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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

America's “First” Serial Killers

America's “First” Serial Killers

Murder and mayhem have been occurring for thousands of years, can we pinpoint the “first” serial killers? Most likely not, but we can speculate.
The United States, or the Americas, has been in current existence (recorded history) since the early to mid-1600's. In those four hundred years, much death and violence have occurred. Even things that we are now ashamed of (the holocaust of the Native Americans, Trail of Tears, Andersonville, the Civil War, etc.) But there are a number of people who have had a hand in destroying life, as we know it.
What do Henry Howard Holmes, The Bloody Benders, Lavinia Fisher, and Madame LaLaurie have in common? All four have the distinct “pleasure” in claiming to be Americas “first” serial killers. The reason I put quotes around first, is because all four of them occurred in the 1800's, beginning in about 1830, and continuing on to the 1890's.
The first story I am going to focus on is Madame LaLaurie. She was born in New Orleans to an Irish father and French mother. Her birth date was 19 March 1787, birth name was Marie Delphine McCarty, her parents were wealthy and well to do in New Orleans, part of the upper echelon. Marie was used to this type of lifestyle and expected it from her husbands. Marie and her family owned slaves, which was very common in that time period and city, and it was common for slaves to be mistreated, but there is something different about New Orleans. It was actually illegal to mistreat slaves in New Orleans. Now, what they meant by mistreatment, I have no idea. After all, to me, just owning another person is wrong. So I am sure it simply meant, “using excessive force” or similar.
Marie Delphine McCarty was married three times, the first time in about 1801 or 1802 when she was 14 years old. His name was Don Ramon Lopez y Angula. They had one child, Marie-Borja Delphine Lopez y Angula de la Candelaria, she was born sometime between 1800 to 1808. Don Ramon died (possibly) sometime around 1805-1808, and Marie then married Jean Paul Blanque in 1808. He died in 1818, and she was single for the next ten years. They had approximately three children, but I only know of one name, Jeanne-Pierre Blanque. In 1828 she remarried to Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, he was a doctor from France. Marie was a very independent woman who was wealthy and well to do, thanks to her parent's inheritance, and her previous two husbands. She acquired the property 1140 Royal Street, in 1831, paying $31k for it. Even in that time period, that was a ridiculous amount of money. Apparently, Nicolas Cage owned this property in the early 2000's and was trying to sell it for 3.5 million in 2009.
In 1834 Marie had chained one of her slaves to the stove. This slave decided she would rather die in a fire, instead of dying at the hands of Madame LaLaurie, in the attic area above the kitchen. Apparently, for several years, Marie had been keeping and torturing slaves in an area above the kitchen. They were chained, beaten, starved, burned, and tortured in ways that none of us can imagine.
This woman chose to go beyond the typical ownership cruelty of slaves and literally destroyed their lives.
Once the fire began, neighbors and police broke into the house to help and released the slave from the stove. They then heard screams from the upper part of the house, but Marie and her husband refused to give the authorities a key, or access to the attic. They were finally able to break down the door, and what they found, made them sick. Approximately seven people (there have been numbers ranging from seven to hundreds in a number of sources) were hanging from chains. The slaves were starving, cut, burned, it was even said that at least one of them was eviscerated. The stench was so bad, that the authorities and neighborhood allowed the house to burn as much as possible, and later remodeled the home. Marie and her husband disappeared. It is said that they immediately left for France. As she died in France in 1849, this is most likely the case. Neither she or her husband were caught or convicted of the cruelty and deaths. This woman, in my mind, is one of America's first serial killers, she destroyed lives, with no conscience.
My next story is similar to the third story. A few years before Madame LaLaurie married her third husband and began their murderous rampage, there was another couple in South Carolina that were killing people for profit.
Lavinia Fisher and her husband John Fisher owned a place called Six Mile Wayfarer House. It was approximately 6 miles north of Charleston, SC. Today, although the exact location is unknown, it's about where Rivers Avenue and Dorchester Road meet (where the current Cooper River Memorial Library is). It was a good place for people coming from or leaving Charleston to stop for the evening. Apparently, Lavinia and her husband decided that people getting robbed and disappearing was profitable for them. Although Lavinia and her husband were never convicted of murder, they were convicted of highway robbery. They even had some buddies they worked with. There are a couple of stories where one man, by the name of John Peeples decided to try and stop for the evening. Lavinia offered him hot tea, but he was not a fan of it, but to be polite, pretended to drink it. Peeples was uncomfortable with all of the questions Lavinia was asking, so when he went to his room, he chose to not go to bed and stayed sitting in a chair. About halfway through the night, he had dozed off