I spent a lot of time at Sandy’s house, her parents were from Iowa and they moved to California in the 1950’s. Dale and Carrie had five Children: David, Teri, Debbie, Sandy, and Bobbie. Their house was run down and they had hard wood floors. It was a 3 bedroom home and small, but there was a lot of love there. Carrie was a waitress and Dale was a mechanic, they didn’t have much, but it was the happiest household to be in for me.
Carrie, Sandy’s mother, knew my background and knew I fended for myself and took me in like one of her own. Although I couldn’t live with them due to economic reasons I spent a lot of time there. I felt like I was part of a family and chipped in with the chores and it felt good to belong.
During the time I spent all I could with Carrie and Dale, friends of theirs arrived from Iowa the T's. Dot and Dack had four little girls: Sharon (7), Ellen (6), Diane (5), and Judy (3). They were adorable and I loved them to pieces. I played games with them gave them piggy back rides, built tents for them to play in and we baked cookies at Dale and Carries.
Dack felt sorry for me and tried to be a father figure to me (so I thought), and showed me a lot of attention. I took in every bit as I was starving for love and still struggled with depression over the loss of my mother.
I woke up the next morning hungry and scared and I knew I had to go somewhere eventually. I left the junk yard and just started walking not wanting to go home because I was afraid, was sure the police were looking for me and didn’t know what to do. I made the decision to go to Dale and Carrie’s house.
(Note: There was never a time I was ever able to cry, my emotions had been buried so deep with a wall around them they were not escaping. It was a part of myself I protected fiercely.)
I arrived at Carrie’s and Dale’s expecting to hear how the police were looking for me. Nothing, no one was called and it was never reported. I was both relieved and surprised. Surprised because it made me feel I was not human or cared about.
I spent a lot of time when I was little girl with Aunt Cloyd and Uncle Frank. They were the preferred babysitter when my mother and Norman went on many of their vacation trips. I loved them very much and Aunt Cloyd always showered me with affection. She always told me I was hers and should have been. (Aunt Cloyd couldn’t have children; she had a hysterectomy when she was 30 resulting in later on spiraling into alcoholism.)
They were wonderful to be around until, like clockwork, 1:00 p.m. every day on the weekends the drinking started. Uncle Frank’s preferred drink was Fresca and Seagrams 7, Aunt Cloyd just poured herself wine.
When the drinking started I was scared, it changed them and I became very aware at age 5 how I needed to avoid them. My loving Aunt and Uncle were Jekyll and Hyde within an hour. They were abusive with each other and used words against each other I had no idea what they meant. I just knew they were words I wasn’t allowed to use. I tried to tell my mother why I didn’t want to stay there when they went on their trips and was shut down immediately. Apparently my Aunt and Uncle told my mother it was my imagination was my guess.
When the drinking started my Uncle found it necessary to tell me I was no good, I was never meant to be born, I was worthless and should have been smothered. He told me this every time I had to stay there. He made sure it was ingrained in me and it was something I should believe. As a small child when you hear those words from people you love, you begin to believe it must be right. People who love you don’t lie to you.
Carrie was shocked over my condition, swollen and bruised and wanted to know what happened. I refused to say. I knew it was against the law to hurt others, but I didn’t want Norman to get in trouble I loved him he was my Dad step-father or not. After all it was my fault; I said things I shouldn’t have, I was disrespectful. I just wanted the dust to settle and go back home and start over.
Carrie called Norman to let him know I was at their house. I don’t know both sides of the conversation, but the end result was he didn’t want me there. I just sat there numbly. Was I just a throw-away? Was all I heard for years from my Uncle true? Was I no good and never meant to be born? Should I have been drowned like a litter of kittens thrown in the water and then tossed away? All hard questions, introspectively, for a 16 year old teenage girl to try and understand. In particular after losing the father she loved to death in 1959 and then the mother she loved in 1969. The thoughts that went through my mind were, I was not allowed to let people love me or they die, I’m evil. An idea I formed knowing I was different. I had abilities that scared my peers I shut down years ago. Therefore, I was not normal; I did not fit in or belong anywhere.
Sitting on Carrie’s back porch which seemed like hours, she came and got me. She told me that Dack and Dot T. needed someone to care for the girls while they worked and wanted me to move in with them. I was delighted, I adored those girls and they loved me! Actually some hope from a family who seemed to love me. Or so I thought…