May contain content that is triggering for some, self first.
Looking back through the years it is difficult for my sister and I to remember a Christmas that wasn’t plagued with addiction and abuse. This is true for the Christmas that we will talk about today.
People always say that Christmas is for the children and not really for the adults in life, I think that is because the children bring the magic back into the adults life for just one time of year. Children have the excitement of santa coming to see them and all want to stay up late waiting for him to show up. children wonder if they will get what they had hoped for the most for the whole year. This was true for us also.
In the beginning of the season was wonderful. we would put up the tree and decorate it as a family and sit and enjoy the lights like any ordinary family. There were a few gifts that were under the tree from friends and family but not too much as we were children of a welfare mom. Then the santa anonymous came to our home and brought our food hamper for the holiday season. We knew at least we would eat good during this time and there were a few presents that we received also.
The Christmas excitement was in us this year, not sure what made this year better that in the years but us kids were just in the Christmas spirit. Maybe it was because our little brother was of the age to have the excitement and carried over to us older kids. we would play with each other and behave wondering what santa would bring to us this year.
Christmas morning came early for us as our mother could not wait till we woke up, but to her surprise we were already awake waiting for the call to open presents. I do not recall all the presents that we received that year as there were so many of them, but remember the tree being full of presents, more presents than I had seen before. The one gift of mine that I do remember was the sleighs we received to play outside. Tammy remembers the nurses watch she received that year also. We were always playing outside whether it was to build snow forts or ramps for our sleighs to jump. those memories bring a smile to my face.
We would build the ramps so high that we would fly in the air and land on our tummys and take our breath away. We would get up laughing and walk up the hill again and try it all over again. Looking back I am surprised that we did not get broken arms and legs from the crazy down hill slide me made. it took the whole community of children to build and went that one was made we would make another more extravagant one for the older children to play on. Wow what a time it was, to be a child and just play without no danger in mind.
Then came the alcohol in the scenario and that is when this Christmas took a turn for the worst. Our mother just could not seem to enjoy any of the seasons or celebrations without alcohol, there needed to be alcohol for it to be a celebration. For us children we just wanted a quiet family season with no worries about fights and other distractions. to my dismay it did not happen.
It was the week after the greatest Christmas that we could remember, to turn to the worst Christmas we ever had. I think my sister and I would give all the gifts back if we could not have gone through the loss of our innocence this same Christmas.
Our mother and her boyfriend of the time, went to a party and of course they were drinking. The story went that our mother did not want to come back home so her so called boyfriend decided to leave her there and came back home alone. I do not recall much more about this night, so Tammy will share more about it, in her piece.
I do not recall any Christmases were it was memorable before or after this one. Typically mom would either skip Christmas or we would get a gift basket from charity. I really didn’t mind charity, as when you are hungry, if food is offered you take it. This Christmas was different, her man was a working man and made good money. We had a beautiful decorated tree, and nuts and candy. We even had stockings. I was so happy. I thought maybe we were going to be like regular people. I had a couple of friends and one did not come from a dysfunctional home, that friendship did not last though. The blame for that rest squarely on my mothers shoulders.
However, I have a bad habit of going on tangents. That year we had turkey with all the trimmings. It was delicious! We were sent to bed, and as expected we had a hard time getting to sleep. My sister and I stayed up late, softly talking and giggling. We were determined to stay up and see Santa. However, like most children we fell asleep. To wake up really early to sneak up stairs and see what Santa brought. If I would have known our Santa was a devil in disguise, I would have never asked for a thing. However, being a child I was so exited, all the brightly wrapped packages, and two sleds for riding down hill fast,
Our mom, her man and the younger ones came down stairs, and the young ones were so excited. They were so giddy, prancing around like little elves. I was happy for them. I do remember looking at our mom, and she looked happy. Her eyes were shining, and she had a smile on her face. I think she really loved that man, but the price was so costly. I still can not put my mind into a set we’re I would ever be ok hurting a child, or letting some one else hurt them.When it came to loving me she was heartless.
We unwrapped our presents, and I was confused. Why was I getting items Tyra wanted. I was really confused and upset too because I could see Tyra really liked the stuff I was getting. She did get a watch too, but she liked mine better. Honestly, I liked hers better, but to trade would have infuriated our mom. So we made do and enjoyed the day. We went sliding on those last very red sleds all day! Pink cheeked and happy we tumbled into the house wet from the snow, but warm from the exertion.
Things soon went back to normal, our normal. Mom would stay in her room all the time and her man had free reign of the house, and us kids. He was such a vile, repulsive man. I had no good will for him, but at the same time I was scared what he could do to me, or even worse my siblings. I hated it when mom would abandon us and let him get away with his odious behaviours.
Sadly, my Christmas was ruined, in fact I did not celebrate Christmas ever again. There was just no reprieve from abuse, especially from him!! I was torn between running away and leaving my siblings behind, or staying to be destroyed bit by bit for a mans twisted desire to possess and ruin. He just would not relent, not even during a holiday meant to honour family and goodness’s. He hurt me again when mom was not there. He said she was not there, but maybe she was just on the other side of the wall passed out on drugs and booze. I Was going to my place in my mind, I could run away in my mind, and then what he did would not matter. I told myself this, even though it mattered, it mattered a lot.
