I met Harvey at a campground in Pennsylvania after Billy walked out on us.
My friends did all they could to help, especially "Curly" and his brother and their wives. They were both loggers and always went up to the Loggers Convention and camped out for a week. They talked me into going with my kids.
The same friends had also invited Harvey to go. I had never met him but he also was recently divorced and in partnership with Curly's brother.
Having been with Billy, my ex husband, who didn't drink I had no idea that the man I met was an alcoholic ... no one told me how badly he beat and abused his other family ... he was quite soft spoken and really great to my three kids.
In fact, not long after we met, we were sitting at a picnic table and my little girl suddenly came up and out of the blue asked, "Are you going to be my new Daddy?"
We were both embarrassed and neither knew what to say at first. Finally he
told her no, she still had a daddy and didn't need a new one.
We spent a lot of time talking and just having a good time and my friends all
seemed to think we were to be a perfect couple. We began dating after we came back from the mountains. He was very good to my sons and daughter. They enjoyed going camping and having cook outs. When he came over my middle child always bake him a cake.
We were together almost two years when I learned I was expecting a baby. I was in bed one night sleeping when he came home from a baroom and jumped on top of me and began beating me in the stomach. I begged and peaded with him not to hurt my baby and so did his youngest brother, but he was just crazy drunk. He finally stopped, they left and an hour later I tried to get out of bed and realized I had been hemmoraging. I don't even remember who came and took me to the hospital but was taken to surgery as soon as I got there and kept until noon the next day - Sunday.
When I was discharged he and his one sister and her husband came and picked me up. They were all drinking. I don't remember what cruel words he said to me but I just broke down crying, asking him why he killed our baby ... that was all it took. He beat me off and on until 6:00 PM and finally his sister told me, "Elaine, if you don't get out of here before he comes back he will kill you. You can't live through another beating", and she helped me call my friend, Yvonne, who came and got me and took me to her home.
I was beaten to a bloody pulp and after she helped me upstairs and ran a bath for me we could hear him banging on the door. Yvonne told him she had picked me up but I had left ... he threatened to kill all of us if she was lying to him. Finally they left and she came back upstairs and helped me bathe and dress but she said, Elaine, I can't keep you here ... he is crazy and may kill all of us", so she took me to his partner's home and dropped me off.
I went to the door and but they wouldn't let me stay. He had already been there with a gun, knives and a club and said when he found me I would die!
I started the long walk back to where we lived until I couldn't take another step. I saw a light on in a house and went up and asked if I could please use the telephone to try and find someone to come and get me. His cousin sent her husband for me, who checked the house and found no one there.
Four days later, and sober, he came back home. When he saw my face, where he had left me with huge bald spots and my body covered in cuts and brusies he broke down and cried like a baby. He swore he would never lay another hand on me and asked me to forgive him. After that I would get calls telling me he was drunk and on his way home. I would hide in the attic until he searched the house and left.
There were times my friends would try and take me in but he got some of his family and they would start finding me . It got so bad my friends feared for the safety of their own children and could no longer take us in.
A year after I lost the baby, I was expecting another one. This time I was
very careful. Because of so much abuse I couldn't eat properly, was weak and very run down. (We also had 5 of the 6 children living with us plus a friend and his son.)
He came in drunk one afternoon at around three and flipped our heavy wooden table up and away and got me pinned up against the wall of the kitchen and drew back his fist ... pure terror struck me. I was almost eight
months pregnant and had had so many complications that I just looked up at him and said "What are you going to do, kill this baby too?" and he just dropped his fist and staggered off into the bed room.
My OBGYN had told me my baby would probably weigh no more than three pounds ... I cried myself sick knowing my inability to eat had surley starved my own child. God blessed me at 10 months with a 7 pound 14oz baby boy.
For a while there were no beatings. Then, when my new son was around five months old they started again, each one worse than before. I know God was just not ready for me, it is the only reason I am still living.
My friends and I all made music together which was a sure way to keep me from getting depressed or worried. We made music nearly every night. I loved to sing and could just sing all night long. This was the one thing God had given me, a talent to sing and it showed. I was a completely different person then. But within a year he started threatening me that if I sang with our friend he would beat me when I got home. I took my beating's for about two years and finally I knew I couldn't do it anymore. My friends really couldn't understand why I suddenly said no when asked because I had always done lead vocals to his partner and his wife's harmony. My heart ached to sing ... but I knew better!
