Another Country, another lesson…

As you can imagine, the next stage of my life was difficult, but I can’t think it’s much worse than anyone else entering this phase of life.  I met my future husband, and we got married a short time later.  We both had lost a parent at a young age, but he still had his mother in his life, so we had a unique bond that we hoped would help us manage married life.  By the time we decided to have kids, we had been married for five years, and had already gone through our first round of marriage counseling.  I was not very willing to “compromise” my life at all, and as we all know, that doesn’t work when you share your life with another.  I had a lot of growing up to do, and I was willing to give my marriage %100 effort before I walked away, and luckily we found a way to make it work.

My husband is an “over-achiever” who was very committed to his career, and I wanted to by home with my kids, so it worked for us.  After he got his MBA from Harvard, we were moving to Singapore for his new role.  I stayed in Colorado while I was pregnant with my second son, as I had lost two  babies in between my first and second so I didn’t want to risk the flight.  I moved to Deer Trail for three months and spent time with my family while my husband moved overseas.   We planned on moving over as a family when my baby boy was six weeks old, but his birth was not as expected.

Rodeo weekend was a huge weekend in Deer Trail, and my husband’s mother, sister, and brother-in-law flew in for the weekend.  It was supposed to be a great time, and I was going to give birth, head out to watch the rodeo, and show my inlaws my hometown, but that didn’t happen.  The birth was fine, but the next day my world crashed.

The second day of his life, Trevor’s bilirubin levels skyrocketed!  Bilirubin is the byproduct of red blood cells being broken down by the baby’s body in order to get rid of the excess blood needed in pregnancy.  All babies go through this process, but Trevor’s was really excessive, and he spent the first week under lights in the intensive care unit.  I couldn’t hold him, I couldn’t feed him, I couldn’t believe he could end up with brain damage.  (If bilirubin counts go above “30” brain damage occurs, and Trevor was at “28”) After a long week, the doctors stabilized him enough to take him to find out what was going on-but the problem was they needed blood, a lot of it.  Trevor had so much blood drawn from him in the ICU that he needed to produce more to test, and his poor heels looked like a pin cushion.  When the doctors finally thought we could do the test we went for our appointment, at The Rocky Mountain Oncology Department.  Yeah, that put life into perspective for me and my sick boy.  There were so many babies, toddlers, and kids in that office, waiting for treatments to stop their cancers that I was stricken with shame.  I was completely devastated with what was going on with my son, but it was ONLY a blood disorder.  I felt so ashamed of myself for my attitude and my emotions, I wasn’t ready for my son to be born with any issues whatsoever!  (but who was???)

We managed to get the tests done, and Trevor was diagnosed; Spherocytosis.  It’s a hereditary blood disorder where his red blood cells never mature, so they stay in a rounded-shape, instead of flattening out.  The spleen sees them as “dangerous” and takes them out. When he was stable enough for me to fly to Singapore with him, we left and sought out a specialists right away.  I still had to give him shots of epogen to spark his bone marrow to produce blood so he didn’t run out, but we managed to keep him going.  The original doctor we had would not speak to me, but only to my husband, (he was old school Chinese, and didn’t recognize me as important) so we quickly moved him to the University Hospital oncology department.  We saw the doc there for years, and even had a study started on him as “Hereditary Spherocytosis” didn’t fit our situation.  After a few years Trevor’s body was able to stabilize his blood production, and we slowly calmed the “panic” that had taken over our lives.

We lived in Singapore for five years, and we had a lot of amazing adventures:  scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Tioman Island, Koh Pei Pei; flying to Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Bali, and even walked on the Great Wall of China!  Life in Singapore was great, and the experiences there were priceless; I was raising my young brood in the safest country in the world.   I had a nanny to help with my kids, which came in handy again when I had my third boy.  (I get bed rested with my pregnancies so it was perfect timing!)

I found a church in Singapore that I got totally involved in.  I took parenting courses, helped with the Newcomers club, joined the Kids’ Mass ladies as the storyteller, and I trained as a parenting coach.  I loved working with new moms, I felt I could be a good cheerleader for them to get through the hard parts.  I joined “Focus on the Family” as a Volunteer Coordinator, and also helped newcomers settle in to Singapore.  Our life in Southeast Asia was a wonderful experience, and I still pinch myself sometimes to see if it was real.

