Years of Tears
Copyright © 2004 Emily Hart
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
All rights reserved. This Book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, or other without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Cover design by Emily Hart and Anita Manners
A Note from the Author
It was an extremely difficult task to write my own story, and to even think of sharing it with the World, however, I do feel each and every one of us has life purpose, and it is one of mine to share this story in the hopes it will help many, my gift to humanity.
I wrote in the way, and with the words I can remember using as a child, in order to give the reader a true perspective of how it was for me as well as to make it very simple to read and therefore will have a wider audience.
The subject of sexual abuse has been continuously avoided, covered up and denied because of the shame and the pain involved.
Just how widespread this, is will remain a mystery unless more of us are willing to take the risk to bring our stories to light and allow the healing to begin.
The healing is not only for the abused, but also for the abuser, who often has been the subject of abuse as well. Sexual abuse is a circle that never ends without awareness and courage to break it.
All persons are touched in some way by this as we are the Mothers, Fathers, family, friends, or lovers of those suffering in so many different ways.
If this story does help even one Mother to be vigilant to protect her child, or one potential abuser to see from my viewpoint, or one abused person to find hope and comfort and healing then my writing and sharing has not been in vain.
This true story is presented, from the viewpoint of the central Character, a little girl that had a beautiful radiant light about her, a vibrancy and zest for life and the beauty of it, as it is meant be for all little children.
At a very early age, a dark cloud of sexual abuse descended upon her, a cloud that would haunt her for years, and in many ways.
For most of twelve years this child was held captive by various means, and abused almost daily.
As tragic as her story may seem, through this she learned courage, strength, perseverance, patience, faith, compassion, forgiveness and the knowledge of Pure, Unconditional Love.
The story of her conflicting thoughts and emotions and how it shaped her life from this experience is written with great love and compassion for all victims of abuse of any kind.
Through awareness there is healing, so in the end, it is a blessing in disguise.
Little Anne Lea
I am so very tiny, they call me little Anne Lea.
I am at Grandma and Grandpa’s house tonight and I am in bed with my pajamas on. Grandpa gives me a back scratch and tells me a bed-time story every time I stay here, which is a lot, because we live so close to my Mommy’s house, only one block away.
My little sister and I have a room here to sleep in; it is called “the girl’s room”. It feels nice to have a back scratch, and Grandpa is very good at it, he covers the whole back and also he strokes me between my legs, it is part of the back scratch.
I am five years old.
I live in a world of magic, the magic of childhood where everything is filled with wonder. I am living in the magic world of “not knowing”, where everything is beautiful and exciting to me.
This morning I am at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and my little sister and I love to be here. We love Grandma and Grandpa so much. Although we live in Canada, we know we are Swedish. Everything at Grandma’s house revolves around being Swedish. Right now Grandma is in the kitchen making Coffee and soon she will bring Coffee and Swedish “Mama’s Bread”, spread all over with butter, in to the bedroom where my little sister and I, and Grandpa are waiting in bed.
It is our Saturday morning ritual after spending the night at Grandma’s house. Grandpa wanted me to sit just beside him this morning very close. While Grandma is in the kitchen, he tells my little sister to go and help her, and then while she is away, he asks me for my little hand. He takes it under the covers and puts it on something warm and soft and tells me he can do magic! But I must promise to keep the magic a secret “our little secret”. He says, feel this! And somehow the soft warm part of him gets bigger and bigger, and harder and harder, and I am so amazed and delighted! How does this magic happen?
Grandma brings in the coffee and of course, we all have coffee, after all, we are Swedish! It is going to be a very exciting day as we are going to Woodward’s Department Store today.
Woodward’s is a whole fantasy world in itself, and the center of all things beautiful to me. Incredible delights await us every Saturday in every Department of Woodward’s.
My favorite is the Toy Department as I have a special doll there, and I go to visit her every Saturday. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! All the dolls are very high up and I am so very little, but not this one. She has her very own chair, down low and she waits for me every Saturday. There are no other dolls like her. She is very, very tall, and she wears black high-heeled shoes that are part of her legs and are painted on. She has a most beautiful ladies face with dark eye shadow and bright red lips and very rosy cheeks. She has jet black hair tied in a bun at the back of her head, and large earrings. I love her so much she is like my friend! Her dress is so beautiful in bright red with layers and layers of black lace ruffles going all the way down the full-length skirt that trails on the floor at the back, and she wears a black shawl with fringes on it. I want her to be my doll so badly. Every week I think of her all week and wait anxiously for Saturday so I can see her again. I wish I could buy her, but she costs five dollars, just the same as how old I am, five.