Our mother and her man went to a party, Tyra thinks it was a New Years party. I am sure she is correct in her memory, as dates are hard for me, I tend to tell time by the seasons and the weather. I heard the door close, upstairs, and rushed up to meet our mom. However, the only one standing there was that monster, disguised as a man. I stoped dead in my track, dread filled my body and made it tingle with fear. This was going to be another night of horror and pain. My soul retreated even deeper into my secret place, my mind screamed silently, run away, run away. I was paralyzed, crippled by my mothers teaching me I had no choice, no value, no reprieve. I was not allowed to have boundaries, therefore I had none. Our mother created the perfect victim, me. Just even writing that statement down, makes me profoundly sad, the lessons she drilled into my very being were to haunt me well into adulthood. Even to this day, I fight my demons, sometimes I win sometimes I don’t, but I never surrender.
I went back down to the basement, we’re I slept with my sister in a big bed. I always felt safest when I was with her. However, in our house there was no safety in numbers, and no were to hide. Mom’s man was on a mission, hell bent to get what he wanted, and it was me he wanted. Sometimes I wonder what goes through a grown mans mind when he is sexually abusing a child. Then I think, I really do not want to know, because if I did my mind might shatter irreparably forever, because their mind must be even more frightening and dark than mine.
Calling me, demanding my presence, every time he said my name, my feet would move towards him, while the rest of my body wanted to disappear, never to be found again. I went though, for fear that my sister would be targeted if I didn’t. I remember looking at the Christmas tree, and remembering how magical it looked. Now it reminded me of a gaudy, and grotesque bar I seen on tv once. The smell of his alcohol stink didn’t help matters. He demanded I drink with him, I had drank before, sips of my moms tia Maria, or sneaking a beer or two. However, this was different, he wanted me to drink so I would be more compliant while he went about his dastardly deeds.
I remember eating chestnuts, now if I eat those, they turn to fouled goods in my mouth, as they remind me of the night Christmas became a nightmare. I would go downstairs and I hid behind the furnace, hoping that he would get tired of this cat and mouse torture. However, he wouldn’t give up, and when he targeted my sister, I knew my time had run out. I could not sacrifice my sister, for one night of reprieve. I took a deep breath, and stepped forward, and accepted another night of hell and anguish. I was ten years old, Tyra was seven, and I felt like I had already lived to many lifetimes, for the short amount of years we had been on this earth.
Stripped of boundaries, self and dignity. Robbed of choices and self determination. Feeling like I was going to shatter into a million pain filled fragments. He took my body, my childhood, my innocence. I knew to much, yet not enough. I could regal you with the horrors of suffering, pain and abuse, but for the life of me, I could not tell you how to save yourself. I could teach you how to survive, but not how to live. A flash of brilliant white pain, the penetration, the invasion, the sickening feeling of being smothered. I am hurt… I am going away now…
This covers in more detail events that were shared in our memoir. If you would like to join us on our healing journey, please, feel free to star, “two sisters perspective, or the beginning of our memoir “ The Beginning” It is Christmas, and I am happy and I want you all to be happy too. I want you to create memories that will last forever, as I will be doing the same. “So have yourself a Merry little Christmas.” Enjoy, be blessed, eat lots of Turkey.
one of my favorite songs, has much meaning for me.
SKIDROW: A look at the brutality, and unmerciful reality of children trying to survive on the street.
So there I was, dark was fast falling, had no idea what time it was, but I knew it was way past time when I should have been back at the institution checking in. I was on a subway bus with Tina, and had no idea what I was doing, or were I was going to go. I have never been on the streets before. Tina comforted me and told me not to worry she would help me. Tina was 14 years old, and I was about 14 and a half. She knew more of the world than I did, probably more than most adults did. Tina took me to her fathers home, who wasn’t there, and I began to relax and trust this girl. She told me things about living on the street as a runaway who was in the juvenile delinquent, system. She said “always say you are 18, never give your real name, and if they offer you a ride home decline.” She was talking about the Police, or the “screws” as they were called by the street people. I was so naive despite all that happened to me, I was about to enter a whole new world, of suffering and despair.
Trigger Warning Drug Descriptions:
Tina was the first to introduce me to needles, shooting up. She was the first to teach me how to mix the drugs, and flick the needle to make sure there was no chunks or air bubbles. She taught me how to tie off and raise a vein. If blood entered (flashback) the needle it was a hit. If you missed the vein it would abscess. This could lead to infections, or blood poisoning, which could led to death. Sometimes Tina and I had troubles and would take turns injecting each other, with the boost. The drug in the needle was called a “boost” because it would boost us for a couple hours so we could chase the high. We used what was most available and that was Talwin and Ritalin, they called it poor man’s heroin. That was a joke it cost 40 dollars for one Talwin and one Ritalin. You could share or just use it up yourself. Get one big hit or share with a friend. When you were taking up to 8 or more hits a day that was a pretty hefty price tag. However, most girls would take a hit every one to two hours, and stay awake three to four days at a time. So you can just imagine the money that was being made not only by the girls but the drug dealers.
In the beginning Tina never took me out with her, she always made me stay at her place and wait for her. I had no idea what she was doing, but she always came home with drugs, and because I was on prescription drugs for so many years, the transition from prescription to street drug was easy. I had not been doing drugs before I went into the Youth correctional Center, I became an addict. I began to look forward to Tina coming home, but she never pushed me to go with her in fact she didn’t want me to. We became friends over this sharing of drugs. We had much in common, as she was sexually abused as well, as a child. I would ask her what she did to get the drugs and she spoke candidly and with out shame about selling her body for money to get drugs.
