Nineteen, free write w/o editing..spelinng optional

Yesterday’s post got me to thinking about the sad state of the elderly poor. They sometimes remain naive of the ways of the world especially if they are widowed and are largelay taken adventage of.

My “Mrs Pauley” post was partially based on a real person whose life fell apart. She was married to her third husband and living in low income housing. They were pretty happy but poor. He loved her. She loved him.

When he was dying he asked his family to help take care of her since her family was quite estranged from her. The only child she talked to was in prison and the only other person she talked to was his ex wife–crabby and bipolar but with a love for cleaning.

She had some friends amongst her neighbors but they could do little for her as they were poor themselves.  She was friendly with a crabby lady downstairs and did many things for her but then they fell out.

This person’s life was mainly focused on her job as an in home dispatcher for her family’s plumbing business.  She would earn extra over her Social Security and be kept busy without leaving her apartment as she was somewhat disabled with COPD and arthritis.  She still smoked.

When work was over she watched television. She cooked a little here and there.  Her few outings took her to restaurants or to her ex daughter-in-law’s apartment.  She loved to go out and would dress up a bit and had a smile on her face.  She loved to talk and also to brag about how good her son in prison had become.  She had a tendancy to gossip.

Then, her life started to fall apart bit by bit.  First, it was her doctor.  He started giving her fewer pain pills because the HMO she was with set a limit.  She was left with pain during the day.  At first she used menthol rubs and Advil and such to mask the extra pain but it never completely worked.  Still she lived with it.

Next, her son came out of prison.  He was not the reformed creature she said he was.  He was on the make, always looking for drugs.  He stayed at his mother’s house on and off sponging off her as much as possible.  He struck up a friendship with an alcoholic neighbor across the hall and they schemed to steal whatever was valuable from the old lady’s apartment.  I don’t know how he got the safe’s combintation but he did.  Things started missing from her apartment.  I started calling the alcoholic woman the “thief” and she did a few dirty perpy tricks on me.  I was not upset when the management made her leave later on.

When I visited her alone or with my friend she would joke that she had “old-timer’s disease” which filled me with terror as I saw my grandfather die badly of it.  I assured her she did not, but, her work performance started to go down.  Her in laws fired her.  She was left virtually destitute.  The pain was worse.

We took her to the ER for something and one of the nurses said she was an alcoholic but I had never seen her with a drink so I was angry and thought they lied to rile up a vulneralble woman.

Soon I saw the alcohol.  She bought Whiskey at a half gallon a pop.  I didn’t even know they made it that big.  Whiskey, cigarettes and Coke were her mainstays to keep the pain away that the lower does of pills did not handle.

She was getting my friend or even ME to go to the liquor store to buy her half gallon of whiskey at 30 bucks.

Finally she could not take care of herself at all and the state got involved and put her into some kind of assisted care building.  I inferred they had diagnosed her with Alzeimer’s as well.  She was only in her mid 60s.

She had had a hard life in the woods of the South.  She had no plumbing as a child.  After two disastrous marriages and a few kids she moved here with her last husband.  He was a quiet gentle man.

He treated her as she always wanted to be treated.  She drank during her earlier marriages but remained dry for at least 20 years with the third marriage and afterward until her life fell apart.

We visited her only once.  She had moved maybe two miles away to an apartment building refitted for assisted care.  Instead of an apartment she now only had a tiny room that led into a common area with a fridge and microwave.  Another woman lived in a room off the common area as well.  That was her life.  She also went to adult day care where they put her with the “droolers” even though she still had lots of lucidity.  The indignity.

I’m sure she has passed away by now.  It frightened me how people will take advantage of an elderly person alone, especially one who hadn’t had much education or experience except the hard knocks.  Even with them, she seemd to be a little lamb amongst wolves.  The only book in her house was the Bible.

She was a friend to me when I needed her and I wonder if she was being perped.  I hope she remembers me when she gets to Heaven as a have few friends on the Earth.

Eighteen, perspective–the saga of Aunt Trina

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

 

The House Across the Street

Saturday is always a drag.  After working all week for wages my dog should earn, I wake up on Saturday morning to face the house and all its chores. Unlike my boss’ family, I won’t be going out on the lake to escape the heat on this blaring summer day.  First, it’s cleaning, then laundry, and then I save shopping for Sunday.  Being single really stinks.  If I had a wife, we and our kids could knock this out faster and have fun and then, on Sunday actually do something fun like going hiking or fishing or just to the park.  But I, Mark Smith, am a slave on the weekend.

All this manual work gives me time to think.  I have thought about work, my ex-girlfriend, philosophy, my aging parents, the state of my thinning hair, the bills, the state of the economy…I even think about the past.  Today, while I was slouched over the toilet, brush in hand with the oven self cleaning, I remembered Mrs. Pauley from across the street!  More or less, about when I was twelve she was evicted!  That and its aftermath were a formative time in my young life.

Now I’m fifty years old and a total failure, but the memories of Mrs. Pauley haunt me.

I was 12 and it was Summer.  Beautiful early Summer long before the worrying about “going back to school”  starts.  Saturdays were best.  My best friend and I went fishing with my Dad almost every Saturday except Winter when he took us sledding or snowshoeing.  My friend’s dad was a real bore and worked even on weekends and loved Saturday with my Dad even more than me.

This morning was different.  I woke up and heard a sound.  At first I thought it was a bird defending its nest, then I thought it was the neighbor girl and her friend playing outside.  I got out of bed and shuffled down the hall to the front door in my jammies and looked out.

