“I just got religion and I can’t sit down”
Church was a big matter to my mom. When we lived in the house were were very much like the old Norman Rockwell painting of the mom and two kids headed out the door with their Bibles on Sunday while the dad was slouched on the couch watching the football game. My dad was raised the first part of his child hood in the Foursquare Church. His dad was a minister who trained under Aimee Semple McPherson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aimee_Semple_McPherson). His dad died when he was eleven and his mom put him and his younger sister in abusive Baptist Home For Children in Burbank, Ca. My moms mom was Methodist and they attended church on occasion. Somehow my mom missed all the important Bible lessons and didn’t know about Jesus death and resurrection for our sins till after she was married and had my sister. She dove head first into Christianity and has stayed that way ever since. She made it clear to my sister and I that my dad wasn’t “saved”. I trusted my dads word on everything except when I would ask him if he was a Christian and he would say he was I kept quiet but I knew it wasn’t true. My mom had done a very successful job at programing me into believing he just wasn’t. I guess it was easy for me to think that way cause to her Church was very important and he didn’t go to church. However, he would sit down with folks from other religions and hash over the Bible with them arguing and “proving” the Biblical side. I believe now that my mom found it a way to discredit my dad so she could have her way when she felt she needed it.
A Pic of Aimee Semple McPherson I found on google search.
On the west end of Catalina there was a Catholic mass during the summer and that was it for religious services there. My folks were anti-Catholic. We had made friends with a young Christian worker named Grant. My mom talked him into joining her and my sister and I for a weekly Bible study outside that she wanted to conduct. I remember there being another young lady involved for a while but I don’t recall her name. I loved Jesus with all my heart but so many times I felt so uncomfortable with what my mom was doing. She pushed the Bible study to the point of embarrassment and scolded Grant and the other girl when they had something else to do. She seemed to always make a show of her religious acts which is why I likely felt embarrassed. She also didn’t know when to quit so the time drew on and the boredom was painful. Grant was a lot of fun though, we enjoyed his refreshing presence. Later he met a lady named Amy and they ended up getting married. We found that real fun cause we were big fans of the Christian artist Amy Grant.
My sister and I started up a Good News Club at a club house near the one of the housing areas for the local children. My mom had the material from doing Good News Clubs for the neighborhood when we had our house. She had the flannel graph figures and my dad and her created really awesome flannel back drops. We did the club once a week and had a decent turn out. Of course moms are usually quite happy to have free “baby sitting” for a few hours when ever they can get it.
There was one boy who was particular disruptive as there usually is in a setting with several kids. I think his name was Brian. He cut up and disrupted the class every time. It was very difficult to deal with him. One day his mom told us Brian had told her he was afraid to die. She asked him why and he told her he didn’t want to go to hell. My sister, mom and I were so happy to learn that Brian was actually paying attention. Now I understand that he was likely ADHD and ADHD kids usually are hearing what folks think they aren’t paying attention to. Of course now my feeling toward his reaction have drastically change. I am sorry that I ever taught and spread the concept of hell as punishment for not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And sadly, I was involved with that way of thinking and pushing it on others for the first thirty eight years of my life. There are so many people I would love to go back and apologize to but I don’t think that is possible. All I can do is hope they forgive me and have moved on to better things. Though I was ignorant and arrogant I also had the best of intentions and was truly concerned for people.
A Foggy Adventure At Sea.
My parents used to celebrate their anniversary with long time friends Jim and Yolanda. We loved it when they did cause that meant we got to spend time with their kids Trish and Gina. Gina was a few years older than my sister and Trish was a month or so older than me even though I used to get in bitter arguments about who was older.
My folks and the Giallo’s decided to still spend their anniversary together so we set out to make the sail from Catalina to New Port Beach were we would meet up. We rounded the west end on the Moon Shadow and anchored in the Isthmus so my dad could go ashore to get his pay check. The Isthmus is an open water bay with a white island rock in front of it called Bird Rock. We were told it was white due to the large amounts of bird poop. That made my sister and I not desire to go exploring on it.
While waiting for my dad to return my sister and I decided to occupy ourselves by fishing. My dad had fishing poles but we weren’t allowed to use them. Instead he tied and wound fishing line to a pencil with a small hook attached to the end. We also didn’t have bait but we learned to attract the small silver smelt with the shiny hook then snag them in the gills.
While “fishing” a seal started hanging out near us which we loved and found exciting. My mom came out to watch the seal with us as well. But then the seal started doing something very strange. He would round up the school of fish, bite one and let it drop to the bottom. WE had heard that seals ate their catch and didn’t waste so we were perplexed by this. He kept doing it over and over again. Finally my mom got a brilliant idea. She thought that maybe the seal was trying to teach us to fish. We got out water bucket that we kept a rope tied and lowered it into the bay. Sure enough the seal rounded up the fish and swam them right into our bucket. It was so cool! We gutted and descaled them then my mom sauteed them in garlic and butter and they tasted so good.
My dad finally returned and we were able to set off for the main land. I don’t recall if it was exactly this particular trip or not but spotting whales while crossing the ocean was common. There was this one time something not so common happened. We spotted a pilot whale off the port near the bow so my sister and dad and I ran up there to watch it. Soon it swam off into the distance and my mom who was on the helm (like a giant steering wheal) was disappointed she didn’t get to see it. What we didn’t know was that the whale actually came back but did so under water. It surfaced right at the stern (back) of the Moon Shadow and spat water out of it’s blow hole onto my mom who jumped it seemed several feet into the air. It was hilarious. My mom felt as if the whale had tricked her, or as we say now, pranked.
It was smooth sailing at first. But then the dreaded fog set in. My dad had read a thriller book called The Ship Killer about a rogue freighter that ran other boats over on purpose and he had told us about it. My dad was a very good story teller. So here were were out in the vast ocean with no land in sight and fog rolling in all around us and we are crossing the shipping lines. Suddenly we hear the ominous horn of a giant freighter and all we can think about it that darn book and what my dad told us about what happens when a boat is pulled under a freighter. It’s not good! The pull is intense and the blades of the propeller are as big as our boat and can chop a boat like ours to bits in seconds. In the fog and on the water it is very hard to tell how close something is. Sound carries and makes it sound like it’s right next to you. We didn’t have raider so we couldn’t use that to help. We did have this little silver ball thing strung up on one of the halliards that was supposed to make us visible on other peoples raider but it wasn’t a sure bet. We also had a fog horn but it was the same size as the kind people use in foot ball games. Anyway, the freighter passed right by us in a safe distance and we had fun ridding it’s wake for a moment.
