Chapter Twenty-Five

I eventually woke up but I didn’t open my eyes. The three adults were talking so I wanted to listen. They were talking about mama. They sure were saying bad things about her. She was our mama and she wasn’t always the nicest, but was she as bad as they were saying? When I compared her to Miss Bea, I sadly had to agree with the adults and yet it hurt my heart.

“I hope she rots in prison son. She sure deserves it. She took those kids without no one even knowing and kidnapped them through four states. She never even called once.”

” I don’t know if it’s all her fault dad. We had been doing a lot of fighting lately. I was working long and late hours and she got tired of being home with the two kids and I know I was plenty tired and probably not being the best husband.”

“She stole the kids for Christ sakes. Nothing you two did gave her the right to up and take the kids from you. They’re your damn kids too, remember? I haven’t went down to the jail to see her and I have no plans to either. She can just sit there and rot until her court case gets here. I’m sure they will throw the book at her for what she done.”

Daddy didn’t say anything but somehow I could feel the sadness seeping through the front seat to the back where I sat.” Son”, grandma said. ” You are going to have to file for divorce. You have no choice. Those kids need looking after and she has just proven to me she is unfit. You know, I always told you that. She was no good. You took her with her looks only and then you made the big mistake; getting her pregnant and at her age! Only fifteen! My God son, what were you thinking? Well you weren’t thinking, at least not with the right head.”

Daddy didn’t respond to her remark. He knew he had done wrong. I could see that by the quietness in the front seat. Did daddy still love mama? I still loved mama even when she wasn’t the nicest mama. I looked over at my brother. Did he still love mama? Did he even remember her? He looked so much better now a days then he did. I didn’t want to ever see him go backwards to what once was. Remember what I said? He cried a lot and never smiled.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Four

Daddy put us kids in the car. It was a little cramped with grandma and grandpa in the car but daddy made it work. Grandpa was in the front seat and he looked back at us kids.” They look a little thin son. We’re going to have to start feeding them more.” Grandma just watched us. She didn’t say anything to us but she smiled instead.

The car took off and from what conversation I heard; we had a long drive in front of us. My heart was still hurting a little from knowing I wasn’t going to see Miss Bea anymore but I was glad that I had my daddy back. My brother did what he usually did; he watched out the window and I knew in no time at all, he would fall asleep. Was he missing Miss Bea also?

” It’s about damn time we found these kids and got them back. That bitch you married doesn’t deserve to ever see them again and I’ll make damn sure she doesn’t” Daddy looked over at his dad and didn’t say anything.

Grandpa was talking about mama. He sure seemed like he didn’t like her much. I thought about mama and wondered how long it had been since I had seen her. I could still see her in my head. Mama was a pretty lady. She was tall and thin. She had blonde hair and she liked to smoke a lot. She would be a better mama if she didn’t say all those naughty words.

I wondered where mama was. Was she going to be there when we got there? I wondered where were we going? Were we going home or to grandma’s house? I sort of secretly wished we were going home. That’s where my toys were and my bed. When we go to visit grandma we have to be real quiet and we can only play with one toy at a time but most times we had to sit on a chair and just be quiet. My daddy had a saying, ” children are to be seen and not heard” and he practiced it often.

Daddy didn’t play the music thing. It was real quiet in the car. Every once in a while someone made a comment about that building or look what they are building. Other than that there wasn’t a lot to see in my opinion.

I decided to do what brother was doing, let my eyes go shut. I napped and life was taking us further into questions and taking us farther away from smiling.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-Three

When Miss Bea had gathered all of our belongings, she brought them to where my daddy was standing. There were tears in her eyes and although I was young, my heart started aching and I also started crying.

I knew this was goodbye. My daddy sort of ignored us. He glanced my way and then went about thanking Miss Bea for all she had done for us. She took my brother out of daddy’s arms and gave him a big hug. My brother hugged her back. She was telling him how proud of him for all his progress he had made while staying there. My tears became harder as I grabbed a hold of her around her waist and clung like my life was about to change and I didn’t want anymore changes.

Miss Bea told me with glistening eyes, ” Keep an eye on your brother for me, will you? Make sure you two remain safe and know this young lady; you are very much loved here in this house.” I hugged her as tight as I could and told her I loved her too and was going to miss her real bad.

Daddy took my brother back and said, ” Let’s go kids. Grandma and grandpa are waiting in the car.” I kept looking back as daddy tugged at my hand to leave. Miss Bea was sobbing and yet still able to smile at us. She was waving at all of us. This was our final goodbye.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty -Two

Life was good, it was very good. Miss Bea became a mom to my brother and me. I didn’t think of mama as often as I did when I first arrived here; I did think of her though, just not as much.

