Tag Archive | family

Revealed Chapter 7: Into the Lion’s Den ~

The first few years with my new, live-in “beau” were common.  In March of 1985 I gave birth to his son, and we began to move around (relocate) quite a bit.  BB was a farm hand in rural Cayuga County.  Before I met him, and for several months after we first began living together, he worked on his family’s dairy farm.  For whatever reason, he decided he no longer wanted to stay on the family farm, but was hoping to “advance” his career by changing jobs to a different farm in the area.  Often dairy farm jobs come complete with housing for the farm hand and family.  Thus, we began to move as he would take a job, decide he didn’t like it or it didn’t pay enough, and get another job with housing… dragging us from place to place in the process.  The children and I were still receiving public assistance in Cayuga County, but BB’s paycheck was barely $150-$175/weekly, plus the “housing” (which was usually bleak at best, but included utilities, typically).

 As what often happens when two people co-habit together without even knowing each other, it didn’t take long for our true colors to begin to show.  I learned quickly that I had chosen to be saddled with another “child” rather than an equal adult to help me carry the family responsibilities.  And I think he learned that I had a quick temper and low tolerance for stupidity.  I grew tired of moving around and uprooting the family and changing schools simply because he could not get along with his employers time and time again.  Often I would have to intervene between him and his supervisor or the farm owner just to try to keep him employed and us in one place for more than a few months.  This would be a regular pattern throughout the upcoming decade. 

It didn’t take long for the arguments to begin in earnest.  I learned early on that this was a person who literally believed everything he said and did was right.  Needless to say that verbally fighting with such a nut case is beyond frustration.  And, as the months and years went by, I discovered that it was not simply just a tactic he used to try to “right fight”, he actually believed whatever he said was true and correct.  This would be his delusion right to the end.

 Add to that the fact that BB was a drinker.  He came by it honestly enough… all the “men-folk” in his family consumed mass quantities of beer at the local watering hole, where BB was literally raised.  I guess that’s pretty much when and where the violence began between us.  He was not a “happy” drinker, but was belligerent.  It began with just a push here and a shove there, then a punch in the arm and a kick under the covers in bed at night.  Admittedly, I fought back…. though my 5’6” against his 6’4” made it pretty futile.  I was not one to take things lying down, despite the fact that often I had no choice.  On more than many occasions when BB wanted his way in bed and I refused, I found myself being kicked and shoved onto the floor and screamed at and ordered out.  When he got tired of me picking myself up off the floor and sleeping on the sofa (because I wouldn’t let him have his way), he decided to forgo the kicking and shoving and just not take “no” for an answer.  I contemplated over and over about having him arrested for rape, but I had no income ~ well not enough to support my growing family on my own.  So I remained quiet… for now.  I’d grit my teeth and wait the few moments it would take for him to finally leave me alone, then I’d cry from frustration.  I would eventually be quoted giving a description of BB to sheriff’s detectives as a sexual addict.  That was neither a lie nor an understatement.

 In late 1986 I would announce that we would be adding one more to our family, as I was pregnant again.  We were still bouncing around to various farm jobs, but at the time we were living on a really nice farm in Skaneateles, NY.   Despite our differences, I always thought we could work things out and maybe, eventually, find a way to exist together.  I wasn’t so much a realist back then.  Well, not until I went for a prenatal checkup and found out that I was walking around with a venereal disease that went undetected!  I think I was in shock at my OB/GYN’s office.  Never ever had I had such news!  I took great time and care to question my doctor about everything to do with it:  how it’s transmitted, symptoms, treatment.  I wanted to know everything.  I was informed that I would’ve had to have gotten it from my partner (BB), that there would be no other way possible.  Well, I guess that would mean that he must’ve gotten it elsewhere… which would mean I was not the only “girl in town” for him.  Not such a big surprise.  When I got home and confronted him, he denied, denied, denied.  Like if he said it enough times, I would believe it like he does.  When a major argument ensued, he left the residence and didn’t return home until the next day after work.  Hmmmm.  To keep peace, I let it slide for the time being, but did not forget nor forgive.

