Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Shotgun Wedding

This chapter is a continuation from "My Scarlet Letter".

That summer I developed a crush on a guy named Jim and another guy named Jeff was interested in me. I have never verified this but I was told by a mutual friend that he was paid $50 to do and say what he did and said to both Jim and me.

I worked drive thru mostly. I was a runner and cashier. It did not matter who I was teamed up with, all of my teams had the best times. Yes, I think this counts as gloating! Anyway, my favorite team was Jimmy and I. There was electricity that flowed between him and I that was undeniable.

I imagine that is why Jeff devised the plan he did. Jeff had this dream of being in a rock and roll band and I always wanted to be a writer. Anyone who knew me for any length of time knew that about me. I was always writing. Poetry. Short stories. It didn't matter really. At home both Chris and Dad had made comments about how I was only going to amount to a girl who sat in a corner and wrote. I would do creative writing assignments for fellow classmates just for the challenge it provided me. Sick isn't it? Who desires more homework? Me! That's who. Anyway, I had offered to write some songs for him and his band. I guess Jeff liked me and wanted to take out the competition because according to our mutual friend Rick he had lied to me about Jim after being paid $50 by Jeff to do his evil deed. (This I found out later in life when Rick and I reconnected for a moment a few years down the road)

So the story goes. Jim had kissed me in the cooler the night before. It was amazing. The next day I was informed by Rick that Jim felt like I was throwing myself at him and he really wasn't interested in me. I was told he wished I'd stop flirting with him because he had a girlfriend in Noblesville. I was devastated. I decided to put up a wall of ice towards Jim that he never saw coming. When he went to Rick (our mutual friend) to inquire if he knew what was going on with me, Rick told him that I was not interested in him and felt pressured and wished he'd stop flirting with me. I was already in my "no attention" zone so Jim took his words as truth just as I had.

With Jimmy firmly out of the way, Jeff invited me over to his place to work on some of the lyrics "with the band" that I still had not met. When I arrived there it was just Jeff. He was 4 years older than me and quite seductive I must admit. While not yet resolved to sleeping with him, I began hanging out with Jeff more and more. I never did meet the rest of his band . . .

The summer was closing in on the start of school and I had discovered that my step-mother had gone to visit her sister in Kansas and would be gone for two weeks. She had always gotten in the way of my having a decent relationship with my father. All the way back to my early childhood . . . somewhere between 6 & 8 while visiting on a summer day, I suggested that an ice cream cone sure would help cool things off. Chris informed my father that I was attempting to "wrap him around my little finger and trick him into doing things for me and I must be stopped." This was done within earshot. All my life Chris mandated how close my relationship was with my father. With her gone I thought this would be my last chance to spend some honest quality time with my father without interference. I discussed this with my mom as I decided going back a week prior to school was what I wanted to do. The same day I went back Chris came back too. She had had a falling out with her sister.

Another school in Zionsville offered this "bring a friend to school day" on their first day. A friend of mine (Shelly) went to school there and she had invited me to go to with her for the first day in school. This was my junior year and the gist was back then when you were in your senior year you could decide where you wanted to go to school if you paid to go outside your zone. I was such a radical kid back then . . . I didn't smoke, I didn't do drugs, I didn't drink. I wasn't even participating in any sexual relationship . . . yet. I wanted to spend my day off work at a school! Whew! What a wild child I was.