and was awoken by a big crash. His bed had crashed through a trapdoor in the floor, and in the bottom, John Fisher was waiting with an ax. Peeples escaped through a window, and escaped to Charleston, bringing authorities. There was another story that a man named David Ross who was supposed to be watching the home, because of the stories of highway robberies and men disappearing. He was beaten and left for dead. He too escaped and brought the authorities out. Whichever story is true, the Fishers were part of a gang that was robbing travelers. Another thing and this one coincides with my fourth story, is that there were hidden passageways and trapdoors within the inn. They were arrested in February 1819, in September 1819, they attempted to escape, John was able to get free, but the rope of sheets broke, and Lavinia was not, so John returned. In May of 1819, they were convicted of highway robbery, but given time to appeal it. Finally, on February 18, 1920, they were to be hanged. Lavinia counted on a South Carolina law that stated that no married woman could be given the death penalty. Her judge said he had a way to solve that problem, her husband would be hung first, as there was no rule that a widow could not be hung. There is also another story that she chose to wear a wedding gown, thinking that the men watching her hanging would feel sorry for her and save her by asking her to marry them, but that was not to be. Another story is that her last words were “If you have anything you want me to send to hell, tell me now, I will send the message”, then immediately she jumped instead of waiting for the hangman to pull the chair. It is said that she swung out over the audience and came down quickly, killing her instantly.
Were Lavinia and her husband serial killers? Possibly, but there is no proof, but I do believe they did. Why simply rob people, when you can make them disappear? They were living in the boondocks (at that time) and people disappearing at that time was not uncommon. After all, there were no phones, no Facebook, just a few newspapers, even the telegraph did not exist yet. It could take months if not years for news to get somewhere. After all, there were still battles in Texas after the Civil War had ended, because they did not know the War had ended!
This actually leads us into our third story, it's actually very similar to the Fisher case. And in this one, Charles Ingalls, Laura Ingalls Wilder's father, may have slightly been involved! It is 1870-1873, in Kansas. This is around the same time that the Ingalls family was living there. Laura had started a rumor that her father was part of the vigilante group that took care of the Bloody Benders, but the family had already moved back to Wisconsin about a year or so prior to the Bloody Benders being found out.
The Bloody Benders, what a gruesome name, for a gruesome group. A family of four, Pa, John Bender, Ma, Elvira Bender, daughter, Kate Bender and finally the son, John Bender Jr. Let's start out with, these are not their real names. John Bender was actually John Flickinger from either Germany or the Netherlands. Elvira Bender was originally Almira Meik who married a man named Griffith (first name unknown). She had 12 children with him, one of them being Kate. Kate's real name was Eliza Griffith, and John Jr was actually possibly her husband, named John Gebhart. To me, it would have totally made sense if Kate (Eliza) and John had gone ahead and been a married couple, instead of pretending to be brother and sister, but whatever.
There is a rumor that Ma may have killed, or caused the death of her first husband, what happened to her other 11 children, who knows. This story is one that could be a genealogy project for me all on its own.
There is also another rumor that Kate and John had a child, but killed it. With Kate and Elvira having such a horrendous past, it is no wonder they got into the business of murder.
Here are the facts, they were living in Kansas on the Osage Trail (what is now the Santa Fe Trail). With living on this trail, they thought it would be a good idea to have an inn type place, makes sense. But of course, they chose the wrong side of the law. Apparently many men (in both the Fisher tale and this one, it was always men) that disappeared on their travels. And again, trapdoors were put into use. The way the Benders did it, Kate was supposedly a psychic medium, she would get the gentleman staying with them talking. She would give them their fortune, or attempt to read their future or something, while they were eating their meal. Now the building they were in, was really just a two room house. The front was a small store, restaurant, and sleeping room for customers, while the back half was the living quarters for the family. A curtain separated the two rooms, the customer would sit at the table with his back to the curtain, and once he was involved in his dinner or psychic reading, one of the Bender men would then attack him. They would then drag his body into the back half of the house, and drop his body down a small cellar until they were able to bury it. Another thing that was said of the family, is that they always kept their gardening area fully tilled, but never planted. It is said that there many bodies there, but the family is only “known” for killing between 10-21 people.
