Sunday, May 17, 2015

Risky Riding etc., from KIDNAPPED TWICE

Starting with those Sunday rides and later on, after my having had many near-death experiences due to Alan's poor driving, I realized that no one wanted to ride with Alan.

Alan and the men who worked at the farm markets in New York City would drive down and back to the markets. Having ridden with Alan as the driver, the worker riding with him on many occasions jumped out of the truck and yelled to me, "I'm alive! I'm alive!"

I was working for a real estate school, putting on the courses for people to get their real estate licenses. They had installed a phone in my apartment as their business phone, because I was the district manager. This phone was listed. Alan's wife obtained that number and started calling it and hanging up, at all hours of the day and night.

The next spring, the company I worked for closed. That summer, Alan asked me if I could watch his daughter during the days when he was to have her, so that he could work.

I took care of the daughter when she was with her father. His wife decided I could take care of her every day, which was fine with me. She thought the more I took care of the daughter, the more I would want to leave Alan. What was really happening was that the daughter and I were having a great summer.

Every day during that summer, the soon-to-be-ex-wife would call many, many times a day. Alan and his daughter would go away on vacation, and I would stay at his house. His wife threatened many times that she would burn the house down.

When school started, his daughter would get off the bus at his farm three or four days a week. I was working at that farm by this time, so the daughter would sit in the packing house office to do her homework.

When her homework was done, I would take her up to Alan's house, and we would have dinner. Then I would take her back to her mother's.

There came a time when everything changed. The daughter started telling us what her mother was doing to her. I shall return to this below.

Last week, I tried to tell Douglas, my writing partner, about what my minister had said to me years ago, but I did not explain it correctly. Rev. Duryea said that I would have only a few good friends who knew that when they asked me to tell them the truth, I would tell them the truth, no matter what the subject. He said that many people want to be told what they want to hear, not necessarily the truth.

To try to tell the story of my husband’s family is not going to be easy.


The two elder brothers, my husband’s father and uncle, owned the farm. My husband’s uncle just wanted to do the outside work, and his father took care of financial matters and the inside work. At that time, it was primarily an apple farm. The farm supported everyone in their extended family, which expenses included their homes and everything that a home needs, such as fuel, gas, electric, upkeep, and taxes. This was the way it was for years. The uncle’s son, who worked outside, stayed on the farm; the other elder son– my husband, Alan– went to Cornell University but also worked on the farm. No one was rich, but everyone got by. Unfortunately, Alan’s father and uncle were growing further apart, as each year went by.

The idea arose to start a water supply company, as there was an abundant amount of water on the farm. The water company needed tanker trucks, wells, tractors, a building, and– of course– customers. They started delivering water for drinking and water for pools. The water company was created to subsidize the farm, as there were just too many families being supported by the farm. The water company was owned by my husband’s father and uncle. The bookkeeping was done by Alan’s father’s wife and Alan’s brother’s wife.

The water company took off and was doing very well. The farm was still paying for everything that it had been supporting. Eventually, the water company started paying for the fuel for the trucks and for a few other items. The bank that was funding the farm had a meeting with all the people involved and stated that the water company was draining the farm financially and needed to start paying some rent for the building it used that was on the farm and also start paying the taxes.

I think that meeting was the beginning of the end. The water company people did not feel they should be paying rent or taxes. In my eyes, no one stopped to think that the water company had been started with farm money. Who would not want to own a company that was started by and paid for by the farm and had originally been meant to subsidize that farm?

So, we have my husband and his uncle and his uncle’s wife, who was the outside worker, and his son, who also worked outside, and me. As the water company got bigger, the farm got into more debt. The names on the farm [the owners] were my husband and his brother, his father and mother, and my husband’s uncle and his aunt. It is important to understand that at this point all these people were responsible for the farm debt.

The names on the water company, the owners, at that time were Alan’s uncle and father. No one knew just what the water company was doing, except for Alan’s father and father’s wife and Alan’s brother and brother’s wife! The uncle and his wife, his son, and Alan and I were working, trying to get the farm back on stable financial ground.

This is about the time that the water company decided to sue the farm to force it to file involuntary bankruptcy so they could buy it back cheaply. It was a terrible time. Alan was told by his brother to get a job at Wal-Mart, as the farm would be auctioned off. Alan and I were told that the others would then go to the auction and pay ten cents on the dollar for what they wanted!

After many months of legal fighting, Alan and I went to the bank to ask what we should do. The bank’s advice was to stop the lawsuit and have the family members sign off from the farm, which relieved them of debt, and Alan and I would get part of the farm and take responsibility for the debt. So the water company got their building and all the trucks and inventory and land; Alan’s mother and father got their home; his brother got his home plus an apple farm that was on the land; his uncle and aunt received their house; and their son received his home. All of this they received free and clear of any debt. All of this had been collateral for the farm loan previously. The brother also took ownership of Alan’s mobile home that is still being rented out today.

What did we receive, Alan and me? We received the remainder of the farm, our house that is and was in need of repair, along with $1.5 million of debt. Alan’s brother and father had to pay $250,000 to the uncle for his share of the water company. Alan and I were the only ones left in debt. Does anyone see the unfairness of this picture? Even so, the water company members still think they were dealt a bad hand!


We are serializing here KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused. This memoir by Mary E. Seaman and me tells of a terrible childhood and the slow recovery from it Mary has made. It is published by Outskirts Press and available from OP as well as from other on-line booksellers, like and

You are invited to view my other site,

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