Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Ann's Scary Relatives..." from KIDNAPPED TWICE

Even my stepmother’s siblings were scary. I was always afraid of one of her brothers. He had a very nice wife, small in stature and quiet. They had three children, two boys and a girl. One of the boys was handicapped in some way, but I don’t remember in what way. I saw very little of him, as he was always in the attic.

Many years later, when I was a cop, I read in the paper that Ann’s brother and his wife had been in a hunting incident. The police found her sitting against the tree with a rifle between her legs, pointed at her head, which suggested suicide. I did not believe that she committed suicide, although I’m sure her life was not a life of love.

I contacted a friend in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to see if he could look into the story, but he told me that with the evidence they had, it could not be proven her husband did it. So that was it. The children have to live the rest of their lives with this memory, which is very, very sad.

THIRTEEN YEARS LOST

Life went on. I continued to date the man, Bruce, who worked at the same company as I did, and we were together for many years…for 13 years to be exact. I bought a piece of land and moved my little mobile home there and a couple of years later built two rooms onto it. It was comfortable. I loved my boyfriend’s father, so I cooked him supper every night, and he created a vegetable garden on the lot that I had purchased next to my home.

This garden was the father’s pride and joy. Previously, he had his garden up on the mountain, next to a relative’s house. The garden was too far from the house, and I was worried he would have a problem health-wise and no one would know; hence, we put the garden on my place. As fate would have it, he did have a heart attack in the garden. He was rushed to the hospital, but he did not make it alive. Very sad.

All during this time, I had one close female friend. We were as close as any friends could be. I had purchased a used, above-ground pool, which both of us spent much of our time at on weekends, floating on rafts. This friend had different men in her life over the years, but she eventually ended up with one who did not deserve her. Many things happened that she was not aware of and which I never told her about. Telling her then, or now, would only hurt her, as she is still with him. My only hope is that he has changed. During these years, we had many good times and helped each other when one of us was going through bad times. Her choice of men was as bad as mine, maybe even worse. I never really told her much of what had happened in my life, as I saw no reason to.

During those years, my boyfriend, Bruce, and I started an oil home delivery business. It became a decent business. I always worked other jobs to have my own income, because I did the work for the business without any pay.

My property and my mobile home were the collateral for his oil truck. That was paid off. The dream was to have a house on my property. My son, my partner, and I agreed to try to make that happen. I decided to obtain a modular home dealership, which led to our getting a nice home. To do this, I had to put my partner’s name on my property, which is one of the worst mistakes I ever made.

I gave my former mobile home with the extra rooms to a friend who dug the hole for the foundation. The mobile home is still standing with the extra rooms, and it is rented out on the friend’s property. A few years after my new home was put up on my property, my partner found what he thought was the “love of his life” and left. As his name was on the property and the house, all had to be sold. So much for having my own home and property!

SWEET SUSIE

When my son was in high school, he started dating a girl named Sue. She was a pretty girl with a lot going for her. She was very smart and had a great personality. When she went away to college, I think I missed her more than I missed my son. As happens in most first loves, for people so young, they grew apart. But Susie and I did not. For many years, wherever I worked, she would work. She was always an asset to whatever company we worked for. We spent a lot of time together as the years went by. We would play tennis almost every day after work. Our lives were always entwined in one way or another.

My son got married, and then Susie married, in a ceremony to which we all were invited. I was so happy for her, as I still am. She had twin boys and then another boy. All of this time she was working and doing quite well. She and her husband built a beautiful house and were happy with love and life. Then she got terrible news: she had breast cancer. Life was busy for her and me, so we were not in touch for awhile. When I heard the news about her cancer, I had to call her and hear her voice. She was fighting this terrible disease. We kept in touch at different stages of her treatments. I prayed every day for her, and I still do. She is doing well and invited me for this most recent Thanksgiving dinner, which was wonderful to see. Her parents were there, as were her sister and all the children. Susie has a special place in my heart and always will.

INCIDENTS IN MY MIDDLE YEARS

As I write about certain parts of my life, the following are a few of the most hurtful.

After I had purchased my land and put my mobile home there, I had rooms built on to it, which made my living room much bigger and gave me a nice bedroom,

The next purchase was a free-standing fireplace, which I loved. I purchased a decent car. These two purchases took place when my long-time boyfriend, Bruce, was out of town hunting. He somehow thought I would make changes only when he was out of town just to upset him. I certainly didn’t think I needed his permission for anything, as it was my money, my home, and it was my son and I. Bruce did not live with us at this time.

During my years of working at the oil company, two things happened that were important to me:

The first is the day a man with whom I worked, named “Dan,” who was one of the nicest people I knew, was making deliveries. He knocked on a customer’s door to ask her for help, as he was not feeling well. Quickly, Dan was taken to the hospital, but he died of a massive heart attack. Within a few hours, the hospital was calling my office, asking for his family to be notified, as the hospital needed to know what to do with the body. The hospital said they needed to be notified within one hour. I was the only one at the job. Dan’s wife worked at the local bank, and I knew I was going to have to tell her.

I called the town doctor and told him to meet me at the bank. I went to tell Dan’s wife that Dan had died. There is no good way to prepare yourself to tell someone a loved one has passed away. She was someone I knew quite well. It was heart-breaking to tell her.

The second incident was another one of those days a lot of people in our town would remember.

My desk was situated with a clear view of our oil company’s loading dock, where the fuel trucks would load up with oil or gasoline. On this day, it is important to note, all the district managers were visiting our facility; they had just left to take our manager out to lunch.

One of our drivers came in to the loading dock, started loading his truck with fuel, and came into our office to tell me that he had to use the bathroom and for me to watch his truck! I told him to go turn off the fueling and return to the office to use the bathroom. He refused. Any woman who has dealt with certain men in the workplace knows what I am saying. Within a very short period of time, the truck was not only filled with fuel, the fuel was running down the sides of the truck all over the parking lot and out into the street.

I had to call the Fire Department, which came to the scene and engulfed the entire area and the buildings with foam. As this foam reached the point that you could not see anything but the foam, the car with all the district managers came through the foam to view the scene. It was dramatic!

During this time, my son and I and Bruce, the man I was dating, spent a lot of time together. One evening as we were watching TV, my son said to Bruce and me, “Why don’t we try this as a family?” I never responded to that, as I really didn’t know how I felt about it. As time went by, my boyfriend slowly moved in. Oddly enough, we also had a mutual friend who would visit us almost every night.

At that time, almost all farmers would have Jamaican workers pick their crops. The requirements for the Jamaican payroll were very involved, and I would also help a few farmers with their Jamaican payrolls. Our mutual friend was a farmer, and I assisted his mother with their payroll. As time went by, I changed jobs and helped my partner get into the fuel oil delivery business, by putting my place up as collateral to purchase a truck etc. You know that story.