Eventually she started taking me down to the drag, introducing me to some people, telling me to avoid others. The people she introduced me to, treated me with kindness and respect, something I never had in my life before and I wanted more of that! I also. enjoyed the freedom of being able to stay up as late as I wanted or not sleeping at all and watching the sun rise and hit my face. The night time on the drag was exciting and busy. You had people driving by and cops parked on the corners watching the activity, and people filling the bars and the sidewalks. Tina and I stayed mostly down by the York Hotel as that was were all the Colored people stayed and they afforded more protection to the girls. The cops rarely went down to the York end.Please do not be offended when I call my friends Black that is what they said they were so who was I to argue? I don’t know maybe back then things were different,especially on the Drag. We were all equal, but segregated at the same time, the girls could come and go as they please, regardless of their race. They were the money makers.
You have the Blacks at the York, “The Indians at the International and Royal. and Whites at the Imperial. That was just the way it was. Of course sometimes you seen them move around but very rarely, the whites pretty much stuck to them selves, as they were low man on the totem pole in actuality. It was pretty much the Blacks and Indians that ran the strip in regards to what ever deals they had going on. Typically the whites were there slumming. Not all but most. Just saying it like it was back then.
It was dangerous on the drag, for every one especially the girls. I learned this very quickly after witnessing a murder, and a lot of stabbings. Mostly it was the men fighting men. I only had a couple of run ins with older prostitutes but they got run off dam fast.
Sometimes the older prostitutes would try to corral younger prostitutes and put them in a stable to pimp them out. The men would not tolerate this, and if the older women were caught doing this they were run out, at least they never came around no more. whatever happened to them, I do not know. Two older prostitutes tried to coral me, they held a knife to my throat and basically said you are working for us now.. I said ok let me go to work then. They let me go and I went straight to one of my male friends. Those two women were never seen on the drag again. The one other woman I had a run in was run off and her sister ended up on the lowest corner of the drag sniffing glue. I felt bad for the woman who ended up sniffing glue I tried to help her, and would buy her food and drugs, but she was so hard core, she just tried to take advantage. She probably never had any one show her kindness, just because they had a kind spirit.
Tina and I usually hung together but after she got mixed up with a drug dealer she spent most of her time with him. I heard she eventually married that man and had three children with him, and got off the drugs. I say good for her! I am happy for her if this is what happened. I just know that she didn’t come down to the drag no more and I had to make a new circle of friends. It was spring time so I really wasn’t worried about not having a place to stay, I would just get a room when I absolutely had to sleep usually after the fourth or fifth day of being up. Usually when my eyes were encrusted to were I could barley open them and my heart was beating out of my chest. That is when I would say ok time to come down and go to sleep. I would be up for so long that I would have a hard time telling whether it was day time or night time at dusk and dawn, and would have to wait for the street lamps to go on or off to tell. It would usually take 24 to 48 hours to finally get a good sleep and be ready to start again. I always made sure to have a fix(a needle) ready for when I woke up again. I did not like to go out sick. It was a very hard way to survive. Thankfully for me it was spring, so the weather was good.
I made good money and even had a client base that I did business with on a regular bases, and If I wasn’t hooked on drugs I could have had a pretty good life considering the life I had previously was not anything to be striving for. I had freedom, I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, with who I wanted. The men on the street that I was friends with were not sexual partners they were people who looked out for me and for that I would get them high with me. We did not have sexual relationships, our friendships revolved strictly around protection and drugs.
Sometimes some one who I let pick my up was an addict and we would spend a week or two together getting high and having sex. I mean that is what I did to survive… Before I was being sexually abused by men and only received pain and suffering now I was being sexually abused, but had drugs to dull the pain. The drugs made it a lot easier, but it was still very brutal on my mind, body and soul.
There were times I was beaten by the older prostitutes. One woman about 40 wanted my jacket. She ripped clumps of my hair out and blackened an eye. She got my jacket but she too just disappeared when A friend saw what happened to me. He was so angry, he slammed out of his house. I crawled i to his bed and slept for a solid three days. For some reason most of the hard core street people were very protective of me. Maybe because they knew I really did not belong there, but had no were else to go.
It wasn’t just the older prostitutes that would get violent with the youngsters that were trying to survive the street. Men that wanted to buy us would some times beat us rape us, even sodomize us. I will never forget the time my friend and I, she was 13, were invited to a drug dealers home, to party. It turned out that the only ones having a party were he two men. One of the men punched me and I fell to the floor, the pain was excruciating. I remember seeing him draw back to kick me in the head. All I though was don’t pass out, don’t black out, if you do you will die. There was an explosion of light and pain, I held on to consciousness, and laid there on the floor. While, I was being brutalized, the other man and my friend left the house.
The man gathered me up and took me to a couch in the living room, never saying a word to me. Stripped of my clothes, he sodimized me, that was the first, time that ever happened to me. I will never forget the pain or the shame. The mans friend came back, with out my friend, and said I want a turn. The man that just brutalized me looked at me, and I looked at him, waiting to see what was going to happen. The man turned to his friend and said no, shes had enough Im taking her back. I looked for my friend, but I never saw her again.
