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I Was A Teenage Runaway
I was a teenage runaway! At the age of 15 I thought I knew everything. I did not need family, or school. I only wanted to do what I wanted to do, At least that is what I think now. Then I could not tell you what I was thinking. My friends were doing it so why shouldn't I.
Lets start from the beginning. I had a big blow out with my mother and moved back to my grandparents house. On the ride there my mother said some horrible things to me. Things like as far as she was concerned I was no longer her daughter. I was never to call her or try to talk to my siblings again. Of course I know now that was only anger talking and she did not really mean it.
My grandparents were just a tad bit over protective. Now I was 15 and did want a social life. School was on split sessions, meaning I went in the afternoons and did not get home until 6 P.M. and curfew was when the street lights came on. By the time I walked home from the bus stop it was dark, dinner and homework, my social time was over, in my mind I had no life. As I stated before my friends from my mothers neighborhood were running away from home. They had a camp set up in the woods nearby, with tents and sleeping bags, food, the whole works. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to be treated like an adult.
That night came quickly. I went to bed with no argument. I went to bed fully dressed and a bag packed and ready. I laid there waiting for them to fall asleep and all to be quiet. I got up, put on my shoes, grabbed my bag and left through the back door. When the door closed and was locked, at that moment I was full of regret and scared, but pride would not allow me to turn around and knock on the door to go back inside.
I walked to 49Th street and there I started to hitch hike. I got a ride all the way to the wooded area where the camp was. I never realized how dark it really was at night. I had no flashlight, I didn't think of that. I was scared to death! After spending what felt like an eternity grouping around in the dark through the woods, I finally found the camp. To my surprise the kids I thought would be there were not. But some others were, and they welcomed me into the camp.
Now what am I going to do, going home was not the answer, not for me. I hooked up with a man that was more than twice my age. This was not the smartest choice I made, and probably a choice most teenage girls make when they find themselves on the street. We stayed together for about 8 months. Unfortunately I lost my virginity to this horrible man. He was really taking care of me, he got us a trailer to stay in. I sent for a copy of my birth certificate and changed my date of birth on it so I could get a job. I worked, he worked things were OK, not!!
This man hit me one time so hard I saw stars. If you have never been knocked out before you really do see stars. At that point I knew I was in trouble and did not know how to get out of it. I lost my job because I couldn't go to work with a bruised face. This angered him even more. I found another job a a seafood processing place. I made some new friends and some that were willing to help me get away from him. I remember working one day feeding the shrimp into this machine that sliced and deveined them, when he walked into the place and picked me up kicking and screaming and tried to carry me out of there. It was no Officer and a Gentleman scene! Three of the male workers and one of the owners stopped him and made him leave the property. They relocated me to a different department, putting the stuffing into flounder. Trust me a seafood processing plant in NOT a glamour job!
One of the other workers let me go home with them. Needless to say he found where I was staying. Just after Christmas in 1979 he broke into the apartment where I was sleeping on the couch. He proceed to beat me and leave me for dead. I remember waking up with my arms pined back and him leaning over me, thinking if I could just sit up I would be OK. I passed out again, my next memory was of him walking out the front door. I tried to get up and every part of my body hurt. i could not move my hands, there was blood everywhere. I went into the bathroom and turned on the light and all I could say was OH MY GOD HELP ME. My face was gashed open, the side of my head was split, one hand was broken and I had severe hematomas on both arms.
With great struggle, I was able to get myself out of the apartment. I went to a neighbors and woke them. Before I knew it the police, paramedics, and ambulance were there. I was transported to the hospital where I spent two and a half weeks. I had plastic surgery on my face to put my cheek bone back where it belonged. Forty stitches on the side of my head, and a cast on one arm and hand. The staff at the hospital were fabulous, you couldn't have asked for better.
Now the hard part, talking to the police and the states attorney. The hardest part, swallowing my pride and seeing my family again. Amazingly enough they did not hate me. While I was gone my Grandma died, I kinda blame myself for this. Did I cause her the stress that triggered the heart attack? I will never really know. Any how I talked with the detectives and the state attorney. I told them everything I could, I also told them I was scared to face him in a court room. When they picked him up, thank God he confessed to everything. I did not ever have to seem him again. He was charged with aggravated assault with attempt to kill, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, violation of parole, grand theft auto, and a number of other charges. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison. He's out now and yes I am a little scared he may try to find me, I hope he never does.
This is not a part of my life that I like to talk about and never do. There is a lot I left out because I don't like to think about it. I have a scar under my left eye that reminds me everyday of my stupidity as a teenager. Now when I see the way our children are acting and the road they choose to travel, I can only pray for them that there fate is not worse than what mine was. I was one of the lucky ones, I lived. When my own children or someone asks what the scar was from, I just reply an accident.
I want anyone reading this to know this is a true story not a tale of fiction. I wonder what my life would be like if I had never locked that door behind me!