Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Re Encounter with "him"

I attended a funeral recently for one of my long time friend's mothers that I met as a small child in this polygamy church.  Throughout all these years we have stayed close and I knew her mom well.  It was sad to hear she passed away.

My drive to the funeral caused me a lot of discomfort, and my stomach was in knots.  My best friend's oldest brother was the one that asked me to marry him 24 years ago.  I figured he would be at his own mother's funeral.  I haven't seem him more than a handful of times since the proposal.  It was uncomfortable to see him, and to think I may have to speak to him.  What would I say?  How would I act?  Do I pretend it never happened, and act as normal as I can?

After sitting though the funeral and talking to the family afterwards, I somewhat avoided him.  Later as I was trying to leave I saw him talking to my mom.  I took a deep breath and put on my big girl pants and walked up to them talking.  I was polite and cordial making small talk as I told my mom it was time to go.

In the car my mom tells me that he apologized to her for what went on years ago.  He felt bad for asking me to marry him and cause tension among me and my life.  This was refreshing to me to hear he apologized.  I'm glad it wasn't to my face.  I don't think I would have liked saying it was OK and I was over it.  That would have been a lie.   I have moved on, but the disgust is still there.

The worst part is that many years later, after the proposal, I hear of sexual abuse that happened between him and his little girls.  Seriously, this was the lords plan for me?  He wanted me in this family with little babies being sexually abused by their dad.  This was an uproar for me.  I can't believe my mom let this pervert ask me to marry him.

I never really talked about "Joe" to my best friend, his sister.  He left the church and divorced his 3 wives and probably went to jail.  I don't know the legalistic of it all, but I knew I was glad for following my boyfriends advise then, and not my "Dad's" wishes.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Proposall

I remember very vividly being proposed to by a man 20 years older than I, and who already had 3 wives and many kids.

Here I was in high school, dating my high school sweetheart.  I was happy.  My boyfriend and I talked of marriage, but knew we had to wait until we graduated, and could afford it.

He knew a lot of my past and still accepted and loved me unconditionally, and kept my wishes of never telling anyone of my past.  I kept it a secret from everyone.  I did not want to be judged, I just wanted to be accepted.  He was raised in a LDS home, going to church weekly, and parents married in the LDS temple, but he never judged me.

I was raised in a church that was a break off from the LDS church, with parents living the law of consecration, and plural marriage, aka, polygamy.  My dad took on 2 other wives, because that is what the church wanted him to do.  We attended church at different member's homes.  One of the homes we lived in when I was young, was in Provo, Utah and had a very large office.  This office was turned into our chapel.  How weird it may have looked to have pews in our house.  I guess it was a good thing we were home schooled and did not have any friends.

Our family attended church weekly, held family home evening every Monday, said family prayers every morning and evening together.  We knelt on the floor in a circle, and held hands for our family prayers.  Most of our family traditions were just as my boyfriend's family growing up.  So technically, we grew up the same, but so very different at the same time.

My dad died of cancer when I was 15 years old.  I was very close to my dad, and always struggled with what is right and what I really believed to be right.  My dad was so smart and knew his way around the scriptures so well, and could not prove polygamy to be wrong. My dad studied all the time, and researched everything.  It was hard for me to not believe my dad's beliefs were correct.  But I struggled with it often.

After my dad died, my mom lost control of her 5 kids still living at home.  We all stopped going to church, except my mom.  She was devoted, and this was all she knew for 12 years.  Her friends and support group were all there, plus the church kinda owned us.  I'm sure it was hard for her to walk away.  Other families that tried to leave were shunned by everyone.  My mom did everything she could to maintain our family of 5 that was left living at home.

When I was 17 or 18 my mom told me that Joe (this is not his real name) wanted to talk with me.  I knew Joe well, and his 3 wives.  I knew him as a church member when he was a young man coming to our home for church.  He later married three sisters, my "cousins".   My dad was married to their mom, so we called them our "cousins".   I used to babysit for joe and his first wife when they had their first few kids.  After some odd years, he ended up marrying all 3 of them and having more kids.

So when my mom told me of him wanting to talk with me, I was curious, but not weirded out at all, at least not yet.  So I met Joe and his first wife at a little park by my house to talk.  We sat down at the picnic table, and he proceeded to tell me that my dad had come to him in a dream and told him he was to marry me. Now this freaked me out!  I was torn.  I didn't know what to say, or do, or how to act.  I already had a boyfriend, who I adored and loved and who treated me like a princess.  I don't remember what I said, I was probably dumbfounded, and told him I would think about it.

When I got home, my mom was in the front room on the phone with him.  She told him she would talk to me and let him know the answer.  She asked me what I thought about it.  I didn't know what to do.  All I remember was not wanting to marry this old man.  I did not want to share my husband.  I wanted to be with my boyfriend, and no one else, but at the same time, make my dad proud.  I wanted to do what was right, even if it meant for me to be unhappy.  I wanted to go to heaven.  Clearly with my dad already being in heaven, he would not lead me astray by having me marry the wrong person.