After the Toy Department we get to go to the Bakery Department, where there is a clear glass doughnut machine! Looking through the glass we watch the dough plopping down into the hot oil, going around and around, being flipped over and around again; flipped on to the conveyer belt and into waiting hands that dip them in cinnamon sugar, or chocolate, maple, or vanilla icing. Grandma usually takes a dozen home.
Grandma’s house is very different from Mommy’s house, it is always very clean and tidy and I like it here because there are always lots of things to do and Grandma lets me “help”. I like to help with everything Grandma does, and especially the baking. I can “paint” the icing on the top of the “Mama’s bread” with a little brush. It smells heavenly! Grandma bakes every week all the most important things, cinnamon buns and coffee buns and “Scorpor”. That is Swedish, of course. We make it out of the Mama’s Bread that is left over from last week. First you have to cut up the Mama’s Bread into slices, and then you put cinnamon and sugar on top then you bake the slices in the oven and it gets really hard like a rock. Then it is ready. You can’t eat it like that, you have to dunk it into the coffee to get it soft again, and then you can eat it.
Sometimes Grandpa is home from the logging camp. He is a “chokerman”, but I don’t know what that is. He tells us lots of stories about the logging camp at Franklin River. He gets a pet crow coming for lunch all the time, and the deer are so tame he can feed them out of his hands! There are Black Bears there too, and they can be dangerous! I love to hear all his stories; Grandpa is always full of stories.
My little sister and I like to put “Curlers” in his hair and he lets us. He sits on the Sofa and we stand up and we put the curlers in and we laugh. And he smokes while we put in the curlers and we giggle and get hysterical with laughter when it is all done and we look at funny Grandpa.
Grandpa smokes a lot and he has “Player’s” Tobacco in a blue tin with a lid that screws on. He has this little thin paper to roll the tobacco in. We love to watch him roll them up.
Grandma goes to a lot of meetings. She has the “Scandinavian Friendly Club” meetings, and the sewing club meetings, and maybe some other meetings. When she goes out Grandpa gets to “baby-sit” so we are alone with him.
I am in grade one and in Mrs. Janice’s class. She is very kind to me and soft and loving.
When I peed my pants, because she did not see my hand up to go to the bathroom, and all the pee went in a big puddle under my desk, and all the other kids laughed at me, she took me to the “cloak room” at the back of the classroom, and she told me it would be okay. She didn’t yell at me or tell me I was a bad girl, she just gave me a hug and told me not to cry anymore, and she would call my Mom. She moved me to the front desk, right in front of her after that. I love her so much!
I always want to be a good girl and not do anything bad.
Today, I am standing beside my desk at the front of the room and I am so sad and lonely and I am thinking, “I do not want to be here anymore”. I wonder what I am and why I am here and how can I stop being alive?
Oh, now something very strange is happening to me. I sort of get out of my body; but still, I am in here too. I see myself standing there, I also “feel” myself getting bigger, feeling more parts of myself. I am something very, very big! I feel myself as part of space and the stars and I feel very, very big, like there is no end to me at all!
All of a sudden, I “know” things that I have not known before. I know that there is no point at all in trying to escape from the World I live in, because there is no where to go. I cannot die because if I lose my body, I will still be here. I will just get a new body. We do not die, only our body dies.
This is very, very clear to me. I know now, that if I were somehow to die without finishing my life and its purpose, I will have to come back again. So now, I know that I cannot escape. I seem to stand here a long time, and I learn so many new things. It is sort of like remembering something I forgot. I have never had this kind of thing happen to me before though. I feel calm when I sit down at my desk at the front of the room, just in front of Mrs. Janice’s desk. I wonder if she knows about all of this.
Grandma says, there is a kind of big man that lives in the sky somewhere high up, He is kind of see-through, I think, and sort of white looking with a long beard, and he sits on a very big Throne like a King, it sits in the clouds, I think. He rules everything, and he made everything and we say our prayers to him. His name is God.
Grandma tells me how to say my prayers,
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord, my Soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord, my Soul to take.
