This is George.......George is bored..........George would like to take a nap.......NOT a photo.
My poor kitty was just not in the mood to cooperate with my photo taking efforts. All I wanted was to record his amazing handsomeness but he simply couldn't bring himself to pose.
I'm falling in love with the new 'Notes' stamp from Elle's Studio. The only thing that would make it better is a punch to match.
I must admit that I was pretty proud of my 'check box' style journaling. Yep, made me grin. My hubs just laughed at me and my proud self.
And have you tried coloring those gorgeous little Studio Calico wood veneer birds??? Makes me sooo happy. I am going to have to color a whole flock of them now. I love them sooo.
Well, before I share story, I have to tell you that I have some happy news that I can't wait, but must wait, to share with you. Two bits actually and, well, I can hardly wait........and it's pretty happy! Just sayin. Had to let a little something out or I may have burst.
Celia and I had an interesting relationship, as I shared yesterday. But, as with everything, there was a lot of good as well. The best things had to do with exploring the woods near our homes. In the early 80's, kids still played out of doors without adult supervision. We used to travel miles from home on our bikes or on foot during the summer.
We both lived in wooded areas, so that was a favorite haunt. One of the unique things about the state of Florida is that there are a variety of different types of terrain. Celia lived on the outskirts of Crystal River. A lot of the land there is marshy, followed by tropical and junglesque (is that a word??), followed by pine forest.
In Homosassa Springs, the land falls more toward the pine forest, bordered by Live Oak and Oak forest and lots and lots of sugar sand.
Both of those options provided lots of places to explore. Thickets of small trees became forts and hide-outs. I'm not sure I can count the number of snakes we nearly stepped in, or the number of sink-holes that could have swallowed us. Or the sugar sand pits that could have covered us. Yes, we ran into angry wild boars, angry alligators and every kind of poisonous bug and plant you can imagine.
Mother's today would have heart failure at the things we did.
I can remember climbing to the top of what must have been a forty foot pine tree to a hunter's lookout on more than one occasion. (I don't believe we mentioned that to Mother (Celia's mom) Nor did we mention that it was rickety and old and very ready to fall down)
Or how about the times we got lost right before dark and simply plowed our way through tangles of briars and thickets. I had a 'feel' for direction and as long as we were desperate enough and I was crying enough, my inner homing device would kick in and we'd end up back at home, if a little scratched and bloody.
And then there was the old burnt down house. Well, it wasn't burned all the way down, the second floor was still there, and yes, we played in it. And 'The Pit' which was an old abandoned gravel pit. They'd abandoned it because it developed sink holes that were extremely deep and began with narrow holes on the grounds surface. At least one child was killed from falling in one of those shafts, but it was still our playground.
But as all good things seem to come to an end, our adventures did too. This may be the most frightening of all of my experiences and the one that left the most identifiable and lasting mark for me.
One day, Celia and I were riding bikes. We'd decided we wanted to explore a new road we'd seen while riding with her parents. We headed out of her neighborhood, Celia in the lead, and onto Hwy 44. As we were turning left onto the two lane road, I noticed a rather loud older car turn into Celia's street. It was a vague sort of 'noticing'.
We continued on our way, turning right down the street we'd intended to explore. It was rather a dark road, having very tall trees on either side and the feeling of a very dense avenue. The surrounding land was thick jungle. We had gone perhaps a quarter of a mile when I heard a loud engine behind us. I turned and saw the same older model, loud vehicle I'd seen turning into her street just minutes before.
Somehow, I knew that car was coming for us.
It so happened that there was a garden party going on at a home just then and so we stopped in front of it. Lots of people were about and the offending car zoomed by. But Celia and I were scared now. Not knowing what was best, we made a snap decision to head back home.
We pedaled hard for home and I would guess we'd been en route about 2 minutes when we heard the car again. My heart is pounding even now as I type out these words. The sound of that car roaring up behind us was like the screeching of a crazed wild-cat to our frightened hearts.
We turned onto the highway and pedaled harder still! Just as Celia came to her street, the car swerved to a stop directly in front of her! The driver leapt from his side of the car, ran around the car and ripped Celia from her bike!
Only the day before she'd made a weapon of sorts for herself out a thin piece of metal. It was a thin metal dowel which she'd sharpened on the end. She was trying to use it to protect herself but the perpetrator easily snatched it from her hands and threw it to the side. He dragged her off of her bike and pitched her savagely into the car, breathing threats all the while.
I was 200 yards back, having stopped my bike in front of a small, lonely salon. There I stood, rooted to the spot screaming and crying and watching helplessly as he sped away.
Gathering my wits about me, I frantically waved down the next car that came by and begged them to chase him, telling the cars occupants what had occurred. They asked me to join them in their car, but of course, I would not. (I am still grateful for their understanding and quick response.)
The salon proprietor rushed out to see what was the matter and again, I reported what had happened. The police were called and soon arrived on the scene. They questioned me again and again as to what had happened and I did my best to relay what had happened.
The car I'd flagged down had indeed, followed the perp, and obtained his license plate number, a better description of the vehicle and an idea of his direction and had then stopped to call the police and report on those items.
Within two hours, the police apprehended the man, as he returned down the same road he'd abducted Celia on. She was still in the car and he had promised her that he'd return her to her home. But the damage had already been done. He'd raped her, threatened her life and had scarred us both forever.
In the aftermath, we were questioned by police in a manner that demonstrated that, for their part, they thought we were somehow inviting the attack. I distinctly remember feeling like I'd been accused of trying to prostitute myself. An 11 year old on a bicycle. It was a rude awakening.
Celia never wanted to talk about what had happened. Her shame was complete and I was instructed that I could not share about what had happened at school in any way.
Any needs I had were completely ignored. No counseling for trauma was offered. But more trauma was delivered in the form of having to testify to what had happened while being questioned by an unsympathetic attorney. I still marvel that we, mere children, were somehow treated as though we were the criminals.
It was especially alarming since we later learned that the police had already been on the look out for this man who've tried to accost two other women that same afternoon. Why they seemed to be accusing us of causing him to come after us is still a mystery to me.
When I tried to talk to my father about the experience, he advised me to be quiet about it. 'Why are you upset anyway?' he asked. 'You aren't the one who was kidnapped and raped.' And that was the end of it.
But it wasn't the end for me.
For 25 years afterward, I would never walk anywhere alone again, never get on a bicycle again. Always, always be looking over my shoulder, terrified of another attack. I would wonder how it was that I had escaped, and somewhere in my distorted thinking, even wonder yet again if something were disgusting about me that would keep him from taking me instead.
I'll tell you later on how I finally found freedom from that suffocating fear.