These were the names of the girls who pretended to be the Monkey's at recess in grade school--those innocent childhood, elementary school years. Those were the years when the CDC vaccinated everyone for Polio. They were the years when the school administration decided to show the movie about kidnapping and (gasp) murder and don't take candy from strangers, and certainly don't get into their car!
Carol and I stayed friends off and on, throughout school. She wasn't exactly my BEST friend, because we had apparently totally different interests. In fact, after 3rd grade, my parents moved away, and Carol and I lost track of each other. Then in 8th grade, we had gym, but even though we were still in the same class, it was like we were strangers, so we didn't get too close. Then the next time we had a class together, it was our senior year Accounting class. She was having trouble, and so was another friend of mine. I was one of those kids who "understood lots of stuff", and so the three of us banded together and I tried my best to help them understand what came so easily to me.
After high school, I zoomed off to college, and Carol was lost to me for many years. She got married, but I had my son before she had her daughter. We lived lives that seemed eons apart, even though we never lived more than 50 miles from each other.
Then, one day, I came to the internet. When I first joined Yahoo! and Classmates, I found her again while hunting for her name, wondering what had happened to her over the last 20 or so years--MY GOD, HOW TIME FLIES! We managed to get in contact through Classmates, I think, and when I read her bio, I remember thinking--"wow, how interesting!" Because she had found a way to try to provide humanitarian aid (on a very personal level) to a Native American tribe based in Oklahoma. I thought this was extremely incredible and couragous thing to do--something that I've always hoped to do for folks from Joplin, for instance, or New Orleans or whatever place and people had experienced a recent natural disaster that had decimated their livelihood. Yes, I'm a rescue person at heart, but I have never really had the opportunity (other than with dollars) to provide the support that my heart so longs to give in times like this. I've helped single people here and there, only to find them generally unappreciative and had them take my support for granted and then toss me aside and forget me. It was an experience that I'd sooner forget. But my friend, Carol stayed with these people for 10 years of her life, caring for and about them.
One day, she told me that she was hoping to marry one of the Native Americans. Now she knew this man very well, that he'd been married before and knew his wives, and that he had been abusive to them (and to her), but that she needed to marry so that the tribe would take care of her. I begged her not to marry this man. I told her about the abuses that I'd experienced (which turns out were not nearly as bad as her experiences), and she married him anyway. I've never felt so sad for anyone in my life, but I didn't know what I could do.
But as time always does fly, ten years skip through. We'd kept in touch, though only superficially, while I waited for the other shoe to drop. And then I read that she was sleeping by the creek with a wolf pup to keep her warm, and I just about lost it. Figuring that she'd finally left him, I quickly wrote to another friend who lived in the area, asking if she was homeless and living out in the desert, to which he replied he didn't know, but that he DID know that her situation was not "good". And I bombarded my life-long friend with Facebook messages to come home, do you need a ride, what can I do to get you back home!
I had just about determined that I was going to drive to Oklahoma, pick her up like an abandoned puppy and bring her home with me. Even the friend from the area was trying to reach her to get her some help.
Then I hear from her. One of her family members has sent her a bus ticket, and she was coming home. I remember sighing with relief, and then crying with relief as she told me her story. I didn't realize how much I had worried about her--my best-est friend from childhood. I told her to contact me AS SOON AS SHE ARRIVED ON CLOSER GROUND. Which she did, and we have talked and talked.
She wants to write about her experience. I think it would be a great book! I asked her if she'd like to blog about all the things that have happened to her. I even told her that I'd help her with a computer and help set up her blog so that she could write and pour out her heart in blogger land. I told her that I would read it and link it with my blog, and I urge everyone who is a subscriber to my blog to subscribe to hers--because her story will chill you to the bone and make you cry and go through all manner of emotions.
She's a strong, courageous, sensitive, TOUGH and hard as nails person, this woman I've come to know. She is now FREE again, and able to tell her tale with passion and compassion, and deliver the horrors of life with an abuser who broke her teeth hitting her in the face, her ribs, hitting her with a crowbar--some pretty horrific things.
Trust me, you need to hear her story. She's a legend in her own time. I am so proud of her I could just bust. It takes a lot to run away without a plan, feeling like there is no one you can really count on, but she did it anyhow.
The names here, have been changed to protect the innocent of course, and you'll see why when I link her blog here. So stay tuned.