For June 2, 2017, my graduate, & youngest girl…

May 20, 2017

Diane—

So in less than two weeks you will be a high school graduate.  I am hoping that your little graduation present gets here in time.
I’m writing this letter for you so that you can get the little ‘bump’ you need to send you out into the world and make it big—but make it big in your way and in the process making YOUR dreams come true.
I bought a CD for you today.  There are two songs there that are the reason why I bought what I bought.  There are two songs that are my personal gift and message for you.

My Wish

 I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

     Suppose it could be said better-but, when you are in doubt just remember that at least your mom is cheering you on.  I realize that I have made a lot of mistakes.  I’ve realized that being a mom to one child doesn’t make you good mom to all kids.  My weaknesses with my oldest were sometimes still my weakness, and sometimes by the time I got to you, I had a whole new set of weaknesses.  No matter how poorly I have said, “I love you.”  Know that I always have, & that my dreams for you were always big, even if I couldn’t provide you with a great jumping off pad.
There will be times when I still have to be a ‘mom’.  Unfortunately, that is just the rules for engagement between you and I.  But, I am hoping that we can always talk about any problems we have and work them out.    The thing that I am really best at and can still do for you, is to be your cheerleader.    And I always will be that.   And I want all the same things for you as I ever wanted for the other three:

  1. Be Happy. Be Healthy.  3. Follow your Dreams. 4. Don’t hurt others.

That last one is the hardest one for me.  That’s the one I choke on.  It’s the only one that can ever get between you and I.  It’s really important to me because so many people have worked so hard hurt those around me.  I’ve lived the fall out; I’ve seen the emotional devastation.   That is where I draw my line in the sand.

But, having said that I cannot imagine you hurting someone on purpose, for the sake of fun or anything else.  You are a really good person. The one kid who actually turned out the way I hoped all my kids would.  I see a happy life for you.  That is not to say you won’t hit bumps.    Sometimes those bumps really hurt.  Sometimes the days will get really dark.  It’s just how life goes sometimes.  Light a candle, say a prayer, take some really deep breaths, take a long bath, listen to music, paint, and call your mom.

One thing to remember is even when you feel really, really alone, the truth is that you are not.  You have friends and family who love you and want the best for you.  Even if all they can give you is a hug, and probably that’s all you’d need anyhow to be able to get out there and face the world again.

“Stand”

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you’ve lost your fight
But you’ll be alright, you’ll be alright

‘Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you’re made of
You might bend, ’til you break
‘Cause it’s all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand…

You come from a LONG LINE of really tough people.  Not perfect people….just really tough people. People who have faced all kinds of situations—starvation, witch hunts, wild bears, wars, homelessness, extreme cold, rape, molest, abuse.  Each one not only survived but succeeded in some way, or else YOU would not be on this earth today.  Each of us alive today on this earth can believe this because it’s true!  And, it is all the more of a reason to celebrate YOU!
You have been handed the gift of life.  Each person in your life is a gift.  Maybe there will be times when you can’t see it, but EVERYONE who crosses your path will share something with you, even if all it is ‘just’ a smile.  It might be a small or a great gift: wisdom, fact, love, a hug, a meal, a theory, maybe someday a child.   Never take it for granted.  There might be a billion of us here on earth, but there is only one me and only one you!!  That makes us special. It makes being your mom special!

Thank you for choosing me to be your mom.  Thank you for the GIFT of being YOU!!
I do LOVE YOU!!!  & I always will!!  xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

What being stuck in the snow does for one’s sense of humor…

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

To Whom It May Concern,

My husband and I had the bad luck of having to stay in our car and ‘survive’ in the snow atop a mountain this week.  This ‘survival’ mode only lasted for two and a half days.

We arrived Sunday afternoon to only around 2-3 inches of snow after changing our flat tire.  Our low riding 4×4 Subaru Outback Legacy ™ got caught on a very small snow drift.  We used our poor dog’s blanket to try and get traction and get out, but alas our Subaru ™ was unable to use the Bratz ™ blanket.

We were unable to even dig our car out using simple Snapple bottles ™ where the bottom had been cut off in order to dig our way out.  I promise, I kid you not!!!

We decided to make ourselves comfortable and stay the first night.  We’d passed trucks coming from the other direction, we were sure we were safe.  Soon, the snow began to fall!  It just went on and on and on.  It continued to fall even more.  The next morning we were probably buried in a foot of snow.  At this point, we became acutely aware that we were probably in trouble.

I remembered that we had told our friend, a manager at Burger King ™ in the nearby town of Canyonville, Oregon that we were going to take photos at South Umpqua Falls and so I wasn’t much worried at all.  Well, at least for a while.  I was glad that I had even made sure to pack the extra ketchup packet from our food and stash it away in my pocket.  Burger King ™ uses Heinz™ brand you know!!

Well, that next day under a foot of snow. We had to figure out how to survive.  It’s sad but it’s true, that I learned the hard way that Eberhard’s ™ Ice Cream buckets are not only good for storing away dry dog food for long trips, but they also make very good toilets!  I have to admit that Kirkland paper towels make excellent toilet paper in a pinch.

We were soon thirsty and realized we’d be drinking melted snow. So we cut the bottoms out of an Aquafina water bottle.  The bottle became a very good snow scooper for letting the snow melt in (leave the lid on, turn upside down and it will stand in your drink stand), hence providing refreshing and life giving (no name brand, generic) water.

