The Start of the Story

            A 90s baby I definitely was. Those frills and all LOL!

    My mother had me when she was 20 years old, and my dad, a quite older man of 55 years. They met while she was at a women's shelter after running away from home. He was there working on the telephone lines, as was his profession back then. One thing led to another, and they were married. 

    Now, my mom and dad weren’t together long after I was born. I remember being with her primarily only for a short period of time. 

    You see, she met a man. That man had the most beautiful apartment that I could remember. It was literally all white. The furniture, the carpet, the walls.... everything!  (My worst nightmare as a mom of two now.)

    He didn’t like me, and I had no clue as to why at that time. I generally watched Barney on his floor model TV and snacked in the floor. It wasn’t until I knocked over my drink on his carpet one day that I realized why, 

    He told mom it was me or him…… I should’ve known at that moment that my mom didn’t care for me as I needed, but it took me nearly 25 years to figure it out. (Go figure)

    She took me to my dad and gave him custody while she had visitation. 

    Now, I don’t remember much of that first boyfriend after that. I remember my days being with my daddy and all the adventures that I got to have at home. I loved my daddy deeply and truly, that is for sure. 

    My home had 3 ponds on the property. The lower pond, below our little single-wide trailer, had mostly catfish in it. I loved to take the bad bread and “butts” down to feed them. I didn’t spend too much time in the lower yard. There were some fruit trees and blueberry bushes that I did visit during the summer months, but my world was around the house and beyond. 

    Up at the house, there was always something going on. We had ducks, geese, dogs, and a little bit of everything lol. I had my little metal swing set that daddy would always rub down with wax paper to make sure my “slicky-slide” was extra slick. I had my red and black Jeep power wheels that I would absolutely drive anywhere, the middle pond that was the major swimming place during the summer months, a shed that daddy and my Pop-pop would store their unique finds, and the garage where daddy would hatch his ducklings, goslings, hang his deer to cut, and the hill where my best rides were taken down. 

    It was my paradise with daddy there. 
I felt like my daddy ran the world. We had so much property in my eyes that nothing else really existed unless we went out. 

    We lived right next to a sky resort, so I remember going to the resort while my daddy talked to people. I would watch the people on the lifts and think how scary it would be to sit on them like that. 

    Now, when mom started getting me for visitation more, she would meet next to the interstate a couple minutes from daddy’s house, I remember her mostly driving an older model Chevy Camaro. She would always be dolled up, have the T-tops down and all the windows down when it was warm out. 

    She would generally be blaring some Shania Twain on the cassette player and flying down the interstate. When she would get off on the exit to Princeton, she would hit the rumble strips just to make laugh. I loved it. 

    Sometimes, mom would have to work when she had me. I don’t really remember what she did, but mainly remember sitting. Underneath her desk while she worked quietly playing. When lunch time would come around, mom would generally get me Ravioli, which I hated but she didn’t remember that. I never really said anything about it though, as I didn’t want to cause any fuss.

    When mom met Jake, things changed and not for the good. 

    Jake was a tall man, partially bald up top with dark black hair around the side and back of his head, and his eyes just as dark. 
He had two sons, sadly one of which passed away. I was not ever sure of the cause. Jake and mom lived in a single-wide trailer in Virginia, near the West Virginia border. He drove a Camaro like mom did just different color. He had terribly mean dogs that were to the right of the driveway that always terrified me. I believe they may have been bear dogs, but I could be wrong.  

    Behind the house was a river. It always scared me to be so close to that river. I had this fear that the trailer would be swept away one day if it rained too hard. But there were times that I had wished so hard that it would do just that. (I know that is a terrible thing to say) 

    When you walked into the house, you were immediately standing in the living room.  To the right was the rest of the living room and then the master bedroom. To the left was the kitchen. Down the hall was two more bedrooms and a connecting bathroom. 

    There were times that I would have to stay at home with Jake while mom went to work. These days were my worst nightmare. 

    When staying there, I had to sleep in the living room floor. Jake would get up when mom was getting ready for work, walk into the living room. Sit on the couch closest to where my head was and light up a cigarette. He would scowl and grunt to let me know that his presence was there. I swear I would lie so still that I thought I would blend in with the floor if I tried hard enough. 

    When mom would come out and make her way to the kitchen, she would whisper because to her thinking, I was still asleep, and would make her some coffee and breakfast. Bless her heart, that woman would try and fix oatmeal to eat. That stuff would be black by time she got done with it. Cooking was not a strength of hers for sure. 

    As a parent, she lacked many qualities, but I loved her unconditionally. I loved her even though she was living with a man that was the devil himself.  

    Jake liked to “fake” tripping over me while I was there “sleeping” in the floor. His version of tripping was actually kicking me in the stomach, ribs, or just wherever he could without it being obvious. I let out a squeal one time, and after his little brush off of sorries, mom would leave. He let into me like flies on mud. Needless to say, I learned that I wasn’t to say anything to anyone about his tortured, or even let on that I was hurt because it would bite me later when I was alone with him. 

