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rank  Editors Pick
word count 132564
date submitted 05.03.2010
date updated 28.02.2011
genres: Romance, Non-fiction, Biography, Ch...
classification: universal
complete

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not -Bk I&II Tell Me True Love Stories Memoir

Susie Gulick

Memoir: Vulnerable. Love. Tragedies. Incest. Poverty. Survival. Lupus. Zero-seventy, breaking all Ten Commandments. Six marriages. Verbal and physical abuse from husbands. Testimony. God's love/agape.

 

Why have I always been physically and verbally abused, and unappreciated when I've always bent over backward to be a good wife, giving love anyway?

With God's help, I've weathered tragedies.

Incest on my father's side, still! My father molested my older sister since she was a baby, raped her from age five, threatening death to her and family, if she told - in 1947, told at age eleven. He was imprisoned. Raped her lots 1970 until my twin brother threatened him.

Granny raped by her father, so Mama and her brother were born. Granny castrated her father after he raped Mama when she was fifteen, birthed a son, put up for adoption, a secret until Mama was dying of cancer at age seventy-three, searched, found him, then told us six siblings.

My adventures. Sadnesses. Joys.

At age eleven, found my younger sister drowned.

When tiny, my Sunday School teacher prayed with me to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart, so He has been there since then.

My quest for my true love, to be married "happily ever after" to my "Knight in Shining Armor," with He Love Me, He Loves Me Not always happening!

 
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abuse, adoption, anemea, anger, autobiograpy, baptist, bible, california, calvary, cancer, chico, christian, chronic-fatigue, commandments, crushes, d...

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(cont) Tell Me

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 

     My Sister Mary Was Like My Second Mom

     “Daddy has been doing this to me since I was in first grade,” Mary told Les.  Mary was eleven years old and it was 1947 in Chico, California.

     “What?  You can’t be serious!” exclaimed Les in unbelief.  Les was Byron Sr.’s, our real blood father, best friend.

     “Daddy started exploring with me when I was a baby, always touching me down there,” was Mary’s remorse, as she laid in the bed with her hands covering her tears which ran down her face.

     Les had just enticed Mary to his house and forced her to have sex with him.  They were lying on the bed.  She was so exhausted from the struggle of trying to force him off that she could hardly move, as she wept.

     Byron, my twin brother, with Patty, and me, had followed them there.  We had snuck under the bed.  We were listening and scared of getting caught by them, so were not making a noise.

     “Why didn’t you tell on your dad?” Les asked, showing concern that this had gone on all of Mary’s life.  “I’m sorry for forcing you to have sex with you,” he added, “but you turn me on so.”  No wonder, Mary had beautiful natural blond hair and hazel green eyes.

     “Daddy said he would kill me!  And Mama!  Our whole family, if I told on him.  I was too afraid.  We used to live by Butte Creek in a tent in the foothills and he would have gotten rid of all of us in the forest.  He has guns.  Nobody would even know….or miss us, because we have no relatives.”

     “Well, I am going to tell the cops on him,” Les reassured her, as he got up and put on his pants on.  “But you can’t tell anyone about me forcing you to have sex with me, or something MIGHT happen to you and your family!” he threatened.

     “Please don’t hurt us,” Mary started to beg him.  “I didn’t do anything wrong,” as she wept more.  “You said you had something for me, so I came here with you,” she wailed, through her sobs.  “You’ve done to me exactly what Daddy does to me, every chance he gets, taking me off alone, pretending to Mama I’m needed to help him do things.  Then he rapes me.”

     “Just do as I say and no one will get hurt,” Les instructed.  “Byron will pay for what he’s done to you all of these years.  Now, get yourself together, and let’s get out of here,” Les demanded, irritated at himself at what he had done.  His tone of voice told all.

     “I wonder what he thinks he just did to Mary,” I say to myself.  “I’m only seven, but I know that he just raped my sister.  Here, she was begging him not to.  ‘No!  No!  Please don’t!  No!’ she cried, trying to wrestle him and push him away, but he wouldn’t take, ‘no’ for an answer.  Just because he’s stronger, he gets away with it!  I’m so angry that I can’t do anything to protect her.”

     All of this time, we were still under the bed, as quiet as church mice, afraid of getting caught by Les.

     “We can’t tell anyone we were under the bed,” I whispered to Byron and Patty, as we crawled slowly out from underneath the bed, watching to see if they were coming back into the house.  “He will probably kill us, and Mama, and Mary, if we do.”

     “I’m scared, Sissy (I was called “Sissy” ever since I was two, when Patty was born, instead of Myra, except at school),” as Patty’s trembling voice confirmed my own fear.  She wasn’t quite five years old.  The tears ran down her cheeks, as she whimpered, afraid they’d come back and hear her.  She threw her arms around me - as if I could save her!

     “I’m just so furious that we couldn’t help Mary.  He probably would have killed her and us if he knew we were under the bed.  It’s a shame he had guns and hunting knives or maybe we could have ganged up on him – four against one,” I complained as I held Patty closely.  Her arms were clasped tightly around my waist as her tears flowed freely, getting my dress all wet.  I could feel her little body tremble.

     “Let’s hurry up and get out of here, before someone catches us in here,” Byron heeded, ashen, as he led us to the back door – Patty’s hand-grasp even made my hand hurt.  We scurried across the yard, hoping no one would see us, and we rushed home.

     I’m sixty-nine years old, now, and none of us has ever talked about this nightmarish event.  Maybe, it’s time.

*     *     *     *     *

     “I’m sorry, Mommy, that I couldn’t tell you,” Mary wept uncontrollably, sitting, bent with her face in her hands.  “Daddy said he would kill you and all of us kids if I told anyone.  When we lived by the creek and I was little, he was touching me down there.  I cannot even remember when he didn’t.  When I started to first grade, he would tell you he needed me to help him with his fishing and hunting.  He would take me into the forest where no one was and rape me.  It hurt and I bled, but I was afraid he’d kill all of us, if I told you,” Mary continued.  And wept.

     “ ‘I’ll kill you, Tony (his nickname for Mary because she was his first child and he wanted a son instead of a daughter),’ Daddy told me.  ‘I’ll kill all of you and bury you right here!  No one would ever know it.’”  Her body shook, as she told it, tears flowed non-stop.

     Mama held Mary closely, as us kids crowded around them, hugging them, in a huddle.

     Jennifer started to cry, again.  She had really wailed when the cops came.  She wasn’t even a year old, yet.  Mama rushed to get her out of the crib.

     The cops had just finished arresting Byron Sr. and taking him to their car, and we were all in shock.  We were afraid to tell Mama and Mary that we were under Les’s bed and heard him say he was going to report Byron Sr. to the cops.  Mary, Byron, Patty, and I had already been in bed, on the mattress on the floor, when the cops entered our shack.  Our heads were under the covers and we were giggling, quietly, like it was a game.  But, Mary wasn’t laughing.  She knew how serious this was.

     “Shh,” she ordered in a whisper, “they might question US.  I’m afraid of Daddy AND the cops.”

     Byron Sr., our real father, got sentenced to five years in San Quentin.  No one ever told on Les.  He got away with raping Mary.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Now, we can swing by our knees from that bar,” Mary said joyously to us kids, pointing up to a small metal pipe that was anchored onto a four by four post on each side which a friend had just put up for her.

     “See how much fun?” she added, as she climbed up, got onto the bar and swung by her knees, then, flipped over and landed on her feet onto the ground.

     When she was swinging upside down on the bar, I was looking at her scar on her shoulder.  I thought back to the story that was always told about it:

     “Ow!” Mary started screaming as Mama tripped over her.

     “I told you to stay in the chair, Mary!” Mama screeched, when the boiling syrup for the Seven Minute Frosting poured down Mary’s ear, neck, and shoulder.

     At ten years old, to stay in a chair, was too hard for her to do.

     They rushed her two hundred miles by ambulance to San Francisco Children’s Hospital.  Now, as an adult, she has an inch wide scar all the way down her shoulder.

     Ballet and gymnastics had been Mary’s main interest after she started to junior high school in 1948.  She had blossomed, at twelve years old and was beautiful, looking like Marilyn Monroe, with her wavy permed blond hair style.

     Every penny she earned from babysitting and working in the orchards, went for her lessons.

     All of us kids worked in the crops – picking prunes, almonds, peaches – along side our parents since we were tiny.

     “I want to try, Mary,” I begged, after Mary flipped off of the bar.  “Help me up.”  I was eight years old.  If she could do it, I could!

     As she boosted me up, I grabbed hold onto the bar and put one leg around it, and then, the other.  Then I started to move my arms to make myself swing, the way Mary did, my legs bent tightly around the bar, so I wouldn’t slip off.  Finally, I got the hang of it.

     “Whoa, this is SO fun, Patty.  You try,” I hollered, as I swung back and forth by my knees.  I can still do this on my chin-up bar at sixty-nine years old.