After our first night in the forest, I have to admit that my stomach began to feel a little pained. I started to be concerned about what we would eat.  I knew my husband had a small, two shot American Arms™ 410/45 Long Colt Derringer on his body, and so I prayed for a bunny to hop by. Then I remembered we had no way to start a fire, and so, I realized that more than likely lunch would be the Kirkland ™ Lamb & Rice dog food so highly recommended by our dogs vets over at DCLVS in Roseburg, Oregon.   So, defeated, and emotional eaters, we began to consume very small samples of the food.  We drank a lot of the generic water.

The first full day out there we tore up the upholstery on our front seats.  One seat provided us a bag in which to place both of our feet.  I have an inherited foot condition that makes it quite painful to walk.  That condition along with arthritis in my feet, and bad circulation kept my feet pretty cold.  So, my life partner told me to take off my wet socks, and place my feet in the upholstered bag with his so that he could transfer heat from his feet to mine.  I’ll tell you, there is no brand name for that kind of love!

The other front seat upholstery was cut open and placed over our legs like a blanket.  Atop of that was a liner bought to protect the car from our dog, Jake and all the hair he loses during his daily activities.  These along with our jackets (Bear Ridge ™ and REI ™)  made perfect layers and we only needed to run the engine full of gas from our local 76 ™ station in Tricity, Oregon every three or  four hours.  BTW, we did fill up before we left!

The first full day turned into the 2nd night, and probably another foot of snow fell.  We could barely get our car door open to dispose of bodily fluids, or to scoop new snow cones for drinking.  Egads!  By now, we really, really knew we were in trouble.   I spied the ketchup placed in the middle console and realized that it had a pal from Kentucky Fried Chicken™ a small container of Honey Mustard.  I asked my husband which he preferred and I shared with him the idea of a true gourmet dinner.  Fine dining at its best.  He refused my offer, I really don’t know why.  We ate more plain Kirkland ™ Lamb & Rice chow and drank lot’s and lot’s of generic (God freely given complete with dirt) water.  That day I also looked at a friend’s book that I needed to return, “Roberts Rules” copyright 1923, it looked like fire fodder to me.  But, alas, I remembered again, we had no matches! I was sad indeed.

The 2nd full day came and we were up with the sunrise.  Just like the day before we were having very deep and realistic conversations about if we were going to die. We were trying to figure out just how in the world, we could get someone’s attention. As with the day before, every time we started the engine we turned on our Duro ™ cell phone, and dialed 911, to no avail.  At the same time, we turned on our Vastfire ™ GPS, and pinged the minimum of four satellites each time.

I began to talk about how sad I would be if I died and my mother got the last word in our little tiff.  My husband offered very kindly to walk to find a soul who might remedy our situation.  He’d offered at least twice before.  The problem was now; I didn’t feel the need to disapprove of this very scary proposition.  I was facing being alone possibly in the dark; you know a whole other night.  I didn’t like that! After all, the night has always been a very scary place to be for me!

Since I had just approved of him walking away from me he decided to leave before I had a change of disposition.  It was early morn when he doubled up the Kirkland ™ paper towels, and placed them atop his head, sandwiched under a Dixie™ paper plate.  As he composed his hat to protect his head from the rain (yes, I said rain), I used a Bic ™ pen to write our names, health issues, and ages to help our eventual helpers to help us, the ones in need!  We just happened to have clips bought from Staples™ to pin those plates to the trees—  “Help Please, Clyde & Peggy Snyder, Heart Problems, HBP, Diabetic, 55, & 53!”

He emptied his camera case of its precious equipment, and he opened his package of doggie doo doo plastic bags—inside one of them we placed important cargo, three handfuls of Kirkland ™ Lamb & Rice.  Inside the camera case it went, along with the plates, clips, earphones (ear warmth—ok, ok, noise reduction) and the GPS.  He affixed a black plastic bag from Nick’s in Tricity (where the Snapple ™ & a 2 liter Pepsi ™ came from of course!) atop his head!

Alas the man kissed me! He promised he’d come back.  He left down road, I could not look back.  Being the emotional eater that I am, I started to look for breakfast… I spied that damn Kirkland ™ dog food and I tried not to puke.  My hand went for the bucket, and I grabbed quite a few, and I wondered how in the world I could make the crap go down oh, so smooth. I remembered the Heinz ™ ketchup and I grabbed it right up.  I slashed it open with a steak knife, and I dipped my first bite!  OMG, Glorious dog food. Kirkland ™, the BEST!!!

That was about 9ish in the morning the time that the man left me.  So, I’d consumed that damned dog food by a good 9:30—o’ clock.  I wrapped myself up in my foot bag, my blanket, and my dog liner for warmth. I used the car seat insulation for a pillow of course.  I folded up the Department of BLM, Oregon State Map ™, it was plastic coated and provided some insulation between my head and the window back west. I stared out the window and watched snow melt on down.  I noticed that the melting ice created a kaleidoscope of beauty of greys and white.  I thanked God for sharing his art with me.  I studied the artwork for hours it seemed….suddenly I was waking from a long winter’s sleep, but it was only 11 in the morning and I was too cold to sleep.

I turned on the engine; I still have ½ a tank. I ran it only for 10 minutes so that I could try and make it last at least a week.  Being the emotional eater than I am, I was convinced that I was starving….and I put in my hand.  Oh, glorious dog food, I tried not to puke I dipped it in honey mustard, and found out it was sad seconds to the ketchup. Just sayin’.