I keep hoping I will die before I wake.
But every morning I wake up anyways.
I think a lot about God. I try and try to imagine what He looks like, and if He hears my prayers. I need His help so much!
My Little Sister
I love my little sister; she is the most beautiful little thing. Everyone loves her best because she is the prettiest and the “baby”, and she has the most adorable smile!
I have to take very good care of her because I am her big sister, and because she is so delicate, and she faints all the time for no reason.
Grandma makes two sets of each different outfit, exactly the same for us so we look like twins and we like it. We have the same purses, and the same shoes and the same hats. But we are not the same.
She is my best friend too, and we love to play with our dollies together. She has all the same dolls as I do but I still know which ones are mine. We keep our best dolls at Grandma’s house. We are very careful and gentle with our dolls, so when Margareta comes to visit, we put them away in a high cupboard because she does not know how to be gentle with them. Maybe Margareta is a “Tomboy”?
We take dancing lessons too, and have lots of dance costumes. We love to play dress up with all our costumes, some of them are dresses made out of crepe paper. I love the white one with all the little silver stars glued on!!
When it is her Birthday, Mommy makes her a cake with a hole in the middle, and she puts a plastic doll in there, and decorates the whole cake like a dress that the doll is wearing. It is so beautiful!! Every year I want one of those kinds of cakes too, but you only get them in springtime because everyone is happy in springtime when all the flowers are out. We have her Birthday party outside then, in the front yard under the big cherry tree.
I have to be very sure that nothing bad happens to my little sister, she is very precious and I love her so much.
I don’t want her to have to play with Grandpa, so I have to go down to the basement with him instead. While Grandma is singing and baking upstairs, I am here, beside the big cement laundry tubs. In the semi-darkness, where I smell the Castile soap mixed with the smells of tobacco and whiskey, while Grandpa lifts my dress and pulls down my panties, and I am thinking, “thank you God for keeping my little sister safe.”
I keep asking God to make me very strong and not let Grandpa hurt me too much.
I am in Mrs. McGowan’s class, so I know it is Grade Four. She has curler-shaped blonde hair, lots of face makeup, with rosy cheeks, and very bright red lipstick and she puts it on ‘way above her actual lips and with two very sharp points in front. I can’t stop looking at her lips. I can’t understand how she thinks it looks nice. She must think it looks nice.
Today is my Math Test. I have not slept much last night. I had the nightmare again! The very giant “Dinky and Balls” hanging over me again. I can’t get away from them, I keep seeing them in my mind and I can’t think. They are just above me and they are as big as an Elephant. I think maybe they will fall on me and crush me to death.
I am afraid, because I can’t think, because I can’t stop thinking about the dream and so I am not going to pass my Math Test. Why can’t I stop thinking about the dream? Why don’t they go away? I want to cry. Why is this happening to me?
This summer Holidays, Grandma, Grandpa, and my sister and I are going to the Kelowna Regatta and it is very exciting. Kelowna is where my other Grandpa lives, we call him “Kelowna Grandpa”, and he is very funny and very old and gives me candy with cocoanut in it.
He is very old, and he does not come to the Lake with us.
There is a giant Sea Serpent in this Okanagan Lake, and he is named “Ogopogo”. All the time I am here, I am watching out for him.
At the Okanagan Lake we go swimming and Grandpa likes to play with me in the water. We wade out a long, long way, and then I am up to my neck in the water, and Grandpa touches my “private parts” in the water. I wonder if anyone knows what he is doing. Grandma can see us from the shore and I wonder why she can’t tell what he is doing to me. Why, are the fun days all mixed with dread? I hate it when he keeps touching me.
I love Grandma so much!!! When I grow up, I want to be just like Grandma. She knows how to cook and bake and sew and give tea parties. Grandma is Swedish and that means we have a lot of coffee with cream in it, and we drink it through lovely lumps of sugar from the most beautiful cups with flowers and gold on them.
We have Swedish Pancakes on Sunday mornings, and sometimes we have Scorpor, and Mama’s bread and Swedish rye bread called “limpa”.
Grandma sews and sews all the time, and she made my sister and my brother and I all Swedish costumes.
She made us Norwegian costumes too, with all beautiful little glass beads and rhinestones on the red velvet hat and bolero, and they are for our folk dancing.