Sometimes men were looking for a young girl and since I looked like I was about 12 to 14 I would tell them 13, I got more work that way. Seems the men I met in my life always liked them younger. I also could ask for more, and these men typically became my regulars. Some of them would take me to dinner or dairy queen. Treat me like the kid I was. Most of the men were also married, which was good because I didn’t have to fight them to wear a condom. Some men refused, and I would refuse to be committed to a bargain. Just like my Needles, I always bought new ones. they only cost 2$ so I always bought one or two new ones.
When tricks beat me, there was little I could do, but get the hell out of there and pray I didn’t get killed. Sometimes the younger girls would disappear and you would just know in your gut that they were not in a safe place, not on this earth any way. The youngest prostitutes I ever met were a brother and sister, the boy was eight, and deaf. His sister said she was ten. I talked to her for bit, and they confirmed that they were “working”. The boys sister spoke for him. How.. how does this happen? I knew how it happened but it still broke my heart to know there were children even younger than me out there too. I do not know were they went, I think maybe they got run off because they would draw to much police attention. Maybe a pimp picked them up and made money off of them. The last alternative was just as tragic as the first two.
One time I was raped by a man who said he was a police officer off duty. He had a badge and a gun so I wasn’t going to argue. I just let him do what he had to do then got away. of course I let the other girls know about this guy and to steer clear of him. Being raped was just part of the brutality on the street. Once there were two cops behind me walking a beat, and all they said to me was how is it going sweet cheeks. Sometimes they would stop me and ask how old I was, I gave the standard answer Tina told me to give, “18”. if they asked for ID I simply told them I did not carry ID because I didn’t want to get robbed, they usually left me alone after that.
After I stopped hanging out with Tina so much, my favorite person to hang with was Brandy. She was a transgender prostitute who had not gone through the transition. Probably because she couldn’t afford it. she however, was addicted to drugs like me, she was still very beautiful but was pushing 40. the typical life expectancy of some one who lives on the street is 40. That is old for living on the streets. It is a harsh, brutal, unforgiving life. The younger you were the more likely you were to die young, if they didn’t make it past the first couple of years. Contrary to what most people thought, you really did not see a whole lot of young people, I mean any one under the age of 16. Most were in there late twenty’s or early thirty’s. the younger people could have been going else were I don’t know, but I was happy with my friends down on the drag.
Sometimes a client would want me to move in with them so they could look after me. I tried it a couple of times, but I felt trapped, like I was part of their property. I didn’t like it and would end the relationship, and go back to my friends and the street. The summer was a lot of fun for being on the streets any way, I hung with a lot of different people, got into trouble sometimes but survived. Hooked up with a man named Judge, which was a mistake, I wanted to leave him and he held me over a third story balcony, and threatened to drop me head first.. I told him I would stay so he didn’t throw me over. of course I moved down to the other end of the drag, until he cooled off and got another girl to mess around with. He really did not want to get caught in a middle of a war with the men on the drag, because I was friendly to every one, so he just left me alone.
That summer passed by so quickly, however on sunny day really sticks out in my mind. I made the mistake of thinking about my family. Tears streamed down my face while I was completely silent. I didn’t know were my family were, and I was completely and profoundly alone, I knew that it was just me against the world. If I died I would not cross these peoples hearts or minds very often, and not with any genuine sorrow. It was the most empty and vast feeling of loneliness that I have experienced in my short life. That day, was the last time I ever cried for many many years. in fact I forgot how to cry!
The people that I was surrounded by were dangerous. I met a man that I became friends with, but who would get crazy when he was over tired or to high. One time he slammed my head on the table in the restaurant we were at. I guess I should not have suggested he get a few winks, as he had been up for about four days. I found out from a friend that he was just released from prison for murder. It didn’t even cross my mind to be scared.He would take me to his girl friends house to give me a few days rest, and we would all get high on pills so I would not go into withdrawals. It was actually kind of fun to be babied for a few days. Even if he was a murderer. However, even he wanted something on return and crawled into bed with me to collect.
I was dying and I didn’t care. I weighed a whopping 102 pounds. Had sever pains in my ribs, and a cough that would not go away. I was dying, and the people in my circle were having none of that. It was the coldest part of winter when Suzette said come on little girl it is time, you’re dying and you are too young to die, I am taking you to a safe place. I balked, oh hell no, no more institutions. She said no I am taking you to a friends place in Wainwright. Me and Suzette hitchhiked in the bitter cold from Edmonton to Wainwright in our skimpy clothes, and By the Grace of God we made it there alive, barley. Suzette knew getting me off the drugs was going to be an issue, so she gave me two hits over a period of three days, I slept a lot. When I finally got up I was feeling a lot better. Still very weak but better. The first thing she did was hand me a beer. I do not even think I cross addicted, I think I was already predisposed to alcoholism, same stuff, different pile. As soon as I took that first swallow of Beer, I was hooked, and the drugs went away, I found my ambrosia. I wanted to go back but Suzette said stay here and heal come back when it is warm. you are still very sick, she said. It was my body shutting down from the drugs and the weight loss. Like an anorexic, my body was saying I am giving up do something! I was saved by an old prostitute that would probably be dead with in the year.
When I was in Wainwright there was a young man who would not leave my side even when I was sleeping. Suzette stayed for five days to watch over me and get me past the danger zone I guess. This young man that hovered over me really had no idea what he was in for. Being a small town young man, he really did not know anything about what it was to deal with a traumatized mentally ill teen who was hooked on hard drugs. However, Suzette left him in charge of me.Because hard drugs were not as prevalent in Wainwright I adapted and my drug of choice became alcohol. He was a pot head , but I didn’t like pot. Pot made me paranoid so I just drank and only smoked up with him on very rare occasions.He held down a steady job at the wainwright hotel, and did his best to care for me.