Old Mrs. Pauley was screaming.  My parents were already up and on the porch and Dad was wanting to go over there and comfort her.  There were 2 cop cars over there, and a hard eyed man dressed in his golf clothes taking her things out and putting them on the street!  Mrs. Pauley just stood and wept and screamed that they could not do this:  they had no right.  Mrs. Pauley begged them to call her son who lived in another city now.

My father finally walked over and hugged Mrs. Pauley and invited her in for breakfast as her whole world was being put on the lawn.  She was a mess and she stank.  She was wearing an old housecoat, tattered slippers, and carried a sorry looking purse.  Her fake red hair was everywhere.

Mom invited her into the kitchen where she just sat and sobbed.  I looked up at Dad standing at the end of the kitchen and knew we would have no outing today.  I would have to call my friend.  But, now, we would eat breakfast and see if we could contact Mrs. Pauley’s son to help her out.

After 20 minutes of sobbing and Mom rushing around the kitchen, Mom went into her purse and brought out a little bottle and took a pill out of it.  It was a pink pill shaped like a “v”.  She gave it to Mrs. Pauley with water as she sat over her untouched coffee with globs of snot running out of her nose and onto the table.  Mrs. Pauley took the pill and shuffled over the couch to go to sleep.  We ate a silent breakfast alone the only sound being Sparky, my dog, begging for some bacon and eggs.

After that, I went to call Bill and Dad agreed we would just play in the backyard until we knew what to do with Mrs. Pauley.  Instead of the backyard, Bill and I went to the front porch to watch the proceedings across the street.  The cops were gone and the hired men that had shown up later had put almost everything on her lawn except her cat.  Finally the cat came out and I rushed over to get it so it would not go to the pound.  My big sister was away at college doing a summer internship but if we could keep the cat until she got home she would be happy.  She always wanted a cat.

The pound was more than happy to release the cat to me as there were already way too many mouths to feed there.  I carried Mrs. Pauley’s big fat orange and white cat to our house.  Mom was not thrilled but took the cat and put her besides Mrs. Pauley’s sleeping form.  The cat climbed onto Mrs. Pauley and slept too.

Us guys in the neighborhood always thought Mrs Pauley was a bit creepy, but, things had gotten worse after her husband died.  After she died there were rumors passed by the adults that Mr. Pauley had left nothing for his wife, had no will, and none of her kids (there were 6!) seemed willing to help her at all.  At first, concerned neighbors especially Mom and Dad and Bill’s folks were over there helping her out with things, but, after awhile, people drifted away and Mrs. Pauley was left to herself.  Sometime in April, she had stopped getting dressed for the most part.  She’d wander the yard mumbling and attempt yardwork but never finish.

In May, some neighbors said they saw her at the store and she had booze on her breath.  She would talk to no one after that.  My Dad was talking to some of his church buddies and said that Mrs. Pauley had “social security” whatever that is, but it was not enough to live on and the little she had she used on liquor and cigarettes.  They spoke of putting together a fund to help her but somehow it fell through.  They were going to move her into some retirement apartments or something.  I guess that’s why Dad looked sort of guilty standing in the kitchen.  He still walked around the house uneasily.

When I was very little, like 5 or even 7, Mrs. Pauley was different.  She always got dressed and was involved at the church.  She even had a job.  She worked part time at the hospital gift shop.  We kids, 3 of us, even got rides from her once in awhile when Mom was not feeling good.  She took us to movies and even for ice cream.  Then, something changed.

At first, we noticed that her children and grandchildren were not coming over anymore.  Mr. and Mrs. Pauley went on as usual, but, they looked way older and very tired.  She stopped taking us places too.  By that time, I was wanting to hang out with my friends or just my father anyway and I was the youngest.  My older brother and sister had long outgrew the old woman.

Then Mr. Pauley got sick.  He walked very slowly out to the car whenever he went anywhere.  Later, he was in a wheelchair and wore oxygen.  The adults whispered “cancer”.  I was worried I had cancer for a few months.  My Mom called me a “hypochondriac”.  Soon he was never seen at all but nurses kept on coming and going and then one day this Spring, he died.

Us children did not go to the funeral but the adults did.  My mother looked big and scary in her black suit and black shoes but her face was so sad I wanted to hug her over and over.  Later, after the funeral, us kids got to go to the reception which is probably the best part anyway.  That’s where all the food is.  There were casseroles and casseroles and tons of cakes and cookies and chili and other things people brought for her to freeze and use later.  She sat in the corner and said almost nothing.  Us kids got to play with her grandkids. One of them, Gary, was close to my age.  Me, and Bill, and Chuck, and Steve from school and Gary got up into our treehouse to get away from the adults.

Gary told the story why his parents and his aunts and uncles never came to visit anymore.  They had always had a big Christmas and all the six children, their spouses and all the grandchildren crammed into the small 3 bedroom house.  Some slept in the kids’ old bedrooms on the main floor and the one created bedroom in the basement always reserved for the oldest child living at home.  I guess they had four bedrooms.  Others slept on couches and even air matresses.  It was a very fun time.  I went once and got to help decorate the tree.  There was so much laughing and joking I thought maybe our family was lacking.  Plus my Dad’s prayers at meals are lame.

Well, I guess 3 Christmases ago, when I was 9, Mrs. Pauley and one of her daughters got into an argument over something real stupid like a recipe or something.  Instead of the fight ending and everyone saying sorry, it got worse and Mrs. Pauley, “grandma” to Gary, lost control and started throwing things and screaming.  They had to call the ambulance.  I remember seeing it that day and when I asked Mom what it was and Mom said that Mrs. Pauley had fallen and sprained her ankle.  That was not true.