     “I’m afraid I’ll fall,” she cowered.  She was not quite six years old.  We finally convinced her that we would help her and she wouldn’t get hurt.  When she got the swing of it, after much coaxing to try it, she was a whiz.

     How may hours, we spent on that bar, when we were growing up!

*     *     *     *     *

     “It’s all my fault, Mama.  I should have been watching them,” Mary cried, when she got home and found out what had happened.

     It was 1951.  Mary was fourteen years old.  Byron and I had just turned eleven and Patty was almost nine.  Our drowned Jennifer was four-and-a half.

     We had been at the swimming hole and forgotten about Jennifer, when we went downstream.  Hours later, we ran into some friends, who asked us where Jennifer was.  We went back to the hole and found her at the bottom at the deep end.

     Mama held Mary as she gently patted her back.

     “It’s all my fault!” Mary repeated over and over, again, between big jerking sobs.

     “No!  It’s not your fault!” Mama encouraged sadly, holding her tightly, so that her body would stop shaking.  “You’re not responsible for the kids (referring to Byron, Patty, Jennifer, and me).  Granny is.  That’s why I had her come to live with us when Daddy went to prison.”

     “If I had been with them, Jennifer would not have drowned,” Mary moaned.

     Mary always blamed herself, after that, for Jennifer’s drowning.  I still blame myself because she was with Patty and me, and I was the older one that was with her.  And I had forgotten about her!

*     *     *     *     *

     “Mama, my horse is dead.  It’s dead!” Mary wailed as she came running into the house.

   “Now, who would do such an awful thing?” Mama queried, rushing to hold her in her arms.

     “They said it’s star thistle poisoning.  How can stickers kill a horse?” she lamented.  “How can I ever live without my horse?”

     She had a friend, Charlotte, who had let it graze in her pasture.

     “This is very rare,” the vet told Mary, when he had come to see her dead horse.

     It was as if a friend had died, but we could do nothing about it, but mourn.  I thought that she would never get over it.

      The next year, Mary’s friend, Charlotte, shot herself in the head because of her abusive father.

*     *     *     *     *

     “MyraMyra!  I have killed you, Myra,” I heard Mary yell as she shook my limp body, by my shoulders.  It seemed like I was far away, hearing an echo, like in a canyon, as I regained consciousness and started to stir.

     “Are you okay?” Mary gasped, her fear subsiding.

     “I don’t know,” I groggily groaned.  I opened my eyes to see Mary kneeling beside me, her face ashen white, almost touching mine.

     “I was afraid you were dead,” she said with a sigh of relief.  “Are you okay?” she asked, again.  She started hugging me, as if I had been a lost doll.

     “I’m alive,” I began.  I really didn’t know if I was okay.

     “Let’s see if you can stand up,” she interrupted, taking hold of my hand, with her other hand under my arm pit.

     “I just feel like I can’t breathe very well,” I gasped, as I started to cry and tried to get to my feet.

     “I think you just got the wind knocked out of you,” Mary encouraged.  “See if you can walk,” as she helped me to stand.

     It was 1951.  Mary was almost fifteen and I was eleven.

     “I never would have jumped that log, if I didn’t think you weren’t going to hang one,” she admonished.

      “I WAS ready.  I guess I just didn’t hold on tight enough,” I defended.

     I remembered back to when Mary first got Plata.

     “Myra, I’ll take you for a ride on Plata,” Mary offered, as she rode up, excitedly showing off her new white horse.  “Her name is Plata, which means ‘white.’ I got her for $50.00.”

     She reached her hand down to me, then bent her foot, so that I could step on it, and pulled me up behind her.  There was a blanket across Plata’s back, who stood absolutely still during this whole ordeal.

     “This is called ‘bareback’ riding, when there’s no saddle,” Mary told me, as if reading my mind, of this new experience.  “Hold on around my waist,” Mary instructed.  Plata started to walk.

     “Your new horse was nice to not move while I got on,” I said as I slowly lost my fear, and held on tightly.

     “I don’t want to fall off and break my neck,” I told myself.

     “He doesn’t even care that we are on his back,” I said out loud.

     “He is a she,” Mary corrected.  “Of course she doesn’t mind.  She’s trained.”  Mary had helped break horses when they were wild and was an avid horse lover.  She always talked about owning a “dude ranch” some day - a dream that never came true and she in now seventy-three years old.  She always drew pictures of horses and also, drew clothes for fashions.

     What a jewel Plata was.  She didn’t get excited about anything.  She had blue eyes, which meant she was color-blind, Mary had said, and was gorgeous.  “We’ll go over to the bridle path.  Keep hold of me!” as we trotted off.

     It was five blocks to Bidwell Park.  When we came to Big Chico Creek, Plata walked across in the shallow part, while we rode on her back, to the north side, where the bridle path started, running east for three miles.  This was half way between the One Mile Dam and Five Mile Dam which were cemented swimming pools in the creek.

     Mary taught Patty and me to ride Plata.  I’d climb on, pull Patty up behind me, and off we would go to the bridle path, “bareback.”

     Mary would comb Plata, and bathe her, and shoe her.  She loved Plata.

     We heard that if you put a horse hair in water, it would turn into a snake.  We filled up a gallon can with water, put some hairs in it, from Plata’s tail, and watched for at least a month.  The long hairs never did turn into snakes.  We realized we had been lied to.

     “Look at the blue ribbon that I won at the horse show,” Mary bragged as she came into the house, one day.  She was jumping up and down and waving it.  She could make Plata jump and ride around obstacles, and do all of that fancy stuff.  She finally had gotten good enough to win ribbons.  And she won a lot.

     I’m going to sell Plata,” one day Mary told us, sadly.  “I want to become a nurse and I need the money for tuition.”

     “Oh, no,” I cried.  “We’ll never get to ride a horse again.  You can’t sell her.”

      In my whole life, I never ever had a chance to ride bareback, again, or canter with that smooth lope, again, which was a feeling like floating on air.  Neither did Mary or Patty.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Look at all the money I got for tips, tonight,” Mary beamed, emptying her pocket of all the change.

     She had taken a job at sixteen years old, which was the age requirement.  She had just had her birthday.

     It was at the new drive-in hamburger stand.  A car-hop was the position.  We had never heard of such a thing.  She was to waitress the people in their cars as they drove into the parking spaces that encircled the restaurant.

     By rolling their windows almost down, a food tray would fit on the lip of it.  A metal arm came from the tray to the car door to balance it.

     “Let’s count how much is here,” Mary enthusiastically invited us to share her excitement which penetrated us like wildfire, as we looked at all the coins.  We were poor and never had money, so it was like being in Heaven or a goldmine.

     This was Mary’s favorite job.  She was bouncy and cheerful with good looks, so made good tips, even though it was minimum wage, which, I think, was twenty-five or thirty-five cents an hour.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Come see the baby parakeets that have just hatched,” Mary called to me.  I came running over to the aviary at Phil’s house, where Mary had her parakeets.  I could hardly wait to see the babies.

     “Oh, they are so tiny and cute,” I said excitedly.  “I want to hold one,” I begged.

     “No, we can’t touch them or they will be abandoned,” Mary warned.  “I don’t want them to die.”

     I remembered back to when Mary got her first parakeet.

     “Say, ‘Pretty Boy,’” Mary said to this beautiful blue bird.  “The Budgerigar Society book said that’s how to teach them to talk,” she told me.  It was so exhilarating when he started saying, “Pretty Boy.”  I had never heard of a bird talking, let alone, seen one talking.  Mary said he was a boy, because he had blue on the top part of his beak.

     “Hello,” Mary taught him, next.  Every time we would come in, Pretty Boy would say, “Hello.  I’m a Pretty Boy.”

     Mary taught Pretty Boy all kinds of words.

     Then, Mary got a female parakeet, which had yellow on the top part of her beak.  Pretty Boy stopped talking.  Neither on of them would talk anything, but bird talk.

     “I’m sad that Pretty Boy won’t talk, Mary,” I pouted.

     “The Budgie book warned this would happen, Myra.” Mary said sadly, trying to cheer me up.

     But, raising babies was her next feat and it worked.

*     *     *     *     *

     “I knitted this suit all by myself,” Mary bragged, spinning her shapely body around for us to see her lavish light turquoise two-piece skirt and sweater outfit.

     “I love it, Mary,” I praised, admiring her suit and her beauty.  She, again, looked like Marilyn Monroe with her gorgeous blond hair in a new permanent and her sexy form-fitted suit.  I really looked up to her and idolized her tenacity and hard work.

     “I’ll teach you how to knit and crochet,” she volunteered.  “A friend at college taught me how to do it.  It’s all in these books,” she said, as she showed them to Patty and me.  I crocheted a beautiful doily with pineapples and a ruffle around it, which I still have.

*     *     *     *     *

     Mary graduated from Chico State College, when I graduated from Chico Senior High School in 1958.  The Army had paid for her training, when she joined the Army.  She moved to San Francisco for a job at San Francisco General Hospital.  Having married the year before, she had gotten pregnant, so the Army released her, because they didn’t allow pregnancies.

