Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so, little ones whom they belong they are weak but he is strong. Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me the bible tells me so. My mother recorded that of me when I was 3 years old, she was so proud that her little angel remembered the song from Sunday school class for such a young child.
Church was ongoing for us up until my mother died; the entire family was brought up Methodist. However after my mother married Norman, I was sent to Sunday school and church while they remained home. I never gave it a second thought because I was an apt student in classes and had quite a good memory for bible verse memorization. It was something I excelled in.
I met David in the 11th grade; he was funny, witty, and known as the class clown. There wasn’t a soul who did not like him including me. In short order we were dating. We had so much fun together. He captured my attention while I was in photography class by hanging upside down in a tree in front of my classroom! Of course everyone noticed including me.
He was (is) very intelligent, so intelligent not only did he do his own homework, he made a fictional character named Ruby Begonia and turned in homework for her too. He laughed one time because Ruby got an A on a paper while he only got a B+. He was also talented; he learned the piano quite young on an old one in their garage. He was (is) a natural. He even wrote a song for me and played it on the piano, a truly lovely song. We dated until we were married November 19, 1972. Little did I know at that time of his grueling upbringing by a mother who abused him. No-one talked about their tortured lives back then, it was rather kept to our-selves. I suppose so we could fit in with the rest of the crowd and try to appear normal as normal was.
I opened my eyes and my Uncle was gone. As soon as the terror had started it was over and I thanked God for hearing my prayers. The next day was school and when I got home that evening, nothing was said of the incident. I was not familiar with blackouts in drinking, but apparently my Uncle had them as did my Aunt.
All went on well for a while, as well as well can be under the circumstances. Drinking carried on with my Aunt and Uncle as did their fights, but I left the house to friends long before they started escalating. I was in my senior year of high school by this time nearing graduation. The week of graduation my Aunt got the call, my beloved grandmother died. My Aunt and I packed up and flew to Iowa to take care of everything. I was not concerned about my commencement and graduation ceremony, one of the most influential people I loved in my life died. It was heart wrenching, my grandmother died in the hospital while writing a letter to my Aunt. Heart failure, she had an enlarged heart due to scarlet fever when she was a young girl.
I remember arriving at the funeral home; things were done differently in Iowa compared to California. We were led to a room where my grandmother was lying in a bed as though she were sleeping. She looked so peaceful, and the funeral director wanted to know about her casket and how she wore her wiglet over her long beautiful hair. My grandmother never cut her hair, it was beyond her waist and she only trimmed it a little. In her aging years with thinning hair Grandma found it easier to twirl it all up on top and affix this wiglet thing over it to hold it down. The funeral director handed the wiglet to my Aunt and asked her to show him. My Aunt was shaking and broke down in tears, so I took the wiglet and showed him how she wore it. I still at this point had not shed tears, it was so buried within me I could only feel pain, but no visible emotion.
After the funeral, all Grandmas’ items were auctioned off and only some trinkets my Aunt wished to save were brought back home. We did all we could and even had the house sold to the neighboring Methodist church and it was used as the parish house after that.
Once back home in California I picked up my diploma at Norman’s house where it was mailed. Now what to do with my life? I enrolled in Cerritos Junior college to become a dental assistant. I was 17 when I graduated high school, but could still enter college, most are 18 when they graduate, but my birthday fell on a month where I was 18 later. All enrolled and excited with the prospect of making something of myself, I started class early August 1972.
After classes and a night with friends I returned home. I had a very uneasy feeling something was very wrong and I was right. I went inside the darkened mobile home and made my way down the long hallway to my Aunt’s bedroom. I turned on the little lamp next to her to let her know I was home. To my horror my Uncle had beaten her to a bloody pulp and she was sobbing and still drunk.
Through her tears and sobbing she warned me, “Carol run you have to run, your Uncle Frank is out drunk and looking for you, he said he is going to hurt you!” At that moment I heard the sliding door open and he staggered in. My Uncle was no small man, quite strong, and outweighed me. I looked over my shoulder and he looked like a maddened beast blocking the hallway so I could not get past him. The only way out was a small side door that led to the porch laundry room. My only saving grace was he was drunk and I was not. I lept from her bed making it to that side door and it was locked. I was so scared I kept yanking on it until it popped open. I scrambled through it and out the back door. I didn’t even pause to get in my car, but ran to a pay phone and called David to come get me.
David got there in short order and took me to his house. His mother let me sleep on the den couch until the morning. That next day my Aunt came to pick me up, demanding what I had done to upset Uncle Frank. I was stunned. I said, “You told me to run!” She retorted, “I said no such thing, stop lying to these people we’re going home.” Her face was heavily covered in make-up to cover the bruises and apparently she didn’t know how she got them (blackout). I couldn’t believe it, how could she not know? How could she forget her warning to me? She promptly told me you can’t live with us anymore; you have to find a place of your own. Place of my own? I thought. I was only 17, and by law you must be 18 to rent an apartment.
So I looked and found a one bedroom apartment by Los Alamitos Rehab Center that cost $135.00 a month including utilities. It was cozy and had a swimming pool. I lied and said I was 18, and my Aunt signed over my Social Security check I got monthly which was $165.00. It was meager, but I still worked at Orange Julius so that paid for food and gas but not much else. At 18 the checks came directly to me while I attended college.
It was September 1972 and David and I wanted to get married and did November 19, 1972. Little did I know at the time we should have remained just friends, but our marriage brought our beautiful son Jason whom I am very proud of.
The honeymoon, if you want to call it that, was spent up at Big Bear in California. It was cold and had been snowing, but we finally made it up the mountains. We were both excited to get there and start sledding (this tells you how both our young minds worked, normally newlyweds think of something else first).
Enter the honeymoon suite. EGAD, all purple velvet to include draperies and tapestries around the canopied bed. This would have been great for the Renaissance era which I was not interested in at that time like I am now. We tossed our bags in looked at each other, David with his funny comments of humor and me laughing. Off we went and rented a Toboggan.
We had a great time swooshing down the first slope until… BIG TREE, headed straight for big tree and no idea what to do! Out of panic I threw my legs out and tried to stop the toboggan headed for the destiny of the tree, thus severely spraining my left leg. We both rolled off the toboggan and it hit the tree square on. We dusted ourselves off and I was unable to stand. It was not an easy task for David to carry me back up that hill. Hence our honeymoon, with leg sprain and pain all the way up to my hip. I recovered though, that is the beauty of youth.
Shortly after marriage David joined the Air Force and off to Lackland Air base in Texas he went, while I had dropped out of college and became a nanny short term while he attended basic training. The Ferlos were well off people, I took care of their 8 year old daughter Mandy. They were home interior decorators to the stars. I had the opportunity to meet Paul Lynde and Dean Martin who brought one of his girlfriends over to their house (one of the Ding-a-lings actually for those who remember). I can say it was an interesting time in my young life for the short time I did this.