Trevor was pretty mild until he hit puberty, then his body crashed.  He spent a week in the Royal Hospital in Derbyshire, England in 2013 after his blood count dropped dangerously low.  His final count was “2” before they transfused him.  He slowly bounced back to his “normal” and has not had any episodes since.

 

I never imagined myself living in another country, let alone one so far away and so foreign.  I really believe that “life finds a way” and that I am on this earth for a reason.  My life is mapped out already by a higher being, my God, and I am fine with that.  I haven’t had the best upbringing, as some of you may have read about, but I still see life as “half-full”.  My mom left this earth way too young, and I feel compelled to live the best life I can.  I so wish I could “bottle up” that feeling as there are several people I know who would really benefit from some positive reinforcements.  God only knows why I still love life and feel so fortunate to be living.

 

 

(There is no cure for Spherocytosis, and it’s hereditary, although no family members were ever found to carry it.  In the severe form, monthly transfusions would be needed, and the spleen would most-likely be taken out.  We have met one other person born with the disease, and her spleen was out and she is on antibiotics for the rest of her life.)

“Breaker Breaker 1-9 you gotta copy on me?”

Now life in our camper was pretty manic.  My mom had to keep us moving from place to place before the rent was due.  We stayed more out of town at county reservoirs as the nightly rent was cheap-but they were far from our school.  Mom struggled with money and jobs then and the rest of it feels quite fuzzy.

One of the places we stayed seemed more like a truck stop than vacation spot.  There was a group of truckers that my mom made friends with and we spent some nights hanging out with them by their campfires.  Once I got a chance to put my “ears on” via CB radio.  Guided by the driver, I teased one of their friends into the camp.  I didn’t know what I was really saying, but I took to the mic like a “moth to a flame”- crazy right?  My “handle” was “Tweety Pie 2” and apparently the truck driver thought I was much older, and ready for action.  When he finally pulled in and saw who I was the camp erupted in laughter.  I was completely oblivious to the “CB language” I was putting down, but I loved all the attention.  My mom and I spent that time together and I was happy that I had her attention.

Another time I remember was at Chatsworth Reservoir.  We seemed to be on a spot that was in the middle of nowhere, and the outhouses were so far.  It was getting cold out now and I was in my one piece red flannel pajamas with the feet attached.  I didn’t like my zipper to not be completely zipped up, and I was warned several times to leave a little on the top.  Well the inevitable happened; my zipper got stuck.  Of course it happened at night when I really had to go! I started dancing around trying to pull that bloody zipper down before I wet myself-and my mom laughed her head off.  I was desperate to get out of my pajama prison, and was screaming “WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I DO?”   I finally was able to climb out of the neck hole just in time!  From that point on I didn’t have “pajamas” anymore, I had a “What do I do suit!”

Although there was some fun times, there was probably more bad.  If my mom could drive us to school, she may not be there to pick us up-she struggled with getting gas in the car AND whiskey in her tank.  Several times we stayed at my sister’s friends house that lived near school, but we were worried about our two dogs and two cats that were left back at our trailer.  Mom promised us she had fed them, and let them out- but she hadn’t- she had no gas to drive out there. A few days later we returned to our home to find the door wide open, and all but one of our pets were gone.  We looked everywhere for them, but they were gone.  We cried.  My mom’s dog was the only one we had left. 

We depended on our pets to be there for us, keep us safe at night;  we were alone a lot and it was dark, windy, and scary.  We all had mixed emotions when we were told to “pack up” again.  This last move proved to be fatal to our family….

Bowling alleys and Trailer parks…

As much as we loved our “Blue Spruce Motel” it wasn’t a home.  My mom was still using money from Chuck to pay for it and she was not happy about that.  I don’t know how or when we got the trailer from my mom’s parents, but they let us use it.  It was a 10×40 bumper pull that we had in the trailer park near I-225 and Colfax avenue in Aurora, Colorado.  I remember it being warm outside, and we had full run of the park.  There were various trailors/campervans/tents throughout the park, and we fit right in.  The amenities included a cold swimming pool, and communal showers that had endless hot water-we loved it!  One of my favorite memories from that place was when my little sister and I went swimming when a summer storm came and they closed the pool, and we headed over to the showers.  We turned all of the shower heads on and danced around and sang “Ring my Bell” and “Kiss in the Dark” for as long as it took us to get pruned-it was so much fun!