And so it began, the beginning of the end!

Within a few years I was working at a large spray materials company and at the Police Department and doing all the paperwork and billing for my partner’s business. I did this for a few years until I had to give up something, as I was burned out! I never took a paycheck from my partner’s business, but it was taking a lot more time, plus he had a business phone installed in my place.

I put my notice into the spray material company. They offered me quite a lot more money to stay, but there were other reasons why I would not stay working there, and so I did not stay.

By now my partner and I had decided to get a modular home. We went to Pennsylvania to see a dealership and ordered the house. As I have noted above, I had to put my partner’s name on my property and put both of our names on the house. Little did I know what a mistake I was making.

Now I’ll explain just how stupid I was.

Our mutual friend supposedly had a girlfriend named “Lori.” I had never met this girl, but Bruce asked me, when I had left the spray materials company, to put in a good word for this girl. I had a very good relationship with the district manager at the company, so I did, and Lori got the job.

This Lori was not our mutual friend’s girlfriend; she turned out to be my partner’s girlfriend. By now we had been together for 12 years.

The only way I found out Bruce was running around was by finding his note to a friend that said he was going away with his girlfriend for the weekend. When I do the laundry, I always check pockets before I put clothes in the wash, and the note was in his pocket. When I confronted him, he told me there must be something wrong with him, and he would get help.

Within a year he told me he was leaving me. I ask myself, since he already had this “love of his life” back when I had my land and my mobile home, why did he suggest we get the house jointly? Why go to such lengths to hurt me? Were those 13 years just wasted?

A few years later, when my ex-partner and his new wife had a son, he named him “Danny.” I know why he chose that name! Since she had never met Danny, I wonder if she does?
                                  ###

We are serializing here the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself, recently published by Outskirts Press and available in paperback and ebook formats from OP and amazon.com, bn.com, and other on-line booksellers. Abuse in her childhood led to losses through many decades.

My writing-editing-coaching site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.

"Picking at Scabs to Achieve Parity," Ch. 27, BUT...AT WHAT COST

Since our nation’s inception, the underlying political values prescribing our American culture have been guaranteed individual freedoms and equality of opportunity. Our Constitution strictly limits the powers of the central government in order to protect personal and states’ rights. Under those guidelines, the United States rose to the top of the economic ladder and stayed there – largely, I think, because of our freedoms to speak our minds, chase our dreams, and experiment independently without excessive government intervention. There were obvious disparities in opportunity for some groups (slaves and women), but they were world-wide and representative of the times. 

Until the Emancipation Proclamation and, later, the 19th Amendment giving women voting rights, we, as a nation, fell short of our equal-rights goal, but eventually the good guys won, and parity in opportunities was almost achieved for blacks in the North. Bigotry was alive and well, but had declined drastically by 1960 before any further government regulations or entitlement programs were instituted. Most white people were “getting it,” merely by being exposed to the similarities between blacks and whites.

Martin Luther King’s influence was instrumental in persuading a dying breed of racists “to judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.” How could any rational person deny such advice? It’s how we judge everyone within our groups – and how we should judge everyone outside our groups, too. Assimilation of disparate groups follows naturally when all do that. It takes time, but it happens -and it was happening until the mid-sixties.

Then, the rules changed. Gone was MLK’s (and nature’s) recipe for acceptance and equality, and in came all the PC dictates contrived, I guess, to eliminate all disparities in outcomes. It was a worthy mission, but ill-conceived… and, in my opinion, sure to have predictably disastrous results.

As crazy as it seems to anyone with a modicum of common sense, blacks were advised to be black and be proud. For some unknown reason, the advisors took a page from the white racists’ handbook and promoted racial identity. There was a concerted effort, especially in colleges, to make blacks proud of being black; they did it primarily by castigating whites. Black Studies Programs, black dorms, and black clubs multiplied.

Public service announcements (PSAs) warning everyone “not to teach your children to hate,” television shows on slavery and political diatribes about racism filled the airwaves. I will allow that much of the latter was a natural response to the news from the South in the sixties. However, the clearly separatist initiatives in schools are not as easy to explain – especially those diversity mantras that remain alive and well in academia today. I can only ask: In whose world does it make sense to assert differences to achieve parity?

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This principle applies almost as well to inference and cognition as it does to Newton’s Laws of Motion. A member of a minority group in America can hear a PSA for diversity and will likely infer a message quite different from that inferred by his white neighbor. Having different sensitivities and experiences will create different interpretations.

One day when I was waiting for the bus with my grandchildren Sam and Molly, they told me about a “make nice” seminar they’d attended the day before. Molly, seven at the time, said, “Boy, they must think we’re really stupid.” Sam agreed. I would say Sam and Molly learned nothing they hadn’t already figured out for themselves by being the naturally empathetic kids they are, and by a little reinforcement delivered by their parents and me, if they happened to stray. They seemed somewhat resentful of being subjected to unnecessary lessons.

I would suppose the minority kids perceived something else – that the message was intended for all those “bad” white kids who didn’t like them. At the same time, they were very probably hurt and/or embarrassed by the “you’re different” characterization. What kid wants to feel singled out as “different”? Not the fat kid. Not the kid with two Mommies. And not the Mexican kid or the black kid either.

These are automatic inferences. The message, itself, creates the perception of prejudice whether anyone has had a personal experience with it or not. It is logical for anyone to conclude the message wouldn’t be offered if there were no need for it, so the very creation of a “diversity” game or a “diversity” poster or a “diversity” seminar makes most of us infer there is a serious need for them -even though most of us don’t give a damn about what we see as minor differences.

Sam and Molly don’t care about differences in ethnicity, and the minority kids who grew up in America probably don’t either – unless or until some outside source makes it seem like an important issue… for other people!

There has been some very telling statistical research done in this area. You can look it up for yourselves, but the gist is: “I don’t care, but most other people do.” If you are a minority kid in a “make nice” class, the inference is: most white kids don’t like me. A minority kid can’t live in twenty-first-century America without figuring there’s a bigot behind every bush. Neither can a white kid. He’ll know he isn’t a bigot, but he’ll think most everyone else is.

Yes, bigots exist and always will, but most of us are reasonable people and form our biases rationally in response to circumstances. We don’t hold on to old biases without new cause. We don’t still hate the Japanese, do we? When circumstances change, our biases change.

So, doesn’t it make more sense to look at today’s prejudices through the lens of today’s influences? Our history matters as a point of reference, but it does not prescribe or describe today’s motivations. Each era has its own set of motivations.