I didn't have money or a car he always made sure of that.
Weeks turned into months and months turned into years and the beatings never stopped ... I didn't know what it was like to be allowed to go anywhere
unless it was to his family. One of his sisters and her husband would help if I had time to call them to come and get us. They would not let him hurt me The rest of them didn't care. They fought and drank also.
I was bitten, had my hair yanked out by the roots till my scalp was bloody, had broken ribs, broken nose, my teeth knocked out. He would just pick me up like nothing and throw me across the rooms and once I was down he would start the beatings all over again. This was my existance from 1974 until January of 1987.
He would come home anytime and catch me off guard with no where to run. Many were the times I hoped he would get killed on his way home just so we would no longer have to live this way. Then I would think, how can you wish death on someone ... and go into a deep depression. I loved him through rose colored glasses, knowing there was goodness deep inside but somewhere he had lost it in alcoholism.
My middle son and daughter lived with me. Once he came home in the middle of the afternoon. I was sitting at the dining room table, drinking ice
tea, when he started beating me. His son and mine were in the living room. My son walked by, going, I thought, to the bathroom. Harvey punched him in the stomach.
I didn't know my son had a gun loaded and had planned to shoot Harvey if he ever beat me again. The next thing I knew he was standing in our kitchen pointing a rifle at him. Lord it terrified me and I jumped up and got
between them and somehow God gave this little 80 pound woman strength to wrestle the gun away from them and I ran outside and across the road and threw it over in the neighbors pasture.
When I came back in to check on my son Harvey was beating and stomping him on the floor. Then he turned and started on me again. This went on for most of the night with us unable to get up or away from him. He finally got worn out and declared it was bed time and demanded that everyone go to bed.
I waited until he was passed out and slipped my little boy and my son and daughter out of the house and walked to the neighbors and asked them to please take us to a friend's. They gladly got up and took us away because from their house or any of the houses nearby our neighbors could hear us screaming and begging him to please stop. Harvey never abused my son again but to this day, my son has never forgiven me for going back to him.
He horribly abused his own children off and on over the years. The youngest will be on lithium and other medications for the rest of her
life for all that was done to her. That is what happens when children are abused. As they get older it triggers something inside their mind. I could sit here and write a book on child abuse and what lasting effects it has on small children that carry over into their adult lives because I have lived it.
Harvey became a Christian a few days after he found out he had cancer and needed surgery. He passed away in 1987 and I almost let his death kill me ... I remembered how well he treated his business friends and his brother Bill and his sisters when they needed something. He was good to his family down in North Carolina when he was on vacation. He was good to old people and to little kids, just not his own ...
It's a pity for me his own wife and children that
he was never this way. A few weeks before his death he revised his will from his living trust - I was to raise my son alone under the stipulations of his dad's will which states I can never remarry or move. When our son reaches age 25 we have no place to live, the house and land goes up for sale and it also states that I get no proceeds from it whatsoever. I would not have had money or a place to raise our little boy if I didn't adhere to these stipulations.
Everyone thought I was one wealthy woman but in truth, by the time I paid for his funeral and expensives, there was nothing left. He spent all his money drinking and on his baroom friends and their families. "Catch him when he's drunk" was a motto. Years ago the money ran out and to this day, even in death, he still controls me and my life. My son never had a chance for me to meet or marry a man who would have helped me raise him so he could have had a father figure in his troubled teen years.
The ultimate hurt and sorow comes out when I even think about him and all he did to all our lives.
I was sittting here one Sunday after church when I realized I did not want to live. Having a nine year old son to raise scared me enough to call my Pastor who came over and took me to the hospital. I was treated for severe depression and was hospitalized for three weeks with intense thereapy, group therapy, single one on one sessions of therapy. I spent another two years in counseling, trying to begin putting my life back together again. With God's help and family support I was finally free at last of so much grief.
I thank God every day for my life and for my family. There is a fine line sometimes between love and hate, not for the man but for what I allowed him to do to my life. It has taken me all these years to finally see me and love the person I am and not what he made me become and I hope any woman reading this can see that when abuse starts ... rarely does it stop!! You can change no one, no matter how much you love them. The responsibility you owe yourself is a healthy emotional life and happiness and you will never find it in an abusive relationship or marriage.
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