There was a trailer wash bay that we used to spray our feet with when we got out of the creek that ran on the outskirts of the park, we called it our “car wash”.  I can’t begin to tell you how many gallons of water we wasted there during the dog-days of summer.  We spent so much time there that we started cleaning vehicles that lined up waiting for our money to run out.(the water was on a timer so 5 minutes costs $.25)    Behind the car wash was a creek, not too deep but way too fun to stay away from.  We used to go on “safari” down through the water looking for anything that moved.  We would find so much “treasure” down there that we fought over who would be the leader of our expedition!    I don’t remember my mom being home much, but I do remember her leaving us a few coins that she got from tips the night before. She would leave us each a quarter, which is what an ice cream would cost back then, before she went to work at the bowling alley bar.  My older sister was left in charge of us and I hated it.  Whatever she told me to do I would do the complete opposite-even if I didn’t want to-just to piss her off!    

We were all down at the creek one day, and I wanted to be the “leader” (it ways MY idea anyway!)  My older sister and I scuffled a bit, and I went off in a huff.  She was always more sensible than I was, but I was very headstrong and never wanted to listen to reason.  By the time I met back up with the group I had lost my quarter, which to me was like losing a $100.  I looked everywhere, and asked everyone if they had seen my beautiful, shiny, valuable quarter, but no one said a word. I was so mad that I said “FINE! I will go back and find it on my own!!”  My sister was not impressed and told me to stay with the group, but I was having none of it.  I ran back down to the creek and started looking for my beautiful, long-lost quarter.  I looked all over the creek bed and never found it.  As I finally gave up and headed back to our car wash, I saw a man walking toward me.  I recognized him as the father of one of my sister’s friends.  He came over to me and asked me if he could show me something.  Of course I thought it was my sparkling, newly polished quarter!!  He was a father that lived in the trailer park, and I walked over to where he had stopped.  Instead of reaching in his pocket to return my life-giving quarter, he dropped his shorts and he was bare-ass naked!  He said “have you ever seen one of these before?”  I was shocked-it was not my shiny quarter.  I stopped where I was and turned around saying “my sisters are waiting for me.”  He grabbed hold of my wrist and asked me to touch him.  I begged him to let me go, and he pulled me closer to his naked, hairy frame.  I tried to pull away from him but he held me tight.  He asked me over and over again to touch him, and he told me how much he loved me.  I was getting upset and tried with all my might to get away, but he kept holding on, and pulled me closer to the big tree that sheltered him from the creek and our car wash.  I was crying by now and begged him to let me go. He tried pulling me near his face while he stroked his now-hard, furry, old dick.  The closer he pulled me, the more I fought; and I finally broke free.  I ran away yelling “I have to go, my sisters are waiting for me!”  I never looked behind me, and the last thing I heard was “if you love me you’ll come back!”  I ran away as fast as I could, and no one was at the car wash; they had moved to the pool that had opened up for the day.  I finally found them all playing “tag” in the pool and I just joined in-never breathing a word of what just happened.  A few weeks later I told my older sister.  She was friends with the owner’s daughter, and that morning we were helping her clean the scum around the tiles in the pool.  Sadly, they were not surprised, but warned me not to tell anyone else.

As luck would have it, my younger sister was at that pervert’s “site” a few days later playing in their pickup truck-which doubled as their “closet”.  The girls had made a huge mess and the father got really angry.  He threw the girls out of the truckbed  and my younger sister got hurt.  She came home crying, and my mom asked her what happened.  Mom was already drunk, and my older sister tried to stop the answer from coming out, but she failed.  My mom was livid!!  She started cussing the guy out and ordered us to get in the car.  We tried to calm her down, but my mom was not having any of it, and grabbed a huge knife from the kitchen and stormed to her car.  We tried to stop her, but she drove over to the scene of the crime and yelled for him to face her. He was still angry about the mess the girls made and didn’t respond.  Mom was fuming and called him all sorts of names and he finally acknowledged her presence.  When he walked to the car, my mom pulled out the knife and said ” if you EVER lay a finger on my girls again I will KILL YOU!”  They argued a bit, but we finally got my mom to drive away.  After we settled back in our trailer, and mom went to work, the mere magnitude of the situation hit me and I cried.  My older sister said “See!  Now you know why I told you NOT to tell her about the creek!”  She was absolutely right, mom would’ve killed him if she found out what he did to me.  A few days later they were gone; I never found out if they moved on their own, or if the owner’s daughter spilled the beans-either way I was relieved.

