Home Again

Home Again

A Chapter by Shep

Chapter 5

Home Again


Things were good at the Steeds home as I tried to bond with them, but it still hurt having the Frys’ abandon me. The nightmares never seemed to go away as I tossed and turned in my sleep. Sometimes I would find Jeff waiting for me and it was always worse when Jeff would appear to me when I was awake. He always haunted me, day or night, it made no difference. Dad said I needed a new hobby; something that I could do that would help shake the dark thoughts. I loved building models, but it always brought the bad memories back. My hamster Buttercup was the only pet I had taken with me. My cat was never returned and had the neighbors search for him without any success.

It seemed that anything good in my life was being taken away; leaving nothing but a big empty hole. The house I lived in now didn’t have a big yard in the back like I had before, and the front was even smaller. We lived in a two-story ‘cookie cutter’ home, and it was called that because all of the houses around us were built the same. Like everyone else on our street, we had a basement which was used as a carport with a small fruit cellar off to the side.

The Steeds collected newspapers and stored them in the carport against the far wall. Mom liked to go to the fruit vendors and by fruits and vegetables to can; which would be part of our 2 year supply that the church would keep harping on, and a large freezer that stored all our frozen meats. Dad never cared for fishing and in some ways I was glad. Because he worked at BYU we often went bowling and swimming and miniature golfing for our family home evening. I was thinking about joining the swim team in the summer. But I was still a little shy around new people; so he talked my friend’s parents into let them join so I wouldn’t be alone and hoping the shyness would wear off.

Dad was a big kid himself when my friends came over to play. It took Mom awhile before she too liked my misfits of friends. Especially since some of them looked more like bullies than actually friends, but she soon began to love them as much I did. Even though we could eat her out of house and home; it wouldn’t even put a dent in our large appetites. We never went hungry. Dad would order six large pizzas just to feed us and four liters of pop when we had guys’ night watching horror flicks. Mom would cover her eyes while we watched both horror and slasher movies; watching through her fingers Nothing with nudity or sex was permitted and was edited out beforehand. Which was ok for us; we got our fill of Alfred Hitchcock and Steven King.

Mom’s pancakes were to die for as they melted in your mouth with chocolate chips. The shoe pile got larger when my friends came over. Dad was beginning to wonder that sending that can of shoe foot odor wasn’t as funny; when some of my friends’ feet and shoes smelled as if something had died and rotted inside. Mom took it in stride adding a Glades Air Fresher or two near the door. Not once did she grimace or say anything regarding the smell. Placing nice clean pair socks in our shoes after washing and mending the holes where our toes poked through.

Dad brought home a leather making kit where I could make things out of leather like wallets and belts. It included a metal stamper kit as well of various kinds that I would bedazzle and sew and give as presents to my family and friends. Mom got me into painting which was even better, I thought. Especially after I’d smashed my thumb enough times from stamping designs on the leather; besides its a lot cheaper considering the leather never lasted as long and became harder to get. I had a chemistry set until I almost burned down my room. Dad took it in stride as we moved it to a more safer location so it could be supervised.

To earn money I was given the chores like mowing and raking the lawn and even had a small paper route. I saved up money for my first bike… a brown five-speeder with the brakes on the handlebars and gold racing stripe down the side. It felt good to have something that was mine and nobody else’s. To say I rode that bike into the ground would be true enough. I had logged several miles on it before school was even out and had to replace the tires twice.

I learned responsibility as I delivered papers and mowed lawns to help buy my own school clothes and activities with my family and friends. Scouting was still a big part of my life, but scout leaders came and went so often it was hard to get anything done so it sat on the back burner. Between school and chores plus my lawn mowing business, I had a pretty full plate as it was. Too busy to wallow in self-pity even Jeff seemed to fade away like a bad dream.

It wasn’t long before trouble came back like the wind blowing in a different direction. Dad had brought home the news of a job at
Ricks College in Idaho; another bad wind. It had better pay and an opportunity to be on the board of directors.  I had little choice. Since this job required them to move out of state and my parents wouldn’t hear of it me going with them. Things had improved at home considerably even though my father barely said two words to me and my mother had become a better mother than she ever had as long as she took her pills.

I was given the choice to be placed into another foster home and changing schools again; possibly losing all of my friends or go home when school ended for the year. I could keep my friends and stay in the same school; considering my parents had purchased a new trailer just north of town. It was ten or twenty miles and I had the option of taking the bus instead of walking. There was also the choice of going to a boys’ home and that sounded too much like the state prison on the hill. Been there; didn’t even want to contemplate it. It seemed that going home was the best option. But in back of my mind, something was screaming don’t do it. I still had a month or two to think about it, but it seemed the best choice; other than taking the chance of another bad foster home. Going back home was the only choice I could make at the time.