Not long ago, I wrote a letter to the editor in response to an article written by a staff writer for The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y. He was questioning his own racial bias. My response follows:

The Genesis of a Bias

“I read Steve Israel’s opinion piece on ‘examining our prejudices’ and agree. We should examine our biases. However, I would have added some relevant facts that explain the genesis of a bias.

“Most biases any of us develop are dictated by our exposures. They arise naturally and are responsive to circumstances. Right now, in this society, young people of color (many of whom wear baggy pants and have tattoos), commit a much higher percentage of crime than their relatively small numbers should… so why shouldn’t Steve have been a bit wary?

“His was a rational prejudice. It may not have been correct, but it was entirely rational, and so was his reaction. We are programmed to protect ourselves and our property, so he locked his car – and had a friendly chat with the kid, later.

“It’s very curious to me that Israel (or anyone) would pre-suppose some underlying racial prejudice on his part. I can almost guarantee a middle-aged black man in a suit would not have elicited the same response. I’m equally sure Steve and most people today fine-tune their stereotypes way beyond skin color, because it’s stupid not to. Don’t let the race merchants (and their phony presumptions) redefine what is a perfectly normal biological imperative (that is, stereotyping) as racist. It is not. It’s simply what all brains do to make quick and rational decisions.

“When the black youth crime rates go down, so will our naturally derived fear of black kids wearing baggy pants.”

I have changed a few words for clarification, but the meaning is the same as it was when I first wrote it. I believe most of what is perceived by many to be racial prejudice today, is not. We have been trained to believe it is.

Ashley and I had an experience similar to the one Steve Israel described. I know just how Steve felt and why he examined his motivations. A young black couple knocked on our door and asked to borrow a spare tire. (Our barn area looks like a good place to find anything one might need for a car, and people stop fairly frequently looking for help.) My very first reaction was suspicion – partly because they were young and black and partly because they were disheveled and looked nervous – which they probably were, but I had no way of knowing why. I called Ash and he found them a donut that would fit their wheel. As we talked I became less concerned; they were polite. After they Left, I asked myself why my initial response was fear and if I would have felt the same way had they been white.

My answer was revealing. I’m absolutely positive I would not have been afraid in 1960… for two reasons. They likely wouldn’t have been distrustful of us, so wouldn’t have acted in a way that to us appeared suspicious. Neither would I have been at all afraid of them, because the black youth crime rates then were not nearly as bad as they are now. My fear and distrust came later, much later when the crime rates in young blacks and Hispanics rose so drastically, particularly around Newburgh. Newburgh is currently the eighth most dangerous city in America, and has a population of only 20.4% white. The white population has fled in fear. Most folks know who is committing the majority of the violent crime in Orange County now, and they aren’t white. That’s just the way it is. So no, I probably wouldn’t have been afraid if they had been a young white couple… unless they were acting suspiciously. My response was logical under the circumstances, and while race was a component of my assessment of the situation, it was not a racist response any more than theirs was. They were hesitant to ask our help because we were white, and because they probably knew most white people are afraid of young black people. Anyone who claims not to be more suspicious of black youths than white youths is lying or in denial. Even Jesse Jackson admitted he is. We responded, to their appearance and hesitant demeanor. This is how strangers of all ethnicities and colors figure out who they can trust, and people shouldn’t be surprised or upset about it. It’s normal and necessary; and we’d all be much better off accepting it as such.



Picking scabs off old wounds in Black Studies Programs, PSAs, diversity posters, and political correctness mantras were (and are) in no way part of a normal acceptance process. They promote alienation, not acceptance. That young couple has been trained to expect racial animus where none exists -mostly by a media obsessed with race. Suspicion is not animus unless or until a meeting becomes overtly confrontational. I see more discomfort between the races and more taboo topics of discussion now (when I visit my daughter, for example), than I saw in 1959 when I was singing with my black friends in the auditorium, or when I met Andrew, my son-in-law, for the first time in 1989.

From my perspective, all that the “make nice” dictates seem to have accomplished is to make minorities more suspicious and young black people, in particular, develop huge chips on their shoulders. I was there; I watched it happen, and I think I know how and why it happened: the groups mentioned in the previous chapter (the charlatans, the media, academia, entertainers and the Democrat Party) have unwittingly or purposefully sponsored the growth of therapeutic alienation in blacks. (Thank you, John McWhorter for supplying the correct term.)

I was for affirmative action before I was against it. It seemed necessary to me, because statistically, there weren’t as many blacks in college as there would be if all things were equal. I and most people back then thought discrimination was the reason, but that’s sort of like saying there aren’t enough short men on basketball teams because they’re discriminated against. There is a good reason more tall people than short people make the team – and there was a good reason more whites than blacks made it to college. More whites were academically qualified. It hardly matters “why” this was true; it only matters that it was true. The problem was NOT discrimination; it was poor performance.

Imagine if we had done to unqualified short people what we did to unqualified black people. Do you think they’d play or sit the bench or quit? Many would quit – and that’s just what has happened with many of the black kids who couldn’t compete in college. Either that or they failed or they were at the bottom. Do you think that made them feel good?

No, and worse, some colleges, primary schools, government jobs, and even private companies lowered the standards for everyone, in order to make black people feel better about themselves. But, it doesn’t make them feel better, does it? It wouldn’t make me feel better.

I don’t want to make a team if the team has to lower its standards for me to qualify. I want to earn my place, and to succeed on my own merits, not because of some arbitrary allowances made for old people. Something like that happened to me once. Amidst the catcalls of the opposing team, the referee explained he hadn’t called an infraction on me because, “Give her a break. She’s old enough to be your mother!” I was livid – not because he said I was old, but because he was making allowances for me. It’s inherently unfair to have different rules for different people in a competitive situation. A friendly game? Okay, but not when a game means something. The integrity of the game should never be compromised – especially when the “game” determines who goes to college or who gets the job. Besides being wholly dishonest, it can cause much more alienation between the taken and the takers than would have occurred without it.

Personally, I don’t know how people receiving special treatment live with themselves. I would be guilt-ridden. To me, cheating to get ahead isn’t winning, but I guess I’m in the minority on that now. More than half the people in this country seem to think institutionalized cheating, via affirmative action is okay. It is not only an accepted practice; it’s believed to be a necessary practice. But, is it? And what are the psychological and sociological consequences of minority groups’ believing it is necessary?

When the referee felt he had to take pity on this old woman, I knew it was time to quit. It wasn’t fair to lower the standards just for me. Likewise, as a woman, I know having to carry less weight than a man in a firefighter’s test isn’t fair. Most women are not as qualified in that area as most men are. If a woman can make it under the same guidelines as men, great; if not, oh well. Setting artificial, arbitrary standards intended to solve a problem irrelevant to firefighting seems wholly perverse to me – even more perverse if it’s my house that’s burning down.