*     *     *     *     *

     “I’m not going to have Robbie’s stomach pumped this time, Susie,” Mary told me disgustedly, when I asked if I should call emergency.

     It was 1959 and Mary had moved to Alta Dena in Southern California for an opportunity in OB/GYN at Glendale Hospital.

     “He’s had it pumped three times in the past two months,” she went on.  “Enough is enough!  If Robbie dies, he dies.  I’m sick and tired of his getting past the locked gates to the kitchen and getting into the cabinets to drink that ant poison!”  she added.  “I don’t think he drank very much, anyway.”

     “You’re the nurse,” I answered, in reservation, bewildered that Mary would take the chance.  I had taken a two week vacation to come down from San Francisco to help her.  She had been sick with a bleeding ulcer.  Robbie was a one year old.  A handful - and then some!

     He was sick a bit, from the poison, like he had eaten something bad - not throwing up and he was still going full bore.  I was feeling like Mary had made a wrong decision and so worried - and so relieved that he didn’t die!  Maybe he was becoming immune to it, like a touch of the flu or when you get a flu shot.  I guess Mary could tell by his symptoms that he was okay, since she was a nurse.  I still wouldn’t have taken the chance.  If he drank poison a thousand times, I’d have had his stomach pumped a thousand times.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Daddy said that he would kill me and my three kids, if I didn’t have sex with him,” Mary wept to Byron, my twin brother.  “He always comes over to my house when the kids are in school,” she added, as she lost all composure.

     It was 1976 and Byron Sr. was allowed back into the Chico area.  In 1957, his five year parole from San Quentin and staying 500 miles from Chico was over.  Mary was raising her kids by herself.  She had put her husband through college to get his Master’s Degree, by working double shifts at the hospital.  He became a professor at Chico State College, had an affair with a colleague, decided to divorce Mary, and get married to this “other woman,” matter-of-factly, as if all of this was okay.

     After Byron Sr., our real father had recently forced Mary to have sex/raped her several times, Mary finally got a vacation and drove up to Portland, Oregon, to tell Byron, our brother/ my twin.

     “He’ll kill us!  I know he will!  He has all of those guns!” Mary continued, as she convulsively sobbed.

     “I’ll KILL HIM if he ever touches or threatens you again,” Byron huffed, angrily, almost hollering.  Our brother was big and weighed almost twice as much as skinny Byron Sr. - Byron Jr. was also was an avid hunter.

     That was the end of that!  When Byron Sr. went up to Portland to see Byron Jr., the next week, my twin threatened his life, and he never approached Mary again for sex, or to even make passes.

*     *     *     *     *

     Phil/Daddy’s (Mary always called him Phil and never Daddy, as I did) death in 1974 and Mama’s death in 1986 were both severely traumatic for Mary.  Each took a year to die, after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer – Daddy’s was in the lungs and Mama’s was in the pancreas.

     Mary lived in Chico, where they did, so it was devastating for her to see the cancer gradually take over their bodies.  Being a nurse, she had seen a lot of people die, but not her own parents.

     Mama and Phil/Daddy had always showered Mary with lots of love and care, and helped her with a lot of her needs.  They also did a lot of special things for her, like taking her out to dinner and bowling, often.

      Mama and Daddy’s going to be with Jesus, left a big void in Mary’s life.  All she had left was her three kids.

*     *     *     *     *

     What with Byron Sr.’s destroying Mary sexually and mentally, beside her husband leaving her with three kids, she is Manic Depressive/Bi-Polar.  AND suicidal!  The medications have all kinds of side affects and don’t work that well.  She has been dismissed from more than one job from this disorder, losing her nurse’s license the last time.  By the time the psychiatrist released her, all of her retirement money was used up.  She finally got her nurse’s license back.

     In 1998, at age sixty-two, her jobs were still all night at one convalescent hospital and three days at another.  Dead on her feet and single after three divorces, after helping support a daughter who is going to college for her Master’s Degree and is single with two kids, Mary was still struggling.

     The one good thing is, that she does take vacations, away from it all, although this has gotten her more in debt.

     After Mama died in 1986, I would only go to Chico for my high school reunions, every five years.  I stayed at Mary’s house each time, so we had wonderful visits.  Mary would also come down to Southern California to visit me.

     Our sister, Jenny, flew from Texas for her fiftieth high school reunion, so I went back up to Chico, again, in 1998, two months after my fortieth high school union, to see Jenny.

The last time Jenny had been in Chico was for Mama’s funeral in 1986.  Mary, Jenny, and I had a wonderful visit - this was the last time we saw Jenny, because she died of a stroke two years, later.

     Byron, my twin’s fortieth high school reunion was in 1999, since he was held back in first grade, so graduated a year after I did.  He drove down from Portland and I went back up to Chico, and we stayed at Mary’s house and we had another fun visit.

     Two times, in the last five years, which was 2004 and 2007, I have driven to Oroville, where Mary now lives, then she drove us up to Portland to visit for a week at Byron’s house.  The last time, Esther and her son with his wife met us there and it was a wonderful visit.

     It’s still hard to go to Chico without much sadness of Mama and Daddy not being there to welcome me.

     My sister, Mary, has been like a Mom to me - she even changed my diapers when I was a baby.  She has always given me lots of love and prayed for me and encouraged me.

*     *     *     *     *

     It was 1999, when Mary phoned me and said, “I have a brain tumor.  It has taken over my pituitary gland and they will be doing emergency surgery at University of San Francisco Hospital.”

     “I’ll drive up to Oroville, today,” I responded, deciding on the spot.

     I stayed with Mary for a month, taking care of her every need after the surgery.  It was non-malignant and they got it all, by making a cut under Mary’s top lip, lifting her nose, and operating through her nasal cavities, into the brain.  We were fortunate we had the number one Specialist in that field of surgery.  The only repercussion is that Mary can’t smell anything, because all of those nerves were cut.  I was so afraid I would lose Mary, but God had mercy on me and spared her.  She’s my last sister, out of seven of us girls.

*     *     *     *     *

     If I’m thinking of Mary, I pray for her, sometimes calling her up.  She does the same thing for me.  When any major problem arises, we’re on the phone, praying together, just like we did with Mama.

     Mary’s hope in life is Jesus as her Savior and she prays constantly for herself and others.  If someone has a need, she’s right there, just like Mama was, to help.

     Now, in 2010, Mary has eight grandchildren, who she visits often.  She works Saturday and Sunday, on day-shift at a convalescent hospital in Oroville, only five minutes from her house.  She just had her seventy-third birthday.  In November 2009, she thought she had a heart attack and was all night in the hospital.  Tests show there is scar tissue from a heart attack, before, which was a surprise, but this one wasn’t a heart attack, and the doctor said she could go back to work.  She had been working on Friday, also, but the doctor told her to work two days a week, instead of three.  Her finances are still a problem and she is very weary, but she has a cat and a dog to keep her company.

     She loves working in her flower and vegetable gardens and has a green thumb.  Amaryllis with big beautiful flowers and orchids in her kitchen and front room is her latest craze for the last ten years.

     When I saw Macadamia Carmel Clusters at Costco and couldn’t afford to buy them, I was so upset at us almost losing our condo, which put us in such a bind financially.  The next week, when Mary phoned me, I told her – just sharing my sadness at my dire finances.  She sent me the money to buy the candy – she would give me her last penny, if it came to that.

     I’m so blessed to have her.

     Mary is amazing!  A wonderful sister!  Like my Mom!

 

Chapter 6

 

 

 

 

 

     “Jennifer’s Drowned”

 

     “Jennifer is at the bottom of the swimming hole, Myra!” my sister, Patty, screamed to me.  Patty was standing on the creek bank, looking down over the deep part of the water, right below her.  This is where we always dove into the water.

     We had run into our friends on the path, along the south side of the creek.

     “Where’s Jennifer?” one of them had asked me.  I looked at Patty.  Both of us were shaken.

     We were at the Big Chico Creek, between the One Mile and the Five Mile Dam swimming pools in Chico, California.  There were also swimming holes above the Five Mile with ropes tied to tree limbs, to swing out on and drop into the water, but it took a long time to walk way up there.

     Everyday, during the summer, we spent swimming at the creek.  It was July 1951.

     Jennifer was four-and-a-half years old.

     I had just turned eleven.  Patty would be nine after the summer.  Our sister, Mary, was fourteen.  She had not gone swimming with us.  My twin brother, Byron, was off swimming with the neighborhood boys, upstream.

     “Oh, my gosh!  Jennifer!”  I exclaimed, as Patty and I looked at each other and took off running back to the swimming hole.

     We had gone downstream, playing in the water, and searching for pollywogs, headed toward The One Mile, forgetting all about Jennifer.

     Our hope was that she was still playing in the middle of the stream where the shallow part was, a twenty-five square foot area.

