"Hard times didn't stop me from moving forward"
" Hard times didn't stop me from moving forward"
"Hard Times didn't stop me from moving forward"
In may of 1971, I finally got enough courage to leave my abusive husband of ten years. I moved to California with my four kids and the clothing for our backs. I was young frighten, hurt and disappointed, because I had married a man that was abusive to me and sometimes my children. I tried for years to make my marriage work, but to make anything work, in any relationship there has to be two willing participant or you're fighting a losing battle. I soon realized that the losing battle won out over me, because I could no longer take the abuse or have my children subjected to a battered life style.
I did what anyone that has sense would do, I packed my clothes and kids and left. Even though I was young with four children and a limited education, I was determined to be happy and try to succeed in this life; regardless of the odds that were against me. I wanted to start a new beginning for me and my kids, in California and do something worth while for me and my children. When you're young and naive everything look so positive and your future seems to be bright and adventuress.
You have just closed a horrible chapter in your book of life, Now you're ready to start a new chapter, that you think will be exciting and wonderful. I didn't know of all the toils, let downs, disappointment and set backs that I would encounter in my quest for obtaining my goals in life. I felt if I could keep a roof over my children 's head and enough food in their mouths everything would be alright. How naïve was I, to think that this was going to be easy. There are so many pitfalls and stumbling blocks in life;especially if there's young children involved with no one to help you. It had been a while since, I left my ex-husband and I was glad, when he finally sent me $40.00 for each child, which wasn't a lot but it helped.
He had a good job working for General motors, but he wanted me to have little money as possible to try and force me to come back to him. He was fighting a losing battles and he didn't have sense enough to know it. I was determined not to run back to him, in spite of all the hard times I faced each day with my children. My attitude is and has always been, we are going to make it by the grace of God; no matter how hard it is. I did look for work, but with a ten grade education, what could I do. I finally did find a house cleaning job; it was only for three days a week, but you take what ever you can get, until you can do better. I'm a mother that love her children and I can handle almost anything but I can't stand for my kids to be hungry; that alone will break my heart in little pieces.
We bunked with my two sisters for a while until I could afford a place of my own. What I didn't realized was, I had to have enough income to pay for rent and utilities and buy food. For about six months we stayed with my sisters, not really wanting to go to the welfare office, but I finally did because not getting help wasn't an option. I swallowed my pride and applied for welfare help, which gave me enough money to rent a two bedroom apartment, get food stamps and a medical cards for my kids. I took my children to the clinic to get their shots updated so I could register them for school, I was blessed that my children didn't have to go without medical or dental care anymore and that was a big plus for us.
I felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, when I went out and got the help I needed for me and the kids. I got the kids in school all except for the baby girl, she was only two. Things went pretty well for us for about two years, then One of my welfare checks was stolen and I couldn't pay the rent for two to three weeks; which got me evicted out of my apartment. When checks are stolen they have procedures that they go through, tracing the check and a waiting period which didn't help my situation at all.
When I got my eviction notice, it really scared me, because I never had anything like this happen to me before. My mind was running a mile a minute, what would I do, where would we go: I didn't want me or my kids on the streets. My sisters told me we could come back over there until we got straight again, that was indeed a blessing. After I put all of our belonging in the storage we went back to my sisters house. Things were rough because we no longer had our own place so rules changed. I made sure my kids always had food to eat. My children and I have always had a close relationship.
I wanted them to know that nothing is ever to big or to bad that they couldn't come and talk to me about it; especially about sex, because I didn't want my three daughters to become a teen moms like me. I wanted to make sure history didn't repeat itself and it didn't. One of my sisters always wanted to party and she was always asking me to go with her to the club. Even though I'm the oldest, I let my mind be swayed by my younger sister and went to the club against my better judgement. I went to the club, had a few drinks and dance the night away, it was fun and I enjoyed it. I figure after all the hell I went through with my ex-husband I deserve a night out on the town. I finally got that check back that was stolen, so I put most of it up for hard times.
You know bad things have a way of snow balling, causing a lot of other things to happen . My sister got a letter from her landlord telling her he was selling the house, so we had to be out in three weeks. It was crucial now, that we find another place soon, but we didn't have enough money to get a place yet. we had this lady come by that wasn't really a friend,but an associate and she told us that she had a big house and we could move in with her and help her on her rent. we thought our troubles were over, we didn't know that they were only just beginning. We gave her most of the money thinking we had a reprieve, when we were in hock up to our eye balls .
Five days later she gets an eviction notice, she neglected to tell us she was behind on her rent and she apparently took the money we gave her and used it to buy drugs. Our lives were beginning to feel like a horror movie with us playing parts against our will, I didn't want to think that anything else bad could happen. At that particular moment a hard knock came at the door it was the police department, by now we are scare out of our minds; the police was arresting Carol for stealing some things, We explain to the officer that we had really just gotten there, and didn't have no involvement in any of things she was accused of, I wanted someone to slap me and wake me up, because I was tired of the nightmare that I was in.
We were in a big dilemma now; with all our money gone, and yet another eviction to contend with and it's wasn't even ours. I was heart broken because my children was in jeopardy of being put in the streets again. I cried and prayed, and prayed and cried until I had no more tears left to cry. The next day at the grocery market I met a lady friend I hadn't seen in ages. We talked a while, I told her about the nightmare that we were all in and she told me that her parent had just gotten an apartment free. She said would talk to them and see what they could do to help us out, I told her thanks and she was on her way. I stood there with my heart beating in my throat, trying to get it to calm down; as I said a silent thank you prayer to God. Could this be the break we need, I was hoping against hope that this was an answered prayer. At 9:o'clock that evening the phone rang it was Pear, l with good news, her parent said we could have the place without the first and last months rent; just pay for the month when we get our check.
Prayers do get answered, and by the grace of God we were going to have our own place again, and this time my sisters would be living with me and my kids and this time my tears were tears of joy. Prayers and Gods grace has brought me through many troubles and tough times. It has been times when I didn't have food to feed my children and I would go to work and wouldn 't eat a morsel of food because I knew my kids were at home without, so I went without until I got home, cooked and fed everyone. There had been times that I got food late at night and the kids went to sleep hungry, I would cook and wake them and put the food in there mouths and tell them to eat because I couldn't stand for my kids to go to bed hungry.
If you're a mother then you can relate to what I'm saying, you will do what ever it takes to feed your kids. I thank God that all my children are grown and prospering now, we all went through hell and back again but we became honest independent people; that believe we can do anything if we try. After dropping out of school early without my diploma, as of march 2009, I have my diploma. I'm enrolled in writing school, I'm an artist and I make hand made original design jewelry. My 4 of 5 children has graduated from high school and went on to college and has obtain degrees, and two of them have nursing degrees, a business manager, and I didn't have not one teen mom pregnancy in my household, because I taught them how to protect themselves; if they couldn't abstain from sex and it worked. I have so much to be thankful for and be proud of, and every day I thank God for my humble beginnings.
Benny Faye Douglass
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