So, we know. Women know, old people know, and black people know whether they measure up or not, but accepting special treatment tends to make people feel bad; it creates cognitive dissonance. No one can believe he is both deserving and undeserving at the same time. Therefore, many will invent an excuse for accepting what is known to be undeserved. This is a perfectly normal, but undesirable aspect of human nature. We make excuses to preserve our self-esteem. It’s called “therapeutic alienation.” If we can blame the boss, or the umpire, or the teacher, or society in general, for our not measuring up, then we don’t feel bad when we fail or receive special treatment.

Affirmative action, no matter how necessary it might have seemed, is inherently unfair… and necessarily creates more alienation between the races. It can make the white people who don’t get hired or accepted in college angry. It endorses the false perception in black people that racism is still rampant enough in America for them to require special treatment – which, in turn, heightens their suspicions and anger. Oh, and yes, it also causes white people to believe they need to lie and cheat in order to level the playing field for themselves. What a tangled web we’ve woven.

Just yesterday Eric Holder (yes, the head of Obama’s Department of Justice) announced a new program to ensure parity in outcomes – essentially by falsely manipulating the numbers. Rather than addressing the causes of disparity between racial groups in educational achievements, he demands teachers punish the trouble-makers according to the color of their skin. Whites should get punished and/or suspended in the same percentages as blacks, Hispanics, Asians. That way (I guess) parity in suspension rates will be achieved. In other words – to hell with the reality as long as it appears black kids don’t misbehave disproportionately to white kids (which he admits is the case).

Besides education’s being a local issue in which the Feds should not interfere, this program is inherently racist and detrimental to classroom management and has virtually no chance of changing anything for the better. Ostensibly, Mr. Holder’s advisement is meant to keep more black kids in school by not suspending them… which is a lot like keeping more criminals on the streets by not arresting them. What are we doing? This would only be a somewhat valid program if the uneven suspension rates were caused by discriminatory practices – which he admits they are not. It is the reality of the poor performance in blacks that needs addressing – not an unwanted (but accurate) perception of the reality.

The results of all programs to achieve parity I outcomes have failed… at least partly for the reasons I have outlined above. This latest attempt will be no different because it has accidentally, but effectively, been in place for decades with no positive results. Many white teachers have been hesitant to discipline black kids for years. Some are just plain afraid for their lives and others are afraid to be called “racists.” Those brave enough to treat the races equally are called on the carpet (or warned) all the time to be careful (lest they be sued).

Manipulating and posting false statistics may change the political perceptions in the uninformed (and create more alienation), but false perceptions won’t change the realities in the classroom. What’s next…ignoring passing and failing and just handing out diplomas?

 
                                               ###

We continue to serialize Judy Axtell's BUT...AT WHAT COST: A Skeptic's Memoir, published recently by Outskirts Press and available from OP and on-line booksellers like amazon.com and bn.com. It tells of her transformation over the decades from liberal to conservative. I am proud to have coached her and edited her book.

My writing-coaching-editing site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.



Monday, April 13, 2015

The Subjunctive Mood

sub·junc·tive

sub·junc·tive [səb júngktiv]

n (plural sub·junc·tives)

1. grammatical mood: a grammatical mood that expresses doubts, wishes, and possibilities

2. subjunctive verb: a verb or form in the subjunctive

 

adj

relating to subjunctive: in or relating to the subjunctive

 

[Mid-16th century. < late Latin subjunctivus < past participle of Latin subjungere "subordinate" < jungere "to join"]

 

-sub·junc·tive·ly, , adv

The subjunctive mood in English is distinguishable from the regular form of verbs (called the indicative mood) only in the third person present singular, which omits the final -s (as in make rather than makes), and in the forms be and were of the verb to be.

A typical use of the subjunctive is in clauses introduced by that expressing a wish or suggestion: I suggested that she drop by for a drink before the concert. They demanded that he answer their questions.

The form were is used in clauses introduced by if, as if, as though, or supposing, as in: If you were to go, you might regret it. It's not as though he were an expert. Suppose I were to meet you outside the theater.

The subjunctive also occurs in fixed expressions such as: as it were, be that as it may, come what may, and far be it from me.

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Police Work" from KIDNAPPED TWICE


My years in police work had their ups and downs. The work was interesting, never boring, often challenging, sometimes rewarding, sometimes not! Sometimes I would be on duty with a partner who I knew “had my back”…and sometimes not.

One incident that became a real challenge for me was when a young woman was brought into the station for a reason that escapes me now. I think she was trying to get away from her family and her boyfriend, as they were abusing her. After we did paperwork and it was very late, there was what I call a “what now?” moment! Everyone involved was looking at me, including the Police Chief. Since I was the only female cop, I got the job of putting her up for what I thought would be one night.

I was living in my small mobile home with two rooms built on. There were only two bedrooms, one for my son and one for me. The girl ended up sleeping on my bed with me for many months. No one “had my back” in that situation. I ended up getting her a job, taking her there every day, and either picking her up after work or making the arrangements to get her back to my place.

The whole set-up was making me crazy. I was being told that when I was working nights she would be having men coming to visit her. So my next quest was to find her an apartment that she could afford and furnish it as best I could.

It didn’t take long before I was contacted by the landlord and told that she was entertaining undesirable people and he wanted her out! Under no circumstances was she coming back to my place. She quit her job and took off with her boyfriend. That taught me a very good lesson: my home was mine, and I would never take another stranger in again.

There were many different stakeouts that I was involved in. One took place at night in the weeds, waiting for a drop-off of drugs. It was cold and damp, which made it uncomfortable. As one other cop and I were hiding in the tall weeds, a man came walking up the road with his Doberman Pinscher on a leash. That man and his dog walked within 10 feet of us. To this day I do not understand why that dog did not smell us there, but I’m thankful he did not.

Of course, every cop has to qualify on the shooting range. I was issued a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. It did not matter if I shot it 100 times: I could not hit the target. Everyone was having a good time watching me struggle. I finally gave the gun to the Chief and asked him to shoot the gun. He shot and shot with no success either. The gun was tagged as “faulty.” I then asked the Police Chief for his gun, which he handed to me. I shot a perfect score. No more laughs. I shot a perfect score every time we qualified from then on. I was proud of that then. I still am now.

I have never been good with death. I swear that the Chief knew that. We were having a snowstorm. A call came in that there was a man found dead in his house, located on top of a mountain. How we got up there with the police car is still a mystery to me. So, sure enough, a man had passed away and was lying on his kitchen floor. He was covered with a blanket. The Chief told me to stay with the body until the Coroner got there. They left me there. I sat in the chair, feeling a little shaky.