The fog only got worse and soon we realized we were off course. We heard a fog horn like ours off in the distance and decided to follow it hoping it would be another vessel and we find out if they know the location. My dad warned us that sometimes kids blow fog horn’s off the beach and cause boats to run ashore which can be a terrible disaster so we proceeded with caution. My mom was back on the help again and my dad, sister and I were keeping watch into the fog. It was almost painful trying to stare into the fog cause you just couldn’t see anything. My sister spotted something in the water and for a moment she and my dad were surprised to see sea weed growing to the surface so far out in the ocean. The fog does mess with ones common sense. My dad came to when he spotted white water and hollered out to my mom, “Hard Right!” For some reason my mom thought it was a joke so she decided to show him by doing exactly what he said. As she turned the boat she saw the white water as it crescendoed off the crashing waves on to the beach. It had been kids on the beach with a fog horn after all.
We sped away fro the scene and then tried to figure out our position using the Ray Jeff. A Ray Jeff picks us a series of beeps but out by the various harbor entrances. The series of the beeps will tell you which harbor you are nearest. We were having trouble getting a clear signal so we put out a call on the CB. “Whiskey X ray Hotel on the Moon Shadow” was oue call letters. Dana Point responded that they felt we were closer to them and proceeded to try to help. I was so disappointed because I couldn’t wait to see the Giallo’s in New Port. But for some reason Dana Point didn’t work out. Sometime after the sun set New Port Harbor Patrol decided to go ahead and try to assist us. By this time Jim and Yolanda had arrived and went to the Harbor Patrol office to see how about things. They over heard us on the radio and got to witness the rest of the events from there.
New Port HP dispatched a boat to come find us. We put up a sail and shined a spot light onto the sail to help them spot us. It worked and soon they threw us a tow line and instructed us to follow them. We didn’t need a tow but the line was so we wouldn’t lose them in the fog. They couldn’t see any better then we could so they relied on their raider. Thankfully we weren’t following to close because suddenly they came to a complete halt and we veered off to the right to avoid hitting them. Later Jim and Yolanda told us what happened and why the HP suddenly stopped. Apparently the raider didn’t pick up the jetty and they ran right into it. Normally we wouldn’t have found it so amusing but the New Port HP was known for having a large chip on their shoulders. We also learned that raider didn’t spot everything.
It was wonderful to finally be able to go ashore and enjoy the night with out friends at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Thankfully the trip home was not so memorable.
I used this story as an essay assignment in home school. Later when I was being enrolled into New Port’s public Jr. High school my mom brought samples of my work including the essay. The Vice Principal who looked at my work read the story and commented, “My, what an interesting imagination your child has.” I don’t know why none of us told him it was a true story, we just sat there looking at him.
A bad attitude always ruins a good thing.
I had stated before, “my dad loved his job…but not his boss.” When enjoyed the company of the two families we shared the dorm with but it also provided an opportunity for my dad and the two other men to complain to each other about all the injustices and things they didn’t like about their jobs. The complaining didn’t stay with in the walls of the dorm but leaked it’s way back to the management.
While patrolling the other bays with the chief harbor patrol man Doug the engine burned out. It was a very bad situation and the engine was ruined. There was only one mechanic and my dad felt it was directly due to something he neglected to do. My dad told us that they didn’t want to fire their only mechanic but someone had to be the fall guy and go. That left Doug and my dad. Doug wasn’t about to fire himself so it was my dad that took the fall. On his report it also stated he had a bad attitude. My dad was very hurt and bitter about being fired for something he didn’t do but he admitted he was wrong for his attitude. They offered him a job as a bar tender there but his bitterness made him want to leave the area all together.
So we headed out but before crossing the ocean we moored in Avalon so we could stock up on supplies. Our timing couldn’t have been worse. We were just in time for one of those storms my dad swore he would never be in. We thought we were secular tied up between the two city owned mooring cans so we made preparations to go ashore. Just before boarding our dinghy the back mooring line snapped and our boat swung to the side colliding into the boat moored next to us. It was crazy trying to get our boat away from theirs. The Harbor Patrol came over pretty quickly and tied onto us pulling is the other direction. We couldn’t stay there so we had to be towed to the large temporary docking area. It was taking time to get everything in order and detached from the other mooring so the Harbor Patrol asked my folks if they wanted them to take my sister and I to shore in there boat. We were a bit shocked at the question at first cause my sister and I had always been involved in helping out but there just wasn’t anything for us to do but stand there so we all agreed they they could take us ashore. I thought my sister was so silly because when she went to get into the HP boa she fell into the patrol mans arm. She was often dramatic and I figured she was just at it again. Then it was my turn. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about how the swells would affect my getting into their boat but next thing I knew I was also falling into the patrol mans arms. Boy was I embarrassed! We played on the pear for a while but found ourselves very board and were quite happy when our boat was finally secured to the dock and we could catch up with out parents. Later we found that we made the front page of the Catalina Islander. The article written about our boat stated that the Avalon Harbor Patrol rescued two children from the Moon Shadow. We just thought that was so ridiculous. Avalon also refused to take responsibility for their faulty mooring can and we had to pay the damages done to the other boat.
We left after everything was settled and our shopping was done. We headed back across the ocean to New Port Beach.
Our boat is in the top picture being towed.
Back in New Port Beach, Ca.
We found a mooring can for rent and settled in. Up until now my sister and I had been home-schooled About a year into our homeschooling my folks learned about correspondence school and enrolled us in International Institute of Illinois. They did not understand that they had the right to advance us a year so we were enrolled as a year behind. The next school year took us two years to complete due to bad scheduling and lots of time off and such. Thankfully the school was designes for missionary kids so they could be put into any school system internationally and fit right in academically.