My brother was sitting up real good. He fed himself most of his foods. He even lifted his own cup. I heard laughter from him and he sure smiled a lot. This made me so happy. I had gained a little weight and so did my brother.

It was another day like all the others when a knock was heard at the front door. Miss Bea went and opened it. I saw her stand back a little bit and she put her hands around her face. She had this look on her face like she had seen a big ghost. She looked like those funny characters on my favorite cartoon show, Casper the friendly ghost. I almost laughed out loud but I sort of felt like she was really shocked or scared of whoever was standing at the door, so I didn’t laugh.

She stood back and said,” Won’t you come in sir?” I watched with great interest as the person walked in and then stood there looking at the place. Suddenly I jumped up from the floor and ran over to him. He picked me up and we hugged. “Daddy!”

I glanced over at my brother but his facial expression hadn’t changed much. Did he not remember who this was? I turned my head back to daddy and gave him the biggest hug ever. I looked behind him and I didn’t see mama anywhere. “Where’s mama? Daddy, where’s mama?” I was almost frightened to hear his words.

“She isn’t with us right now. Maybe you will see her later. I have grandma and grandpa waiting in the car.”

“They came to visit us?” I asked. Daddy asked Miss Bea if she could go gather our things around. He said he was going to be taking us with him. Miss Bea figured that was what he was going to say. She hung her head a little but did as she was told.

While she was getting our clothes together, daddy put me down and went over and picked up his son. He looked him over and I think he was proud of the way my brother had grown. He didn’t actually say it; but I could tell by his smile .

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty-One

I liked our new life. I felt safe and no one yelled at me and my brother seemed happy. He giggled and smiled and that made me very happy. I didn’t want this to ever end. It was better than any fairy tale I had ever known.

Meanwhile back at the jail, I heard years later that mama was what some would call a regular pest. She was still in jail and let many that were around her know that she didn’t like it. She was constantly yelling for the guards and was asking when she was going to be let out of her cage.

She got into mild fights with other female inmates. I heard mama always thought her way of thinking was the right way. I heard once that she would call the guards back to her cell in the night time and offer them favors if she could just be let out for a small break. I don’t know what kind of offers she said she’d give but now that I was grown-up; I can only imagine.

I think if I had been her, I would have been spending my time being a good example and trying to work at showing those people that she was worthy of being released, that there must have been some sort of mistake?

I don’t know, but like I said prior, mama thought she was always right. I don’t know how long mama stayed behind those bars but from what I was told, her mom and dad finally came up with the money needed for her to get out and she went home with her parents. I wondered if she thought about me and bubby. I didn’t know and part of me didn’t care. Does that make sense to you? It made me confused because I missed mama and I loved mama but my days were much better without her.

Her mom and dad took care of her. I think they lived about twenty miles from where I used to live. I learned they lived at a lake somewhere near Columbia City but I never went there or at least I don’t remember any lake.

Mama had court dates she had to attend and knowing mama; I bet she didn’t like that one little bit but I figure when she appeared, she looked as nice as she could. Lots of times I noticed mama always looked pretty around men.

On the first court date she had, she learned what she was being charged with. The judge spoke and said,” Young lady, you are now being charged with kidnapping and taking those children out of state and abuse. How do you plead?”

Mama probably cried out loud and I could just hear her saying, I didn’t do any such thing judge, your honor. She probably crossed her legs and hiked her dress up a little just to show the judge her pretty legs. Yes, I was young in those days, but I watched mama too much and I knew her ways.

” I didn’t kidnap any kids your honor. Those were my kids, my flesh and blood. Life was bad at home sir and I just wanted to give us a better life.” Evidently, the judge didn’t fall for her performance and he said that she was to be returned back to her cell and a court date would be announced with a trial. Wow! A trial, I had never been to a trial.

To be continued…

Chapter Twenty

Our new lives started. Each day Miss Bea would get each of us kids up. We were led into the kitchen and asked to sit down for breakfast. Let me tell you something, those breakfasts were so good. Sometimes we had cereal but many times we had pancakes with sausages, or waffles. We usually got a banana too and plenty of milk.

After breakfast most of us took our plates to the sink to be scraped and washed by Miss Bea. After the kitchen was back to the clean look, half of us got a bath and the other half took their bath after supper.

We got to put on different clothes each day and none of them were dirty. Miss Bea hung them outdoors on some kind of line and when I put my clothes on; they smelled so clean. I will never forget that smell, ever.

