It was a Sunday afternoon in mid August. The year was 1983. My ex husband was a truck driver and we were having some problems over his being gone so much but I was determined to move back to Nashville, where we had lived in 81. I used to attend lovely little church back when we lived there. Great choir. Some of the opry stars attended the church.
WARNING TO SEX ABUSE VICTIMS....MAY CAUSE TRIGGERS !!!!!!
I hated working all the time in Atlanta and being home alone. I decided to pick our car that was left at the truck terminal. He dispatched from Nashville. I rode with him up to Nashville in the Kenworth and get the car and just look for us a place to live. I also decided to pay my old church a visit that beautiful sunny outside of Nashville. The church was actually in Gallatin, Tennessee. We had services and saw many old friends but the church had changed pastors and the town had seen some hard times when the Nuclear plant shut down and people had moved on. I still enjoyed going to that little church.
I showered in a truck stop, I shampooed my hair and put a pink flowered dress that had three quarter inch length sleeves that hit me right at the elbow. The dress hit me at the knees..maybe half and inch above. I had white sandals and a pair of panty hose..Leggs..in the shade of tan..size B. I wore a slip....half slip. the neckline was scooped to just below the neckline and well above any cleavage showing. My hair was pretty much like it is now as I never change hairstyles or rarely and no makeup. After my x pulled off on his run I left the Truckstops of America and headed towards Gallatin and after church decided to go
mobile home looking. We had little money and the dispatch was across the street when I saw the For Rent signs and noticed them before I went to church. I decided to head back through Madison and go back to the Dispatch area where the trailers were.
My first thought was, " I don't have a lot of money for a motel and he don't get a paycheck till Wed but I can probably get an advance to get a place to live. I thought, " No body is probably going to be open on Sundays but I can check out this park anyway. Hmm. Close to work. I can get a paper and look for a job and problem solved. I need to find out how much these little mobile homes rent for. I was in my mid thirties and my patience then was not much better than now. I wanted to make plans. That unfortunately was not the plans I ended up with.
I saw a woman about the same age as me with three children and talking to a man who seemed to be her husband as she was explaining one of the kids needed to be seen at the hospital because she felt her little boy's arm was broken from falling off the trampoline. They were outside and he was working on the AC. I had no air and my windows were down as I slowly passed. I then stopped. I interrupted and asked if that trailer next to them was for rent? It was empty. The couple came over and he said, " Sure is". Pretty cheap too.
He said, " I am the maintenance man here and if you want to see it, I can show it. I got the keys". I noticed she was frustrated and said, " He can show you, I got to go". I watched her hand some keys over and pull one off. " Here" Here..she said. Kids were clean and they both seemed like an average couple. I hesitated because they seemed to have more pending issues.
As I think back this seems kind of strange to me now but she stopped asking him to go with her to the hospital even though the kid was whimpering, and he was maybe 9 yoa.
I said, " My husband works across the street and this may be a perfect spot for us to land". She said, "Hi, I am Martha". Want something to drink? It's a hot one today and Johnny has GOT to get that AC going. I may ask our boss if we can have that trailer if he don't get this air going and she laughed." " I got some tea and pepsi in the house". Stupid me. I said, " Well I could use a glass of ice water. If it's not holding you up. She said, No, , I just need to get this youngin checked out.
Jump below squiggly...
I want to warn some folks this may produce triggers so read no further if you are prone to
ptsd from sexual abuse.
I walked in, still in my church clothes and saw about three fans running and it was cooler in there than in the car. This person was very kind. She had one of those old timey ice tray that you pull the handle up made of tin and opened it up and filled a huge glass of water with lots of ice and gave it to me. The house was spotless. She said, " Have you been to church" and I told her yes but was I from out of town. I introduced myself and told her where I had attended and that I used to live in Gallatin. I inquired about her child. I remember saying, Is he hurt bad? She replied," Nah I don't think so but he was jumping on his friend's trampoline and his arm is swelling some" I think he is OK.. Just think John and me need to check it out". OK I liked what I saw so far.
Martha seemed to care about her kids and her hubby was handy with maintenance. Trailers looked nice and I wanted to rent here..I thought. When I told her about the church she said " Oh my aunt goes there." Odd as it may seem, if it was the same person I knew who she was talking about or she may have just randomly pulled a name out of thin air. To this day I don't know.
It was almost like the hurt kid didn't exist anymore or she just was in panic mode when I pulled up. She asked mt to have a seat. People in the south are generally friendly, or are not taken aback when asked to have a sit down at a total stranger's home. I believe I will, I said, hoping one could fill me in or maybe get the landlord up there to rent me the trailer. She was fussing here and there about it being so hot and August in Tennessee is HOT. There was much talk about the trailer next door. She explained it was a small two bedroom 1 bath mobile home with plenty of counter space and she had just finished cleaning it the day before and the for rent sign had just been put up.
Johnny and that is all I remember, cannot see his or her face for the life of me. He asked,
" Want to take a look at that trailer" as he walked in from outside and was messing with the thermostat. " I said, I sure do, what does it rent for"? It seems he said it rented for
50.00 a week with water and garbage included. I took my purse and said, " i would love to see it". Martha put out a cigarette and called to her kids who were in the house playing and said, " Well I will be back shortly, I got to get over and have this child seen". Something inside should have told me BEWARE....Nothing did.
I walked outside in the hot burning sun as the AC had kicked on in their trailer and he had excused himself to clean up a bit. I stood outside waiting to be shown the trailer when she backed out and waved to me. She yelled from the pick up. " I'll be back soon, make yourself at home and hope we are neighbors". i smiled and waved back. About five minutes after she left, and I was propped against my car, her husband had some keys and motioned for me to come look inside.
