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Erin Grace

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1986 & 1987


I started getting into a lot of trouble after "S" left for California. I had no adult to keep me in line, except "Ann's" mother. Since I didn't know her mother very well, I felt, as some teenagers do, that I didn't have to listen to her. After everything that had happened, I just wanted to do my own thing. There was a lot of partying and at one point, the school said they were sending a truant officer out to pick me up. I didn't come home on school nights...I had come to the point where all I wanted to do was sleep in, go where I pleased, drink and smoke. I missed way more school than I attended. I'm not proud of some of places I went and things I did. I figured no one really cared enough to try and make me shape up. My parents were dependent on me, instead of taking charge. "S" was the only one who cared enough to speak up to me and she was gone.


"Ann's" house was where everyone in the neighborhood hung out. It wasn't unusual to have a houseful of kids, after school and on the weekends.  One day, a good friend of mine stopped over, as was his routine. He said he had something for me and handed me an envelope. I opened it up and began to read. It was a letter from "K". I started to freak out. I asked my friend where he got the letter and he said, "I work alongside "K" and knowing my age, he began to ask me about young people and if I knew anyone by your name. When I said I did, he said you and "S" were really wonderful women." All I could do was tell my friend to never mention anything about me again to "K" and don't bring anything to me again. He didn't understand the hell we went through. He could hardly believe this was the guy he had been working with, he seemed sincere, like a decent guy. 

Early in 1987, "Ann" and I both decided we wanted a change. We left New York (in the middle of the school year) to live in California. She had visited California about a year or so prior to then and after we had a visit from a boyfriend of hers and his friend (who I liked a lot), we decided it would be great fun. Yikes. "Ann's" father and step mother lived in Simi Valley and "S" lived in Burbank. "Ann" did not have her mother's permission, so basically I helped her run away. My mother tried to make me stay but I wasn't going to listen to anyone, except maybe "S". "S" wasn't a hypocrite. She loved me. Basically, I ran away too. A friend picked us up in the middle of the night, while we were at my mother's house. When you neglect a child for so long, allow them to do whatever they please and let them be vulnerable to all sorts of abuse AND make excuses for why you cannot be a decent parent, you aren't going to get much respect from your child. "S" was the only one I would respect.

It was a crazy trip out to California, as we dealt with many flight delays and I became really sick on the way.  People have asked me how I had the money to fly out there and I cannot remember. "Ann" had dropped out of school and was working full time, I was not. I had occasionally cleaned houses with my mother, so I guess I must have saved money from doing that. By the time we got into LAX, it was after midnight and our ride was long gone. For the first few weeks, I lived with "Ann" and her family where there was more of the same, as in New York...lots of partying, hanging with other delinquents and no school. The guy I wanted to see more of, who visited New York with "Ann's" boyfriend?  We wrote each other all of the time. He was 23 when we met, while I was only 16.  He saw me once when I was in Simi Valley and that was it. I was devastated but of course I was too young for him, among other things, I'm sure.  In retrospect, it was for the best. I found out in his last letter before I moved to California, that he was a recovering heroin addict. 

At one point, we were dropped off, for the day (two 16 year old girls, by ourselves), on Hollywood Boulevard. That is another story all together. Another time we went on a drug run, with a "friend" and she left us in her car, to go in and make a buy. A few minutes later, she came running out, jumped into the car screaming, "We gotta go! He's got a gun! I just stole his dope!" If I wasn't so terrified, it would have been funny. She was this little Hispanic woman with bigger cajones, than most men I know. She also said the constant thumping of her car, as we drove on the interstate, was because she had 4 different sized tires on the car. Oh joy. I spent the rest of the trip praying we would get pulled over. Every time I hear, "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest, I think of that day. That's the song that was playing, as we were high tailing it out of that apartment complex.

I took my time contacting "S", I just didn't care about anything. She asked if I had known "Ann" ran away. "S" wanted me out of there. Now. She came to get me in Simi Valley and took me back to Burbank. I enrolled in high school at Burbank High and finished up the last few months of my junior year there. I did miserably and that was no surprise. You can't leave after over half of the school year is completed and expect to catch on to the last 3 months of a different curriculum, across the country. Needless to say, at that time I really didn't care. I hung out with a real ragtag bunch from school in Burbank, one of whom I was especially close with, he is now in prison for drugs. I really needed to get my life in order.

It was around July that I announced I was returning to New York. "Ann" stayed in Simi Valley. I moved back to New York to begin my senior year of high school. My mother pulled the car over, on the way home from the airport, grabbed me and started to cry, saying, "Don't ever leave me again!" I never felt I could lean on her and this again proved it. I had to be there for her, it was really difficult. I spent the next month or so feeling very depressed and I cried a lot, which is not like me. I remember having a very overwhelming feeling, as if I didn't belong anywhere. I never felt I belonged anywhere.

 I started driving and "Ann" was not in New York, so I went back to live with my mother and commuted to school. I began to date "James". Ironically, he was a guy that I never liked. I disliked him so much, that I would leave whenever he showed up around my friends at school. It seemed there wasn't enough room for us, plus his arrogance. =) When I came back from California though, I looked at everything differently and for some crazy reason, things seemed to click with us.

While I was still in California, "S" married the man she had moved out there with (they are still married and have a grown son) and during that time, I found out that "K" had been threatening to kill himself, on "S's" birthday, for a couple of years.

1 comment:

  1. Your Lost years. I had many of them too. I never knew where and how to settle my soul. Now I am sure that we both know that it is an inside job. Hard lesson. XOXO Cairn