     Jennifer didn’t know how to swim.  Five years old was the requirement to get free Red Cross swimming lessons.  Next summer was her turn.  We were very poor.  Mama couldn’t afford private swimming lessons.  Each one of us kids had anxiously awaited our turns to be five and get the free lessons.

     It took about five minutes for us to run back up the dirt road which was the path along the creek.  This was our favorite swimming hole to swim in.  It had a large shallow area, surrounding a deep drop that we would dive into from the bank of the creek.

     When we last saw Jennifer, she was playing in the very shallow area.

     “Where could she have gone to?” I queried, searching the far side of the creek bank bushes.

     Our hunt ended when Patty started to scream, “I can see Jennifer way down at the bottom of the swimming hole.”

     “Where?  I don’t see her,” I panted, as I ran up beside her to look down into the water.

     “Way down there,” she pointed, as she bent over the side to get a better look.

     “Jennifer’s not moving at ALL,” I exclaimed, as we craned our necks to see her, lying at the bottom.

     She was straight down at the deepest part of the swimming hole, where we would jump or dive in, to swim.

     The dirt road path was about fifteen feet from where we were standing.

     I became hysterical when I realized Jennifer was drowned.  I felt paralyzed.  It was like I had gone crazy, screaming at the top of my lungs.  I was so shook up that I couldn’t even go down to get Jennifer out of the water, so Patty had to.  She pulled her to the top.

     “Grab her arms, Myra!” Patty cried.

     I was shaking like a leaf as I made myself reach for Jennifer, pulling her out, as Patty pushed her up onto the creek bank.  Terror filled my being as I looked at her.

     “Her eyes look like a dead fish’s eyes that has been in the water a long time.  Look at those white things hanging off her eyes!”  I screeched.  “She’s drowned!”

     “She’s white as a ghost!” Patty interjected, climbing out of the water and sobbing, gasping loudly, as she tried to get her breath from going way down under water to get Jennifer and lugging her up from the bottom.  “Her skin looks like she was blown up like a balloon!” she whined, as she grabbed me to hug me.  We were both in shock and so afraid.  We had never seen anyone dead, let alone our little sister, lying there dead.

     I jerked away and ran over to path, still shrieking, leaving Patty a few feet away with Jennifer’s body.

     I screamed and screamed, jumping up and down, waiting for someone to come and help us.  Finally, a car came along with a man and a woman in it.  The lady’s door was closest to me.  She jumped out and rushed over to me, eyeing Jennifer’s body with Patty bent over her and weeping.

     “Stop screaming!” she yelled, grabbing a hold of my shoulders.  Her voice sounded as if I was far away from her or in a tunnel.  It seemed to echo.  She was shaking me.  Shaking me and hollering at me!  After a while, it DID make me stop screaming, to my surprise.  I was later told that I would have gone crazy if she hadn’t gotten me calmed down.

     “Jennifer’s drowned!” I sobbed to the lady.  She’s drowned.  It is all my fault.  We forgot about her and went downstream.  She was playing in the shallow end, where she always plays.  She must have gotten to where she couldn’t stand up.  She was unable to get back on the shallow part.  I can’t believe I forgot her,” I wept.

     The man had already gone over to Jennifer and Patty.

     “She’s dead,” he said with extreme sadness in his voice, like she was his own child.  “She must have been under the water for a long time, from the way her skin is.”

     “Please, go call the police,” the man said to the person in the first car that came along.  He had gone and stood in the middle of the dirt road, waving his arms up and down, when he saw the car coming, dust flying behind it.

     An ambulance arrived and took Jennifer to the hospital.

     “We’ll take you home,” the nice lady told Patty and me.

     “Show us how to get there,” the man said, as we all climbed into their car.

     *     *     *     *     *

     “Mommy, Jennifer drowned and the ambulance took her,” I wept.  “We were playing downstream.  I forgot all about her, Mommy,” I lamented.

     “It will be all right,” Mama consoled us, as she put her arm around me, and her other arm around Patty, trying to comfort her bawling daughters.  We put our arms around Mama from each side.

     “How can it be all right, Mama?” Patty wailed, through her sobs, as she looked up at Mama.  “They said Jennifer is dead.  She’s drowned!”

     “Everything will be okay,” Mama answered as she tried to soothe us.  “Jennifer is with Jesus.”

     Her saying this still didn’t seem to make me feel any better for the heavy guilt that hung over me like a big black cloud, ready to burst.

     “Thank you for helping Myra and Patty,” Mama said, looking up at the man and lady.  “It was nice of you to bring them home,” she continued, hardly getting it out.  I looked up to see the tears streaming down Mama’s cheeks.

     “It was good that we came along when we did,” the man said in a kind voice.  “I’m sorry she was under so long, or we might have been able to save her.”

     They left right as Phil and his son, Larry, came up.  I liked that Phil was our next-door neighbor, because he always watched out for Mama and us, ever since Byron Sr., our father, had gone to prison in 1947 for raping my older sister, Mary.  Phil was like our guardian angel.

     “What’s all of the crying about, Jenny?” he queried, his brow furrowing, as he frowned.

     “Jennifer’s…….drowned,” Mama sobbed, so broken up that she could hardly talk for Phil to understand her.  “My baby’s dead,” she wept, not being able to keep her composure any longer.  I just realized that Mama was only thirty-five years old when Jennifer drowned in 1947 - so young, compared to my being sixty-nine years old in 2010.

     “She’s drowned,” I whimpered, looking up at Phil from my secure hold on Mama.  “It’s all my fault.  MY fault!  I forgot about her.”

     “Now, now,” Phil encouraged in his wonderful soft voice, as he put his arms around Mama.  Patty and I were still clinging to her, too.  We were so torn up from this awful nightmare that we could hardly stand up.

     “Just lucky Phil is big and strong,” I said to myself, as he held our trembling, sobbing bodies, trying to calm us down.

     “What’s all the crying about?” Mary asked.  She had just arrived home, to see Phil holding all of us.

     More weeping ensued as we all tried to tell her what happened.

     “It’s my fault, Mama,” Mary wept.  “I should have been watching them.”

    “Granny is responsible for them, not you,” Mama averred.

     Later my twin, Byron, came home.  He never cried when he found out, holding it all in.  Boys weren’t supposed to cry.

     Granny, who was Mama’s mom, was the last of our family to know about Jennifer’s drowning.  Mama had brought Granny from her property in Alturas County to take care of us when Byron Sr. went to prison.  Granny always ran around town all day, collecting stuff for the Salvation Army for them to sell, so was very rarely home during sunlight hours.  Once, she had been in the crazy house for castrating her father, who had made her pregnant with Mama and Mama’s brother, Uncle Louie.  The last straw was when he made Mama pregnant at age 15 and he made her put her newborn baby boy up for adoption.  Anyway, Granny was not all there, from all of this dysfunction of her dad.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Stop it, Larry,” I giggled, whispering to him.  Then I glared at him.  He acted like he’d done nothing wrong.  Byron was sitting on the far side of him.  Patty was next to me.

     We were at Jennifer’s funeral.

     “Larry was Patty’s age and was always tormenting me with tickles in the ribs.  Having just done so, I jabbed him in the ribs with my elbow, as he defended with his arm.  I wanted to get up and kick him, but I restrained myself, so I wouldn’t make a bigger scene.

     “How dare you tickle me when I’m so sad!  I hate you!” I scorned in his ear.

     “Shh!” Mama leaned forward, looking past Patty, catching my eye.  She put her finger to her lips and pursed her mouth, admonishing my laughing and whispering loudly, making a scene.  People around me started glaring at me.

     “I feel so humiliated,” I frowned, sulking, and talking to myself.  “Here, people are staring at me.  They probably think that I think it’s funny that Jennifer is dead.  Why does Larry have to cut up now, at such a serious time?  It’s MY fault Jennifer is dead.  Why does he have to play around at a time like this?

     “It’s the worst day of my life.  I just want to die!  How could I be so terrible to forget about Jennifer and let her drown?  Why does something so terrible have to happen to me?

     “Why can’t I lean over right now and explain to Mama that Larry tickled me?” as I came back to why I’m in more duress than I already was.  “I am sadder than anyone else at this whole funeral.  I’ll never be happy again!

     “Jennifer was so beautiful when she was alive.  Her skin was so fair and her cheeks so round and red.  Now, her face and neck and hands are all white with powder on them, like that flour paste we make at school.  They made her look so terrible,” I repined, still talking to myself.

     “Her face is round just like Mama’s.  I love her hair.  It’s blonder than mine, almost white.  And so fine, like silk.

     “She was always playing without a care in the world.  Happy.   Singing.  School is starting in two months.  How excited Jennifer was that she was going to start to school.

     “‘How many days, now?’ she’d ask me everyday.  She loved Sunday School.  Now, she’ll never get to go to school or Sunday School.  How could she be any happier in Heaven?

     “Now she’s lying there.  Dead!  In that coffin!

