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Erin Grace

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Out of the frying pan...into the fire

There were a few friends and their families from my hometown that my father liked, I was allowed to spend time with them and they were very generous to include me in their lives. I loved being around families. Out of all of them, one in particular was my closest friend, since we were at least pre-schoolers. Up until about age 11, we did almost everything together, sleepovers, camping, hiking, traveling by bus to the "big" city (many times, by ourselves). A majority of my childhood memories are with her. Back in the 70's, it was different, plus we were always tricking our parents. I believe she was the only person I confided in, back then, about this next part of my life. At the time some of the things I told her, seemed normal, to me. Now I think back and wonder if that poor girl thought I had gone crazy. We lost touch after about 14 years old. Sadly, she died in 2010.

**The next relatives who came into my life, I will just refer to him as "K" and her as "S"**

After this experience, I really understand how people can become brainwashed. I was young, had no stable family structure and I was dying to belong and to have attention. I can see how, in the right circumstances, people can be willing to do just about anything for someone or something else.

I guess it was around 11 years old that I began to see "S" and "K". Somehow, I convinced my father to let me go and visit, just for the day. My father was not happy at all about my spending time with them.When it came to visiting them, my father was really angry at me. He'd say I was ungrateful for all that he did for me. I never appreciated anything. Then I was a good girl, the only one who understood. Back and forth, back and forth. I think he felt rejected but he didn't really like "K" either. Still, he let me go because he saw how happy it made me. He hated hearing about them and I talked about them, a lot.

I felt absolutely FREE with them!! I was meeting new people and got attention and it felt great! No dad to rant and rave to me, no paranoia, no one was in bed all day with the shades drawn, I wasn't isolated: it was fantastic! I felt as if I had real parents. I didn't have to take care of anyone else, I got out and rode my bike, we went for walks and to church. I felt as if I had a family.

"K" taught me how to ride his motorcycle after I begged him to teach me, I'd ride it on the back roads (eventually, by myself...which was crazy, now that I think back) and as long as it didn't fall over, I was good to go. At my age and size, it was huge and heavy as hell and I had no business being on it but I loved to ride it. If I had fallen over, it would have seriously hurt me. I had to be extremely careful to balance it just right. Many days I just spent my time riding it around the cemetery we lived by. at the very least, "K" would come looking for me in his car, if I was gone to long.

I had no idea at the time but "S" was trying to figure out a way to leave "K", when I came along. She knew my situation with my parents and didn't want to tell me that I couldn't come and visit. She felt caught between a rock and a hard place. In the beginning of my time there, they lived above a social worker who admitted that she heard things and she strongly suspected other things were going on, yet she did nothing. At first, I didn't see whatever was going on between them (of course what did I know about "normal" anyhow). Things would go from bad to much worse, once I came into the picture more frequently.

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