Gary said that Mrs. Pauley and Mr. Pauley went to the hospital along with one of the sons and the rest of the family stayed behind and cleaned up and made the best of things.  I watched as the cars left one by one and by December 28 they were all gone.  Mrs. Pauley had not come home because they had put her in a looney bin.  Some doctor said she was crazy and needed to rest awhile.  Mr. Pauley was around and cheerful then and would tell us kids that Mrs. Pauley needed to rest but would be back soon.

She came home about exactly 3 years before she died and 2 1/2 years before Mr. Pauley died.  The reason the family never came again is that they wanted to put Mrs. Pauley into a nursing home and forget about her as she was now crazy and also was an alcoholic, which is when adults drink booze all the time.  Only her husband, Gary’s grandpa, stuck up for her and wanted her home.

Gary said he could not understand it.  He said his grandma was the best ever and sweet and kind and never forgot birthday gifts.  He did not understand why his folks and his aunts and uncles were so mean to poor grandma.  He even tried to argue with his father over it and was told it was none of his business.  Gary decided to try Dropping Eaves, or listening to others when they ain’t aware you are there.

He tried every night for a week, and kept his hiding spot well.  Finally at about 11pm, 2 hours after his bedtime, the folks started to talk.  Turns out grandma was not always so nice and drank a lot when Gary’s father and his sisters and brothers were kids.  She yelled and yelled and even threw things, and had to go away more than once to “dry out”.  She refused to do housework when on a drunk and would not even feed the kids.  Mr. Pauley had to raise the kids, keep his job, and babysit his wife.  He almost had a nervous breakdown himself.

One day, when Gary’s dad was in High School, Mrs. Pauley decided to go to “AA”.  After than things were better for all of them until she started drinking again as an old woman.  Gary then tried to find out why his grandma started up again.  Turns out she had lost her job at the hospital to a younger prettier woman the boss liked and that people were treating her bad at church even though she had been there for years.  He had to sit crouched in his hiding place for hours for all this.  I told him he should be in the FBI and catch the bad guys.  He gave me a dirty look.

His folks said she had started to talk to herself and act weird.  Mr. Pauley had taken her to a shrink but he didn’t do anything.  She could still fake it for awhile but then it got too much and she needed to drink to get through the day.  She covered it up pretty good to her family that year even though they “smelled it” on her and were going to confront her later after Christmas had ended.  The big fight ended all that.

I used a word my father likes to use and said why didn’t they “forgive” her?  Gary didn’t know.  I heard his mom calling him.  I never saw him again.

The cat, called Baby, walked out onto the porch and rubbed against us.  We pet her awhile and took her in.

Mrs. Pauley was up and showered and wearing an old outfit of Mom’s which just hung on her since Mrs. Pauley was now very skinny.  She and Mom were talking about little stuff like the weather and Mom’s garden while Dad was in the other room arguing with someone on the phone.  It wasn’t going well.

Bill and I went to the door to listen and the cat almost gave us away.  Sparky was in the basement barking and barking.  It was like a “madhouse” my Aunt Polly would say.  A one sided conversation with angry sounding peeps on the other end was going on:

“We could move her into Wild Oaks with some help from you,”

“I know she has problems, but they have social workers on staff,”

“Of course she’d need to be hospitalized awhile.  She has insurance.”

“What do you mean not one penny?”

“Can’t you be the big son and just forgive?  She’s in a weak condition now”

“What about all her things?”

“Just throw them away?”
“Mr. Pauley, what do you intend to do?”

“The state home?!”

“She will never last in there!”

“Mr. Pauley had no will and spent down to his last 500 dollars with his cancer.”

“Your father worked hard all his life.  I’ve lived in this town 50 years.”

“He was NOT a loser.”

“Just try and be Christian about this,”

“I guess we will have to try and help her.”

“He hung up!!!!”

Bill and I ran away before Dad could see us.

The next few weeks at our house was crazy.  Dad and Mom and Bill and I and Bill’s Dad went through Mrs. Pauley’s stuff to see if anything was salvageable.  Most of the stuff smelled and was dirty and needed to be thrown away.  Dad found a few dollars she had hidden behind a wood panel and put it into an account for Mrs. Pauley.  The landlord’s cleaning men came to clean up the house and were rude to us but we persisted in getting anything good out of the mess on the lawn for Mrs. Pauley.  One day a truck came and took the rest of the junk away.

Mrs. Pauley was very nice at first, even helping around the house and even going shopping with Mom.  Dad got Mrs. Pauley’s, whose real name was Trina, old car to work and we parked it in front of our house.  She got better and better.  Soon she started to wear makeup and jewelry and even looked like the Mrs. Pauley I knew growing up.  Then she got strange a couple of months later.  Dad had poured out all the booze at her house and hid ours so no one knew where she had gotten it.  She had been “dry” for 2 months but no longer.  She got way drunk and pitched a rage and started trashing our house.

Mom gave her one more chance and even took and drove her back from AA meetings.  Another month later “Aunt Trina” which we were calling her was found dead drunk in the backyard talking to herself.  She ended up in the home after all.  She didn’t yell or fight.  She knew it was all over for her then.

The State Home was 200 miles away.  She was silent when we drove her there despite Mom’s promises of outings and visits.  Dad looked as if he could cry as if he could have prevented it from happening.