     “Mama is crying so much.  I wish I could comfort her.  I wish she could understand that I am so very sorry that I forgot about Jennifer.”

*     *     *     *     *

     “Oh, it has a little white lamb on top,” I said to Mama.  “Jennifer would like it.”  I couldn’t stop my starting to cry again.

     “Jennifer Jean Wing,” Patty read through her sobs.

      “The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want,” Mary read, trying to control her emotions.

     Each of us was going to pieces.

     “Born October 7, 1946,” Mama continued, as her tears ran down her cheeks.  “Deceased July 3, 1951.”

     Byron, my twin, frowned, as he tried to show no emotion, as he wrung his hands.

    I felt like no one in our family would ever smile again.

     How can anyone hold so much sadness?  Would we ever get over Jennifer’s drowning at such a young age?

     No, we never have.

      When we would go to the cemetery to see her tombstone and grave, we would go through all of the discarded beautiful ribbons and bows which were thrown out after the flowers had wilted.

     We put them all on Jennifer’s grave to make it look pretty, because we knew that she would have liked them.

*     *     *     *     *

     “Help me!  Help me!” I screamed.  “I’m drowning.  Help me!”  I would scream myself awake.

     I had just had another nightmare of drowning.  They came often.

     A huge whirlpool in a big river was sucking me under and I was drowning.

     No one was there to save me.

     Worse nightmares came when each of my three children was born.  One of them was drowning, or I was there, drowning, too.

     My deepest fear was that one of them would drown when they reached four-and-a-half years old, which was how old Jennifer was, when she had drowned.  I was so glad when they were ALL past THAT age.

     My nightmares stopped in 1975, when I got the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I was thirty-five years old.  Jesus took the nightmares away.

     Jennifer’s drowning will always be as if it happened yesterday, though.  It’s like watching a rerun on TV.  So real!  So fresh!  And never goes away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HarperCollins Wrote

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is a tour de force of a memoir. It’s the powerful story of a girl called Myra who is born into a violent home – a world filled with incest, paedophilia and violence.

Gulick opens her story with a surreal, dreamlike sequence of a mother in labour on an icy lake. The story’s beginning, set before Myra’s earliest memories, has the feeling of a myth, slightly removed from reality. It’s the strange, dark prehistory of Myra’s life and a vivid opening to the book.

As the narrative of Myra’s life progresses, the author skilfully adapts her writing to match. The dark, surreal language of the pre-life era morphs imperceptibly into the sunny, childlike prose of Myra’s early years. In later years this becomes a clear, matter-of-fact style, occasionally harsh and grating, reflecting Myra’s adult life and the new hardships she faces. This is exceptional writing.

Myra’s upbringing is a compelling mix of sweet and sour. Her cheerfulness – which is only matched by the cheerfulness of her mother and siblings – coexists with the dark side of her heritage. Generations of incest, violence, paedophilia and infant mortality lie hidden beneath every idyllic sunny day. These elements threaten to explode at every twist of the tale – and sometimes do, with dark consequences.

The strength of this story is Susie’s likeability and strength. She inherits this, it seems, from generations of strong women before her, and passes it on to her children in the same way. It’s satisfying to see the dark past linked intensely and movingly with the present.

However, the deeply personal, self-contained nature of this story means it will not be taken under consideration for publication at this time.

Although the story is highly readable and genuinely endearing, this is Susie’s personal story. It can never be anyone else’s. For this reason, sadly, we will have to pass on it. But this should not, under any circumstances, put a damper on Susie’s writing, which is graceful, heart-warming and unique.

SusieGulick wrote 1252 days ago

I've begun reading Susie Guilick's "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not - Book I. Don't let the itemized list of tragedies in the pitch discourage you. Pitches are tough to write, especially for a modest author - simple advice to authors, avoid lists in the pitch. This is true for Susie Guilick, especially as the narrative in her memoir immediately transports readers to a wholly different mindset. The author's writing style is clean and engaging, and most important, accessible to readers across a spectrum of ages.

The memoir leans heavily on terrible events, which batter the lives of the characters. A reader wonders if everything in the memoir can be true. Realistically, the trials are all packed into a full, if not pleasant life. The challenges are like Job's labors and coping with them layer a Christian theme on the memoir. At first, I was a dissuaded by the emphasis on the love for Jesus, but again, the narrative is much deeper and the proclamation is necessary, for the sake of sanity and humanity in this memoir. Susie Guilick is a wonderful storyteller. The author catches the attention of the reader and holds it with a pattern of emotional "highs" and "lows."

Matthew Sawyer - author of the Pazuzu Trilogy
November, 2010



Dear Matthew,

I am so happy to hear from you & that you commented on my book. :) I notice that you have no books on your shelf. To back books: In "my news," click on author's name which will bring up their profile page, on which you scroll down & click on their book cover & title, which will bring up their book. :) Over to the right, you'll see ******-rating, so click on the right star & then click on "read the book" which will bring it to your bookshelf & you will see it. :) On top left of your screen, click "me" & it will bring you back to where you started. :) Let me know if I can help more. :)

With pleasure, I read, commented on, ******-rated, & put your book on watchlist, to back when space opens on my bookshelf. :)

I am totally amazed at your beautiful heartfelt review of my story which I wrote from my heart with a lot of crying, feelings, & prayer & the underlying message that God loves me in spite of myself & my bad choices. :)

Thank you so very much for taking all of the time for me & for your encouraging word & feedback. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. hope you ******-rated my book :) - every ******-ing & backing moves our books closer to the editor's desk :)

Hunter A wrote 1310 days ago

This particular quick review will not address editing, the nature of foreshadowing used at the end of each chapter or the use of capitalizations for emphasis (after all, who am I to say?).
He Love Me, He Loves Me Not--a Memior by Susie Gulick
This work of 134,000 plus words is a remarkable piece of work in my view for a number of reasons. First, it is mostly done in dialog--it is astounding recall by the author, it quickly brings the reader into hard human life in America--so hard, and it is non-stop. I question whether I can possibly do it justice. The answer is that I cannot, however, I will attempt to capture the book(s) as best that I can.
It is a story of human life, human tragedy, human mistakes and inhuman people close to her. It is a story of one's search for joy against a stereotype perhaps formed early in life out of neccessity--I will not decipher this element any more than that. It was as if every time there was a little bit of happiness or joy for the children early in the memoir, something terrible would rise up to claim it away. For me it was a study of a family who had virtually nothing in the forties and fifties but most somehow managed to survive and at least grow into better physical surroundings--but emotionally were being injured on meeting new people (or employers) and the pain although a different kind, did not stop. The sixties in my view is a glimpse into the so-called sexual revolution many people participated in I suppose, and the author relates the era in such a way that many of us may interpret as cold and best forgotten.
Toward the eighties, nineties and through today, the reader can feel the history of this person and how it still affects her--when inhuman actions are taken against another, there are always lasting effects and I sense that here. It is a labor intensive work and I admire the author for sticking to it. It is easy to cry in chapter one and nurse a headache for the confused actions being revealed in later chapters.
I highly recommend the book. My preference would be to combine it all into one and use the richness of the prose in book two in one title--but that's just me and again, I am hardly qualified to fully appreciate the all this author has given us--she does give us everything.

Hunter Ayers
September, 2010

SusieGulick wrote 1358 days ago

To Suzie Q

Firstly can I apologise for my late response to you and a considerable number of other Authonomy writers. Unfortunately - when duty calls and all that jazz1
I'm truly bowled over by your comments on my book, The Contractor. To have you describe it as the 'best one on Authonomy' gives my confidence a terrific boost and I'm sure you can understand the need for confidence. I'm planning a sequel to The Contractor which is where confidence is needed as I'm finding it even more difficult to write than The Contractor. Here's me thinking it would be easier. The Contractor has taken me over two years and I know I have a load of work yet to do..

For someone only 5' tall, you sure pack a real punch with your writing lady. I'm going to admit to something on paper that I would not do on a face to face interview. When I read some of the passages in your books, I had a lump in my throat and for that to happen to me takes a lot of doing.

It's not fashionable these days to carry your love of Jesus Christ as open as you do, but it's something I admire.
Some people will tell you that they only turned to Jesus, many soldiers included, when badly wounded or when all appeared to be lost.

I'm delighted to back you ten times over and that's because I 'm sure I'm backing at least one 'best seller.'

Frank James (The Contractor)



Dear James,

I am so happy that you took the time for me, to read, back, & comment on my memoir book, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not." :)

I loved your book & know that you will do well on your next one. :)

From my heart, I wrote my story with a lot of tears, feelings, & prayter - God loves me in spite of myself & my bad choices - & I never give up. :)

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind reflections. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. Hope you'll take a moment to back my other memoir book, "Tell Me True Love Stories." :) Thanks. :)

JohnnyVee wrote 1365 days ago

Came to read your two books as requested and got merrily slapped in the face and dragged inside. My wholly positive comment and eager backing are the same for both books. Memoirs, or even `tales` of human living and suffering will always engage readers because it is good `story` which matters; and you have suffering (good story) in droves. To that end, you’re already off to a flying start. But that’s not the main player here. It’s your wonderful voice. You carry a certain fresh naivety in your tone which captivates - and I mean that in a completely positive way. A naivety which grips reader and pulls him through the `story` - the `suffering` - It’s a page turner. Good luck with this!