 Katie was born in May 1987, and in August 1988 I finally landed my first job… well, other than when I was in high school.  This was to be my first real job:  an intake clerk for a weatherization program for a non-profit agency in Auburn, NY.  I was excited.  We managed to move into some low income housing in Auburn that wasn’t far from my work, and they had programs for both preschoolers Brian and Katie to attend, while Kristen and Karalyn went to elementary school.

 I don’t know if it was the fact that I was gainfully employed that made me feel better about myself, but things began to change for me, and hence my family ~ and not necessarily for the better.  It was common knowledge to me and anyone who knew him the BB was not with me exclusively (to put it kindly).  He decided to revert back to his old ways of “open marriage”, even though he and I were not married ~ he still wasn’t divorced from his first wife.  In a way, it was relief to me, since he left me alone more often, and I soon began to explore my own other interests.  BB decided to leave the farm hand life, and he took a job as a cab driver in the city of Auburn.  He worked nights and slept days, which seemed to suit us well.  I was making new friends, who soon became drinking buddies as we made our rounds to various bars on Friday and Saturday nights.  Kristen would’ve been about 12 years old then, and I had no qualms about leaving the other 3 smaller children in her care while they were in bed so I could pursue my own carefree fun.  I was coming into my own “all about me” phase that would last decades before I would wake up and see the light.  Right now, I was of the opinion that I deserved to have a good time, whenever/wherever I wanted to.  After all, I worked hard, I took care of my kids and I tolerated an idiot ~ who would deny me a little fun?  It would be a little more time before I would come to realize that “fun” had all of its own costs.

 ~ To be Continued in Chapter 8…

Smile for Awhile ~

I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate my family into my blog, and finally found an ideal way.  I’ve taken some of my favorite photos and captured just their smiles.  The incredible beauty that is found in one’s smile is enough to bring joy into your heart.

My grandson, Braden’s, cherub-like smile is precious!

I especially adore my grandchildren’s smiles.

Gavin’s smile is more knowing, maybe mischievous, as a 10 year old.

Four year old granddaughter, Aubree’s, smile is infectious.

Carefree and daring is 4 year old “Bree”.

My little “eskimo” grandson, Austin, lives in Wasilla, Alaska, and I don’t get to see his smile in person nearly enough!

Austin looks like he’d much rather be playing baseball than sitting still for a photo op!

Nieces Michelle (below left) and Lisa (below right) have that genuine smile of their mother, and both just as beautiful. 

                  

Although I have several more grandchildren to share, as well as children and sibling smiles,  I’ll have to save those for another time, another smile.

 

Revealed Chapter 5: Obedience and the Barter

Trust me when I tell you that one never really knows another person, even after being married and/or living with someone for a long time ~ even decades.  I really only barely knew my new husband of less than a year when we had our first conjugal visit in Attica State Prison, Attica, NY in early 1984.  I made arrangements for my two daughters, ages 3 & 5 at the time, to spend that weekend with my parents, I believe.  I wonder now, what were my parents thinking?  I can now put myself in their place, happily watching their precious granddaughters while their youngest daughter, at an inexperienced age of 25, goes off for a three day weekend with her new murderous husband inside the walls of a maximum security prison.  What were they thinking?  What was I thinking?!  They never said a word; never said “don’t go, it’s too dangerous”, or “what are you doing?”.  How I wish they had.  I wished they’d have talked some sense into me, or at least tried.  Perhaps they felt it was futile.  If only they’d tried. 

 I was excited at the prospect of getting to know my new husband of less than a year in the “Biblical sense” as they call it.  I had consulted with other friends of mine who had attended these types of visits ~ conjugal visits.  You go to the correctional facility on a Friday early morning, and you leave (potentially in one piece) on Sunday afternoon.  During that time, the couple (with or without family/children) are housed in a mobile home in the middle of the facility complex ~ where several (maybe 6 or 7) mobile homes are made available for such conjugal visits.  The guards on the towers surrounding the yard are on watch 24/7, and the inmate must “report” to the guards every 6 hours around the clock.  That means they must open the door of the mobile home, stand in the doorway and wave to the nearest guard and stay there until they are recognized and acknowledged.  Then they can return to their business.  If they do not report as required or on time, a guard comes to your abode and makes his presence known in a very boisterous way… to be certain that everyone is “safe” and all is well.  They come heavily armed and with an attitude because you made them come down off that wall.