Grandma says when you feel sad, you should sing. She sings a lot, so I guess she is sad and then happy all the time.
Grandma shows us how to say our prayers, and she takes us to the United Church and on Easter Sunday we have to dress up very, very fancy and wear our Easter Bonnets.
Grandma is the one that always takes me and my sister to Church. It takes a long time to walk there. Sometimes Grandpa comes too, but I don’t think Mommy and Daddy have ever been to Church or my brother.
My brother doesn’t come to Grandma’s house much at all. I don’t know why, but Grandpa isn’t very nice to him, so maybe that is why.
I love to help Grandma with the cleaning, I get to empty all the ashtrays from Grandpa’s cigarettes.
I get to help with the baking too, and I like to make the long rolls of dough for the mama’s bread that we have to make a braid with. To make Mama’s bread you have to go down in the basement with a towel and a hammer and Cardamom seeds. Grandma puts the seeds in the towel and hits it with the hammer on a big wooden stump that is down there; then we open the towel and I pick out the shells and throw them away. The seeds make the Mama’s bread taste really good.
One time Grandma came to me and showed me a story in the Newspaper about a little girl that someone had been touching on her “private parts”. She was telling me to be careful of men. I wanted to tell her then about Grandpa’s dancing and playing, and how he touched my “private parts” all the time, but I was afraid. I really, really, really wanted to tell then. I thought she might already know something, and that she was giving me a way to tell, but then I thought about how much I would be hurting her if I told. Grandpa said it would kill Grandma to find out. If I told it would be my fault.
It's a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I can hear the children of the neighborhood outside laughing and playing. I am eight years old and I want to go out to play with them, but Grandpa is locking the doors and pulling down the blinds, and I know that something that I must keep secret is going to happen.
I wonder if God loves me. I pray and pray, but God never seems to hear my prayers. I must be doing it wrong!!
I have to protect my little sister from him, so I have to do what he tells me to, or he will do it to her. I can’t let that happen!
I have to keep it all a secret because if anyone finds out, Grandma will have a "nervous breakdown" and it will be my fault. I love Grandma so much, and I know how terrible it was when Mrs. Sundquist had to go in hospital with her "nervous breakdown"; I couldn’t do that to Grandma.
Grandpa tells me to take my clothes off. We are in the front bedroom and the warm sun penetrates the room, and little slits of sunlight peep through the Venetian blinds that are closed now.
I see Jesus looking at me from the painting on the wall that I look at so often.
The children outside are still laughing, but I am crying inside. I have to be so strong now.
He is very excited and he takes his clothes off too. He likes to dance naked in front of me. I hate it so much, but I am in a trap and he tells me if I told anyone they wouldn’t believe me because I am a child and he is a "grown-up" and they would believe him.
I have been his play toy for so many years already, and I am only eight now. I wonder how many other Grandpas play with little girls like this. I am always thinking about it, and dreading having to play this.
I have nightmares about this dancing and how he makes me do all this and I can hardly do my schoolwork because I am thinking about what will happen after school.
Why does my mom not protect me? Why does she let him baby-sit me all the time? Why does Grandma have so many meetings to go to all the time? Where is God?
Why? Why am I all alone? At night I cry a lot. Sometimes my pillow is just wet with tears. I want to be somewhere else; I don't want to be alive.
Grandpa does all kinds of things to my body and I have to do things to him.
I feel sick in my stomach and in my heart.
But still, I have this inner strength that comes from somewhere. I am not going to let him do everything to me. I am not!!!!!! He tries everything, but he knows somehow he cannot put his dinky into me or his games will end.
Each day I pray that it will be the last day, but I still have four more years to endure unfathomable anguish before I find my means of escape; then, I never go to Grandma's house again.
Grandma has a sister who everyone calls Auntie Hilda.
She is “rich Auntie Hilda”, and she lives in the United States of America, at Washington D.C. where the President lives.
She is here for a visit, and she brings lots of presents. She belongs to the National Geographic Society, and got a movie camera from them so she makes a movie of my sister and me jumping and playing in Grandma’s back yard.
It is 1955, and we still don’t own a car. Some people do, but we don’t.
Auntie Hilda wants to take us for a special treat, a whole week in Victoria!
We have to go all the way on the bus, and it is a long, long way.