As much as my older sister felt responsible for us, she could only do so much.  I always thought I could take care of myself, and to some degree I did, (I was still alive) but something like that I needed help.  I knew “someone” had told the owner what happened, and that is why the nasty old pervert packed his tent up and moved out, but I couldn’t bring myself to say “thank you” to my sister.  If only I had listened to her and never went back to the creek to look for my stinking quarter things may have worked out differently-but I didn’t.  It was my fault.

As much fun and freedom we had living there it was not healthy.  My mom was drinking quite heavily and not home much.  She left the raising of us girls to my older sister and spent all her money on booze.  The owner of the trailer park knocked on our door for the rent we owed, and we had no money to pay him.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, my mom and her “love de’jeur” hooked up the trailer and off we went…

A new nightmare… (graphic)

Life was pretty good as a kid in our neighborhood.  We had friends to play with, dirt piles to build in, and empty fields to explore.  I had a lot of fun during the days, and I even danced outside under my first hail storm, with pea-sized ice balls that looked like popcorn popping off the grass.  We made some great friends around us and we were “normal”- if only for a while.

Now I haven’t really talked about my mom and her drinking, but she drank a lot.  From what I understand, she had a problem from way back in her late teens, and my father believes it was a factor in their divorce.  I also don’t know if she started drinking more in Colorado dealing with Chuck, or if Chuck drank more with us around; either way, they both could kill cheap whiskey like bloody sailors.  My mom was a pretty funny drunk, Chuck was not.  While mom had a history of drinking too much, Chuck had suffered from what now is known as “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD).  I won’t go on and explain the disorder, but let me tell you when Chuck was not “in control” of his brain (by altering it with drugs or alcohol) he turned in a monster.

During the day I was Chuck’s favorite, I even dropped my father’s name and took Chuck’s.  I did gymnastics back then and he believed I would be the next “Nadia Comaneci”- that is until I wrecked my chopper bike off a three-cinder block jump that put me out of commission.  At night Chuck would drink and drink, and then I was the bane of his existence.  He would pick fights with my mom over things I did, not all the time, but what I can remember my name was in the argument.  Mom would not let him go to my room and wake me up (although I was already awake) to discuss whatever I did to him or his stuff during the day.  As the alcohol took over his body, it caused real pain: He would have flashbacks from his time in the military.  He would usually start yelling “I did my time!! I fought for my country, and THIS is what I am??!”  He would get so angry, and when my mom would try to calm him down he beat her.  He beat her so much.

My sisters and I always heard the fights. They occurred at least weekly.  Sometimes my older sister would go out of her room to help my mom, but my mom would send her back.  The other times my older sister would go out of her bedroom window and go to the neighbors to call for help.    Mom never wanted us girls to witness her getting the shit beat out of her, so she was very protective of what we saw or what we heard.  She could get away from him by either getting behind his chair, or moving towards his legs.  He would start sobbing, which would lure my mom over to help him, and he would grab her again.

One of the more memorable fights was about me.  I was playing some records on his record player in the special “living room” when I got the adaptor for 45’s stuck. (Look it up young pups!).  Just my luck that night he wanted to listen to his records, and found out what I did.  He was fuming!  He wanted to go get me from bed and spank me.  My mom told him to take care of it in the  morning, but I had done it this time.  He would not stop wheeling himself to my door and my mom tried pulling him back.  They fought right in front of my door-while me and my younger sister hugged each other on our bed praying to God that mom would get away from him.  She pulled him so hard at the same time he locked his wheels and he flipped backwards and landed on my mom.  His handle from the chair went into my mom’s eye, and she screamed so loud it terrified us.  I heard my older sister leave her bedroom and tried to help.  The fight was right by my door so I pushed and pushed to get them away from my door, but I ended up going out my bedroom window and back in my sister’s room.  We pulled and pulled Chuck’s legs off my mom and left him on the floor.  We helped mom clean the blood off  her face and we saw her eye was really damaged.  The usual routine would have had my older sister go out her window and call the police, but that didn’t happen this time as she had to help my mom, so went sent my little sister.  As we begged my mom to leave him, he begged her to help him get off the floor.  We had pulled him into their closet so we could shut their bedroom door. He had pulled his catheter out, and he was bloody and covered in urine.  My mom felt sorry for him and she went to the closet to get some clothes on and help him-totally against our warnings.  When she got him back up in his chair he grabbed her, bent her arm around her back, and flipped her over his lap.  He started pounding on her back with his fists yelling “I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!  Again we tried to get her away from him, and he tried desperately to hurt her and grab me.  At some point the police arrived with an ambulance and got the scene under control.  They tended to my mom’s injuries, and advised her to go to the hospital for her eye, but she said “no”.  She didn’t want to leave us with him, and the police would take us to a foster home for the night.  We stayed in the house that night with our doors locked and mom with my older sister.  Usually in the morning after the sleep sobering him up, he would apologize, and begged my mom to stay; but not this time.  He was on the warpath.  We stayed out of his way and mom stayed in the grass where his chair couldn’t reach her.  She fell asleep for a few hours and we let her sleep until Chuck started up again and went after us girls.  Mom woke up with a horrible sunburn, and when she came inside he got her again.  He punched her, slapped her sunburn, and drug her by her hair.  We got her away from him and finally convinced her to  leave.  