My sister had been placed in 8th grade and I was placed in 5th grade. When I had been in the “regular” Christian school I was considered behind and my reading skills were terrible. My mom said the teachers would tell her about what a sweet kid I was but that they didn’t have time to spend just with me. I recently heard from a relative that my parents informed the schools before enrolling me that I had brain damage due to drowning when I was four years old. I did drown when I was four and for those annoying people who like to correct me and tell me the correct way to say it would be “almost drowned, well, it just goes to show you don’t know everything after all. Pardon me, I just heard that too many times. Truth is I drowned and yes, I died. Though I have been told that my folks spoke about my possible brain damage right in front of me I don’t remember it. However, in my twenties I would wonder about that from time to time. My folks didn’t allow me to “grow up” and then the church I was in from the age of 19 to 38 took over and kept me oppressed. They both used Jesus and the Bible to do so. I would get frustrated and think that maybe I was retarded and no one wanted to tell me. Now that I have created my own life and study and figure things out for myself I don’t feel that way anymore. I still would love to have a brain scan done though. I read recently that drowning can affect the heart as well and I have atrial fibrillation and have had to have the ablation procedure done.
Back to the subject of homeschooling. Once I was home schooled I rapidly caught up and my reading skills went above my age level by far. I’m sure being raised on the King James version of the Bible which we read and studied daily and reading many martyr and missionary stories and such helped advance me. I had really needed the one on one help that my mom provided. My sisters school work was much more difficult for my parents due to it being advanced 8th grade material so they relied on her self teaching abilities and it worked well.
When the school year started in New Port Beach my sister and I wanted to go to “regular” school. My folks took my kids to the local public high school and learned that they would not advance her even though her SAT scores were first year collage level. They didn’t advance home school kids regardless of their scores so Kari would be put in 9th grade making her two years behind.
My mom understood that I didn’t want to be put in 6th grade with a bunch of little kids so she told me that if they wouldn’t allow me to go into 7th grade she would just home-school me again. I would have been in 8th but my birthday is in summer so my age would fit fine in either 7th or 8th. We went to the local public Jr. High School called Horace Ensign Middle School and was interview by the assistant Principal Mr. Tweet. He read the essay I had written called The Foggy Adventure At Sea and as I mentioned before he commented, “My, what an interesting imagination your child has.” I don’t know why none of us told him it was a true story, we just sat there looking at him. After the interview he mentioned that I could enter 7th grade there. Then they gave me the written test and offered to put me in 8th grade.
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Jr. High Camp.
Before enrolling in Jr. High school my sister and I got to attend Calvary Chapel’s summer camp. My sister went with the high school group first and upon her return I went to the Jr. High camp.
I still had knee length hair. I wanted it cut but my my mom insisted I would regret it and that if I still wanted it cut by the middle of the school year then I could have it done. She used to find random female strangers who regretted getting their long hair cut come tell me their story in hoped I would change my mind.
So, I got to go to camp with my long very thick wavy tangles extremely easy hair. When I was younger I wore it in two braids then changed my style to one long braid. It kept me from having horrific tangles. I couldn’t braid it myself so either my mom or sister did it for me. It was surprisingly s bit hit my first two days at camp. The girls in my cabin were very excited to braid my hair for me but then the novelty wore off and I had to resort to embarrassing begging to get help with my ridiculously long hair.
Me and my long hair. The bottom one was taken just before getting it cut “short” for the first time.
I remember hating the top pictures. My mom insisted on taking the pictures.
Before camp I didn’t have friends my age. My parents used to take about how much better off my sister and I were that way cause we could relate to people of all ages. However, the fact is, we had trouble communicating with people our own age instead. I got along with the kids younger than me at the camp but butted heads with the kids my own age. Although I had been a follower originally being home schooled gave me a more independent sense and I just couldn’t fit in to what ever the kids my age were up to. Part of that was good but part of it was because I just didn’t understand them.
The camp experience as a whole was wonderful and as usual I didn’t want to go home. I was a big fan of the Christian Punk band called Undercover and was elated that they performed for us. I also became the air hockey champion. It was a great week.
The experience at the camp helped me make the decision to go into 7th grade instead of 8th. I felt I would get long better with the kids in 7th.
When we had first come back to the main land we visited some old friends in Garden Grove, the Smiths. My sister and their granddaughter who we called Angie were best friends when we had lived in the house. Angie had “grown up” into teenage hood and wanted to be called by her first name Dane. When Kari and Angie used to play as kids it was my sister who had a pair of fashionable ditto’s and Dane who was made to wear muumuu’s. Things had completely switched. It was 1982 and being in Catalina had but us in the “dark ages” as far as style was concerned. We were still wearing bell bottoms and Dane was in the oh so trendy pegged pants and pumps. She gave us a quick lesson in how to roll and tuck out pants and turn them into pegged pants which save us style wise when we went back into public school. My dad insisted buying stylish clothes was foolish because it would just go back out of style later. Now I realize who silly that was because as kids we were gonna grow out of it anyway. My dad was just very good at finding ways to not spend money on us and talk his way into sounding like it was the wisest idea.
Kari and I were saddened to lose her old best friend. Though she taught us to fix our clothing just so we just didn’t fit in and felt rejected. This wouldn’t be the last time we would feel that way. It would become a common theme in our lives. But I have learned recently that many of those times it wasn’t real, our parents taught us how people are and behave and how they should be but aren’t so the way we say life was often very warped and cause us to misunderstand. I now have kids in the autism spectrum and though I don’t believe that either my sister or I are in the spectrum I feel were were in a way raised to be aspergers like. We did read face and body language but not correctly, we were social but our parents would take measures to breach the friendships we made. Reconnecting with friends from way back when and hearing their side of the story has opened my eyes to may things like this. As far as clothing, we made good use of second hand stores. Thankfully my dad felt a good pair of blue jeans and tennis shoes was a must so I always had a pair of Levi Strauss 501’s and shoes that didn’t hurt my feet. My dad had his feet ruined in the Marine Corps. My sister wasn’t satisfied with 501’s so it took a very long time to shop for jeans for her.
Horace Ensign Jr. High School
During the summer my mom got a job at an independent answering service called Diane’s Music Box. It was the kind that used the antique answering board where you have to plug in things. Diane introduced me to Morgan, a girl close to my age. We became fast friends and had a blast together. It was awesome to learn that we would be going to the same school and in the same grade. Even though HEJHS was a Jr. High it was still very clicky. It was important to have been from one of the areas surrounding the Jr. High in order to fit in. Of course, I didn’t fit in because I had been home-schooled. So it was great that I had already made such a good friend.