My sister gets very sick and has to throw up. Grandma cleans her up with those precious
hand embroidered hankies that she gets from her girlfriends for her birthday every year. They come enclosed in the most beautiful cards, painted with flowers and sparkles glued on. I look at them for hours entranced with their beauty.
But why, why, would Grandma throw those hankies in the garbage? They can be washed… “No, no, Anne Lea, Ve Trow dem avay!” she tells me in her Swedish accent, as I am trying to convince her that I will wash them.
I find in unfathomable, that she would throw those incredible works of art that took someone countless hours to create, in the garbage, just because she did not want to carry them with her until they could be washed.
Grown-ups were often so hard to understand. Life is so simple, but grown-ups make it so complicated.
We arrive in Victoria and go to the “Empress Hotel” where Auntie Hilda rents the “Royal Suite” for a whole week. The Royal Suite is where the real Royal Family from England stays when they visit our Capital. Princess Margaret has just been here for a visit, and the Hotel man tells us that she was the last person to stay in the Suite. We are excited beyond belief, and the long trip upstairs, and down the long hallway seems endless. The carpets are soft and richly colored in swirly patterns with golden tones starkly contrasting the burgundy.
The Royal Suite has its own Oval shaped room with a table in it to enter into with doors going off in all directions. I have never seen a room that has no real purpose before. It is simply the “entrance room”. The flowers on the oval table are exquisite; I love beautiful things so much!
We go in through the Middle door, and find ourselves in the luxurious living room. The tall windows are covered in real lace curtains, and over those are heavy dark brown Velvet drapes. Never have I seen anything like it!!! There is a marble fireplace and Persian Carpets. Everything is marvelous. The Chandeliers, oh the Chandeliers! There is one in every room, including the Bathroom! I make up my mind right then and there, to have a home with a Chandelier in every room one day. There are three bedrooms and a kitchen and bathroom as well as the living room and entrance room.
We are going to have dinner in the Hotel Dining Room. I put on my red taffeta dress with the little rhinestone jewels sewn on. My sister wears her navy blue and pink taffeta dress. Grandma made them for us. Auntie Hilda lets us wear her expensive perfume, and her lipstick, which she tells us, cost $50.00. She got it from a Charity Auction. It was very special, and no one could figure out how a lipstick could cost so much money, and how could Auntie Hilda think to pay that much for one lipstick, in 1955? She must indeed be rich.
Grandpa wants to see me alone in the living room. I don’t know where everyone else is. Maybe they are shopping. He wants to have my panties off and feel between my legs. Everything is so exciting, I feel excited when he puts his hands on my “pussy”. He calls it my “pussy”. I don’t want to, but somehow it feels good and bad at the same time. I don’t know what to think of it, I am confused by two kinds of feelings. My body has fire in it, but I don’t know what it means. I know that I don’t want Grandpa touching me, but I like the way it feels.
Victoria is a very exciting and magical place and later we are going out exploring the City streets and shops.
We are going shopping and looking in all the shops that sell jewelry. Grandpa is looking for a pocket watch. He finds a very beautiful watch made of pure Gold and it is Antique. It is a Ladies Watch and very delicately engraved with beautiful designs. I love it, and Grandpa tells me when I am sixteen I am going to get it for my birthday because I let him touch me. I am happy thinking that I will get the watch one day. I thought about it a lot for the next few years, until the day I found he had given it to someone else, and felt the sting of betrayal.
I didn’t realize that when I stopped allowing the touching, I lost my future birthday gift as well.
Visiting Mrs. Black
Mrs. Black was Grandma’s friend and she lived just on the other side of Brookie’s house that was beside Grandma’s. Next door to Mrs. Black’s house was Mrs. White’s house. I always thought that was funny.
Mrs. White was Catholic and had two daughters that were “Big Girls”. My sister and I got the most beautiful dresses from those big girls. One was navy blue with lots of netting on the wide skirt and little yellow flowers sewn on to the net. I got that one, and my sister got the pink one. We used those dresses to do our “performances” in.
We had a “stage” just off the living room at Grandma’s house that was actually part of the hallway that could be seen through a large open doorway. My sister was “Lily Pons” and I was “Melitsa Corgeous”, after the famous opera singers. I always loved to listen to Opera, and would practice and practice getting the “high notes” just perfectly in whatever language they were singing on those records we played endlessly.