We spent a few days in a local motel that became our second home.  We liked it there as it was safe, no one there to hurt her.  As we were still pretty young, we were happy with motel life as there was a swimming pool with a slide!  While my mom drank and slept the experience off, we splashed around and played with the kids in the pool.  

I can’t remember how many times my sister went out her window to call 911 (999) for help, but it was a lot. During that time my mom started showing signs of long-term use of alcohol and ended up in hospital for her pancreas and sugar diabetes.  We hated being in that house with Chuck, and we never mended our relationship.  I used to pour his whiskey down the sink and fill it up with colored water, and he blamed my mom.  I would put an empty container in the fridge, he blamed mom for us “unruly” kids trashing his house.  Once he got so mad at me that he chased me through the house with his belt. I hid in the crack between the wall and bed where his belt missed me.  When he gave up I ran out of the house and waited until my mom got home before I returned.  Eventually we convinced my mom to leave for good.  She was worried about how we were going to make it on our own, but we didn’t care about material things, we just wanted to be away from Chuck.

Looking back, I feel very upset about Chuck.  He suffered like so many other veterans did with the horrors of their experiences living in their heads.  They were left to just exist in conditions that were not fair, or supported by the military.  Chuck struggled on his own for a few more years, but his life ended in a seedy part of town.  He was found with his genitals burned, and his belt wrapped around his neck.  My mom made us all go to his funeral, and through the sadness of my mom’s tears, I prayed to God to forgive him.  I have prayed and prayed for amnesia to take away the memories of all the fights, blood, tears, and the 911 calls; but they still remain.  I have accepted my past, and believe it has shaped me into the woman I am today; and when I look in the mirror, I like what I see.

Easter bunnies and road trips…

We moved out of our house and moved into a condominium.  My mom was working a lot, or at least was gone, and my younger sister and I got the biggest room.  After all the horrible situations that I found myself in, it was refreshing to have a safe space to be kids-and boy did we!

We had the walk-in closet that turned into our gymnasium most of the time; until Halloween time when it was our “haunted house”.  We completely dismantled our bunk beds and used the base as our stage where we performed acts from Grease, The Eagles, Disco Duck, The Hustle, The Bus Stop and any other songs I could catch on my Snoopy Transitor Radio.  We made Pom pons, strobe lights, and costumes that rivaled the local talent show.  We had some cardboard boxes left after we unpacked and we spread them all over the staircase and made a dry sledding track that ended with a “SMACK!” into the wall.  I even put my little sister in the foldaway bed just to see if it would be a good hiding place-then sat on it so she couldn’t get out.   I honestly don’t know how my sisters put up with me back then.  I was in my own world, and my creative mind was trying to block out the horror I lived in for so long.

We had a babysitter over the Easter holidays when my mom went to Colorado to visit our “Uncle Chuck”.  We figured out later that it was trip to see if they would make a relationship out of their friendship.  The Easter Bunny didn’t find us that year until my mom came home with three big bags of discounted chocolate bunnies.  I ate my whole bag in one go and spent the next day sicker than a dog-no control!  When my mom said we were moving to Colorado I wondered when I was going to see my dad again.  I fought with my mom over that fact, and she threw it back at me by asking “where is your birthday card from your dad?”  I didn’t get one.  I was really confused and sad at the same time-but Colorado was a hell of a way to stay as far from Mark as I could, so I stopped complaining.  We made one last trip to visit the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld, we were treated to  a new stuffed animal (otter with a shell on her tummy) to remember California with, and we headed east.

