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                                 TOTAL DISFUNCTION

          My needs at home were not being met.  There was no security.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I found myself clinging more to Dave and he didn’t like it.  I gave him back his ring and we broke up.
          Dave's life and mine were like night and day. He had a good home life. His was functional. Mine was not. I felt no one cared about me.
          One thing that lasted out of our relationship was my Siamese cat, Pye.  Dave had given her to me when she was a kitten.  She was always there. When I cried she climbed into my lap to comfort me.  I knew she loved me and I knew Bronco did also (even though I would get angry and take my anger out on him...I did love him.) I also felt responsible for him.
          Around this time, I decided I liked animals better then people. They always loved you unconditionally. Would not abandon you. And they were always with you when you needed them. 
          Bronco tolerated Ed more then I did.  There were a few times when I was in my room and Ed came and sat on the bed to talk to me.  Boldness would rise up inside me and I would stand up against him with my words.  He would leave. I think his motive was to try to be my friend. But, I was not having any of it. I knew I could not trust this man.
        (The boldness always surprised me. I am a gentle person, but on occasions when I could have been harmed in some way: the boldness would arise.)
          A bizarre thing happened.  Ed’s brother, his wife and baby came to our house and stayed a few days.  Ed’s brother had just gotten out of prison.  I really did feel sorry for the man; he seemed so broken in his spirit.  But I also was very uncomfortable after I found out he had been in prison. (I wasn’t told why he had been in prison.)
         Later on, I would hear Mom and Aunt Ruby speaking in hushed tones. When they saw I was listening, there would be glances between them, and then the subject would change. 
                What I had thought all along, would be confirmed.


          The first time I met him I felt uneasy.  Darin (Mom's brother) had introduced him to Mom.  His name was Ed.  He was tall and nice looking, light brown hair and hazel eyes.  He drove a yellow Cadillac.  Mom was enthralled.
Ed became an item.  He took us out to eat and tried to be nice to me but for some reason I did not trust him.  Without even trying, there was boldness, like a wall, rising up inside me when it came to him.
One weekend Mom, Ed and Bronco went on a trip and left me with Grandma.  I kept thinking about living with Grandma.  I didn’t want to live at home anymore.  I also knew that Grandma didn’t have room for me in her living quarters behind her store.
Darin  (Mom's youngest brother) stopped by to see Grandma. I was watching television and I was laughing. I heard him say; "It's so good to hear laughter. We need more of that around here." (I had been afraid of Darin because of his drinking. This night he was sober. )   At that moment, I saw his sadness and hurt. My heart went out to him. I told him "good bye" when he left. I did not know the measure of sadness Darin carried, and how he would affect the family.   
When Mom came after me, Ed came in with her.  For some reason Mom and Grandma began arguing, I knew it had something to do with Ed.
      Although I knew he had tried, he had not charmed Grandma either. 
          “Wanda, if you keep this up you are going to ruin Gloria’s life!”
          “Gloria has already ruined my life” Mom shot back and walked out the door with Ed and Bronco following.  Grandma looked at me, I hesitated one minute and then I walked out the door behind my mother.
I was sitting in the back of the yellow Cadillac still reeling from Mom’s words; “Gloria has already ruined my life.Mom, in the front passenger seat, held up her left hand so I could see the new diamond engagement ring she wore.
          (Mom never did apologize for what she had said about me. But, it stuck in my mind and heart.)


The bus drove off after letting me off at the bus stop. My legs were heavy and my arms felt almost too weak to carry my books. I dragged my way home.
The following day was Career Day at Sandia High.  I started to say something to a friend and the words came out wrong.  A bright light began pulsating in my right eye and everything was blurry.  I walked to the nurse’s station. I tried to get the words out, but they didn't make sense.  She had me lay on a cot and  she called Mom.  When I got home I vomited and lay down with a terrible headache.  I never went to a doctor but we decided it was a migraine.
I definitely was not happy.  If I had felt insecure before Deryl left, now it was doubled.  I felt like I had not only lost Deryl but Mom also.  She just wasn’t there for Bronco and me.  She was into doing her own thing.  She had new friends and no time for us.
 I'm not sure if Dave knew what was going on in my life. I had the "Code of Silence" put on me. Mom said I was to never tell anything that was going on in our house. I never talked to Dave or any of my friends about what I was going through. I carried it alone.  
 ( In my senior year I finally told my friend Mary Lou…we talked late into the night.)