I watched as the nurses led her away.  She never looked back.  We drove in silence for 4 hours not even stopping to eat or use the bathroom.  I had to get my own dinner that night as Mom and Dad were talking quietly and did not want to be interrupted.

In the morning, Dad sent me to the mailbox with a letter for Lance Pauley.  After I put it in I went to play with Bill and Steve and when I got home things were normal again.

A month later we decided to go visit “Aunt Trina” at the home.  Mom packed all kinds of clothing and sweets for her and even a TV.  She threw in a homemade quilt she had made when I was young as well.  The staff had agreed for us to come and visit but not for an outing.

When we got there we walked on back this time.  The whole place smelled of pee and something else I did not know but did not like at all.  I wanted to run.  Aunt Trina’s room was at the very end of the hall.  Her roommate was up in an easy chair knitting and Aunt Trina sat in a wheelchair looking blankly out into space, drooling.  Then I noticed the restraints.  They had tied her to the wheelchair.  We all started talking to her taking turns but no response.  Then we just sat there for an hour.  She never looked at us.  When we got up to leave after promising her to come back, she finally moved and used her arms to turn her chair around and put her back to us.

We had another silent drive home with occasional sobs from Mom.  Mom went to bed that evening early but seemed OK the next day.  After that,  my parents started talking to my grandparents about arrangements when they grew older so a disaster never happened to any of them.  My grandparents are still pretty healthy and don’t need doctors and all that yet and there are no drunks in our family.

I went to bed early one night about a month after our visit.  I got up all weird and dizzy in the dark to hear the phone ringing.  I knew what it was even though I didn’t get the phone.

This time the funeral reception was at our house.  None of the Pauley’s came but lots of Mom and Dad’s friends from church did.  My dad bought her a stone.  We decided to go on vacation because school would start soon and we all needed a break.  My big brother and sister were home by now and helping to take the load off my folks and me.

Now it’s Fall.  School has been in 3 weeks.  The leaves are just turning all sorts of colors.  One of the red leaves reminds me of Aunt Trina’s hair.  I am riding my bike around.  Bill is busy with band practice and my other friends are all busy too.  I have probably rode far out beyond where my Mom lets me ride.  I just turned 13 and my folks took me to an adult restaurant to celebrate instead of McDonald’s.  I have grown 3 inches and my voice does funny things when I yell.  I think a new girl in our school is cute.

I see the graveyard.  For some reason, I decide to go in.  It didn’t take much looking.  I found the stone.  It was large and had flowers carved into it.  It said “Loving Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, Christina Pauley, March 25, 1907-August 22, 1977.  I stayed for awhile and then left, speeding all the way home because Mom was making Spaghetti.

Baby sat meowing for me at the door.  Now I’m her mommy.

 

 

 

 

Lost and Found–The Sixteenth Temp Agency

Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.

 

So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.

By the end of Writing 101, you’ll have multiple posts around a theme — material you could thread together in a longform piece.

Questions to think about as you write your post:

  • What have you learned about loss over the years?
  • What does it feel like to find an object that was once important to you?
  • When can reconnecting go horribly wrong?
  • When are things better left buried and forgotten?

In your “lost and found” tale, tell us something larger — a life lesson, perhaps —

This post is based on this website.  State mental patients in Upstate New York left their few belongings which ended up in storage.  The “Suitcase Project” became famous and a catalyst for patient rights in the current era.

The following is fiction:  I never held a job like this…dcms

It had happened again:  I was caught broke and hard up with no one to help.  I needed money fast.  I went to the Recollections temp agency because they seemed to offer jobs a little different than the ones I got at standard temp agencies….could I possibly get any experience on these assignments instead of the usual gig that lands you in an office somewhere doing work my cat could do and look better doing it.

I knew it would be different when I heard my first assignment would be at a CLOSED mental hospital.  There would be no administrative tasks to be done:  no filing, no answering phones, no data entry, no food service in the now closed cafeteria.  I could  not imagine why they would want people to work in an abandoned mental hospital.

I was sent to the sub basement to a huge area filled with boxes of patients belongings.  These were the few personal belongings of patients who had died at the hospital and had no one to pick up their few scraps of possessions.  There were lots and lots of boxes.  Once we were done collecting, categorizing and repackaging belongings, they were to go to the Metropolitan museum to become an exhibit.  Lives Lost:  the possessions of the dispossessed.   There was even a show on Discovery Channel planned.  I felt exited and honored to be part of the project even though the temps were offered nothing but their wages.  We would not be listed as contributors to the project.

There is little ceremony on a temp job.  We were set to work with latex gloves and dusting wipes to snoop into the lives of the forgotten ones.

The first person my work buddy and I came onto was an old lady that had died in the institution.  She had photos of relatives dating from the 1940s all the way until 1986 when she had died.  She also had a few pieces of costume jewelry, a brush comb and mirror, and some very old expired cosmetics.  There was a book of poems by an obscure author and some white gloves.  There was also a pair of heels and cheap-fancy underwear.  She must have been a “trusty” who was allowed out on passes to various events or just to shop or go out to eat.  There were a few stilted letters from her husband, the guilty one, who had put her there.  If he had been alive when she died he never bothered to get her things or to bury her because her burial plot number was put in Magic Marker on the outside of the box.  The graveyard for patients was about a mile away and there were thousands of simple crosses and small headstones that marked the lives of the disposable people.  Over 100 years of unloved ones buried beneath the earth.  It was going to be a Historical Area so at least the remains would not be disturbed.

