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The Escape

Updated on January 29, 2013

By: Toni Tucker

The Escape

Rev. Gilbert brought home a raccoon that he had shot on a hunting trip...As if all the shootings I had heard from the Detroit riots and having to 'hit-the-floor' nightly, as well as being up-rooted by him from my safe, comfortable and familiar surroundings was not enough! He just came home and plopped down a two-foot motionless raccoon that was still bleeding on the dinner table and announced, "this is dinner meat until it's all gone." At first glance I thought the raccoon was a dog! It was only in my six year old mind for I could not tell a raccoon from a canine.

My big sister and I were sickened by his shameless display of disregard directed towards us as children and the fact that he knew we were already scared out of our wits by the gun-fire and deaths reported on the nightly news. My sister was seven I was six. My mother tried to stand-up for us...But that just led to another beating tirade. Afterwards, Gilbert came out of their bedroom and rolled up his sleeves and called us back into the kitchen area and said, "You're going to help me skin this raccoon." I could see the devil in his eyes, red, bloodshot, and I remember the grimace on his face.

The first time I tasted that raccoon that I was forced to help skin and cook, I threw up right on the dinner table. That ended the meal for us all. And Gilbert never laid a hand on me. We just stopped eating, cleaned up, and put what was salvageable up. He never made me eat that stuff afterwards. Isn't it weird, we were living with an emissary of the devil, who called himself 'a man of God' and he beat my mother and sister, and never, never, laid a hand on me. Back then I didn't know why, he just didn't lay a finger on me. Not that I can recall while I was awake.

This man was a control freak! He was a type-A personality laced with liquored breath. A small framed, 5 foot 6, dark skinned, less than average looking man with a close hair cut and he wore 1960's styled eye-glasses with thick black frames. He was a stern, unhappy person. I don't recall ever laughing with him as a 'family'. Even if we did share a laugh or two, his sadistic ways overshadowed any memory of short-termed happiness. I just remember an exceptionally mean, drunk, controlling, manipulative, multi-personality, miserable person. Yeah, he was a monster. The boogieman reincarnated. Just how could he hit my precious mother and young sister without any remorse?! He only started his out of control fits once he got us away from Chicago. Away from the security of our family and friends.

Sitting in the back of the car while leaving Chicago and the closer we got to our destination in Detroit, we all witnessed, the rioting, fires, lootings, and what seemed to be dead men on the ground. It was a total nightmare. At one point, Gilbert, remarked, "There's another N-word, dead!"

That was the first time I had ever heard that word, at least where it stuck in my mind.

I recall on another one of Gilbert's drunken and outburst of anger tirades, where he took off his black belt and struck my mother on the back, and then grabbed my sister lifting her up and throwing her on the bed in our room, when suddenly, an overwhelming "I'm not going to let you do this anymore" spirit took over me! I jumped on his back, he easily knocked me off. I fell on the hardwood floor and immediately got right back up, determined. And before he could strike my sister again with that thick belt, I jumped on him again, this time, my 45-pound frame and left arm, had an instinctive chock-hold around his neck. He flung me off like I was a feather. But in my young mind, in an instant flashback, Gilbert, was going to be another "N-word dead", or at least wounded real bad - and by me!

At glance I could tell and feel that my mother and sister were astonished by my little 'engine that could' fight-back temerity.

Even more determined, I started pulling on his leg, sobbing but tenacious, I kept tugging on his leg, begging him to stop! "Stop hitting my mother, stop hitting my sister with that belt, stop it!...Stop It!!...STOP IT!!!" I yelled in horror and in anger at the top of my six year old lungs. As he turned around with a look of incredulity at me, I reached up and scratched his chin, and I felt the little piny pricks of hair on his face. He started bleeding. He was in shock that I did that. And he stopped!!

Again, he didn't touch me. It had to be God...he went back to he and my mother's back bedroom, slammed the door, and fell asleep. When he woke up...We had a 'family talk.' And he apologized to us all.

But, that didn't stop his tirades. Every time he drank, he'd start up again.

What my mother ever saw in him, I do not know. I do know now, that it was based on lust and her need at that time to be loved. I thank God she apologized to both my sister and I after our escape.