I felt the darkness coming back as the weeks quickly went by. I lost my appetite almost completely. The night terrors began coming more often; almost every night. I wanted to find a hole so deep and bury myself in it. Even though I felt like running away to avoid what was coming. I had nowhere else to go. Dad and Mom did their best in keeping my mind off the dark thoughts that crowded in my mind. But watching them pack always made me cry as they held me against them as I begged them to take me with them.

The thoughts of going home scared the living daylights out of me. They may have changed, but they always seem to get worse and the new foster home was looking better and better. Rather than having my father and my mother beat me senseless; it didn’t help to know my sisters Susan and Becky had no love for me. I loved Tabitha and my little bother Oscar a lot more.

I knew I was being selfish regarding my brother Aaron. But right now I didn’t care. I felt alone in the world and the old voice echoed in my mind. Nobody wants you; it’s your fault that he’s dead.  It didn’t matter how many times my Dad and I talked trying to convince me it wasn’t. Jeff was still dead. I was the one that opened the door. And now I was being kicked out of another home like used discarded moldy trash.

Why was everyone leaving me in this cold hard world? Nobody wanted me it seems or wanted to love me or I wasn’t worth it. I felt useless and alone. The darkness seemed warm compared to what I was about to go through. I wanted to die. I begged for it to be over.

The only one that seemed to remain beside me was Jeff and he scared me every time he tried to communicate with me. I didn’t believe in ghosts. Hell, I barely believed in God as his silence was all I got when I prayed begging for the nightmares to stop. Begging to go with the Steeds; yes I knew I was leaving my Grandma and my brother behind. But going home to my parents scared the hell out of me, and God remained silent as he always was. People kept saying prayer makes a difference.

Yet the beatings seemed to get worse and the people that I loved were always leaving me. God refused to step in and stop it. Again, nothing but silence; and trust me I was praying hard and listening and trying to feel something, but all I got was nothing. I‘d been to my bishop several times and had the same talk. Sometimes we prayed together, but in the end, God was not there for me when I needed him the most. I seriously began to wonder I was not good enough even for him. I laid every problem at his feet, I prayed for forgiveness, every day. Spent long hours on my knees and in the end, all I got was his silence, the beating would continue having no guarantee that they wouldn’t, but most of all the people I loved were always being taken away.

Soon the weeks became days as the school year was ending. It wasn’t long until my caseworker came to get me. I so wanted to run but I didn’t. (I should have if I only knew what was coming.) It was one of my hardest goodbyes as my tears would not stop. When I climbed into the car and watched the family I loved dearly disappear like a faded dream. I am not afraid to admit that I wept like a baby as my heart broke into huge sobs as I sat alone in the back seat with Buttercup beside me. Nestled safely in her clean woodchips as I envied her being a mouse; not having to worry what the cold world had in store for her. Again where was God?

When I arrived at my parents’ home, I climbed the steps as if they were my gallows. Only two people were happy to see me; my brother, Aaron as he quickly wrapped his little arms around me and my mother as she took my suitcase from my caseworker and followed me to my new room. My father had merely growled and asked if the bike strapped the car was mine. He had asked how they would keep me from running off now.

My caseworker simply replied. “Sir, I happened to know, for a fact, that Eric is no longer a runaway and haven’t been for over a year. His grades have been outstanding; he hasn’t caused any fights in or out of school. He’s a gentleman. Something for a father to be proud of; he’s also a very hard worker. I expect great things out of him.” My caseworker had set the bike against the house before waving goodbye

I heard my father growl. “Say’s you… Boy. I’ll take no more lip from you or you are back on those streets. Girls, get in the house and wash up for dinner.” My father never called me by my given name. I was always “boy” or some insult that would curl my Grandmother’s toes. If anyone said my name while they were present he growl making sure I was looking at the ground and cuss with a slap across my face. It didn’t matter if was in public, people mostly turned away as if wasn’t their problem; ‘out of sight out of mind.’ Again God was silent.

My mother’s cooking was almost worse compared to prison food and they would think it was a step up. My fathers’ cooking was even worse if that was possible. Soggy, burnt noodles with burnt ground beef always made my stomach scream for Rolaids or vomit it back up. The food always looked good in a cookbook or on TV, but my mother could burn water. I was glad that I had two good mothers that taught me a thing or two about cooking and how to follow a recipe came in handy too. It was either that or starve.

To say I became picky about what I ate started war in my family until my mother gave in and let me help in the kitchen.  I may have not known much about cooking, but I could fix Mac and Cheese and spaghetti without burning it and other simple meats like hamburgers and hotdogs and a roast beef now and again. I could even bake cakes from a Betty Crocker cake mix. I’d been called a sissy because I liked to cook, but I was rather be called a sissy for cooking than starve. I seldom saw my friends since my friends hated my parents and my sisters and getting permission to see them was like pulling teeth.

