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I grew up in the Fort Green projects in Brooklyn New York. Parents were on welfare and spent every cent on the horses hoping to win the big one.
We had nothing..I remember going to school wearing the same dress for three months without it ever being washed. Our food was always the same dish..White rice and fried chicken wings. I had to join gangs to survive or have to fight for my rights
My aunt, uncle and grandmother were the only ones who would buy us clothes and toys on Christmas and birthdays. Our parents would find a way to return them to the stores to get money back. I remember going to school wearing the same dress for three months without it ever being washed. It was a yellow dress with a big ruffle at the bottom and ladybugs of red and blue stamped all over. Our food was always the same dish..White rice and fried chicken wings. Growing up in a tough neighborhood I found that while my parents where robing me blind I was not going to let anyone else do that. I joined a gang and used that to vent my anger. I was a bully with a bad temper.
My grandmother had high hopes for me and my parents took advantage of that. She paid so that I could go to singing and dance classes. My parents had high hopes of me being rich and famous and them having a lot of money.
By 1960, I had quit school and had gotten a full time job so I could save some money to go to cosmetology school, but found that in order for my parents to stay on welfare, I had to sign my check over to the investigators that handled our welfare case (or so they told me). In turn, I would get bus and lunch money for all my hard work. I started to walk to work ( for two years. In winter and summer) and not buy lunch (I never had any anyway), this way I could save the money to go to cosmetology school. After two years, my parent found that I had this money saved, they gave me a hard luck story about my brother needing the exact same amount I had saved to be able to pay a ticket or go to jail. I never questioned them and believed everything they told me. I never receive the money back nor went to school.
In 1962 I found religion.
My gangster friends were so impressed that I was able to prove my beliefs by showing them from the bible.(at that time the masses were said in Latin and few people had read the bible) I had no problems getting out of the gangs because of this.
I was 18 when my aunt took me to a picnic. There I met Fred.
Fred and I started dating after a while, it got to the point where we were making out and petting. I did know that Catholicism frowned on penetration. So, there was none of that.
He decided that we needed to get married. I thought about it but some things gave me doubt. Like he made me pay for everything while out on a date and kept large amounts of my money.
After a while I tried to get advice from his brother because I had doubts about the wedding. His brother got mad (I don’t want to know anything) and started to yell at me. When I confronted Fred, he threatened to tell everyone about us petting. I thought about how my aunt , uncle, grandmother, mother, father & little brother would react if Fred ever told them we had petted.
But..I thought I was so stupid and ugly that I would never find anyone else.
In 1964 I married, Three months after that I was expecting. In the winter of 1969, I was 8 months pregnant when he kicked me off the bed to the floor at 2am because I did not feel like having sex. I arrived at 3:30 am at my grandmothers house in Brooklyn.
By 1969 I had three children and wanted to have my own pocket change. I started the first 7 days a week 24 hour a day, all age, learning care center. People waited on a list to get their children in. My way of advertising was by making flyers and asking shop owners if the would let me tape these flyers to their windows.
But no one . . . no one knew what was really happening behind clothes doors
Bob called Fred while we were living in N.Y. and told him about Texas, where they were now living. He talked about how good the weather was and not cold like New York. He said that he would help Fred find work and housing. So, off we went. Bob Wolfe and Fred had always been best friends.
With a moving van and our dog Goldie, we packed all our things and moved to Texas.
In 1979 I became a lay midwife and open up the "HomeBirth Clinic" and delivered almost 700 babies at home. I did my own prenatal, lab work and taught Bradley classes. I would have from 8 to 10 births a month. Then the laws changed in Texas and it required midwives to get registered. I qualified for this but two years latter laws changed again and midwives had to go to school in another state. My husband would not allow it. So, that was the end of that.
We also did not making the money that we made while living in N.Y. Depressed took over him. He would go to his room and slept all day.
I was the perfect wife and he was my god. I never wanted to displease him. I was like one of the children. I did everything without his help. Everything. Except, I was not to know how much was in the bank, how to make a check out , how to pay a bill or how to drive.. .