In our red little hatchback that would be repossessed later, we started the eighteen hour drive to “Colorful Colorado”.  As you can imagine, I got pretty bored in the car.  My older sister got to sit in the front seat because her “legs are too long for the back”, so my younger sister and I started taunting her.  I sang my heart out to the radio, blinked my eyes at her when she looked at me, and spoke in my own language to her, which really made her mad.  Honestly, I have no idea why my mom didn’t pull over in Utah and leave me with one of the religious families we saw at Denny’s!  I am equally unsure of how I managed to have a wonderful relationship with my sisters either; they didn’t deserve the “Tasmanian Devil” that was me.

When we finally got through the Rocky Mountains, we pulled up to our new home, and we were reintroduced to “Uncle Chuck”.  As mentioned in a previous blog, Chuck was a friend of my father from his time in the Army, and both of them were present at my birth in Italy.  I remember Uncle Chuck giving me $5.00 for not wetting the bed, and I got more for cleaning the dog poo from the backyard.  

Now Chuck was a difficult soul.  He had been in Vietnam and was some sort of person on a Huey Helicopter with my father.  There was an accident in a jeep rollover (some say alcohol was involved) and he was paralyzed from the waist down.  He lived in a house that was built for him, with wider doors, shorter countertops, and walk-in showers.  He had a bar area that he had turned into a hobby corner where he built a mountain with trains, cars, and people.  It was a miniature village that looked like it came straight from Silverthorn, Colorado.  We were instructed to NOT touch this corner, and I tried really hard to obey-but those little cows, chickens, and people proved to be too difficult to leave alone.  Most of the scene was glued down, but the ones I could get to move I did.  I turned the cows on their backs, switched the cars from the road to the railroad tracks, and put the farmers on the tracks like I saw on the “Roadrunner and Wylie E. Coyote” cartoon.  I know, I know, I was a mess!!  I also would take Chuck’s wheelchair when he was in the BarcaLounger and cruised around the house pretending my legs were broken like his.  He didn’t mind me using his chair, until I would leave it where I had “a miracle!” and could walk again. He wasn’t very happy when he was stuck in his lounge chair.

Chuck and my mom got married in the living room, and he became “dad”.  To be honest, I completely believe that my mom “loved” him as friends; but she had three small girls to take care of, so she sacrificed her “want” for her “need” to take care of us. Their relationship couldn’t be very physical, it wasn’t possible; my mom took care of him and gave him companionship. It worked for awhile, but Chuck was more damaged from his time in Vietnam than anyone could predict.

Belly up to the bar, and bring your dollar bills! (Graphic post)

My foster brother Mark wanted to be the “Alpha” male on the block.  He would tell the teenage boys on our block that he would have “drinks” and “blow jobs” at our place.  Guess which one I was slated for?  The time that stuck out in my mind was a party he threw on a weekend night when my parents were out.  He invited several boys over and they sat in a circle on the floor with the bottles of alcohol in the middle.  They were spinning a bottle around and whoever it landed on had to take a drink out of the bottle closest to them.   Mark hollared at me to come play with them, and he didn’t take no for an answer.  He had promised the boys that if they came over with booze they would get a blow job-by me. Mark told me what to do and I said no way! “I am NOT putting their “PEE PEES” in my MOUTH! He locked me in the bathroom with a guy who was pulling down his pants, and stuck his DICK in my FACE.  I was crying and saying “I don’t want to, please no, I want out!” but nothing worked. I was trying to get the door open and the boy was pushing my head down to his crotch; he was “ready” for action.  I was crying so hard that Mark came back in and yelled at me to just do what he promised them I would.  I was crying loudly so maybe my sisters would hear me, and the boy stuck his dick in my mouth.  I was so shocked that I bit down and he pulled it back out and slapped my face.  He was so pissed off with me and Mark, he stormed out of the bathroom and took his bottle and left, vowing that he would get a blow-job from somebody.  Mark and the other boys decided that if I drank first I may be more inclined to endulge in their sexual pleasure, so I took the space on the floor the “bathroom boy” left open. 

I am not sure what I drank, but they made me “catch up” with them by making sure the bottle landed on me. I was 5 or 6 years old. After the bottles were empty, and the boys were excited and drunk, we started dancing around, and I ended up back in the bathroom.  I actually don’t remember what happened after another “crying defense” and a struggle of him pushing my head down and me crying (with my mouth CLOSED) I passed out.  I don’t know how I got to bed, but I woke up in the morning completely naked, and covered in vomit.  It was all over my wall, my bed, my sheets, and down the front of my bed on the floor.  I cried for my mom, who came in and was completely confused.  She asked me what I ate the night before and wrote it off as food poisoning.  Mark came in the room when my mom went to get some medicine and told me not to say a word about last night or he would kill me.  I cried and cried most of the day and felt horrible; I guess it was my first hangover.