          After we returned to Albuquerque, Mom and Deryl separated.  They were getting a divorce.  I had always told myself I didn’t like Deryl.  But now, there was something missing.  There was the feeling again of insecurity.  I missed him. I realized that Deryl had always been good to me. I couldn't remember an unkind word towards me.
Mom went to work.  I was put in charge of fixing supper.  She began going out at night to the Albuquerque nightspots.  She left me with Bronco.  I was responsible to know where Bronco was and to take care of him.  Mom told me if anyone called I was to tell them I was the babysitter not her daughter. I remember thinking she didn’t want anyone to know she had a daughter as old as me.  It was usually after 2AM in the morning before she came home.
Once more fear raised its ugly head.  Bronco was asleep in his room.  I listened for Mom’s car.  I was afraid to go to sleep.  What if someone came into the house?  One night, someone was whistling outside my window, but I was paralyzed with fear. I was unable to get up to see who it was.  Soon it quit and I never knew who it was. *****
I ran to the corner. But I was too late. The bus had already left.  I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I had overslept again. I could not concentrate at school.  Mom seemed to be unaware of what I was going through. She was too caught up in her own life.



       When school was out we left Albuquerque for the summer.  Deryl was working on a road construction site near Delores Colorado.  We rented a two-story house. It had a large cherry tree in the back yard and a clear, sparkling stream ran close to the yard.

       I met a neighbor girl my age.  My family decided to go on a picnic on Saturday. I invited my friend to come with us.   

       Friday night, as I thought about the picnic, I remembered Ray’s drowning and I became panicky.  I had the same sensation of something over me ( as I had at Aunt Ruby's house after the scary movie) but this time I felt like it was choking me. I ran into Mom’s room where she gave me a shot of her whiskey.

      When we did get to the picnic site on Saturday, there was only a creek…no deep river to fear.

I was an avid reader, and with not having many friends in Deloris, reading filled my time.  I was looking through the paperback books, in the local drug store, when I found two about Jesus. What was interesting, they were based on stories from the Bible.   Mom bought them for me.
I had still been fighting fear but as I read about Jesus I realized I wasn’t afraid any more. I even stayed up after everyone else went to bed and read and slept downstairs.  That summer Jesus seemed real to me and I thought about Him a lot.  And with the thoughts of Jesus…the fear left.
And I was able to sleep.

(post note…there is an old song…
Please leave a comment…I would love to hear from you…Glory


          “We’re moving back to Albuquerque, Gloria,” Mom informed me.
          I was dumbfounded!  I had mixed emotions.  I had made friends.  My life was full of school activities, hay rack rides and High school football games. 
          Dave and I still wrote, but not as often.  I no longer wore his heavy ring around my neck (It was on my dresser). There was a boy at Hotchkiss High that was giving me a lot of attention. We had sat together on a hay rack ride.   But, I still remembered Dave’s prediction that I would be returning to Albuquerque.  I would later find out about Dave’s prayer life.  Perhaps that was why he had been so sure.
          As usual I was never told the whole reason for our move. “Installment” was the word.  It seemed the installment had not been paid and Mom was angry with Deryl.  There was also no house on Childers Drive to return to.

                                          SANDIA HIGH SCHOOL

            I could not believe it…I was back in Albuquerque!!!

