Call me Ishmael. Ah, that’s another story.
It was 1955 when I was conceived by a teenage couple along the railroad tracks. Dad was 19, mom was 16. They were poor, and work seemed more rewarding than schooling. I was born to them on Jan. 3, 1956 in a small town where my Dads mother lived. We all lived there and we were happy. Even without the amenities of electric or running water. We had an outhouse where you walked across the garden to get there, and the wipe was rough. I remember using old phone books and the old Sears books. Although we didn’t have a phone, somehow they got the phone books.
In 1957 my brother was born.
Before the time I started school we moved to an apartment in the small town of Denver. Where mom say’s I ran away one time on my tricycle, she said I went to Grandma’s house. We lived there a short time before we moved to the outskirts of town in the country, where we could have animals. Dad would breed Beagles and train them for hunting. I would put them in baby doll dresses and spoil them. Dad would grumble when he’d see me do this. The dogs were kept outside in pens and dog houses, Sometimes I would crawl in there to hide. Fleas move over, I’m coming in.
My family has always been into fishing, hunting and trapping, Dad would take me along in the dark mornings to check the traps. He trapped Muskrats mostly and sometimes Coons and Fox. I was fed a diet of wild game until the age of 8 when we started buying meat from the butcher. Pheasant, Rabbit, Deer and Fish, Squirrel’s, Pigeons and Doves, were the main staples before I was 8.
Just Before 5th
grade, we moved into town again. This is where the downfalls began. There were 3 bars in town, and Dad would visit them frequently. And then some, all the surrounding clubs in the area. He didn’t come home much anymore and when he did, he wasn’t very pretty. Sometimes with black eyes, bloody nose and knuckles. Mom would always keep supper warm for him anyhow. And she kept me busy by putting me in Girl Scouts and Baton twirling. This is something I stuck with. Girl Scouts for 20 years, and Baton for 13 years.
Sometimes he would come home with a dog that somebody didn’t want, I remember the Hungarian Vizsla, mini Dachshund, Boston Terrier, Brittney Spaniels, Cocker Spaniel and a raft of Heinz 57’s. He even brought home wounded wild life, a red fox and a great horned owl. All of which I was left to feed and take care of. Needless to say, I grew up Tomboy. Now days it’s just called sportsman or outdoorsman. Fishing, hunting and trapping were part of my heritage.
Along came the dreaded teenage years, awful, simply awful. Dad did not approve of me growing into a young woman and the drunken abuse began with lots of belt whippings. I’ll never forget hiding in my bedroom every report card day. I knew I’d get what he called a licking; it was the belt he was wearing. I remember one time getting sent home from school with welts up and down my back and legs. Thanks a lot school. By the time I turned 15 all hell had broken loose and I started to hate my home life with a vengeance. Hold ME down will you? I don’t think so! So as life would have it, by the time I was 16, I had too much freedom because they could not stand to have me in the house any longer, and I couldn’t stand it there either. As fate would have it, at the age of 16 Kevin was conceived in a tree house. I just wanted to die. How could this happen? We all know how it happens. Anyhow, in my senior year, dad made me quit school so I must go to work to pay for the medical care I would need. All of my checks were turned over to my parents. Kevin was born in May of 1973, a month late. Things had gone from bad to worse at home. The physical and emotional abuse was more than anyone could bear. The neighbors and what they might know seemed more important than what was going on in the house; it was always, “what would the neighbors say”? Are you kidding me? They all could hear the beating and drunken dad moaning and crawling up the alley every week. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I came home to find the locks changed and nobody home. My clothes were on the curb. They had taken Kevin and kicked me out. I hated them, hated, hated, hated, 17 and on my own. I had a job and my one and only check that I got to keep. Ok, I got to do something in a hurry. I was homeless now and needed a place to stay. How, where? A girl friend took me to an Inn in the next town and I got an efficiency apartment to pay by the week. It was on the third floor of a bar. Great huh? I eventually got thrown out of there for bouncing a check because I was really poor at managing my money. I lived here and there in the area but never long at anyone place because I went through jobs like I went through underwear. I decided to put myself through some school, Interior Design correspondence.
In 1975 I had been laid off from a Kitchen Cabinet place and had a friend who was going to visit a friend in California. Heck yeah, I’ll go along, so he bought a Comet for $200 and off we went 2 days before Memorial Day. We had a devil of a time getting there. The car needed a quart of oil every 100 miles. But we did make it there, and in 3 days. Portersville CA. I was on an adventure at the ripe age of 19. It didn’t take me long for trouble to find me. The people we stayed with were just as nuts as the folks I was running from. The couple owned an ice cream business that would sell to the labor camps every day in the citrus orchards. After a day’s work we would hit a bar. One night we came home and the wife accused the husband (who is old enough to be my much older dad) of having an affair with me. Oh man, somebody just shoot me! No really! She gets the shot gun out and he dares her by getting the shells out for her, in the meantime I’m running between the gates outside guarded by a junk yard dog. Ok I am so outta here. My brother was to graduate in a week and I decided to go back home, all this in a two week period. And oh yeah, I had my period to take along with me as I had to hitch hike back home alone. So I get a ride to route 66 with $10 in my pocket and proceed to head home with the initials N.J. taped on the side of my foot locker. I got one hell of a story to go along with that adventure too. But by now, I’m sure I’ve lost some of you already. So I make it back to PA., and my brothers’ graduation. 3 day hitch hike.
My parents hate me. They don’t let me see my son. My heart is absolutely broken. My spirit is crumbling too.