The reason they were caught, is that a colonel and senator got involved, that is pretty high ranking people! Apparently, a man and his young daughter (I have read that she was young, about 3-5, but another source said infant) by the name of Loncher disappeared. Now, this Loncher happened to be a neighbor of the Ingalls in the next county (that is the connection), but the Ingalls had already moved back to Wisconsin at this point. Anyway, Loncher was friends with a guy named Dr. William H. York. Loncher and his daughter had disappeared, and York decided to go in search of them. He stopped twice at the Benders, first time when he was going out to search them, then on his way back home, he stopped again, that is when he became a victim of the Benders. York had informed his brother, A.M. York, a colonel from Fort Scott of his plans. When Dr. York did not get back in touch with his brother, Colonel York began searching for his brother, this leads him to the Benders. Now there are two different stories here. One of them is that Colonel York stopped at the Benders, asking them if they knew of his brother, and where he might be. He was staying the night with them when he became suspicious, and he snuck out and saw the Bender men burying a body, he left to get the authorities, and when he got back the next morning, the farm/inn was abandoned. Another version is that there was a town meeting about the many men that had gone missing, and the town wanted to begin searching for them. Colonel York was at this meeting, as he was searching for his brother. Sometime later (unknown amount of time) a neighbor of the Benders noticed the inn was abandoned and that the farm animals were starving. The men gathered up a posse of sorts and converged on the property, finding the house empty, and abandoned. This is when they found the trapdoor in the back part of the home, and then they found the burials.
No matter who did what, or how it occurred, this “family” took others lives into their own hands and played with others lives.
There was a newspaper article at the time that said “Altogether, the murders are without parallel”, this was in the Chicago Tribune of 1873. Yet 20 years later, the same thing, on an even grander scale, happened in Chicago.
The Chicago Worlds Fair, May 1893-Oct 1893, exactly 20 years after the Bloody Benders. H.H. Holmes opened a hotel for fairgoers, the problem was, many who entered his hotel never left.
Herman Webster Mudgett, born May 16, 1861 (apparently same birthday as my grandfather!) in Gilmanton, NH to Levi Mudgett and Theodate Price or Page (have seen maiden name both ways). He had two brothers and two sisters. He married for the first time to Clara Lovering in 1878, they had a son in 1880, Robert. He abandoned them soon afterward. Herman moved around quite a bit, he was born in NH, went to medical school in Michigan (where he stole cadavers, honing his practice of insurance fraud). He then moved to Chicago after graduating from Michigan as a doctor. He changed his name once he was in Chicago, and married Myrta Belknap. They had one daughter Lucy Theodate Holmes. During the Worlds Fair, Holmes opened his hotel and began murdering single women, and a few single men, staying there. His home was similar to the Winchester House in San Jose, Ca. He even fired construction workers during construction, as he felt they were becoming suspicious. He had doors that opened to brick walls, trap doors, rooms that had doors that only locked from the outside, pipes that piped in gas into rooms (ala Nazi gassings), and so many hidden rooms, hidden passageways, etc. There are, or were, suspicions that he was Jack the Ripper from England, but I highly doubt it, as he was still busy going to medical school in Michigan at the time. (But he could have been!)
Quite a bit of the timeline of Holmes life is confusing, as he was apparently married to at least three women at the same time. He had left Myrta sometime around 1890 or so and ended up in Denver marrying Georgiana Yoke in 1894. I have been working on genealogy sites and so forth searching for Mudgett/Holmes, and I also found a fourth wife for him, Minnie R. Williams, but I have no idea when he married her. I know that he had two children, Robert and Lucy. Lucy had one child, Ronald, who died in 1919, while Robert had two sons. I know of three great-grandchildren, as back in 2015 the family had his body exhumed to prove that it was actually him, as there were rumors that he had escaped. DNA did prove that it was Mudgett/Holmes. I have been trying to follow this family, but they moved around a lot, divorced and remarried. Robert's death certificate says that he was never married, and the informant was his stepbrother, George Peverly. But Robert was married twice, once to Alexandra Gilbert, and I believe they divorced, and then to Mary J Griest, who died sometime between 1930 to 1940. Now there is one piece of bizarre/interesting info that made me laugh, or scratch my head. Robert, his sister Lucy, and his mother Clara all died in 1956. I will be continuing to work on this family tree (and the Benders above) as these are mysteries that I can't just let sit!
I know I have rambled, and I apologize for that, I am still learning how to write correctly. It is just so interesting to me, that all four of these stories are considered the “first” serial killers of America. And yet the Fishers may have never even killed anyone. I will say that all of the places, or at least close to the areas, are said to be haunted. The jail that the Fishers was held in, is said to be haunted by Lavinia. 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans is said to be haunted, that voices and noises can be heard, and even a few ghosts have been seen. The Benders property is called Hell's Acre, and people do not like to be in the area for very long. Holmes murder castle was finally torn down in 1938, but the basement had stayed. It too is said to be haunted, and a post office was built over the basement.