Suddenly, the blanket started to move, which damn near gave me a stroke. I went out the back door and then started calling the Chief to get me some help or I was going to start walking down the mountain, as I was not going back in that house alone. Well, when they came back, everyone who went into the kitchen found that the blanket would move and each one rushed out, too.

What had happened was that the man had a house full of cats, and some of them were under the blanket with him. When everyone had calmed down, we had to search the house to find all the cats. One by one, everyone got spooked again as we would open doors and the cats would jump out, scaring us to death.

There were times when we would get a call for “shots fired.” On one call we arrived to find a man at the top of the staircase with his victim at the bottom of the stairs. The victim was shot and bleeding. We had to talk the shooter into giving up his gun, as we had to get the victim out to a hospital. That was my first experience with having the victim, either shot or stabbed, losing control and urinating or defecating in his pants from pure fear! I felt very embarrassed for the victim when I had to interview him later in the hospital.

All of us had to learn the special codes used over the police radio and learn to dispatch these codes to the officers on duty. On my first night on dispatch duty I had a man enter the police office. The man was bleeding, and the woman with him said he had made her mad, so she stabbed him.

I radioed the police officer on duty in the patrol car. The officer on duty that night thought I said that I had been stabbed. The Police Department had windows that looked out onto our parking lot. The police patrol car came in the parking lot very fast and skidded to a stop right in front of our windows. From that point on, I carefully chose my words, both in the car and on the police official radio.

All police officers are issued a gun after qualifying. As long as you are a police officer, you can and should carry a weapon. I decided to take the course provided by the county to obtain an “all carry” permit. After passing this course, I bought a .357 Magnum, which I carried for the rest of my years of police work, and I still have that gun and that permit today.

One night while I was on duty, we received a call over the police dispatch network to assist an ambulance that was on call. We were given instructions to go with no flashing lights and no siren. A few moments later those instructions were changed, and we were given the code indicating we should come with all lights and siren on.

We arrived at the location and saw a very large man in cardiac arrest. We assisted with moving the man into the ambulance as CPR was being administered. We transferred his wife and her sister to the hospital, and we stayed there for a period of time to assist in whatever way possible.

The medical team worked on the man until they knew that nothing more could be done to save him, at which time the doctor came to my partner and me to tell us that no more could be done.

My partner and I said that we would tell his wife, as we had done in similar cases many times in the past. The doctor said, “Oh no, that’s my job. Let’s go to the waiting room together, and I’ll tell the wife.”

We entered the waiting room, and the doctor announced, “Which one of you ladies was married to Mr. -----?”

The wife jumped up and started screaming, “What do you mean ‘was married,’ did he die?”

My partner and I looked at each other in disbelief. It was a very bad situation for a long time in that room. Other people waiting for news about their loved ones went out into the hall to escape the turmoil.

We received many different calls. A fast way to find out how your partner would handle a dangerous situation would be the call, “Shots fired.”

One particular partner that I had, when we received that call, started driving slower and slower. I asked him what he was doing. I said we needed to speed up, and get to the location quickly. His response was, “Do you want to get shot?”

I replied that I didn’t want to get shot, but that it was our job to get there before someone else got shot

While on our way, we received another radio dispatch call, asking where we were and how long it would be before we got there. He gave a location that was much farther away than where we really were. From that night on, I did everything I could not to work with him again.

Another incident goes back to the defective gun I was first issued and that was sent back to Smith & Wesson to be fixed. While waiting for the repairs, I was using the Police Chief’s gun, as he had other guns. When my gun was finally sent back to the Police Department, the officer on duty that night brought the fixed gun to my house. At this time, I had the Chief’s gun in a cabinet in my dining room.

My son was watching television, but he could also see me and the officer on duty. As I stood and turned around to open the cabinet to get the Chief’s gun to hand over to the officer on duty– a man who was my friend both then and now– he raised the repaired gun and fired it!

When a gun is shot inside a dwelling, it makes such a loud noise! I think both my feet left the floor. The look on my son’s face was pure fear. To this day I cannot understand what my friend was thinking when he fired that pistol.

My officer friend was frozen in position. I asked him to hand me the gun and to sit down. He kept saying that he did not know the gun was loaded. Every cop reading this is jumping up and saying that this is one of the first things we are taught: never point and shoot a gun, unless you are at a shooting range or your life or somebody else’s life is in danger. The bullet went through my kitchen wall and through my garage wall. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

I had to call someone to come and repair the wall in the kitchen with artificial brick to cover the hole and to blend in with the kitchen décor. To his credit, my officer friend went to the Police Chief and reported what had happened. I had told him that night that I would never tell anyone about it if he wanted to keep it a secret. He said that he would report it, so I can tell the story.

As the years went by, there were many different arrests, often drug-related: burglaries and robberies, shootings, assaults, etc. The friends I made during these years were then and still are very important to me.

The night that I decided that enough was enough was when I had worked quite late. I got into my car, pulled onto the highway, and my leg and foot started shaking so badly that I could not keep my foot on the gas pedal. I pulled over to the side of the road and waited until I thought I would be able to drive home. I never told the Chief or anyone else about that night, nor can I remember just what it was that set me off, but that was the end of my police work.

On reflection, these years were the best years of my life. I knew I was good at it, and it taught me to trust my instincts.

                                        ###

We are serializing here the memoir Mary E. Seaman wrote with me, KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, published in paperback and ebook formats by Outskirts Press and available from OP and from amazon.com and other on-line booksellers. This is a story of her decades of partial recovery from child abuse by her stepmother, primarily. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

My writing-coaching editing site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.

"Seeking Alienation," Ch. 26 from BUT...AT WHAT COST

I find it very hard to believe the Left isn’t accomplishing exactly what it set out to accomplish – more alienation among the races. To think otherwise I would have to believe they are stupid, and I certainly don’t believe they are stupid!

The special treatments designed to help blacks in the sixties were probably well-intentioned policies. I know they were for me and most Democrats; however, after decades of declining results, it seems to me these policies should have been questioned and analyzed. Well, many of us did just that… and are called “racists” for our conclusions. It didn’t matter that we were trying desperately to solve the problems in the ghettos; it only mattered that we appeared to be “blaming the victims,” and not just those nasty white people.

We were, indeed, blaming the so-called “victims”… but not because we are racists. We believe personal successes and failures are much more dependent on the personal choices one makes than on any presumed pain a racial event might inflict. We don’t see black people as “victims.” We see them as we see everyone else – as independent people, responsible for their own choices. We don’t make allowances based on skin color or ethnicity; we might make allowances for temporary or “special” circumstances like illness, but we don’t presume neediness based on group membership. We judge each black individual by the same standards we judge everybody else. It’s the very antithesis of showing a bias.

