This is a true emotional story about Trudy and her siblings living in a home filled with sexual, mental and physical abuse. Trudy's biological father constantly molests and tortures his children so much that they all think this is a normal way of life. The family is on welfare,
and other children in school constantly mock and ridicule these children. When Trudy finally realizes that other families are not like hers she gets into a deep depression and contemplates suicide many times during the coming years. Trudy finally decides to turn her father into the proper authorities and must now live with the guilt of the family losing their home, and her siblings learning to survive on the streets of New York City.
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To Save One
When I entered the third grade, the teacher saw some changes in me. I had
always been a good student and always had a smile on my face. I started to
look sad all of the time and I didn’t care to play with the other children any
longer. She took me aside and asked if everything was all right with me. I said
it was, because I didn’t realize that what was going on was wrong. My father
always said, “Whatever happens in this house, stays here, never tell anyone
what goes on behind our doors.” My grades started to fall below average, and
my attitude was that of a rebellious teen. I was angry all of the time, and I hated
God and all of the adults in my life because I thought no one cared.
It was the late 60’s, teachers didn’t get involved with family matters, and
I didn’t understand what my father was doing something wrong, but I sure did
feel that way.
While I was in school, I had to worry about other kids making fun of the way
I dressed, because we were so poor we didn’t have nice clothing. To top
that off, I was what people called a “tomboy.” I didn’t fit in with other girls
because I hated pretty bows and dresses. I didn’t fit in with boys because I was
a girl. When I was home, I had to worry about my father beating us, or making
us rub him or do those sexual things. I was getting to the point where I hated
being alive. I would sometimes think how could I kill myself without it hurting.
I was too young to know about drugs, and I didn’t want to bleed, so I couldn’t
do anything but live and take it.
Once, I even thought about how could I kill my father and get away with
it. One thing I considered was to cut his car’s brake line. I had helped him fix
his car so many times that I pretty much knew how it worked and where
everything was. I also believed that if I did such a thing, God would punish me
by having my father tell me to run an errand with him on that particular day,
and I would die with him. No thank you!
There was more and more abuse going on. Every time I walked
in the house, I had butterflies in my stomach. I never knew if I was going to
be beaten, or if my brothers and sisters, or even mom, would be beaten for something.
My brother Tony was always being beaten for things he did wrong in
school. My father got to the point that whenever my brother would bring home
a letter from the teacher; Tony would get one lash with the belt for every word in the letter. One letter was so long that I was in my room shaking and praying for my brother, hoping that my father would stop and not kill him. I kept saying,
“Please God, make him stop; please God, that’s enough.” At that time, I
wondered why a God who is supposed to love and protect this world would let
a man beat a child like that. What kind of God is this that I believe in?
After my father would stop beating us, he would
make one of the other kids rub the wounds with witch hazel. He said that it
would help make the bruises go away.
Not only would my father beat us, he had certain punishments for us as well.
Not like parents do who might take away your music or TV. We never had
those things anyway. My father would hang us over a doorway for hours, and
there were nails up there sticking us in the stomach. In the early 70s, the
doorways were made with a small window over them. All the doorways in our
apartment were missing these pieces of glass. So my father would hang us in
the empty window frames.
Another punishment was to make us lean up against the wall, as if a
policeman were frisking a suspect. Our hands would hold the wall, and our feet
would be away from it and we were not allowed to move an inch. If we moved,
he would beat us with the belt.
The worst punishment was when he would put two empty plastic bowls in
our hands – palms up – and make us hold the bowls for a very long time. If our
hands moved down, we were slapped or punched.
These punishments were for infractions such as writing on the wall, or
making too much noise while he was trying to watch TV, or not cleaning the
house fast enough, or good enough. Once, Mary didn’t clean a pot spotlessly
and my father took her head and slammed it into the sink full of dirty dishes.
Her eye was a fraction of an inch from a knife.
There was a special punishment if we told a lie. Our father would take a
whole tablespoon of red hot pepper and make us eat it. If we threw it up; we
had to do it again.
One day my father was cooking something on the stove. Tony wanted to
touch the stove while the fire was on. My father told him not to touch it, but
Tony had to touch it anyway. My father got so mad when Tony didn’t listen
to him he took Tony’s hand and held it over the fire. He said, “You want to
touch? Here, this is how it feels.” Tony had blisters around all of his fingers from the fire on his hand. I stood there while Tony cried in agony and thought,
“I really hate my father. I hate him so much.”