The second suitcase was a set.  In the first one there were clothes, underwear, cosmetics, and even expensive perfume.  There was a small packet at the bottom of the suitcase.  I lost myself to time and place when I found myself reading love letters from this woman’s boyfriend written a year or so before her admission to the hospital.  The letters ended abruptly.  They had broken up and he had married the woman his parents wanted him to marry and left her heartbroken.  The second box contained tons of sheet music for the violin and piano loaded up with instructor’s notes.  The fading spidery notes were guides for some musician to improve playing the piece at hand.  I felt a chill.  The box also contained some novels and philosophical books and even a Bible.  On the bottom was a box of hats and gloves and a cigarette holder.  This was one elegant lady.

In yet another big box there was a case in which there was a dusty violin with broken strings.  Lumps of rosin accompanied the instrument and there were spare strings along with a photo of the Boyfriend.  Turned out she was a concert violinist on the verge of big fame when she went into a downward spiral over the loss of her engagement.  She took to drink and was found drunk on the street.  Instead of putting her in jail where she could have called someone they took her to one hospital after another where she did not appear to get better.  The one picture of her before the hospital showed a slim stylish woman with all her faculties.  Where was her family, her friends?, her lawyer?  She was transferred to State and spent the next fifty years of her “life” here helping wash dishes in the hospital kitchen.  She spent a few years in a group home towards the end but poor health brought her into a nursing home.  Apparently there is one recording of this woman’s playing but a Net search failed to produce it.

The next person’s suitcase looked like an elderly grandmother’s.  It was full of Bibles and Bible Commentaries and knitted and crocheted and tatted items of good quality. A letter by James Vernon McGee had been framed in a cheap frame. She had been on the “Bible Bus”.  A small transistor radio was found. There was a looking glass, brush and comb, and a nail clipper with file.  No cosmetics.  A paper bag revealed Mother’s Day and Christmas and Birthday cards to the inmate from her family.  The cartoonish or gaudily floral greetings seemed so out of place for State.  There were also a few drawings and Report Cards full of A’s for the inmate to look at.  There was a romance novel full of pressed flowers and a dried bouquet in the box.  Her husband had kept in touch.

The next box of hers revealed lots of flowery house coats and a few dowdy dresses.  There were 2 pair of sensible shoes, size 11.  The one picture of the woman was taken slightly before her incarceration at State.  She was a Middle-Aged slightly fat woman with fading beauty and a sad face.  Her hair, done in a dowdy bun, drooped.  I could have cried.  What was this woman’s crime?

The woman was once a very active Church member of a village nearby and had a family of 7.  She was quite happy and busy as a small town housewife and leader of various charities in her Church.  Then the change happened.  The old pastor left and a new one came in.  Also, strange people started joining the Church and some of the wives challenged her right to run her groups.  Some of this group got together to ruin the woman by starting a psychological campaign to destroy her by undermining her Spirituality and making her believe she had never been Saved.  In the end she fell apart, had to quit her groups and even the Church.  She had been brought to a village hospital after a suicide attempt and never seemed much better after that.  She was brought to State to live out the rest of her 30 years.

The only reason anyone knew of all this was that her husband had petitioned for her release into his custody to accompany him to a country retreat and he gave this testimony of his wife.  Turns out the Church totally fell apart and disbanded months after this woman left.  The damage had been done though.

In her early years at the hospital according to Dr.’s Notes she had been sullen and uncommunicative.  She made more suicide attempts.  Later, when they put her on psychiatric drugs she calmed down enough to go to an unlocked ward and attend Occupational Therapy and to work in the Kitchen.  She even had a small cottage to herself on the grounds before she became too ill physically to live there.  Her husband even took her on passes to town to shop and to eat out.  When asked if she would like to leave the hospital she would grow pale and shake and retreat within herself for several days.  The loving husband died rather young and the family slowly lost touch as they grew up and moved away.

The third box had me in tears.  I almost could not go on.  But life goes on and I had rent, a car payment and cable to pay for.  There were 500 boxes that had been left there and they were still looking for more around the huge campus when I finally left to get a job in my field.  It was getting stressful with the tourists and TV cameras anyway.

It was ironic how these lost people had been found by strangers and made well known though modern electronic media.  I will never know if the lost ones we found really wanted to be found at all but I can only hope that life after death had been kinder to them than on this side of mortality.

Some things when lost, remain lost forever.  The joys of this life pass quickly and sometimes there is nothing to replace the loss here on Earth.  I have rarely reclaimed something or somebody I had on Earth.  I used to find
“surprises” at my parent’s home if I searched the top of my old closet.  Items from the past, worth nothing but remembrance.  A window into another time.  I used to peruse an old brown suitcase full of old family pictures my father had including some of me.  I would sadly note that the times had passed, people had died and I had not “turned out”.

Several years ago, I backslid and tried to somehow return to my old “life” as a groupie.  It not only failed, it hurt me more than I could say.  I asked God this time to show me my idols as they really were and He did even though I backslid.  I was very disappointed.  They were just men and flawed ones at that.  Then the perps took what I was doing and turned it into a nightmare.  When I finally turned away I heartily regretted what I had done.  The past belongs in the past.

I believe I should have simply forgotten my idolatry from the past but my rebellious nature got the best of me when my life went downhill.  I got angry at God and opened up that old can of worms.  I had found nothing had changed nor gotten better.  One evening, when I was living in one of my fantasies, I came to myself and found I was acting like I did when I was a girl and new to the fantasies.  I was sickened I had slid all the way to the bottom of the hill.  I have tried to reclaim my faith since then but it has never been the same.  The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water……

 

Day Thirteen Serial Killer Part 2

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.

Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

You could pick up the action where you stopped, or jump backward or forward in time. You might write about the same topic, but use a different style, or use the same style to tackle a neighboring topic.

Not sure how to approach continuity? Here’s a time-tested tip: pick a favorite book or two. Read the last page of chapter one, then the first page of chapter two. How did the author choose to connect these two separate-but-connected narrative units?

In the last installment of a cereal killer I had lost everything:  my freedom, my joy, my laughter, my love of country, any trust I had for my family, any notion that I was “free” in any way.  If everything is lost and is not coming back, what is there to find?  There are small things, and thin comfort they are, but they exist nonetheless.

By losing everything by being a ti you gain the knowledge that everything is not as it seems in life and you are forced to walk around awake and not asleep.  The new knowledge you gain is painful and unpleasant as you see the nice little world around you crumble and ugly realities take their place.  No one is who they seem to be.  You cannot trust the news anymore, you cannot worship celebrities anymore.  Amusements don’t seem fun anymore if there are lots of people there.  You begin to see the multitude of amusements around you as stupifying activities for the hypnotized masses.  They go to amusements to waste time and get their pocketbooks raped.  Even simple passtimes like walking and visiting a library or museum are ruined by the presence of law enforcement and guards everywhere along with aircraft that dog you from the sky and of course the perps.  This is a thin recompense for your past life but at least its real.

You get a keen painful awareness that people are taking all kinds of trouble and time to get ahead in life but that if will give them nothing.  They attend school after school to attain degrees they will never use, or, if they use them at all they will work beneath their potential in a soul stealing job that they will probably lose due to layoffs or whatever whim the “boss” decides to use to get rid of them.  The few that succeed will have their souls (yes their souls) demanded of them if they wish to continue to be successful.  Some good people slip by and work hard in their fields all their life to be laid off with months to retirement and nothing to show for it.  Others will retire with some money only to have a long illness take it all away.  The only ones who grow rich and keep their money and toys are the evil ones.  Everyone else ends up in the poorhouse or in very lean circumstances otherwise.  This knowledge brings you nothing.  The perps even stop you when you try to learn something online to try and “get ahead”.  To learn for the sake of learning and not earning and for personal use and not economic use is a new concept for many,

You realize any happy or joyful moments are rare and do not return.  That any joy does not come from the amusements THEY provide but from God.  The hollow laughter at a sitcom, the scream on the roller coaster, or wild applause at a rock concert are plastic.  Did you ever get the feeling at a concert that you were there and supposed to be enjoying it but you didn’t and you felt crowded out and miserable in the dark amongst people you would cross the street to avoid?  You try to whoop and cheer and forget about it but the whole thing was plastic.  Did you leave the concert feeling cheated, almost raped?  I have.  I never shared that.  People brag about being at this concert or that, but the actual experience sucked.  There is more real joy in watching a bird fly or lightning in a storm.

The loss of family is real and cannot be replaced though.  How can you replace it?  If you have God in your heart and a relationship with Him, He can love you in the absence of family.  You still can’t replace family, though.

Day Twelve way too late

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

 

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

This assignment is hard for me because as a ti people do not act normally around me.  Even conversations I overhear are usually “directed conversations” designed for me to overhear and to agitate or depress me.  It has been a long long time since people acted normally around me and I didn’t feel the vigilance of people to capture my every word and deed.  I have thought over these last few days of conversations I might have overheard in my family as a child and young person but even those are few and far between.  Even then I was not privy to family secrets and I was also kept from the real life of the family…the love.  I was set apart, kept in the dark.  I do not know if my parents were perps but I certainly was not accepted in the family.  Only on a surface level.  I was a guest in my own house…like a sort of foster child.  There was a wall there put up right around the time I was 8 or 9 or so.

OK, here’s one I heard at my last job, which was over 5 years ago:

A man at our work table announced he had been a father at age 8.  I forgot the response to it.

It’s hard to hear convos even though I try.  Due to my targetting everyone is on guard around me like I’m some criminal.

It’s hard to remember when anyone was natural around me even in an overheard conversation,

 

 

Day Eleven–I believe I did a post like this before.

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

I have already done a post like this last year.  As I read it, I noticed sentence structure.  I had too many small sentences.  For awhile, writing with many small sentences was “cool” I think, in maybe the 1990s.  I mixed it up just enough.  This time I will just relate what the house looked like, not personal history from age 11 on like I did in that old post.

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

My childhood home circa 1977 was the epitome of Middle America.

We had a medium-sized house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It came with a jumbo kitchen and a semi formal parlor and dining room and 2 dens.  It had a large yard front and back and even a side yard.  It was built in 1961 by an architect who was leaving to go live in a bigger home he had built for himself.  This man became very rich later.  The house oozed ’60s with Avocado carpet and orange yellow and green linoleum in the kitchen.  I believe he was responsible for the Shag carpeting in some rooms and also the Avocado, Pumpkin and Yellow curtains for the den.

I lived there with my parents and my younger sister.  We didn’t have pets until later.  By 1977 we had lived in the house almost a decade.  We still had much of the original look.  My parents upgraded the kitchen, the carpets and the paint in the 1980s.  The house had a large front porch but no one sat on porches in that neighborhood.  My folks added a patio in back so they could barbeque.

The master bedroom was pretty small but had an attached bathroom in green.  My parents had to buy furniture for the new house since they had moved from an apartment.  A lot of it was cheapo until my mother added nicer pieces in the 1980s in some rooms.  The old bed with the metal frame lasted until my father moved into his own condo in the 1990s.  We had 3 dial phones.  One old beige box phone in the bedroom, an Avocado slimline for the den and a Wall Phone in tan for the kitchen.