I had nothing more to do. My job it seemed was to survive so that I could live and see my man tomorrow. I didn’t want anymore of that Kirkland ™ lamb and rice!  All wrapped up again, I looked outside; I saw a little bent over man.  His bones were made of limbs of a tree, he wore a snow sombero, snow cape, and snow pants. I was pretty sure by this time I was getting a little delirious- I got out the Bic ™ pen and paper wrote down the time, my activities, and the time since my man left.  My little tree all wrapped up in snow clothes talked me to sleep and stayed with me for at least two hours. I turned on the engine at 2:30, I turned it off at 2:55.  At 3:00 I noted it had been about 6 hours, I prayed that I’d see or hear

Someone, anyone, in less than an hour.

At 3:15 – I noted two crosses on the window, God holding us in his arms, leaving us in his Grace, sending his message that we were indeed safe.  I looked again, and there the crosses still stood, a husband and wife, arms intertwined facing the world.  Thank you God for sending the message.  I am still alive and I will live… I just need patience…

I wanted to stay in this world.

I settled back down, and I wrapped myself up.  I told myself that soon, I was sure I’d see a real person.  Soon my eyes were closed, there was really nothing else to do….I felt the cold air hit my pretty warm face.

I told myself… that I was worth the fight.

I honored myself a beautiful woman, loved with delight.

I remembered that #shepersisted—and I knew that I, too, was at least that good.

The thoughts swirled and swirled inside my head, and when I heard that beautiful young man….

“Clyde… Is that you..??”  “Clyde….am I mad??”

“No ma’am, I’m Ryan, I work for the United States Forest Department”

Oh MY GOD! I’d just seen my first ANGEL!!

This angel, handsome was he, he checked my fuel and assured me I could run my engine freely.  Instructions were to keep warm and wait, he had sent off for help, I only needed patience for perhaps, 2 hours.  Best of all he’d seen my wonderful husband and HE WAS OKAY.

The very first tears fell… happy was I.  But, it didn’t take long for me to mop up my mess, I still had at least 2 hours to wait.  I checked the time at least every 15 minutes it seemed, I looked at the Kirkland™ Lamb & Rice and promised not to eat it! And I was pretty much done with that dirty damned bucket!

Pretty much two hours later, along came two more very handsome angels named Ken and Kehoe, Jr. I have to admit my eyes were on fire, I met so many young, handsome angels—I simply could not believe my luck, surely I was in HEAVAN.  I will never forget how hard they worked to force the little vehicle down the path.  At the bottom was Ryan’s Forest Ranger partner to drive me on by, to an ambulance for checking vitals.  The men there too, delighted mine visions—Tiller paramedics will never be forgotten.  We passed so many people; I could not believe what I saw.  Trucks and trucks from the Douglas County Sherriff, and Search and Rescue, too. We stopped a couple of times so my chariot driver to speak to a few, the men outside were full of smiles—I was really happy too.  My driver offered me nibbles of carrots, peppers, and broccoli, but I thought it was his lunch, and he looked so perfect and healthy, surely he worked hard, and needed nourishment…I could not take his lunch.  How did all these parents do it, raise so many perfectly shaped men?!  Oh I could barely take it, they were all very sweet, considerate young men. Might I say here and now, that I take it all back, there are out there, somewhere, quite a few REALLY GOOD MEN.

Next stop we met Kehoe, Sr. and a nice lady with a cookie and coffee.  I don’t like coffee and yet it turned out that it was manna from heaven!!  I was dropped off at the ambulance, my husband was there, my blood sugars were perfect, I remembered the name of YOUR F****** PRESIDENT!  My heart rate was a little fast, we discussed our options, and I said I want to go home and take my medicine.

Jerry came by and we got in to his truck.  He took us both home, back to Tricity…to my babies, my heaven.  We showered; we shaved, brushed our teeth—called his mother.  Called my sister.  Posted to Facebook—one little message.  Laid down in the most comfortable bed on earth, held my man, thanked him profusely, and said thank heavens.

I’m warm, I am dry, I’m fed, and I’m happy.  I know who I am, what I need, what I can share, what I love…  My kids, my husband, my family, my friends, those beautiful angels who showed up by the dozens…  I am thankful to all, and offer to share my bear hugs from Jesus…
I was released March 10, 2017—from a hell created by myself and reborn new, beautiful, and sweet.

I hope you never have to live through such days, but if you do….just focus on what is really important to you.  I promise you’ll make it and come out more beautiful too!!!

Dear Costco—what do you think?? My poor dog is missing some food from his bowl! Do you send out coupons that Jake might appreciate?  I hope you don’t mind indulging his master’s silly old wife!!

Sincerely, Peggy A. Rowe-Snyder

More Thoughts about Trump as a President, Man, Molester & Thief.

One thing that came to me today. The argument that there have been Presidents that were as ‘not perfect’ as Trump is not perfect today. Really, I get to rob a bank and get a get out of jail card for free because there was a bank robber there before me?? Or maybe the people on the other side of the isle see me, and then I’m caught, and I’m in trouble anyhow?

You know, so much of this has to do with consciousness. I was in my late 20s and early 30’s when Clinton was in office. I had two kids-one of them had behavior issues. I was going through a nasty divorce with custody issues. I had just put my step-father in jail for hurting my oldest child. I was just learning about domestic violence in all of its forms. I was going to college and pulling in good grades. My ex was not helping with child support unless the state pulled him into court and threatened him. I was a single mom for 10 years, raising 2-4 kids (depending on the time frame.) Clinton passed welfare to work, and I didn’t get to finish the higher degree I wanted which bounced between Psychology, CIS (computers), or a mix of the two. I worked two to three part time jobs at a time to keep the bills paid.