Grandpa and Grandma liked to watch us do our performances.
Mrs. Black got the “Cancer” I heard, and had to move away. But Grandma wanted to see her at her new home and so we went on a “holiday” and there were three of us, Grandpa, Grandma, and I. Grandma spent a lot of time taking care of Mrs. Black in the bedroom, as she was too sick with the Cancer to get up anymore. She died soon after our visit, and I felt sad because Mrs. Black was a very nice lady.
So Grandpa and I were alone a lot and we spent the time outside in the garden, in the sunshine, and he pretended he was my “boyfriend”. Grandpa said “so near, and yet, so far away”, when we were sitting on the garden sofa. He wanted to touch my “pussy”, he said.
It was so confusing to me; I couldn’t sort out why I felt this fire in my “pussy”, and what it meant. I felt like there was something to be done about it, but I hated him touching me. I yearned to have the fire put out somehow.
Later on, Mrs. White moved away too. She moved to the United States of America, and then I really got lucky. That was when I got the “Box” with Jesus inside.
My Mommy is so beautiful!!! She has very dark red lipstick and a big smile, and Daddy and her have matching “Technocracy Suits” that are gray with little “Technocracy buttons” on the lapel. They are half red and half white with an “s” shape in the middle. I am very fascinated with those buttons.
The whole family gets pictures taken when Mommy and Daddy get dressed in their suits.
It was a hot day and we went up a long way on wooden stairs to the room where a man takes your picture. It takes a very long time. I have on my little blue sweater that Grandma knitted for me, with navy blue designs knitted right across the front. Mommy cut my bangs, especially for the picture and I got a nice white bow in my hair. I am thinking hard about things. I am always thinking.
Mommy reads books, and books, and books. Sometimes I get to hate those books, because Mommy gets lost from me in those books. And I cannot find her anymore. Sometimes I need her so bad, but even if I pull and pull on her, she doesn’t seem to know I am there.
She is gone far away, somewhere into those books. I decide I will never ever read a book when I grow up!!
Sometimes my Mommy cleans and cleans the house and moves everything around in different places and she makes beautiful flower arrangements and no one can make a more beautiful Christmas tree.
Almost every day I see Mommy drawing with a sharp pencil, she draws a beautiful woman over and over again. Mommy wears bright red nail polish and smokes a lot of Cigarettes. Sometimes she paints my fingernails and my little sister’s.
The best part is when Mommy plays her “fiddle”, as she calls her French Ladies Violin. She plays so beautifully that I cry when I hear her. I cry because the music makes me cry, and it is a good kind of crying.
Mommy reads the Bible all the time, and she can tell you anything about the Bible, but she doesn’t believe in God or Jesus. She really, really hates the “Catholic hypocrites”. I am really, really afraid of Catholics. I hope I never meet any. When anyone talks about God, my mom’s voice gets louder and louder.
Sometimes I come home from school and I see Mommy in her chair with that look on her face. I think she is the Devil then. I am so afraid of her because she might yell at me. I always want to be a very good girl and not get yelled at.
I know that when she has that look, then it is going to be a long time before she gets happy again.
One time she got that look for about four years and didn’t go outside of our house for four whole years. Daddy had to do all the grocery shopping then, so I went with him. When Daddy was at work, she ordered the beer from a “bootlegger” who brought it to the house in those days by Taxi. Daddy never drank beer. That’s when Mommy stopped cleaning the house and stopped smiling.
I got afraid when she yelled at me so I tried hard to be a good girl. I cleaned and cleaned to make mommy happy but she stopped coming upstairs so she didn’t see how nice I kept my room.
Daddy works at the “Plywood Plant”. He walks to work every day and takes Salmon sandwiches for lunch, and apples.
Salmon is free, you know, Daddy gets it whenever he wants, by going fishing. My sister and I have to get up at four o’clock in the morning when we go fishing with Daddy, and he can catch a big, big Salmon every time we go.
My Daddy taught me how to clean the fishing “spoons” they are made of brass and copper, and we use a terrible smelling stuff called “Brasso” to clean them. My hands get dry and feel funny when I help with the polishing. Daddy does the first polish and I do the second polish.
Daddy is always teaching me how to do things. How to paint walls, first you “load the brush” then you tap it on the side of the can, and then you put the paint on the wall, first up and down you paint, and then you go over it again side to side. Daddy lets me help and I want to do it so perfect!
