Sophomore year was more interesting I think. Mr. Ball got fired for passing all of his students and over 90% with B’s or higher. Hmmmm think that might have been one of those snowball effect things, again. I started driving. I took Driver’s Ed for cheaper insurance rates. I took an extra credit driving class as well. It was actually driving every morning before school. I already had my license. The other two kids in the car only had their permits. Three car dealers loaned cars to the school for this program. There was a Chevy Camaro, stick shift, a Chrysler New Yorker and the third must have been hideous because I can’t remember it! It did not take the instructor long to figure out who had been driving and who had not. I got to drive the cars out away from traffic and then back into traffic and school each day. The other two students were not as learned and he did not want to get into a wreck! He found out I would be going to Colorado the next summer so he took us into the foothills and taught me how to safely start and stop on a steep hill. Tucson has no mountains, but he found steep hills and gave me priceless driving lessons that I have used for years.
Super bowl Sunday I was at the bar with Mom when she set her sights on ‘Randy’. At least that is what his belt said. She was al-ways very good at manipulating me. She would have me play pool with the man she was interested in. Or sit and talk with them. Being a teenager I was chattier than any other time in my life. Randy was interested. He kept watching football. He wouldn’t play pool with me. Mom went to the bathroom and he came over. He gave me his hat. He gave me a slip of paper and asked me if I would get his hat cleaned for him. I said sure. I knew Yogi – the owner of Arizoner Hatters. That is where ‘Randy’ asked me to take his hat. He left. Mom came out- was shocked and intrigued. We went home. The slip of paper said Ron Towkarski. I guessed it was the name of the clerk at Arizoner Hatters. I dropped his hat the next day- they had never heard of that person. Hmmm. Well a few weeks go by and Randy is at the bar again. Asks for his hat. I give him the claim ticket for it. Turns out his name is Ron Towkarski. His belt says Randy so people will leave him alone.
We begin dating with Moms permission. Ron tells me your Mom is trying to sleep with me. I said yes, Mom does that. He did not like my Mom. He took me to 5 star restaurants. He took me to an opera. Once we went to a ballet. We went to drag races. We went to a rodeo. When I talked about things he wanted to buy me she said she would not allow him to buy me. He wanted to buy me contact lenses. Mom refused and bought them for me. We dated from March thru January. He proposed in October and I said yes. We both knew Mom would not agree. So we made wedding plans for June 10, 1980. I would be 18 and out of school. He would be 36. I was head over heels in love.
We took our vacation to Colorado and then to Wyoming for a family reunion. I was shocked at how badly Mom and her siblings treated each other. They were downright rude to one another. My cousin Christy had invited me to come to Canada with her. We were going to drive up there and see Aunt Penny since she wasn’t making it to the reunion. We had a blast driving up there and back. As we were crossing the border into Canada it took a long time before someone stomped out and said where did you gas up last? We looked at each other and said Shelby Montana. He said you left your gas cap and stomped back inside. I got to meet Aunt Penny and her family. They were fun and treated me like I had always been there. The next morning I heard someone upstairs so I got up and went up the stairs to see a bald woman washing the dishes. I did not know Aunt Penny was bald. Her wig was very natural looking and I was so shocked and tiptoed back downstairs and laid in bed till everyone was awake! We spent one day up in Glacier National Park feeding mountain sheep and chipmunks. Aunt Penny had horses and they had cut the hay but then it had rained so we went out the day before we left and helped them turn the hay so it would dry. This city girl had never touched a pitch fork. I worked hard all day and played hard too. We teased each other, chased each other and carried on. The next morning when we woke up I thought we should stay an extra day because I pulled muscles I did not know I had! Coming back across the border into the USA was not as easy. We waited in a line for over an hour and when it was our turn we had to open every suitcase and they were going thru every car with fine tooth comb. They said they found marijuana seeds in the carpet and Christy told him bull-shit. I’ve owned this car since it was brand new and there has never been drugs in it. With that he let us load up and leave. We came home thru Yellowstone National Park. We rented a motel room just before Yellowstone so we could drive thru in the day-light and find us ‘Bigfoot’. Christy being a Wyoming native had seen lots of wildlife she wanted to see something unusual! We paid for the room and the desk clerk says wait a moment let me get the bell hop- we look at each other – we knew there was no bell hop so what did he mean? He opened a door and called for Phillip. Phillip bolted out. He said they are in room ___ and opened the office door for all of us. Phillip was a medium size white poodle. He promptly trotted down to the door and sat in front of it. We unlocked the door- he checked the room and gave us a bark as he left. Cutest bell hop I’ve ever seen! We got to see a moose drinking in the middle of a pond, a large herd of elk and lots of beautiful country. We also got to see Old Faithful erupt right on schedule. When we got back to Casper I flew home to Tucson.