I also started my own business of working on computers to make a living I’ll tell you it was all I could do to keep my head above water. I knew about Lewinski, and I thought Clinton was a piss pour choice for President. I was happy he was impeached, and I thought HIllary should have left him. But that was not my call. What I felt at the time was appropriate I think. So, Bill Clinton was not perfect. And that means we should let Trump off the hooK?? I’m sorry that that is really poor logic and YOU need to take a critical thinking class (YES! I’ve taken one, necessary for the degree I do have.)

We have something called a social conscious. This is something that we Americans have all together…or something the whole world has together. I think the idea came about thanks to Jung. But, don’t quote me on that. Either way, the idea is that an idea has come into the minds of everyone, and everyone kind of acts on it together. What I am trying to say is that we as a society, no matter how we rationalize Mr. Trumps behavior… if we look away, turn our backs, or say there were other bad Presidents too (as if that made any of it ok!) … His BAD behavior is still bad behavior, and he’ll make a poor President because of it, and no matter what you say or do, you all know that I am right! You all choose to look the other way. And I hate to say it, but I know some who profess a love of God. That just kills me. Because often they preach good behavior for the good of society, their home, school. They then feel they have the right to judge the rest of us for all the things we have done wrong, and then they vote for Trump and make excuses for him. You simply can’t have it both ways. Life doesn’t work that way.

You can call my ideas sick. You can call me a liar. You can tell me that I am overreacting. But the truth is, you know that I’m not any of those things. All I am is a person who sees a truth, and I am pointing out to you, your hypocrisy I’m pointing out to you that you sold us down the river. That our country will not be better off by having a perpetrator for President, and a porn star for the first lady. Anyone who believes they will be good for us really needs to look deep inside themselves and question their motives, and their ethics. Because not okay, means NOT OKAY, no matter how you twist the truth!.

From Wikipedia in Regards to Trumps’ groping women below the belt: “Grabbing a woman’s vulva without consent is considered sexual assault in most jurisdictions in the United States. Many attorneys and media commentators characterized Trump’s statements as describing acts of sexual assault. Lisa Bloom, a sexual harassment expert and civil rights lawyer, stated: “Let’s be very clear, he is talking about sexual assault. He is talking about grabbing a woman’s genitals without her consent.” Trump and some of his supporters claimed that Trump was not saying he committed a sexual assault, or denied that groping is sexual assault. Journalist Emily Crockett says that this is further evidence of a trend to minimize sexual assaults against women.”

And this ok with who??? Obviously I agree with Ms. Crockett. How could so many
rationalize Mr. (ahem, no gentlemanly respect intended) Trump grabbing of
a woman below the belt let alone vote him in for President.  Our society
has a sickness, and it’s healing must begin NOW!

No Melania Trump, I will NOT accept Mr. Trump’s apology.
There is NO need for me to accept the word of any person
who is a perpetrator of sexual assault!

When a woman is grabbed between the legs this is the message they receive:

I am not honored
I am given no respect
I do not matter,
my needs are derelict

There is no comfort
Everybody could see
He really didn’t give a damn
of how painful it could be.

I am not a person
I have no need for warmth
Not even human
Else he’d left me alone-

I was no better than a something
To be used over and over again,
He called me his, “Empty headed plaything.”
All that time I thought I was loved.

I was not honored
I was given no respect
How many showers later
Did it take to drive away the dirt?

It didn’t matter
All the times I asked him to stop
Once was more than enough

How many tears will it take
before you know that it was wrong.

The major conclusion-
I was not loved.
He used and abused me
And threatened more of the above.

I was not a person-
He told me I could not think
I was incapable of choosing
All that was right for me.

I was not honored
I was given no respect
I did not matter,
my needs were derelict.

©11/14/2016 Peggy Ann Rowe, All Rights Reserved.

You Closed Your Eyes, You Shuttered Your Ears

(My answer to YOU voting in a perpetrator of sex crimes in as our next President of the United States)

(c)11/9/2016, Peggy Ann Rowe. All Rights Reserved.

You closed your eyes
You shuttered your ears
You did not see it
So it did not count

But if it were your kid
who got groped below the belt
My guess is that his face
Might have seen the other end
of your baseball bat.

You bought into the myth
You resigned yourself
You grew up to become
The people you used to talk about.

You sold out
You gave it all up
Now the lady we love
Can be tossed all about.

How will it feel
When you realize
That the bear did shit in the woods,
The tree in the forest did make a noise?

Hypocrisy is not pretty.
Silence is Golden
Complacency sucks
the life out of many

But you’ve gone and done it
You’ll need to own it
Someday you’ll have the chance
To dress YOUR daughter in it!

I’ve worn those big girl panties all my life
I’m the beginning of the backlash,
I’m the voice of the damned-
I’m reminding you of the child
You failed to protect.

You gave in.
You sold us out.
You pretended that it’s not what its all about.
You are pretty smart.
You could have figured this out.

But you closed your eyes.
You shuttered your ears.
You gave in
You sold us out.

A Legal Assault

I have friends who cannot believe my openness here on Facebook. One of the things that I respect most about our country is the Freedom of Speech. We all have the right to speak about the issues in our life or not–depending on what is best for each of us and our conscious.

There is a role that I took up years ago. I took the ‘role’ consciously and I did it publicly in that at that time, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Review, a paper that reports to my hometown of Newark, California. The editor called me personally, to let me know that my name would be withheld and why, (to protect my minor child), and he also let me know that the letter was very well written.