My parents refused to let me join the swim team with my friends the second they were notified of the registration date. My father ripped it up into little pieces telling me. “That is something you earn boy.” For as long as I could remember he seldom called me by my given name. I was always addressed as “Boy” or worse names that would curl my Grandmother’s toes.  No; he hated the very sight of me and firmly believed that children should not be seen nor heard when you were out in public, but that rule never applied to my sisters Susan or Becky while his sons remained in his home unseen and once more.

I was back inside my Eskimo suit because of the beatings and once more feeling and being told I was dirty and immoral and freak, if I dared to take off my shirt or wear pair of shorts, even more so going barefoot. I was to remain fully clothed at all times wearing long-sleeved shirts buttoned to the top and long pants, no matter how hot it was. I was ridiculed and beaten if anything but my hands and face seen.

My parents went as far as making Aaron and I take ice baths do to our immorality of showing any flesh at all in the home or out in public. It was worse if they felt or thought we were getting aroused when other kids were wearing summer clothing or less. The rule was, if they were embarrassed by it we should be as well. We weren’t allowed to leave our room unless we were doing chores. We didn’t exist in their eyes other than a dirty little secret. Instead, it was always Susan this or Becky that. We didn’t exist in his eyes and my Mother went along with it without so much as a complaint.

It hadn’t been more than two months before my Mother sold me to an old couple next door known as the Boars; they were planning to move to Arizona as she convinced them for fifty dollars and dog named Frosty worth somewhere around five hundred dollars in exchange for my hard labor. My father was more than thrilled about the arrangements. He couldn’t pack my suitcase fast enough. I could not for the life of me figure it out. Why wasn’t I allowed to go to
Idaho with my foster parents? They were willing to sell me so they could be rid of me. I didn’t understand. Again God had abandoned me; when I could have been happy with the Steeds. And LDS church once again didn’t stop them or anyone one else for that matter.

The Boars were an elderly couple; they lived in a small travel trailer that consisted of one bedroom and a small closet that was their bathroom. It had barely enough room to turn around in; it held a toilet, tiny sink, and a small shower. The kitchen was very small; it joined a cramped living room that did double duty as the dining room and it held two chairs, folding TV trays, and a portable color TV. My new ‘prison’ was also their main storage place. Neither trailer held phone hookups.

Mr. Jack and Emma Boar were in their late 70s as close to an alcoholic and drug users I had ever met back then. His and her skins were tan and leathery with sparse mixture gray and white whiskers on his chin and under his nose; not consisting of either a full beard or mustache and poor hygiene didn’t help. I have seen hobos in the park look better than him or his wife. They both had the same steely blue eyes that were more gray than blue and a face like a Cabbage Patch doll. The only difference between the two was he was tall and what used to look like black hair turning a rustic gray. That hadn’t seen a comb in more years than I could count.

While his wife, Emma was a head shorter than her husband and roughly the same age with a rat nest of white hair. Their favorite drinks were either a Jack Daniels or cold Budweiser mixed with anything they ate or drink or straight out of the battle. No way in hell was they LDS considering they both smoked cigarettes and the occasional weed or a cigar. Not to mention the small packets of white stuff that I was told was a special kind of sugar that took the edge off made for adults their age. I am not stupid. I knew perfectly well it was drugged after watching enough TV. Our meals consisted of TV dinners, packaged food that could be warmed up, and once in a blue moon; take out.

By the time my Grandmother had found out that I was missing. I’d been setting down new roots in a place called Quartzite,
Arizona as a slave to strangers; rather than my parents having brains and letting me leave with the Steeds or call family services. She found out that I hadn’t even caused a fight or argument; that my parents had done it out of spite didn’t sit well with her. She didn’t have a way to contact the Steeds so there was very little she could do except make sure I made it back home in one piece or there would be hell to pay.

My Grandmother was already madder than a wet hen, so finding out that they weren’t LDS made it even worse. Finding the remnants of hard liquor bottles and empty beer cans and a few empty drug syringes that still littered the ground where their trailers once stood. She told me in a letter once she pried it out of my mother by threatening to send them all to prison for slavery and unlawful abandonment of a child. My mother squealed like a pig and that she wanted to slap them silly, but knowing it would do no good to slap that horn b*****d of my father. She would find a way to get me back if she had to take the bus herself to come to get me, come high water or a cold day in hell whichever came first.

By that time I had started school at
Solan High School. The towns more like trailer shanties were so small and far apart. They didn’t have a Jr. High putting the 7th and 8th graders with the bigger kids. She was able to track me down. Since I had no money and wasn’t paid for the work I was doing; which consisted of working in the cotton fields and moving freight from one town to another.