When I was small, I used to suck my thumb. My father hit me and punished
me every time I got caught with my thumb in my mouth. One night he put hot
sauce on my thumb while I was sleeping. When I woke up my mouth felt like
it was on fire. My father asked me, “Trudy, how is your mouth?”
I replied, “Fine Daddy, why?”
He said, “That means that you didn’t have your thumb in your mouth last
night.” I was dying with my mouth burning, but I wouldn’t let the bastard know
that his plan worked.
Well, I sucked my thumb one too many times. One morning when I was
about eight years old, my father caught me sucking my thumb. He called me
in the kitchen and said, “You don’t want to stop sucking your thumb? I’ll help
you.” He took a small butcher knife out of the kitchen drawer, and told me to
place my thumb on the table. He lifted up his hand, and said, “I’ll cut that fucking
thumb right off your goddamned hand.” His arm started to come down, and just
then I moved my hand and bang! the knife hit the kitchen table. For many years,
I thought that he was really going to cut my thumb off, but as I became an adult,
I realized that he was quick enough to do it, and he intended to scare the shit
out of me. For about three weeks after this incident, I walked around the house
with my hand down by my knee. I wanted him to know that I had no intention
of ever sucking my thumb again. And I never did it again.
Denise's Pices Book Review
To Save One is an honest, upfront journey into the insidious world of child abuse. New author Theresa Magliano, shares her life with readers. She grew up in a world that was the epitome of the dysfunctional family. Many readers will get an education on child abuse; many will relate all too easily.
Theresa didn't know that her life was not "normal" while growing up. It's a common side effect of child abuse. It is the dirty little secret that nobody talks about. Her strong will to survive and overcome the poverty, low self-esteem, and guilt associated with physical, sexual, and mental abuse will have readers cheering quietly from the sidelines for her survival.
The story is often raw and graphic. I would not recommend it for readers that want to believe in the "Ozzie and Harriet" myth. But for readers that want to be more cognizant of a life that is lead by our smallest, most vulnerable victims, it's a must read!
Understanding abuse, and recognizing the signs of it, will make us a more compassionate society that will report suspected abuse and protect the children. Authors like Theresa Magliano and Dave Pelzer should be commended for sharing their stories. It is often painful, but the determination to survive and move forward is compelling. I could not put this book down. It is a fast paced, powerful read
Shelagh Pratt Mooberry Review
Theresa (Trudy) Magliano's To Save One is a remarkable account of her childhood, a childhood irrevocably denied to her by her father's continual beatings and sexual abuse. This tale of growing up in constant fear is told in a straightforward way that makes it impossible to question its authenticity. Readers feel certain that this father's loathsome behavior has been accurately recorded, and that events recounted really happened to Magliano and her siblings. To Save One brings home the fact that the same kind of things also happened and are still happening to other children.
Indeed, Magliano's cousins were not spared from acts of perverse cruelty. Of one such act involving her father's twelve-year-old nephew, Magliano writes "I can't even begin to imagine how hurt and ashamed Bobby was at that time. I know that this put a scar on
Bobby that the rest of us could not possibly imagine." This is a strong statement because, as you will remember, "The rest of [them]" had experienced unspeakable abuse and molestation, themselves.
The book is also remarkable for the story of courage it tells. Magliano conquers fear, feelings of guilt, drugs and poverty to emerge whole. This may be partly because, even in such a dark childhood, she was able to experience and record some happy moments, and also because of her closeness to her sisters and brothers.
Nicole Getridge Author of Shielded Heart
In Theresa Magliano's book "To Save One", she tells the heart wrenching true story of how her and her siblings survived the constant mental, physical and sexual abuse of their father. At a very young age they were subjected to this kind of behavior. Something no child should ever have to endure.
As I read "To Save One", I began to feel sorry for what they went through, but then I realized that I shouldn't feel that way becaused they triumphed. They rose above what their father had been and became better people because of it. Besides I don't believe Theresa wrote this book for our pity, she wrote it to help save those who find themselves in the same situation as she had.
Theresa has taken a life altering experience and put it into words.
She chose to speak of it and not hide it. That's something to be admired.
It's the reviewer's opinion that Theresa Magliano has written a story that will touch your life in more ways than one. This is one book that I recommend everyone read.
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Reader Reviews for "To Save One"
|Reviewed by Divinity 11
|wow, what a powerful read.
i'm not sure what to say, except that I'm sorry and I'm glad you've found writing as an outlet.....
We would love to hve you join us on our message board.
It's a safe haven for sharing stories, writing, etc about abuse in a supportive environment
I hope that you are on a road of hope....