          Mom and Deryl rented a house in Princess Jean Park in the northeast part of Albuquerque.  It was a three-bedroom ranch.  The neighborhood had block walls separating the yards.  My friends and I would walk them occasionally.
          Sandia High School was situated in the NE Heights of Albuquerque. It was different being in a big school again.  After Hotchkiss, where I had become a big fish in a small pond, now I was only one in a thousand.
          Dave and I took up where we had left off.  His ring hung around my neck once more.  He was still into motorcycles and had taken up karate.
           One Friday night Dave and I were invited to a party.  I was getting ready and for some reason I was uptight.  Mom and I got into it. 
          “Gloria, you are grounded.  You call Dave right now and tell him you are not going to that party!”
          “I’m sorry Mom.”
          “No, you are not going!”
          I called Dave.
          “Tell your Mom you weren’t able to reach of me.  I will be over in a few minutes.”
          Dave showed up acting like nothing was wrong.  Mom gave me a look but let me go.
          “I really didn’t want to go to this party,” Dave said, “But I knew you wanted to, so I used the prayers in my prayer bank.”
          Dave, who was Catholic, had never mentioned anything religious before, so I was intrigued.
          “What is a prayer bank?”
          “Well, any time I have a free moment I say a prayer and I put those prayers in a prayer bank in heaven.  Tonight I prayed and withdrew them so you could go the party.”
          I wasn’t sure about Dave’s concept of prayer, but I was on my way to the party and that was good enough for me.
          I thought a lot about Dave's prayer bank. I was intrigued by it.


          Mom was really upset.  Her father had been incarcerated in Montana.  She had a lot of superstitions.  She started screaming when a bird got into the house.
          “A bird in a house means someone is going to die!”
          To make things worse the bird didn’t make it.  It was hurt as everyone was trying to get it out of the house.
          “I just know Daddy is going to die!” Mom kept saying,
          Our whole house was in an uproar.  The following morning I went to school with out Mom.  During the day Deryl called me at school. I could tell he had been drinking.  I could hear Mom the background.
          “Do you want me to come and get you from school?”
          “No.  I’m staying all day.” I said emphatically.
          I wasn’t sure what was happening but school seemed like a better choice.
          When Bronco and I arrived at home from school, Uncle Darin was at our house.  Uncle Darin was Mom’s youngest brother.  He lived in Albuquerque. He was tall with dark curly hair and deep brown eyes.  When I was younger I enjoyed being around him.  He played the guitar and I would make up songs and give them to him to play.  But unfortunately he was an alcoholic.  Mom blamed his drinking on a failed marriage and that he had a broken heart.  As the years passed, he was no longer the uncle I looked forward to being around.  He was becoming more belligerent and when he drank he was mean.
          Mom, Deryl and Darin had been drinking together.         
          “We’ve been waiting for you to get home,” Mom said. “We’re leaving for Montana.”
           We drove straight through.  The adults took turns driving. When we passed through Wyoming, the fog was so thick the car was crawling.  Eventually Bronco and I fell asleep.
          It was strange entering the old, massive prison building.  Stranger yet, was the sight of the older man, talking to Mom, Darin and Deryl through a small barred window: and knowing he was my grandfather. 
        I didn’t listen to the conversation.  Bronco and I wondered around the room investigating the old pictures fastened to the stonewalls.  The man behind the window was a stranger to me. I barely remembered him.  This was only the third and the last time I would see him. Later in the car, Mom made a comment:   "After daddy gets out of prison he might live with us".
         (I was wondering where I could live if I left home.)
          Some time later I heard one of my Aunts comments: “I don’t know why Wanda cares anything about him and how she can be so good to him.  She was the one he abused the most." 
          Mom never returned to high school.  She had lost her determination to get her diploma. 
          Deryl was home less and there definitely was tension in the air.  Money was short and we ate a lot of eggs and toast.  I should have known change was in the air.

(Mom's dad never came to live us.)

If you would like to...please leave a comment...I love comments... The beginning of the story... 


