Old Man Hillen

“Are you gonna pay for that gum?”

Phyllis and I turned to see Billy’s cheek bulging. His eyes got big and a stream of purple drool ran out of the corner of his mouth. The three of us stood horrified before Old Man Hillen, the proprietor of the Variety Store. It was obvious the sour old geezer took no prisoners where pilfering children were concerned.

“Spit it out.” Phyllis demanded, her face as hard as the old man’s. She hurriedly paid for our purchases as Billy and I beat her out the door. We knew there would be Hell to pay. Phyllis aligned herself with our parents and could be depended upon to report any infraction. This one was huge.

The situation was made more ominous since our business in the first place was the purchase of Mother’s birthday gift. The three of us had walked to the Variety Store after school. Mother was to pick us up. The wait seemed endless, knowing the catastrophe that was brewing.

“Billy Ray stole a piece of gum!” she exploded before she even got the car door shut. “Mr. Hillen made me pay for it!”

Mother was appalled. “Oh no. I hope you’re ashamed of yourself. I’m gonna have to tell your daddy about this.” A pall hung over us, dreading what was to come.

Justice was swift and sure. Daddy was enraged as he railed at Billy, before strapping him with his belt, then pausing before giving him a few more. Worse yet was the pronouncement that they’d be going back tomorrow for Billy to apologize and make it right. It was a terrible night at our house. No one escaped Daddy’s black mood.

Daddy was waiting for Billy when the bus ran, always dependable when punishment was due. He led the small boy into the Variety Store and announced to Mr. Hillen, “My son has something to say to you.”

Humiliated, Billy managed to stammer an apology.

Rather than accepting Billy’s apology, the hateful old man launched into a tirade against thieving kids and the way sorry parents were raising them. Daddy was infuriated and told him they’d made it right and he wasn’t listening to anymore of his mouth. They left. We never went back in that store.

Right in the Mouth

I never expected to be the kind of mother who’d hit her sweet child in the mouth but I was, totally unintentionally! I was a registered nurse on call for emergency acute hemodialysis.  One Sunday night, I got a call just about the time the kids were headed to bed.  I told Bud what was up and headed for the car.  Unbeknownst to me, my young son, John, had also heard the call and thought it would be fun to scare me.  Just as I settled in my car for the drive, somebody screamed and grabbed me from behind.  By reflex, I slammed a backhand connecting with teeth.

John yelled for sure that time, as shocked as I was.  He hadn’t taken the fight or flight response into consideration, never expecting his mother to attack.  We both felt awful but I didn’t even have to discuss not pulling that stunt again.



Two Roads Part 14

img_1697Over the next few years, their brood grew to include seven.  The boys were tall and strong, a lot of help to Eddie, so he didn’t need Neeley’s help so much.  A stern taskmaster, he was apt to take his belt to the boys should they dally.  When Will, their third son was about eight, he was given the task of planting corn as his older brothers made up the rows on either side of him.  The rows seemed to stretch on forever and his back ached with bending and planting four kernels per hills ten to twelve inches apart. He fell further and further behind.  Desperate to catch up, he buried a big pile of seed in one hill and caught up to his brothers.  It rid him of so much of the accursed seed, he repeated the process up and down the rows, finishing up in time with the rest.  He thought no more about it, glad to be done with the onerous task of planting.  Several evenings later, Eddie went out one bright moonlit night to check to see if his corn had sprouted late that afternoon.  Indeed it had, but not all in rows like he expected.  Big clumps of corn sprouts stood in patches up and down the rows.  Infuriated, he knew immediately what Will had done.  He strode toward the house, determined to set the boy straight.  In their exhaustion, the three boys had gone to bed immediately after supper.  Eddie stomped into the room snatching the covers back from the sleeping boys and started beating them with his belt. Though Will got the worst of it, the other boys suffered welts, too.  Neeley heard the screams from the kitchen and burst in to stop Eddie.  In his fury, he didn’t seem to notice her.  Neeley ..  got the fireplace poker and got between him and the boys, beating him about the shoulders. Finally, she stood him off.  Threatening to crack him over the head, she assured him she’d kill him if she had to. In the face of her ferocity, he backed down, putting himself on one side of a wall and herself and the kids on another.  This was repeated several times over the next few years, made worse as the boys’ hormones kicked in and Eddie aged. Neeley wondered if his meanness was due to his head jury or his nature.  It could have been a combination since Eddie had learned violence at he hands of his own father, many years earlier.