 The visiting spouse or family brings all food items that will be used over the weekend, as well as any clothing and personal items that are needed.  Everything is rifled through meticulously when you check in at the yard.  Well, they don’t check internally.  Conjugal visitors are then lead to the mobile home that will be occupied for the next 36 or so hours to wait for their inmate of choice. 

 I would begin unpacking and refrigerating perishable food items before BH would make his entrance.  I would also “unpack” his supply of drugs that I was required to smuggle in, being careful not to be in view of any windows where guards can see in.  The anticipation of waiting for my new husband to arrive was distracting… that and knowing I’m deep inside a state prison known for riotous uprisings, with relatively no protection from my point of view.  At last he would arrive, and we would begin getting to know each other.  Besides a few “quirks”, I thought we would have a good time and bond and be able to relax for a change, rather than sitting in an uncomfortable visiting room for hours on end.

 I was immediately introduced to some of BH’s “wifely rules” (I guess you could call them).  I was not allowed to be alone, anywhere, throughout the visit.  Yes, even when I had business in the bathroom, whether it be a shower, a bath, or “using the facilities”, he would be there ~ watching me.  Conversely, if he had to do the same, I would be required to follow him and remain in his presence at all times.  Even if I was asleep when he had to report every 6 hrs., I was awakened to be at his side near the door.  That’s tough to get used to.  I was required to perform whatever sexual favor he deemed he wanted, whenever he wanted it and wherever he wanted it.  The favor was not required to be returned to me.  Additionally, I was not allowed to share in the stash of drugs I had so dutifully brought into the facility, unless he felt he wanted to share.  He would eat whenever he wanted to, and I would be required to fix whatever it was he wanted.  Our meals/menus and list of food items had been previously decided upon, and everything prepared was to his liking.  It basically turned out that I was his “beck and call girl” and he was stoned most of the 36+ hours we were there.  Believe it or not, I was happy with it.  I convinced myself that I needed the “structure” of such a relationship to keep me in line, as he put it.  I was brainwashed in one weekend.  Granted, the brainwashing started long before our conjugal visit.  This is just what he used to sink his controlling clutches deeper into me and cement my complete obedience to him, inside and outside the prison walls.  And, indeed, I was completely obedient.

 Months later he put my obedience to the ultimate test with our next (and last) conjugal visit.  He had been transferred to Great Meadow Correctional near the Vermont border, and we were granted a conjugal visit inside that facility in early 1984 ~ it was around our 1st anniversary, I think.  It warranted the same rules/regulations as Attica, as with all maximum security prisons, I presumed.  I was to bring steak, potatoes, vegetables, his favorite snacks and Valium and pot.  This time, though, (he said) things would be a little bit different, and he had a “surprise” for me.  My pre-visit shopping list included several sex toys that he’d requested I bring.  And, I assume, that the guards are used to seeing such things in their luggage search.  So I dutifully purchased what he’d requested without question.  After all, I’m sure he knew what he was doing.

Great Meadow maximum security correctional facility (also known as “Comstock”). Located just a ways north of Glens Falls, NY

 When I arrived on Friday, and we got settled in to our accommodations, he began to explain to me that the inmate prison population has a system of “barter”, and that he’d made a “deal” with a friend of his for some of my time during this visit.  The friend was doing life, and would never have a conjugal visit or be able to get married etc., so it was arranged that, for the exchange of some drugs, this friend would come to our mobile home during the visit on the pretense of fixing an appliance that had stopped working, which is common practice.  Of course, there was no broken appliance.  After the exchange of drugs, I would be taken by the friend into the bedroom where I would be expected to do as asked for a period of 3 hours.  I was not allowed to say “no” or refuse in any way, as that would make my new husband “look bad” in the eyes of the prison population, once word got out that I was uncooperative.  It was all about him being a “stand up guy”.