          My walked briskly down the sidewalk to Hotchkiss High school and opened the front door.  The halls were empty. We were late. The opening assembly for the beginning of school had already begun in the gym.

          “Gloria, wait up!”

          I waited as Mom caught up to me; her arms were filled with her new school supplies.  My thirty-five year old Mother was returning to school as a senior.

          We entered the full gym and sat on a front bleacher.  I was sure every eye was turned our way.

          After the assembly I hurried in the direction of my first class leaving Mom to find her own way to her class.

           “Gloria, was that your mother with you in the gym?” Alice asked

as we walked down the hall.

          “Yes, she is going to be a senior and get her high school diploma.”

          “What does it feel like having your mother at school with you?” my fellow student asked with a chuckle in her tone.

          “I better not say.”

          Mom did great at school.  She made straight A’s.  We had seniors at our house studying and she was the center of attention.

          I couldn’t compete with her.  I became more of a socialite.  Unfortunately, Mom had access to all my teachers who told her I would make better grades if I wasn’t such a social butterfly.

          Deryl’s construction job was keeping him away during the week. Mom, Bronco and I were in the country in that big farmhouse.  My imagination was still bothering me every night.  I began sleeping downstairs instead of alone upstairs in my room.  Mom never admitted it, but I thought she was having some fears also.

          I was popular with the 10th grade girls this year.  Diane talked to me about the way they had treated me the year before and she and I became close friends.  Diane was a Hotchkiss.  Her family had founded the town of Hotchkiss.  Her parents had been killed and her Aunt and Uncle were raising her.

          A new girl came into school her name was Beverly.  She was living with her grandparents.  She never did confide why she had left her Mom and Dad.

We became good friends and one day I confided to her the fear I was struggling with.  I felt better just talking about it.

          One Sunday afternoon we were discussing UFO’s and if they were real.  “I have an idea let’s look in the Bible,” I suggested.

          I opened my white Bible and laid it on the bed. Beverly and I sat cross-legged on my bedspread.  We didn’t know where to start, so we began with Revelations.  Both of us were limited in our knowledge but we were fascinated by the angels and beasts we read about.

Comment...I found it interesting that we were interested in the Bible...and that we chose Revelations to try to understand....Gloria The beginning of the story... 



          “That’s the right date!”  Joanne shouted as she threw her arms up.  The rectangle hit me square on the chin.  I rubbed my bruise not realizing this game was more dangerous then I could ever imagine.  Ouija Boards seemed to be the craze this summer.  Aunt Ruby had one and now my friend had the game at her house.
          I was staying in Albuquerque for a whole week with Aunt Ruby and her family.  One of Dave’s friends had his driver’s license so we were going to a drive in movie that evening. It was good to be with Dave and my friends again. I had really missed Albuquerque.
          “The fly” screamed in a squeaky voice, “Help me, help me.”  Everyone else in the car was laughing at the horror flick parading across the large out door screen, but my heart was pounding and I was really fearful.   After the movie I joked about it like everyone else, but when I opened the door at Aunt Ruby’s I felt uneasy.  Everyone else was already in bed. Ruby had made up the couch for me to sleep on.  I turned off the light and scenes of the movie began to play in my mind.  I felt like something was standing over me.  I bounded from the couch into Aunt Ruby and Uncle Bernard’s room.  When I told her that something was over me Aunt Ruby assured me it was only my imagination. We left Uncle Bernard looking perplexed at being awakened out of a sound sleep and entered the living room. 
    “See Honey, there isn’t anything here,” My Aunt said kindly. “I’ll leave a night light on in the kitchen.”
 I felt foolish, but what ever I had felt had seemed so real.  Ruby returned to bed.  I lay on the couch struggling to keep the fearful thoughts from my mind.
          It was a struggle that lasted for over a year.  I dreaded the dark and going to bed because my imagination was taken captive by fear.  I told Mom
I was scared but she didn’t know what to say or do.  I knew it upset her.