Jane Law wrote 271 days ago

Hi I just read up to Chap13. Your book begins well but then it becomes kinds repetitive. I decided it was because it lacks humour and you don't show much insight into what's going on. Can't quite put my finger on it but left me feeling very dissatisfied with the writer. Sorry but that's me being honest. Jane

ibholdvictory wrote 668 days ago

Touching Account, Bet this book will inspire and strengthen your readers. God Loves you more.

ibholdvictory wrote 668 days ago

Touching Account, Bet this book will inspire and strengthen your readers. God Loves you more.

strachan gordon wrote 973 days ago

I must say I found this tremendously sad reading , to the extent that it was very difficult to finish the first chapter.But , of course , it is amazing that you are still here . I dont know as yet whether you have found your Knight in Shining Armour. I don't know if you have the time , but I wonder if you would be able to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' , which is about Pirates in the 17th century , with best wishes , Strachan Gordon

John Doney wrote 988 days ago

I haven't been on here for a while due to other things and just read what Harper Collins wrote about your book. What they've said is very true but one thing they haven't added is how brave you are to have done it. It takes a lot for someone to expose their life like this. I've been writing another book that documents my adventures over the last year and some things are hard to write about and within your book you've tackled a lot of complicated things and I just wanted to say how proud you should feel of being voted by everybody and getting to the top slot on this site.
I hope somewhere will find this book and help you get your story told to even more people.
All the best, John.

John Doney wrote 988 days ago

I haven't been on here for a while due to other things and just read what Harper Collins wrote about your book. What they've said is very true but one thing they haven't added is how brave you are to have done it. It takes a lot for someone to expose their life like this. I've been writing another book that documents my adventures over the last year and some things are hard to write about and within your book you've tackled a lot of complicated things and I just wanted to say how proud you should feel of being voted by everybody and getting to the top slot on this site.
I hope somewhere will find this book and help you get your story told to even more people.
All the best, John.

Cheri Moffitt wrote 1074 days ago

What a wild ride this one is!! I just tore through six chapters and look forward to coming back for more...

SusieGulick wrote 1103 days ago

So in other words, real stories no too personal too close to the bone forget it... we go for the garbage..
Good stuff Susie this site is crap and there is no reason to aim for the editor's desk.
A dog could give a better review ~



Dear John,

Afterthought on my response to your comment on my memoirs/testimony book, "He Loves Me" is that I was only wanting their review and was not trying to get published by HarperCollins because, what is the statistics on what I heard that they have only published 7 books since authonomy has been on the web for 3 years? :) I am totally pleased that God gave me grace, mercy, & favor in their sight & gave me a wonderful review - better than I ever dreamt or imagined. :)

I am still extremely sick as I'm sure you've read on my profile page & am only answering messages, so barely on authonomy. :) I'm not able to finish my 2nd book, "Bible Verse Songs" which I put on authonomy 3-1-11 that I'd been writing down Bible verses over the past year that have been put to song & I made it like a hymnal :) - Campus Crusade & Youth For Christ, when I was growing up had a similar booklet with choruses' words without the music. :) It has gone from 4080 to 2075 from the editor's desk. :)

Love, Susie :)

SusieGulick wrote 1113 days ago

So in other words, real stories no too personal too close to the bone forget it... we go for the garbage..
Good stuff Susie this site is crap and there is no reason to aim for the editor's desk.
A dog could give a better review ~



Dear John,

Thank you for taking the time for me & sending me your comment on "He Loves Me." :) To be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk was my last goal because I've achieved all my other goals & am now old & sick which I'm sure you've read in my profile page, with my only strength being in the Lord. :)

I just re-read your submission & was again thankful that I don't work in mines & have the same conclusion that I'd try to escape. :) I also checked to be sure that I had gold-******-rated your book. :)

Thanks again. :)

Love, Susie :)

polymatrixdragon wrote 1113 days ago

So in other words, real stories no too personal too close to the bone forget it... we go for the garbage..
Good stuff Susie this site is crap and there is no reason to aim for the editor's desk.
A dog could give a better review ~

SusieGulick wrote 1113 days ago

Hi Susie
Havn't been on the site in a while but delighted to see you got a review but equally sad that they didn't want to publish. I think you should go to a publisher who specialises in 'misery memoirs' now you have a good review under your belt. Don't stop now xx



Dear Christine,

It is so nice of you to take the time to send me your best wishes. :)

I went to your page & don't see your book - did you get it published? :) It's not there.

I notice you have my "He Loves Me" memoirs/testimony book on your shelf. :)

Hope you'll put my new book, "Bible Verse Songs" on your shelf, too. :) I put it on authonomy 3-1-11. :)

Thanks so much for writing to me. :)

Love, Susie :)

indigoadventures wrote 1113 days ago

Hi Susie
Havn't been on the site in a while but delighted to see you got a review but equally sad that they didn't want to publish. I think you should go to a publisher who specialises in 'misery memoirs' now you have a good review under your belt. Don't stop now xx

SusieGulick wrote 1114 days ago

I can't imagine a comment from a so-called professional reviewer being less relevant and as entirely useless and unhelpful as that! It's an absolute disgrace and makes me feel genuinely sorry for all the time and effort that you put into the writing and the process of getting to the Ed's desk. If anything proves how wasteful and heartbreaking this actually can turn out to be, then this is it! Shame on HP and their miserable, blinkered and narrow-minded staff!



Dear Vanessa,

Thank you for taking the time for me. :)

God bless you. :)

Love, Susie :)

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1114 days ago

I can't imagine a comment from a so-called professional reviewer being less relevant and as entirely useless and unhelpful as that! It's an absolute disgrace and makes me feel genuinely sorry for all the time and effort that you put into the writing and the process of getting to the Ed's desk. If anything proves how wasteful and heartbreaking this actually can turn out to be, then this is it! Shame on HP and their miserable, blinkered and narrow-minded staff!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1114 days ago

Greetings, thankyou for making your HC review public. I read it with great interest. You worked hard to get that review.

My observation on the review is this: I am puzzled why the reviewer concludes that the personal nature of your story precludes it from publication. It is after all a personal recollection, so clearly it is self-contained and no one else's story. That is the nature of all biography and all of HC's True Life brand is it not?

I sincerely hope their comments on your story and writing style may help you to arouse interest elsewhere.

Ron Askew

SusieGulick wrote 1126 days ago

The sensitivity of the mother was beautiful. Their poverty tragic as was their fear of Byron Sr. This was unbelievability good writing and raw and real and... did I say good? This was so smooth and flowed so well - your talent is obvious.
The only part I'd criticize, if I were forced to find something, would be the dialogue when Byron was lost in ch 1. It didn't seem as natural as it did everywhere else.
Oh, and I love the songs and her sayings are great.
I've read through chapter - whew those are long chapters. Great hook for the end of ch 2.
- lisa



Dear Lisa,

It was so nice of you to read & back my memoirs/testimony book. :) It was chosen on the editor's desk March 1, 2011, but my other book, "Bible Verse Songs" is 2813 from the editor's desk if you could back it for me instead. :)

You are amazing that you commented on, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not," too. :) Thank you for your encouraging words & suggestions. :) I appreciate your taking the time for me. :)

Love, Susie :)

lterry wrote 1126 days ago

The sensitivity of the mother was beautiful. Their poverty tragic as was their fear of Byron Sr. This was unbelievability good writing and raw and real and... did I say good? This was so smooth and flowed so well - your talent is obvious.
The only part I'd criticize, if I were forced to find something, would be the dialogue when Byron was lost in ch 1. It didn't seem as natural as it did everywhere else.
Oh, and I love the songs and her sayings are great.
I've read through chapter - whew those are long chapters. Great hook for the end of ch 2.
- lisa

SusieGulick wrote 1139 days ago

did HC Publish your work?

Andrew Doyle



Dear Andrew,

Thanks so much for your help & caring. :) I am backing books in order, so I will come to yours, in case you are wondering. :)

It takes about a month for authonomy to review books after they are chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk & that's all it is - they read the 1st 10,000 words & give a review. :) Someone told me that they have only published 6 books since they started almost 3 years ago, any chances are totally slim, but I really did want the review because I have nothing else to live for & it was my last goal, because I'm so sick & I am only still going with God's strength. :) I did put my new book, "Bible Verse Songs" on because it was a snap since I had been started the list ages ago & kept adding & still am & just needed to enter them, but authonomy made me rewrite it twice & hopefully it's acceptable, but it's just the Bible verses & stanzas & not the song words - I was just trying to bless people around the world that know the songs, many since I was little, but don't know the references, so could look them up or sing from the ones I remembered. :)

Love, Susie :)

andrew DOYLE wrote 1139 days ago

did HC Publish your work?