Now in my confused, lost, sad, and perplexed state, I called my boyfriend and talked to him about it.  I didn't know what to do.  I wanted to please my dad, and do the right thing.  I remember very clearly his words, "Does it give you a good feeling or a bad feeling? Good feelings are from God, and bad feelings are of the Devil."  These words made all the difference to me.  He never judged me, but he did hate this guy for trying to marry me, and deceive me.  Me, an innocent girl, and him an old man with 3 wives, and way to many kids.

I don't think I ever gave my mom an answer, and she never asked me about it again.  I asked her about this situation 15 years later.  I asked her what Joe had said, or how it all went down.  She could not remember, but she did say that living this life was never easy and she would never try to push any of us into it if we did not want it.  She left all of us to choose what we wanted, and believe what we felt right.

My mom has since left that church and moved back to the LDS church.  I don't know what she really believes in, but I think she is much happier with the LDS church.  And me, I married my high school sweetheart.  I still question what is right, but I am comfortable, and I believe I am a good person, and I treat people right.  All that's what matters to me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Living in Poverty

I had a job interview yesterday that asked me my experience with poverty.  So many memories came flooding back.  Memories that I don't necessary block, but I don't think of them daily.  I know money doesn't define who you are, and for what reasons would I ever talk about this.  There are 2 people in my life that I have shared my families experience with, and had never planned to disclose it in an interview.

Obviously this question took my by surprise, so I was only able to share a small bit of my experience due to my emotional state at the time.  I need more preparation for stuff like this.

My family went from living in a large, beautiful home, in what people would call the ritzy area of town, to living in a run down old commercial building with no heat or a/c.  I didn't think of us as rich or as poor, but we had everything we needed in both places.

I am not sure what happen, but suddenly we lost our home (I didn't know this at the time) and we were moving.  My parents rented an old run down building  and decided to start a thrift store, and our family got to live in the store.  We all had our own bedroom, consisting of enough room for a mattress and some clothes.  We refer to it as a shelf.  We lived in part of the storage areas, with curtains acting as our door, and we used space heaters to take the edge off in the winter.  All of our clothes and shoes came from the store, even panties and socks.  I don't recall getting anything new except my awesome Guess bag for school.  We used bags, not back packs at this time in the 80's.

There was one bathroom in this building, and this is where we would sponge bath when needed, with a pan of water mom would heat up on a stove that had come in the thrift store in our make shift kitchen.  We all used the same hot or warm water to clean ourselves....YUCK now that I think about it.  Once a week we would go to friends of the family and church to take turns showering in their single wide trailer, which was huge, and they lived like rich folks to us.

We had very little money to live on, but I didn't know this.  Every week my family would load up and go dumpster jumping for food that had been thrown out.  Our main place of jumping was Albertsons, so we called it Uncle Al's.  We got some great food there!  Yogurt, break, Captain Crunch cereal, bread, and fruit filled deserts that were super good.  My mom would go once or twice a week to help clean out the deli or produce section of a grocery store, and in return she would get to split the old produce that they were going to throw away with the other helpers.  This program was called Helping Hands, and it helped keep food in our bellies.

Our family was never big in going out to eat, hello, there were 8 kids in our family.  I recall two special occasions where we bought a bucket of KFC and took it to the park, and another time we all went to McDonald's for dinner.

After my dad died, my mom started a tradition to take the family to dinner once a year on my dad's birthday.  This was a big treat to go out to eat.

Being rich is a state of mind.  My parents always talked of everything we had, not what we didn't have.  I believe I choose my path in life far before I came here.  I would not change my past for it has made me who I am today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Disowned by Family Members

As a small child attending a Polygamist church with my family, and living the polygamy ways, I noticed a few things about family.  Our family of 8 use to always go to my Grandmas house for Thanksgiving, which was about 10 hours away.  We stayed in her house, and ate at her super long table.  I have many  pictures of this happy, annual holiday at her house, pre polygamy.

Once our family converted from Mormons to Polygamist, things changed.  We stopped spending Thanksgiving at my Grandma's, and the only time we went there was for annual family reunions.  We no longer stayed with Grandma or Aunts or Uncles, we didn't hang out at their homes, we camped in the mountains for a week and spent time as a family, and attended the reunions.  I loved these week long camping in the mountain with my family times.  They are fond memories of mine.

Little did I know that the reasons we were camping and not hanging out with her sisters and brothers, was because my mom's mother wanted not much to do with her.  She obviously did not agree with my parents choice of religion.  She still gave us hugs and treated us kids the same, as far as I recall, but apparently there was more.

