The Cold World

The Cold World

A Chapter by Shep

Chapter 2

The Cold World

I soon learned to adapt in this hateful, cold world where nobody cared about children or how they lived. Being passed back and forth like a Frisbee from one home to another. I envied other kid’s lives and was always jealous of them. You would think being born into the LDS faith would have made a difference, but you would be wrong. It always angered me when the topic of families came up; that we should always honor and obey your parents no matter the circumstances. I would stand up and growl protesting. “Have you ever met my parents? Have you seen what they have done to me?”

Sometimes I would get up and leave the room just to escape them altogether. And when I got home my father would take off his belt and chase me down to my room. I’d scream as his belt struck against my body; stripping the very flesh off of me as he used me as a punching bag; his fists going to work. Only to turn around as my mother brought the wooden spoon or the metal pancake turner to finish the job.

I was always good at breaking my mother’s wooden spoons, but the beatings would never stop. I remember one time my father grabbing my arm so tightly as he tossed me into a wall and breaking my arm in two places. The hospital wrote it up as a bike injury. The only problem with that is, was that I didn’t have a bike unlike every seven-year-old boy riding the neighborhood.

During the summer heat I was afraid to go swimming or take my shirt off in public because of all the bruises and even bathe, I was so afraid of anyone seeing me or any part of me that it was a battle to get me to remove my clothes, I even wore my shoes and socks to bed. Even when I went out in public, I kept my self covered up like Eskimo year round and hid on corners just so people could not see me, and that included my face. I felt embarrassed and immoral because to my parents I was if any part of my flesh was seen they would make sure I was punished for it. It took years before I was able to feel comfortable without my Eskimo suit and once I was as I bounced from home to home. My parents would beat me having me revert back to hiding myself.

Smiling too became difficult after having my two front teeth as well as three of the bottom ones knocked out by my father’s fist. Sometimes I’d eat mashed food because of it. The LDS church may frown upon abuse, but they never stopped it. All it did was make matters worse when they sent my parents in for family counseling.  Only too end up with more beatings when they got home for embarrassing them.

My Grandmother distanced herself when my grandfather passed away. But she did send in the authorities when she found out about what had and happened after seeing my missing teeth and a broken arm. I was placed in another foster home. I was healing nicely and was in a good home this time around. I made the mistake of thriving with good grades and being happy.

My parents seemed to be improving with counseling, so once again I was sent home; lasted almost a year until things would heat up again. The LDS church seemed to be helping them and keeping better tabs on what was going on in the home. Looked really good until my father changed jobs as a floor salesman in a sporting good store having us to move again.

We had just moved into a better house in Provo, Utah. I remember because I had just turned eight my Grandmother and the church was pushing me to be baptized. But I refused to be touched or baptized by my father. The thoughts of me drowning by his hands would be enough to scare any child my age. People tried to sway me, but I wouldn’t allow him to do it regardless if there was an audience watching. It embarrassed him that I wouldn’t let him and ended up with another beating regardless. I ended up being baptized by complete strangers and confirmed as he and my mother watched in the audience.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse after my mother had a nervous breakdown. This was unlike any fit she’d had before; this time it was in public. After beating my brother and me in a clothing store, because we had to pick out school clothes that weren’t secondhand. She had been given money from the Bishop of the church himself. It embarrassed her to no end, and so she sat down in the middle of the store crying in a fit of rage.

Family services were having a hard time finding a home for me, not only because of my age and hyperactive, but I suffered from night terrors and was a known runaway. A runaway is a runaway regardless of the reasons not to mention the problems I had always being covered up, and the battle it would take too bathe me or remove a single article of clothing even more so after a home visit or sent back to my parents to live only to be put back into the system anywhere after 3 to six months; I was considered a problem child and nobody wanted to deal with it. My brother was easily placed in a home, being it his first and his last while my sisters went to live with my aunts.

Over the years Aaron has told me he wished that my parents would have given him up for adoption when the chances was given twice during his childhood years and were denied by my parents. I too wished the same thing, but with all my problems no wanted me, and it would be years before I had been given the chance, unlike my brother who everyone wanted except for my parents or my relatives. I had always blamed myself over the years when I wasn’t home too protect him from my parents or given the chance to take the beatings for him, and most likely will do so until my dying day.