During the day time, we spent time doing some learning. I was learning my colors and even some letters. I knew the address where I lived. She worked real hard with my brother and would you believe it? He was sitting up in no time and in time he was trying to pull himself up to stand at the couch. That took him a long time to do but he was trying real hard. I could see his legs shake back and forth but Miss Bea would say, ” You can do it! You can do it! “

We usually had this time of learning and playing games before lunch every day and for lunch we lots of times had a bowl of soup and a peanut butter sandwich. My brother was feeding himself too. He sat in those chairs with the tray and he would pick up some of the food and put it in his mouth. Miss Bea always sat right beside him.

He still drank from that two-handled cup but he didn’t need any help anymore. I wished we could stay here forever. I loved Miss Bea. She was so nice to us and she seemed to love my brother too. He had made lots of progress. Even being a kid, I could see that love and children went together. It really make life better.

Some days when it was quiet in the afternoons I could hear Miss Bea cry. It made my heart hurt. I didn’t know why she cried and it didn’t happen too often, but it did happen sometimes. We were supposed to be taking a nap after lunch but there were times I just couldn’t keep my eyes closed. I kept thinking about mama. Where was she? What was she doing? Did she remember us or forget us?

To be continued…

My Love is Here

The struggling; it’s in me

I’m thinking about you right now

An ache in my heart expands

I drop my head and bow.
You patted my shoulder

You told me you loved me

You died in my arms,

This is all I can see.
Remind me of the pain you felt

Your struggles every day

Remind me of your price you paid

Tell me you wanted to leave or stay

Alright, I understand

You had to do what you had to do

Just know I still think of you daily

Every day; I still love you.

Written by,Terry Shepherd


Chapter Nineteen

I didn’t know too much of why my brother was not like me. I learned more as I grew up. I learned that mama was very young when she had me. Why people said that she was a baby giving birth to a baby.

I probably wouldn’t have understood that if someone had spoken to me about this topic when I was a kid but I am grown up enough now to get it. I was the first born. I don’t know what mama and dad really thought about me.

I imagine I was a cute baby because aren’t most babies just so adorable looking? We all know that raising kids is much more about looks though, right? It takes a lot of patience and love and plenty of money. I don’t know if mama ever did work. I can’t remember her working when I was real young.

I do remember my dad working because he wasn’t home as much as mama. When I was a teenager, I learned he had two jobs. He worked at a bowling alley setting up pins and he also worked at a skating rink. Our daddy was a real good dad, because he had two jobs. I do remember some sad things though too.

He and mama fought a lot. She was always yelling and he yelled right back. Sometimes they threw things at each other and I often heard her accuse him of being a cheater. I know now what that meant. Daddy would always scream right back at her saying he wasn’t one of those.

Mama cried a lot and daddy would always leave the room or go outside. You know, those kinds of things I think I will always remember. From the fairy tale books I got at Christmas; I don’t think we had one of those at our house.

Well, things weren’t real bad until mama brought my little brother home one day from the hospital. That’s when the real fighting took place. I don’t think they had too many good days and my brother cried a lot and I think that was because of all the shouting throughout the house.

Mama started paying less attention to me and I didn’t see her spend very much time with my brother. I think now that I look back; she was just too young to be a mother, especially to two children. She wasn’t grown-up enough to handle it. For years after all this happened, I used to wonder why God allowed her to have us kids. Maybe we were bad kids; I don’t remember whether I was good or not. I do remember that one day I just started checking on my brother more and more.

I learned how to change his diapers and I knew how to give him his bottle of milk. I can remember getting on the floor with him and trying to play with his toys for him. He never paid too much the toys so I would just sit and talk to him. I would hold his fingers in my hand and try to make him feel better.

My brother and I never spent a lot of time playing together. I will explain that in another chapter. I always knew something was wrong with him because I didn’t cry like he did and I was walking and he didn’t walk for a long time after I did, but he was my brother and I grew up watching over him the best I could.

To be continued…

Chapter Eighteen

The two ladies talked for a little bit longer and then the police lady came over to me and said, ” You two be good, you hear? This here lady is going to take real good care of you. I will be back when things get all straightened out.” She actually put her arm around my brother and me and gave us a big squeeze. I sure did like that. I had never had a squeeze before.

She then got her paper work together and left through the front door. My brother and I sat there looking at the new lady, Miss Bea and when she noticed us looking her way, she came straight over and gave us the biggest smile.

“Are you two hungry?”

” I am a little. You should know that I take care of my brother because he really doesn’t talk much. He says a few things but he cries mostly.”

