Saturday, February 14, 2015

School Days, Continued, from KIDNAPPED TWICE


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!


One of Ann’s favorite things to do was to hide behind the door when I would open the kitchen door to enter the house. She would grab the back of my hair and drag me around the house. I still remember the hurtful and disgusting words she would call me!

I was responsible for the cleaning of the house, which would take some of my weekday evenings and pretty much the entire weekend.

On one of those hair-pulling and -dragging occasions, she had a bucket of water and ammonia. She pushed my face into the bucket, at which time I passed out. From that point on, I had to clean everything with ammonia.


I was the student who took around the attendance lists to the classrooms every morning. I would go to the main office to pick up the lists and start delivering them. I was a fairly good student in most of my classes, but my grades were never good enough for my father and Ann. If I got a B+, it should have been an A. If I got an A, it should have been an A+. This was even though I never had much time left for homework at home.

One day, as I was waiting for the attendance list, I noticed a pile of new, blank report cards. I took one and started making out my own report card. For a time it relieved my stress level at report card time, until I put myself on the honor roll by mistake! Well, all hell broke loose, and I was punished hard for that, but I did deserve it. This time they really did have something to punish me for. I had to work twice as hard to bring my grades back up, and deal with the madness at home.

It has taken me years to realize that some of my teachers and principals were trying to watch over me. The Principal would have me baby-sit his children. The English teacher, Mr. Bouton, would ask me every day to stay after class and erase the chalk board. Mr. Krug shocked me one day, as I always sat in the front row. He said, “Has everyone noticed what beautiful blue eyes Mary has?” I wanted to crawl under my desk.


One day in high school we were having music class. Mrs. Callahan was the substitute teacher that day. She was playing the piano and asked me to sing while she played. I don’t know why it all came out sounding so good that day, because I normally was scared to death singing in front of anyone. When we were finished, she stood up and said to the class, “Take a good look at Mary now because she’s going to really be somebody.” As you will read here, I never became that somebody.

After I got out of school, most people who were in my life never knew that I could sing.


The day I left home, intending the departure to be forever, I was 16, just recently graduated from high school. I had a job that was on the second shift, so I waited for Ann and her sister to leave the house to do their daily shopping. I put what I could into a paper bag and left. I went to the town park, as I had every intention of sleeping in a small shed the town had on its property.

My cousins were at the park, and I told them what I was doing. They went to Aunt Jennie and came back to tell me to go to Aunt Jennie’s house. That day I started living with Aunt Jennie, and for the first time since I had been with my grandmother, I was not afraid. I was happy!


In contrast, I remember my real mother, Elaine, coming to visit me while I was living with Aunt Jennie. Aunt Jennie had told me that she always liked my real mother. My mother and I took a walk. I was much taller than she was. She told me that I had a cleft chin, but I had no idea what that was back then. She was blonde and pretty. That’s all I remember, except that she gave me a pearl ring, which I wore for many years.

Ann angrily accused my father of giving me that ring. She carried on about that ring for a long time.


We are serializing in this blog the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE; Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself. It tells of the long-lasting effects of child abuse by Mary's step-mother and father. It also describes her efforts to help her own step-daughter, and it shows her love of all animals. The book is available in paperback and ebook formats from and other online book sellers.

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