I was only 9 when I was sent to the State Hospital in Provo, Utah in the children’s ward. A prison for unwanted children where they would lock them up behind metal doors too keeps them from escaping as they called it; ‘treatment by stabilizing difficulty children and runaways.’ I remember the cold and the bars on the windows. It smelled of rancid, urine, a smell I will never forget. When I went outside for some fresh air and sunshine and to play on good days you could see the guards patrol the chain link fencing with stun rods at their side. I saw a boy once get stunned with one those and ended up in intensive care. He did it for a dare, a stupid dare and was made into an example for the rest of us.

They had two rooms where they would confine you when you got into trouble, no matter how slight. Like causing a food fight, a fight with another child, mouthing off, or worse; if you tried to run away and when caught they left you with nothing, no clothing. No bed; nothing except for four bare padded walls and a hard cement floor. They would lock you in there for days at a time. Only letting you out long enough to use the toilet as they walked you handcuffed to the bathroom as they watched your every move.

It was humiliating as the other kids were made to watch your naked a*s walk to and from the restroom.  Some of them would whistle as the guards made you stand in front of them as they walked you down the middle of the hallway; facing the public as the other guards checked your cell. And depending on how long you were in solitary confinement they would walk you up and down the hall for thirty minutes plus rudimentary exercise from push-ups to jumping jacks while the other inmates watched.

Once was enough for me after spending two weeks in solitary confinement. That was one place bullies did not thrive. But it didn’t stop the perverts from getting to you. I was lucky and fought back whenever I could and managed to get away before they could start doing the mumbo jumbo on my behind and was a biter when came to anything placed into my mouth. I would go down screaming and kicking; biting them as hard as I could so that their blood flowed between my teeth.

Having friends that backed you up made things more difficult for the perverts and made excellent eyewitnesses; the more you had the better off you were. Buying favors with extra food or doing the chores they didn’t want to do keep these friends in your pocket. Rape was common; you would think that the guards and nurses that worked there would put a stop to it, and for as many that would, there would be just as many that would turn their backs.

It was my Grandmother that got me out of that place once she learned what was going on. Even though she was still grieving after two years after my grandfather passed. She convinced the state to release me into a foster home in Orem, Utah that had just opened up and was willing to take me in, problems and all.

Then finding out that my siblings had been returned to my parents eight months prior; while I had spent a year and a half in that hellhole of the prison did not, by any means, make me any happier. Knowing they were living large and fairly safe compared to me was a bitter pill to swallow. Not only did my parents not visit me on visiting day, but they never wrote either. The only family member that did was my Grandmother. I would receive a letter twice a week and a visit once a month if I was golden.

That home hadn’t been the best home, but it hadn’t been the worst home either. It was definitely better than the state hospital. Even though I have been in many homes since then, this where my life truly begins or the memories that run so deep that the other homes previous seem nothing more than a passing nightmare and are not worth mentioning.

I will never forget being in this foster home, number 16 known as the Frys. They had lived in a part of town known as Grandview Hill where several homes had been built on a huge hill that overlooked the Utah valley. I was in the 6th grade and attended Dixon Jr. High. The family had raised several foster children and three of their own. They had good standing in the LDS church. Considering the church house was next door to the home, and a son named Jeff preparing to go on a mission.

The home had a live-in basement made into the main family room and sewing room, my room was right next to it, dark with only one window which was nailed shut and boarded up making it pitch black without the light on. I had my own private bathroom with shower just across the hall. The storage room was on the other end of the family room.

The main level held three bedrooms and an office and another bathroom with tub and shower. The main living room was small compared to the family room with its own dining room and kitchen off to the side. With the backdoor and the stairs that lead to the basement on the other side of the kitchen.

The house itself was made of red brick with a huge backyard with a large tree and tire swing in the middle of the yard. We had our own patio with a picnic table which went off the side of the two car garage. The front yard was average size not too big and not too small. Even though the church was next door with a basketball court there was a long cinderblock fence to separate the church and our yard.