It paid for my room and board and the few clothes I had on my back, nothing more. When payday came and went while the kids older than me and men I worked with received their checks. I received nothing for my hard labor. I asked if there was a problem with my work; finding out that my checks were always sent and made out to the Boars. I was told to ask the Boars and had the door slammed in my face.

Once again my grades began to slip back right back into the gutter. I went to school with several black eyes to the point the kids called me smoky courtesy of Mr. Boar and his wife. I tried my best not to get into fights, but having neither friends nor the time to make them because the Boar’s lived so isolated out in the middle of nowhere. I was so tired from sunup to sundown. The only rest I got was on the long bus ride to and from school. Which consisted of an hour and a half both ways and going or returning from work, riding with men and boys mostly older than me in the back of a truck, and sleeping at my desk. I became custom to listening to
AC DC, Twisted Sister, Black Sabbath, Kiss, and other hard metal bands.

It became an everyday thing as the boys and men passed back and forth the latest Playboy or Swimsuit issue known to man. Smoking and drinking was another past time, but having my standers set higher; I refused to go with end crowd and would stay away from them altogether and got beat up a lot because of it.  Either at school or from the Boars; my life didn’t mean one damn thing to anyone. I soon learned not to be afraid of Jeff and once again we became friends.

I figured what was worse going crazy or hoping to die. The only good thing was I held to the same clothing restrictions when I lived out in the middle of a hot desert with very little shade. I would be cooked to death wearing Eskimo suit from the inside out, besides my good clothing what was left of it was only used for school, everything else was optional, bruises only made me more colorful.

The only friend I had was a ghost. It seemed like a cruel joke on my behalf. God remained silent, yet the person I killed that no one but me could see was to be my constant companion. Jeff was one person I could talk to, yet he never interfered with the living. He would warn me ahead of time that trouble was coming, never saying what kind and would tell me sometimes the people I could trust, which was few considering there were a lot of drugs addicts out here and more drunks that thinking diving is a good idea. When the law wasn’t around enough to notice it or all the kid's sweatshops and prostitutes that were everywhere. You would think the Devil lived next door.

Sometimes Jeff be there for import moments as if taking notes of things happening. But again he never interfered.  I thought this was Gods cruel joke as he remained forever silent. Jeff would never say anything regarding it if he was here because God sent him to me or if was something he needed to do before he could pass on. Even after forty years, he is still my constant companion; and God is still silent.

By the time I had spent almost five months out in no man's land; my Grandmother had shown up in a taxi with my bags packed waiting near a police car with Mr. Boar firmly placed in the backseat as he glared at me through the window. His wife was trying to convince them they were innocent of child kidnapping waving a document; that both my parents signed giving permission to take me. It had no sway as they put her next to her husband as I watched them drive off to jail. I locked up the trailer and gave the keys to the owner of the trailer park, and never looked back.

I was headed home once more, while I cried with relief in my Grandmother’s arms as we waited for the bus that would take me where I belonged. It was the last time my parents pulled that stunt as she kept better tabs on them. When I arrived home they had moved to
Santaquin, Utah for a better paying job with benefits and making it harder for me and for my Grandmother to keep tabs on what was actually going on in the home.

Lying was the best habit my mother and father learned and seemed to satisfy my Grandmother. Because of the distance we rarely saw her, which become open season as the beating continued. It never matters how hard I prayed or how long. God was still silent as I wept and prayed in the dark for my parents to stop beating me. While Jeff watched on not interfering watching his tears fall from his cheek. There was nothing he could do as God seemed to be nothing more than a fable. A symbol of hope when there was none. I asked him if he still prays even if he is a ghost and as many times as I asked; the more likely he would avoid the subject.

Some people thought alcoholics became mean when their drunk, but they would be wrong. Not once had my father drunk any hard liquor or smoked a cigarette and he wasn’t a drug addict either that I am a where of. I had never had to pull him out of a bar or some crack house like some of the kids my age or smelled liquor or beer anywhere on his person. He was just plain mean through and through.

My Grandmother assured me he was never like this when he lived at home. Saying that as a boy he was a gentleman everyone seemed to love.   But the man or beast before me or whatever seemed to possess him. Is a lot different than the man they talk about before he married my mother and long before the war? Where this gentle giant went, nobody seems to know. All I had to do is be in the same room as him before he would come out swinging. Regardless if I didn’t do anything wrong. All it took was a bad day at work or seeing my face to set him off. This was a man that stood before me truly hated his sons, more than life itself.

© 2019 Shep

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Wow being sold off I cannot imagine and this again is a very descriptive chapter
I hope more people review your work and not just read it
I’m not good at reviews more into reading
Rest assured I’ll get through this book
Again I commend and praise you for putting this book out into the world !

Posted 5 Months Ago


5 Months Ago

i am glad to have some one read it thats why i am posting it.
Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)

5 Months Ago

Lots read it I’m surprised no reviews yet well written

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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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