Prior to my mom's hookup with this imp, she always bought my sister and I the most beautiful dresses, often-times she'd dress us up like twins. And we are Irish twins, less than 11 months apart. Back when my mom and biological father were married and when my sister and I were babies my dad branded us on our upper left outer arms with a car cigarette lighter, which, in his mind, proved that we were Irish twins. Go figure. Now, my biological dad was not at all like Rev. Gilbert, the only thing they had in common, was their pension for drinking 'Richard's Wild Irish Rose' wine. Straight out of the bottle they gulped it down, but never together.

We had two gold fish, two turtles, and two birds. Back in Chicago we had a closet full of clothes and shoes. But in Detroit, we only had two sets of dresses that matched, where we had no option but to alternate wearing to both school and church. One dress was tan with a dark brown center that resembled a belt, and the other dresses had a little lace on them and were prettier. Mine was yellow, my sister's light green. We wore the pretty laced ones to church mostly.

Gilbert made us wash dishes a certain way, line up the glasses in a certain way, and fold the dry towels in the kitchen that hung over the railing in a certain way. All neat and regimented. If we messed up at just six and seven, my sister was the one who got the beating with his thick black belt. Once, he hit the bird cage and our birds flew around the house. Jeremiah and Ezekiel were their names. I remember watching Jeremiah dying in his cage right before my very eyes. It only added to my trauma.

Well my mother was a strong woman and why she let that idiot beat her and my sister for the time that he did during the months we lived there must have been activated by a ruling spirit of that territory. The principality of mayhem, murder, anger and lawlessness was in full swing.

One day my mother woke up after my sister and I begged her to take us back home. She looked at our sad little faces and the tears that streamed down them, and could not take it any longer. She finally called my granddad and grandma and other relatives back in Chicago and planned our escape!

All I remember after 'pretending' to leave for school that morning, is how anxiously we waited for my grandparents and a great-aunt to arrive at the door inside the apartment. My mother had a friend to watch out the window for us, our 'look-out', just in case Satan decided to come home early. Just in case he would become enraged and try to forcibly stop us from leaving him. Just in case he would try to fight my Grandfather, grandmother, aunt, or even my mother. As soon as my grandparents' car pulled up - we got - the Hell up out of there!

We were out the door, without incident! God's sent his angels to safely get us back home - to Chicago.

What we left were the goldfish, turtles, Ezekiel, and those two ugly tan and brown dresses in the closet. We also left Rev. Gilbert for good. We were rescued and had finally escaped!

We escaped the madness of the horrific nightly shootings, the riots, the fear, the repression, and the haunting's of Rev. Gilbert.

Years later, while on a trip with our youth choir to a Detroit revival my sister and I ran into Gilbert. My sister just turned her head away from him, ignoring him, and she hurriedly walked away. I tried to play nice again, and said hello and smiled. I felt so darn sorry for the lonely looking sad man. I had Jesus by then and no longer feared Gilbert, but I didn't really like seeing him either.

He died back in the late 80's I hear, alone in a car by the side of a road. He finally escaped from his life of misery by hurting others. But our God is a merciful and forgiving God, if we only repent. And by the grace of God, I hope he repented and made it into the Kingdom, if not by the piny prickly - hair on his chin.

When we got back to our "safe place", the spirit of lawlessness, anger, death, mayhem, murder, hate, craziness, had to flee from me, my mother and sister. We got our deliverance! People prayed for us who were strong in the Lord! So, I was immediately set free from any prolonged anger or hate of certain men, who may have reminded me of Gilbert.

Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed.

By God's healing hand and grace we had Escaped!


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    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Guanta, thank you for your post.

      I am glad to hear that my childhood experience is a healing balm. It is cathartic for me to write about and share.


    • Guanta profile image


      7 years ago from New York City

      Hi Heavensgates, the admission of your painful experiences serve as a healing balm. Thank you.

    • searchinsany profile image

      Alexander Gibb 

      7 years ago from UK


      This is an awesome testimony and I have voted accordingly.

      You have come a long way, walking proof of God's Providential Care'.

      Thank you Jesus!