This is where my first husband comes in. He’s born in England and is family oriented. Little did I know that what I really needed at this point in my life was a dog, not a husband? We were married less than a year when I found him lip locked with his little sister. Somebody just shoot me! Big fight! Big fight! Ok, so now I’m on my own again. I have lots of friends, but no family. I really need a dog, and my son.
I lived on my own fighting for my right to be with my son until 1979. My time was coming. Finally we got to spend time together.
In June of 1979 I met a really cool down to earth mountain man that loved music, gardening, and me. I had my fishing, hunting, and gardening with him, my puppy that I wanted, a black lab I named Fannie. We traveled all over the place. Fished in Canada 30 days a year for 10 years. We even welcomed my dad and mom into our home.
I took violin and fiddle lessons and we were making bluegrass music. Life was good. ( insert jaws music here) then 1988 rolled around. What the hell was I thinking? Could it be, I was bored? Noooooo… say it isn’t so…. I WAS BORED!
In 1989 I met a very attractive man, now my husband and he wanted to have babies, hey that sounds like a great idea. My drive to stalk and eat my prey had vanished, and my clock was clanking loudly. So I moved in with him and life wasn’t always a picnic. But I knew I could fix him. Bahahah. I got pregnant at the warm age of 36, and 17 years apart from Kevin, Summer Daye was born and I was just the happiest stay at home mom, A Golden Retriever named Ginger and life was good.
Three months after Summer Daye was born, Brooke Lynn was conceived. Whoa mama, now we were talking. 38 years old and life begins. To earn extra money while the girls were little, I sold Avon for 8 years and tended bar for 5 years at night when Jay was at home. Jay’s a stone mason and always was, so in 1998 I started working for the company I’m with now. I’m an inspector and this is not my first time there. I worked for them in 1980-1982. They called me to come back. At this time we built our home we’re in now. Our beloved Ginger became ill with cancer and died with all of us around her on the kitchen floor one cold autumn night. It was pretty sudden, and she was 8.
In the meantime my son Kevin was in college in Hawaii for Marine Biology. When he turned 23, he dropped out, but stayed living there. He came for a visit and told me he was gay and HIV positive. My heart sank but I thought he can manage this with all the new meds they came out with. He seemed to accept it and would deal with it. He was so far away and I was not hearing from him much anymore, he became more secretive. It was hard to get ahold of him. Withdrawn and not to mention spiteful. He stopped taking the cocktails that would keep him alive, became paranoid and then homeless. Tried as I may to get him help, no one would help me help him without his own admission. Unless you are a danger to yourself or someone else’s life you’re not breaking the law. Helpless, I was really helpless.
In January of 2002, I got the call to come to Hawaii. My mom and I went. Kevin was in the hospital with parasitic phenomena. It's part of full blown AIDS, he left me the executor for his life. After all this, it was me who the doctors had to convince to turn his breathing machine off, that’s all that kept him alive. He looked into my eyes and we wrote notes back and forth to each other. On February 2, 2002 I let him slip away under mass quantities of drugs while the doctors turned off the machines. They say time heals all wounds, perhaps, but there’s always a deep scar.
Time has gone by and I knew I had always loved the Bulldog’s. Clown of canines. So hearing how high maintenance they were, I dug into the research, 7 year’s actually. I see an article in the local rag that someone was selling a bulldog for $600. I called hubs and said we’re going to just look, that night I brought Jack home. He isn’t pure English; his mom has some American in her. The girls went nuts with glee! Everybody’s heard Jack’s story, panic aggression, hates people. But we saved him, he was ours now. His previous owner came to visit one time, she held her young son over Jack and said ”the flesh, eat the flesh” what the hell? Get out of my house psycho.
In 2008 I bought a bulldog puppy and named her Dolly, I love Dolly. Summer was in Vet Tech School and use to take Dolly along with her on the days she would drive. Summer and I always wanted to breed Dolly. I took her to shows and that was okay, but I really wanted her to have a littler. That’s why I picked her.
On December 13, 2009 the police show up at my house, it was a Sunday morning. 4:30 am. I knew it wasn’t good. My world and my spark for life had been doused. Summer was killed instantly in a head on collision. I don’t know how I can finish this story, but I will.
I knew how badly Summer Daye and I wanted to have Dolly bred. So in September of 2010 I bred Dolly with BJ’s Winston. I knew I could not live through Christmas without the huge hole in my heart filled by loving and caring for my baby’s. Dolly was due the 26th
of November, but the 3 test the vet had taken kept saying come back in two day’s I said there can be no way that’s accurate. They also took x-rays and said there were 5 puppies in there. As luck would have it, the Sunday morning of November 30th
I’m awakened at 4 am., with Dolly in my bed grunting and her butt is pushing on my shoulder. What the heck? What the heck is this? Dolly is having her puppies. YIKES!!! Ok, I can do this, I’ve seen lots in my life, we can do this, call the emergency vet and no one is answering.
Summer honey, are you here with us? Do you see it? I know she was with me, I could feel her. I watched films and You-Tube, I seen how they do this. “Honey we’re having puppies” “Go to CVS and get me an aspirator” NOW! Dolly’s pushing and I’m going in there, pulling little puppies out of her. Every 45 minutes a new pup was born, it was like bringing life into my hands by rubbing and getting them to take the first breath. We made it!!! 11 puppies and all are healthy.
My life had new meaning; it will never be the same. I sold 8 of Dolly’s pups and kept 3, Griz, Peggy Sue and Scrimps. I have a full house of love to give.
This brings us to today. Who knows what this life will bring tomorrow?
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