When I approached my father with what I intended to do he told me no. Being more open mouthed after a summer with my mother, I questioned his decision. He told me I couldn't go because he did not know this friend. I suggested that while he may "know my friends" he didn't really know them and maybe he could just have a little faith in me. Things got a little hot and he asked me, "Why did you even bother to come back?" I looked at him and said, "To be honest I was told Chris was in Kansas and I was hoping to have some time with you without her." He called me a liar. I said, "You don't F*****g believe me, I'll call mom and you can ask her!" and I stomped to the phone. I grabbed it and marched to the table as he said, "What did you just say to me?" Being allowed to cuss openly over the summer had just got my rear in hot water. I knew what I'd said but I stated the following, "If you don't believe me, I'll call mom and you can ask her." It was too late. What happened next was far from pretty. He pushed me into a chair so hard I went head over heals right out of it. Before I had my bearings he was yanking me back onto my feet. I stared intently at the floor. He demanded that I look at him and being me I had to push it. "I refuse to look a maniac in the eyes." I replied. Again . . . not the wisest thing to say. Things went from bad to worse and as he tried pulling me down stairs out of view and earshot of my younger sister, Cady. Chris gave Tommy, my brother, instructions to bar Cady in her room and she walked around the corner as calmly as one could and said, "Okay that's enough, let's go downstairs and discuss this." No sooner than we got down the steps here came Cady. She was very upset and she demanded to know why my father was beating me up. He assured her he had not been beating me up . . . he explained that we were only dancing the way that the French people do. My baby sister is and was no fool. She is now in the profession of helping families with issues.

From that moment I welcomed my destiny and I went to Jeff and gave myself to him. As a matter of fact, I sought out Jeff every morning before school. I was confused after two months of this that I had not conceived my first child. I began thinking perhaps my destiny had been cancelled due to my outright spiting God and being angry with him over the last couple of years. I decided perhaps my life was my life after all and I needed a change. While discussing this with Jeff he informed me that he had  connections with someone who could give me a whole new identity. It would cost me $1000 but with that I could buy all I needed to become someone else. I began budgeting and saving more and figured I'd have that saved up before the end of November. We planned for me to make my final escape come Jan 6th. 1986.

You know what they say about the best laid plans . . .

Prior to Thanksgiving I came down with my annual tonsillitis. This time things had gotten really dangerous. Chris believed if my body was forced to fight off the illness without medicine it would become stronger. Unfortunately, I ended up running a dangerously high fever on the third day of being shut in my room. Chris had come down to check on me, as the story is told by Donna's father who she ran into at Westfield Pharmacy picking up my prescription. He told me she'd said, "Wendy was out of it so I slid the thermometer into her mouth." According to the story I sat up and spit the thermometer out and began yelling, "Turn the Page".' I had fallen out reading 'That was Then, This is Now' by S.E. Hinton. My fever in seconds had registered 105 and Chris who weighed maybe 115lbs at the time dragged me up a flight of stairs, got me in the car and drove an hour to her doctor in Tipton with the windows down. When we got there her doctor was off and I was seen by an alternate. I have never heard a doctor tear into an adult the way he tore into Chris. He threatened not only her but to also have her doctor pulled in front of the medical board if my tonsils were not removed. I got a shot of penicillin in my butt and my surgery was scheduled to take place right before Thanksgiving.

This slowed down my ability to stash money a little but it had not stopped me. I had the money required and was now working on funds to carry me until I found a job under my new identity.

Much to my dismay, my father and I ended up in another spat. This time in the car and over my clarinet. When he went to backhand me, I managed to get out of the way. My poor sister, who was in the middle, ended up getting my punishment for my smart mouth. I was horrified. That night I resolved to leave sooner than planned. I confided this in a notebook that Donna and I passed back and forth between classes. Somehow my plans to leave were shared with the new school counselor and she called me out of class into her office. I managed to convince her that I had no plans to leave. I explained to her that this journal was simply my way of venting. I told her I was under an immense amount of stress and had developed a bleeding ulcer. I begged her not to call my parents that day but to allow me to come back to school in the 5th period the next day with my real mother and with her there I would be open to a "family" meeting. I told her if she called today my parents would keep me from this doctor appointment to have me and my bleeding ulcer looked at. Lies. Complete lies. If Chris had gotten her hands on my journal, I'd have been hosed. That was the real truth. I told Donna I was leaving in the morning and she, for some odd reason, decided she wanted to go with me. I told her I'd be going over to the apartments Jeff had lived at and trying to catch a ride to catch another ride to French Lick. I was going to find Jeff and move ahead with my plan of purchasing a new identity. This was December 9th . . . almost a month ahead of schedule but I had more than enough money stashed to jump.