Miss Bea listened to me and then she picked up my brother and I stood up and we all went into the kitchen. Wow, what a pretty room. Bright lights from lots of windows. Yellow flowers on the curtains. This sure was a big kitchen and look at the size of that table. Well, it must be big enough for fifty people or so to sit at!

Up against one wall there were a few high chairs lined up. She drug one over to the table and popped my brother in it. He looked up at her and he actually didn’t cry. He looked over at me and so I sat down on one of the big chairs. Boy, was it heavy, all wood with big boards on the top and even the seat.

As soon as Miss Bea’s hands were free, she went to the refrigerator and got out a jug. It had milk in it. She poured me a cup and she poured a smaller cup for him. Immediately I told her that he couldn’t drink from a glass. ” For land sakes, it’s about time he learns to. I think if I read that paperwork correctly, he must be about two or so. Yes mam, it’s time he learned about growing up.”

I just looked at her and didn’t say anything else. She put the milk in a strange cup. It had a lid on it with a whole in the lid and it even had two handles. She wrapped his little fingers around the two handles and tried lifting the cup up to his mouth but he dropped it. She kept trying until he finally kept his grip on it.

He watched me drink my milk and eat my cookies and then with help from Miss Bea, he took his first sip and the next drink he did it all by himself. I was so proud of him, I started clapping my hands and then Miss Bea joined in and we were both clapping and Miss Bea started humming a song. I can’t believe it, I just couldn’t believe it; he smiled at me.

To be continued…

Chapter Seventeen

I was not comfortable enough to ask where we were going so I enjoyed looking out the window at the outdoors. The curvy roads, no bumps or dirt flying up at the window. The two people up front were talking like they were friends, they weren’t yelling or saying naughty words.

I saw lots of big trees and sometimes birds would fly close to the car. I didn’t see many cars that passed up so I figured this is what mama called country side. It was real pretty and real nice. I wish I lived in the country side.

We drove like this for a little bit and then I started seeing more cars, less trees and big buildings. We got closer and closer to those buildings and there was a bunch of stores all lined up next to each other. I wished we could stop the car and I could run up and see what was in each window; but we didn’t stop, well not just yet.

We drove through town and then the buildings seemed to be saying goodbye. Just as the quietness started to come back, we pulled up in front of a house. The man stayed in the car but the lady got out. She glanced back at us kids. I think she wanted to make sure we were still alright, because neither my brother nor I said a single word the whole trip.

I saw a lady come out from the front door and then the two ladies shook hands. They even gave each other a hug. The lady was a little heavy, not thin like mama. She had a dress on with some kind of thing hanging over it. I saw her wipe her hands on it before she shook hands with the lady cop.

The two sure did act like they knew each other. They was talking for a long time. Soon the two walked out to the car and one of them opened the back door on the side where my brother was sitting. She glanced down at him and shook her head ever so slightly back and forth. She wasn’t smiling just then, but she wasn’t mad either. I could tell because her eyes looked nice.

She picked up my brother and the police lady came over and let me out of the car. The man driving the car turned around in his seat and said, ” You two will really like it here.” I sure didn’t know what he meant by that because this wasn’t our house and mama wasn’t even here.

We all walked up the sidewalk back to the house. I could see shiny windows with colored curtains hanging in them. On the porch was lots of big, green plants. There was even a swing and it was hanging from the porch. I sure would like to swing on that.

The two ladies sat on that swing. One lady held my brother and the other lady asked me to come sit on her lap. I did, even though I didn’t know her, her face looked happy. We swung for a few minutes and then the lady who lived here said, ” I’m so glad that you kids have arrived. I sure have been anxious to meet you both. Inside the house, I got some fresh-baked cookies and nice cold milk. I also have some clean clothes and I think by looking at the two of you; they are going to fit you just fine.”

The lady officer said so matter of fact, ” You see kids, sometimes grown-ups make mistakes and those mistakes have to be fixed. Until we get everything straightened out, you two will be staying here with Miss Bea. She’s a real nice lady and she’s going to take real good care of you. There is two other children here too so maybe all of you will learn to play together and have some real fun.”

“I want my mama. I don’t see my mama anywhere. Is she inside?” The two ladies grew quiet as they both knew our mama wasn’t here, in fact, she was in jail. ” No, your mama isn’t here. She’s going to help us get this whole mess cleaned up and then we will see what happens from there. I’m sure you will see your mama real soon.”

Her answer was sad because I wanted to see mama. Mama wasn’t at all like this new lady. Mama didn’t smile or offer cookies, but she was our mama. I had known her for a long time. I didn’t cry because big girls don’t cry and when I looked at my brother, he seemed to be saying with his eyes, as long as you are with me sister, I’ll be okay too.

To be continued…