Fourth grade and back on Peabody Avenue, in a Pink house. It looked cute at first, with Tulips lining the sidewalk in the spring. The Browns were their names. Looking back on this I wonder if I subconsciously shied away from Sam years later because of this Last name. It wasn't his fault, he didn't know and wasn't in anyway shape or form related to this family you are about to meet. And lord knows Sam saved my life, but that is in my teens and we are not there yet.
Please hold on, this WILL be hard to swallow, I won't be mad if you feel the strong urge for a drink of something with potency... and God give me the strength to relay this part with clarity and courage....
"I'm not trying to fake it And I ain't the one to blame.There's no one home In my house of pain. I didn't write these pages And my script's been rearranged. No, there's no one home In my house of pain" Faster Pussy Cat's House of Pain
"I tried all night not to break down and cry As the tears rolled down my face. I felt so cold and empty Like a lost soul out of place. And the mirror, mirror on the wall, Sees my smile, it fades again. And give me something to believe in. If theres a lord above, And give me something to believe in. Oh, lord arise" Poison's Something to Believe In
Dick Brown. It was his wife that Mom was taking care of. We were living with them. The upstairs was two loft like rooms ajacent to one another and a small door on the one side by the stairways that led into the attic. I can still see the kitchen as you walk through the door entering the house, the dining area to the left (as was the bathroom, stairway, living area, and behind the living area Dick Browns bedroom), a door just ahead of the doorway to the dining area leading to the basement and just beyond that the back door looking out their back porch and onto the scene of the old gray home across the street where we once called home. I hated having to use the bathroom at night because of all the cockroaches that would be crawling around on the floors at night. I never understood why I only saw them at night either. Truly a disgusting sight.
In an old photo album of ours, Mom has a picture of all of us kids sitting on her lap, in the recliner of that living room and we are all smiling, like there had never been anything wrong in our lives. It was the year I began to hate my mother for all the choices she'd ever made and all the gossip that ever came out of her mouth. Back then I thought to myself, If she would've only kept quiet, then maybe.. I know now how wrong it was to blame her.
He had a grown son Roger, whose wife was Laura and they had 3 children. Rob, Lee, and Laura Anne. There were other people in their family, but, they are hard to remember and I seem to have a distaste in my mouth as I try to relay the names of the ones I do remember. Rob had epilepsy, a temper, and was the middle child.Lee their youngest-was my age and in the same grade and Laura was the oldest approaching high school if I recall correctly. They spent an aweful lot of time with us., too much time.
Dick was a drinker, as was Roger. The things that happen in a house where you should trust no one. I was not able to shield my family any longer and I couldn't save my sister or my brother from the damage that was done.
Rob beat the shit out of me and Eddie whenever he felt so inclined, it didn't take much to set him off. Laura Anne was a severly messed up teenager, they all were really. But Dick was responsible for how they were. I'm positive of that. I have never tried to explain this in detail, so please forgive me if I fail to adequately describe the happenings here. It was sort of a double whammy effect. What one had done, he had passed on and helped them to learn things that no one should ever feel comfortable doing to another. And so, there was the revelation of what kind of Monster lurked in Dick, but also what had been sown in his own grandchildren. I'm not talking genetics (although I wonder if these things might not be somewhat genetic, like alcoholism is) I'm talking sickly perverted behavior...
Laura taught me all about things of the opposite sex and what was the "appropriate responses" that you should give. I shudder at the memory of it. A teenage girl telling me to take off my clothes and do as she did with the life sized stuffed dolls she had in her rooms. I refuse to go into detail here, but I'm sure that was more than you really wanted to know. But Laura was the least of concerns in that house. She was simply teaching as she had been taught, something she thought was her responsiblity. Dick however was another story. There was never a time when he didn't have a beer in his hands. I don't know how that man kept a job, or if he even did. He liked little girls. And we were pretty or so he said.
He wanted us to always sit on his lap. He would do things in plain sight of the family but with the overhang of the dining room table keeping the laps of people out of sight. I didn't know what to do the first time I sat on his lap, after all he did seem so nice and that was a change of pace for us. But I was bewildered at the fingers that came in between my legs and the family was sitting right there! Right there they were! How could they not know the monster in him.... It was the first and the last time I ever sat on his lap willingly. But I don't think Amy had the understanding of things that I did. I wonder if by being sheltered from the violence early on, if that kept her from understanding the true violation of it all. She wanted to be loved, we all did.
It was during this year that I was starting to develop. I had asked my mother privately in the bathroom, what it was with the new hair in odd places, her response I shall never forget. She freaked out. Clearly she was not ready for her daughter to reach this milestone. She exclaimed to everyone about how she couldn't believe her daughter was old enough for pubic hair. He sat right there in that chair across from the bathroom door and listened to every single word. A little while later he noticed that we were all out of Ice cream cones and "who wanted to ride with him to go get some?" I hadn't spoken, didn't want nothing to do with that dirty old man. But it was me he asked for and it was me that got sent because mom wasn't home and Roger's wife didn't much care for me anyway.
I don't need to tell you what happened in his truck, but it was in the middle of the day, Sun shining as bright as ever. I just couldn't understand how no one on that street saw the happenings. I mean for Christ's sake the Elementary School was just across the alley way. Bruises I could handle, but this, this invasion I could not. But I was lucky that year, it was only his hands that terrified me. Amy still to this day won't speak of what had happened to her under that roof and Mom would never disclose the police report we made later that year.We drove to the local conveinence store when he was done. He went in and got drumstick ice cream cones and Donald Duck orange juice- because he knew I happened to like that orange juice. I have never drank it since.
I couldn't save her after that. There was something inside that was broken that I couldn't reach. I'm not sure anyone ever can. I stopped singing after that for a while, a long while. I used to sing for the kids at school, I'd get into trouble for it even, but I just couldn't sing anymore. Two years ago I read in the paper where he finally died, never served a sentence in his lifetime for what he did. Our word against his. Circumstantial.
My Grandpa Cow passed away in this year and Grandma went from sorta bitchy, to a lot bitchy. She wouldn't even let Mom move in with her in her trailer, not even after hearing what was going on. One of mom's better friends found a homeless shelter in Fort Wayne that took in abused and battered women and their children. The rule was only 30 days. So for a whole month we lived in a homeless shelter, time enough for mom to find a job and a place of her own.
It was back to that same small town that housed the trailer court of my 4 year old days.
Fifth grade came around. I became the babysitter at this point in my life. Mom couldn't afford someone else to watch us after school. But babysitting was so much easier than all the rest of the things in my life. I even got my first boyfriend, who was a few years older than me. I dropped him like a hot potatoe when I realized he was interested in exploring sex. Told my dad off this year for not being around after he informed me he was getting married. Made my own birthday cake. Learned to sew myself back together and set some rules for myself as I did. No boys, I wasn't old enough. No trusting anyone, no nothing. Nothing major happened this year and that was o.k., I'm not sure I could have dealt with it if it had.
Things were looking a little better. Mom got us involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Somehow word got around that there would be no Christmas for us and we had the biggest Christmas I'd ever seen. The entire living room was filled with presents. There was a light shining in our lives for the first time. I was too afraid to be happy, but glad to be rid of the past. I was struggling to find my place in the world....