From that point on I was on Mark’s radar.  He would come get me after mom and dad put me to bed.  We shared a bathroom, so he could get me without leaving his bedroom.  He decided that I needed to be taught about sex and how “amazing” it was to experience.  He made me lay on his bed; spread eagle, with my head off the end of the bed.  He would “help me get wider” so I could have sex.  I was 5 or 6.  The bedtime lessons continued, even if I faked sleep, he would walk me in and I would “assume the position”.  He tried using his fingers to stretch me out so on my birthday I would be ready for sex.  He was planning another party, and I was to be the “piñata” in the middle; and this time no crying or biting-or he would tell my parents that I was watching him take showers.  He was a really horrible manipulator, and it was such a mixed-blessing when my dad moved out and took Mark with him.  I don’t remember if I ever saw him again, and I never told anyone, until I was having lunch with my younger sister some 20 years later.

My father would tell me about my “foster brother Mark” from time to time, and I never told him what he did.  I do remember my father saying that Mark got arrested for some felony and was in prison-he died in the same place. 

My father and mother broke up and my dad moved out, only a month or so before my birthday.

Enter the dragon and his gargoyle 

The struggle of having working parents and three young kids is childcare.  I think my parents sent us to stay with a sitter for some time, but I am fuzzy on who they were.  All I know is that I didn’t get along very well out there.  Anything I did seemed to warrant me “pulling a switch” off a tree for my punishment.  I did accidentally flush a cotton diaper down the toilet when I was too busy playing to look beforehand.  I learned quite quickly that the smaller branches hurt much worse than the big one.

Enter the new situation; have a 15 year old troubled boy move in to take care of us three girls-with his nasty Doberman pincher named “Sunday”.  Sunday was very aggressive, and did not like other animals.  My sister had a cat that she absolutely loved and had to now keep her locked in her room so Sunday didn’t eat her for lunch.  I don’t know who left the door open, but Sunday got in and attacked the cat with such a vicious anger.  My mom tried her hardest to get the cat away from the dog and eventually she did, but it was too late.  That poor kitty was not the only casualty; my mom’s legs were so ripped up by the dog tearing the cat apart and the cat fighting for her life.  It was a horrible episode, and we hated that dog.  Sunday actually bit me twice; once when I came inside wearing my roller skates, and the other time I mearly walked in the door.  Sunday finally got hers when she took on Chino in our backyard.  It was absolutely horrible to see those two big dogs fighting, but my dad didn’t break them up until they were done.  Chino had some bite wounds that needed a veterinarian to fix, but Sunday had too many wounds to fix and she was put down.  Please understand that I absolutely love animals, and I felt sorry for Sunday as she obviously was abused, but she took away my sister’s cat, and bit me twice, so we didn’t shed a tear when she didn’t come home.

Sunday wasn’t the only creature that liked fighting, Mark did too.  Mark used to start fights with the other local teenage boys, and he was very short-tempered with us. It all finally came to a head when the boy that Mark used to pick on came into our yard and started a physical fight.  We screamed at my father, who was in the shower at the time, and watched the two “alpha males” go at it. There was blood all over their faces, and they just kept attacking each other.  My father came out in his uniform and just watched them sort themselves out.  My father decided it was better to let them fight it out while he was present, instead of breaking it up so they could continue it in a back alley.

It turns out that Mark had other attributes that were more damaging than his bloody dog or his aggressive nature; he loved to drink and bring other teenage boys over to the house.  As you can imagine, us girls were not looked after in the way my parents thought we were…

Palm tree showers and swimming pools 

Life was pretty good for awhile.  My younger sister was my “partner in crime” although I would think it wasn’t by her choice. I was pretty stubborn and definitely persuasive. I had a very creative mind and we had a lot of time to play.  I remember we used to spray the hose up in the palm frawns in our front yard and acted like we were showering; we had soap, sponges, and a rubber duck.  We sang our favorite songs, danced around under the rain drops from the hose, and laid out in our swimming suits like we were Hollywood royalty.  