 As nervous as I was, the guy (I never knew his name) arrived at about 5:30 p.m. and he took me by the hand to the bedroom.  I looked nervously and unsure at BH, and he smiled and nodded that I should go.  The door closed and I was at the literal mercy of this person whom I’d never met.  After the first slap that sent me reeling, I knew I was in for a long and painful time of it.  For three hours, he beat and raped me time and again, while my husband sat in the livingroom watching t.v. and getting wasted.  I was not allowed to scream, or bring attention from the guards for fear of retribution from my husband.  But I managed to cry silently throughout.  This person was obviously experienced at hitting where bruises and cuts would not show, and I found out the hard way that the “toys” were for his benefit, not BH’s.  Finally, after the third hour passed, he left me there barely conscious and exhausted. 

 I remember laying there for awhile trying to catch my breath and regain my senses, and I was thinking how glad I was that I hadn’t brought Kristen and Karalyn as I’d thought I might.  Thinking about what they might be doing at that moment as they revel in their grandparent’s loving care. I was grateful then that my parents were such caring, loving grandparents and I was sure I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.  I finally got the courage to take inventory of my cuts and bruises.  There was a first aid kit available, but I wasn’t allowed to use the band-aids as they are “counted” before and after each visitor, and using more than one would’ve brought attention and questions.  So I took comfort in a cold wash cloth.  I thought it odd that visitors are searched so vigorously upon arrival, but no one took a second look at you when you left.

 The next morning, my husband said I should “feel lucky”, as he was doing life for serial rape and murder (hence no conjugal visits).  I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by “feel lucky” ~ surely this guy wouldn’t have killed me right there?  Then again, what did he have to lose?  Seeing such a cold attitude from BH made me realize right there that this was a sick and dangerous individual.  My devotion and thoughts of complete obedience began to wane right then and there.  I knew this was the beginning of the end of my second marriage… short as it was.

Despite my conviction, this would not be the only such experience before I found my way to the Light.  That would be years ahead!

 *** This is the first time I’ve shared this story with anyone other than my current husband.  It has been a dark, dark secret pushed way down inside of me for all these years.  No more!  Women need to be empowered and educated so that these or similar things do not happen to them!  Please do not shed a tear or feel sorry for me that I experienced this in my life, for it was part of my journey to freedom and empowerment of my own self.  Indeed, it was difficult revisiting these memories as I wrote, but I knew that someone might read this and identify and realize that you do not have to be someone’s door mat.  You are better than that, I am better than that!***

Revealed Chapter 2: The White Picket Fence ~

In my senior year of high school, amidst all the drugs, alcohol and self-pity of losing my first love, a girlfriend of mine told me that her fiancé had a brother who is a Marine who is currently on a 3 month cruise and was lonely and wanted a “pen pal”.  What could it hurt?  It would give me something to do to take my mind off ST, and I loved to write because I had good handwriting skills.  So she gave me his address on this military ship in the middle of the Mediterranean and I wrote my first letter, never really thinking I would get a response, I guess.

 I did get a response, and MS and I continued our pen pal relationship for the three months he was overseas, and for a month or two upon his return to Camp Lejeune, NC, where he was based.  When he finally got leave, he wrote that he would be coming to Syracuse, NY, to see his family (his mom and brothers), so we made arrangements to meet in person.  By this time, I had my first car (a 1970 Maverick) and I had a job working at the Baldwinsville School District Offices as Receptionist after school each day… so I had $$.  Also I had “toned down” my partying from my own school locker, and was only getting completely wasted on the weekends.

This is not my exact first car, but exactly LIKE my first car (including the color).

 When MS and I finally met, it was pretty electric.  Wow!  I was a 17 year old high school senior dating a 21 year old Marine!  And I was finally able to get my mind off ST ~ okay, well, maybe not so much.  But who cares?  I was dating a Marine!  The mutual physical attraction was instantaneous, but then again, I’d had a lot of mutual physical attractions with guys before now… none were Marines.   I guess, by the time MS left Syracuse to go back to Camp Lejeune, we were “boyfriend/girlfriend”, and I promised to continue to keep writing in between infrequent phone calls, and I also had decided to make the trip to North Carolina right after graduation for a week or so of fun in the sun at Camp Lejeune.  I had relatives down there I could visit as well.  It was an exciting time … 1977.