Morgan already had a circle of about five girls she hung out with. I was happy to meet them as well. While it was still the first day Morgan took me aside and very gravely and sadly explained to me that it hurt her to have to tell me that her friends didn’t want me to hang out with them. And that was the end of our friendship, I was now completely on my own.
The first day for lunch period I found an empty table to sit at. After a little while a boy sat down right near me. I was surprised that boys and girls were so friendly and ok with each other like that. Then another boy sat down, then another until the table was filled with boys and I was the only girl. I got the point. So the next day I found a different table. Soon a Hispanic non-English speaking girl sat down near me. And like the other table soon the whole table was filled with Spanish speaking girls who had no interest in speaking with me what so ever.
By the third day I had began making friends in my classes and arranged to sit at lunch with one of them, the next day two of them and then they added some new friends and before I knew it we mushroomed out to our own whole table. I was fortunate to be making friends who, like me, didn’t believe in excluding anyone. We would take turns making the new kids feel comfortable and the left out kids felt included. After a while we were much bigger than one table. Many of the kids we incorporated and helped found other groups to become a part of but they always stayed in touch with us and we were always there for each other. Because I had learned to “stand on my own two feet” I became one of the groups unofficial leader type along with a girl name Deonna. Deonna and I were both bigger than most the 7th graders so kids being bullied felt safe hiding behind us and we didn’t mind standing up to the bullies. Some time near the end of the school year I was awakened to the fact that I had friends in just about every 7th grade group on campus. The realization happened when some girls came over to me to ask me something. We chatted for a brief moment then they went back over to their circle of friends. Over where the other girls were waiting for them was Morgan with her eyes wide open and mouth dropped in utter shock.
7th grade was the first time I was ever called a bitch. Swear words were something my sister and I just didn’t do. My parents would swear when they were very angry which I felt was wrong since they taught us how bad it was. But I didn’t dare bring that up to them. The girl who called me a bitch wasn’t really mad at me, she just said it. I made the mistake of telling my parents who were extremely offended and explained that it meant a female dog in heat. It took me a while to talk them into not going to the principal about it. It wasn’t long before I learned that being called a bitch was light in comparisons to all the other words I and everyone else would be called. I didn’t know that Jr. Highers are obsessed and infatuated with swearing. As horrible as my parents felt about swearing, I also learned it would kill or even harm me. My folks made sure to teach my sister and I the “true” meaning of the swear words and just how ridicules it was to use them. They taught us that the “F” word was from the medieval days and was an acronym for Fornication Under The Consent of the King. More recently I have looked that up and can find no proof that it actually means that. I remember this one day my “when I see her in the hall’s” friend, Kelly, was sitting in the locker room staring blankly at a locker after practice an 8th grader challenged her with the, “what are you looking at,” question. Then the girl proceeded to cuss Kelly out with a very long string of swear word. I told her to leave my friend alone so the girl turned her swearing rage on me. I thought she was so strange. It turned out that girl was best friends to the most popular 8th grader. Later that year when the 6th graders toured our school Kelly found me and excitedly said she couldn’t wait till we were in 8th grade and we could bully the new 7th graders and what fun that would be. I couldn’t believe the girl I abstracted from being bullied was excited to be doing it herself.
When we first sold out house we got a storage unit that we shared with my grandma and aunt and family. I don’t know how long we had it but somewhere along the line my cousins informed us it leaked and due to water damage they had to throw a lot of stuff out including my dad’s Gibson Guitar and the Persian rugs our Iranian friends had given us. So out new storage shed became the back of our green Station Wagon. WE didn’t do it intentionally, it just happened. My friends would tease me about it and ask if all the stuff in the back included a toilet. Then they would laugh like someone was tickling them. I was partly embarrassed by it but I couldn’t help but laugh with them.
There were many oddities I carried with me that my new friends didn’t mind. Usually they just found it interesting or amusing. One time several of us were sitting around a table in the library whispering. One of the girls had a lip gloss that was being passed around cause it smelled odd and everyone was trying to place the odor. As soon as it reached my nose I knew immediately and blurted out that it smelled just like a Gray Hound buss. The girls busted out laughing and couldn’t stop for quite some time. I was clueless to the fact that none of them had every traveled by bus.
It wasn’t so nice when one of my friends discovered I didn’t shave my legs. My mom wouldn’t allow it and had given me the, “you have blond short hair on you legs so you don’t have to worry about it anyway” lecture. My friend didn’t find my hair as not obvious but rather as shocking. I hated that I couldn’t shave my legs and I wouldn’t have the freedom to do so until I was nineteen.
Valentines day was another realization for me about how different I was. My mom got me the box of little valentines to fill out for my friends and I took them to school. Lunch time was when we were going to give them out to each other. The girls started handing out their Valentines but theirs were the small cute little ones that come in the boxes, they were handing out big expensive Hallmark kind. Not only were they giving me full greeting cards but I got a whole box of really nice heart suckers and a plush foot tall Koala bear. Then it was time for me to give out mine. I sheepishly told them I was embarrassed to give out my Valentines cards, but they insisted on getting them. As I began to hand out my dinky baby cards the girls got very excited and went off about how they remembered those kind and how cool it was. It was a big hit much to my surprise and delight. I was also so happy to have such good friends. It was at that moment I realized my friend were rich, actually, the whole darn school was rich. No wonder I was such a novelty. It wasn’t just because I lived on a boat but I was one of the few poor kids.
This is the school picture of me and my sister that year. I still had long hair, it was braided down my back.
My sisters school was only a block away from mine. We both loved taking the bus. We loved the company but also we loved not being late. When my folks took us to school we always arrived well after the bell rang. When they picked us up we waited well after all the kids had left and beyond that.
There was another girl who’s mom was later picking her up so she and I became friends for a while. Her name was Amy. Amy told me her mom and her mom’s friend were witches and that sometimes what they did made her afraid. Or at least that’s what I thought she told me. I already knew all about witch craft cause it’s mentioned in the Bible and my parents educated me about it. I knew it was evil and they worshiped the devil and harmed people. I believe Amy may have been trying to tell me differently but I couldn’t hear her because of my own strong belief in my ignorance. I meant well, I really wanted to help her. I talked to her about Jesus Christ and how he could protect her and on and on. This went on for a long time till one day Amy told me she could no longer talk to me. I was shocked and sad, I felt she had given up and now I couldn’t help her anymore. But I also knew I couldn’t force her to listen to me and be my friend so I let her go.