I hate to say it, but I put that young man through hell, however, he tried his best to save me, but I wasn’t sure I could be saved at that point. I was in deep with drugs and alcohol, and never had a loving intervention in my entire life. To say that I was insane when drinking is to put it mildly. I was blacking out when I drank, more often than not and would have no recollections what so ever what I had done. All I felt was a foreboding shame that what ever I did was not good. This new life style was so alien to me, I did not know were I fit, and even if I fit any were. I could not come and go as I pleased, but I did, and suffered his wrath. Most people slept at night and worked during the day. I roamed at night and slept during the day. This was not working out at all!
I did however, have one true friend, who seemed to understand me better than any one and did not judge me. That was Russel.D. People called him Rusty, I never did, but will for the sake of simplicity. It seemed I always tended to call people by their given name not shortened versions or nicknames, I never understood why I did that. Rusty became a trusted friend and I was able to be myself around him, perhaps this made K.B. mad I don’t know. the relationship between Rusty and I was platonic. He even eventually got a really awesome Girl friend. I will call her D. Rusty loved D you could really tell, and I loved them both. I was happy for both of them. Then the tragic happened! Rusty was accused of sexual molestation of a minor. I could not believe it! Now I was torn! Really! How? When?! I was mortified. The day that tragedy struck is forever emblazoned on my heart. Rusty, came to the house Kim I were living at, he really wanted to talk to me, he was so upset. I didn’t know at the time what he was upset about, but I wanted to be there for my friend so I would have heard him out. I am not sure what I would have done if he confessed to me, but he never got the chance to do anything, as K.B yelled for me to come to the bedroom Now! I told Rusty I would be right back! K.B never really yelled at me like that ever before even when I was at my worst, so I really took notice. You know I really do not even remember what K.B said to me that was so important. When I went back out Rusty was gone, and my heart sank. Somehow I knew that my friend was leaving me…I told K.B I was going to go look for rusty, but K.B said no!
A few hours, we heard the news. Rusty had taken his own life, by blowing his head off with a shot gun in his girl friends bathroom. She was the one that found him, I am so sorry D! Rusty why there? I found out later he did it there because he left everything to his little girl, and did not want the mark of suicide on the house he left her. He really had no one else but D. and me. There certainly was no way he could do it at my house with K.B and his friend there. All his so called friends went to the funeral as well as me and D. All they talked about was the suicide and the accusation, saying that prob meant he was guilty. He deserved a fair trial just like any one else, despite what happened to me in my past, he still deserved his day in court. Rusty used to always wear a ball cap and K.B put the cap that Rusty took off before he took his own life. I though that was so callus and morbid, everyone laughed, except me. I was heartbroken that a man was so broken he would resort to such a violent death. I think that is the day I started pulling away from K.B and his group, and began withdrawing into myself. Not too long after Rustys suicide, it came out that the allegations were false. This was also the day that an job opportunity came up.
A man approached K.B and asked if he wanted to manage a restaurant in Smokey Lake, for him. He said yes, and I agreed to be on the wait staff. It is Ironic that I was following in my family’s wake, like I was being guided by some unseen force. I do not know if they were already gone, but I assumed they were. I didn’t remember how to get to were they lived any way, and any inquiries I made of the locals turned up nothing. K.B only managed the restaurant a couple of months before he was replaced. We stayed in Smokey lake though. I supported him and his two friends on my tips, and wages. for the first time in my life, I was trying to live a decent life, and save up money and build a home with out drinking. Although I still drank on days off to excess it was a lot less than when I was in Wainwright. However, I was still an ugly mean drunk, so I do not blame him for throwing in the towel. What I do blame him for is taking all my possessions that I slowly had collected, all my tip money, and taking money from me that he had no intention of using for what he said it was for, and leaving me with a bill at a gas station for cigarettes and snacks that I knew nothing about.He also took all the jewelry I had slowly been collecting, I loved jewelry of all kinds, and paid for it all my self. He wiped me out and just left me with a few clothes.
I did track him down in Wainwright a few days later, I hitchhiked from Smokey Lake to Wainwright, boy was he surprised to see me! He had told me we both were moving back to Wainwright, that was why he took all my stuff. He lied, he just stole everything I owned in the world with out any remorse or regret. What kind of person does that?! When I confronted him, he told me it was over, and he had some one else. I said give my things back. He refused, I didn’t think of going to the police, as authority and I did not mix well. I left and went to Edmonton to stay with a girl friend that was K.B.s friend and then became mine.
I stayed with my friend for one month, but I ended up going back to the streets. I am sad I left, but I left because I did not have the heart to try again, even though I did get a job and was trying. I was giving up, what would be would be, and I would just accept what ever came my way. The Next segment, I will talk about what happened when I went back to the Drag for the second time, as a young adult. I was 18 years old now.