I am going to leave this here, as each story could be a story/article on their own. I will be doing more research as time goes on, and will perhaps update these stories. I will also take ideas on research projects, so if you want to see something, give me a holler. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Well, I have been working on my grandmother's birth family today.  I know I have spoken of her before.  She was born Henryetta Blanche Jackson on June 23, 1921, in Glen Lake, Mn.  Her birth parents were William Henry Jackson and Blanche G Shirley.
Now, I have done some research on her father, and although I have not found him after the fact the adoption (after 1925), I have his family, and him on documents prior to 1925.
Lately, I have been working on her mother's side.  First, I am going to c/p what my grandmother's birth and adoption papers say, this way you get an idea of names.
Henryetta Blanch Jackson (Baby Girl is scratched out and Henryetta Blanch is written in) 
born: June 23, 1921 
Reg district number 2517
no in Reg book: 38
father: Wm Henry Jackson
Mother: Blanche G Shirley
Residence: Hopkins RFD
Race: White
Father born: 1893 (written, typed is age 28)
Mother born: May 1901 (written, typed is age 20) Wi
Occupation: Common Laborer, Housewife
Dr: Hugh C Avery
Dated June 23, 1921
Address Excelsior
Registrar: WS Frear
Dated: June 24, 1921 
Address: Hopkins
For years it was told to me that Grandma was born at the Glen Lake TB sanitorium.  But my aunt informed me awhile back that she was born Her orphanage records are like this:
Owatonna State Public School
number 7418
Name: Henrietta Jackson
Date Admitted: Jan 24, 1925
Residence Minneapolis, Mn
County: Hennepin
Date of birth: June 23, 1921
By Order of Court: Juvenile-Hennepin Co
BirthPlace: Glen Lake Mn
Judge: PW Guilford
Sex Female
Colour: White
Petitioners: AL Bean
Address: Minneapolis, Mn
Cause of dependency: father deserted
Contributory Causes: Mother unable to support child
Church: Protestant
Physical condition on admittance: Good
Family character habits, physical and mental conditions: Father-brutal to mother-drinking man
Conjugal relations: Married Sept 18, 1920, at Hopkins Mn, by Lutheran minister, separated
Father: William Henry Jackson
Born 47 years old, Chaugne Ny
Address: Unknown
Mother: Blanche Shirley Jackson
Born: May 1901 Island Lake Russ Co Wi
Mother works occupation unknown
Brothers: one Brother; Robert number 7419
Descriptive Notes: This child together with younger brother Robert number 7419 was brought to the school by Mrs. Esther K Lee, C.P.S, Minneapolis. The father was very brutal to the mother- pounded her and drove her out of the house and then deserted-indictment out for him for desertion. He is Irish Catholic. The mother was a State School girl from Wi, having been sent there when she was 13 years old by her maternal grandmother. She has been working at different places, has improved a great deal in her health since leaving the father, but does not feel able to support the two children. She is Methodist. Lived at Glen Lake for a number of years. Children both have been vaccinated recently. Placed- Feb 3, 1925. Mar2 1925-Mother inquires about children informed. Adress 1531 22nd Ave No Mpls. April 13, 1925, Mother inquires, informed. Adress 1471 W Como Ave., St Paul.
Okay, I knew that her last address 1471 W Como Ave, was a home for unwed children.  A number of years ago, I had done some research and found that out, today it is a Salvation Army.  My aunt found out that when Blanch dropped the children off at the orphanage, that she went to the unwed mother's home, and had a fourth child (I will explain that in a moment).  She had a child by the name of Natalie, who was also given up, we have no information on her at all.