Granted, I‘ve never experienced racial prejudice, but I have experienced anti-smoking prejudice and anti-Tea-Party prejudice. Is racial prejudice any more hurtful than any other kind of prejudice? Prejudice toward me tends to make me angry, not hurt. I don’t believe the epithet; I reject it… and the person who offers it. I move on, and in my experience, that’s what most people do when they encounter a jerk. Don’t get me wrong – when the prejudice is perceived as a majority opinion (such as the anti-smoking bias in today’s culture) it can instigate a behavior change in many. It can also do the opposite and strengthen one’s own contrary convictions. You never know.

Anyway, to initiate a behavior change, a belief usually needs to be seen as a majority belief. Otherwise, we merely reject the naysayer as a jerk. That’s the problem now. Instead of rejecting a few racist comments as the ravings of an ignorant jerk or two, the culture has been trained to believe there are racist jerks everywhere. The Democrats achieved that by changing the definition of “racist” to include anyone who describes a difference (a Pakistani with a turban), stereotypes, or says an unacceptable word in anger or in conversation. The list of PC rules for white people is very, very long, now. No wonder all conversation has stopped. White people are scared to death to open their mouths… which, I might add, can also be perceived as racist. It’s a “no win” situation for all of us.

Many chapters ago, I promised a more thorough look at race relations before and after the early sixties, from my perspective of having worked and played with black people both before and after. I don’t pretend any knowledge of how anyone else “felt” – only what they said or didn’t say.

I said previously that I wasn’t particularly aware of racism before I was sixteen. That is not to say it didn’t exist in overt forms; it just hadn’t registered with me. When I was about thirteen (1955), I brought a black friend home for us to do homework together. My grandmother (looking rather harried), explained she was sorry, but we had to go somewhere, so Gayle couldn’t stay. After Gayle left, I asked Gram, “Where are we going?”

She said, “Nowhere. We can’t have coloreds visiting us; what will the neighbors think?”

I don’t remember my response, or if I even had one. That I recall this event is significant in that it certainly made an impression on me, but apparently, I accepted Gram’s excuse as a normal one. I had no reason to doubt Gram’s explanation. She did not display any animus; she wasn’t angry or rude; she simply was worried about what the neighbors would think. I don’t know which neighbors she was worried about or why she assumed they’d be a problem… or if they actually would have cared, but it was her perception that they would.

I’m assuming Gayle had to have felt rejected (and hurt or angry), and I’m not discounting her perception at all, but neither did she know the whole story. Gram had rejected her and that was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as Gayle might have perceived it to be. All of us were still learning how to get along, and were filled with misconceptions – many of which were generationally dictated.

I had no idea there would be a problem with bringing a black person home; my parents probably thought there might be a problem with some neighbors, but did invite them into our home anyway. Grandmother was living by the rules of a more segregated past: don‘t mingle socially.

The next incident will blow your mind – at least it blew mine. We were visiting Nana and Poppy, my father’s parents, and they were relating the story. If the reader will recall, Poppy was a lieutenant on the police force and a bigot. Nana was nicer. She didn’t get out much; I doubt if she had ever met a black person before this event: It was Christmastime and Poppy’s driver, a black patrolman, drove him home, as usual. Poppy invited him in for a drink to celebrate the season. As the story goes, they had a pleasant visit. Then Nana said to us, “Don’t worry I scalded the glass he used.”

Needless to say, my parents and I were flabbergasted. When he recovered, my dad said, “I don’t think that was necessary, Mother.”

It’s hard to imagine such profound ignorance, but it existed in many older white people of that era. I’m not sure how old I was then, maybe fifteen or sixteen, but in hindsight, I am absolutely blown away by the dichotomy of thought and action apparent in their behavior. I mean, how can you like a person enough, or be polite enough, to share your table and still think this “lesser” person might give you a disease? Absent cold symptoms, it makes no sense, but perhaps for many, that’s the way it was then. They didn’t know any better, but were learning, at least, to be polite.

I’ve already touched on my travels with the band and my experiences in high school regarding race relations, but there’s more… this time from this seventy-year-old white person’s perspective. Then, I was angry and emotional; now, I’m seeking logical explanations that better reflect the cultural influences of the times.

I no longer judge most white people from that era as evil or hateful as I did then. Yes, many were ignorant and/or out of touch with the realities, but not necessarily racist in the sense many black people may have perceived them to be. Their ignorance in many cases was due to a lack of positive exposures which allowed them to continue to embrace the old stereotypes. My son-in-law offered this assessment in the eighties when I said Nana might say the "N-word." “Well, it was when she was raised,” he said. And so it was. She was not an “evil person;” she was a product of the times. Andrew understood that then, but very few blacks who have been subjected to today’s political rhetoric seem to understand that now. It’s not about being “evil;” it’s about the language your peer group uses – and ignorance.

Granted, the South had a lot of catching-up to do, but all considered there was very little institutional or overt racism practiced in the North in the fifties. If my grandfather had been a true racist, he would not have invited his driver in for a drink any more than he would have invited in a criminal (black or white). He was, in fact, starting to judge people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. The biases he exhibited were more biases in language usage – just as I say “God help me,” even though I don’t believe in God. Good, bad, or completely illogical, we tend to use the language of our era and our cultural groups. Thus, for him, “N,” “Spic,” etc. were still terms he used – often with malice, but sometimes not.

In 1957, in upstate New York, Rod, my drummer friend, was elected vice-President of his class in a school that was over ninety percent white. His band (with two blacks, two whites and a white girl singer) traveled together without incident. We performed at country clubs, schools, Elks Clubs, wherever. Our rehearsals, as far as I could tell, had no topics that were off-limits. The room was elephant-free.

Debra Dickerson, a college professor and writer on race wrote that most black people wear masks when they’re with white people. If my friends did, they deserve Academy Awards for acting. Though Rod thought he wore a mask of sorts, I don’t think he did. Yeah, that’s very presumptuous of me, but I don’t think his “mask” was in place for all white people, just the white people for whom we all wore our masks – the hirers and firers. Many black people seem to forget that white people have to play these “fitting-in” games, too. My language changes, and even my behavior might change, in response to circumstances. We all do it – even Ashley creates a different persona sometimes... albeit not the one we might prefer.

My point is, not all that is assumed to be racism (or caused by racism) is racism. Not then, and especially, not now!