One cold winter day before going to school, Glen got too close to the gas heater trying to get warm. The back of his coat and pants caught fire. He never told anyone and went to school that way. When he got home from school he told his older sister, Lisa. She had to soak his skin in a bath tub with his pants on to get the fabric off the burn skin. When Fred found out that Glen had ruined his coat The paddle was used on him until he bleed all over the floor. There were times the kids would throw up from the pain and get beat some more for doing this. He worked eight hours a day and the rest was congregational responsibility. He would give large contributions to the church and take our food money to give to women in the church when their unbelieving husbands would not give them money. He would bounce other children on his knees while his own watched. One time they asked me, "Mommy . . . why doesn’t daddy do that to us?" He never talked with us unless it was time to study or except for the beatings. We had a bread board that was used on the kids. He would use the bible for forty-five minutes to an hour before the beatings began. Sometimes I had to leave the house because of the screams and begging of the children when they were beaten. Something that would haunt me for the rest of my life and scare all three children for the rest of theirs.
I never intervened because this must be the way it’s supposed to be and there was no way that he could be wrong.
It was the summer of 1979 when I decided to get a job. It was three miles away and they gave me a split shift. So I walked back and forth four times a day to get to work and still had to prove that I could keep up with all the work at home and still have the energy to have sex. But when I got home from work the kids where crying and at the end of the week I had to hand him the pay check Again, I was left without money.
I then started to clean houses and businesses. I did so well that he was able to quit his job and help me. As the business got bigger he had the kids come in to help clean. The office cleaning started after eleven PM until about four AM. Even though the kids had to be in school at 7:45 AM. They still had to work. When my oldest wanted to quit the job (she was 13) He took her to the police station and asked them to arrest her. They laughed. He finally had to hire people. He hired so many so he wouldn’t have to work that he had to ask the company for more money. He did this three times before they found someone else who was cheaper to do their cleaning.
I often felt that he didn’t love me and once brought it up with Brother Wolfe (Tio) He would say, "Of course he loves you. You two are the perfect couple. Why shouldn’t he love you?" But I still cried myself to sleep night after night.
Eight month later, my baby brother and mother were on vacation in Florida when they were in a car accident. An eighteen wheeler semi stuck their car three times and trough their car into a raven. All went to the hospital for a long while. It was touch and go for my mother. It was a night mare. The clothes that they had in suit cases for the trip went down a raven with the car that was hit. All the possessions in N.Y. were lost or stolen while they were in the hospital and all they had was the clothes on their back that was wet, torn and blood soaked
Our Mother recovered and friends and family contributed money for them to come to Texas. Their story was in the local news papers and Wichita Falls welcomed them by contributing food, furniture and clothes.
I was the perfect wife, mother. The house, kids and husband were always spotless. Even the things put in the garbage was spotless. I was obsessed trying to making him love me. I decided to pioneer. This would make him love me. After all, he always compared me to Polly Malone. A lady in our congregation. "And what a wonderful person she is. Why oh why couldn’t I be just like her?" He would say.
Once I asked him if he loved me...I had asked many times before and he would say, “Of coarse I do.” This time I asked, "Do you love me?" His reply was, "I’m trying." I remember a big pause on my part before I said, "Trying?" The feelings I had always had were finally confirmed. My heart dropped as my gloom set in. After all these years I. Finally knew. As I went to the bed room to cry, he followed me in and told me that he married me for the wrong reasons. He told me that never loved me but we could not get a divorce because we had children and neither of us had committed adultery . . . "Right...right?"... he asked. Trying to get me to admit I had. I said, "No." Little did I know that these words would be repeated over and over again until he got the answer he wanted. He would do hateful things so that I would give out, but I never did. There were even charges of child abuse because the kids would show up for school with sprained arms, legs in casts, hair chunks pulled out. Then, Fred would leave for weeks. No one knew where he was but the kids would be relieved. He would come home and say the words I had gotten use to hearing over and over for the past sixteen years. He’d say, "You know I don’t love you but neither of us can get a divorce unless one of us has committed adultery . Right..right ?" He would be angry and again the cycle would start with the child beating.
Only while at church would he put his arm around me or hold my hand. While at home he would point his finger very close to my face and remind me that I didn’t know anything. AND I knew that...and he made me believe that .
