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The Great Escape

October 24, 2009

The day finally arrived for my escape. I had everything boxed and shipped to my daughter’s. I had my one-way plane ticket to Indiana. I would drive Carol’s truck to the airport, her daughter and grandson would pick it up this evening at the airport parking lot. I was scared to death.

I decided to walk down to the house to make sure I had taken what I could. Rick was at work so I knew he wouldn’t be there. I looked around the house which was in utterly disgusting array. There were filthy dishes with dried-on food piled on the table, the counter, even the floor. Ashtrays were overflowing. Empty whiskey bottles and beer cans were scattered everywhere! It sickened me that my home looked like this but I knew it wasn’t my home anymore. It was just his.

I saw nothing I needed. I went back outside and found Henry. I hugged him with all my might. He grunted and squealed, he didn’t like hugs but that was ok–he didn’t understand. My dogs, Big ‘Un and Little ‘Un, walked back up the road with me to Carol’s truck. I hugged them fiercely and told them goodbye. They looked sad like they knew what was happening. I got in the truck and told them to stay so they wouldn’t follow the truck down the highway–a habit of theirs. As I drove off, I saw them in the rearview mirror following me anyway. I stopped the truck and yelled loudly to stay. This time they did.

The drive to the airport was a blur. The tears came and I let them for the first time in many, many months. I was so afraid and sad, yet relieved that it was over. I was afraid of what the future might hold. I was sad for the past and for what it could have been had I done it with a different man. A man who would truly love and care for me and not  love a bottle of booze. The roller coaster ride of Hell was over, there would be no more.

I thought of my mother. When she was 60 years old, my father left her for another woman. No warning at all. My mother had been a housewife for over 40 years, it was all she knew. She never worked, she never learned to drive. When my father left, she curled up in a ball and stayed in bed, crying, for seven days. She was a mess, she was terrified of what she faced and how to get through it. After those seven days, she got up, got dressed, and called a few of her friends. One of them offered to teach her to drive. She got her license eventually and was very lucky to find out an elderly lady who lived 2 blocks away needed someone to care for her. Mom went to see her, got the job and earned enough money to buy a car of her very own. She was so proud of that!

Over the years, she became known for her caregiving abilities and always had a good paying job and did quite well for herself. She’s always said it was the best thing that ever happened to her. She became independent and prospered well until she was 80 and had to stop because of a broken hip.

During the plane trip I recalled all of this about Mom and told myself “If she could do it at age 60, I could do it at age 47.”

And I did! I would go on to learn more about myself than I ever knew possible! I was to become an independent woman and feel PROUD, really proud of myself for the first time in over 20 years!

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Uninvited Visitor

October 17, 2009

During the 6 months that I lived at Carol’s, Rick would stop by a couple times a week on his way home from work. If he was sober, he asked if I needed anything or needed anything fixed, or wood chopped. I always told him ‘No’. I wanted to remain independent of him. I didn’t want to need him for anything.

If he was drunk, he asked who I was seeing, who I was sleeping with, how many of the farmers help me with wood, etc. in exchange for sex. He was utterly repulsive with his unwarranted accusations. I never let him in when he was drunk. We talked out on the porch. If he got too loud, the neighbors could hear him and would stand by, on guard, in case I needed them to intervene. Rick would see them and get quiet, then he would leave.

I couldn’t deal with this anymore. My health was deteriorating. I was a nervous wreck. My nerves kept me upset to the point I couldn’t eat well and my –uh– intestinal problems were totally out of hand. I was constantly running to the bathroom, not being able to ‘hold it’ for even a minute. When I had to go, I had to go NOW!!

I dropped weight and was down to 82 pounds. My hands were shaky, I had no enthusiasm except when I was teaching the kids. It was all I had to look forward to and now that was over since school let out.

I went down to our house every afternoon during my last week there and would fill a box, that I’d bring down with me, with more of my belongings. I packed boxes for shipping to my daughter’s. That was where I was running to. Rick didn’t know where she and her family lived. He didn’t even know her married name. He would never find me there.

I kept the packed boxes in Carol’s storeroom where Rick would never see them. When I had all that I wanted I put all the boxes into Carol’s truck and drove to the UPS building and shipped them out.

Now, to get myself out of there…………..

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Sign In Please

October 11, 2009

When my girls were in grade school, there was a deaf girl in their class. She attended with her interpreter. The girls were fascinated by the sign language they used and wanted to learn it so they could communicate with her. I have always been an avid user of the local library. We went there and checked out several sign language books. We pored over these books for hours. It was a difficult language to learn until you realize that most of the words are based on either a letter of the alphabet or a body area or an emotion area such as the heart or the mind.

The girls and I learned the basics, then many school related words, then we learned food words and emotion words. We eventually learned about 400 words and could communicate with each other fairly well and the girls could sign with their classmate rather fluently. By the next school year, the deaf girl had moved to another school so my girls lost contact with her but the sign language still had a hold on me. I continued studying it, on and off, for many years.