 I’d planned that year to go to college after graduation with a business major and art minor.  I was looking into schools when I found out I was pregnant (yet again), and everything screeched to a halt.  What the he!!?  How did this happen?  And I had to tell that 21 year old Marine that we were going to be parents.  I had no idea how he would react, but was thankful it was positive.  He and I decided to get married and become a family with our little one due the next March 1978.  So it was that he managed to get back to Syracuse 2 days before our wedding day, and we said our vows in Plainville Christian Church with a reception following at my parent’s home where I grew up and would soon be leaving.  I couldn’t be happier!  I was going to have it all… a career husband who would make good money in the service of his country to provide for his wife and child.  And there might be more children, and eventually we’d buy a home somewhere and put up that white picket fence in rural America, get a dog and maybe some cats and live the good life and be in love forever.  I expected nothing less.  And I wanted to be a good mom and wife and do all the “stuff” that was expected of me once domesticated.

My ideal marriage/family dream. After all, the white picket fence holds it all together, doesn’t it?

 And all was well for awhile.  We learned to “play house” in North Carolina.  However, some things were just not meant to last, and my white picket fence was about to come crashing down.

 

Revealed: Introduction ~

It’s time.  This is it.  For so many years, friends and family have been encouraging me to write a book about my life’s experiences thus far.  It’s taken until now to finally feel the inspiration from God to put myself out there, after all, I have nothing more to hide.  I thought telling about my abortion at age 14 (Forgiven and Set Free) would’ve been the hardest thing to reveal, and I’ve done that.  It’s time to “come clean” with the rest, and pray that I can help someone else in the process.

I guess I would classify my story as surviving, what some could call, hell on earth, then finding my spirituality and turning my entire life around.  As shocking as some of my reveal may seem to some, it’s meant to encourage others to not give up, and to listen when God speaks to you ~ and He WILL, if you let Him, if you listen.  He can bring you through any circumstance, if you trust in Him.

“With God, all things are possible.”  ~ Matthew 19:26  

So, I’m not writing a book, exactly.  I’m going to blog about it.  Each post will be like a chapter, with this being The Beginning.  I’m not going to change any names “to protect the innocent”, but I will use initials out of respect for those who deserve it, and for those who have passed away ~ and, yes, even for those who don’t deserve it (respect)!  I make no apologies for what I’m going to reveal.  It is the truth ~ my truth, my perspective.  I will attempt to write each chapter in chronological succession, but I will be writing as my inspiration tells me.  I trust He will not steer me wrong.

Before I begin with the Chapters, I want to notably make clear that I had what I consider to be an awesome childhood.  I loved my parents, even though I didn’t know that until it was too late.  I love my siblings ~ all 4 are older than me, but not necessarily wiser… maybe in “some” ways.  I believe I had a “typical” childhood of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.  My parents were loving people, albeit strict and they believed in corporal punishment, as do I.  We vacationed as a family each year, went to the company Christmas party at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, I learned to wash dishes by hand before I could reach the sink using a step stool.  We grew up in rural Upstate New York, and strung toilet paper at the “four corners of Plainville” on Halloween night, then watched as the tractor trailers drove through them and blew their horn.  My story doesn’t really begin until I became a pre-teen/teenager.  I’ll get there.

I also want my four amazing children to know, before I even begin, that I love them above and beyond anything they can ever imagine.  I would not change one aspect of my life, as that’s what it took to bring them into this world and get us to where we are today.  They have survived the tyranny, chaos and abuse I raised them under, and have become incredible adults with gorgeous children of their own.

Lastly, and most importantly, I must acknowledge my husband, Al (whose name I won’t initial), for coming into my life just when I needed him most.  I must confess that it was Al that brought God into my life… or was that vice versa?  *smiles*  They came into my life simultaneously, and I have been abundantly blessed ever since.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

A starred sunset over Lake Ontario from Brennan Beach RV Park & Campground near Pulaski, New York.
http://www.sthomasphotos.com or Viewsinfinitum.com

Oh, and the photo?  I’m borrowing it from another site:  www.sthomasphotos.com   I also want to recommend the blog:   http://viewsinfinitum.com/ .  This particular photo is a favorite of mine and has the effect of calming my mind and my soul, allowing me to reconnect with my Lord and God when stress is particularly abundant.  This photographer has many such “calming” photos, many involving waterfalls, nature and landscapes.  The blog is well-written and insightful, always stirring my imagination and emotions.  Worth a look.