Meeting Lizbeth - Chapter Three Part III

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Lizbeth's Thoughts

Sixteenth Birthday! As Lizbeth stayed awake in her bed she thought of her sixteenth birthday. Really it is seventeen. She knew when you celebrated your first birthday it was at the end of your first year and the beginning of your second year. That thinking led her to the conclusion this was her seventeenth year.

She thought about her family too. She knew her father and Maddy were the salt of the earth, but her mother was an enigma. Louise constantly left questions in Lizbeth's mind. She could be loving and considerate but just when Lizbeth thought they were getting close she could feel Louise pulling away. Why? What made her mother act that way? What happened to put those walls there?

Lizbeth never met her grandmother. She had heard stories about Grandma June but trying to put the pieces together was difficult. She had gathered those pieces over the years from family, friends, and even an enemy or two. Maybe if she knew more about Grandma June she could figure out her mother. Who was Grandma June Porter?

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”

— Ben Okri

The Story of June

The youngest of thirteen children and the only one still with her mother and father. June's father was a lazy, worthless bully. He knew selling his children was an easy way to make money. June's mother never had a say in the matter. If she tried to argue with him he would slap her around until she stopped talking. She suffered numerous broken bones and bruises. Twelve of her children were taken from her. Twelve times she mourned the loss of one of her babies. She prayed they were going to a better home and that was what kept her from losing her mind. There would have been thirteen gone but when June was only two weeks old he got in a bar fight and was fatally stabbed.

June's mother's emotions were all over the place. Relief flooded her body and mind yet there was a tinge of guilt at being happy he was gone. Neighbors she had never spoken to brought her food and left money on the table. She cried, but not for him, for the generosity of these people she didn't know. They knew about her though and their sympathy mixed with their own relief for her.

They streamed in for two days and when they were finished there was enough money to pay all the bills for two months. This would give her time to find a job and hopefully a babysitter for June. One of her neighbors had a baby herself and offered to watch little June while she looked for a job. She didn't realize these neighbors were on her side but stayed away because of her abusive husband. Battered women were still kept secret and unfortunately she was one of them. Her new found freedom scared her but she knew she could make it with her baby to raise.

After two weeks of looking she was hired as a waitress in a nearby diner. She spoke to her neighbor about watching June a little longer for pay and her neighbor agreed. The first day on the job she was terrified. She hadn't really been out of the house on her own in more than thirteen years. What she didn't realize was her new boss was cut from the same cloth as her husband. He was a bully and thought women were his to use as he saw fit. He was a big man with a big mouth and no one wanted to raise his ire. He had a habit of touching the women that worked for him but no one said anything for fear of losing their job. She put up with it just like the rest of the ladies working there, maybe she was more used to it than they were. Finally, one day he cornered her in the freezer and started kissing her. She knew it would only get worse so she somehow managed to escape his grasp and run. She ran out of the diner and never looked back.

She had enough money for one more month but had no idea what she would do next. She had no skills or education, another diner was her only choice. She loved being with June and hoped she could find a job that would give her time with her beautiful little girl. A few days later one of the women in the building stopped by to chat. She was dressed in the finest clothes and her jewelry was stunning. June didn't know her but had seen her in the building. She was very kind and asked June's mother if she would be interested in a job that would make her a lot of money in a little time. She went on to explain that men could be very generous and if you were careful no one would know what you were doing. She said June could go to the babysitter's and things could be good for the both of them. She was frightened at first but felt there was no other way.

June was never home when the men came. Some of them were very kind and some brutal like her husband, but she knew this was the way to make money and get ahead. She was very frugal and saved more than half of what she made. As time went on she saved even more. By the time June was four years old she had saved enough for a down payment on a house. They moved to another town where she was able to buy a small two bedroom house. When they were settled in June's mother started to take in laundry. She washed it, dried it, ironed it, and even sewed when asked to. It was hard work and long hours but it was enough to keep them going.

When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

— Oscar Wilde

June grew up in a nice neighborhood, not quite on the wrong side of the tracks. She went to school in clean clothes every day and brought her lunch just like the other kids. Some kids felt sorry for her because her mother had to work so hard and she had no father. That was not what worried her mother. Money was what worried her.

“Junie, its money that makes you safe. No man can give you a good life if he doesn't have money.”

“I suffered for years because there was no money. Don't ever let that happen to you.”

June didn't understand at first but as she got older she did. She saw her mother working her fingers to the bone so they could have a roof over their heads. She knew her father hadn't been a good provider either.

“Junie, always make an honest living. Don't be too proud to take a job where you have to work hard as long as the pay's good. Its all about money.”