I started re-learning it  2 years before as it helped to fill the long hours when I was alone so much. Yes, along with the garden, the canning, the crafts, the pet care–I’ve always been one who has to be doing something, I can’t sit still!

Rick was even learning some with me. He thought it was a romantic language. Actually, it is a very poetic language when signed properly. There is a flow, a rhythm, that is beautiful to watch. By the time I had moved up to Carol’s house, I knew almost  2,000 words.

I’d been up to Carol’s for more than a week when her daughter, Nancy, came to visit again to see how I was doing. Remembering that she was a teacher, I asked if there was ever a need for an interpreter for the deaf in the school system. She said the school did not hire them but went through the Mountain Education Co-op who hired them then sent them out to the schools as needed. She suggested I call them. I called and had an appointment for the following week. I studied like a college student cramming for a test.

I went to my appointment where I was asked many questions about my studies. I told them I was self-taught and had no degree. They decided to give me an Interpreter’s test. That was quite interesting. First, they said a statement and I was to sign that statement. After 20 statements, they signed to me. I was able to make the signs accurately when I was doing the signing but I was a little lax in reading their signs back to me. It is easier to picture the signs, from the book, in your head while you are signing but when someone is signing back to you it looks backward. I was told to practice in front of a mirror and watch my image’s hands rather than looking down at my own hands (did I explain that right?). I was told that I did very well, though, on the tests. They said they would be in touch if they needed me.

I didn’t have to wait long. I received a call, 2 weeks later, to meet one of the counselors at the elementary school. We met the next day. There was a little deaf boy named Mitch who was in 3rd grade. His classmates wanted to learn to communicate with him, so the Co-op agreed to have me come 3 days a week for 2 hours each day. I would spend the first hour with Mitch in one of his classes and the second hour would be spent teaching him and his classmates how to sign. Mitch knew many signs but was still learning at the Deaf school nearby so this would help him, too.

I had so much fun with those kids! I would teach them their sign names first. When they learned those, we started off each class with “Sign In, Please” where each would stand up and sign their names. Then, I taught them 10 signs per week that were related to each other. For example, I would teach 10 Emotion signs on the first day, the second day we would review the signs. On the third day we played “Wheel of Fortune”. I would write the dashes for each letter and the kids would guess the letters. They were not allowed to speak, they had to sign the letter they were guessing and sign the answer if they knew the answer. The winner was awarded a lollipop but all would leave the class with at least one lollipop for good attendance.

Two weeks later, I was assigned to another deaf student at the Junior High School. Her regular interpreter was on maternity leave and I was needed for 6 weeks with her. Her name was Casey. She was not as easy to be with as the elementary school children. She was rebellious and had a snotty attitude because I wasn’t  as good  as her regular interpreter so she was quite resentful of me. That was ok, I could stand it for 6 weeks.

I continued with Mitch, though, through the rest of the school year which ended the 3rd week of May. I was paid well for my services which included gas mileage. I was able to save nearly all of the money as I only needed to buy food and personal items. At the end of the 5 months, I had enough money to run.

Now it was time for some serious planning and taking the next step………

All  by  myself  (All By Myself)

ILY small (I Love You)

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Moving Out

October 5, 2009

The morning after the attempted rape, I walked up the road to Carol’s to check on her cats and tend to the fire in the woodstove. It was the first week of December and cold. While I was there, Carol’s daughter came in. She was there to pick up some clothes to send to Carol. She looked at me and asked “What did he do to you now?” I didn’t know what she was seeing so I asked her why. She told me to look at my face. I went to a mirror and saw red square lines around part of my eyes and my mouth. They must have been a skin reaction to the duct tape Rick used on me.

I told her what happened. She wanted to call the sheriff but I said ‘no’, I just wanted to get away from him but had nowhere to go and no money. She said “Why don’t you move up here? You can take care of the cats and keep the fire going through winter so the water pipes don’t freeze. It would save you from walking up and down that old road of yours this winter when it’s covered with ice. I was surprised! I asked her “Are you sure?” She replied “VERY sure! Get away from that man!”

We both knew that Carol’s house wasn’t far enough away to make much difference but it would surely help some. I thanked her profusely and headed back down to my house. I began packing clothes, some personal items, and some groceries I would need. I filled 3 boxes with immediate necessities. I could always come back down and get more things, as I needed them, while Rick was at work.

I intended on carrying the boxes up to Carol’s, one at a time, but they were too heavy for that 1/2 mile trek uphill. I became frustrated then despondent. Now what do I do? Then I became angry and determined. By God! I was gonna do this one way or another! Just then Rick came home. He was still coming down off the drugs and I’d discovered, through past experience, when he was at that stage he was easily manipulated.

He came in, saw the boxes, and asked what was going on. I said “I’m moving up to Carol’s. I will not put up with your behavior any longer. I will stay up there until you can turn yourself around and get off the drugs and alcohol. You will take me and these boxes up there or I will call someone who will! He asked why?! I said “Oh, you don’t remember last night? You “broke in” here and took the TV and the VCR and tried to rape me–tried to make it look like a break-in!”