After leaving the last foster home, I would ever be in, we were sent back home. This was a cycle that was repeated often through out the years. I really lost count how many foster homes and receiving homes I was in over the years. For awhile things were not too bad. I was growing up fast and even made a friend, although she was much older than me. I even had a boyfriend, although he was too old for me too, but mom seemed to like him. I sure knew she liked his brother, as one time she got really drunk and tried to have sex with my boy friends brother on the couch. I was so humiliated, my boyfriend just pulled his brother up and took him home. I had to wonder if it would be like this with all my male friends I may have. He was a nice young man though, he took me to the movies and out for ice cream and stuff, I liked it, but I didn’t like him the same way he liked me. I am not sure if I was even capable of liking a man that way. However, I did like him as a friend, he was fun to be around, and I think if things would have been different, I may have grown to love him.
“That man,” I can’t say his name with out becoming ill,was not in the picture yet, not in a permanent way he wasn’t. Mom and I shared a room, we each had a single bed. She also liked to wear my clothes, as I was filling out some what, at least my bottom half was, I bemoaned the fact that I really didn’t have any boobs. I was still very young though, and was not even menstruating yet. The man that sexually abused me for years would come over and visit, although he really wasn’t supposed to be around us, but he came any way. He strutted around all puffed up like he was a real some body. His rictus grin ever present. I hated him, I still hate him.
When he wasn’t around mom drank a lot, one time she got drunk and was drinking in our bathroom, and fell. She didn’t spill her drink but she couldn’t get back up. she called me for help, when I was unable to lift her, she threw her drink in my face. That hurt my feeling so very much. She just laughed and I smiled a sad smile, what else could I do. She was a lot easier to be around when she was drinking, than when she was high on her pills. At least that was what I thought. She seemed to be happy when she was drunk for the most part. I think in some ways I hated her too, which hurt me deeply, because I also loved her.
Sometimes she was a tearful drunk, and would call her family and cry to them over the phone. I suppose deep down she was in pain too. However, I can not with any reasonableness, excuse what she did to me or my siblings. She destroyed me, my mind was severely broken. I would never be the same nor would I ever recover. Honestly there was nothing to recover. I was being sexually abused at the age of two. I sat down and tried to recall how many men that I could remember sexually abusing me. I am able to recall six, men sexually abused me before I had even reached the age of 12. Two of those men were close relatives. One being my natural father and an uncle. The other four men were not related. Out of all those men, only one was convicted and that was because of a decent man that would have killed my abuser, if the police were not called. Harvey of course mom was aware of but chose to look the other way, and stand by her man.
Mom had always been a promiscuous woman, except when she was with “HIM’. “He” seemed to be the only man that she loved, it is ironic to me that the most abusive man to us is the one she stayed with, and the men that were the kindest to us only lasted a couple of weeks at best. Our Mother was definitely deranged and had serious issues. The only time I ever recall my mother telling me she loved me was one night when she was sloppy drunk, but that one time I will always remember not because she said it, but because she could only say it when she was sloppy drunk. The only time I heard her laugh when she was sober, was when she and all us kids played tiddly winks. I will always remember that laugh with fondness and a ache since that was the only time I ever remember her really laughing. We were all on the floor, and she was winning, she rocked back with her head back and just belted out the most beautiful laugh I have ever heard. Her eyes were shining and her smile was beaming. That memory is forever ingrained in my mind. It is the one and only fond memory of her that I can recall.
One of the men was the one that sat at the kitchen table with my mother, sat me on his lap and penetrated me, I was three, Tyra was just a baby. This was just before we were taken to our first foster home. There was also the blonde man, who made me touch his man hood, and molested me. The man I do not recall, when I ended up in the hospital with trauma. That would have been about age six and a half possibly seven. Hector who was tried and convicted. I was eight. My uncle whom was intoxicated at the time. Not excusing him just sharing his state of being, when he hurt me. I was eleven. And one young adult woman, who was a sexual predator, that took advantage of my vulnerability and broken mind. Lastly we had the most vile and sicking man, that raped me off and on for three years. As I was removed from the family home and placed in care off and on during that time. I think he was the,most awful man, I already told you I hated him, but I want to say it again I absolutely detested him. From the information I gathered, and my own memories, and those of my first foster mother, and Tyra, and other family members. Some who say my father may have been sexually abusing me even before the age of two as he had me from the age of one, till I was two and a half. More on my dad later on. As he did not have contact with me again till I was about 19
I recall one night when mom was drinking with the man across the street, Us children ran back and forth across the street all night. It was actually fun. As night fell and the younger ones got sleepy and went to bed, I was still awake, and that man came over to our house. I recall he and my mom got into a argument about how good she would be in bed, and she said to him “Come on then I will show you!” He just looked at me and grinned and went into the room my mom and I shared. After they were done, he just laid in the bed with my mom smoking a cigarette. My mom yelled at me to bring her a pad. “I was so disgusted with her and him!” The smell was gagging to me! I don’t know if he got tired of laying with her, or she kicked him out but after he left mom yelled at me to come to bed. I was so glad the little ones were sleeping and did not witness this despicable display of promiscuity. However, I seriously didn’t understand the impact incidents like this have on a child. Displays of promiscuity, immodesty, overt sexual deviant behaviours, these were normal occurrences in our home.
The bar was just a few blocks away, so Mom had easy access to it, and she made good use of it, sometimes she would stay out so late I would go get her and get some one to go in and bring her out so I could walk her home. She must of had men buying her drinks, because she never had a lot of money being a welfare mom our whole lives.
In our house food was a one time thing at the beginning of the month she would fill the fridge and cupboards, making sure to buy a large bag of flour if we were out and a couple jars of cheez whiz, and lard. This was so I could bake bannock in the oven for the kids lunches when we ran out of food, which we always did, Then it was bannock for lunches and macaroni for dinner, and water to drink.