Eddie didn’t deal a lot better with the girls.  As they entered  puberty, he suspected them of all manner of misbehavior.  Always on the lookout for trashiness, they couldn’t smile at a boy without inciting his anger.  In view of Eddie’s violent tendencies, Neeley  always lined up on the side of her children, creating anger on both sides.  As Neeley became more defensive, the boys became more undisciplined.  Neeley had the girls firmly under control, determined they not be led astray as she had been.  Though Eddie never voiced it, Neeley feared he’d make reference to her dalliance before their marriage. Like any mother, she wanted her children to hold her in high regard. It was an uncomfortable situation.  Not only that, fearing more pregnancies, Neeley refused to have sex except immediately before or after her “curse,” increasing the tension between them.


Maniac in the Wilderness

Bill and mother
I don’t know how my baby brother Bill ever survived my mother’s brutal abuse. When he was only a tiny lad of eighteen, he was six feet four inches tall. I think the fact that she wasn’t even acquainted with five feet added to his raging hormones gave him a feeling of superiority. While I won’t say he had a smart mouth, I will allow it was extremely well-educated. I am sure they only reason my mother hadn’t already killed him was because she hated to go to prison and leave her younger daughters motherless. It certainly wasn’t because the thought hadn’t crossed her mind at least a thousand times a day since puberty attacked him and her by proxy.

Anyway, on occasion, they had to travel places alone together. It was a misery to both. It didn’t help that the car was a tiny Volkswagon Beetle. It’s always worth a person’s time to stop and watch a huge guy unfold himself and crawl into or out of a Beetle, a pleasure Bill dreaded providing mirthful onlookers. It didn’t improve his mood on arrival, a mood already blackened with inevitable conflict he’d shared with Mother.

At any rate, on this particular day, they started home with Bill driving. According to Mother, he was driving like a maniac: driving too fast, following too closely, cutting people off. I have no doubt this was true. It was his typical manner. She insisted he slow down. He crept along at ten miles an hour, hoping that was slow enough to please her. She’d finally had enough, telling him to pull over. She’d drive. He critiqued her driving as soon as she started. “Speed up! Don’t ride the clutch! Change Gears!”

Finally, she’d had enough. She pulled over. “Get out!” Delighted, he hopped out, thinking she’d come to her senses and wanted him to drive. She drove off and left him standing on a country road, thirty miles from home. She enjoyed the rest of the peaceful drive. At home, Daddy wanted to know where Bill was. “I left him somewhere close to Bossier City.”

Daddy was shocked she’d left the little fellow all alone in the wilderness. “Well, You’d better go get him! It’ll be dark soon!”

“You go get him if you want to! I don’t care if he never gets home!”

Daddy was a lot better at giving orders than taking them, but he jumped in his truck to rescue his precious son and heir. Billy met him at the end of the driveway, brought home by a Good Samaritan. He’d somehow survived his abandonment but I think he still drives like a maniac. I don’t think he and Mother voluntarily ride together till today

See attached picture if you care to put out APB on either

Lissy’s Heartbreak

Lissy, a tiny black-haired girl came to Vacation Bible School with her cousin Judy the summer I was ten.  I immediately warmed to her, though she was so shy she’d only talk to her cousin.  She and her mother had come to spend the summer with her Uncle Joe and his family.  I didn’t see Lissy again until August when Mother spent a few days in the hospital delivering my youngest sister. 

Lissy was Mother’s roommate.  I was almost totally ignorant of anything to do with sex, having only accrued a bit of misinformation at that point, but I did catch on that there was a big secret about Lissy.  I overheard Lissy’s mother talking to the doctor, “She wouldn’t start, and she wouldn’t start, but when she finally did, she wouldn’t stop.”

Lissy was crying and wouldn’t answer the doctor’s questions.  I never saw her again.

Mother sent me out before I heard any more.  I felt bad for Lissy, but was intrigued.  Knowing I’d learn nothing more, I sequestered that information in my mind, hoping I’d understand later.  Long after I was grown, I remembered to ask Mother about it.  She remembered well.  Little Lissy had suffered a miscarriage and was admitted with massive blood loss.  She was only eleven.


“Spontaneous Combustion” or “Because I Love You”

Warning:. Post may trigger persons who have been victims of abuse.imagePop..pop..pop..pop..pop..pop..pop…the percussion of Daddy’s belt flying out of his belt loops would have brought me out of a coma. Of his various approaches to discipline, “Spontaneous Combustion” was my specialty and the one I experienced most, being both clumsy and a smart mouth. Things could be rocking along just fine till someone – usually me – broke a dish, made a smart remark, or embarrassed Daddy.   Though I never set out to be “smart-alecky”, I could always count on my big mouth.  What I thought was funny, didn’t always amuse him. I carefully memorized jokes, even if they were way over my head, to tell at just the right moment. My judgment of the right moment was poor, such as when we had the preacher’s family over to Sunday dinner and I told loudly a joke I’d overheard on the school bus.  Continue reading

Who Profits from Child Abuse?