We had a mutual friend named Coleen. Coleen was a delightful person. When I think back about her I see a person full of light. She wanted to help mend Amy and my relationship badly. I was willing to talk with Amy but Amy refused. I didn’t feel right about explaining what had cause the breach with Coleen. Finally one day Coleen succeed temporarily. She talked Amy into talking to me. It was after lunch or PE and Amy marched right up to me and exclaimed that she felt fine before I had talked to her but since I had talked to her she felt bad and didn’t ever want to talk to me again. Then she marched away. When Coleen heard the news she was very sad, but she let it go. I understand the harm I was doing now, though my intentions were good, I was casing pain. In reality I didn’t know the first thing about witch craft so I was not suited to help Amy, if in fact she really needed help. To me back then anyone who was not a Born Again Spirit Filled Christian needed help. My ideas of things like witch craft would become even more warped as the years went by. I became the product of religious propaganda. I would hear speakers who say or came out of it and they would tell about all this evil stuff. I was warned not to research it much cause I could end up oppressed or obsessed by demons. Now I see that as a tactic to keep people from learning the truth and possibly leaving their religion. It is based on fear because many people who learn the truth still stay with their religion. I wouldn’t learn that witch craft and witches were up for interpretation till my late thirties. Witch is a name for many different things like the town wise person, the healer, the one who prays blessing for marriage, birth and crops, the city’s spiritual leader and so on. Like human tend to be, some were good and some were not so good. It was in the dark ages that the meaning of witch and witch craft was changed. The village spiritual leader was a threat to the reigning church so people were paid to lie about them saying they were doing all kinds of evil so the church would have reason to kill them thus insuring more control over the area. Then there’s Disney, which helped make the idea of witches as evil. But, as I said before it would be a very long time before I would become educated to this subject. And sadly Amy wouldn’t be the only person I would try to “help”.
Talk about “helping” people, I did my best to get my friends to go to concerts and movies at Calvary Chapel with me. I can only recall one time a friend went and she slept through the whole movie. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa wasn’t actually our church. We did enjoy the events and my dad who still wouldn’t go to church liked a series Pastor Chuck Smith was doing on Friday nights. Our church had become Vineyard of New Port beach. My sister and I loved the youth group. On Sunday nights during evening service we would all play soccer. No one was allowed to stand around. So by the time we were settled in for our Bible lesson they had our complete attention cause we were all wore out. We enjoyed the lessons too, they were designed well and our youth leader was gifted with teens. Sadly as so commonly happens, there was a falling out and the youth pastor left. It was still a good group but not quite the same.
Nick names usually didn’t stick on me, actually most folks just didn’t assign me one. There was a girl in my cooking class who decided I should be nick named Stoner. I have blue eyes and throughout my youth my eyes were sensitive to sun and water and other elements so they were often red. I thought it was fun that someone finally found a nick name for me even though it wasn’t the best one but my friends insisted it was a bad idea and even almost threatened the girl.
I had always had a crush on one or two boys and Jr. High was no exception. I liked a guy named Shawn Ellis in History class. But as usual I was to shy to tell anyone. It may not sound like it but I was actually very shy and normally quiet. It used to be that when I would talk there was always someone around to say, “Lori can talk!” The summer before this school year when my sister went off to camp I remember ridding in the passenger seat of my folks station wagon talking up a storm and my parents being in utter shock. They deducted that all it took was sending my sister off to camp. It’s probably true. She had been talking for me since I was a baby. Kari, my sister, also talked a lot and so did my mom. Almost always one or the other of them was talking. So Jr. High was a wonderful place for me to make friends, talk to them, and not be constantly interrupted. I was still somewhat shy and had been used to my sister breaking the ice for me but I managed very well in with out her after all. This would end up being a life long problem between my dad and I but I’ll tell you more about that later.
Back to boys. I also ended up getting a crush on an 8th grader named John whose locker was either right next to mine. Some how I leaked the information to a friend and then all my friends knew. They decided John needed to know too. Every time they would tell them he would say he didn’t know who I was. That even happened when I would walk up and they would point directly at me. It actually become more of a comedy routine. I tried to stay out of it but being the center of the topic made my lack of participation impossible.
Later on I would develop a crush on about two more guys and never tell anyone till much later. One I didn’t originally have a thing for. He was the handsomest guy in the whole dang school but he was so “high above me” there was no point to even dreaming. He was an 8th grader and the most popular guys in the whole place. The teachers loved him and his most popular girl in the school ubber snobby and mean but really pretty girlfriend made sure to make out with him regularly in the halls. One day while finishing up a swim with my mom and sister at the YMCA and preparing to do our volunteer work there, (likely how we got to hang out there in the first place) I walked through the office and there he was sitting on the counter talking to the guy working behind the counter. He looked up at me and told me I was pretty. I found my self answering, “Shut Up!” and then walked away. I had that sudden adrenalin rush you get when it hits you something great just happened but you just did something just awful at the same time kind of feeling. I felt bad later cause I had never seem the guy do anything mean to anyone. Just because his girl friend had a bad reputation didn’t make him bad right along with her. I figured after my monumental mistake my chances with him were long gone before they even started. Of course, time would prove that I really didn’t have a chance when it came to guys anyway. My parents wouldn’t tolerate any romantic relationships from me or even long term friendships for that matter.
Deonna and Diane we tied at the hip best friends. They also had a mutual friend named Nora. I got along with Nora but actually hardly ever saw her. I wanted to be her friend because she was about spoken Christian just like me. But Nora seemed to avoid me for unknown reasons. I can only speculate as to why she avoided me. I used to think it was because I wasn’t rich. Now I will add it’s possible it was my imagination, or she was in a denomination or “non-denomination” that snobbed other Christians. The drama got annoying when Deonna and Diane stated fussing, or more like fighting. They insisted Nora be on their side and would come and tell me about it. Like Coleen with me and Amy I really just wanted those girls to get along cause it was so much funner when they did and because I loved them both.
Somewhere along the line one of my friends informed me that Diane smoked and kept cigarettes in her purse. It turned out to be true. We were all shocked. As far as we knew it was only the shady kids who smoked behind the school and Diane wasn’t shady. Though it puzzled me she was still my friend.
