Vancouver

Tammy:

A long bus ride and I didn’t care that horrible “man: was not with us! There must have been a clash between them, because mom was leaving him. During this time he was trying to get her to stop using her pills. Why I do not know. However, in any event coming between an addict and their drug of choice is definitely going to cause a war that the Addict will win if they do not want to quit. Which was the case with our mom, she did not want to quit, her drugs were even more important to her than him. He wanted power and control over her too, he underestimated the power of her addiction though and lost her, and us in the process. I was not sad.

Of course mom was not going all the way to Vancouver, with no man waiting for her on the other end. Of course there was a man, however, this man was a good man except he drank to much and developed cirrhosis of his liver, so the stay was not to be for long, but long enough for a reprieve from him! This time in Vancouver was bitter sweet for me and my siblings.

Vancouver

We lived in a house that had a large basement suit, and we lived in the basement with Ben. I remember Ben with fondness as he treated us better than any one has ever treated us before, and he did not try to sexually touch me. Our mother was another story all together, she did not change for anyone ever, she was still the same malicious abusive person to us she always was. It wasn’t until many years later that the full horror of how abusive she was would come out. Tyra and I will be sharing that towards the end of our memoir. I am thinking it is going to be the most challenging and difficult piece, but so very important to share.

My sister and I were enrolled into school, and were of an age were fashion was so important to us. Between us two we each had one pair of dark green pants of different material. One pair was that shiny material, the other was more like a felt consistency. They were so ugly! They were the type of pants a person would wear around the house and not care how she appears to the outside world. My sister and I shared these two pairs of pants in an attempt to make people think that we had more than one pair of pants. We would carefully wash them in the tub and hang them to dry and in the morning grab which ever pair the other one was wearing the day before.

Another issue we had was lunches, more often than not we didn’t have any. This was normal for us. however, the hunger sometimes was to much, an I am ashamed to say that sometimes I would steal an orange or a sandwich if the person had two. I never stole a whole lunch, that does not make it right, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave some one else as hungry as I was. I still felt bad about it though, not because I was stealing, but because I was taking someones food, and it might leave them hungry too.

I would dream of food a lot, I was so hungry it hurt. Tammy 2019

It’s not that mom didn’t have money, because she did, she collected welfare for four children, plus all the things she got from the men she lived with. Free rent, free food, free transportation ect. I was starting to realize that she did not love us for us, she loved us for the fact that we were a commodity that was a renewing resource of cash for her till we turned 18. She spent “her” money on her, no one else, we received the bare minimum she could get away with. I remember her beautiful clothes. Her closet would be overflowing with soft fabrics and vibrant colours. She loved clothes, and there was never a shortage of clothes for her. My sister and I went back through our memories, and the revelations and research we did, to find out why shocked us to our core.

She always failed though. The system eventually would catch up with her, punish her for a few months then bring us back home, again and again. They continually gave this woman access to us, to use and abuse. Honestly, I do not know which was worse the abuse, or people professing to be your protectors, continually putting you back in a horrific situation, that you could only endure, and try to keep your mind from fragmenting. Were we successful? Sadly the answer is no, to varying degrees, the abuse took its toll, and the consequences were painfully apparent, in some areas of our lives.

There was a man and woman who lived up stairs. That man was so evil mean to me because of my bed wetting. He would say the cruelest things to me in front of every one. My mother never once stood up for me, why would she. She got a perverse pleasure out of my humiliation. I tried to avoid him as much as possible, but he also got a perverse pleasure out of humiliating me, and would seek me out. I wish I could say to that man, you sir are a bully, what makes it worse is you are an adult bully!!

I tried so hard not to pee the bed, but I was just unable to control my self. I think there was damage done to my little girl parts that was left untreated, cause not only could I not stop peeing the bed, I was to find out later that I was unable to have children. They stole pretty much everything from me!

Both Tammy and Tyra are unable to have children of our own.

I remember Ben gave me a barbie doll!!! I loved that barbie and played with it every day. Some days she was a mermaid, some days a model, some days just an ordinary girl. That doll gave me many happy moments, spent by myself. Maybe it took me back to when I was three and played barbies by my self at our first foster home. In any event thank you for the Doll Ben. It is these few fond memories I cling too, for they are like a balm for my soul.

Something must have gone terribly wrong because we were all taken away! I was put in a group home. I loved that group home, missed my siblings terribly, but for the first time I felt so safe. I was to find out later it was a special group home for children aged 2 to 12 who have been sexually abused. I didn’t know we were all sexually abused, I did not find this out till later. It was a mix of boys and girls. the boys separated from the girls. The youngest child in the home was a four year old girl.