June knew about her father and siblings, but her mother never told her about being a prostitute. June thought they had moved away to buy the house. No one in this town knew and her mother wanted to keep it that way. June learned from her mother how important money is. Over and over her mother told her to make sure if she married, the man had money. She learned you can't live without money and the more you have the safer you are. Without money came abuse and even starvation. You had to have money.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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28 comments

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 21 months ago from South Africa

Hi Mary, I enjoyed this chapter. To understand Lizbeth's mother, you have to understand Lizbeth mother's mother... et cetera...

Stunning picture of Lisbeth!

Looking forward to the next chapter :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

One of the joys of reading a novel, for me, is getting to know the characters. They become my friends for the week it takes me to read their story, and I want to know as much about them as possible. You are doing a fine job of introducing them to me. Carry on my friend.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Martie, glad you enjoyed. Our families and their history surely help form our personalities. (The picture of Lizbeth is my daughter.)

I share that feeling Bill. I always liked trilogies because I could really get to know everyone, or books like Hawaii where you got to meet generations.


annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England

Another dimension to this story, Mary, and a great one. Always entertaining, your words are well-chosen and we have a clear picture of the characters here.

I want to know what happens!

Well done, Mary. This isn't an easy thing to do and you're succeeding.

Ann


Lesleysherwood 21 months ago

I will be honest. I haven't read it. I am going to, along with the other parts. I just had to pop by to tell you what a pretty daughter you have. Must take after her mum.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Ann. I want everyone to know everyone as my story progresses. I am so glad I am able to get my point across.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Blushingly she said, "thank you Lesley". I hope you'll enjoy my story.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 21 months ago from Orlando, FL

June's mom sounds like quite an interesting character....her father sounds like a real loser. Great job, Tills! :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Linda. I thought the contrast between her parents would help set up June's personality.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 21 months ago from Central Florida

Wow, Louise's grandmother really had it rough. I can't imagine being forced to sell my children, then later having to become a prostitute to put food on the table. I'm looking forward to discovering what kind of adult June becomes.

Great chapter, Mary!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til.....The picture is growing bigger and more & more intriguing.....nice job in the suspense dept, GF! Your readers certainly applauded this ogre's demise. Good riddance.

We can see what led to this woman's insistence on the importance of money. (Love the quote by Oscar Wilde, as well as your choice of Lady Antebellum!) By the time June became a young adult, she had no choice but to be well brainwashed by her mother's money mantras.

I love how you have set this tone in stone, so to speak. Wonderful story, Til. I'm becoming attached to your characters.....UP++


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

The part about the children was actually based on someone I knew in the past though it was eleven, not thirteen. June will certainly carry the scars of her childhood.

Hey GF. He was a real toad to say the least. Such selfishness is hard to understand.

Glad you liked my music choice but even gladder you like my characters ;)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

Mary, this is your best! June's mother survived but at a horrible cost. The story is moving along wonderfully. With each episode a new character appears, each with a story to tell. I hope you can see that I love your story..


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

I'm thrilled you love my story and so happy you're following along. Thanks Ruby.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 21 months ago from southern USA

Oh, my, Mary, I cannot imagine having to go through such trauma! This is a crucial part of the story in knowing what Louise's grandmother and mother's lives were like in helping to understand Louise.

Your daughter is beautiful. I thought I recognized her possibly from another hub on a wedding?

Up ++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Blessings


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

It does help to know the background that influenced who Louise is today. Yes, you do recognize my daughter her from a wedding hub I did...you're good!

I am always so happy to see you here. Thanks for the votes and sharing all over the place!

God bless.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

ur novel is coming along so good... the history, the abuse, the loneliness, and the fear of leaving her home after 13 years so much detail in every chapter makes it easy to follow...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Frank. The best part is that you're following!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 21 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Great story, and I'm looking forward to more. Each chapter makes me hungry for another.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Deb. Next part of the story is done and will be posted soon. I don't want you to be hungry ;)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 21 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

I love the color and texture you bring to your characters; you give them life. Write on, dear friend. We are loving this. :-)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Thank YOU dear friend. Hearing comments like yours give me fuel to continue.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 21 months ago from England

I enjoy reading the parents stories, or should I say the parent parents! this is really enjoyable, nell


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Nell, it's my own ancestry.com


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 21 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

I'm glad I am 'behind' because I can tell you, dear Mary, that your story has a real page turning element... I want to keep going, you have me effectively hooked!

Learning about June and her upbringing added much depth and interest to this compelling story - moving on! Love, Maria


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Nell said the same thing, more or less Maria. I hope I can keep up the momentum. Hugs.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 20 months ago from Massachusetts

This is great Mary. On to the next chapter. Have a great wekend.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill. I really appreciate you taking the time to catch up on my story.

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