for me to sign before he would give me the check, it was saying that I had actually been separated from him for a couple of years prior to our divorce.  That would keep me from a larger share of his retirement.  The title agent could tell this was a forced blackmail, If I didn’t give them the check today, I would lose the condo to a back up offer.  I told her all was ok, I looked him in the eye and said, “God will make this all come out just like he wants it to”. then I signed his paper.  I decided not to give it anymore thought and I haven’t.   I got the condo, I have no idea how that ever worked out.  I barely had the money to make the payments and needed to work 2 jobs. I had all 3 kids most of the time and would have kept them all the time but their dad wanted them to be with him 1/2 the time.  He ended up showing up at my condo in his motor home and knocked the front gate to the complex down, he was drunk, he had our young son, too young  to have a licence, drive them all home.. I went to court to try to get full custody after this occurred I took the kids with me.  I thought they would be asked what they wanted too.  The Judge, threatened to put me in jail, for not letting their dad take them when it was his visitation time and yelled at me for bringing the kids with me.   I was in total shock,” I don’t know how this stuff works, I told him and I assumed you would need to talk to the kids too.”  The judge was just mad, I would almost bet he had been in a divorce and custody situation himself.  They split up the visitation according to my ex’s schedule and I asked that he not be allowed to drink when he had the kids and he demanded the same of me, “No problem – I don’t drink.”,  “But I think I will when You have the kids!”  It was awful and has been ever since.  He has since lost his job with the State and almost his retirement from DUI’s  He is scraping by and is constantly on the wagon, off the wagon. I slowly settled in, it was surreal.  This would be the first time I ever did the whole process of living by myself. I put my bills down on paper and put the paper on my fridge.   The total was always more than I made, and then I would put down food.  The first thing on my list was my tithes.  My mom came by the house one day and walked in my little kitchen and looked around, I was proud of my clean and cute place. “Ty Beth” she was standing in front of the fridge shaking her head and let out a sigh with her lips all scrunched together, “Tithes are for people with money -God doesn’t need your money”, I came into the kitchen rethinking my placement of my personal information, “He doesn’t need my money but he does want my obedience to His word” I pulled the sheet off the fridge and stuffed into a drawer, “God has always blessed my giving, and remember the Widow’s mite?” ” She gave her last 1/2 penny.”  She wasn’t any too happy with that, “Ok, I can see I am not wanted here, she turned and headed for the door. “Thanks for stopping by”, I think the door closed before the “BY” in that sentence.  I always feel like a bad person and a failure when she’s around.  I had run a successful cleaning company for 14 years my last contract was $78K for a months work.  What does my mom say, “But you’re a janitor, why don’t you find a job as a secretary or receptionist and you could dress up”  I just would stand there with my mouth hanging open. I was driving a nice looking little van that was falling apart. It had all this (New at that time) electronic everything and it was starting to go south big time.  I prayed that I would be smart enough to buy a new car.  I ask God for a small car something cute, economical and maybe green, “like that one Lord !” , as I was being passed by a little green Neon.   I had to drive by the car dealership ever day and I would wonder how much longer the van had.  This day I was supposed to meet some people over at my ex’s house to look at the motor home I had gotten in the divorce, it was a real piece of junk in the worse way.  I arrived across the street from the house and my ex comes up the driveway, very drunk – he is just gushing to help me sell the motor home, I just turned around and got back in my car and left him standing in the middle of the street.  I decided I didn’t want to be there and be witness to the mess that would ensue.  I drove to the end of the street and down the hill and left on the main street.  As I look down the whole display panel on the van is blank, no fuel gauge, no mileage, no speedometer, nothing.  I pulled over to the curb and laid my head on the steering wheel, I started to cry over this whole day, week, month..I sat back and took a deep breath. I looked to my side and there is the car dealership. “Oh Lord, I know I have to step out and try, please help me, don’t let them sell me a piece of junk and help me be sensible, amen”  I pulled the van onto the lot and got out.    I told the salesman I wanted something small and economical.  “Right over here, this is a very economical little car” , he walked over and looked in the window, “oh it looks like the keys are locked in this one”,  I didn’t really like the looks of this one anyway, “Oh well, lets look at one next to it, it is very clean and’s locked too?”   “I was hoping for something a little smaller and cute”,  “Oh”, he smiled and pointed behind us, “What about this one?”  I turned around and it was a little green Neon.  I was praying,”Lord is this my car?”   I took a test drive and loved this little car.  “If I can put you in this car today would you take it?”  I hemmed and hawed a bit and said, “We can talk about it”  They looked over the van which was immaculate inside and out except for the electrical problem.  They said I need about a $1000. down payment, “oh well we tried’, I said a got up with my purse, “Wait a minute, do you have anything else to trade in?”  “No, I ….” and then the motor home I needed to get rid of pops into my mind, “I do have a motor home that I’m trying to sell”  I dug in my purse, “I even have the paper work for it with me” Long story short I got the little green Neon that I’d prayed specifically for.  That motor home sat on their lot for almost two years, I think they junked it in the end.


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