I have spoken of dreams but this nightmare happened right out here in the ‘real’ world. In 1982 I was in Tucson, Arizona, working at a Goodyear auto repair facility attached to a tire store. As you might know, it gets very hot in Tucson in the summer time. This shop was basically a big metal building with no air conditioning.
The outside temperatures over 100 degrees translated to around 120 inside the shop. As a brake and alighment technician, I was doing heavy work besides running in and out of an alignment pit. After two bouts of heat exhaustion I had to call it quits since management didn’t think I needed any extra cooling. I decided to look for work in Flagstaff, a much cooler situation.
Locating a Goodyear store in Flagstaff, I arranged to work for them and prepared to make the move. On the day my young family and I were getting ready to go, I was heading to the Laundromat to wash several loads of clothes.
Late summer in Tucson is monsoon season and it was pouring down hard enough that keeping between the lines is a chore. Going into a cut I saw a pair of headlights coming at me and pulled as far to the right as I could. The lights were set wide apart and I thought (crazily) that it must be two motorcycles.
I was hit head-on by a large Dodge truck and woke up in the hospital. Somehow I got out of it without major injury. My head had made pretty hard contact with the windshield however, and my forehead was swelled up with a large blister the whole way across.
Obviously that put the move on hold for a week or so. During that time we used up most of the money we had saved to make the move. We had to vacate the house we were renting and I had no car as it was nearly unrecognizable after the wreck. My insurance company was a joke and was actually shut down several years later for corrupt business practice practices.
At that moment I felt I had no choice but to rent a moving truck and head for Flagstaff where I had work waiting. I had a bicycle to get back and forth to work and enough to get a few nights in a cheap motel until I proved my worth.
Within a short time I made a deal on a 10 x 40 trailer and a five-acre piece of property up behind San Francisco Peak. It was 10 miles to Flagstaff from there which made a long commute on a bicycle. It was now well into fall and the weather was getting pretty brisk. At the junction of my road and the highway someone had built a small chapel and I would often stop in there to pray on my way into town.
During this time I was arranging to get my kids into a Christian school but had to put them temporarily into the public school. I don’t remember the exact date but one morning after I got to work, I received a phone call from my wife. She informed me that she was at the Sheriff’s office and that the Child Protection Services (CPS) had just taken the kids. Oh what a nightmare that was. I still have a hard time controlling my emotions and that was nearly 40 years ago.
The circus then began in earnest. I found out that the public school creeps had turned me in to the CPS because my son, who had a nervous issue had wet his pants due to bullying on the school bus. The school made the assumption that I had sent him to school that way. That was their story anyway. I think it was because I was trying to put them in Christian school.
We were not permitted to return to the trailer since I had not finished the septic system yet and we were using an outhouse. My wife and I spent some time in a shelter in town before she ran off to parts unknown for a while and then back again. That winter there was eight feet of snow around the trailer and I realized I had been cheated on the property. Since I was now going to court at least once a week, I had a hard time keeping my job and lost it after about a month.
Next came the crazy talk. They had me take a very extensive psychological evaluation. They couldn’t find anything wrong but their shrink said that because my IQ was over 140 I was unstable. I got a second opinion. My guy said he wished he was as stable as me. They got another quack to say I was crazy and I got another one who said I was fine.
The judge then sent me to the head of the psychology department at Northern Arizona University. He gave me a test that none of the others had. A Rorschach (or Ink Blot) test is a personality test that not many psychiatrists use because it has fallen out of favor. We finished the test and he said, “Ah ha, I see your problem. I can’t place you in any of the categories. That makes you a free thinker and that scares bureaucrats to death.” I asked him if he would write it up just that way and he agreed.
From that point my children were on their way home to me. Nearly five years had elapsed. I built two businesses during that time, firewood cutting and house moving. It cost me everything I had three times over and my wife went completely over the edge mentally. My oldest daughter was raped by her foster father. My oldest son was placed in a foster home with 13 other children run by Mexicans. They had pigs, chickens and goats running through the house. My two youngest were taken by a school bus driver who wanted to adopt them and did everything she could to steal their affection and make it hard for me to see them.
I was so beaten down financially I had to put them back in foster care so I could put my tools on a Greyhound bus and head for Maryland where my little sister found some good work for me. I did find good work in Northern Virginia. I settled into a townhouse in Woodbridge. It took me several months to get the place furnished and ready to receive them.
My wife found us in 1990 but couldn’t handle life well enough to stay so she asked for a no-fault divorce. As you can imagine, I have only hit the high points, or low as the case may be. They weren’t done with me yet though.
Next I’ll introduce you to the IRS.