Okay, going back to explain the fourth child.  In 1921, Henrietta was born, then in 1922 Robert, then 1923, Leonard.  Leonard died in November of 1924, and it was in January that Blanch gave the other two up.

Now to try and explain Blanch, and why I am unable to find her.  Blanch was born in May of 1901 her parents were Albert Haines and Ella Dell.  Her name in the 1905 census was Jennie Haines.  The next time we find her is the 1910 census, living with her mother and stepfather, Oscar Shirley.  She was using the name, Genevieve Shirley.  The next time we find her, is the 1920 census, at the Sparta Home for Children, under the name of Blanche Shirley.  Then in September 1920, she married William, under the name Jennie Haines.  Finally, we have her in Leonard's death record as Blanche Shirley.
I have been calling her Blanche Shirley for over 30 years, so that is the name I will continue to use, so as to not confuse myself.

I am still unable to find Blanche after 1925, but I am finding her parents and grandparents prior to 1910.
Her parent's names were Albert Haines and Ella Dell.  Still nothing on Albert, but I have found information on Ella's.  Ella's parents were named Martin Dell and Helen Stewart.  I have found Martin's birth and death dates, 1840-1913.  Martin was born in Germany, came over about 1849/50.  Martin and Helen married about 1865, having 6 children, George, born 1867, Frank 1868, Jay 1869, John 1874, Lina 1877 and Ella 1882.

This family has been driving me nuts for over 30 years, and I am sure will continue to drive me nuts over the next 30 years.

Thanks to Dorothy Fritz and Caren Lehto for helping me so much with these searches, you guys are invaluable! 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Genealogy, Genealogy....

Apparently one of my aunts died this past week.  They know she had a heart attack.  I am getting in that age bracket myself, that the older generation, is alas, going.  I am fortunate enough to still have my own parents, plus most of my family.  All of my grandparents died from 1996 through to 2008.  It started with my mom's mom, Irene Ziemmer Smith, 26 Feb 1996, then on 25 Dec 2001 my dad's dad, Charles George Heyen.  Then in May 2005 my mom's dad, Duane Leslie Smith.  Then June 2008, my dad's mom, Henrietta Sibyl Scott Heyen (aka Henryetta Blanche Jackson).  I know I have written in the past of each family, especially my search for Grandma Heyen's birth family.  Today I am writing about and searching for my ex-husband's family, and my best friends family.  The reason I am searching for them "together" is because they may be related.
A number of years ago, I was a caregiver for a very good friend of mine, Jolela, comes to find out, her ex-husband and my ex-husband were cousins.  Now it looks like it might be happening again.  I guess I should be glad it isn't ME related to my ex, lol.
My ex-husband's last name is Goble.  His grandfather was Romie Farles Goble.  Romie's father was Jerry Goble.  About here, is when the name changes, from Goble to Gobble (years earlier, like the 1600-1700's it was Gable).  The Gable is where it comes into play, one of my best friends aunt married a Gable, is there a connection?  On the hunt I go!  I have used mainly,, and for these searches.