    My most vivid memory with Jake occurred when I was closer to the age of 7. I was in the car with him. It was super-hot, and I hadn’t had anything to drink in quite a while. I was literally so thirsty that I was feeling really antsy. Jake happened to have a large cup from McDonalds with pop in it. I reluctantly asked him if I could have a drink. He glared at me and said sure. I was told to drink the entire drink right then and there and not to waste time. Now, lemme tell ya…. I have never been one to be able to down a drink and it not make me terribly sick, When I forced myself to drink the entire drink as fast as I did, I knew I was going to be sick. I threw up all over myself and the seat and floor of his car. Jake slammed the brakes while letting me have it verbally simultaneously. I pulled over beside New River and told me to get out of the f**** car. I was scared to death that he was going to leave me right then and there alone. 

    Jake told me to get out of the car and get into the river, I was to swim from one side, to the other, and back. Now mind you, New River is notoriously known for taking lives of unfortunate swimmers each year. On the other side of the river, we’re cattle. They were on the banks drinking water or just standing and exploring. Back then, my fear wasn’t entirely the water, but cattle scared me to death especially crossing a river to get to where they were and then turning my back and going away from them.

My daddy always taught me that when in swift water to step on rocks that were rough and pointed because the smooth rocks were generally slick and more apt to make you fall in. This little tidbit helped me greatly when crossing the river. I knew that if I got in the deep water that I wouldn’t have any way to keep myself atop of the moving water and doggy paddling wasn’t the most ideal method either. 

    All the while of trying to make myself get to one side and back safely, Jake was up near his car screaming everything in the world at me. Rushing me and making me feel like it was almost best if the river would take me away from him right then and there. At one point, my footing was knocked loose by the fast water and in the water I went. I was terrified and looked to Jake for help. His expression immediately let me know that I was on my own and he was hoping I would go under. I doggy paddled so dang hard towards the bank that when I finally made it, I honestly didn’t do anything but just cry and lay on the jagged rocks in the mud and water. 

    I don’t know how long I was there, but it was apparently long enough that Jake made his way to me, jerked me up by my arm and dragged me to the car while I was gasping for my breath and crying out in pain. That was the scariest thing I had been through out of everything that happened. 

    This event was the turning point for my life. 

    Now, back to my life with my daddy…. My dad was significantly older than me, with 4 grown children already. My dad was retired, but he worked on a shooting range. Keeping ammunition, shot disks in stock, and the place clean was what he did. I loved the range; I would help him stock and also explore the shooting areas when no one was there shooting. I loved watching the squirrels and ants play about. We had a yearly hog roast at the range I which I loved to go to as well. 

Daddy had a wide range of friends. There was women friends and men friends that he would spend time with. Sometimes they would come to our house, and they would smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Sometimes they would play cards and sometimes I would be told to play in my room or outside. I didn’t mind, but I was a daddy’s girl. I made the mistake one time of walking into the kitchen while daddy sat there with one of his guy friends drinking at the small two seat table. They were both drunk. I was curious and asked daddy about his drink and for the first time he offered it to me. It was alcohol. I ended up getting profusely ill and threw up right there in the kitchen in between the kitchen cabinets and kitchen table.  I was drunk to boot. Daddy carried me to his bed and had me go to sleep. When I came to, daddy was in the bed beside me. I didn’t think nothing of it, aside from being sick and daddy was asleep. As a child, I flip flopped around in the bed, as most kids do. I realized that my daddy was naked in the bed because my foot was against his privates, and I realized it quickly. 
My dad never was a bad person to me. There were times that he would drink too much, but it was when I was getting older between 5-7 years old that things were changing in a direction that was inappropriate. Daddy was drinking more frequently, and it took an effect on him and his actions. That’s when the physical instances started. I honestly believe in my heart he was just too drunk, and he was too old to be raising me. I’m not going into great details but the physical touching and circumstances that I was having to go through was very uncomfortable. It bothered me, but I didn’t realize that it was wrong. I was to touch him and do things with my mouth to him that is just unspeakable for a child. In all understanding, I hated when he drank got so bad that these things would occur, but in my mind, this was better than being with mom and Jake. I loved my daddy, but Jake scared me terribly.  

    Now, to the more final days being with my parents. 

    I knew that it was almost time for me to go with mom for a few days. I dreaded it.

I didn’t tell daddy about it, and I didn’t say anything to mom, but she sensed something or knew something. 
She didn’t say much really but she said I had to be with her that day. I was honestly quite relieved. It was hot that day, but it felt good. 

 
    Mom told me that she had some errands to do, and I had to stay in the car while she went into a building. I didn’t really know what she was doing, but I didn’t care, I didn’t mind playing in the car. But it started getting really hot and I was thirsty. I also had to use the restroom terribly. I remember standing up in the car and looking in the direction of the building she was in trying to spot her so I could go to her, but I didn’t see any visible windows to see through clearly. I knew I was told to stay in the car, but I was about to dance myself to death. I got out of the car and walking into the building. It was dark and I couldn’t find her, but I heard noise in a room. I went towards the door and opened it and there was my mom, in a room with several people filled with cigarette smoke in the air, naked. Mom looked up horrified after someone noticed me, I don’t know if her terror was me being in there or them seeing me standing there. In that instant, I didn’t have to pee anymore. I was told to go out and get back into the car. Shortly after, mom came out in a more aggressive manner than I knew her to be in. She asked me why I didn’t stay in the car like I was told. I explained that it was super-hot, and I had to pee so bad. She just looked at me and told me I should have held it a little longer, 

I didn’t go home with her that day. She changed me from my soiled clothes, put them in a bag, and then she took men back to daddy’s. I felt like in was in trouble. I didn’t tell daddy what I had seen, and. I don’t know what mom told dad as to why she had brought me back early, but. I was there. 