Andrew Doyle

SusieGulick wrote 1143 days ago

I really like your story's premise and the intensity of all the trauma as well as the inspiration and motivation that emerges as a result of it. well done!



Dear Arlynn,

It's so nice of you taking the time to comment on my memoirs/testimony book, "He Loves Me." :) Thank you for your most encouraging word. :)

I put a 2nd book on authonomy 2 days ago, "Bible Songs," if you want to look at it, too. :)

I was totally blessed reading your 2 books & have gold ******-rated, read, commented on them. :)

Love, Susie :)

Kairi wrote 1143 days ago

I really like your story's premise and the intensity of all the trauma as well as the inspiration and motivation that emerges as a result of it. well done!

SusieGulick wrote 1143 days ago

Hello Susie, This is written with a great deal of courage and heart and I wish you every success with it. I have placed it on my shelf with a high star rating.
If you can find the time, I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at either of my two books. Thank you.

Phyllis
PAPER DREAMS & A PASSING STORM



Dear Phyllis,

It was so nice of you to ******, back & comment on my book, "He Loves Me" - I just put another book on, "Bible Songs" & hope you'll ****** & back it, too. :)

With pleasure I read & commented on your 1st book, "A Passing Storm" 254 days ago & just read & commented on your delightful Katie story, "Paper Dreams" & am hoping for a happy ending. :) I have also gold ******-rated both of your books. :)

Love, Susie :)

SusieGulick wrote 1143 days ago

Sussie, I have read a few chapters of your book and find your story engaging and well written. Keep it up and congratulations.
Matthew Uzukwu, author of Women of Steel.



Dear Matthew,

I am so happy to hear from you & that you backed & commented on my memoirs/testimony book, "He Loves Me." :)

With pleasure, I read & commented on your heart-rending story of the southeastern Nigerian women & love that you have share it with the world :) - I had no idea anything like this happened, so I am most thankful for your sharing. :)

I have a new book, "Bible Songs How I Remember Them," if you want to ****** & back it. :) Thank you. :)

Love, Susie :)

andrew DOYLE wrote 1144 days ago

Suzie,
I have just purchased my first copy of The Lost Monks of Avalon.....

after all the anguish, trials and tribulations, and of course some negativity from some, but not all...

http://sbpra.com/andrewdaviddoyle

Andrew David Doyle

Bridget Dunn wrote 1145 days ago

Congrats on making the ED. If anyone deserves to have their story in print, it is you. I hope it all works out for you.

Bridget

Concettah wrote 1146 days ago

Congratulations on being selected Susie :) best of luck to you! God Bless.
Concetta

SusieGulick wrote 1147 days ago

Hello Susie, This is written with a great deal of courage and heart and I wish you every success with it. I have placed it on my shelf with a high star rating.
If you can find the time, I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at either of my two books. Thank you.

Phyllis
PAPER DREAMS & A PASSING STORM



Dear Phyllis,

Thank you so very much for taking the time for me & for gold ******-rating & backing & commenting on my memoirs/testimony book. :) Yes, I wrote my true story from my heart with a lot of emotions & prayer & with the underlying thread that God loves me in spite of myself. :)

I will be reading & commenting on your book this week & backing it when space opens on my bookshelf. :)

Love, Susie :)

SusieGulick wrote 1147 days ago

As I am new to commenting on this site, I wanted to read some of the top rated books. I am sorry but I read your book to Chapter 6, and where I am sure people find the content shocking or moving, this is a writers' site. The writing is in my opinion rather poor and stilted, and is all content and no style. However, you have worked well to reach the desk. Good luck.



Dear Judge Jeffreys,

Thank you for taking the time for my true life verbatim story. :)

Love, Susie :)

Judge Jeffreys wrote 1147 days ago

As I am new to commenting on this site, I wanted to read some of the top rated books. I am sorry but I read your book to Chapter 6, and where I am sure people find the content shocking or moving, this is a writers' site. The writing is in my opinion rather poor and stilted, and is all content and no style. However, you have worked well to reach the desk. Good luck.

Phyllis Burton wrote 1147 days ago

Hello Susie, This is written with a great deal of courage and heart and I wish you every success with it. I have placed it on my shelf with a high star rating.
If you can find the time, I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at either of my two books. Thank you.

Phyllis
PAPER DREAMS & A PASSING STORM

Amobi wrote 1147 days ago

Sussie, I have read a few chapters of your book and find your story engaging and well written. Keep it up and congratulations.
Matthew Uzukwu, author of Women of Steel.

Amobi wrote 1147 days ago

I have read a few chapters and find the story engaging and well written. Congratulations.
Matthew.

marcoslee wrote 1148 days ago

Congratulations, Susie, you're amazing. You've told your story from the heart, like everything else you say and do, have persisted and won over the whole community. And, thanks for being into Revolution or Extinction. Mark Lee Krangle

SusieGulick wrote 1148 days ago

I only read the first three chapters of books on this site as there are so many to comment on.

You write good dialog and that the characters speak with their own voice; that the prose is well structured.

However, I found that you repeated and over used certain words. For example, you use the word 'Shack' three times the first paragraph and a half and over use such phrases as 'he answered' and 'he said'.

Pace felt a little quick. I was looking for more description and a little more 'show' than 'tell' ; some space for the characters to breathe also

Also, like many books on here after three chapters I should have a sense of the story and I don't. You are obviously talented with a concise style but this should serve the story/narrative which is central.

There's a good book in here but it needs puffing up and editing a little.

Good luck



Dear R.J.,

I am so happy to hear from you & that you commented on my memoirs/testimony book :) - if you backed it, it didn't come through - could you please try again because I have been trying for almost a year to be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk & was #4 on 1-1-11, but 2 people passed me, pushing me out to #6, so I didn't get chosen January 31 - I am now #1 & need a lot of backings to anchor me in so that I don't slide out again & so that I can be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk February 28. :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. :)

With pleasure, I spent a long time reading & commenting on your adventurous Jacob & Angelika story. :) I hope you will write many more exciting books. :)

I have also gold ******-rated your book :) - could you please ****** & back my memoirs/testimony book in return? :)

It was so very nice of you to take the time for me & to send me all of your feedback :) - I really appreciate it :) - I think I have an editor & publisher, now, because I am so very ill to do anything on it, as you probably read on my profile page & my last goal in life is to be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk. :)

I would really appreciate your help. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. every ******-ing moves our books up authonomy's lists, as does backing more than 24 hours & the longer on our bookshelves, the more they move up, per authonomy's new rules 2010 :) - on your profile page in "my news," click on author's name & when their profile page comes up, scroll down & click on their book cover or title & their book will come up & over to the right is "my rating" with 6 silver ******-s under & if your click the far right *, they will all turn gold, then, click on "back the book"

SusieGulick wrote 1148 days ago

Your story is one of sorrow but I can see that through your love of God you have grown as a person. Your book will definitely make the editor's desk and I will back this book until you succeed. Thank you for commenting on my book also. I look forward to more of your work, and hope that you book will be published :)



Dear Andrew,

I am so happy to hear from you & that you commented on & backed my memoirs/testimony book :) - you're wonderful to keep it on your shelf to help me. :)

With pleasure, I read & commented on your honest-to-God view of the world. :) You make me smile. :)

I have also gold ******-rated your book :) - could you please ****** & back my memoirs/testimony book, too? :)

Thank you so much very much for taking the time for me & for your encouraging me in the Lord. :) Yes, a lot of tears went into my true story with underlying thread that God loves me in spite of myself :) - he loves much who is forgiven much. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. try to get another fast moving green arrow book in your open space of your shelf so that your book will move even faster to the editor's desk - don't choose red arrows or they'll bring you down - unless, of course, mine gets a red arrow - I'll be screaming, "help!!" & be able to be heard all the way to China :)

SusieGulick wrote 1148 days ago

I love the way Susie hits the reader straight between the eyes: Yes! I got raped! Was that the price of dinner? (Chp15). A story that might exhaust more delicate readers with its relentless energy and drama.



Dear Phil,

It is so nice of you to comment on my memoirs/testimony book. :) It was extremely traumatic to write my true story, which I wrote in 1997 & then kept re-writing & lots more emotions each time, through a lot of writing seminars & writing classes until I finally finished a year ago & got it on authonomy. :) I'm so glad that I have not given up when I'm so ill & am finally from of 6000 away from the editor's desk to #1 & I'll happier if I can stay in the top 5 to be chosen February 28. :) It's from my reading & commenting on thousands of books when it's hard to even sit here, but God helped me & I've almost made it, hopefully. :)

Thank you for taking the time for me & for giving me such high encouraging words. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. Why not try to add 3 fast moving green arrow books onto your bookshelf, so you'll go from #4045 red arrow to green arrows & to #1 :) - I've seen within a month, like Malika who is on my bookshelf :) - she was #1083 on 2-2-11 &is now #28, only 24 days later. :)

kcwilson wrote 1149 days ago

"She rushed about in a dither!"