We had these two girls that lived next door that we used to play with ALL the time-but their mother didn’t like our family.  I guess they thought they were better than us, and when the girls had a birthday party we weren’t invited.  Instead of pouting or crying in our bedrooms, we planned our attack.  We put the sprinkler on our “fake boulder” (Hollywood prop) turned the water on and kinked the hose until we heard them sing to the birthday girl.  I let go of the kinked hose and the water shot over the fence and the party turned to  our palm shower!  We heard the screams from our secret hideout, and their mother yelled over the fence until my mom turned off the hose.  The argument that ensued was funny and scary all at the same time.  We ruined the cake, stained their fence (paper streamers) and all the presents were soaked.  My mother stuck up for us to their mom by saying “if they were invited to the party none of this would’ve happened” but inside she was laughing.   I like fairness; I can handle fairness; we played with them every day.  How was it that we didn’t warrant an invitation?

I didn’t always get along with my mom.  My older sister was the typical stereotype of the birth order and she got along with my mom without fail. (As much as I can remember)  I think she wanted to parent me because my parents really didn’t, but I didn’t like it.  I was a “daddy’s girl” for sure; I thought he hung the moon.  When my mom and I would fight, I would pack up my suitcase and run away.  Of course it was only to the end of the block because I wasn’t allowed to cross the street.  My dad would come home and talk me into going home by telling me stories of what roamed the streets at night, and my one sleeve of saltines and Snoopy radio wouldn’t get me very far.  Once I was on my runaway spot when “Officer Friendly” stopped to find out why this little blonde girl was sitting with her suitcase and bike by herself.  He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride (totally normal for the 70’s) and I jumped at it.  Officer Friendly wanted me to take my suitcase and bike home first, so off I went-as fast as I could.  When I looked back to see if he was following me, I missed the car that was backing out-actually I DIDN’T!  I flew over the car and hit the bushes, and had to have Officer Friendly walk me home and carry my broken bike.  I didn’t cry until my mom wanted to clean me up and suggested I go for a ride another time.  Then the pain from my accident spilled out and the only way to calm me was to let me go.  Even though my father was a cop, I loved riding in the back of the black and white.  

That wasn’t the only time I wrecked my bike.  We had a local pool that opened every year at the start of summer, and weeks before the kids would take turns riding down the block to see when we saw lifeguards.  It was my turn, and I saw activity in the pool.  I turned my bike around and rode as fast as I could back to spread the joy of the start of our swimming pool summer!  I got too excited and when the kids came into view, I cupped both hands around my mouth and yelled “IT’S OPEN!!”  In doing so I crashed into a picket fence and smashed my thumb and tore my nail off.  Sadly I couldn’t swim for a week so my nail could heal up-banging start to my last normal-ish summer in Southern California.

Starting back at the beginning

fullsizeoutput_3024They say “hindsight is 20/20” and in my case it may not be. You see with all the family struggles we had it’s hard to tell what is “real” and what is a “dream”, or moreover, my “nightmare”.  I have to start at the beginning as my story starts quite young.

I was born on a military base in Italy to a handsome military police officer, and his beautiful wife, along with my older sister.  My father spent time serving his country in Vietnam, alongside his best friend Chuck Gordon, who went from being “Uncle Chuck” to “dad” some years later.  My first language was Italian, although once we move back to the states I never spoke it again.  We finally settled in Los Angeles, after my younger sister was born on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with my father and mother joining the Los Angeles Police Department. (LAPD). I remember my mother being a dispatcher-like the kind they showed on television programs like “Adam 12”- and my father was a police officer, like my favorite show “Chips”.  I also remember one of my parents worked days while the other one worked nights, which made it difficult for them to spend much time together.  I do remember our dog, “Chino” was my first babysitter.  My mom once told me that she had to prove to our neighbors that Chino was up for the job by asking the nosy neighbor to try and go near me while Chino was on duty. She didn’t get but a few steps on our lawn when Chino protected me with a determination of a trained police dog, and the nosy neighbor never bothered us again.

Life was pretty good as much as I can tell.  We grew up with little resistance from parents as usually one was sleeping during the day, which meant we could sneak as many “otter pops” as we wanted. We took trips to the beach, went camping in the California hills, and ate Winchell’s doughnuts on Sundays.  Life was fairly normal back then, but hell was about to enter our house in the form of a boy and his dog.

Here we go…hang on for a wild ride.

Thank you for having a look.  I have been through several devastating situations as a child growing up in the 70’s with a single mom, who struggled with alcoholism.  I am going to look back in my life and address issues that have been living in my head, and hopefully I can leave them here.  Hopefully I am not the only one that had to deal with such issues, and maybe I can help others through their struggle.

post