Before I go on to tell you about my ‘role’ let me just say that on my father’s side of the family there is a history of people who willingly take a stand on issues, who take up the torch and speak the way that they know how. The most recent example that I know if is with my dad’s baby sister. She caught a school bus driver in the act of raping a mentally disabled girl in the back of the bus, on the end of her street. She held the man at gun point until the sheriff arrived. And yes, she got an award for that, but no one asked her to do this, she took it upon herself. My own father gave time and his talents to the City of Newark, and Newark Unified School District. At some point he decided to campaign for a person who was running for mayor or city council. He took me around with him from house to house, and with this small act got me interested in politics, the bottom line is that he was involved in his community. I have a cousin who died way too young, at 15 years of age from trying to huff gasoline. One of my father’s younger brothers went to high schools and parents groups to educate about huffing and it’s deadly consequences. These are just three examples, but I take on my role with the history of example before me. I am not doing anything new or contrary to what I have learned from those who have gone before me.

When I took up the role the goal was that if I helped one child, or one parent help and support said child then I have succeeded. So far, I have not consciously shirked that which I feel is a responsibility. I have written letters over the years to editors of newspapers, to sheriffs of counties, to congressmen, state representatives, and to judges. I have absolutely made more than one trip to the state capital to get through to law makers to get laws passed that would help the ‘victim’ of certain crimes. I write essays and I post them to my blog and to Facebook.

Today’s essay is about a betrayal and silence. I’m writing about a betrayal to me, and I’m writing a public correction. When I betrayed myself, I also betrayed every parent out there who was doing their absolute best to emotionally support a child hurting from a violent crime: childhood sexual abuse. It was never intentional, but keep in my mind that when I write, I write with a goal of support, or of correction, of education, and above all the goal of prevention.

In 1992 or so, I signed legal papers where I agreed to not speak about certain issues pertaining to a crime perpetrated against my daughter.

That is a pretty strong statement to make. So, let me restate my ‘role’ so that it is really clear. I made myself a voice for children and their parents. I made myself an ADVOCATE for children and women who have been a victim of a violent crime, keep in mind that by its very nature and definition includes all acts perpetrated against them such as childhood sexual abuse, and rape. I don’t really exclude speaking for men in this role, it’s just that far more little girls and women are hurt by violence.

Writing is something that I am particularly good at. It is my gift. It is how I spread ‘the word’ whatever that is each day, or week. Everything that I post on Facebook is a sanitized version of what goes onto my blog. For example, when I post this to the blog, I’ll probably be also be uploading some supporting documents. Having said all of this, IF at any time reading this becomes too much for you then by all means, close the window, turn off the computer, walk away, or unfriend me. If anyone understands what the reaction can be, it is me. Do what you need to do, do what is good for you!

Just know that I will not be silent. I cannot, because I gave myself a job a long time ago, to speak for the helpless, to help those who had no voice, to speak for them if need be, to speak and support them until they found their own voice. This means speaking about things that are really hard to hear, and things that are really hard to say.

Part of what makes my writing particularly powerful is that I write from MY own experiences. I share more today, than I did in my past because now, I can say that to some degree I have learned to overcome.

Back in 1992 I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I had been put through the wringer. I was not supported by my then husband. He was not involved in family life in any meaningful way. He came home from work, turned on the old 8086 and buried himself in what was then known as a “BBS”. Internet before there was one. I was being accused by family members of putting ideas in my daughters head, and of ‘obsessing’ on the subject of abuse. And just a little side note here, those are some of the first arguments a perpetrator will use against a victim– “how did you get those ideas in your pretty little head?” The truth of the matter was that I could not have made up the facts if I’d wanted to, my imagination was far too limited. And if you call wanting to learn everything I could about the family dynamics involved in the mess that hurt my child obsessing, then so be it. But know, I will never call that obsessing, I will call it cramming, because it was all coming too late to help my child.

I had just dropped a civil suit where I was involved in trying to collect a default judgement of 1.4 million dollars for damages, etc. on behalf of my daughter. This default judgement was made against my step-father. Since the only money that could be collected at that time would come from the homeowners insurance my mother had to be named on the suit. I never intended to take anything from her and that includes money, property, or anything else of any material worth. I wrote her and her attorney a letter saying so. I included these little details in my instructions to my attorney.

My mother hired an attorney out of San Francisco, one who advertised in the S. F. Chronicle whose specialty was to defend those charged with a sexual crime. Not only was it his specialty, he was a high end and well known attorney for those types of criminals. She went in with my step-father and filed papers to have the judgement thrown out. Because it was a default judgement, it was tossed. I continued on in the legal process because I felt I had to for my child’s sake. The judge in the criminal case had said in his closing remarks that the case had been the most under charged case he’d ever seen. Simply put the case was ugly and sick.

I dropped the civil suit over the long haul because I was exhausted. There is nothing more to say about that. Except there is. In order to do what is right by myself, my child, and all the other children and parents out there who are trying to just get through their own situation, I am choosing to not be silent anymore.

My mother filed papers for a restraining order against me. She cited happenings that I could not even remember, and at that time I doubted actually happened and I doubt it happened now. She also filed papers that said that I was a bad mother to my daughter, and that she wanted custody of her. By this time I had a baby boy. She never said I was a bad mother to him, nor did she seek custody of him. I was very naïve and uneducated in those days, and I believed she could succeed at this, and I prepared to take my children and run to Mexico.

Are you beginning to see why I might be exhausted? I dropped the civil case due to exhaustion. I dropped the civil suit because I was legally coerced in doing so. One might say, that it was a legal assault. Just because it was legal, one cannot say that it was right, not morally, not on any grounds whatsoever.