Re logged from Artby Robert Goldstein. We must speak for children

Art by Rob Goldstein

Flyers san Francisco
Anger is a powerful and potentially cleansing emotion.

Or it can make one feel so sick with self loathing that it expresses itself in para-suicidal behaviors.

Anger wants to know why it’s there…

Nothing in the present justifies this degree of anger.

And the truth remains too horrible to fully contemplate.

So the anger scrutinizes Second Life or Flickr, or my partner, or former co-workers, or some emotionally numb accountant that crunches numbers at an HMO for a living and who has already lost his soul to fear.

None of the above is toxic enough to incite the enraged sense of injustice that lodges in my heart as an adult survivor of childhood rape.

The rape of a child is a moral offense so grave that it corrupts everyone involved, including the child, who must distort his perceptions of reality to accommodate the attempted homicide of his soul.


View original post 441 more words

Auntie Linda Reaches Out To Anna Duggar

Auntie LindaimageI wish I had had the opportunity to reach out to Anna Duggar and young women like her before they are sadly misguided by their parents, churches and future in-laws into oppressive, early marriages rather than being encouraged to develop as fully functioning members of society.  Anna’s parents additionally betrayed her by sanctioning her marriage to a man they knew had already molested his sisters and others.  They should have told her to run, not walk!  It is an outrage to deprive women of education and opportunities in the name of Godliness. Women who are already in this situation will surely need help and support to make a life outside their church and family. Though Josh Duggar has admitted to being addicted to pornography and having committing adultery, and well as child molestation, Anna has to be facing tremendous from her parents, in-laws, church and friends to “stand by her man” where her role is to assume a portion the guilt of a straying spouse, supporting him in his weakness.  If only she’d been more supportive, listened better, been a better lover………  Likely, Anna feels she has no skills, despite her years of mothering ang managing a home, feeling she can’t support the children alone.  I challenge Anna to look at the children she brought into the world; children she is responsible to protect at all costs.  They deserve a life free of perversion and shame.  Should Anna decide to bravely make the decision to protect her children, she can change things for children at risk for abuse everywhere.

Spilt Milk, Broken Dishes, and Trashy Girls

True 2 True confessions

Spilt milk or broken dishes were reason a’plenty to cry when I was a kid. Daddy was highly volatile. Nothing shattered his nerves like a broken dish. Life with him was like walking a delicate precipice. Catastrope could strike without provocation: milk spilled at breakfast, the crash of shattered glass, the shrill shriek of a child. Even when things were going their best, any startling or embarrassing incident could end in a conflagration with Daddy taking his belt to the unfortunate instigator and descending into an anger that could last for days.  Early on, we all learned we needed to keep Daddy happy.  He doted on babies and toddlers, but rowdy children with opinions and boisterous behavior easily triggered his thunderous disapproval. Talking too much was a sure way to blunder into trouble. I invariably repeated a joke or word I didn’t understand, much to my sorrow. Failure to be circumspect ensured punishment. Nothing triggered him faster than shame. He intended for his children to reflect well, never subject to the possibility of criticism, justified or not. He only had to suspect a behavioral rule for modest female behavior to exist for it to become law. For us older girls, that meant no shorts, no public swimming, no dancing, no talking to boys, or dating until sixteen. Fortunately for my younger sisters, the road to Hell was not so broad. The worst thing we could have done was “trashy” behavior, namely promiscuity. Drinking and smoking were too far beyond the pale to ever enter the conversation.

“Trashy” girls ran around with wild boys, smoked, drank, danced, skipped school, cursed, talked back, and of course, had sex. It was understood they were an abomination not to be tolerated. I had cousins who were “trashy” long before I knew the specifics of what it involved. I just knew Cousin Carly’s boyfriend honked the horn at the street. She ran right past my shouting aunt, jumped in the car, and the boy spun out. She stayed out late, smoked cigarettes, slipped out when grounded. She got a speeding ticket driving her boyfriend’s car sixty miles from home on a school day. There was no way this way going to end up any way but badly. Of course, she dropped out of high school.

Not long afterward, Aunt Lou announced Carly had married an Air Force guy. Nobody ever saw him. Carly had a baby. Aunt Lou went to the Air Force Base and got Carly a divorce one day while Carly was working at the Firestone Plant. Carly couldn’t get the day off. Shortly thereafter, Carly married Phil, had two more children, and became as dull as mud. Thereafter, her life was entirely unremarkable except for the excellent example of how “trashy” girls behave. Thank you, Carly.