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thanks jametrichlovelace! And welcome to hubpages...I look forward to your hubs and you will eventually figure how things work out. There's a network and a wealth of Q&A's here. Make money too, sign up with Google adsense, Kontera, Amazon, and Ebay. See you soon.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow not only touching but inspiring. a nice begining for me to start to share and begin this hub journey that has fallen in my lap tonight . i look forward to it. God is powerful and leads us right where we need to go. thank you for your testimony and if i figure this thing out :)) I look forward to sharing also .

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you for your comments, mercon, silver lining 5, and Lightwalker! May you all have a Merry Christmas and a prosperious New Year! In Christ, TT

    • Lightwalker profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this memory, Heavensgate. Life does have a way of teaching us, revealing to us and empowering us, if we will let it.

      Glad all has become good in your life.

    • silver lining 5 profile image

      silver lining 5 

      9 years ago from Southwest

      Hello HeavensGate, I can relate as I'm sure alot of us can, I wrote a hub about this subject. I may write a hub about my own experience with abuse in the future but somehow it's hard for me, I don't know why, I kind of keep it all inside. Maybe the reason is that God has taken the pain and trauma away and I don't want to go back to it. I am also a believer and have accepted Jesus since a long time ago. Thank you and God Bless

    • mercon profile image


      9 years ago

      good article, probably I'll bookmark this hub

      thx :)

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you bt-limit-09 for your encouraging words! Yes, Jesus carries us all and it's a joy to know him, even after that trial back when I was six. God is so awesome bt!!!

      Have a Merry Christmas, and I'll be reading your hubs as well.

    • bt-limit-09 profile image

      Leonard Henry 

      9 years ago from Greenford, London

      My Sister,that's a powerful testimony, but just remember that when you see just one set of footprints in the sand, that's the time the Lord is carrying you. keep the Faith.

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      thefount, Eastern Rainbow, lorlie6, cheeky girl, thank you all for your kind responses! I have been so delivered from this past experience as I have expressed in my other hub, When I Accepted Jesus! I truly pray that my past experience with Rev. Gilbert will be a blessing to anyone who has gone through any type of 'abuse.' God is so wonderful! I'll be reading all of your hubs as well.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      9 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Wow, that was intense! I could never eat a racoon, no matter how hungryI was. Which makes the prospect of you having to go through that all the more terrible. I hope you have managed to somehow put that part of your earlier life behind you. Life can still be wonderful and rewarding, if we look for the good things in life. Blessings to you! : )

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you drcrischasse, for all of your encouragement!!! I also look forward to reading your hubs...Have a great week and a Merry Christmas.

    • drcrischasse profile image

      Cristopher Chasse 

      9 years ago from Boston

      I look forward to more of the same. Awesome job!!

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Blessings to yo create a page! After my mom, sister and I 'Escaped' from the craziness of Rev. Gilbert, we really got to reconnect like never before. My mother poured her heart out to us and she vowed she would never, ever let that happen to us again. And we all cried, hugged, kissed, and prayed! It brought us even closer! God knows how to restore his childrens lives.

    • create a page profile image

      create a page 

      9 years ago from Maryland, USA

      I am so glad you were all able to escape so that you could share your testimony.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Beautiful words. Thanks.

    • Eastern Rainbow profile image

      Eastern Rainbow 

      9 years ago


      You have some good articles! Thanks!

      I just became your fan.

      I just joined here 2 weeks ago. And I love it here!

      Be Blessed.

      hope you fan me too

    • thefount profile image


      9 years ago from North Central Louisiana

      Thank you Heavensgates, I'll be sure to pass your victorious testimony on, and I agree with you - there's no better counselor than the Word of God :)

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Yes I have, on through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus! I'll be reading more of your hubs and have a great week!

    • donotfear profile image

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Wow, strong stuff! You have overcome!

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      thefount, I would encourage you to read my hub "Ready to Soar!" to get a somewhat better understanding of my relationships with me. I love men, and haven't been in a relationship for nearly 25 years. It is not me, but the men. White, black, Asian, Hispanic, whatever ethnicity. God just has been holding me back since I was last engaged at the age of 22! I didn't want this, but this has been the case. Never counseling and when I did attempt to use a counseling service several times the counselors were too busy after I called them for an appointment. For real! I got over my momentary loneliness by the supernature hand of God in my life and the washing of his word. Thank you for your note and keep in touch. In Him...

