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A friend introduced us to an older couple who baby-sits for her. Kari calls them Mamaw and Papaw. If we go drinking they won't let us pick Kari up. They bed her down and even take her to Church with them every now and then.
I’m working at Naval Regional Medical Center Memphis in Millington, as the nursing supervisor in the OB/GYN Clinic. It was supposed to be a temporary, part-time position for just two months. It' been five and full-time. As I grow in my independence I decide to leave Bill. I tell him and he gets angry and violent. "You’ll be back in two weeks or you’ll be dead." I’m afraid of him now more than ever.
Hives! They’re unbearable. Bill takes me to the emergency room. The physician’s assistant knows me. "It’s probably just something you ate." He gives me a shot of Benadryl and sends me home.
I’m at work at 8 A.M. the next day and begging for more Benadryl. The hives are raised two and three inches all over my body. Benadryl injections and Atarax tablets around the clock for five days. No sleep. No hose. No shoes. Just itching!
Bill and Kari are flying to Springfield, Massachusetts to visit his parents. I was supposed to go but since I’m leaving Bill when they get back I thought better of it.
The hives are gone this morning and I feel great. This is the end of my job at the Navy Hospital so I start looking for a full-time job in Memphis. I’ve been saving my money and rent an apartment. I lie to get my telephone and electricity turned on. Then, what to do? All I know is the bar. So I go.
When I tell people I’m leaving Bill they’re shocked. "But he treats you so well." People only see what Bill wants them to see. Bill doesn’t fight, let alone argue. He just does what he wants. Always.
Bill and Kari are back. So are the hives. He helps me move my furniture. Well, my bed and a borrowed chair. And I’m home. Without Kari. I’d rather be dead than stay with Bill. I won’t put Kari in an even worse situation. Mamaw and Papaw promise to take care of her.
It took awhile but I finally have a full-time job with benefits. My interview was mediocre at Methodist Central Hospital in Memphis. I call repeatedly for two weeks until the head nurse gives up and hires me. It’s my first civilian job. I jump right in to prove myself. I like it but have trouble remembering to pull the tags and place them on the charge file. We didn’t do that in the Navy.
Bill calls me at work to tell me Kari’s been molested. He left Kari with Dad while he went out last night. Today Kari says that her bottom hurts. When Bill checks she’s red around her vagina. "Who touched you there?" Kari said, "Uncle Dennis did."
I’m at their house. It turns out that Dad had passed out. Dennis was home and took Kari to the bathroom with him while he showered. She is two years and eight months old. He is thirteen years old. I call the state police and I’m told not to question her.
A psychologist is here to interview Kari. "I’d like to talk to Kari in her room." "Alone." I show her the way. Her comment after the interview is, "There isn't any way Kari could make up what she told me." I was told to have Kari examined by a doctor to document everything. Kari won’t let the doctor touch her so I do the touching. Her hymen is intact but the vaginal tissue is red and scratched. Diagnosis: Sexual Molestation.
Mary’s gone. She apparently took her four biological kids out of school and left as soon as she heard we had gone to the police. Kathy comes home to an empty house. There isn’t even a note for Dad.
Then, Dad gets a call from Mary. They’re in Shreveport, Louisiana. I call the police. They say that they can't go across the state line to get a juvenile. Dad insists that Kari was not molested. Eventually, Bill agrees with him. Dennis says Eddie did it. They all say Kari lied.
I have a Bilateral Tubal Ligation at twenty three. I swear I will never put another child through what Kari has suffered. I have to go home with Bill for a few days and he wants me to stay. We fall right back into the old routine of going to The Brig. We share the bed but never touch each other. This time I wait for him to decide it isn't working.
I’m quietly sipping my beer when Dad comes in from work. I buy him a beer and he says, "If you ever can't make it to your apartment (referring to my drinking) you can come to my house." I thank him and he says I don't understand. I say I do, after all, he’s my dad. He says, "If you come to my house you sleep in my bed." He tells me that he has always wanted me. I tell him I know that and I’m glad he told me. I walk away and never speak to him again.
Dad’s taking Kathy and moving to Shreveport.
On January 1, 1984, Bill asks me to move out and I go. I have my apartment and my job. I leave Kari again.
Bertad, From where you came to where you have come, it is amazing! Your Friend with love and hugs....RaeDi