Thinking about God for a second, he is our father, and he understands that we, his children will make mistakes, but he still loves us and does his best to help us.  I can't imagine my own mother who is still living to right me off as her child.

Many years later and many years after my Grandmothers death, I found out that she left all her kids money and belonging, and my mom was left $1.00.  This still hurts me to think that a mother could love her kids differently.   So differently that she divides her estate between her kids to show it.

My mom never said anything to us kids about this, I just remember her mom passing away and how hurt my mom was.  I thought all her pain came from the fact that she had lost her mom.  But now today, I am still hurt over how the will of my grandmother was written, and how her estate was divided.  Willing her daughter $1 was such a slam from her to my parents, which is exactly what my grandmother was trying to do.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Pet Rabbits

My dad bought the cutest Rex rabbits when I was little.  He built a beautiful hutch for them, and they lived in paradise right under the biggest Sunflower I had ever seen.  Their life was good.  Everyday after school, I remember playing with the rabbits in our yard.  Dad said they were the best rabbits.  Their fur was super soft and they would be worth breeding.

After having them for a few months, we came home from school and went to see them, and they were gone!  Where did they go?  There was a shovel lying up against the hutch, but we thought nothing of it.  When we went inside to ask about the rabbits, Mom said that Dad had killed them for pelts.  I guess dad wanted to sell the rabbit furs. 

In out basement were all the pelts in the process of becoming money in Dad's pocket.  We were all very sad and could not believe our dad would do such a thing.  

Come dinner time, when we asked what was for dinner, my parents didn't say a whole lot.  Finally, I think it was said as a joke, they said we were eating our rabbits.  After all the work my mom had gone through to cook the rabbits, none of us would even taste it.  

Still to this day I don't understand it.  Was our family struggling that much that my dad killed and cooked our pet rabbits for food and a few dollars in the pocket?  Or did my dad really think that the rabbit pelts would be worth enough to make it worth it?  Some things I will never know or understand.  Even when I ask my mom questions about this time in our lives, she doesn't have much to say and claims she doesn't remember.

My mom is a passive, sweet, lady with a heart bigger than any I've ever known.  She doesn't ask many question, she has a heart of gold.  I guess my dad was able to buy and do pretty much as he felt he needed to do, without my mom asking questions.   And for this reason he bought rabbits, and built the amazing rabbit hutch, so we could kill the rabbits and not eat them.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Slurped Milk

I don't know where people learn their manners, but in my house growing up we were taught a lot of things and slurping milk was not one of them.

My parents dropped us kids off at a church members home for the weekend so they could go somewhere.  This family lived on a farm.  They had goats, chickens, a big barn with a swing, and a lot of bails of hay.  But what part of living on a farm means your house needs to smell of sour milk, and stench?  Just being in this house made me not want to be in there.

This family was nice, but the smell told me they were gross.  For breakfast we were all sitting at the table eating some slop of some kind, and drinking milk.  Our family is not a big milk drinker, but regardless, we had milk.  My little sister accidentally spilled her milk.  The mom was a little bothered, but by all means that milk would not go to waste.  She leaned over the table, put her lips to the milk, and started slurping it all up.  WOW, what kind of manners was that.  We were all shocked, and wanted to laugh.

I am sure they spent hours milking their cows, or goats to get that milk.  So I guess I can appreciate her not wanting to waste that 8 oz of it, but I have not lived in her shoes, and frankly I would rather not.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Living with Other Kids

All my childhood I remember having the best cat.  She was a beautiful, sweet tempered Calico, with the most beautiful markings.  Not only was she a great cat, but she was very smart too.  She always brought us gifts from the fields and sometimes left them in our shoes.  Sometimes it would be a lizard, but most of the time it was a dead mouse.  She also got around with every other cat in the neighborhood.  My mom would call her a little promiscuous cat.  It sure seemed like she was always pregnant or tending to little ones.  One of her litters included a few orange striped kittens.  They were very cute, as are all kittens.

At this time one of my "Aunts" and her daughter and kids, that must have been single at this time, was living with us.  I never did call this daughter my cousins.  She was much older than I was and had some bratty little kids, with ratty looking hair, and bugger noses.

One of these bratty little kids, probably 3 years old, found some of my moms sharp Gingher scissors, and decided to cut off one of the baby kitten's tails.  We came home from somewhere and found a bloody stump at the bottom of one of these kitten's tails.  I don't recall her getting in trouble or scolded.  She was too small to say much.  But I do remember not liking her for it.  This was a start of a bad living situation.  What kind of a child goes and cuts a tail of an animal off.  Poor kitten.  I don't recall if it lived or died, I just remembering how could this little brat do such a thing.

Living with kids from different home styles is not easy, and then adding in their own kids and a cat.  We had enough going on with my dad marrying two other ladies, and then them living with us, and then their own kids living with us, and then some of their gran kids too.  Busy household.