I really do not know what happened but I have a very strong feeling what ever it was it was devastating, especially if both I and my sister blocked it out! I was given medical treatment and put on some pills. Another thing that happened is I stopped peeing the bed! Unbelievable, not sure whether it was the medication or the love and attention I was receiving, but in any event, it was the last time I peed the bed due to sexual abuse.

I enjoyed my time at the group home we did many wonderful thing, like we went up on these cars on cables, cable cars? I’m not sure what they were called, but it was exhilarating, and scary at the same time. All the children and staff ate together in a dinning room with about eight tables. It was fun to sit at a table with a staff member or with out, I loved it there. I wish I could have stayed maybe my life would have been different, but I missed my siblings so much!

We didn’t stay in BC long, I think out mother made a deal that is they gave us back she would leave and never come back. Tyra said mom was kicked out of the Province, I have heard of that happening but only for extreme grievous reasons. Something very horrific happened and both Tyra and I blocked it out, all that was left was the consequences.

Ben was left behind, whether by choice or not, I do not know. All I remember is him looking at me with very sad eyes. I think he knew why we were removed from our mother. He died shortly after that from alcohol poisoning, his liver gave out. I think he knew what happened to us, and he protected my mom the same way she protected Harvey. He just could not live with not speaking up for us, and drank himself to death. My mother was not only the Destroyer of lives and innocence, she was the Destroyer of souls. Still I so badly wanted her approval, so I kept hanging on in hopes that one day she would see how much I loved her…

We got to ride on a train back to Edmonton, that was fun. It was the one and only time I every been on a train ride and I loved it!! You were allowed to go from car to car, and explore as long as you were careful, and you could go up in the observation deck and look at the panoramic view it was amazing!! The train ride did come to an end though and we were back in Edmonton.

Edmonton: when we got back to Edmonton we stayed in a hotel for geez a month. It seemed longer as it was high summer and putting four children and one adult in a small one room was not a happy camper type of event. Our playground was outside the Vega hotel, out on the streets, where they were doing construction and stuff. However, we knew how to stay safe from traffic and what not, so it was fine for us. Even my little brother took the bus downtown with his little friend when he was five. Skipped school hopped the bus and went downtown. The police brought him home that evening. Our next segment will be going over when we moved out of the hotel and into our new home. The nightmare continues. So happy I found out reading and sleeping take me away for a little while. They became my escape, and if I was not reading, I was sleeping. If I was doing neither of these, then I would day dream. If not that, then I was suffering.

The furthest building is the old Vega hotel on Jasper ave. This is the street we played on while living there. Tammy

Sleep was becoming a comfort too, I was developing my mothers sleeping habits.

“I live in my dreams, because my reality is a nightmare. Told to my psychiatrist.” Tammy

Tyra:

After the fight that may have happened in Stony Plain that made our mother think she had to move, yet again, we were on the bus going to Vancouver. I do remember Ben with us as he would buy us snacks to munch on during the ride. I was just thinking about my bike and my pink teddy bear.

When we arrived in Vancouver, Ben had a bachelors apartment that all of us stayed in. All of us kids would stay on the pull out couch in the living room and mom and Ben had a bed in the open bedroom. Sexual activity would be happening when we were there in the other room, what would you expect. Not too sure how long we stayed in the apartment but it seemed too long. Then as Tammy stated we had a place in a basement, where we were sleeping on the floor cause we did not have beds.

Harvey came to see mom in Vancouver to try and convince her to come back to him. She made the decision not to move back with him. As children we looked what he had in his van and there was my big pink teddy bear, I was so happy. I asked if I could have my teddy bear and he stated “only if you convince your mom to come back to me”. Thinking back I gave up my security of my teddy bear so that we would no longer be abused by this evil man. Mom made the decision to stay in Vancouver, and not go back to this man. Us kids were so happy, thinking we were done with the abuse.

That abusive man had two faces the one he showed everyone else, and the one he showed us children. Tyra 2019

I remember being in a foster home and they tried to get me to eat yogurt. Sorry to say, it made me sick, as in vomiting. I also remember being very sick, strep throat during the time that we were not with our mom. Why we were taken away again I am not sure. No matter how hard I try to remember this time frame is blank.

The train trip was wonderful like Tammy said. The scenery was beautiful. The large domes on the upper part of the car was amazing. As children we were restless, not knowing what to do, we tried to stay quiet but still had too much energy. Sleeping was a chore also as we had to sleep on the bench seat, the loud sound of the wheels turning and screeching of the metal on metal. So when we were pulling into Edmonton, the sky was dark, street lights on, and wondering what is waiting for us in the future….

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