There was some bullying I had to put up with there. A boy named Daniel who would now likely be diagnosed with ADHD was the blunt end of my trouble. He would make fun of me any way her could. He and another bully named Matt and I all had our semester classes together. Most the classes weren’t a problem but art was a disaster. Our teacher Mr. Cox was always late for class. This gave Matt time to try and impress Danny by bullying me. Danny would bully with words but Matt would get physical. While waiting on Mr. Cox I spent most of that semester being kicked in the shins by Matt. There was this one day I got fed up with it. Although it never actually hurt me I couldn’t move anywhere with out this kid being in my face kicking me. I reached back to pop him one in the face but stopped when I say the evil grin he had. I recalled my dad telling me about how when someone wants you to fight them and you do you are just giving them what they wanted. Seeing his nasty grim made me realize that striking him back was exactly what he wanted all along. So I dropped my arm and his grin turned into his regular sour face. Matt ended up attending the Youth Group my sister and I went to at Vineyard. He would come with a friend of his that was a member there. When I would see him he would look down and avoid eye contact. He didn’t have anything to do with me at church but would resume his usual bullying once we were at school. Once inside art class Mr. Cox had no control. Danny would go wild in there. He would run around the tables playing with his friends, kissing up to the more popular kids and making fun of mostly me.
On one such occasion I did get in a “get back” briefly. My grandma used to go to Kmart and pick up school supplies and give them to my sister, cousin and I when we saw her. I would have loved to shop at Kmart but my parents didn’t take us there. Danny saw the Kmart pice tag sticker on one of my note books and started making fun of me for shopping there. He started imitating the loud speaker so often heard at Kmarts, “Attention Kmart shoppers, there is a blue light special on isle five…” So I asked him how he knew so much about Kmart if he never shopped there. My friends loved my response. He stuttered for a moment then defensively replied that he had been there when he was little. The glorious moment didn’t last long but I still reveled in it.
At the end of the school year Danny committed the unforgivable act of throwing dirt in my hair. That was the end of my rope for him. It was the last day and I started plotting a quick revenge. It wasn’t like me to do that but I really really hated getting sand or dirt in my hair. It’s possible I was like that because getting a shower was a deliberate act for my family. Out water tanks on the boat had not been cleaned and instead of getting them cleaned we resorted to filling water jugs at the park and carrying them to our dingy and rowing them home. Sometimes we would hook up a Sun Shower outside the shower window and run the small black hose through the window and shower off that way. We would either heat it with the sun or more often by heating water on the stove and pouring it into the bag. Sometimes we just wouldn’t quite make it and need another family member to heat a little more so we could rinse off properly. We ended up using the public pool showers mostly. My sister and I baby sat an old ladies granddaughters and sometimes we would use her shower. There was a time I had scabs on my head from scratching due to not having clean hair. My sister had a tendency to announce such issues that I would have but my folks quieted her about that one cause they didn’t want it to look like I had lice. Or so they said. It may actually have been they didn’t want anyone to know we weren’t getting proper avenues for hygiene. A few times I was so desperate to clean my greasy hair in the cold of winter that I would get in the dingy and stick my head in the freezing water. It was so cold I would automatically start sucking in air rapidly. After shampooing and using conditioner and rinsing with my head upside down in the bay I would pour the fresh jug water over my head to rinse the salt out. The water was cold as well but compared to the bay water it felt wonderfully warm.
I had it out for Danny and enlisted as many friends as I could get to to help me fight him after the last class. It wasn’t because I didn’t think I could take him, but because I believed his friends would help him out so I wanted my friends there for back up. The last class was a reading class and as I leaned back in my chair I pulled a muscle in my back for the first, but not last, time in my life. I didn’t know what was happening to me, I just knew I could hardly move and was in terrible pain. I went to the teacher about it but she didn’t have much help for me so I was on my own. Just before the bell rang while I was waiting near the door Danny walked up to me. He gave me one of those friendly light punch in the stomach, the kind you do when teasing friends. As he did this he said some thing about being friends next year in a very nice way. However, his friendly light punch just happened to hit my diaphragm and knocked all my air out. I held in the double portion of pain and smiled silently.
My friends weren’t real thrilled about getting into a fight so it wasn’t a let down for them when I told them I couldn’t do it. Later I felt the turn of events happened because God was teaching me a lesson and didn’t want me to fight Danny. It would have been a very foolish act for me to do especially since I had stopped a big fight between two boys earlier that year.
The fight just happened to be between my Erica’s tall blond crush and a short boy who seemed to be in trouble often. They got into it at the back of the school in the bike rack area while getting ready to go home. It was anormal all out fight with a circle of kids surrounding them cheering on their favorite kid. I stepped in the middle of the two boys in order to stop them. Some of the cheering boys started yelling at the tall kid to punch me. I looked into his eyes and knew he wouldn’t but I wasn’t so sure about the shorter guy until he started yelling at the tall one to punch me as well. Soon everyone got board and started leaving and then the whole thing was over and they all left. My friends had been waiting for me but instead of telling me what a great job I did or how brave I was they let me know how embarrassed they were. I was shocked. When Erica heard the news she found me right away and balled me out for it.
Erica was a cute curly brown headed short gymnast from Hungry. Her folks had escaped with her and were new to the US. My friends and I were happy to make her feel comfortable right away. Erica was a very outgoing person and quickly made friends all over the school and her English improved rapidly. Other than the embarrassment of my stopping her crush from fighting we got along great until her crush sent her a note via me. The way it was delivered told me something was off. He gave it to me to give to her along with a few of his not so nice friends. I opened it and was sad to see what was written inside. It told her how ugly and stupid she was using foul language of course. It was actually very bad and degrading. I took it to the school office. A school staff member came for me during a class one day asking me to help them identify the person who wrote the note. They took me to another class and called out a boy with the same first name as Erica’s crush but a different last name. He had that, “who the hell are you and here we go again” look on his face. I could tell he had a bad reputation. The staff person had a hard time understanding that this was not the boy who wrote the note but eventually let the kid go and we parted with the staff person looking a bit confused. I’m under the impression that Erica’s crush had a good reputation so they couldn’t’ believe it was him. However, though I am sure he knew exactly was was written in the note, I never felt he actually wrote it himself but was under the influence of his negative friends.
