Just a start...
I grew up a spoiled little girl with everything I could have ever imagined in the way of material things, and maybe it's because I was given everything I wanted that I always ended up wanting more. My parents divorced when I was barely eight years old and what ensued would be defined as torture by modern psychologists. In the 70's however, it was considered normal.
I don't remember how it all came to be, just that it was happening in a blink of an eye. My grandfather came to our pink little hosue one afternoon and loaded everything weownedin the back of his old Ford pick-up truck. I don't remember the actual moving of furniture, or who carried what, or even how our clothes got packed into suitcases, but the image of the loaded down pick-up truck is as sharp and true and any photo I have now in my possession. The brightness of the sun, the pink, satin ribbon dangling from my younger sister's dress as she stepped up into the truck, and the intense fear I felt as we hurried to leave behind all that I have ever known.
And there we were, driving down the narrow, bumpy dirt road of the small town I had been riased in until that point. My firends and school disappeared behind us as an uncertain future awaited for us to emerge over the horizon. Little did I know, or even consider what this new life without my father would entail, and even more unknown to me would be the twists and turns my life would lay out before me. Nothing in this world could have prepared me for the the upcoming events.
For years after my parents divorce my mother was haunted. Although my father had several affairs with women while my mother was married to him, he none-the-less harrassed and made threats on her life. Such a threat occured one evening while my mother and younger sister and I were watching TV in the little apartment we rented in McMinnville. Suddenly, and without warning there was a thundering crash- and then my mother was screaming. A large, cement block had been thrown through the window and landed on my mother's leg. I must have a fantastic ability to block things out of my mind that are too frightening to live because I don't remember anything else of that night, though my mother says she went to the Emergency Room. I do vageuly remember seeing the bruise on her thigh. This was the only physical abuse my mother suffered by my father during the few years after their divorce, though the mental abuse continued, and when this did not produce the desired affects, he turned to his children for help. Yes our lives became part of the game my father played with my mother in torturing her. He played with our minds and turned us against our own mother, who, back in this time had little to no support in filing for divorce or dealing with the aftermath of such.
By the time I was in high school I was estranged from my mother and only spoke to her a few times a year. I cannot image the pain she endured during the time her children did not speak to her. In fact it creates a very physical reaction in me whenever I think about it. Perhaps being a mother myself I now understand the trials she faced as a young, poor woman up againt a wealthy, hateful man.
Living with my father wasn't a blissful experience and his mindgames had a life affecting change in me. At 16 I began experimenting with drugs. I started with marijuana and progressed to a drug called "crank." This I was told was the "poor man's cocaine." My drug binge lasted only a few months before my parents learned of my drug use. My father was humiliated (being a pillar of the community and a business owner) and I was immediately placed in one of my community's finest rehabilitation centers. One of the first steps to being entered into this facility was to undergo a drug test and screening. A questionaire asked what drugs and the frequency of use. Strangely enough I lied on the questionnaire, or maybe not such a strange thing as I am certain may patients are untruthful to the amount of drugs used. But do they admit to taking more drugs than they have in reality? Becasue this is what I did. I admitted to taking drugs I had never heard of before. I can't even say for certain that marijuana was in my systenon the day of the urine test, but for certain none of the other drugs could have possibily been present- I had never taken them. In any case, I was admitted. My role as an outcast continued in rehab and I soon shut down and refused to partake in the center's meetings or therapy sessions. At 20 days I was discharged, the program if I remember correctly was a 30-day program.
I soon dropped out of high school and obtained my GED through the local community college. Then, I ran away. I remember it was on a day my stepmother and sister and were taking me to the local mall to look for a job. They went on their merry way to shop and I, having just about $50 in my pocket, decided to buy a new outfit and hop on a bus destined for downtown Portland. I ended up at the center of downtown at a plced called Pioneer Square. I didn't know what I was doing or what I was expecting, but soon found the local shelter for youth and settled in. Not very may days after this I met my destruction. He was a pimp who didn't work very hard before I became enthrawled with him. For three months I was his. I seriously thought he loved me, that is until we met another runaway who he took under his wing. A few days before I broke free from him, the other girl and I sat down and compared notes. To most it would come as little shock that he had been telling us both that he loved us and that we were the only one. But, to a 17 year old, who had never felt loved before, this was a traumatic and hurtful experience.
This is when I stormed back into my mother's life without warning. She had made a little home for herself on the outskirts of Portland and was getting along nicely, until I showed up.