Then I started to clean houses and businesses. I did so well that he was able to quit his job and help me. As the business got bigger he had the kids come in to help clean. The office cleaning was after eleven PM until about four AM. Even though the kids had to be in school at eight Am. They still had to work. When my oldest wanted to quit the job (she was 13) He took her to the police station and asked them to arrest her. They laughed. He finally had to hire people. He hired so many so he wouldn’t have to work and ask the company for more money. He did this three times before they found someone else to do their cleaning.
I often felt that he didn’t love me and once brought it up to my uncle. He would say, "Of course he loves you. You two are the perfect couple. Why shouldn’t he love you?" But I still cried my self to sleep night after night.
I was the perfect wife, mother. The house, kids and husband were always spotless. Even the things put in the garbage was spotless. I was obsessed trying to making him love me.
He would do hateful things to make me so that I would give out, but I never did. There were even charges of child abuse because the kids would show up for school with sprained arms, legs in casts, hair chunks pulled out. Then, Fred would leave for weeks. No one knew where he was but the kids would be relieved. He would come home and say the words I had gotten use to hearing over and over for the past six years. He’d say, "You know I don’t love you but neither of us can get a divorce unless one of us has committed adultery . Right..right. . have we?" He would be angry and again the cycle would start with the child beating.
Everyone thought it was a fairytale marriage. I never spoke to anyone. We were the perfect couple and I would receive the wrath of Khan if I would ever tell. Then he’d say, “Just because I don’t love you..it doesn’t mean that you have to stop loving me.” Another stab to my heart. But I couldn’t tell anyone.
Our kids were the ones who suffered in silence. Little did I know that by NOT interfering I would cause a butterfly effects.
After the sixteen year, I was the one to break.
1980 brought an end to a sixteen year old marriage. This was the year that changed all our lives.
At church we sat and ate lunch with this couple and their son. He was about 2 yrs older than Lisa, my oldest daughter and I thought that Lisa and him would be good for each other. So, I encouraged the friendship. It was something like...You bring home a present for your child but they only want to play with the box.
He was very interested in her but she just wanted to be with her girl friend. I tied to encourage her but she was not interested.
Then it became MY fantasy. She would allow me to read his letters to her and listen in to phone calls. I got addicted. It was like a soap opera to me and since I didn’t have a life...I entered into hers.
He would often call me to get advice about his situation with her so we had lengthy talks on the phone at night.
All the while Fred was acting strange. He would leave town for weeks and never even call. He’d come home and ask,”I never loved you but we have kids and we cannot get a divorce because neither of us has committed adultery”..and this are the words I heard over and over,”and neither of us have committed adultery..Have we...have we?”
We would all be so happy because we were going to go to the park and have a picnic...The kids and me got everything together. As always..never any participation or help on Fred’s part.
We’d get to the park. I’d light the grill and place the meat on it. While the kids took all the ready made food out and put it on the picnic table...For more than an hour Fred disappeared. When he showed up he’d say, “OK lets pack it up we’re leaving.” I’d say, “But we haven’t eaten and the kids are hungry.” “Pack it up!” We could tell he was angry so we never questioned him. Once we got home, Marc was waiting and when he heard what happened he took us all out to a restaurant . We know when Fred got mad who he would take it out on.
Then one night while everyone was asleep we sat and talked about each others problems. He would comfort me and I would comfort him. One night we got involved. This became my addiction. I tired to discourage him but he was always there.
After all my indevers to discourage what was happening, I finally started feeling guilty. I told my uncle. He asked me if I knew that this was grounds for divorce . . . I was relieved. (I didn’t know that petting without penetration was scriptural grounds) I realized that was tiered of crying and didn’t want to get old, die and never know what it was like for someone to ever love me. .
Fred came home from one of his long trips and said same same words he had repeated so many times before.
"I don't love you...I have never loved you. We got married for the wrong reasons yet, we can't get a divorce unless one of us has committed adultery....I haven't...have you? With a shivering fear in my body, I answered, "You finally got what you have always wanted." First words out of his mouth was, "Who?"
Then was the meeting with the elders at the church...
Fred was allowed to interrogate me at the meeting. He asked me very intimate questions. It turned into a porn show with the questions they allowed him to ask me. Very, very personal and descriptive questions.
And,”NO” there was no penetration.
I was NOT kicked out of the church and Fred was not very happy about it.
