The following is one of my “flashbulb memories.”
The first time I was enrolled in Kindergarten, I don’t think I had ever seen another child since Cleo had kidnapped me two years earlier. I was very frightened, wouldn’t play with my classmates, and I cried … I cried a lot. I have been told they asked Cleo to put me in something like a Pre-K or daycare for these and other reasons. I had not been “socialized” with other kids is what the school told her. Of course, Cleo didn’t remove me, but let me struggle, cry, and be terrified the whole school year – and then got angry at the teacher and school when I did was asked to repeat Kindergarten the next year. The school was run by the same church where Cleo took me when I was three. She had told him I was found abandoned in one of rental properties in the city.
The following school year, Cleo placed me in another Christian Day School. She told this school that she had lost my birth certificate, but would order one from the state. The school allowed me to begin on time but, like the other school, would not allow me move into first grade. I did much better the second year in Kindergarten. At least better at school.
Lou was a severe alcoholic. He would come pick me up at school. Very frequently Lou would stop for a “few drinks” on the way home at a place called. “Susie’s Lounge.” I remember one day in particular. I don’t know what month it was, but it was in the winter. There was snow on the ground. I remember Lou stopping and telling me to stay in his truck. Lou went into Susie’s. I have no idea how long he was really in the bar, but I do know it was light when he went in and then dark and very cold. Lou still hadn’t come back. For a child it could have been only a hour to hour and a half, but seemed much longer. I remember it was snowing and I was so cold my teeth were chattering. I remember this couple seeing me inside the truck and coming over to the truck. I was so cold.
The woman opened up the passenger side door and she started rubbing my arms and body. The man took his winter coat and put it over me like a blanket. Through chattering, I told them that my daddy was inside. The woman picked me up and carried me inside the bar. She and the man she was with started arguing with the bartender who wanted no part of having a small child in her bar. Finally, Lou stumbles over drunk and says that I belonged to him.
Now the two men were arguing. I guess at one point in this whole thing the bartender realized that I had been in Lou’s truck in the cold. The woman picked me up and sat me on her barstool, asked if I liked hot chocolate. I remember this, because although I was cold I didn’t know what to say. Lou was a mean drunk. This bar also had a kitchen and although I can’t remember whether I said that I liked hot chocolate or not, I soon had a nice hot cup sitting in front of me.
Lou didn’t stick around much longer. He picked me up and carried me to his truck. Although I did not know why he was in such a hurry at the time, I suspect he knew someone had called the police.
Susie’s bar was maybe a mile and a half from the farm. After this incident Lou didn’t take nor pick me up from school much. I remember going to and from this school in a taxi. The reason I rode in a taxi is because this school didn’t have bus transportation at this time. I was only in this school one and a half years.
Lou never visited “Susie’s Lounge” again. Not after that incident. He didn’t worry about that, much. There are always other bars for an alcoholic to drink himself into a stupor. No police came to my rescue after that incident at Susie’s. And, as for the pastor from the first school, I’m undecided if he ever knew that I was kidnapped. One thing is for sure, he never called the police on Cleo.