    • thefount profile image


      9 years ago from North Central Louisiana

      I greatly enjoyed this hub. Thank you for sharing this highly personal testimony. Even though I don't know you very well, I hope you don't mind me asking - did you ever develop trust issues with men?

      And did you have trouble with personal relationships or ever feel the need to receive professional or Christian counseling?

      I'm asking because your answer might better equip me in my efforts to counsel young ladies who have shared similar experiences. Thank you so much.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      9 years ago from West By God

      I do hope that you take the time to read my hubs as well.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Well Lady Guinevere, in retrospect, (Rev.) Gilbert had been abused himself as a child and the vicious circle continued in his life, unfortunately with my mom and sister during those months in Detroit, after we left Chicago. Having a calling on one's life does not preempt them from having sin issues, unless they are delivered. They must want to change and allow Christ to shine in all areas of their lives. You've heard of the saying, 'deliverance is the children's bread?" I wasn't happy that he died that way, alone in his car by the side of a road. That's what we heard a couple of decades later by a witness. I noted that I hope he 'repented' of his sin and made it into the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of his trespasses. Being a minister, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But That's why we have Jesus who died on the cross, shed his blood for our sins, and rose again. Not to continually repeat sin, but his love demonstrates his forgiveness. 1st John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sin(s), to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us of all of our unrighteousness. That is why Jesus came here on earth, to bridge the gap between God and mankind. My mom became an ordained minister years later and she was a mighty woman of God! She is now in heaven as well! I hope, trust and believe Rev. Gilbert made it in, if not for the hair on his, is just a way of putting it. I am not a "religious" person in terms of what the world tags as conventional. I am saved by Jesus, because I received him as my personal Lord and Savior, read my hub stories when you get a chance.

      God is merciful and loves us all. But we must receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. That's Biblical not religious.

      Thank you Lady Guinevere, and may you have a great week and if you don't know Jesus, accept him into your heart. He loves you sooooooo much. And I do too!!! Hugs, Love, and in Christ, be blessed. Your life will never, never, ever, be the same.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      9 years ago from West By God

      Wow what an experience you and your sister went through. You mentioned that the Rev died and he got his just desserts, but what of your mom? You know God loves everyone, good and bad. He's much bigger then religion can imagine I am happy to know that you and your sister did escape. How did you cope with knowing that he was a spokesperson for God and when did you realize that even preachers can do wrong?

    • profile image

      Heavensgates/Toni Tucker 

      9 years ago

      Thank You Love of Writing! I hope you are successful in all the good you strive to do. Have a great week.

    • Love of Writing profile image

      Love of Writing 

      9 years ago

      Wow, incredible. I think we can all learn and grow from listening to each others experiences. Thanx so much for sharing.

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Lady_E, thanks for your response! I've been reading some of your hubs and love them...God bless and hugs to you too!

    • Lady_E profile image


      9 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for sharing your story. I hope he made peace with God. Some painful memories in there. ((hugs)).

      It is well. :)

    • Heavensgates profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you Jx, Matt6, and so far, Kenny MG! You are all so encouraging and I love your blogs as well. I just wanted to amend my story and say, at first, I thought the raccoon was a dog! LOL Only in a child's mind. At least I hope it was a raccoon, not that that made it better.

    • Kenny MG profile image

      MR Black 

      9 years ago from UK, Europe

      Very powerful message of deliverance, a true testimony for others to learn from. Keep on writing you will touch and save not a few but the many...

    • matt6v33 profile image


      9 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      hello young lady,

      thanks for sharing that obivious God given talent, u clearly possess! Would like to encourage u, to continue on, in so that others may learn from u, and too, like me appreicate U!

      In Christian Charity,


    • jxb7076 profile image

      James Brown 

      9 years ago from United States of America

      Heavensgates - that was a very intense testimony and I am grateful you, your sister, and mother escaped before the worst happened. Thanks for sharing and welcome to hubpages!!!


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