Every year we can Salmon until the whole basement shelves are full. I counted 50 glass quart jars of Salmon down in the basement, that lasts a whole year!
Daddy likes to can fruits too, and we pick lots of “Bing” Cherries from the big tree in the front yard, and can those too, and the Green Gage Plums, peaches, and pears. Daddy has the biggest garden you ever saw, and when he is not working at the “Plywood Plant”, he is outside in the garden or in the kitchen making soup, or down in the basement making something nice.
Like he made my sister and me the most beautiful little carts to roll our dollies in, and little beds too, and Grandma made tiny pillows and sheets and blankets to put in them… and he made me an ironing board for my dolls clothes too. I have a lot of dolls. All my dolls are named “Suzy” except “Terry” the boy doll, that’s because I named him after the boy who lives across the street, I am “in love” with him, but he doesn’t notice me at all. I am always in love with Terry for years and years and years. He always loves someone else though.
My favorite time of all with Daddy is when he shows me his garden. He tells me all about all the plants and flowers and what makes them grow, and what they like and what they don’t like. When we go into the warm greenhouse, I can smell those heavenly tomatoes, and Daddy picks one for me, he rubs it on his clothes for a minute and then he gives it to me to eat right there!!! My Daddy is the best Daddy there is, he is always joking, and hugging Mommy. Lots of times Mommy pushes him away, and I see that hurt in Daddy’s eyes, and I wonder about that.
I see Daddy just laugh and hide in his laughter; yes, I see that. There are lots of things “grown ups” think we don’t see or we don’t know about.
I always tell myself not to forget what I am feeling like now, because I do not want to be a Mommy who doesn’t listen to my children. I want to grow up and be like the Canada Geese and have only one husband for my whole life and we will have one boy and one girl and be happy.
I am ten years old now. I have to go to Grandpa’s tonight. Grandma is going out at 8:30 to the Friendly Club. I am afraid again, and I wonder why God does not hear my prayers.
Grandma goes out and I know that I have to play with Grandpa again. I don’t love him anymore; I just have to try to get through whatever he has planned this time.
This time it is going to be something different. He has been getting more and more demanding all the time. I am full of dread, but also I am strong.
I have to take all my clothes off and let him do all the regular things now, but tonight he makes me get into bed as soon as Grandma goes. He is naked and in bed with me, and its Grandma’s bed. I have to let him kiss me with his terrible Whisky and tobacco breath. I hate it when he puts his tongue into my mouth, and the tobacco taste makes me feel sick. He is so excited; I can tell he is up to something new. I know him so well now.
His dinky is hard and he wants to get on top of me. I am so little.
I am thinking very hard what to do.
He gets over me, and he’s trying to put his dinky between my legs, and I am pinching them together as hard as I can. He keeps begging me to let him do this.
I keep thinking, praying, “God, please help me! God, please help me!” I am so scared and I hate Grandma right now for leaving me alone with him again. I think he is Evil.
I somehow know that if I am very, very strong, and somehow not let him do this, that he will not force me. If he forced me, he knows Grandma might find out.
Instead, he grabs his hanky and takes my little hand and makes me rub his dinky up and down fast until a horrible thing happens. He says I am going to see something now and a terrible smelling ick comes out of the top of his dinky. He makes me look at it and smell it. I am so scared, and it smells awful and it looks awful and some of it gets on me, the rest goes onto his cloth hanky. I am so sick I want to vomit. I am so alone, why doesn’t someone help me?
Now it is bath time, and I have to give him a bath and wash his body all over and especially his dinky.
I hate him.
When I go to bed, I kneel down and clasp my little hands together and ask Jesus to come into my heart and take care of me. I know with His love I can get through this.
Grandpa loved to tell me stories of Finland and his adventures with young women when he was young. He told me about their “pussy” and the hair on it and what he would do with them.
He liked to tell me about this girl that I knew from my school too; she was two years older than I. He pointed her out to me on the street one day. He said he worked with her father at the Franklin River and he paid her father so he could do sexual things to this girl.
I wanted so badly to meet her and talk to her and tell her how sad I was about this. But I didn’t know her and Grandpa said she liked it anyways. She went out with older boys; I knew that because I saw her at the movie theatre with one of the “big boys”.