Many black people in our current culture see racism everywhere. Some of their assumptions of prevalence come naturally as a result of their own experiences with ignorant jerks. It is natural for sensitivities to bloom with any racial incident. However, now we all are bathed in tales of presumed racist behavior every day… which tends to further the perception of prevalence. Five powerful groups of people operating in our culture today are hell-bent on maintaining that false perception.

The first group is comprised of the charlatans – the Sharptons and the Jacksons of our country. They have a huge stake in maintaining the perception of black victimhood in America. It’s how they make their livings and why their opinions are largely discounted by reasonable people (unless it suits their own agenda to quote them). This group strongly influences the beliefs of uninformed black people. They are listened to and believed.

Worse influences, perhaps, are the opinions spouted by more “acceptable” representatives, like villains number two, three, and four: journalists, academics and entertainers (including screen writers and producers). Even informed folks tend to believe them without questioning their motivations. These groups are generally trusted because it’s assumed they are objective observers, but are they?

Some are well-meaning, but politically ignorant do-gooders as I was for years, some have a purely political, often socialist agenda, and some are just looking for a good story. Few are objective, thoughtful observers or reporters of reality. To my mind, their assessments of any situation rely much more on their almost religious-like adherence to politically-correct orthodoxies than to any common-sense assessment of the facts. Think about the Martin/ Zimmerman case. Before any investigation into the facts, most of the media reported it as a racial incident simply because the two involved were of different races. NBC outlets were particularly dishonest in their reporting. Someone there edited out critical parts of Zimmerman’s conversation with the police to make him seem like a racist.

Imagine yourself in a similar situation of reporting a suspicious person in your neighborhood which was plagued with break-ins by black youths. When asked about the race of the person, you reply, “I think he’s black.” Then when NBC reports the story, they leave out the question making it seem you were offering the information. (I think your offering the information would be extremely relevant whether you were asked or not, but the PC press doesn’t see it that way. They often withhold the race of a black perpetrator.) Anyway, the presumption, from the start, by eighty percent of the press and probably upwards of ninety percent of black people, was that it was a racial incident.

The FBI looked at Zimmerman’s life through a microscope, but found nothing remotely racist in his background. He voted for Obama, dated a black girl, and was mentoring black youths, yet Sharpton’s and the media’s presumption won the “perception wars” until the trial. They railroaded the guy (a guy who had been cleared of blame by the investigators) by manipulating or never reporting the facts. The jury, of course, found him not guilty because they followed the law. I watched every minute of the trial and agree with the investigators’ decision: it never should have gone to trial.

Much like religious fundamentalists, PC fundamentalists in the media ignore or deny most of the empirical evidence that would negate their points of view… if they weren’t such dedicated believers. They seem to believe there is a racial motivation behind every interracial disagreement or confrontation and seek to prove it by citing the use of a descriptive adjective. They’re delusional.

An epithet said in anger at an individual should not be used as proof of racism, let alone, of a hate crime. Yet, that’s what the fundamentalist PC sect presume all the time. A racial slur = racism. Not! It’s indicative of gross insensitivity and/ or ignorance; however, I would never assume an objection to ONE person’s behavior, at that ONE moment in time is intended to apply to ALL people of that description ALL the time. I don’t assume a guy who calls his girlfriend a “bitch” hates me too. Swearing in anger isn’t like that. It might be nicer if everyone used general terms like “asshole” to describe anyone who is an “asshole,” but angry people don’t always make sense. “F***ing cars” comes to mind -now, there’s a picture for you. The epithet is clearly nonsensical and clearly intended for only that ONE car that is refusing to start, not all cars.

The fifth major group is the Democrat Party. I think most of them are strict “believers,” too, but with an added incentive: power.

We hate politicians of all stripes, don’t we? I mean, as a group, they tend to be more narcissistic, more dishonest, and more corrupt than any other group I can think of. There are exceptions, of course, but in the main, most will say just about anything to preserve their power. What I find highly deceitful in their pursuit of power is their use of focus groups to determine what should be said to their voting blocs. They all do it. They all try to manipulate our perceptions about their opponents. I suspect there are more shrinks and wordsmiths employed by the politicos than there are policy wonks.

In my opinion, the political strategists are responsible for a very high percentage of our misconceptions – especially about the presumed prevalence of white on black racism in America. When one considers the twenty-four-hour news cycles, our TV watching habits, and the PC agendas practiced in our schools, one can begin to see the level to which we have been indoctrinated into many false beliefs. The repetition does it. It’s very true for many people: if they hear a lie often enough, they will come to believe it.

Democrats have been obsessed with race for decades. As I’ve noted before, one doesn’t even need to be paying attention to politics to soak up the conventional wisdom. It just creeps in and becomes a part of one’s belief system, as in: I need to buy some deodorant. It does require some thought to question the dogma, however. That is the part few people seem willing to do, and why so many (like me) have allowed these false perceptions about everything racial to influence their voting habits.

Sometime during my conversion from Democrat to Republican, I tepidly defended the strategies of politicians. There was still a tiny bit of “the ends justify the means” mentality left in me. I thought both parties had the same or similar goals and differed only in the ways they wanted to achieve those goals. I’m much more cynical now… and, I hope, much more rational in my assessments of political goals and strategies.

Any lingering belief I had in “the ends justify the means” philosophy vanished when I saw and felt the alienation and animosity created by the political tactics employed by the Left. They convinced huge blocs of voters (namely blacks and women) that they were victims of the evil Republican agenda. Hey, it gets nasty out there on both sides, but in general, Conservatives think Liberals are ill-informed idealists. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to think Conservatives are evil racists. The Libs are much meaner.

There can be no better example than what they and their media did to us Tea Partiers. We had to adopt a defensive posture in no time. With no evidence to back up their assault, they convinced the majority of their constituents that Tea Partiers were racists. It became the running joke at our gatherings. Black speakers usually started their speeches with, “How are all you racists out there doing?” It was a certain applause line, because we sought validation from any and all black comers. It was such a relief to know at least some black people understood our intentions – among other things, to help release poor black people from the government plantation.

I don’t pretend to know what policy changes will work, but I do know all this PC crap has made communication between the races and between Republicans and Democrats much, much harder. In many respects, conditions in the black ghettos are worse now than they were in 1960. I and others sought to explain why, but as white Republicans, we dared not challenge the presumed cause (racism) without being presumed a “racist” by all the people who have been steadfastly indoctrinated into that belief. My advice is to question every damn word you hear or read, and never listen to a Democrat strategist; they exist to spin the truth – that is, to lie. For them, it’s all about getting votes – the consequences of the alienation they’ve caused between the races be damned!

