Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Aunt Jennie..." from KIDNAPPED TWICE


I do not know why my Aunt Jennie was not a happy person. She was so good, yet no one ever gave her credit.

She took me in to care for me, as she did for my father and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and my grandfather. She even did this for any person who needed a place to stay. She checked on her brothers and her sisters on a weekly basis, but I never heard any of them give Aunt Jennie a kind word

As I got older and Aunt Jennie was alone in the house, I would visit with her as much as my life would allow. She would be sitting on the south side of her porch, where the sun would shine on her and give her warmth on the chilly days. I find myself doing that now.

Aunt Jennie and I talked about a lot of things. She told me that she got custody of me when my mother and father divorced.

She said, “Don’t you remember that when something would happen at school, they would bring you here?” And they did!

I made the mistake of asking my father about this, and all hell broke loose. I still feel so bad that Aunt Jennie got in trouble with my father over this. I am trying to find out the facts now. All of them. Just so I can put these secrets to rest.

Why did I leave Aunt Jennie? My father came to tell me that Ann had changed, and they wanted me to come home.

I went home and put all my stuff in my closet. I went to work and got a call that my house was on fire, a fire that started in my closet.

The hospital let us move into the house they owned across the street.

My dog was tied up in the garage, and she barked all night. Sparky would sometimes break loose and go to Aunt Jennie’s house. One of these times in life, the good Lord is giving you a sign to make the right decision. People at work bought me some clothes, and I continued going to work. Three days after the fire, I came home from work. Ann was standing on the bottom of the stairs. She slapped me across my face, but I grabbed her by her neck with both of my hands and backed her against the wall, and I told her that if she ever touched me again, I would kill her.

Father came home and came upstairs to my locked room and told me to apologize to my mother. I screamed at him that she was not my mother. That was the first time I had ever disrespected my father.

I have so many questions and no answers! The strength I have had all my life seems to be gone. I’m tired. Why didn’t my father protect me? Why didn’t he let me live with Aunt Jennie or with my mother? Why? Why?


Aunt Jennie was speaking to someone; I do not remember to whom. She told this person that Ann’s mother beat me: Ann would drop me off at her mother’s house for me to clean there. When displeased with me, this woman would beat me with a wooden spoon. Concerning this, Aunt Jennie said to me, “You remember that, right, Mary?” I did not, until years later. It made me feel bad that I could not back up Aunt Jennie‘s story. I wonder– who had told Aunt Jennie?

As I was growing up, Ann would send me to Town Pharmacy to ask for and buy Trojans condoms.. I did not know what they were until much later. I’m hoping that the people in the pharmacy realized that I did not know what they were and that I was not buying them for my use.

For many years I had periods of excruciating pain on the left side of my face. The pain would be very bad at times, lasting a few days, even lasting weeks. Thinking that I had an infection in a tooth, I went to various dentists. Different dentists would pull some teeth each time.

Every time dentists would give me a shot of Novocain, it would only intensify this pain. I went to doctors. They thought I must be having bouts of neuralgia.

It was a terrible pain. The professionals were baffled.

I ended up with a dentist who said he would have to drill every tooth and scrape bone and cap all my teeth. That cost me $12,000, more than a year‘s pay. I borrowed money from the bank for each stage of this process.

After many years of this problem, my father just happened to mention that he had dropped me down a flight of stairs in the big house, when I was very small. He stated that I landed on the left side of my head. I said to him, “Dad, I think this information would have been important to all the dentists and doctors I have gone to!”

My father once wrote me a letter, asking me, “Where did the little girl go who loved her daddy?” I never answered.

I loved my father, but I also knew he was a weak man in so many ways: his drinking, his beating me, his knowledge about what Ann was doing to me, and yet his doing nothing. He never talked to me about things I needed to know!

My father would tell me that I was going to end up like my mother, leaving my child behind to pursue a singing career. Despite all his remarks about my voice and how I was going to be just like my mother, he called me one day and asked me to make a recording of songs for him. I did not know how to do that, and even if I did, I was past the singing thing. When I married Alan, my second husband, I sang “The Lord’s Prayer” at my wedding. My father was there, and that was the end of my public singing.

I think my father could not own up to his lack of taking care of me after he had gone through all the trouble of kidnapping me back from my mother, then just throwing me under the bus with Ann. How did he justify this to himself or me? Maybe that’s why we were never able to talk about anything important as I got older.


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 versions from Outskirts Press and and other on-line book sellers.

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