It was the longest I’d ever stayed in one foster home at that point. They were strict, very strict when it came to discipline. I had my own room down in the basement even though they had an extra room with two beds unused. They preferred to keep me in the basement where they could prevent me from running away when their discipline went too far. Mr. Fry, unlike my father, could control his temper, never once did he use his fist nor his belt on me. But the large palm of his hand smarted enough on my bare bottom, as he counted each strike to match the punishment. I learned to keep my grades up because of him and learned not to be a smart mouth around anyone. I learned to answer with a ‘yes sir’ or a ‘no ma’am’ when I was out in public or in their home.

Mr. Fry had a stocky build, meaning he was tall but not too tall and well defined. His dark brown hair was graying and he had bright blue eyes that seemed to see right through to your very soul. He worked, if I remember right in computer software and traveled a lot for the firm installing databases. He had a military feel from his navy days served as a Captain during the war on a battleship. Don’t remember the name of the ship, but the picture on the wall always seemed to impress me. He believed and a man should walk tall no matter what and when I slouched he yells, “look, lively boy.” He may have been strict, but he had a gentle side too.

Mrs. Fry was a wonderful mother she seldom did the punishing when you stepped out of line, but her words could cut you to ribbons when she was angry. I learned early on to stand there until she was finished or she would slap you to get your attention or if you gave her any lip or growled under your breath. She was almost the same height as her husband being 5’9 and still had her girlish figure. It took a lot to make her angry, but when you did, be prepared to pay the piper.

Her steely blue eyes said it all when she was proud or upset with something you did; she could always tell when you were lying. Which would earn you a swift punishment when she caught you, so I learned quickly not to lie; and especially to her. She was a stay at home mom and believed firmly in LDS church regarding woman staying at home to raise their children and frowned on the ones that did not. I was never allowed to miss a Sunday as we sat upfront in all our meetings. With a having to give a report which had to be handwritten on what I was taught in each of the meetings by dinner time or you'd go hungry.

Dad was always good about finding out things I didn’t want him to know. Like whenever I tried to make things up because I had skipped class when it had to do with the subject of family and how it always made me angry enough to spit nails. I also had a very bad habit of losing my temper and would slam my scriptures down; storming out of the room. It was embarrassing to have him sit next to me in primary and Sunday schools until he could trust me to behave. Sometimes they would switch; having Mom or Jeff sit with me, or I’d end up in one of their meetings instead. The point is; I still had to write that report before supper.

To me, Jeff was an average teenager, the kind I always envied. I had to wonder what it would like to be 17 and out of high school; built like a basketball star. With his long legs and skinny body, but don’t let that fool you, he could pin me to the floor easy enough or catch you with his long legs.  His blond hair and deep blue eyes could make any girl swoon as he passed them in the hallway as I shook my head and rolled my eyes when they gasped standing in front of him. He would seem bored as they would turn their heads for one last glace.

I could guarantee that no girl had ever looked at me like that. I had a missionary haircut, stupid Coke bottle lenses, and pimples all over my face. I hated my looks and compared myself to a nerd without the stupid pocket protector and high water stripped pants. The glasses were the last straw. I hated them and when I would first get angry I would throw them; I’d stomp on them or crush them in my bare hands.

When I did I would get the beating of a lifetime; I never realized how much they’d cost until I ended up paying for them myself without the state's help. After that, I would set them aside and then bang my head against my desk or remove my shoes and throw them across the room. It had become obvious I had a temper like my father and it was something that I needed to get control of; the sooner the better or end up grounded for the rest of my life.

Even though I had a lot of misgivings regarding church practices regarding family. I had a hard time learning to keep my mouth shut after being slapped enough times until my jaw would hurt or my bottom would be too sore to sit on without grimacing. Not even my Dad would let me get away with it as I sat many nights with a sore bottom and without supper as they locked me in my room. It was very rough in the beginning as it seemed we would never see eye to eye regarding church rules; what is and was not acceptable behavior. No wonder my parents hated me if acted like this at home.