    I had a couple visits with mom at Jake’s over the winter, but. It was odd. Mom was different, but not. She would sit on the couch and me in the floor while we watched Little House on the Prairie and Matlock on the TV. We would play on the PlayStation a lot as well. Jake wasn’t around me as much as he was, so of course, I was thrilled about that. I loved being with my mom so much. She was beautiful and always smiled so sweetly. Who knew that in the next visit she would make a move to give me away?

    When mom got me the next time, it was February. She told me to say bye to daddy and then we left the usual pickup spot. She said that I would have to spend the day with Jake that day because she had to work. I remember crying and begging her not to leave me there with him. I just had enough of it. She asked why and I told her everything. She didn’t look surprised to be honest, but she looked caught. I remember her turning around and her telling me we had to go to the police station to talk to someone. We went in and mom talked to the woman at the counter. They took both of us back and they began asking me questions about me and my daddy. I was confused, to be honest as to why they were asking questions about daddy and not Jake, but I told them everything about my life. This went on for a matter of hours. I was getting exhausted of the same story being told to several people and then me sitting in a cold hard chair while the police talked to mom. 

 

    After a while, Mom took me outside so she could smoke and to her surprise, her parents, my Mama and Papa had pulled up in their car. I was at that moment excited to see them as they weren't the grandparents, I really spent much time with compared to my daddy's parents. From this point on, my life was changed forever. 

 

    Now, after that evening of going home with Carol and Dale, I went through several rigorous baths. Let me tell you, I was scrubbed so hard I honestly thought I wouldn't have skin left on my body. By the time I knew it was time to go to bed. My mama decided that she needed to sleep with me in the little spare room because I had "been through too much" and I haven't stayed in a room by myself before. I really didn't mind her doing that, but it was a full-sized bed and with me being 7 years old and her a 5'2" woman, it wasn't a comfortable fit with how we preferred to sleep. 

    This went on for a couple days and I finally had to tell her that I was okay to sleep alone. I didn't like being in that house as it was unfamiliar to me in a lot of ways. I missed my daddy a lot. But I would rather be with my thoughts alone at night than trying to barely move or feel someone that close to me while I was "trying" to sleep. 

    Now, the weeks and months thereafter were pretty busy. I was taken to tons of multiple doctors and child psychologists to assess my and what had happened physically and emotionally to me over time. I hated it all. I had to undress in front of doctors and nurses for scans and they would do physical exams on me. I hated it all! The worst though was going to the psychologist. I was asked to talk about things that had happened with daddy, mom, and Jake a lot while also playing with toys and in a sand box. It made me uncomfortable to talk about those things, so I kept it in my mind that I would just play since I didn't have things like that at my grandparents to play with. Yall, I was 7 years old; I was shy and honestly didn't want to talk about things, especially the bad. It made me sick to my stomach when I did.

    Aside from all of this mess, I was getting to see my parents through supervised visitation at a child service building where there was a huge window where everyone could look in and see what was going on while we were together. I didn't realize that these little moments would be the final moments that I would have with my daddy ever again. I would never see his face in person again and to think of it now just breaks my heart. The things that he did hurts me, but I still love my daddy, I know that is messed up, but he didn't do the worst of the damage to me of all people and circumstances. It was my mother who honestly caused the main damage due to it being her, my mother, the person who brought me into this world, she was the one who allowed all these things to happen and continuously deny her responsibility in the actions leading up to what happened. She still to these very days says that she did nothing wrong and that my grandparents stole me away from her. That, she was going to leave Jake, and all was going to be fine, but that is not what she told the judge, nor does it say that from the letter from her lawyer to my grandparents about wanting to pursue custody over my once she would leave. This is what got me the worst and the realization later in life that this was by her choice rather than the lies she continuously told me about her fighting so hard for me, it was all a lie and I believed it up until my late 20s! 

    Whilst all this was going on, my grandparents and my older half-sister, Charlotte, was in a custody battle over me. They fought for a good 3 years I believe over custody and unfortunately for her and for me, she lost the battle and my grandparents won. I was very close to my half-sister and that side of the family more so that I was with my mom's side of the family. It was only going to be a matter of time that I would lose the chance to even spend time with Charlotte after the adoption, I just didn't know it yet. You see, most of my best memories as a child was spent with Charlotte, her daughter, son, and stepdaughter, but I was closest to her daughter who was a few years older than me, but I loved her ever so dearly. Losing them shattered my heart in such a way that I still feel it today.

   

    

 

 

 

 

(More of the story coming later)