He looked shocked. He didn’t remember any of it. I said “You are taking me up to Carol’s, then you are going to whatever pawn shop you used to hock the TV and VCR and bring them back here. You can have the TV since there’s one at Carol’s but the VCR is mine so you will bring it to Carol’s. He hung his head in resignation, said “Ok”, and put the boxes in his truck. I got in and we drove to Carol’s without a word between us.

Two days later, he brought the VCR to me and asked if there was anything else he could do for me. I firmly stated “Nope!” So he left. My next step was to find a job. I needed money to escape. What was I to do? I decided I would find something–anything–and I would save money and get out. Yep, that was the plan!

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Attempted Rape!

September 26, 2009

I woke up. A body was on top of me. There was duct tape over my mouth, more being placed over my eyes as I opened them.

I panic! Oh shit! What the hell??

Then I smell him. It’s Rick! I know the smell of my own husband.

As I try to open my mouth a corner of the duct tape comes off on one side of my mouth.

“What the fuck are you doing? Rick! What the hell??”

He jumps off of me and runs out of the house. I rip off the duct tape from my eyes and mouth and run to the window–Yep! There he goes! He’s running for his truck, jumps in and drives off. I yell out “You low-life son of a bitch!”

I look around the room. One of the windows was broken–I never heard it happen–I sleep like the dead. He most likely did it with a glass cutter and pushed it in as the cut glass edges were too perfect. The television and the VCR are gone. My guess is he needed drug money, decided to hock the TV and VCR at the pawn shop, but wanted it to look like a robbery/rape done by someone else.

I went back to bed, shaking so badly. I got back up and poured myself a glass of wine, took it to bed with me, and contemplated my next move.

This was it–THE END!! I couldn’t live like this anymore. I was a nervous wreck, the anxiety was causing health problems for me, my heart was racing most of the time. I was headed for a stroke or a nervous breakdown. I had to get out, get away from him.

But, how?

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Losing Another Friend

September 19, 2009

I had been taking care of Carol for a few months when, one morning, I received a call from her daughter Nancy. Carol had fell the night before and had broken her hip. She was in the hospital. Nancy met me at the top of the road and we drove in to see Carol.

She looked so frail, so helpless, but still had her ever cheerful smile and great sense of humor. I visited her nearly every day for weeks as I was allowed the use of her little pick-up truck.  I went up to her house every day and fed her cats and kept a fire going in the woodstove as this was during the early part of winter.

One day, her son from Georgia called me and said he would be moving her to his home as soon as she was healed enough to make the move. He felt she needed full-time care and he could afford to have someone come in for that but he wanted her with him.

I went to see her on the day she was leaving the hospital. We were both sad at her leaving. Her farm had been her life for 50 plus years and she knew no other lifestyle but that. But, with her ever optimistic view, she saw this as an adventure and was ready to go to Georgia. We said our goodbyes, then her son spoke to me about keeping up with the house and the care of the cats. Nancy, would be getting the cats later to live with her but he wanted me to keep the house warm so the water pipes didn’t freeze, and to keep it dusted. I said I’d be happy to do that for her and I would not except payment. It’s what good neighbors do.

So, I continued with the upkeep of her house which turned out to be a good thing. The house would be my living quarters very shortly thereafter………..

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It’s All Your Fault!!

September 13, 2009

Rick’s drinking increased steadily over the first weeks of my taking care of Carol. He was moody, very grumpy. I tried my best to stay in the background and stay quiet so as not to escalate his mood and make things bad for myself.

One afternoon, I came home from Carol’s and Rick was already home from work. He said they ran out of materials and couldn’t continue work until tomorrow. I suspected why he was sent home as his words were already slurring.

I said that, in a way, it was nice he was home early as maybe he could catch up on the fence repairs and maybe chop more wood for this winter. Big mistake!!!!

He came totally unglued–ranting and raving–throwing things around.
“It’s all your fault! You brought us here! You’re the reason I have to work so hard on this place plus working the job!”

WHAT???? WHAT??? HE is the one who told me he wanted to homestead! HE is the one who talked of it constantly! HE is the one who was so depressed and mad at the world because he didn’t have his own land. HE is the one who wanted to build our dream home!

Did he think I loved living this way? Did he think I loved all the hard work  I had to do, too?
Sure, I met the owners. Sure, they offered us the place. But it was HIS ultimate decision that got us here!

I was mortified. angry, shaking my head in disbelief! How dare he!!

We had quite a screaming match over the subject, then the subject changed to how I was neglecting him to take care of Carol. Uh, you’re at work when I’m at Carol’s! “Well, I wasn’t at work today!”
That’s not MY fault you drunk bastard!!

He got in his truck and drove off. Good! I hope he wraps that damn truck around a tree, too!!

Pretty sure it’s all gonna be downhill from here!!

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