I did babysit and make a little money, but mom, always “borrowed” that to go out drinking, so there was very little I could do. Mom was not a person you ever said no to and kept your hide intact! One time I was walking her home we were walking in the middle of the road and she had her hands in her pockets and she fell, and couldn’t get up and a car was coming! I ran towards the car, thank God they stopped, Mom struggled to get up and I apologized to the person but he just looked at me threw his window like I was a bug that crawled up out of a hole. We made it home safe, once again. I think the look of disdain on that mans face, impacted me a lot harder than I realized, I no longer wanted people to look me in my face.
Another time I had to go get my mom, we were almost home and she fell into the hedge bushed pulling me with her. She was laughing, I have to admit I laughed too we probably looked pretty foolish! I always waited up for her when she was drinking , because sometimes she would bring home a guy, and I didn’t want to be in our room if she did that.
It was about this time I started smoking cigarettes, it was a way to have something in common with my mom. They made me feel ill, but so grown up at the same time. Now years later I wish I had never started, it is just another dirty habit I have to try and over come. Coffee too made me feel sick, but when mom let me drink it I would, just to be more like her….However, when she let me drink alcohol, well that is different story as you will soon see.
School, wasn’t an issue, since she never asked my how I was doing and as long as no one called her to complain she was fine to me. Well as fine as our mother was to any of us on any given day. I was back at HillCrest so It was cool even made a girlfriend, although she was a bad influence on me. I also, made some very unlikely friends who were bikers. I never drank or did drugs with them or had sex with them for that matter. I did a titties pic with them, which was a tradition they had that all females that went to the animal house got a titty pic. That was pretty tame considering the hell I had already been through. Remembering back to having my young girl breasts exposed and photographed, I didn’t want to, but I felt on a visceral level I had no choice. I remember a man bending down and putting my child breast in his mouth, and the other bikers laughing and cheering. I just plastered a smile on my face and withstood my victimization.
I did go cruising with one of my biker friends was good fun. One time I said I wanted to skip school and he picked me up on the corner and took me to school for a week, and said if you skip; no more rides kiddo. This was the gang that I supposedly was in, how ridiculous was that! Just because these people could look rough and rode bikes. These people were so family orientated! Children were sacred to them, especially babies. Sure they took a pic of my boobs, what little I had, but that was part of their culture, you may not understand it, but it really is just about belonging. They had a wall covered with women I was the only really young one, but I looked older than I was. So they may not even known how old I was. However, they were respectful to each other and the women. Unlike my mother. I didn’t drink, nor did I do drugs, unless it was to smoke pot with my mom or drink with my mom. On my own I did not do these things. I didn’t like the way pot made me feel, when I was high on pot Tyra would look at me funny and it made me nervous lol.
When my mom found out that I had a friends that were bikers she demanded I take her to were they met. I refused at first, willing to take a beating to keep their secret. I would not see them any more if it meant keeping her away from them she was such a Bytch! She was also a consummate liar. She told me, she wasn’t mad she just wanted to see it, I thought fine I will show her were it is, there is no way in hell they are going to let her in lol. I was right she came home one night madder than hell and said I went to that place you showed me and they wouldn’t let me in! I told her mom of course they didn’t let you in, they don’t know you, or who you are. A few days later she demanded I take her to that place I showed her and get her in. I refused and she backhanded me across the face, I just calmly said mom I do not go there any more or see any of my old friends from their any more. When that didn’t work she switched tactics and said “sweetheart” I am just curious to see these people. I said ‘why mom?” “They never caused me any harm and I never did drugs or drank with those people.” She said I just want to go and see it and I do not want you to call me “mom” I want you to call me “Jackie and say I am your sister. I said fine and took her. she ended up drinking and flirting with some guy there and bringing him home. She sent me home after being there for about a hour. She was so manipulative and hurtful towards me. I accidentally called her mom a couple of times so they knew who she was. I walked home, it was quite far and very late, she got a ride home with the guy she picked up at the “animal” house, which was a bikers hang out in Edmonton way back when. It was not a gang hang out either, it was just people that liked to ride Harley’s and drink beer together. Mom just said it was a gang to get me removed from her home.
At that times liqueur stores were not open on Sundays, and bootleggers were in full force. Sometimes mom would use the bootleggers, and take me with her. They would give us free drinks, and when I drank those drinks I felt so much better. I didn’t realize how dangerous it was to be drinking with these kind of men with or with out my mom. Who knows if they roofied us or not…maybe that was moms plan all along a way to get booze without paying cash for it.She did some really insane things when it came to us children, so I put nothing past her, for what she would do for her drugs and alcohol.
That “Man” was slowly but surely weaseling his way back into our lives. He would take us all camping, mom loved camping. He was still abusing me, sometimes he would come in to the bathroom when I was in there. He told mom to tell us not to lock the door because what if we slipped and fell how would they save us? What a bunch of bull, but I learned not to take baths when mom was totally out of it on her pills. she was abusing them so bad now she would be out of her mind most of the time. I didn’t always succeed, but more often than not I did.