That night I took down my poems and journal that now spanned 3 of the 4 walls in my room from ceiling to 3' above the floor. I left one sign I'd made that stated, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone" as well as a poem that started out "Children and Parents, A match made in hell. When I escape, Things will be well." During the current school year, Chris had ransacked my room often so I put my diary on the wall. I knew she never even looked at what I had put up or we'd have had a talk. She did however stumble upon a decoy letter I'd left in my sock drawer one day. It was a prank letter. I started it out as if it were meant for a friend and just as it was getting juicy you had to turn the note over 1/2 way into the 2nd line my sentence changed to "Hey Chris! I hope you enjoyed this story. I ran out of time to finish!" I came home to my door off the hinges and I was grounded for a week. Well worth the price is how I viewed my punishment. I was being punished for creative writing in all honesty. She was mad about my pure evilness. As far as I was concerned, I had proven that she was indeed snooping in my room! She claimed she thought I'd somehow taken some of my sister's socks as the reason for finding the note. That in itself was hilarious to me as I had been doing my own laundry for the last couple of years! She and I both knew Cady's socks were not in my room.

I informed my brother that I was skipping school that next morning. I felt bad about leaving him without telling him what I was really doing but I couldn't risk him knowing my plan. I knew if he knew they'd know he was holding back information. I reasoned if he knew nothing he'd have nothing to hide. I heard later that he went through a lot of questioning as they were sure he knew something even though he did not.

When I arrived in French Lick I found Jeff's sister Kim but Jeff was not around at the time. He had actually gone back to Westfield for some reason. He showed up on my parent's doorstep looking for me and was informed I had run away. He was honestly surprised at the turn of events as we'd been out of contact since late October. The last he knew the plan was still the plan.

He showed back up in French Lick after I'd been there for 4 days already. The heat was amping in the search for Donna and I  . . . to this day I'm not sure why she came with me but she did. Jeff decided it would be best for us to hide out at his parents farm house for the time being. He was being so sweet and protective over me. He cooked us dinner on the burning stove and I caved in on sleeping with him that night. The next night, lights panned in the drive and Jeff ushered Donna and I up into the attic. We hid there while the local Sheriff asked some questions and looked around a little. We were not discovered. They had informed Jeff that Donna's boyfriend had been arrested for withholding information and if they saw us we needed to know this. The only way he was going to be released was if we both returned.

After a VERY long discussion it was decided that we would go back. Jeff did not want to be caught with us so in a gist we had him drop us off and Donna called her dad and he came and agreed to take me to my mother's house. I don't know why I thought my mother would protect me. I wasn't in her house for 15 minutes when she informed me my father was on his way to come get me. I jumped up grabbed my back pack and ran in my old room. I got in the closet and hid all my writings in the attic. After they were safely stashed I came back out, sat down, and waited for my fate.

My father drove me straight to the police station in Westfield and demanded that "Justice be Served". Running away is against the law. He left me there. The detective / policeman ( back then Westfield had like two police cars ) was curious as to how I had escaped. He said, "We had dead end tips from everywhere but seriously . . . you vanished into thin air. How did you pull it off?" I was not talking. I knew if they had an inkling of anyone who may have helped us they would be pressing charges on them. I was not going to be a part of punishing those who had only tried to help me with my scheme. Realizing he was not going to get anywhere he drove me over to Hamilton County Jail. Even though I was a juvenile they had no room so I was being taken to the main jail and would be safely locked in solitary confinement. I will say this, being booked was an awful experience. I was strip searched, de-liced and completely humiliated. As I've been told by various people in law enforcement all of this was necessary. In response to that claim, I state the following: "I don't have to live with how many of these "officers of the law" uphold the laws when it comes to themselves . . . that is their cross to carry. I only know this, they instilled in me a fear of them that runs all the way to my core." Many of the arresting officers inside the jail itself seemed to relish in their "duties".