I fell into this story right away and felt comfortable with the narrator until this sentence struck me as one that foreshadowed chattiness, maybe, or some form of excess over economy. Just a little flare went up in my mind, that's all. But it made me realize that anyone reading your story to the end must make a commitment. You require that of a reader and that kind of confidence is hard to turn away from. But the end of your life story is a long way off and before I commit to reading about you from the time you were born, maybe you could ease me into the tale with a little introduction. It's just my initial feeling that your narrator is wound up tighter than Dick's hatband and trying hard not to sound other than spontaneous. That pitch-perfect volubility may prove difficult to sustain. I think it's all a matter of striking the right tone and then modulating the pacing. If it gets too frantic to read out loud, it's going too fast. That's true for me, anyway. I'm no expert at pacing. But I've not yet committed to reading your whole life story. I am reading on, however. With pleasure.

Gregg A Granger wrote 1149 days ago

"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" is a treasure. I finished chapter 2, and will continue as time permits. I'm hooked.
Gregg Granger - Author of Sailing Faith: The Long Way Home

IlyaKralinsky wrote 1149 days ago

In honoring your request to read your work, I will admit you've created quite the controversy and publicity, so your promotional skills are par excellence. In reading the work, your locales are interesting, your characters came through, but here are my key points of contention:

See if you can't recraft some of your prose to get out of passive voice. This was/were for everything tends to jump out and slow things down in the worst way. We're competing with Internet, movies and television for the collective attention of an audience, and we're losing precisely because too many writers are unwilling to let go of, or recraft, a slowed-down voice that, while seemingly natural, can really get a reader to put down a book.

Point Two: Overdone Dialogue. Exclamation points after everything stands out and dissuades a reader from continuing. One of the big abilities in mastering dialogue comes from being able to convey tone and mood from word choice. This is simply a practiced skill that arrives from a cognizance that it has to be mastered.

Point Three: a tendency to describe dialogue as it happens is another sign the author feels a weakness is conveying tone and mood through dialogue, and readers do pick up on this. He exclaimed, she sang -- more precise verbs are fantastic for general narrative, but offering this variety of desriptive verbs after nearly every line of dialogue can grow trite.

Point Four: First Person Voice and Its Pitfalls: It took me a bit to catch onto the first person voice, but it comes across even after presenting what seems a third person omniscient voice. First person is one of those points of view that many beginning writers feel frees them to express any string of drivel in any amount they wish with any words that pop off the tops of their heads. This is untrue. In The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner uses first person to highlight unique voices and tell his story in the way a third person narrator could never possibly do, heightening the art of what he did and creating a new paradigm in literature art in several ways. It seems if something could be told in third person, do it; if it must be in first person, the voice must be unique enough to move the story in a direction and lend dimension it ordinarily would not have. Moreover, when writing with this unique voice in first person, the writing still has to be clean and move forward in some measurable degree; first person does not provide justification for stream-of-consciousness without defined storyline. This mistake is most commonly committed by a reader largely uninitiated in the subtle nuance of literary work who cannot spot the elements that make it noteworthy.

Otherwise, you have a genuine piece of work here, formatted like a real book, that tells a story. Good luck to you.

RJU74 wrote 1149 days ago

I only read the first three chapters of books on this site as there are so many to comment on.

You write good dialog and that the characters speak with their own voice; that the prose is well structured.

However, I found that you repeated and over used certain words. For example, you use the word 'Shack' three times the first paragraph and a half and over use such phrases as 'he answered' and 'he said'.

Pace felt a little quick. I was looking for more description and a little more 'show' than 'tell' ; some space for the characters to breathe also

Also, like many books on here after three chapters I should have a sense of the story and I don't. You are obviously talented with a concise style but this should serve the story/narrative which is central.

There's a good book in here but it needs puffing up and editing a little.

Good luck

Andrew Keeton wrote 1149 days ago

Your story is one of sorrow but I can see that through your love of God you have grown as a person. Your book will definitely make the editor's desk and I will back this book until you succeed. Thank you for commenting on my book also. I look forward to more of your work, and hope that you book will be published :)

SusieGulick wrote 1150 days ago

Hi SuzieQ,

Four more days, then all that hard work will be rewarded. Editor's desk here you come!

John (Jnortonpa)



O, I love you, John. :) You made me laugh. :) I'm still smiling ear to ear. :) Yes, 3 day & 20 hours. :) I'm still not going to be presumptuous & kill myself keep on keeping on. :) If you read my updated profile page, I was sure I was going to die yesterday & got so sad I'd not live to Feb. 28 to see if I'd be chosen, but God was merciful & I'm still here & still symptoms, but not as bad :) - but God is my joy. :) PLUS JOHN :) - YOU'RE THE GREATEST. :) You're going to have a kazillion stars in your crown. :)

Love, Susie :)

jnortonpa wrote 1150 days ago

Hi SuzieQ,

Four more days, then all that hard work will be rewarded. Editor's desk here you come!

John (Jnortonpa)

Ham4you wrote 1150 days ago

I've only been through the first few chapters. WOW! My heart is aching! Abuse was not recognized back in the days. I can't wait to dive in and read more. This weekend I will be reading "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not." Thanks Susie Gullick for sharing this with us.

Melisa
"Twenty Weeks"

Constantine00 wrote 1150 days ago

Hello! I found your book and have begun reading it. I have placed it on my book shelf also

Sirius wrote 1150 days ago

I love the way Susie hits the reader straight between the eyes: Yes! I got raped! Was that the price of dinner? (Chp15). A story that might exhaust more delicate readers with its relentless energy and drama.

SusieGulick wrote 1151 days ago

Always good to see someone who can stay positive despite the many stumblingblocks in their past. Glad to see what you have overcome as it shows me the power of God. Stay Positive Susie!



Dear Benjamin,

I am so happy to hear from you & that you gold ******-rated, backed, & commented on my memoirs/testimony book :) - could you please keep my book on your bookshelf to help me, after my trying for almost a year to be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk? :) I was #4 on 1-1-11 & 2 people passed me up, pushing me out to #6, so I didn't get chosen in the top 5 January 31 - I am now #1 & need lots of backings to hold me in so that I don't slide out again & so that I will be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk February 28 which is 5 days from now. :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. :)

With pleasure, I gold ******-rated, read, & commented on your realistic antichrist story :) - just hope I'm not around for it. :) Totally timely because our Joyful Life Women's Bible study at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa California is studying Revelation & also I've read the New Testament much more than 200 xs & get more each time. :)

It was so nice of you to take the time for me & to encourage me in the Lord & I have ever only been told that I was "special" once before in my life & that was about 30 years ago :) - I have always done my best & my boss told me one day, "you're special" & now you have. :) It makes it feel all worthwhile, even though I know my rewards are from the Lord. :) Anyway, you sure made my day, week, years, even!! :) Yes, with God's love & strength, I'm still going with my eye on Him to hold me up :) - I guess you've read my profile page. :)

Love, Susie :)
p.s. every ******-ing moves our books up authonomy's lists, as does backing more than 24 hours & the longer on our bookshelves, the more they move up, per authonomy's new rules :)

Solomon2010 wrote 1151 days ago

Always good to see someone who can stay positive despite the many stumblingblocks in their past. Glad to see what you have overcome as it shows me the power of God. Stay Positive Susie!

SusieGulick wrote 1152 days ago

Hi Susie, hope it doesn't seem to soon to say congrats!! So glad to see that you are accomplishing your goal. I had your book up all month and just recently took it down, as I feel you are now a shoe in to the ED. Prayers are still with you from my heart concerning all of your present trials. Continue to live, and not die!! God is able to perform all things through christ who strenghtens us....



Dear Danielle,

It is so nice of you to have kept my memoirs/testimony book on your bookshelf for so long. :) I need your backing more than ever to anchor me into the top 5 of the editor's desk so that I don't slide out again the way I did last month - I was #4 on 1-1-11 & 2 people passed me, pushing me out to #6, so I didn't get chosen January 31 - now I'm #1 & need lots of backing to hold me in so that I don't go out of the top 5 & so that I can be chosen in the top 5 of the editor's desk February. :) It's crucial - Jim who got chosen last month, it happened to him in December & he finally got chosen. :) Please help me :) - it's only 5 more days. :) I would be ever so grateful. :)

Love, Susie :)

tree of life wrote 1152 days ago

Hi Susie, hope it doesn't seem to soon to say congrats!! So glad to see that you are accomplishing your goal. I had your book up all month and just recently took it down, as I feel you are now a shoe in to the ED. Prayers are still with you from my heart concerning all of your present trials. Continue to live, and not die!! God is able to perform all things through christ who strenghtens us....