For months he proceeded to stalk me. He had the neighbors on all sided spy on me. He claimed, it would be a lot easier for him to remarry if I had been kicked out of the church .
I didn’t know how to make a check out or how to drive. All I knew was how to cook, birth babies and clean house and how to, " remember that I didn’t know anything and that I was stupid and no one would ever love me." This is what I was told often in my sixteen years of marriage.
And he would not sign divorce papers unless I agreed that adultery would be put on the divorce papers. Also, that he would be able to claim the three children on his income tax.(I did not know anything about the UN-earned income money) I agreed. I had become very afraid of him.
1980 brought an end to a sixteen year old marriage filled with abuse. My three children encourage me to get the divorce and were happy when their father left and they could live without the fear of being beaten everyday. I did not know how to pay a bill, what to do in a banks.
I was left with, the car, the house...these had not been paid for. I still had to pay off the loan but he told everyone that he gave me everything.
I started a house cleaning business but Fred saw to it that I got fired. A friend taught me how to drive. I was able to get a grant and go to cosmetology school. Two payments before the car was mine, my ex- husband saw to it that it was repossessed since I was buying it from one of his friends, it was easy for him to do.
Even though I had never entered a bar or liquor store in my life a friend of my brother offered me a bartender job. Since I had no car and my children went to bed hungry, I had to take it. It was at a topless club. I never acquired a taste for alcohol or cigarets and never cursed ,I had a lot of comments on, "What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?". The owner would take me and bring me to work. No one liked him because of his illegal practices but I never, never had any problems with him. Vale paid me a full salary. Never cheated me out of a penny or asked me for gas money and never even implied anything indiscreet or indecent.
I made enough to buy a car. It had a clutch but I learned to drive it. When I decided to go to cosmetology school Fred volunteered to move into the house and take care of the kids since I went to school in the morning and worked at night.
I moved in to a small apartment. The kids would call me crying every day and I could not concentrate at work. I had a great Dane that was the kids pet and one night they called and told me that Fred had the dog taken away and put to sleep. The pet would not allow Fred to hit the kids. She would grab him gently by the wrist and pull him off. Fred told the Humane Society that the dog was violent. He told me, that he couldn’t afford to buy her food.
Then in the middle of the night there was a knock on my door. The kid were all there crying. Saying that Fred didn’t want them there anymore. The real reason was, he tried to look like a good father by helping when all he wanted was the state to make me pay child support to him.
The fact that he now realized he would have to pay me child support made him mad and spiteful. He tried to sell the house. He could not do it without my signature and for once I stood up to him and said, “No, I will not sign.”
I finished cosmetology school and got my license. Then one day a man who was doing promotional videos for the Osmonds, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones and other famous singers came in to get a manicure and offered me a job in his office as a receptionist. I made enough to support myself and my children and lead a respectful life. (even though I worked at a topless bar I was never asked to take my clothes off and the girls looked at me as a big sister who they could come to for advise.) I learned a lot from these girls but most of all was "Not to Judge. We have a saying in Spanish, "No one knows what's in the pot except the ladle that stirs things up." It loses something in the translation.
I had my electricity turned off and sometimes my gas and water but I told my kids that as long as we had a roof over our heads, we’d do all right. Many a times, I'd take things off the wall or go through the house selling my things to pay the mortgage. I couldn’t collect on child support or get food stamps because my ex warned me that if they found out he wasn’t paying child support, he would kick me and the kids out of "HIS" house and auction off all our belongings. So the food bank provided my butter, cheese, corn meal and chicken in a can And at the end of the year..he would get the unclaimed income that I was to be getting from the government.
Even though I was terribly afraid of heights, I did some roofing. I had never cursed or entered
Even after the divorce he had a hold on me. I had jobs where I would clean Big offices. These where good because the kids where asleep and I didn’t need to pay a sitter. He called everyone of them and told them I was using their office as a place to meet men and have relations with them. So they fired me from all of them. He would ask me where I was working and come to my job (restaurant) and sit there until it closed. Or call me and tell me to meet him on our lawn. When he’d get there, he would tell me to get in the car. I would and he’d take me in the ally and tell me that I would come back to him. He’d show me in the bible where it said I would. Then he had the man that was financing my car to repossess it so that I couldn’t go to work at all. He never paid the $33.33 per child that the child support agency him to pay and threatened to take the house and leave me and the kids on the street if I ever told anyone that he owed for chid support. I lost all my friends in N.Y. because of him telling them that I stole my daughters boyfriend and had sex with him. Also how I hurt him deeply and was trying to take all his money after he left everything to me.