I know that’s a very harsh accusation – right up there with their calling me a racist. However, black Conservatives and even an occasional black Democrat (Juan Williams) have cited much of the same statistical and empirical evidence in their books that I used to form my rationale. Look past the rhetoric and study the evidence critically. You too might see the alienation Democrat tactics and policies have wrought.

 
                                                ###

We are serializing here Judy Axtell's book, BUT...AT WHAT COST: A Skeptic's Memoir, published by Outskirts Press and available from OP as well as from amazon.com and other on-line booksellers. I am proud to have coached Judy and edited her book.

See also my writing-coaching-editing site, http://writeyourbookwithme.com

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"...After Divorce...," from Kidnapped Twice

I SHELTER ANN

When my father and Ann broke up, Ann came knocking on my door. She said she needed a place to stay until my father moved out of the house. I let her stay.

I do not understand why I did let her stay. Just as I do not understand why I did not go back to Aunt Jennie's house after the fire.

I let her stay! My son had to sleep with me, as there were only two bedrooms in my mobile home. After a couple of weeks went by, she asked me to testify in court for her at the divorce hearing. I told her I could not do that.

She then moved out and testified at the court hearing that I was an unfit mother. She said there was cat poop under my son's bed. The so-called “cat poop” was a hairball.

Ann was pure evil.

DEATH OF A STEP-FATHER

During my first year in the Police Department, there was a murder of a step-father by his step-son.

The step-father had been hitting this boy’s mother and was chasing her down the hallway. The boy shot his step-father and killed him.

I was involved with this case, and I remember the pictures that we took of the crime scene, including the dead man. I remember wanting to console the boy, but I could not, as I was officially involved with the case.

Sadly, within a couple of years, the boy was killed in an accident.

I remember making a promise to God when I had my own son: I would not hit him, and I would never drink. I have kept those promises.

ABANDONNED BABY

One night, when a fellow officer was on duty, he received a call that people were hearing a baby cry. The officer went to investigate and found a newborn baby girl in the woods behind a number of houses in the development. At that point, more officers were called in to investigate and try to find the mother who had done this.

I was paired up with the officer who was, and still is, my friend. All of us went through names and locations of mothers-to-be in the area; we located and interviewed them. At the same time, we had to interview the people in the houses that bordered the wooded area where the baby was found.

At one of these houses there was a young girl who was visiting the people who owned the home. I don't know how I knew it, but I knew it was her baby. After we left that house, I asked my partner to go back to headquarters so I could talk with the Chief, which we did. I told the police chief my suspicion and asked if I could bring the girl to headquarters. He said he did not think it was her, because she did not look like someone who just had a baby.

To make a long story short, I brought her back to headquarters and interviewed her alone in an office. She quickly admitted she had given birth in a bathroom, stating that the baby was not alive and she had put it in the woods.

That night we had a very severe thunder-and-lightning storm, which somehow that baby lived through. People heard that baby crying! My question is: why didn't one of them go get that baby? The baby survived, through the grace of God.

 

AFTER DIVORCE

After I left Marty, I started dating– off and on– a man from where I worked. My neighbor, who lives right behind me, also works for the same company. That neighbor was a service technician, so that he had a service truck with the company name on it, which he would park behind my place in our common driveway. It looked like my date was staying overnight, which he was not.

It took me awhile to figure out why certain people in town would accuse me of having sleep-overs with the man I was dating. That pretty much set the tone for the next few years. I was accused of everything that certain people can imagine. Only the few people I was close to in my life, including the wife of the man who parked the service company van behind my place, knew I was not doing anything I was being accused of.

As time went on, my neighbors, the service company man and his wife, would take me out with them once in awhile to get me out of the house. That was nice!

During the next few years my life was pretty much routine. I worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so there was still time to take my son to the local swimming pond, which we both enjoyed. In the winter we went tobogganing and ice-skating.

We went fishing in the river once. I would not put the worm on the hook, so I used bread. Within a few minutes, my son, Marty, caught an eel, which then wrapped itself around my son’s legs, leaving slime all over his pants. I could not stop the eel from wiggling, so it went back into the river with our fishing pole, and we walked back home. End of fishing!

My son would go to his paternal grandmother’s house almost every weekend. This was to make it so that our son would have time to be with his father. Many years later, my son told me that he hardly ever saw his father during these visits, but he wanted to go to her house so he could play with his friends just up the hill from his grandmother’s house. His father would bring Marty back on Sunday nights, and I never knew that Marty was not with his father until many years later.

I never told my son that those weekends were mostly lonely times for me. This was another time in my life when I thought I was doing the right thing.

Some time later, during those years, I met a woman who had the same situation as myself: divorced, with a son. We kept each other company for many years– going to movies, dinners, and talking. We were the best of friends.

For pretty much all of the next 13 years, I dated Bruce, the man with whom I had worked. We would break up occasionally, as he was unfaithful, a run-around– always looking for something else: younger, prettier, taller, shorter, thinner, fatter. It really didn’t matter much, as he once told me he could find something beautiful in every woman.

I bought a plot of land and moved my mobile home to the plot with the intention of some day putting a house there.

During this time, my boyfriend and I decided to go into business of the delivery of fuel oil to homes and businesses. In order to do that, I put up– as collateral– my land and my mobile home, so that he could buy a delivery truck, which he did. I had a full-time job, so I would do the business books after hours. The business was doing well, and our business phone was installed in my home.

We had a service man who was a heavy drinker. I remember many nights of getting calls for a furnace that was not working and having to go from bar to bar trying to find this man. My partner would be up at a friend’s hunting camp upstate while I was trying to keep the business together. You would have thought I would have been smarter by this time, but no…I thought my partner would be growing up at any moment, so that everything would be fine.

That never happened. Bruce kept running around until he thought he had met the love of his life. She was much younger than he was.

I had been able to put a house on my land, but as the business was in both of our names, the bank required that both the land and the house have his name on them also.

So, in the end, he got his girl, and I had to sell the house and the land to pay him off, as his name was on the deeds.

What I just wrote is putting 13 years– and many tears and many heartaches– on a few pages of paper.

The holidays were very hard for me most of those years. I would have Christmas on Christmas Eve with my son, and he would then go to his grandmother’s on Christmas morning. This was by my choice, not required by a or by anyone else. I thought my son should have Christmas with his father and his father’s family, as my own family really did not include me. I could have visited my Aunt Jennie, but she had her own children and their children.

It worked out well for the Police Department, as I would always be the one working on Christmas day.
                                          ###

We are serializing the memoir by Mary E. Seaman and myself, Kidnapped Twice: Then  Betrayed and Abused, published by Outskirts Press and available in paperback and ebook formats from Outskirts as well as from amazon.com and other on-line booksellers.

It is particularly appropriate for this month, as April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

My writing-coaching-editing site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.