Mom began dating Ken Flora again. He had been a flame years earlier that left her so far in debt she nearly lost her home. Dave and I were angry and threatened to remove Ken from her life. It had been ugly when he dumped her earlier. Ken and Mom both tried to convince us that he had changed. That summer I joined a City Women’s Fast Pitch Softball team. I was returning from practice one night and saw the left over ashes from road flares at the corner of Grant Rd and Richey Blvd. I told Mom when I walked in there must have been an accident up the road, there are flares. The telephone rang, I answered it. It was Ken’s boss telling me that Ken had been in an accident and was at University Hospital. I thanked him and hung up. I said to Mom let’s go. She said what is going on? I said Ken is hurt, I don’t have much information but he is at University Hospital. She sat down in my mustang and looked at me- she said I don’t care how fast you drive I will pay the tickets, get me there. I did. We walked into the room where they were getting ready to take him for surgery. It looked like someone had taken a puppet on strings and just let go- They had a sheet laid over him and his legs looked like the puppet that had been dropped. He was in shock and didn’t know what was going on. This night was the turning point for me accepting Ken back into my Mom’s life. He had been hit and run as a pedestrian coming down to visit Mom while I was at practice. The car was stolen and no one was ever apprehended for this tragedy. Ken lost 80% use of his right arm, both of his legs were broken and his pelvic bone. He was hospitalized for nearly six months. He came to live with us when he was finally released. He spent the first few weeks in the University of Arizona hospital. They had set his legs in casts that kept bleeding through. His right arm had a pin stuck through the elbow and held up in traction without a cast. It kept swelling. He had been in the hospital for 11 days, when one afternoon that I was there we asked the nurse what plan there was to take care of his arm. She looked Ken in the eye and said ‘the class is not ready to see that operation, when they are we will operate on your arm’. They came about a week later and said there isn’t any bone to salvage so they are going to have to put in a rod to replace the bone. Two days after that surgery Val-ley National Bank called my Mom and said that the University of Arizona was trying to get Ken’s bank account information. That night University of Arizona Hospital transferred Ken to Pima County Hospital due to lack of funds or responsible parties to pay for his medical care.
At the county hospital he began receiving much more proactive care to his injuries. He was allowed to smoke and had smoked Pall Mall’s for as long as I knew him. We brought him cigarettes and visited daily. There were 4 beds in his room, sometimes with patients sometimes not. One gentleman died of stomach cancer that had shared the room for a few months. They moved another gentleman in and Ken didn’t say much about him. He called me and asked me to bring him a carton of smokes. I said I just brought you one yesterday Ken. He said I know but please I need another one. Ok I will. I bought him another carton and took it to him. He then whispered to me that this other gentleman was stealing them. I went down to the nurse’s station and told her of the problem and she apologized. She came and talked to Ken. They had moved him into the room and told Ken, most of the time he is alright. He can be hard to control if he gets upset. At night the gentleman would creep over to Ken’s bedside and steal his ciga-rettes and put them in his bedside table. He didn’t smoke- no one understood why he did that. But the nurse got all of Ken’s cigarettes back and worked it out by keeping them at the nurses’ station. We asked Ken why you didn’t say something to him. He looked at us like we were crazy. He said you move in a psychiatric patient tell me not to upset him when I am lying in bed with two broken legs. I am not going to upset him- FOR ANYTHING!