After some hard months, we’d built a strong trust that was unlike any of the foster homes before this. The word Dad and Mom were used with respect and it was the only thing I was allowed to address them by other than sir or ma’am. Scouting was a big deal in their family and as were church functions. Even though I had some Scouting early on due to my Grandmother’s persistence; it gained momentum in this home.

I was rewarded for my good deeds, like good grades and completing household chores. I was the only child in the home except for Jeff, and we hardly saw each other. He would work in one of the metal shops in town to help pay for his mission. This left me, at times, with most of the duties, which consisted of: keeping the yard mowed and raked, the house clean, my room clean, and my bed made military style so that you could bounce a quarter off of it. I also had to keep my clean clothes put away, neatly, and my dirty ones placed in the hamper so they could be washed.

The second I walked into the house, my shoes were placed underneath my bed. It had taken almost two years before I actually started to hate shoes and would seldom wear them at home. Bathing too became easier as I began to feel comfortable without my Eskimo suit, but a home visit always made me revert back until I learned there was nothing for me to be embarrassed about. It also helped when grandma would sit down with the Frys and talk openly about my growing body and the birds and the bees when came to the sex talk.

If wasn’t for the Frys and my grandmother the Eskimo suit would still be a part of my life. Always afraid of my own skin when I looked in the mirror, it made me feel dirty, immoral a freak of nature; and if I had access to razorblade, I would have stripped the very flesh from my bones. Twice I had tried it nearly bleed to death that was when they sat me down for the talk hoping to convince me that there was nothing freakish, dirty or immoral about me and my ever changing body. I had a really hard time with modesty because of my changing body at the time. I would for several more years because of how my parents saw me, which was always an embarrassment and immoral freak that nobody wanted.

I had learned that trust was earned and I quickly learned how it could be unearned; like when I tried to run away because my grades were slipping, being sent to the principal’s office for fighting or disrupting the class by throwing my shoes and other things when I got frustrated. I would even get angry enough to rip my clothes; trust me it happened a lot. Or being made aware of a home visit the following weekend; a butt whipping was far better than going on a home visit even being grounded was preferable. (It worked until they caught on that I would do it on purpose just so I wouldn’t be good enough to go.)

I would be chained to my bed often for trying to run away or until I could be trusted again and my grades came back up after completing a lot of extra credit. Mom was always good at helping me when I needed it and always encouraged me to do better. A fresh plate of double chocolate chip cookies seemed to help, too. Dad seldom took me over his knee and we bonded. I even stopped being afraid of people touching me and started to be a normal, happy boy.

I hated going home to my real parents. It broke me in two as I clung to my Dad begging him not to go. He would pat me on my bottom to remind me and to let me know this was unacceptable behavior. Until after I came back with a chipped front tooth and a broken leg, courtesy of my father and a few new bruises. Finding out that my father had lost his temper again and threw me down the stairs in front of the house.

Again no one seemed to care as they walked by quickly or gathered their children shutting the door behind them. And to think these were good LDS families and neighbors. The saying ‘out of sight and out of mind’ never seemed truer.  The home visits stopped and once again my parents were in counseling along with my three siblings.  I still wear the cap on my front tooth and it would always be a reminder of this incident. It was also the first time I had needed braces, I wasn’t sure if was my parent's fault or it was something every kid experienced, but thanks to the Frys for making me wear them or today I wouldn’t have fairly straight teeth.

© 2019 Shep

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Heartbreaking to read very confronting and real I feel guilty I had a normal loving opbringing and cannot imagine all the pain you suffered as this is obviously told with honesty and raw at that
I don’t know much about that church that you mentioned but it allowed this abuse I’m so sorry I’m getting through the chapters ever so slowly they are written so descriptive and with raw emotion I commend and praise you for putting this book out there

Posted 5 Months Ago


5 Months Ago

thats why i am posting so people can read it in hopes it will change someones life.

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Added on May 3, 2019
Last Updated on May 5, 2019



Santaquin, UT

Updated Feb 09, 20 2019 In short I am a Male 52 years of age and Permanently Disabled due to a car accident and suffer from seizures and Sever PTSD. So I have a lot of time on my hands. One of t.. more..

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