I must have been the one who told Erica about the note, I’m not sure. But she was very angry at me for not giving her the note and held it against me. It was as if she felt that if she had gotten the note and read it it wouldn’t have been that bad. Trying not to hurt her, to save her from the terrible things written inside just cause her hurt anyway.
Vineyard Christian Fellowship of New Port Beach
We fell in love with Vineyard. The pastor at that time was John Wimber. It was on the big side but they seemed to know how to make everyone feel important. My mom was getting along well there and my sister and I loved the Youth Group and our youth leader, Billy. We mostly met on Sunday nights during the Sunday night service. It was a large group of teens so we had plenty of people to make up two teams for a very active game of soccer before our lesson time. They made sure everyone was actively playing which was smart cause we were plum wore out and able to sit still and listen to what ever Billy was teaching us. He was married and had an adorable little girl who we loved to have visit once in a while.
We went to a big beach party for the youth group this one time. Dave McClusky and Bill McCulley (I may have spelled their name wrong) from the San Diego Chargers joined us for the beach fun. One of the very large muscular foot ball players and some of the boys decided it would be more fun to toss the soda cans from one cooler to the other rather than carry the cooler. The football player was the one doing the tossing and the boys would vie for who caught it. I don’t know what my sister was thinking, she didn’t know either but she made a very big mistake. She needed to get from point A to point B and the straightest line between the two was right through the can toss area. She thought she could time it and make it but she learned differently when she felt the impact of the can on her forehead. She was very embarrassed cause she knew she shouldn’t have dome that so she intended to go hide some where for a little bit. Good thing the concerned gathering of kids and adults didn’t allow that to happen. They sat her down and kept asking her how she felt. She insisted she was fine and needed to get up until a friend told her to look at her blood soaked shirt. She had no idea that the can split her head open. After all it was a professional foot ball player who unintentionally hit her in the head with a flying soda can. That was the end of the beach party for my sister and I. My mom took her to a med center and I attempted to watch them stitch her head up. It grossed me out so I opted for sitting in the other room. My sister thought it was all very amusing. She has a high pain tolerance and has always enjoyed things like watching her self get stitches. I think she was a little bummed I couldn’t stick with it cause she couldn’t watch since it was in her hair line area.
Normally things went well at Vineyard. But as it always is, good things must come to an end. Billy started an at home exclusive group studying the book Improving Your Serve by Charles Swindoll. I call it exclusive cause it was only for select youth group kids. My sister was included. I don’t know if that led to the upcoming issue, it seemed like it did but, he ended up in a big disagreement with the church leaders and soon he was gone. The youth group kids were devastated. He meant the world to us, he knew how to communicate and get through to us, he spoke out language. His assistant John took his place. We all liked John but he wasn’t Billy. To the new kids the Sunday school and youth group was still awesome, but to those of us who had been there a while, it was never the same.
I believe there was many more political problems and the hierarchy fussed and removed more people including the pastor and replace them. It happens in a lot of churches and always has but it’s never easy and a lot of folks get hurt.
I said I would get back to why my doing well socially in school would end up a life long problem between my dad and I. So here it is.
As I said before my sister was the talkative outgoing one and I was the quiet shy one. I was often reminded by my dad that my sister was the smart one, and then he would add that I was street smart in a tone that he was trying to find something nice to say. People also would let me know my sister was pageant pretty or model pretty then they would add in a sicky sweet tone that I was pretty too, just not in the pageant or model way. My sister was not involved in these kind of conversations. To her I was her little sister and she was my mom and that was about it. My folk assumed my sister would make all kinds of friends once back in regular school and I would struggle. The opposite happened. Because I made a lot of friends and really enjoyed Jr. High school my dad decided that I was in a click and would tell people that until the day he died. I tried to tell him about how I had friends from all the groups and my friends and I would take in the new kids and unwanted kids and include them but he couldn’t hear me.
I believe the reason he was that way was because of his own school experiences. He was often an outsider due to having an eccentric mom and later due to be an orphanage kid. He was the second born living to my Grandpa Evert and Grandma Marylee. His mom had wanted another girl so he wore dresses and long curly locks till he was way past the normal age for little boys back then to wear gowns. He did end up with another sister and was allowed to wear boys clothes but then there was the matter of makeup. His mom desperately wanted to be an actress which is why she and my Grandpa had left Florida and moved to Burbank Ca. But she didn’t make it into the industry so she decided her kids would be move stars. She made them take the usual classes like tap and singing and such. My dad hated it. His vocal teacher told him he couldn’t sing but so she could still get pain she would make him recite poetry. He did tap dance shows with his little sister, my Aunt Jo. He hated walking home in full costume wearing stage makeup past the kids his age playing football. He did however, enjoy telling us the story about how one day while performing with his sister he fell due to the floor just being waxed and when he got up he started doing a different tap dance routine with out thinking. He said it ended up looking really good and everyone loved it.
Besides his early years, his dad died when he was eleven and his mom put him and his younger sister in an abusive Baptist home for children. His tap dancing training came in handy because he would tap dance during lunch period and the kids would throw coins at home which he could use for a better lunch and other items. But there was excessive bullying there which he didn’t tell me much about. I did hear about a drastic measure my aunt felt compelled to take against some excessive bullying some clickly girls were putting her through. My dad also told us more about the abuse my aunt went through in the home and only a small about of what he went through. I’ve figured a lot out on my own by piecing things together. I can see why it was just to hard for him to understand that a person could not only survive but have a really good time in school with out actually being the bad guy.
We didn’t get a lot of visitors on the boat back then. One time a co worker of my dads wanted his daughter to visit us and spend time with my sister and I but when she found out that should would have to abide by my folks rules she opted out. My sister and I were bummed. My moms best friend, Marie and her kids Timmy and Gina came to see us. It was great having them and Marie got a kick out of steering the helm as we went around the harbor. It was nice to get off the morning can for a little while. Once we established a mooring or anchorage area we hardly left the spot. My sister and I had grown up around Timmy and Gina so it was great getting to spend some time with them again. Marie had also been the one to hook us up with out cat when we had last gone to see them. He was a kitten at the time and for some reason we still saw him as small. She and Gina almost went into shock when they saw how huge he had grown. We didn’t know much about cats. Marie wasn’t only into cats but she had a green thumb as well and treated her houseful of plants like family members. We had an extremely long pothos we named Grandma that we gave to her when we moved from our house. It wouldn’t surprise me if the thing was still living to this day.