Because Mom was drinking and abusing her pills so bad she had what they called a nervous break down. What ever it was, she ended up in the hospital for about two weeks. That time away from her was such a relief! We could even let our guard down a little bit. I could rest and not be doing all the things responsible adults do to maintain a happy home. Even though mom was in the hospital “He” would come and try to take me to the hospital to see her. I did go with him once and he abused me before even going to see her! The next time, he came I said lets take all the kids, he said no, just you or no one. Suzie our homemaker said “just go with him, see your mom it will be fine.” She really didn’t have a clue I’m sure. At least I like to believe she didn’t. After that time I told her what he was doing when he took me out of the home to see my mom. She really didn’t want to hear what i was saying, however, after that she did not force me to go with him, and he ended up taking all of us too see mom. Maybe that was his way of saying see, I do take all the kids. He just gave me a hateful glare.
Child protective services told my mom that Harvey was not allowed to live with us while I was in her home. So, when mom came home from the hospital I was told by a social worker to pack a suitcase for when I went to school the next day as I would be leaving her home.. They were not going to pick me up at home, I had to go to my school and leave my suitcase in the office. Who does that! I never even got to say good bye to my siblings!! That “man” moved back in as soon as I was out of the house.
I was heartbroken, I did nothing wrong, I was a good kid. I never gave mom any problems, in fact I spent more time looking after her, and the house and the little ones, than I did myself. However, she wanted her “man” back, and he was not allowed to live with her while I was in her home. I was told this by the last and only social worker I ever trusted, Karen P. However, mom was so adept at lying and manipulating she got her way. I am not sure why CPS said he could not live with us while I was there, but , I have a sneaking suspicion they knew the truth and were trying to protect me. If mom never lied in court that man would have gone to prison! The Ultimate Betrayal to me was removing me from my home so my abuser could move in. This was my mom’s choice… I was removed and taken to a receiving home, this is were my Journey takes me on my walk alone.
Before I leave you dear friends to work on the next piece I had a memory resurface that I and Tyra really wanted to share with you. It is about our youngest sister. A day before picture day she got it into her mind that cutting her hair to have no bangs was a great idea. See, I didn’t have bangs, my hair was parted down the middle, all I really had were cow licks lol, hated those seriously. She was in grade one at the time, so really didn’t know any better. She also, seen a friend of our mothers shave then pencil in her eyebrows. apparently, our youngest sister thought that was really attractive too! So, you she shaved her eye brows off too!! She came down for school the next morning to show me her handiwork. I could not help my self.. I laughed at her. I couldn’t help it, she looked perpetually surprised! (HEHE) I tried to help by trying to pencil in some eye brows with my pencil crayons, it didn’t work though. I told her to show mom, as maybe she could help. By this time my little sister was crying her eyes out and I felt so bad for her! She just wanted to look pretty, If I was older I would have been flattered she wanted no bangs like me, being young though I just saw the humor of the situation.
To say the least mom was really angry! It was picture day and she wanted those pictures of Tanya! Tanya crying, said she didn’t want to go to school.. mom made her go any way. I did feel bad for her, but when mom said something it best you obey and do what she says or suffer the consequences, not sure if mom bought those years photos or not.
When we moved back in with our mom we were living on Whyte Ave and just a block to my school. It was summer time and we played outside in the garage all the time, it was our fort. When life was getting too much us kids would go out there and basically hide. Mom was not very active in our lives we were a paycheck to her and that was all. She could say she loved us and I do think she did but in a very perverted way.
Sleeping has become a major problem. Mom would sleep all day, would not get up to look after the young children, not saying I was old. She would just stay in her room and read and sleep. I remember laundry day. We had a old ringer washer, so we washed the clothes then put them in the tub to rinse then put them through the ringer and out on the line they went. This was to make sure we had clean clothes for school, or just to change.
Mom decided to bring Harvey back into our lives as she could not be without a man. Not long after he came into our lives mom ended up in the hospital for a nervous breakdown. During this time we had a homemaker to look after us. You have to remember this is only a few months after we were back in mom’s care. We loved Susie, she was amazing we did not have to do all the chores we were doing. we just needed to clean our room and help with dishes. This was just luxury to us.
During the time that mom was in the hospital Harvey was in our life. He would be lurking around the house and Susie did not like it. Susie sensed there was something wrong with this man. His grey hair, beady blue eyes, thin, not too tall and a viscous grin on his face. Susie’s intuition was right on the money and she watched us kids like a hawk, but Tammy was left vulnerable to this man. I can only speculate what she was thinking, maybe that Tammy was older and could protect herself or she would tell someone if something did happen. Perhaps Susie thought it better to sacrifice one and save the rest. Having been told that he would not be in our life again, when he came back and mom let him, I felt very angry and the betrayal was deep.
I remember coming home after school and Tammy was in her room, laying on her bed and Harvey was sitting at the kitchen table with this smug look on his face. I knew what happened, and I could not prevent it. Tammy was his target and he would go right after her. During this time we would go out to the lake and I remember watching Tammy looking out of the window, wondering what she was thinking. Was she thinking that it was a mistake coming back to mom, or was she thinking that the lies that were told by the adults would forever condemn us to a life of pain and suffering.
When mom got out of the hospital her behaviour did not change. She still went to bed and stayed there. Looking after us was not her priority, she wanted what she wanted. I am not sure if Tammy told her that Harvey was abusing her or what happen but she was sent away again. I was thinking my sister is gone again, what did she do???? I asked and was told that mom could not handle her and that she was involved with a gang. I did not believe what she said it was just a excuse to send Tammy away again. Here I was once again fighting this battle on my own, for the good of the younger kids.