I followed this complete stranger into that empty trailer. I knew I was in trouble when he locked the door behind him. My mind was racing. I was lulled into a comfort zone and now I was in complete danger but all I could think of , is what are you doing?" I said, " Unlock the door". He laughed. I backed up and he grabbed my arm. Both arms. The next thing I knew, I was on the carpet floor and never noticed anything in that trailer with my dress up around my neck. My underthings pulled off and a voice telling me I could die right there. I was told that women had been cut up starting with their legs and thown in that wooded area across the way if I yelled. I did not fight. I said, Stop. Please quit. NO......I did not yell. I never uttered a sound from that point on. I closed my eyes and don't recall what all this maniac was telling me other than I knew I wanted it. Truck driving husband..gone too long...all kinds of things. I do recall he had a pocket knife laid at my head..Open.
After the horrible ordeal of being violated, this man insisted I go back in his trailer and I was terrified and numb. He had that knife open and was walking behind me. I do not know why I did not run. I have no clue. Shock I think. I do not even remember putting my attire back on. After walking into their home, the wife showed up and what time span passed seems unclear to me. At either place. I was sitting there just staring across from this stranger who now is rolling something. I did not know if it was pot, or drugs of some other sort or even tobacco. I just don't know. She walks in all perky and asking me to
stay the night and this I do remember clearly. He smiled and I remember the smile but no face and saw him head down the hall to the bathroom. There were no children with her.
That I recall. I jumped up as he left the room, grabbed my purse and ran to the car and it was dark. I was shaking and she nor he came to see why I fled. I cranked the car and drove to across the street where my x husband was employed. The business ran 24 hours. I was shivering in August and in some pain. I was in no shape to drive as I was scared and there was a security guard at this business. I locked the doors and waited for first light. I needed some advance money for a motel..I was not sure I had enough gas for a trip over the mountain that I was afraid to cross. I was in a mess. I kept thinking if women's bodies or bones were across the street. Those who dared to scream. I slid down in the back seat and hot as it was only cracked the window a little. How could I be hot and cold and I had to go to the bathroom. I couldn't remember if I went in that trailer or not. Either trailers. I could hold it. Sometime during the night I drifted off and the sun light woke me up. I still had my church clothes on and walked in to Coble Transport and demanded to see my husband's boss. I needed to talk to him, my husband, someone. I could not go to the police. I was a transient. I had little money. I was stranded and did not know the church number or pastor's name from that church from years ago.
His boss asked me into his office and I explained some of the story. I said I was assaulted and he agreed that the police probably would be on the side of the rapist., situation being what it was. This man I had spoken to many times as he was my husband's boss and I didn't trust anyone but felt I had to talk to someone. I remember he took me for a bite to eat at a place called of all things the 101st Airborne Restaurant. I was not hungry but ate or nibbled. After the meal he asked me to follow him down the street where he would advance out of my x's paycheck a nice motel and would contact my husband. He did this.
I showered but not like in the movies. I just took a shower and remember throwing the dress away. I pulled out some shorts and t shirt and brushed my hair. The room was silent and I turned on the TV where the news was blaring that Hurricane Alisha was tearing up everything.
This song dedicated to the X who let me down..By the way he is a republican now.
The woman I found out that day my husband would leave me for was named Alisha. He phoned the room and told me he was not coming back. He had met someone named Alisha who had been seeing and was coming back to the terminal to turn in the truck and go back to Massachusetts. I did not know if he thought I just made up the rape to try and get him to stay with me...but he was a POS. I knew there were problems but I did not know there was this other woman who turned out to be a truck stop hooker he had been making runs with. I started burning up the phone. This was the worst kind of trouble. Yeah I had the advance but how long was this motel stay for? I had the car but what about that mountain I was terrified to cross. Mount Eagle. I called his boss and told him he was quitting his job and this fine person told me to come get his check on Wed.
The company would take care of the motel room for the rest of the week. I was crying. I was confused. I was terrified. In the meantime the rains from Hurricane Alisha had moved in.
All said and done, by Sunday, after I got really drunk...on Thursday and threw all of his clothes out at the terminal from the trunk and actually got a job at an ice packing company in Nashville,earlier that week, worked two days and just left. I gathered up all of my strength and courage and left the motel and started that long road back to Ga. I drove over the mountain not really caring if I drive off of it or not. I stopped at Chattanooga a bought a pair of John Lennon type sun glasses and called them my Chattanooga shades and kept them for years. I had no radio or tape player in the car so I sang. I sang...You're No good by Rondstat . over and over. My shades were to cover the eyes red and swollen and by 8PM I ended up at my Daddy's for refuge in Douglasville, Ga. I never told him a word.
I never spoke to the kind man who helped me. I never looked back until today really except for the time I told my husband and it being August it just hit me..this is an anniversary date.
How dare that senator call RAPE legitimate? I was legitamely raped. Body ..mind and soul. I called that church from the motel and got nothing..not even a prayer. Kept me out of church 15 more years.
I had to worry about STD's until my next check up. I had to try and build a new life. I had to go on. No wonder I deal so hard with combat vet issues, to me they keep me from dealing with rape issues until something like what that senator said triggers it. No Senator I did not get pregnant because I had a hysterectomy in 81 due to cancer. I still was legitmately raped.
I love my husband that I am married to now because there is a man. He asked me when we went to Nashville back in the late 90's where this place was and if I would know the man. I shook my head. I have no doubt he would have stomped him in the ground. He would today if I could remember the face, but I can't. God knows who he is though. I believe he took care of him or will in due time.