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Carolyn Sue Morris
"AnnaBelle's Spirit" is the non-fiction follow-up to "The Journey, The Dreams, & AnnaBelle". This second book gives more depth and meaning to the gypsy spirit that lead AnnaBelle's life. She and her daughters would face many challenges during their lives together. They moved often, and met many people. AnnaBelle's work would introduce her to movie stars, politicians,and race car drivers. After moving to San Francisco in the late 1960's she would meet the Dimaggio family, and find that working for them at their restaurant on Fishermans Wharf was quite an experience. She and her oldest daughter, Katheryn, would become two of their favorite employees.
The author, and youngest daughter, Carolyn, would face her own temptations in lie. Some would leave her with haunting memories of her own.
"AnnaBelle's Spirit" is the non-fiction follow-up to "The Journey, The Dreams, & AnnaBelle". This second book gives more depth and meaning to the gyspy spirit that would lead AnnaBelle's life.
She and her two daughters would face many challenges during their lives together. They moved often, and met many people. AnnaBelle's work would introduce her to movie stars, politicians, and race car drivers in Indianapolis. After a move to San Francisco in the late 1960's she would meet the DiMaggio family. She soon found that working for them at their restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf was quite an experience. She and her oldest daughter Katheryn, became two of their favorite employees. Joey Dimaggio became a very good friend, even giving Katheryn away at her wedding in 1970.
The author, Carolyn, was the youngest daughter of AnnaBelle. She would face her own temptations in life. Some of her decisions would leave her with a lifetime of haunting memories.
David Otto Bollan was born April 15, 1918, in Ozark, Missouri. He was the fifth child and second son of Effie and William, he would be known as Otto. He left home at the age of fourteen due the treatment he received from his mother. He soon returned and stayed until the age of seventeen. At this time Otto joined the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), the year was 1935. This program was enacted on March 21, 1933, it was the first recovery and relief bill submitted to Congress by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Great Depression.
The CCC was set up for young men ages 17 to 25. They were paid $30.00 per month. Of this, they were required to send $25.00 home to their family. Food and lodging were furnished, along with medical care. The program ended in 1942, due to W.W. II. The program, and the men involved, helped to make our national parks what they are today. Otto worked on various projects in Missouri. These included Bennett Springs, and the Bagnel Dam. After leaving the CCC program, he worked cutting and hauling cedar logs to Indiana. Here, he met Willodean, through her brother, and ended up staying. (Well, for a while.) Back to the story at hand.
As stated earlier, Effie never liked AnnaBelle, probably because she was so fond of Willodean. She had to blame someone for her son’s behavior, so it fell on the second wife. She, herself should have carried some of the blame, because of the way she treated her children. She deeply loved her family, but she could be a very cold woman at times. This may have accounted for the bad behavior that would eventually surface in her son. In later years she would defend this son with a vengeance. Perhaps she realized how her actions may have helped lead to his downfall.
And now, back to the trip. It’s still a mystery as to why no one slipped up that weekend. No one mentioned Don’s name wasn’t Don, and, he had never divorced Willodean. But the worst deceit ended up being that everyone knew his secret, except AnnaBelle. In the end, they weren’t really doing him a favor. There’s that tangled web thing he was weaving, weaving, weaving, but eventually that began to fall apart.
It wasn’t long after this trip, that AnnaBelle and Don closed the restaurant at Lowell and opened one at Remington, Indiana. It was located on Highway 24, south of their first location. This would be their last home together. The relationship never recovered after she found him at the motel that night. It never would. His drinking also became a serious issue.
Don took his two small daughters almost everywhere he went, except when he was working on the road. Then the day came that Katheryn pulled the bottle of whiskey from under the seat, in front of her mother. AnnaBelle had warned him to never drink with the girls in the car, so, that was the end of their rides with Daddy. She had been with him in the car when he was drunk, he had come close to killing them all more than once. There were times when he was drinking that he would sit Kathy on his lap and let her steer the car, she was no more than four years old. There was no power steering back then, and that Hudson was like driving a tank. The more AnnaBelle screamed at him, the faster he would go. Even though he was an excellent driver when he was sober, she couldn’t risk the lives of her daughters. He could no longer be trusted.
She never had the joy or hope at this restaurant that she thrived on at “AnnaBelle’s”. Don had not only broken her heart, he had broken her spirit. She knew they would never have the things in life she had planned and worked so hard for. His drinking had started to control him, he was no longer controlling the bottle, or anything else in his life. It wasn’t long before fate stepped in. I truly believe there is a point at which God will step into the situation and say…..enough.
Don’s downfall came on a night like any other, he came back to the restaurant drinking. He was already drunk. They had an altercation, he took all the money, and left. AnnaBelle closed the restaurant that evening because she had no cash on hand to run with. Little did she know this would be her last and final closing. Furthermore, she had no idea that her life was going to take the first turn down a very twisted road.