Our bedrooms were even smaller.  Mine might have been slightly larger than my sister’s but it was also the coldest room in the house.  It was about 60 degrees there in Winter if I closed the door.  I would have to go under my comforter with a heating pad to keep warm.  The main bathroom, in pink, was nice with a large vanity and drawers and 2 sinks.  I spent a large part of my childhood/adolescence in the large pink tub falling asleep.  My mother upgraded the floor in the 1980s with ceramic tile, which wasn’t that much in use yet.

Some of carpet was in mustard puke yellow as well.  The house had lots and lots of windows.  The kitchen was very light as was the parlor and dining room.  The 2nd den was all windows on its East side.  It was never used as anything but a playroom and later a rec room.  My father could have requisitioned it as a home office/library but he didn’t.

Gardening was not priority with my mother.  She planted a few Annuals in our Rock Garden and a few Perennials came up every year including a large Yucca that came with the house.  She refused for some reason to plant bulbs which disappointed me because the Spring flowers are from bulbs.  She also did not keep Roses or Iris like Grandma.  We also did not have fruit trees.  My mother spent so much time watering the lawn on our huge lot that gardening took a back seat.  I also have a feeling she did not want to be outside amongst the neighbors even back then.  When my father and I left the house I put in bulbs for the next owner by digging up an old garden spot on the side of the house.  There were no flowers there the last time I checked and the grass had grown up over the spot.

There were only the bushes and 2 evergreens including a huge Blue Spruce when we moved in.  My father planted a tree for my mother’s 50th Birthday.  I guess it is still there.  No one knew how little she had yet to live.  My parents put trees in around the backyard but the beetles got them.  The house also came with bushes and an evergreen tree in the backyard.  I was very jealous of the neighbor girl whose parents had put a fish pond in their backyard.

I went back to the house of my bad childhood (see other posts) a few times.  It looks as if the Monster Bushes in front had been cut back and the house looked a little spruced up.  Nothing major.  Of course I didn’t go inside.  I wonder if the marble entryway is still there and if there is still that weird ironwork in the kitchen and dining room that came with the house.

As the years go on, the house becomes a memory.  My sister lives in a home of her own (more than twice as big according to Zillow) with a circle drive and 5 bedrooms.  I live in a Section 8 apartment in the ‘hood or former ‘hood as it’s getting to be.  When we moved my father told me to take a last look through the house for anything we missed.  I found one of my Mother’s wedding portraits.  It “lives” with me in the ‘hood today.  I was the last one in our home that day.  Thirty mostly miserable years had passed on.  I doubt I will ever have any kind of home of my own due to being gangstalked already for most of my life.

 

Shabbos–Day Ten

Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

“Aw c’mon dcms, there must be SOMETHING comforting from your childhood!”

“Well, I already told you about Passover and what a comforting tradition that was so I guess there’s only Shabbos, or Friday night dinner left.”

“Okay, tell me about it.”

“It was one of the most enduring traditions of my childhood.  It happened every week!  Ya couldn’t escape it!  Friday was Shabbos!  When I was very young up to about age 13 it meant going to Grandma’s across town to eat what she made.  It was just us four, Grandma and Grandpa, and the dog.  It was always good.  We always had Candle Lighting, except in Summer when it was so late, then the family would gather and we would do the prayers over the Challah and Wine.  My Grandpa and Dad would take a piece of Challah and say the Motzi and then put some salt on it and eat it.  Then we started eating.

There was always a first course.  Usually it was chopped liver or cold turnip salad with Challah.  I didn’t like either much, but the liver was better for me because the turnip salad was bitter.  Of course I loved the homemade Challah with white raisins.

Then we’d get to business and the main course.  It usually was some kind of chicken but Grandma also baked beef sometimes and occasionally did a “milk” Shabbos with tuna casserole as the main dish.  We’d also get cold salad and a hot vegetable and kugel.  I liked every kind of kugel except potato.  Sometimes it would be rice kugel or noodle kugel which were both sweetened with fruit and cinnamon.  Potato was plain and there were no condiments to put on it.  Sometimes we’d get pickled green tomatoes my Grandma put up from her tomatoes.

After that there was dessert, the best part.  Most times she would bake some kind of cake:  either banana or marble cake or even a pie.  With a milk meal it would be coffee cake.  Sometimes there would also be fruit salad or even in summer, Grandma’s version of ice cream made with Coffee Rich, usually strawberry flavored.  For a beverage, it was usually Swee Touch Nee tea and sometimes coffee.

The best part however, was being together at the end of the work/school week and talking.  If it was Summer, we’d retire to the patio to talk till it got dark.  If it was Winter, I’d go with the ‘rents and my sister would stay over and go to shul with Grandma.  I had allergies at her house and could not stay the night even though I tried a few times.

After the dog passed I would stay at her apartment she later got for the whole weekend for a few years.  Then it would just be Grandma and I eating the Shabbos after my folks got into it with her one Friday.  My sister came to these dinners also if she wasn’t out of town at college or at her job.  At the end it was just Grandma and I.  The food would not be finished so we would eat the rest for lunch the next day.

All those days are gone now.  Everything is gone now.  Only my sister and her family are left alive and she does not talk to me.

“Wow, dcms, Shabbos was a real stable part of your young life.”

“It sure was.  I probably turned out better than I would have if not for those family traditions to keep me somewhat grounded.”

