Last night Cindy called me and Leigh Ann after opening a life insurance policy in Maryssa’s name with the beneficiary being her boyfriend of less than 2 months. The policy amount was half a million dollars. We were immediately on Red Alert about this shocking development.
Maryssa’s mom, Stephaney has battled addiction for 18 years but 4.5 months ago finally came to my patio to seek help. She’s been sober 4 months. My twin sister (her mother) and I put her in detox then moved her to Volunteers of America (an organization I cannot say enough good things about) for 90 days before transitioning to an Oxford House at the tip of Westover Hills near my home.
Cindy and I helped Stephaney get a car due to the expense of Uber or Lyft. Steph had found a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse for $3500 but it’s had a few issues. The guy who sold it to Steph has fixed 3 things so far and not charged her anything to do so. Cindy and I were pretty sure “this guy likes Steph.” We were right because he finally asked her to dinner this past week.
Steph is struggling because one of the twins, Makenna still isn’t speaking to Stephaney after her entire lifetime of 18 years waiting for Stephaney to get it together. Makenna had hope for years but five years ago, Stephaney was still on paper (probation) in Cotton County, Oklahoma and sober due to mandatory drug testing. It would be the first time in the twins lives their mother was sober for 3.5 years. The day after mandatory testing was removed, Stephaney was back on drugs and Makenna was so devastated by this decision that she took all of her anxiety meds while Cindy was with me and clients at TDCJ Robertson Unit then sent a group text to Cindy and I. We barely saved Makenna she was hospitalized for 3 months then moved to Mesa Springs for suicidal ideation. Makenna may never trust Stephaney again to be a part of her life and it’s something neither Cindy, I or Stephaney can control.
Many of our social media connections and a few of my clients are recovering addicts who have families that “practiced” tough love. They still have no connection to their own families even though they are sober. Cindy and I have fought for 18 years to get Stephaney stable. 18 years of “looking normal” in front of our clients and the rest of our families. It’s taken a toll on both of us financially and emotionally. 24 rehabs at great financial expense since Stephaney after having the twins at 16 years old has never had health insurance and 31 involuntary commitments due to meth induced psychosis. It’s raw Hell loving an addict. Unless you’ve been through it you will never understand. Only someone who has loved an addict would. Steph has overdosed 4 times. Cindy and I have “gotten the call” 4 times.
I once had a production assistant tell me “Wendy we can’t let the networks know you have any problems.” I laughed at this ludicrous statement since 1. My blogs are diaries of my life and businesses and 2. Everyone has problems and 3. No one doesn’t have any problems. She was young and dumb in her 20’s assuming everyone lived a problem free life. What a fantasy.
My life has never been “problem free.” Cindys hasn’t either. There’s a reason we a “different.” The reason is where we came from. Our mother was a heroin addict who eventually sold all 4 of her children for $50 each. But it would be years prior to this sale of Sharon Hill neglecting Wendy, Cindy, Tammy & Jerry due to her addiction of losing or forgetting us in parks, padlocked closets and locked car trunks before she finally sold us to our grandfather, a Pedophile. “Bought and paid for” is a term he used to refer to my sisters and I until Tammy was saved by adoption from our mothers mother as she was a stepsister and not a child of our father at 10 years old. Cindy and I were 6. Jerry was 2. Our grandfather recorded this “sale.” Cindy found the tape when we were liquidating a storage unit she had been paying for at our fathers request after his death. The tape was in the storage Unit dated May 1971 with only Wendy, Cindy & Tammy’s name on it. The reason? We were the only ones forced to listen to the tape. We were the victims of a predator who reminded all 3 of us that we were barely worth $50 by playing that tape throughout our childhoods. Problem free? What an idiotic statement and belief. My life has never been problem free nor has Cindys or Jerry’s. We were the children no one wanted or cared about.
My contempt for family members who wouldn’t help us became rage so all consuming I stopped speaking for many years. No one would listen. Cindy spoke for me. A number of things led up to my decision not to speak so I will elaborate. First Tammy disappeared. Asking where she was resulted in a beating. Secondly since Tammy was our primary caretaker, Miss Dorothy was hired. A woman we were initially terrified of because she looked like a witch. Wild and long jet black hair so dark it was shocking. Equally long red fingernails. Sunken cheeks with cheekbones so strong her face was dramatically enhanced. Odd clothing we hadn’t seen before with flowing and layered skirts similar to Stevie Nicks. Ironically it would be Miss Dorothy who became the only positive influence in our young lives. She was loving, dedicated and cared about us. In fact, she cared so much that she was going to tell what was going on and told our dad which was why she was immediately fired and we never saw her again. Our father moved in one of his cousins, an angry drunk, Vern. We knew to be wary of his angry outbursts and stay away from him but I would earlier than Jerry and Cindy one morning in the kitchen. I was ironing my fathers clothes. We were maids at a very young age. Vern had hollered “get off your ass and make me some coffee.” I did and not knowing it would burn the counter, set the coffee pot on the Formica counter accidentally burning a circle on the counter. Vern punched me with such force that I was knocked into the wall which brought my father into the kitchen asking “what did that dumb ass do this time?” Vern pointed at the counter. Our father regularly beat us with a razor strap, his fists or whatever was handy. Our grandmother used a purple hairbrush. Now Vern like everyone else could do whatever he wanted too. We had no escape from the Hell we were locked into as children.