My Brother Dave got married on Dec 2, 1978. Sharon and he were living in Phoenix and asked Mom if they could get married in her house. Mom was excited and decided to take out the brick book-case to make more room and afterwards she could install it where she wanted it. As she was working at loosening the bricks one of the stacks fell over crushing her foot. I was just getting ready to watch a movie about Pearl Harbor for my history homework. I looked at Mom when she yelled “Shit”. I had NEVER heard my Mom curse. I realized it was a serious injury. I got her to get into my car and drove her to the emergency room. I attempted to get her checked in; they said there was a long wait. She demanded we return home. She said you won’t see that movie- I pointed out it was playing on the TV in the waiting room and she hobbled out to the car. I sat in the waiting room for about 15 minutes hoping she would come back in. I walked out to the car and she demand-ed I take her home. She soaked it in Epsom salt each night when she got home from work. I still believe she broke her foot and is tougher that any person I’ve ever known. Dave and Sharon drove down the night of Dec 1. Dave wanted to show us his suit that he had bought to be married in. They carried in the hanger, pulled off the plastic to find a very handsome suit coat with no pants. They had left the pants! So Sharon and I drove back to Phoenix that night and got his pants so she wouldn’t have to marry someone wearing only a suit coat! They returned to Phoenix and life seemed to be going well for them.
In January at dinner Ron said I have a question I would like to ask. I looked at him. He said would you consider coming to a room at the Holiday Inn with me tonight. I looked down. I looked up and said why. He said I love you and want to make love to you. If you want to wait until we are married I will wait, but I had to ask. I was slowly eating my food and thinking in panic mode. When men ask and are told no they take it anyway. If I say yes will it be as good as everything else has been with him??? If I say no it will be mean, hateful and hurt. I don’t want to make him behave like that. I love him. I cannot wait to be with him all the time. I looked up at him. I told him I was scared but yes. We finished our dinners. We ordered dessert. We had coffee afterwards. We drove to the Holi-day Inn. He made love to me for the first time in my life. He was gentle. He was kind. He was warm. He held me. I laid on his chest. I never wanted it to end. He had to take me home and I knew that. Mom was not someone to make wait. He picked me up for our next date. Our dates were allowed to be Friday nights only. Occasionally she would allow us to do something during the day on Saturdays. I missed my period. Ron was ecstatic. He told me not to tell anyone. I missed my next period and we were going to have a baby. He was trying to figure out how to bring us together always. He kept telling me not to tell anyone. I was crying one night because I wanted to be with him. Mom came into my bedroom and drilled me. I caved. I told her how much he loved me and I was going to have his baby. She soothed me off to sleep and went out of my room. Ron disappeared. He wasn’t at work. His number was disconnected. Mom was telling me I was going to have an abortion. I told her I would not have an abortion. I understood I was not equipped to be a mother all by myself but I would give my baby up for adoption I would not kill it. My sister called and told me to have an abortion. Everyone I ever knew in life called to take me to lunch and tell me to have an abortion and I stood strong. Mom made me go to a Dr. My first exam as a woman. WOW- Can you say invasive. He was nice enough. He asked me what I wanted I told him I wanted to find Ron and live happily ever after like we planned. Mom made me come down to the bar one night. Ron was sitting about 6 barstools from her. She prodded me until I finally went over there. I said Hey. He pulled the stool out beside him. I sat- he turned to face me. He began tracing a star on my leg just above my knee. He said in an obviously drunken voice, I am not ready for an instant family. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a wad of money. He said this will pay for an abortion. He said I love you. I will meet you at the courthouse on June 10. I got up and walked over to my mother. I handed her the wad of money- said there is your blood money and walked out of the bar, down to her house. She made the appointment and Linda came from California. They drove me to the hospital and marched me in. Some lady handed me a cup to pee in. They called my name and I was marched back to a bed. I laid down and was wheeled into an operating room. I was given an I.V. drip of sodium pentathlon. Just before going under I begged them not to kill my baby. The Doctor said that it was too late- the sodium pentathlon would hurt or kill it. They did a vacuum abortion. I awoke throwing up. They looked at the kotex they had put on me said ok she is good to go. Wheeled me out the back door to the so called loving arms of Mom and Linda. They drove me home and I went to bed. That was March 29, 1979. I stopped going to school. I went in for a follow up exam to make sure I was healthy. He told me it was a boy. He said he was sorry, he didn’t know I didn’t want to have an abortion. I sat in the park and did my homework. I forged notes requesting work be sent home. I turned in every assignment. I continued to get A’s & B’s I just could not bring myself to sit in a classroom.
They mailed my last report card home- I was failed in Math, English and Science. The notes all said I was failed for lack of participation in the classroom. I passed P.E. Hmmm interesting. The only class that I had that required my physical presence to perform any of the tasks and I passed it. Yet they failed me in the others. Seems like an oxymoron. Did not matter much I wasn’t planning on going back. After you have murdered a baby that came to you out of love like you had never felt- sitting in a classroom just did not have significance anymore.