So I dropped the case, and in order to drop the case I had to sign papers saying I’d never speak of these things again. Do you see where the betrayal came in? A legal silencing. I agreed to forever remain silent about my mother and her place in the abuse of my daughter. Do you see how I betrayed myself and my child?

From that time until today I have remained relatively silent. I, would pick and choose who I spoke to because if it got back to my mother, I could end up back in court for breaking an agreement.

My husband has heard the story a few times. He has always felt that I was coerced into silence, but he never ever used the word coerced until today. Today, was the day that I realized that I was legally silenced, I had not yet realized that coercion had a thing to do with it. I now understand why I get so angry when I hear that my mother is (again) bragging about how she’s stayed out of legal trouble, and that she’s never been to jail, etc. etc. etc. It can be legal mom, but it does NOT necessarily make it right. You won’t rationalize your defense at my sake anymore.

This is ONE of MANY reasons I cannot remain silent. Silence protects perpetrators and allows them to continue their crime.

Perpetrators DEMAND silence. Perpetrators demand silence and coerce to get it. Coercion comes in many forms: violence, threats of violence, or by any other means available to them that will get them what they want. There seems to be no end to their imaginations.

In terms of my own mental health, I have been silent on too many issues for far too long. I am silent no more.

The dysfunction of my little family starts with me. The only demand I am making is that the cycle be broken, let it start with me. Helping that one child or that one parent is the goal. But to be 100% honest today it’s about why I am silent, and what I need to do for me.

So, you do what you need to do. Shut the browser window; turn off the computer, walk away, or unfriend me. It’s still my job to speak for those who cannot even if I am about 20 to 25 years late.

pars ~ 09 June 2016

My VanZandt Roots, These are *MY* People!

Mabel Parset VanZandt Swalls, Delphia Ann VanZandt-York-Stewart, nee Jones, and Thomas Jesse ‘Jess’ VanZandt.  Mabel & Jess are my maternal grandmothers full blooded siblings.  This photo was probably taken months before Uncle Jess died due to an accident Old Ben #8 in Ziegler, Franklin Co., Illinois.

Mabel Parset VanZandt Swalls, Delphia Ann VanZandt-York-Stewart, nee Jones, and Thomas Jesse ‘Jess’ VanZandt. Mabel & Jess are my maternal grandmothers full blooded siblings. This photo was probably taken months before Uncle Jess died due to an accident Old Ben #8 in Ziegler, Franklin Co., Illinois.

A DNA test recently proved my great grandmother told a not so small fib to my maternal grandmother.  I know this happened because I was old enough to remember and young enough to have been affected by my grandmother’s tears over being cheated out of her heritage.  Of course, by the time this transpired, the men involved were gone, and had nothing to say about the whole thing.

I can only speculate just why my great grandmother (Delphia Ann VanZandt York Stewart nee Jones, daughter of Jesse Franklin Jones and wife, Susan Ann Aiken/Eaken)  would do such a thing to my grandmother (Hazel Lorine VanZandt Coop).  That is, tell her own daughter that the father she grew up knowing was NOT her father at all.  My grandmother, probably in her early 50’s was forced to entertain the fact that  my great grandmother’s 2nd husband,  John York was her true father.  The first husband was Ulysses Grant Welch VanZandt and he was the father named on the birth certificate.

After watching Roots in 1976 with my parents I began my adventure into genealogy and it didn’t take me more than a couple of years to ask my grandmother about my heritage. She could only say she didn’t know her father very well.  I don’t remember the timing now, but there can be no doubt I did not have a great sense of timing.  She was a great sport, she wrote and told me as much as she knew [Or at least as much as she was comfortable telling a young teenaged girl].  She sent a handwritten page or two.  And I have since spent a great deal of time since asking, begging, searching for any and everything possible that I could find to do to trace John York’s line.  To get to know, John York.  Not an easy feat, I’ve never seen a photo, and he doesn’t even have a headstone.

Fast forward to 2015, I spit into the little bottle and sent it off to Ancestry.  And over the past year or so I’ve watched my paper trail be proved over and over again.  About two months ago, it suddenly dawned on me, why are there no Gulley DNA Circles? No Pedigo DNA Circles?  Not one York DNA circle   Why do I not match with a Hudson line???  And as if the powers that be were involved, it brought on the next bits of information slowly so that I would have time to take it all in and ‘get over’ the shock of finding out that John York is NOT my great grandfather.  In all honesty, I’m still in the middle of that part.

Now, DNA has not yet 100% proved the VanZandt line.  But, I think probably, the truth is the paper trail has not yet caught up with the DNA truths.

Rewind a just a few years, a nice man named Sheldon Jones in Illinois did a look up for me and pointed out that the man I knew as Ulysses Grant VanZandt was actually born with the name of Ulysses Grant Welch.  Son of Thomas J. Welch and Parathena Parthany VanZandt.  His parents were wed when he was born, he was a legitimate son.  But, sometime in his very late teens, or very early adulthood Grant and his brother, Causey ditched the Welch name and took their mother’s maiden name of VanZandt.  And Thomas J. was no more to be seen in the record after that. A nasty divorce maybe??  Wow, maybe they run in the family??!!  Really, don’t ask me why, I haven’t figured that out yet.  I’ll probably never know.  And it’s not that I look for dirt on people, but believe me, I’ve turned Thomas J. Welch over and over again!!!  Found absolutely nothing, so far.

