Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Daddy's girl---keep away!" from KIDNAPPED TWICE


One day while I was in middle school, my name was announced over the public address system, and I was told to go to the nurses office ASAP.

I thought, “Oh, God, what now?”

As I entered the nurse’s office, a classmate of mine was hurling herself from one end of the office to the other. Her name was “Ella.“ The nurse asked me if I knew what kind of seizure Ella was having and what medication she was on. I looked at the nurse as if we both were crazy. How in God’s name would I know that?

Then the nurse said, “Just help me with her, so I can call an ambulance.”

We both struggled with Ella for what felt like hours, trying to stop her from hurting herself.

That night after school I received one of the worst beatings from Ann, who yelled at me and told me that I was never to speak to Ella again! My father came home and gave me another beating, yelling the same words.

I learned much later that Ella was my mother’s niece, my cousin. How did the nurse know this, but I didn’t?

As I write this down, I feel as though Ann and my father were both crazy. I think about that Christmas Day when she pushed me down the cellar stairs, Ann could have killed me. Maybe she was trying to.


My father was drunk one night in his bedroom with a shotgun. He fired one shot through the wall, at which point Ann grabbed me, threw me in the room with my father, and shut the door. I have no idea what I said or did, but I got out alive.

Another night, this same crazy Ann came into my room and grabbed me by my hair and pulled me out of bed and told me to look out my window. My father was walking down the street. She screamed at me, “See that: I would not give him a piece of a– – , and that’s what he does.” I still do not understand what her plan was in making me see him walking along the street.

Many, many nights, I would lie awake, thinking that if I went out the window and ran away, where could I go? Where could I go where no one would bring me back to this hell? I have never known why Ann hated me so. I was just a little girl.


My grandfather adored me. He called me his “little monkey" for many years. As soon as Ann heard him call me that, she told me–from that first day on–that he called me this because I was ugly.

When it came time for obtaining school clothes to begin the new year, my father would tell my grandfather he needed money for my clothes. They never bought me the clothes with that money. One of Ann's sisters had married a man with a daughter who was my age. I would get her hand-me-down clothes, not new ones. What they did with my grandfather's money is not known to me.

On many occasions Ann would not give me lunch money, and I would not be able to eat lunch on those days.

On one occasion that I remember, I needed a notebook for class, for which Ann would not give me the money. I went to my Aunt Jennie's daughter Anna to ask her to lend me the money so I could get the notebook at the school store. The next time I did get lunch money, I paid Anna back.

I do not know if my father knew that I was not given lunch money. I would not tell him, because I knew I would end up getting a beating by Ann. Getting no lunch was better than enduring one of her beatings.


I was allowed one friend, a girl named Bernadine, who lived on the next street down from us.

One Saturday, I had just finished my cleaning, so I was allowed to walk to Bernadine’s house. I no sooner got there than my father called to tell me to “get my ass home right away.” I remember being very scared, trying to figure out what I could have done wrong. When I got home, my father was behind the door where Ann usually stood. He grabbed me, slapped my face, and told me to go to the living room.

Once I did, he told me to look behind the chair. There was a big pile of poop, which I was told to clean up. I got some rags to pick it up, but it was fake! I still don’t understand to this day what was on their minds, as no animals were ever mine in that house. I don’t understand why I was not allowed to go back to Bernadine’s house that day, either.


I was always made to play sports with Norman, Ann’s son, my step-brother. When we played baseball, he wanted to be the pitcher, I had to be the catcher. When he wanted to play basketball, I had to play also. In fact, I had to play basketball almost every night, after I cleaned up from supper.

At school they had a New York State basketball contest for foul-shooting ability. I won by making all 25 of my 25 attempts. I was given a nice trophy, which made Norman’s mother very mad. I never saw that trophy again!


While I was in high school, my father warned some of the boys to keep away from me. I don’t know how many boys my father called, but I do know of two for sure.

One was a boy who lived right next to school and would go home for lunch. I would have my lunch and then walk back to school with him. We were friends, and that was all. We had great conversations, but never even held hands. We were just friends. My father told him to keep away from me.

When we have had class reunions, he has waited for me to show up. The last one I attended, we all met for a boat ride up the Hudson River, and, as usual, he and I sat and talked throughout the trip.

The incident with the second boy occurred when I was going into my senior year in high school. Every day, everybody would stand around talking. I noticed a nice-looking guy, and I guess he noticed me. After he graduated, he sent me a letter in which he said he would like to take me to a movie. My father called him and his parents and told them never to contact me again. Odd.

No wonder everyone from my high school days remembers me!


Mary Seaman's memoir, which I co-authored, is available in paperback and ebook formats from on-line retailers such as

My writing-editing-coaching site is

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