1988 I met a man that brought up my self esteem. He became the wind beneath my wings. One year later, we were married.
Michael had a weird life also, from the time he woke up in the morning to the time he went to school, he would work in his stepfather store. He'd come from school to take over the store. He would stock it and keep the books. As he grew up, the only contact he had with people was through the store. He did not know how to converse and thought everyone was out to steal or cheat him. When he was old enough he bought his own store and worked it seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11 p.m.. Between that time he would buy supplies and stock the store. We met, started dating and later moved in with each other.
In the summer of 1989, while all the kids were out for summer vacation and playing outside, my aunt and uncle died as they lived. While out talking to people and preaching, a plane from Shepard air force base fell from the sky and killed them both. I watched the news while thinking, "All those people and children out and about and in all this destruction, only two people died. Now that's a miracle" Not even knowing that the two that had died were my aunt and uncle.
In the 90's out of necessity, my brother formed Trans-American Court Services. He did this so he could support himself while going to school.
In 1997 he decided to further his education by going to law school in Houston and tried to give me the company. At the time I didn’t think I could handle such a large responsibility since a year before I had been diagnosed with Alzheimer. I tried to find some one who would take it over but they felt the same and no one would take it over. Then I thought that if maybe things just didn’t happen to go the way it was supposed to or maybe if he decided to quit school, that at least he would have something to come back to if I took it over ..... For a while. I had a book that for a long time was like a part of my anatomy. It gave me step by step instructions on how to do the job.
In 2002 I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, auto immune, and ex-rays showed that it was not Alzheimer. It was a ruptured disc in my neck that was preventing blood and oxygen from going to my brain. When I was stressed the bulge would expand and caused me memory lost. Three surgeries took care of that plus Ginco. Just two months before this my brother called to tell me he had Diabetes type one.
2006 brought more illnesses. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and ischemic bowl disease. I had surgery on the cancer and go to get a sonogram every six months to make sure it hasn’t come back and it hasn’t.
2007 my brother became an attorney and I am so,so, proud of him. By then, Trans-American Had flourished. The secret...advertise, advertise, advertise.
My husband was able to quit his ten years of working in the sewers for the city and joined me. He does the Notary jobs, serves citation and is a Private Detective as well as working for the Federal Government and Attorney General. My daughter does the billing, video, notary and background and court searches. My nephew also does Notary and serving of citations. His wife does advertising, fills out and enters our applications. I answer the phones, do Notary, PR work and yell at everyone to do their jobs and stop piddling.
And, we did have some problems, and I did go to friends and they would help use solve them.
I know that I never deserved God’s blessing me the way he has these twenty.
Funny how history replays itself. My daughter in South Carolina told she tells me she's reliving my life.
The age of husbands dealing treacherously with their wives has come. Just so the world will see them as a perfect person.
Why did I write this? I have had so many friends...good friends, shun and be snooty with me who knew Fred. Don’t get me wrong..I would too. BUT if I learned anything in this life is that there are always...always..two sides to every story. And so many thought that Fred walked on water. He told our friends of how I hurt him. Left him penniless and called me many names. Down to the end he tried to turn my children against me. He did not do all of what he intended to do. My children to this day do not speck to him but I have lost many good friends in death that believed his story. It hurt to think that my best friends the Abrams, Abushanabs, Hadad died thinking I was such a bad person that they didn’t want me in their homes. But, in the long run I have lived to accept and even think I deserved it. After all I was not loyal to my God. Many women have gone through worse and still stayed with their husbands. But now as I look back on my life, I know God has forgiven me...I have been blessed. Over and over and I thank God and know that some day he will uncover everything and all will know what he did to us mentally and physically...but not forever
**Success is attained by: Enthusiasm, Dedication, Cooperation, Preparation, Organization, Communication, Honesty, Integrity, Reliability, EMPATHY for your fellow man but most of all good standing with God.
Jerry (my brother) and I share the same favorite song.
By: Tim Mcraw - Live like you were dying.