          Years later, after I was born again, I realized how the Ouija Board had coincided with the fear. ("My people perish for lack of knowledge" Hosea 4:6).

Would love to have a comment…thank you


          “Try outs for the ninth grade play will be held today.  If you are interested in a part, see me in the gym.” Mr. Mahoney said.
          The announcement intrigued me.  Later in the day, I made my way to the gym.
          “Miss Williams, why don’t you try out for the part of Miss Spinster?”
          I wrinkled my nose in distaste.
          “That is a cameo part Miss Williams and I’m confident you could put a lot into the character.”

          The curtain rose on the “Jury was Hung” to a packed audience of Hotchkiss students and parents.
          As “Miss Spinster” I flirted with the foreman of the jury throughout the production.  Finally my finale scene arrived and I threw caution to the wind playing it to the hilt.  My swept up hair bun swayed as I flew across the stage in hot pursuit of the foreman (alias George Wilson). Throwing my arms around him I planted a loud kiss on his made-up cheek. “Oh Mr. Wren, you are just toooo cute for words!” I squealed.
          The audience roared and I loved every minute of it.
          “I have never laughed so hard in all my life,” Agnes said after the play.
“You were terrific,” complimented Diana.
          The click of ninth grade girls surrounded me and gave me approval of my performance.
       The all school picnic was held on the last Friday of the school year. When the coach called for participants in the pie-eating contest I decided to give it a try.  The contestants were lined up behind a wooden table, covered with large napkins and told to keep their hands behind their backs.  My pie was crème, which was fine with me.
“Get set! Start eating!
My face hit the crème filling.  It was hard to keep my hands behind my back and only eat with my mouth.
The onlookers cheered from the sidelines.  My face tried to cover the whole pie and swallow without chewing.  Finally the coach blew his whistle.  One of the boys at the end of the table had finished his pie. I looked at the other pie eaters and we broke into laughter.  All faces were covered with cherry or crème pie filling.
I ran to the outdoor water spicket and began washing the sticky crème from my face, eyebrows and hair.  The group of ninth grade girls joined me.
“We were rooting for you Gloria,” Agnes laughed.
“Well, as you can see...I tried,” I laughed back, as I took my fingers and worked some glued crème off my eyebrows.
“Come on Gloria, let’s get a hot dog and a coke,” Diana invited with a bright smile.
The circle of girls opened and I walked along joining in their chatter and giggles.  I would never think of this group of girls as a “click” again, for no longer would I be an outsider.  They became my friends. The walls had come down.  I belonged.

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Hotchkiss Colorado....the girls who became my friends....taken at the High School



       It was strange to board the school bus without Chuck.  I was glad I wouldn’t be home when his mother arrived to pick him up.  The principal, after talking to Chuck, advised Deryl and mom to return him to his mother.  He felt that in all probability, Chuck would continue to get into trouble.  Chuck was sorry he had been caught, but he was not sorry for what he had done.  There was no repentance. If he had continued to live with us we would probably have encountered more of the same.
           The halls of the high school were busy as students walked to morning class.
          “Hey Gloria, where’s Chuck?” asked one of the ninth grade boys.
          “He’s returning to Albuquerque to live with his mother.”
          “Live with his mother?  What’s the deal?  I thought he was your brother.”
          “No, he was a just a boy who got into trouble and we were trying to help him,” I didn’t care if everyone knew the truth.  In fact my whole attitude was different.  I didn’t care if I was accepted at this school or not!  I even quit tagging after the click of girls.
          (We never saw Chuck again.  His mother wrote Mom a letter the following year asking us to take Chuck back.  He was in trouble again and was facing a term in Springer Reform School.)

       Barb quit writing to me and the following summer, when I was visiting Albuquerque, I called her.  She hung up on me.  She believed the lies Chuck had told her. So much for friendship.
        We had given up Childers Drive. Now, I was stuck in Hotchkiss.