As Don left Remington, driving east, the police started what would be the chase of a lifetime, at least for them. His driving was erratic, it was obvious he was drinking. They couldn’t overcome the speed of the Hudson, evidently Don knew they never would, he made no attempt to slow down. The police never gave up the pursuit, they chased him for almost fifty miles. Through the towns of Monticello, Logansport, and Peru, never leaving Highway 24. Don was a truck driver, he knew the road like the back of his hand, and this was his advantage. Luckily, it was late at night, and traffic was light, it was a miracle no one was killed.
Finally, in desperation, his pursuers radioed ahead to the state police. They in turn had the foresight to set up a roadblock at Wabash. This was how they stopped him, this is how life as he had known it, would end.
In the meantime, AnnaBelle, oblivious to all of it, had made her own decision that night. She took her two small daughters to the neighbor’s house to spend the night. She returned to the restaurant, took a butcher knife from the kitchen, and went upstairs to bed, where she would wait for her husbands return. Her mind was set, one of them would be dead by morning. When he returned, she was prepared to put an end to the hurt and deceit of the last five years. It would have been like David and Goliath, he was 6’3”, she at 5’. She was going to see how mighty the sword would be. How far can one human be pushed before the inevitable happens, they start to push back? AnnaBelle was finding out.
Even though Don was probably headed to Wabash anyway that night, he wouldn’t go farther that the city limits before he and his Hudson were pulled over. Wabash was the home of his first wife, Willodean, and their three children. I’m sure he had been there many times over the years without AnnaBelle’s knowledge. Sadly, this was the one time she wouldn’t have cared anyway. Unbelievably, she had fallen asleep during the night, with the knife at her side.
AnnaBelle was awakened by the ringing of the phone at daylight the next morning. Half asleep she jumped up, and ran down the steps to answer it. When she heard the Wabash police department on the other end of the line, she was instantly alert. They told her they had her husband in custody, and asked if she wanted to post bail for him. She politely told them to keep him, and hung up. Could he have been crazy enough to think for one minute that she would come to his rescue and bail him out? With what? In the end, it didn’t matter, she was done with him, and done with his lies.
After Don was arrested, they found he had an outstanding warrant for back child support. Then things began to unravel for him. It finally came to light that he was still married to Willodean. AnnaBelle would soon learn that she was never legally married. Within a matter of day’s she would also learn his name wasn’t Don, it was David Otto Bollan, and his family called him Otto. There was only one Don Bollan, and that was his oldest son. It seems he had started using his son’s name when he married her, just to avoid detection.
While her husband sat in jail facing various charges, AnnaBelle had her own battles to fight. Otto had left her with a lease she couldn’t fulfill, a mountain of debt, no money, and two little girls. There was also the broken heart, beaten spirit, and the lost dreams. She had no choice in her destination; she would have to go home to her parents.
It took a while, but finally AnnaBelle had all her belongings packed. She and her daughters were waiting for her Daddy, Edgil, to pick them up and take them home with him. Before he arrived, her landlord pulled into the parking lot. He informed her that Otto currently owed him four hundred dollars and he wasn’t letting her take her furniture until he was repaid. He knew the circumstances, he knew she had no money, but he also knew she had very nice furnishings. She was crying when Edgil arrived with the truck. He wasn’t happy about his son-in-law anyway; this man picked the wrong day to mess with the Wicker family. It never came to blows, but they left with the furniture. Her Dad was right, AnnaBelle didn’t borrow the money, and she wasn’t paying it back. The guy could try to intimidate someone else’s daughter.
She settled in at her parent’s home with “the girls”, they would always be “the girls”. She had fought very hard to have a solid, independent future, but without the help and support of her husband, she watched those dreams go up in smoke. As much as she loved her family, this wasn’t where she wanted to be. They already carried a huge responsibility with eight children still at home, now there were a total of thirteen people to be cared for. She was determined to try and get her life straightened out.
There were legal battles to be fought; AnnaBelle had to hire a lawyer. Because she was never legally married to Otto, the marriage was annulled. How can they just annul five years of your life? For the five years she thought they were legally man and wife, it turned out they were actually in a common law marriage. What would be known as “living together” in today’s world. The worst part of the battle was yet to be fought. In the eyes of the law, her two daughters were illegitimate. She really began to hate Otto for what he had left her with. There was a court hearing; the judge ruled in her favor, the girls would legally carry the Bollan name.
I have to interject some facts here, just to clarify the story. I recently made the drive to Wabash and went to the court house. In the records department of the circuit court they had the transcripts for the various charges and eventual trial of David Otto Bollan. Everything had been transferred to microfilm. I had them make copies of the films and left with them. I wanted to read through the contents at home, where I could be comfortable. In hind site, I wish I had done this before I wrote the first book; it represented a different aspect of the man that was my father.