On my way to being escorted to court, I was informed by the officer taking me that I was only supposed to serve one day in Hamilton County but since my friend's parents had refused to turn her over, I'd served a day for her as well as a day for myself. I'm not sure what he had to gain from that comment. Regardless, the elevator opened and there was my father on a bench and on the other side of the room was Donna with her parents. I was brought over to my father and I sat down on the bench beside him. He said, "Part of me is proud that you have a spine and seem to show no fear here . . . the other part of me wishes you were more like her." He motioned over to Donna who was currently puking due to the stress of going to court.

When we were called into the room, I had asked to be released into my mother's care and was denied. I was being released to my father and step mother. It was now December 20th. By Christmas I knew I was pregnant. I could not believe it. Here I'd tried to push that destiny for two straight months and nothing. Yet, when I ran away, I ended up conceiving. I decided life was ironic. I hadn't said anything about being pregnant yet. Chris informed me I was being taken to her doctor to be put on birth control. Still I said nothing. When she took me there I was taken back and her doctor began telling me about birth control options. I looked up at him and said, "Shouldn't you perform a pregnancy test before you prescribe me birth control?" He stared at me and asked if I thought I needed one. I shook my head yes. Sure enough the test was positive and I was taken into another room. He began informing me that it would be in this baby's best interest not to be born. I was shocked. I hit him with two barrels of "How is this upholding the view of 'Saving Lives' and your Hippocratic oath?" We argued for a moment about the beginning of "life" and he finally asked me, "Do you want me to give her the news or will you do it?" I informed him with an hour ride ahead of me I'd prefer to spill the beans myself. He told me to get dressed and he'd meet me out in the hall. When I left the room he was standing with Chris. So much for doctor patient confidentiality. The beans had been spilled.

A family meeting was called and my fate had been sealed. I would marry Jeff. I felt like I'd been thrown into the dark ages. While defiant as hell when it came to Chris and her demands. . .  such as when she informed me I was going to have to burn Jeff's letter jacket. I told her something like, "If you insist on me having no respect for other's things you may get more than your bargain for. I'll burn down your house before I'll burn his jacket." Yes. Defiant is a good way to state how I was reacting at this stage of my life. When I was told I had to get married, I flipped out. I begged to be thrown out on my own and disowned. Chris informed me it was marriage or abortion and seeing how I wasn't 17 yet, they'd march me down the aisle or I could be tied down to a bed and have my baby ripped out of me. Dead panned I looked at her and said, "You kill my baby, I kill yours." Horrible. I know. I wince at it myself. Like I said, DEFIANT to the end.

The day following my threat, I was driven to the court house and my father signed the license for me to be married. I was only allowed two 15 minute calls each day and during one of these calls I begged Jeff to find a fake preacher. I told him, "My parents aren't going to check the credentials. I will live with you but please I don't want to marry you."

I don't know why Jeff thought it would be in his best interest to force me to say vows I didn't long to say but he did. Knowing in my heart that once married, divorce was frowned down upon, I decided that this must be the beginning of my new life and I cried my way down the aisle and faced my fate like the trooper I had become!

This has been a long chapter I know. As you have read, I was not the smartest when it came to dealing with how my parents felt about me and how I was living my life. Unwise decision after unwise decision without input from God had taken me from the frying pan to the skillet so to say. In the years to come you will witness again and again how far one can go on the road to hell. . . at times in my life you'd almost believe I was on a race to see who could get there first!

Today I pray that before you react to some event in your life, you take the time to pray on it. Sit still for a moment or two. Blessings to all who try,

Wendy, Mom of Many



 
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