 

Chasing adverbs away

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

 

Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

After a long and warm walk we reached the river to be greeted by a cold wind and high water.  The cold water rushed over the man made waterfall making cold foam and splatters as it went.  Leaden clouds came and went without producing more than sprinkles.  A lone heron hunted for fish in the rushing water.  I was sorry I had not brought a jacket.  Today was a spring day not a summer day.

The usual trains going by were out of sight.  I could not see the graffiti today.

I saw one starling fly across the river.

It was a dull day on the river.

A few homeless people walked by and some lycra covered bicyclists zipped around us.

The clouds got darker later on and it looked as if a deluge was coming.  A few drops fell hard as if it would rain for real but it was soon over.  Once we got back it rained just enough to wet the street and that was it.

So much for exercise.  I prefer a sunny day, a shady tree and a book to read.

 

 

 

Post 5—Brevity. Part II from yesterday

It was a windy day.

I decided to walk another way home to get some exercise because I was new to a weight loss program.  I was in a dark mood already since my life had seemed to have taken a downward turn the past few years for no apparent reason.  I walked slowly and tried to avoid oncoming people as much as possible to avoid the sneers and weird smiles I got all the time.  Each look was a knife through the heart.

Then I saw it:  an envelope blowing in the wind towards me.  It was small and pink but loaded with sheets of paper just as I used to write letters to pen pals–long and newsy epistles.  I was afraid to touch it at first due to my new-found fear of being infected by the evil intentions of others, but it was irresistible.  I prayed for protection then opened it.  It was three pink sheets long.

The letter started:

Dear Target,

You may have noticed that despite your best intentions to improve your life it is not improving.  It is getting worse.  You are not imagining this.  Going to your therapist with this information will not help. You will be drugged.  Neither will going to the police, or the government.  This is your life now.  All hope ends here.  Going the religious route (very common I must say) will not help as we will get other church goers to reject and spew you out of their churches.  Your last bastion–family–will be of no help as they have already been converted to our way of thinking.  You are truly alone.

Even the little you have now will soon be gone.  You will not be able to get a job, talk with your family, go to school, or even do volunteer work anymore.  You will have to eat out of the hand that whips you, there is no other choice.  We are a special secret program to deal with trouble like you.  Going to another state or another country will not help.  We await there too.  Getting a car to escape us even at times is out of the question for your particular case. Try even praying your way out of this–it won’t work.  We intercept your prayers and read your mind.

You are a criminal that has escaped punishment.

“What did I do?”  you ask

It is something you did a long long time ago and you conveniently forgot.  But we didn’t.  We know everything.  We are all over.  You will pay for this crime.  Our client has tons of money and says money is no object.  Your life is his object.  The best thing you can do is kill yourself now and save yourself the trouble of a lifetime of misery.  You think this is a hoax?  It is not.  Years from now, you will wish you took our advice.

See you “later”

Your Stalkers

I took the envelope and the letter and burned them at home. I thought about keeping it as evidence but thought I would be laughed at and told I wrote it myself.  In the 5 years since I graduated College my life had gone from having some hope for the future after a dark adolescence to hell on earth.  I wondered what I would do that night.  Would God come through or would I suffer this life for the next 20, 30, 40 years or end it now?

I stood in the park the next day wind whipping around me as tears formed feeling alone.  A group of people laughing loudly and sneaking looks at me was coming.  Them.

 

 

My Loss Part 1–life of a cereal killer (sorry could not remove the pun)

My real loss in this life came sometime in 1990.  I had already felt stalked and treated badly since 1988 since I discovered a large group of people just staring at me in 1987 at a restaurant.  It progressed to seeing people sneering at me on the street and feeling watched and followed wherever I went.  I still felt it was just some kind of vendetta from a local person that maybe I had angered.  I was getting “watched” in grocery stores as if they expected to steal.  I got scared and went to my therapist and told her and I was put onto Haldol by a doctor.  I learned to close my mouth and suffer alone for the most part.  Talking about it caused arguments.

One summer I was living in a community of mentally ill people after Mother had kicked me out of the house for a small argument. This was to make me feel as if I had bona fide mental illness…hey, maybe I do now…they drove me bats!   I went there the first time at the request of a therapist and the labelling began.  Whatever I “have” I’ll never know but I get constantly changing diagnoses based on how they want to manipulate me at the moment.

I had moved there the past winter and was struggling to survive and pay the astronomical rent for one room and 6 meals.  One day, I decided to play a guitar a counselor had lent me and I thought I would put some poems I wrote to an easy set of chords.  As I was doing it, the phone rang.  The house phone not a cell phone.  Some strange man on the phone asked if I lived there and what kind of place it was, blah blah blah….no one was there when I came to the phone.  It was a warning not to play the guitar anymore.

That was the day I finally realized that I was being watched and all the rude encounters were probably part of it.  I knew “they” were after me not knowing who “they” were.  It was horrifying.  I knew then my “freedom” was an illusion.  It never got better after that but worse. It was The only thing I had:  freedom from living in America had been stolen from me. I was supposed to be an American but I was the Enemy and I could not figure out why. My family had escaped the Holocaust by coming to this country before the war and now a personal Holocaust was being carried out just for me.

It started off kind of mild so I was sort of able to continue my life and work for awhile but only for awhile.  I had a dark shadow on my life.  My shadow and misery, the perps follow me everywhere.  I could never feel happy and joyous in public again.  I was “on camera”.  My life started to retract and get smaller.

The shadow persists and gets worse every day.

The Hated One