Our cats name was Moses. We named him that because we brought him home in a basket over the water. My sister and I had been begging for a cat and my mom said the only way we could have one was if it came with it’s food and litter. The folks who gave him to us also gave us cat food and litter. Moses was a tabby color, likely from his ally cat daddy. His mom was a Siamese and he had the eyes and temperament to go along with her breed. It was a rocky start and our hands looked like road maps due to being scratched up by the little critter. My folks were getting fed up with it and were threatening to get rid of Moses. My sister and I prayed to be able to keep him. When I say prayed, I mean it in the literal sense. Not just now but if and when I say it again it will be literal. We were raised to have complete and utter faith in Jesus Christ. To not have faith was a sin. Well, one day my dad was playing with Moses and made a face at him. Moses took a claw and scratched my dad clear across the face. My dad threw Moses full force against the bulk head bouncing his body across the small room. Moses then ran into the bowsprit and hid for days. Our bowsprit was a triangle small room at the very front of the boat that my parents kept promising to give me to room in but never did. Instead we used it for storage space for the sails and such. After hiding a few days Moses snuck out one evening while we were eating dinner. He slithered into the room and onto my dads lap, slightly up his chest and nestled his head just under my dads chin. That became Moses place from then on every night after dinner. The road maps on our hands disappeared in time and were able to keep Moses which we considered an answer to prayer.
Though well behaved Moses still had his Siamese genes and knew how to hold a grudge. If my sister or I did anything to him, like pull his tail, he wouldn’t do anything about it for a while. He would take his revenge when we least expected it. Usually when we were rubbing his belly. We did learn to watch for his eyes to dilate, that gave us fair warning. We often played a game my parents labeled Count Koo with him. Moses would run and hide behind something on the outside of the boat and we would try to sneak up on him. We watch him peek up to see where we were and then hide back down again real fast while we did the same. Eventually he would run at us and smack us with his paw then jet out off real fat and hide again. We’d try to sneak up on him too and if we succeeded he would jump and shake his paws as in surprise. The game would end quickly as soon as his pounce and claw smack had a nail sticking out.
Moses also sang long eerie songs. Well, actually it was a noise he made before hacking up a messy hair ball. Moses also knew exactly who I was. He knew I was a lily livered scardy cat. My mom liked to use the term “peace keeper”. But truth be told, I didn’t like confrontation and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. As the youngest and due to having a sister who ruled the nest and learned to manipulate from the best, as in my mom and dad, I really didn’t stand a chance when it came to standing my ground. I was taught that obeying ones parents was really the number one rule to belonging to Christ. And, my parents insisted I obey my sister. So standing up for myself was viewed as basically a sin. I can’t put all the blame on my folks, I think, I’m sure it also had something to do with not wanting life to feel unpleasant for myself as well.
As I said, Moses had this all figured out. He stopped turning us into road maps and was sweet to the family excluding me. He would wait above the hatch with his arms rapped around the long handle when we came home and watch everyone go down the stairs. When it was my turn he would put one nail out of his paw and smack me with that paw. Then he would jet inside the boat and wrap himself around a small column above the kitchen seat separating the kitchen area from the living room area and again wait till I passed by with his claw out. It was bad enough and I was intimidated enough that at times I would beg my dad to get Moses so I could pass by.
In time the fleas found Moses and invaded the boat. My parents theory is that we brought home sand fleas from the beach and they bread on Moses. Apparently the tastiest morsel on the boat was me. We tried all the normal tactics but nothing worked. We used the flea color for Moses, not me, and the flea bombs and powders and such but they always came back in full force. In the morning the first person out of bed got it pretty bad. All my family members would get a leg sprinkled with flees but of it was my leg wither it was first to hit the floor or last got blackened by the fleas. I learned to walk around the boat by going from furniture to furniture to avoid touching the floor. We continued to try to fight the buggers off the best we could.
The other problem with Moses was my moms, sisters and my cat allergies. My mom and I would get hay fever and sometimes itching eyes but my sister was a chronic asthmatic. Asthma runs in the family and I have a great grandma who died from it. My sister has been in the ER and critical care on many occasions due to asthma. I have asthma as well but it has never put me in the hospital. My folks finally decided we would be better off with out Moses. They found a nice family who lived on a boat not to far from us who were willing to take him. My sister and I were very sorry to see him go. He had become a family member.
One day after school my folks came to pick us up. They parked and sat with us on the school grounds to tell us the terrible news. When they had taken Moses to the other peoples boat and rowed away Moses jumped in the bay to try to get back to them. All the time Moses lived on the boat he had never fell or jumped in the water. They couldn’t get Moses to stay with the people so they took him to the vet where they injected him and my dad held him balling his eyes out as our little guy passed away. We all sat there crying not caring what those who passed by us thought. Moses absence left a big hole in my heart for a long time.
I didn’t like showing emotions and I didn’t like people to see me cry, gosh, I hated crying. But everyone had a breaking point. It was usually small things that would “break” me. It could be as small as my mom telling me harshly to put a pencil down and then the dam would break and I’d end up balling. It wasn’t about what she said, it was just time for me to release pressure. But she never understood. She would get very mad at me. It was nice when my dad was around because he was a lot like me and understood what was going on and would get my mom off my back. Then he’d end up finding a way to make me laugh. But when I was crying it was about many many things. It was like pictures of all the things that ever made me sad would flash before my eyes including Moses. Moses was always one of those pictures. I didn’t know how to release things. I wanted to be the best Christian I could be and I felt it was wrong to let things upset me, I thought that was bitterness and not having faith so I would just act like everything was ok. Plus, I had this idea that I needed to never forget any of the bad cause it wasn’t realistic. Though I may have seemed gullible to others I was trying hard not to be. Those concepts seems like an oxymoron but I was trying my best to do what seemed right and smart.
To be continued…
I am still working out the kinks so this may be edited and I do plan to add more pictures when I find them.
1/1/13 – added the section titled Vineyard Christian Fellowship of New Port Beach.
12/19/13 – added a few more pictures.
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