Romie Farles Goble son of Jerry Goble and Nola Crider
b 16 Dec 1921
d Dec 1987 Auxier, Ky
MD Meda Marie Davis daughter of Herbert Edwin Davis and Mabel A Sparks
b 7 Jan 1907 WV
d 22 Jan 1981 Fl
documents for Romie are:
1930 census
Florida Divorce Index
Kentucky Birth Index
Ohio Death Record
US directories
Veterans affairs death file
US Find a Grave
SS Application
WW2 Army Enlistment
Virginia Marriage Records

for Meda it is:
1940 census
Florida Div record
US directory
Virginia marriage record
I also saw her mentioned on her mother's findagrave

Jerry Goble son of George Wesley Gobble and Clarinda Music (another interesting thing, the name Music can either be spelled Music or Musick)
b Jan 1890 Johnson County Ky
d unknown
MD Jan 1912 to Nola Crider in Johnson County, Ky, daughter of ?? and Lydia (or Myrtle)
b 1890
d 3 May 1961 Auxier, Ky
documents for Jerry are:
1900-1940 Census
Kentucky Death Index
Social Security App
WW! and WW2 drafts

Documents for Nola are as follows:
1910-1940 census

Herbert E Davis son of William Beverly Davis and Kansas Carla Vance
b 30 Dec 1906 Va
d 9 Dec 1988 Sumter County, Fl
MD Mabel A Sparks daughter of Fielden Kirk Sparks and Victoria Shrader
b 7 Jan 1907 WV
d 22 Jan 1981

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Only Thing Worth Doing, Is What We Do For Others