School was no better. Cindy and I walked miles to and from school. We were regularly beaten up on our travels by a group of hoodlums. It would be 5th grade when the decision to “fight back” occurred to Cindy. She explained why to me. “We are beaten up and assaulted by everyone around us at home. If we don’t defend ourselves at school we will never get away from this. We are worth defending.” She was right and her reasoning would be how we finally stopped getting beat up. In 6th grade since we were immediately separated upon entering school it wouldn’t be Cindy but instead Wendy on my way to Special Ed since I still refused to speak who was cornered. “You’re so ugly your own mother left you.” I picked her up and threw her into a brick wall not knowing how much rage I actually had in me. I was suspended but didn’t care. The rock throwing that resulted in a scar under my right eye after one student put broken glass in the dirt clog stopped. Everyday Cindy and I ran from bullies either beating us or throwing rocks. Throwing Vickie stopped all of that.
It would be at the end of 6th grade our father up and moved us to Oklahoma City. Our mothers mother was trying to get custody of Cindy, Jerry & I. We wouldn’t know this for many many years. Our aunt Mildred & uncle Bob lived in Oklahoma. The only meals we had there were free lunches ar school. I found the first teacher in my life who helped me overcome my traumatic stutter and finally speak again too. This same teacher would also save me when at school I began my menstrual cycle early not knowing what was wrong with me but believing God was punishing me due to the years of abuse at the hands of our grandfather while no one did anything to stop it. Not other relatives. Not neighbors. Not teachers. No one except Miss Dorothy had ever tried to intervene.
For a year in an Oklahoma trailer park our miserable lives became more miserable. Aunt Mildred didn’t like children. Uncle Bob saw “free labor.” We swept his chemical plant. We cleaned their house. We were helpless pawns. Our dad went out drinking and came home angry most nights. We had learned to hide as much as we could and stay out of the way. He worked for uncle Bob. There were 2 brothers that spit on me and Cindy or pushed us waiting on the bus in Oklahoma. We had never rode a bus and thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. One day one of them went after our baby brother, Jerry. It would never happen again. Cindy and I beat the daylight out of the two trailer park thugs that had terrorized everyone else forced to ride the bus. We were learning that fighting back was the only option we had.
Melissa went to school with us and rode the bus. One day in 7th grade she came to our trailer. We weren’t ever allowed to have friends in our home or go to other peoples homes either. She wanted a match but our father measured and marked everything and would beat the daylights out of us if he found we had consumed or used anything without asking. We couldn’t give her a pack of matches out of fear. She left and within minutes shot herself beside her trailer. I’ve always blamed myself for not giving her those matches. We never knew why she did it. I ran to her trailer and saw the carnage ahead of Cindy. We both stopped Jerry to keep him from it. The entire school was given the day off. It was the first funeral of someone we had ever attended. If not for Cindy and Jerry I might’ve been Melissa. I might’ve chosen an easy way out of our hellish lives but I had Cindy and Jerry to think about I had siblings to protect the same way Tammy had protected us before grandma Tinney adopted her at 10. Without realizing it back then I became the fixer. The protector. The kid who whatever happened lied and said “I did it” or “it was my fault” to spare my siblings a beating. I also hated my father. This rate would grow over the years to come only more fierce and consuming throughout the rest of my life. But I never considered following Melissa’s lead I had Cindy and Jerry to think about leaving alone and defenseless.
Grandma and grandpa showed up in Oklahoma to move us to Texas. We had been quite nearly starved after a summer of no school and no food. Nothing had changed after a year away from grandpa he immediately cornered Cindy and I loading our meager belongings and said “did you miss me?” We were miserable malnutritioned and helpless. No one would help us. No one would ever help us. Only surviving and escaping our family we would but we were still to young to pull it off.
Cindy and I stopped asking about Tammy in Oklahoma. We had suffered many beatings by asking or even mentioning her name. It was while being moved from OK to TX I decided to one day find my sister and our mother to confront her. This would take years to accomplish but I was hellbent to do it.
Texas was equally miserable. Back in school at Castleberry I was beaten up on our first day. I only had one pair of pants as did Cindy. We both cut up a flag to add length by whipstitching the flag onto the hem of our pants. Debbie cornered me in the bathroom. Cindy was by far more adept to these encounters than I was so I did the same thing I did at home. Nothing. I had taken many beatings over Vickie back in Lompoc. I didn’t want another beating when I got home from defending myself. Debbie and her sidekicks regularly cornered me coming out of Special Ed. It was miserable I knew I would get beaten up everyday and dreaded it. One day my father noticed a black eye and told me “if you keep coming home getting your ass whipped at school I’m gonna whip it again.” The next day I beat the living shit out of Debbie with my books. She never bothered me again. Survival was difficult and arduous. It was hell. Monthly I was beaten for having a period and “posing a financial hardship on our family.” Cindy wouldn’t start until years after me. I’m guessing I had precocious puberty but it was never diagnosed. We never went to a regular doctor or dentist. We were too poor for medical care. Maryssa was diagnosed with precocious puberty at 5 years old.
Cindy and I ran away from home at 15. We had called 911. My dad was beating me because I was pregnant. No one in our family wanted me to have that baby. No one. We couldn’t take Jerry with us. We had nowhere to run and no one to run to. The next years of our lives would be survival and without the “family” who had never cared about us or protected us. My greatest regret is and will always be having to leave Jerry behind. In that Hellish House.
It was imperative for Cindy and I to become the mothers we never had. The people we never met. We made a pact at 16 living in a shelter together. We’ve kept that pact. We must now protect Maryssa who trusts a boyfriend who has taken out a policy on her life. She’s quite literally worth more dead to him than alive. Monday we call the insurance company…