Grandpa said he was “with her” many times. I wondered why Grandma never knew any of this.
Grandpa used to talk about all his adventures at the Logging Camp where he worked, and all the men he worked with, and one of them was Leo.
Leo came over to visit Grandpa all the time, and they would drink the Strong tasting Whiskey that came in the beautiful bottles with the Crown on top.
I knew that Grandpa told Leo what he was doing with me, because I could see it in Leo’s eyes. You can tell everything about someone by looking into their eyes.
Leo looked at me like he wanted to do everything that Grandpa did to me, and maybe even more. It felt to me like he took my clothes off with his eyes.
I was afraid that Grandpa would let Leo touch me. I think he was talking to Leo about that. I felt hatred for Leo. I felt hatred for Grandpa. I was powerless, trapped and so alone.
One time I had to go with Grandpa to Leo’s house. There was a woman there that Leo lived with. I felt sorry for her because she had such a terrible man to live with. I wondered if she knew. I thought she had to know, but then if she knew, why was she there? I vowed to stay away from Leo if I could.
Today we are going to a Wedding at the Elk’s Hall. I love to go to Weddings, and dance and see all the people in beautiful clothes.
Grandma and Grandpa have so many friends from the Scandinavian Club. Grandma speaks Swedish and Finnish, and a lot of Norwegian, but not Danish.
I understand all the Swedish and I think it is so funny when Mommy and Grandma speak Swedish, thinking I do not understand what they are saying.
They tell all the secrets in Swedish. I know all the secrets they tell in Swedish.
Everyone goes ahead to the Wedding, and I get left behind with Grandpa somehow. He loves to get dressed up in his beautiful suits, and he has some very special ties that he shows to me. One is kind of dark red and the other one is dark blue, but they have a secret inside! If you turn them around, inside the lining is a picture. The picture is a very beautiful naked lady. Grandpa loves to show me those naked ladies. He has a very big picture in Grandma’s bedroom too, of a naked lady holding a blue scarf; it is in a gold frame. Grandma doesn’t like it though.
Grandpa thinks it is a good time to show me something new and he gets me to take my clothes off. I have to sit on the bed and hold my legs open. I am trying to be so strong again, gritting my teeth together, my little heart pounding, wondering how I got alone with him again. This time he gets on his knees and puts his tongue between my legs by my pee-pee. I am worried about this; I wish I knew how to get away. He wants me to kiss his dinky now, and I hate this part so much, but he tells me I have to, and he is so excited and holds my little hands on it too, and it gets to leaking. I keep thinking about how I could tell someone and get away from him, but he always tells me, if Grandma found out, it would be really, really bad.
When he kisses my little mouth, it tastes like tobacco and whiskey, and I want to throw up.
He pushes his tongue so far down my throat that I choke, and I can’t get my breath, and he presses his body against me. I feel so alone but I still pray and I know that I am strong and that I can get through this one more time.
As I look up at the picture of Jesus in the gold frame on the wall, I silently ask Him to keep me strong and take care of me.
That picture is Grandma’s and it’s my favorite picture in the whole world. Jesus looks so beautiful to me.
Jesus loves me this I know, because the Bible tells me so.
Mrs. White and her girls are moving away now; I think it is called Oregon where they are going.
They have to give lots of things away now, so Mrs. White sent a little box over to me and a few other things, a velvet table scarf with long burgundy fringes on it, and a Catholic Calendar, with Jesus on every page!
Jesus has a very beautiful face and I look at his pictures on the Calendar a lot.
I have the box and the Calendar in the basement at Grandma’s house, in our playroom. With Jesus came the “Veronica Lake” cutout dolls with the most beautiful long dresses.
The cedar box is so special, and it has a real “lock and key”! They are brass, and very tiny. Inside the box I find Jesus! There are many, many little cards in there, and they have Jesus, or Mary on them, or Saints and they have white or golden light around their heads, and Gold. I love the Gold on the little cards.
I sit for hours at a time and look into the eyes of Jesus, and he looks back at me, and I see his love coming to me. I ask Him to help me, and I cry.
Some of the pictures have Jesus with a heart on His Chest. One of those is my favorite, and that is the one I talk to. I know He loves me very much.
I know I will keep those little Cards forever, and ever. They are my most precious posessions.