I watched the new Alice Through the Looking Glass movie this morning.  I actually quite enjoyed it.  It teaches lessons of time, and how we can't change the past, but we can learn from it.  It shows that caring for others, and helping others, is what shapes us.
One of the lines was actually (said by Alice, her quoting her father) "The only thing worth doing, is what we do for others."
This quote describes my life 100%.  Yes, there is often, I just do for me.  I buy my snacks, I buy my soda, I make time for a 45-minute soaking bath at least once a week, I read when I can, I fit in time to do genealogy, etc.  BUT me being me if I am not helping someone, doing for others, being there for someone, I feel useless.  There was once when I was staying with a friend, and to help pay my rent, I was cleaning, and helping out around the house.  Well, one day she got into a mood, and lashed out at me, saying she didn't want my help anymore (she was frustrated about things, and other issues, that only had about 25% to do with me) and she went off on me.  That was a Friday afternoon, on Saturday I stayed in my room all day, and then on Sunday morning when I got up, I was so depressed, because I felt I had no place in life.  (Do not worry, she and I have worked things out, and I am back to being her helper, as I said, it was only a small part
But back to my original subject.  I am a caregiver, it's who I am.  I am a live-in caregiver at an adult foster care home.  There are five women that I am responsible for.  I cook, clean, pass meds, do laundry, give showers, and whatever else needs to be done.  I really enjoy doing this, not because I enjoy taking care of people, but the girls themselves make it fun.
I will always prefer to be doing for others, rather than only doing for myself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I think we should change the wordage of forgiveness.  Many people have the idea that the definition of “to forgive” means to put yourself into that persons place, and try to understand why they did what they did.  And this is a correct definition.  But there is also another definition, not allowing yourself to be a victim anymore, empowering yourself to not allow that person to control your thoughts and emotions. 
Black slavery, the Native Americans, the Jews, the Syrians, and so many many more, what do these people have in common?  They have been controlled by another race or people, and a true genocide was brought upon them.
The whites today say that we should move on, and that slavery was a long time ago.  They say it is not their place to apologize, nor should the blacks of today feel enraged by the atrocities brought upon their families.  Why not? No one blinks an eye when someone apologizes to the Jews for the things that happened to them!  Honestly, black atrocities did not begin to end (and still have not truly ended) until the 1960’s!  They were not allowed to vote, or sit anywhere they wanted, or share a normal bathroom, or even just simply speak to a white person, just because!  What was happening in Nazi Germany in the 30’s and 40’s to the Jews, being forced out of homes, not being allowed to shop in stores, or own stores, or whatever, was STILL being done to the blacks in the United States in the 1960’s.  So why can’t we apologize to them for that?  Why cannot I say to a friend of mine, “I am sorry for the way your people were treated in a certain time, I promise you, and that you will never get the same type of treatment from me?”
Another case in point, women are often reminded of the phrase “rape culture”.  That if we, as women, look a certain way, dress a certain way, or say certain words, we are the ones “asking for it”.  Even many of us women unconsciously think that way.  For example, many years ago, I was taking care of a 16 year old.  This was back when I was married, and this girl would come out of her room with a skirt and blouse on.  No problem, right? Wrong, she had nothing on underneath, and they were see through.  My husband would sit there staring at her in shock, and she would get mad at him for staring, and then would get mad at me when I would tell her she needed to put proper clothes on.  I told her she was asking for the wrong attention.  I NEVER said she was “asking for it” just the wrong attention.  But she took it to mean that I was saying she was asking for it.  She said that everyone needed to just simply not look at her.  It does not matter whether a girl or woman is walking down the street buck naked, or covered head to foot in a burqa or some other type of clothing.  Whether she is Muslim, Jewish, Amish, or whatever, she is to be RESPECTED, not treated worse than a farmer treats his cattle.
As a people, as human beings, we need to stop being victims!  We need to stand up and say we refuse to allow others to tell us how to think and feel.  If we need to forgive someone, as in the sense of getting on with our lives, and not allowing a black cloud of apathy to live within our soul, then that is what we need to do.  We do not need to put ourselves in their position, or their thought process, we simply need to move past the control they had over us at one point, and have control over ourselves, otherwise they have won, and they control our very being, until we died, even long after THEY have died.
Does there need to be a true atonement from the perpetrator, for there to be forgiveness? That is the question all of us need to ask of ourselves.  Are we willing to forgive the sin, or the person? Are we doing this to show others how much bigger of a person we are, or are we doing it to heal our souls? This is a question we can only ask ourselves, no one else.  No one knows our emotions, or our deepest thoughts.  Who do we want to be as we grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually?  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