So, the only other thing to do is to study history and see how the family fits in right?
My great grandparents were born just after the family feud in the area that lead to the days known as the “Bloody Vendetta”, and yes, that is the area of Illinois they grew up in.  Then comes the famous coal mine strikes in Williamson County, that time in history is refeered to as “Bloody Williamson” (See book by Paul Angle).  My Aunt Mabel’s husband, Uncle Jim (James Swalls), was old enough to be a witness those atrocities.  It’s good and bad that he was so young.  He didn’t get sucked into the mess (I think, I hope), but can you imagine witnessing such gross abuses against human souls and live your life into old age without the help of therapy?  Oh my,  I bet his nightmares were hell!!!  Of course, they were there when the Ku Klux Klan were in power.  Do we need more?? Well, maybe.  Turns out a VanZandt cousin was involved with the Birger (Sheldon/Birger Gang(s) Fame: It’s Prohibition time and there are moonshine runners, prostitution kings, and proprietors of violence a la carte. Think Sheldon gang? Think first aerial bombing on the USA’s mainland, and how it must have devastated Charlie Birger and his group).  Look up a photo, looks like Ralph VanZandt is in more than one.

Sometime around 2004, I wrote a York cousin (remember I thought he was a cousin still) and asked him for stories and pictures of my great grandmother.  He told me to leave great grandma lie.  He basically handed me the York line on a silver platter.  I really was very, very thankful.  I knew nothing about my York line.  As I studied it I proudly got myself and my children entry to the Pedigo Family Association.  Who could not be proud of that Hudson Line, along with the York’ folks who stayed in Tennessee and those who came west and started a town in Sonoma County, CA.  Can you imagine the name??  Yorkville!!  Really??!!! Really!!! [At the time this information came to light, I was living a quick 15 minute drive from Yorkville, and a 30 to 45 miles from Healdsburg, to be mentioned next.][Yet another aside, I’m also related to the founders of Healdsburg, Sonoma, CA–on my paternal side!]

I was pretty proud of my people!

And then, I started getting dropped into these Welch DNA circles at Ancestry.  I download my RAW DNA file and upload to GedMatch.com…  and the same things happen.  The Welch DNA match is backed up.  I’ve only contacted a couple of Welch relatives.  Not one has written me back.  I figure I descend from some illegitimate child somewhere., and I’ll probably never know who, unless my paper trail catches up.

My York cousin, who is not a cousin at all, other than the few years my grandmother lived with the York boys and their father, that is the only connection we really have.  That and maybe one of them knew what Great Grandma was up to.  I think he had a clue, and he took it to his grave.  When I would not quit asking for stories and photos of great grandma, this ‘cousin’ called my mother’s brother, and asked him to talk to me, and ask me to quit looking at a great granny.

Really??  Am I not my great grandmother’s great grand daughter? She was known to be tough, tough, tough, and well, tough!  LOL!!  The long story short is that no one tells me no anymore.  My uncle did his family duty, if he knew what was up he took the details to his grave too.  But, he did tell me that there was a family feud where people on both sides died, and our family was somehow involved.  And that my cousin in Tennessee was very afraid I’d find out about it, knowing that I love to write, which has never been a secret, he was afraid I’d put it all on the internet and get the feud going again.  People are gonna die in 2004? From a feud that could easily be at least 100 years old??

Really?  I think not.

I’m not trying to be rude towards you, Hillious York [Deceased], but Great Grandma is long gone, except probably in my imagination.  And I’m still here putting pieces together.
That connection to Sargent Alvin C. York is long gone.  Dang it, there goes my chance at being a Cherokee Princess too!  Today, I’m kind of looking for my people!!  I don’t think for a moment that granny enjoyed putting her daughter into that place, and I think it was the only form of protection she felt she had at the moment.  Or maybe it was just another tall tale.  She claimed her name was Philadephia and that she was given that name because she was born right there in Philadephia Harbor as her Irish folks came over to America.  She did tell some good ones, but I can not believe that she was out to hurt anyone.

Delphia Ann Jones daughter of Jesse Franklin Jones and Susan Aiken/Eakin.  The Jones’ had been in America for generations.  Susan is of Irish descent and no doubt a big piece of my 25% Irish rooted DNA. I am sure that through her, I’ll find the kernel of truth in the ‘Philadelphia’ story.    Jesse’s’ parents William ‘Buck’ Jones and Milberry Marlow both came from the same part of the country as the Welch’s and their kinfolk- Virginia and North Carolina.  Ever watch the Waltons??  Remember the trips to Mt. Airy? And I thought it was just a story! I have roots in those Blue Ridge Mountains that I used to gaze at from a segment of Highway 52 in Ohio!  I did feel the pull, I knew I needed to go there, back in 1985ish.

Delphia’s Obit from 1974.  She died pretty close to where she was born. Born in Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois.

Delphia’s Obit from 1974. She died pretty close to where she was born. Born in Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois.

If you have read this far, you are truly a glutton for punishment.  LOL!! Here let me feed you some more.

THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!!!
[insert music here, cue up Rodney Atkins]

Below – Uncle_Jess_02 – THOMAS JESSE VANZANDT (My Great Uncle), CHILD OF DELPHIA ANN JONES AND ULYSSES GRANT WELCH (VANZANDT).  

