First off ... the traumatic events I lived through were not my fault. There are some things I will leave out because I just do not want to discuss that part of my life or the abuse.   Also, my memories can not be relied on to be true and accurate.  They are to the best of my knowledge my truth and recollections.

From the time I was 11 until I was 14 I had to grow up fast.  In my mind, I was responsible for holding our family together.  If I did everything just perfect we wouldn't fall apart.  I would set my alarm every morning and hurry to wake my brother for school.  We mainly ate breakfast and lunch at school.  Especially if mom was working overtime and we did not want to "trouble" dad for a meal. 

When I was 11 I guess you could say I had a sense of enlightenment. I became aware also that sleep was not my friend. I always slept with one eye open as the saying goes.  Many times late at night, my dad would come home drunk and be angry about something.  I remember one such night because I heard a loud noise from the living room of breaking glass and his coarse voice shouting.  I got up and ran to see what had happened.  Laying in the middle of the shattered glass coffee table was my dad yelling at me about stepping on the stupid rodent.  Next, I saw George the 2nd or 3rd (I never changed my hamsters names because they were royalty) on the floor squealing in pain.  I had not heard him because of all the cussing and yelling my dad was doing.  He must have made the great escape out of his cage.  I scooped him up, left my dad laying drunk in the middle of the coffee table and hid in my closet with George.  George died that night.

There were a few things that happened over this span of years that made me grow up quickly.  My uncle next door Don, who I was extremely close to, died from cancer at age 54.  This is the first death that I can say devastated me.  Matter of fact, I couldn't get anyone to tell me what had happened.  I came home and everyone was at Don's house and most were crying.  Death was the furthest thing from my mind.  I had just talked to him...he had to be ok.

After my uncle's death I sunk further into my studies and my love for animals.  I could spend all day outside playing with any critter you can imagine like bugs, snakes, cats, rabbits and my favorite animal of all ... my dog.  I would talk to them because I did not have a person to talk to that I trusted.  I felt alone and afraid most of the time.  I could have 20 people around me and still feel alone and empty inside.  These feelings became a part of my everyday makeup.  I was losing the sense to feel happy, sadness, love, anger, fear and most importantly contentedness.  I suppressed any emotion that I thought could harm me.

At the age of 12 my brother and I were bumping heads with dad a lot more.  Dad wanted to whoop me for something and John stepped in and took the beating for me.  We both watched out for each other.  Something broke in my dad one day when I was 12.  He had come home from drinking and it was only about 4 - 5 PM.  He was very angry and said that he was going to the bar and when he got back he was going to kill us.  Not hurt us or whoop us, but kill us.  Mom, was not around and I don't remember where she was.  It could have been an extra shift at work.  So we called my grandparents and told them what he said.  My grandparents did not own a car and could not come to get us.  It was up to my brother and I to walk to their house which was now 1/2 mile away because we had moved earlier that year.  We gathered up anything that could be used as a weapon and wrapped them in a blanket and walked to their house.  This included an arsenal of guns, knives and baseball bats.

After we got to my grandparents house there was a sense of relief but then my dad showed up banging on their door and shouting obscenities through the screen door.  My grandfather who was very quiet and did not speak a word without it having meaning walked outside to talk with my dad.  I don't know what was said to this day but my dad left and we stayed the night with grandma and grandpa.  The next day we gave my mom the run down and told her that she needed to divorce my dad.  That year they got a divorce.  This would have been around 1984.

Also, during this year my mom had a severe bout of depression.  She was working as many hours as she could just to make ends meet.  She was not interacting with my brother and I at all. I had no idea what depression was.  I just knew something was broke inside her and I wanted to fix it and couldn't.

Age 13 was troublesome but somewhat better now that our dad was mostly out of the picture.  My dad was trying to do anything he could to tear the family apart.  This included threatening to take us away from mom for neglect.  He didn't have a case but mom could not deal rationally because of her despair.

Marc and I in 8th gradeThe next year, at 14 I had my world turned upside down.  Remember Marc, my first crush.  We went to different high schools because I was in the math and science magnet program at one school and he went to an all boys catholic high school.  We still were friends and talked almost every day.  One day I got home from school and my mom was waiting for me. "Uh Oh!"  I knew something was very wrong. Mom had me sit down on the couch in the living room like that would ease the blow.  She then told me that Marc had been hit by a vehicle crossing the main street going to his house.  I didn't understand.  What was she trying to say?  I asked her where he was and she told me the hospital but it was very bad. I don't know how I got to the hospital but I did.  I can only guess that my mom took me.  Once there looking at him in full body cast with both legs broke, his arm, and ribs also, he had internal bleeding and a brain injury.  He was in a coma.  My world was falling apart.

After Marc was injured then I started turning to other ways to cope with life.  I had a friend who lived next door that I would sneak out with and we would get high or drink.  It was easy to get the drugs, since his dad had them and was stoned most of the time.  I started caring less and less about everything.  I told myself that I didn't have a family or people that loved me.  I wanted to feel like I belonged but felt like such an outcast.  My brother felt the same way to the best of my knowledge and he had turned to drugs and alcohol for relief. 

It was this time that my brother made a couple new friends that would change how I viewed my world.  They started off being John's friends but then soon wanted to be mine also.  They were both older than me by a few years.

Here is the beginning of my journey.