PCOS Awareness Month

I had thought about making a video, and I am still pondering that.  But finding the time, and a good place to do it, is hard.  Here is my story, it is hard, it is long, and it is heartbreaking.  Please, understand, I am not doing this for sympathy, or attention.  The ONLY attention I want from this, is people realizing and understanding the pain and agony my mother and I have been through in the past 50 plus years.
My mother is the middle child of five daughters.  Two older than her, two younger.  Her sisters (well, not anymore, with age and so forth), growing up, were the skinny “pretty” ones.  Mom began gaining weight about the age of 9-11, and packed the pounds on pretty quickly.  I do not remember what age she has told me she started her period, but I do know, her periods have always been wonky. 
My parents married June 3, 1972.  Mom immediately began on birth control, with the hopes that during her lifetime, she could have about 6 children.  My mother was in the generation, where women could choose to do one or the other.  Either get married and have children, and be a stay at home mom (being traditional), or be a little on the odd side, and look for a career.  Although mom wanted to be a nurse (like her mother had been before she married), she chose the traditional route.  But the traditional route laughed at her, and said, “nope, not for you.”  In October 1972, she went off the bc, and within a couple of weeks was pregnant.  What is funny, her doctors tried telling her that she wasn’t pregnant, but (I) was just a mass or tumor, and they were going to keep an eye on it.  Yeah, I am a big mass alright, lol.
I was born June 25, 1973.  I was a little tiny thing.  Spiky red hair everywhere, I was nicknamed both spider moneky, and Tarzana, as once I got older, I was climbing all over EVERYTHING.  I was a very normal active child.  We lived across the street from the high school, and there were basketball courts, parks, a pool, tennis courts and a running track (the hs football field and track).  During the summer, I was rarely home, I was at one of the parks, or walking the girl scout trails (some trails that in some woods about half mile from our house).  At the pool, or just OUT.  The summer I turned nine, I went from a typical skinny 8/9 year old weighing around 85-95 pounds, to about 130/40.  I ballooned very quickly.  By sixth grade (around age 12, and when I first started my period), I was weighing 150.  By eighth grade I was 175.  When I graduated high school, I was just under five foot, and weighing in at 200.
When I was around 8 or 9, I remember being called into the principals office, and being made to take my underwear off.  She wanted to see why I smelled so badly.  I had dark marks on my underwear, and these were not from not wiping properly.  I am just NOW realizing, I had to have been having my period since around 8 or 9.  It was just the dark ugly old blood that was trying to slough off.  I was constantly teased in school for smelling, being stinky, etc. 
When I was 12, I was in the hospital to get my tonsils out.  I began having horrible cramps while there, and they tried giving me childrens Tylenol for the pain, and that is when we found out I was allergic to Tylenol.  I go into seizures, and then I sleep for about two days afterwards.  I am just like my father in this way.  He is very sensitive to many medicines, and can take very little for anything.
My father has metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome is basically a combination of conditions, that include weight around the waist, high blood pressure, high levels of blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels (sound familiar my cysters?). 
When I got out of the hospital, I truly didn’t realize my period had started, as I was still doing that brownish, blackish ick stuff still.  It just got heavier and heavier.  I started school the end of August, and between the stress of starting junior high, now having to use the locker room for gym, and well, just simply growing up, my period went wonky.  My very first period was about three months long.  In about the middle of 8th grade, my mom took me to the doctor and they put me on birth control.   Two years later I began having sever migraines, and those lasted until I was in my late 20’s.  I do not know if the migraines were part of it, but they sure did not help. 
When I was 17 years old, around November 1990, my mother found out she was diabetic.  She was put on metformin, and changed her diet.  She lost about 50-60 pounds, and was looking really good.  In early August of 1991, mom found out she was pregnant (tho had suspected it since about late May).  But it was too late, the medicine that had helped her get pregnant, (metformin), had hurt the baby, and had not survived. 
On August 26, 1991, my mother was induced, and she gave birth to my sister Judyth Eireen Heyen.  At the same time, in the same hospital, my cousin (three years my senior) gave birth to a little boy.  My mom and ended up doting on that boy.  I helped raise him til he was 8, and we are still all very close.
For the next many years, I kept to myself, trying to figure out whether I wanted to get married and have kids, or if it was dream to never come true.
I got married when I was 28.  My husband and I went back and forth with the decision.  What did not help, is that because of PCOS, I also have bipolar and anxiety disorder.  With the bipolar, I can go from being happy and dancing around the house, to attack mode in five seconds flat.  I scream, I holler, I hit, throw things.  I am not ME when this takes over me.  I have been unable to be on meds for it, because none of the doctors ever see me in the manic.  They tell me I have mild depression, throw some Prozac at me, and say I will be fine in a few weeks.
Although this is not completely what broke my marriage up, it sure as heck did NOT help.  The last few years, I have been trying to work on ME.  I have calmed my assitude (you know, the attitude that shows how much of an ass you really are?) down, but I still struggle with it.  I have gone back to school, I am single.  I am not happy, but guess what, that is ok.  As long as I am content, have my music, my books, and a place to live, I can work with it.  Being happy is overrated, I just want to survive, and some days, that is iffy.
Although my life is more than just the PCOS, it is difficult some days.  Yes I allow it to control me, but I am better than that.  I control me, my moods, my thoughts, who I am.  What will the future bring? I have no idea, but I am looking up, instead of behind.

I hope all of my cysters share their stories, and their struggles, and know how much they are loved.  We are more than just the illness, we are woman who have survived.