uncle_jess_02

[cue in whiny Peggy.] Sometimes when you are as heavily into genealogy as I am, you really do feel like you are chasing ghosts. When there is very little to no information out there to bring our folks to life, I at least, get sad. I want to know *my* people, they are where I come from and it is they who make me who I am. I’d often heard my grandmother (maternal) talk about her big brother, Jess (Thomas Jess VanZandt). There was real love and admiration there. Of course, I didn’t know by the time I was around he was gone. And all I had for the longest time was just the memories of hearing grandma talk about him. Which is why you feel like you are chasing ghosts….if they lived where are the records?? Today (March 14, 2015 Just after Uncle Tom’s Birthday, Thank You, Uncle Tommy], I finally found a couple of newspaper articles. My mom’s brother had told me that Uncle Jess was a hero when he died. That he’d saved a couple of other coal miners. Not sure it’s true, but don’t think my uncle would intentionally lie either. It’s pretty silly being so happy to find ‘proof’ of a person I never even met. But, I finally have found something. I’m really thankful. An educated guess that the man in the photo below is my Great Uncle Jess. My Aunt Mabel on the left, my great grandmother in the middle: Delphia Ann Jones (VanZandt, York, Stewart) (NOTE: POSTED TO FACEBOOK: 3/14/2016)

SIDENOTE: COUSIN, HILLOUS YORK, You were so prophetic, 12 years later, I am putting it on the internet.  Not to spite you, or anyone in the family.  Instead because I want to find more of my people, and know more about my people, the same thing I asked for originally when a few stories about great grandma and a few pictures of great grandma would have sufficed.  Thank you, to my Uncle Tom Coop, for lending me my grandmother’s photo albums before handing them over to my mother, and for telling me a couple of stories.  None of which I am sure is accurate, but are great stories anyhow.

My mother’s brother, Uncle Tom (Named probably for Thomas Jess VanZandt, who was named for Jesse Franklin Jones & after, Thomas Williard Coop, my maternal grandfather’s father)  Uncle Tom told me that Delphia Ann Jones was probably married at least 5-6 times.  I’ve found evidence of three marriages, with absolute proof of NONE.

Delphia Ann Jones was ‘orphaned’ when she was a girl.  Her parents died very young, first Jesse Jones, and then Susan Jones.  Turns out she was ‘orphaned’ at damn near 20 years old.  Her neighbors, the VanZandt’s took her in.  She’s found in the census of 1920, in their household as a ‘servant’.  Ulysses Grant VanZandt was a widower (first wife, Etta Davis), and well into his 30’s at the time, and it wasn’t long before the babies started coming.  Marriage must have seemed pretty inevitable at some point.  Only those intimately involved will truly know if love existed, but, man what a story!!  At this point, it has to be enough for someone, maybe even me! Except that I really want that paper trail to catch up with the DNA evidence.

Delphia murdered at least a couple people.  These are the best stories. One I’d remembered over hearing as a kid, so I know something happened, we’ll probably never
know the exact truth.  But murder #1: Was a drunk man trying to enter her house uninvited.  I can see it, I’ve been known to hurt people for inviting themselves in drunk.  I kicked her a** right out my door!!!

Murder #2:  Delphia was a cook, and my grandmother (Hazel Lorine VanZandt) a waitress at a restaurant somewhere there in Illinois.  A truck driver came in to eat and decided he liked the looks of my grandmother (seems pretty typical of the male species).  Apparently he couldn’t keep his hands off.  My great grandmother warned him off.  He tested, and lost.  Being a mother of four kids, three of them girls.  Oh yea, I can see this, specially considering the times that they lived in!

Uncle Thomas Jesse ‘Jess’ VanZandt’s Obit

Uncle Thomas Jesse ‘Jess’ VanZandt’s Obit

The above article tells about my Uncle Jess, but not really near enough.  He died very young, at 35 years old.  He was a veteran of  WWII, and a Sea Bee.  He died in 1951 in Old Ben #8.  It seems to me the 50’s must have been a horrible decade for my grandmother and her family.  In that decade several family members died.

Oren Ervin VanZandts’ Car

Oren Ervin VanZandts’ Car

Oren Ervin VanZandt was my grandmother’s 1/2 older brother.  His parents Ulysses Grant Welch (VanZandt) and Etta Davis.  Oren hit a soft spot on the shoulder and lost control of his car.  He killed a woman in the process of the whole thing.  He ended up with a broken neck.  I’ve yet to find his obit, but, he died just about 14 months later, aged 55.  And way too young.  Photo from the Southern Illinoisan Newspaper, March 29, 1952.

Soon, more to come!  Now to add just tidbits of this to FindAGrave.  A girl’s job is NEVER done!! 😈   😆 Oh, um, could you pass me some of that sweet potato pie?  I think I should probably try it after all! Thank ya!   😉

Read more:

http://hinton-gen.com/coal/franklin_fatal_uvwyz.html

 

 

 

Lead — in 2015!

Two days ago, while working on a DIY project on our home, my husband found in our walls a can of “White Lead” made by Dutch Bros.  I’ll include a photo.

img_1331

whiteleadpaint9-17-2015

The photo on top is a close up of the can and the second photo is of the can in the same area as we found it.  In the wall, above a support that holds up our roof rafters.  You can see one and a part rafters in the photo.  The can in the photo, had a lid that was loose.  I opened it up and it even had about a fifth of the canful of product, which had separated. White from oil.  I was even stupid enough to poke at it.  I took the photos yesterday and today.  (9/17/2015 <–two days after discovery)

We bought this house  in 2005. Neither of us were too concerned about lead.  Lead is an issue that I specifically remember hearing about as a kid, and had assumed that it was safely taken care of and all was well.

Of course this whole thing has me researching about Lead.  Contacting folks hoping to find out if my kids might be poisoned.  So, this might be an ongoing issue that I’ll be posting about.  We’ll see.

Our house was built in 1953.  Sometime after that the garage (where the  can was found) was built.  It is obvious that whoever added on the garage was trying to keep it in the style of the home (Ranch Style), and the siding looks the same as on the house. I would think it was added soon after the house was built.

Peg