Sunday, January 24, 2016

1993

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

January 1993

The 6th – Decided to take a chance on a unique way to make extra money under the table. I auditioned at a topless club and got hired as an exotic dancer! My stage name was Mystery and it quickly became my nickname, too.

I loved it at first except for when the other dancers played shitty music, the sore feet, and the greedy owners. They were too lazy and cheap to pay their own bouncers, bartenders and DJs, so they made the dancers give them a few bucks each. Still, it was something different that gave me a little extra money, and it sure beat cleaning hotel rooms or flipping burgers.

I met this guy John who drove a taxi and would be one of my regular drivers. He also used to work at this particular club as a bouncer.

The 17th - Mom sent 2 packages. In it were a denim skirt and jacket, a flannel shirt, a troll doll key chain, a ceramic elephant, a puzzle, cough drops, hangers and shoes.

The 19th – Got some new goodies with my dancing money, including a $14 rayon shirt for Andy. I got 2 pairs of panties, plus a matching set of flowered panties with a half-shirt. Then I got 8 different colored pens... blue, green, maroon, purple, pink, orange, aqua and red. Plus I got a pad of unlined paper with colors of deep purple, red, yellow and turquoise.

I called Tonya to thank her so much for the idea of dancing. I never would've thought of it if it weren’t for her.

The 22nd - A horrifying nightmare awaited me one night when I got home from dancing. I ran to shut my kitchen window because it was chilly and almost grabbed hold of a huge spider on the end of it! I'd never seen anything like it other than in horror movies!

I got a gorgeous necklace and anklet from these sisters who sell jewelry once a week where I danced.

The 23rd - Andy and I went to some dark, secluded quiet cemetery. He'd taken me there once before. Then he got spooked because right after he smoked pot, he would get paranoid.

Then we had a scary close call that made me promise myself I’d never ride in Andy's car again when he was high and had joints on him. We had gone to Fry's where I got some smokes and junk food. Andy then started smoking more pot when we saw the cops approaching us. They shined their lights on us and then I stepped out of the car. One of the cops asked if we saw someone jump over the cement wall we were parked by (we hadn’t), and then I breathed a big sigh of relief when the cop took off. I realized that I could’ve gone down with Andy if the cops had chosen to search his car.

After that we took off to some real classy office building. He wanted to show me this beautiful little mini pond with little waterfalls.

Then we returned home, and since we couldn’t make prank calls he called Laurie, a girl who lived in Kara's complex. She was pissed cuz he woke her up.

Back in these days I collected celebrity photos, mostly of Gloria Estefan. I was pissed when I began to realize that my parents weren’t going to send them to me after they had packed my belongings in Connecticut and began sending my things out west. I’m sure that if it had been up to my father I would have eventually received them. It was so like my mother, however, who wore the pants in their marriage, to decide I didn’t need any such thing. If she could have decided and controlled every aspect of my life despite the fact that I was in my 20s, she would have.

Stacey informed me that the empty studio below me was to be set up as a model. I was glad to hear this. Then I wouldn’t have to listen to anybody below me at night.

Work was interesting one night. Three guys and a girl came into the club. I could tell the girl, Linda, was gay. She was average looking, a little chunky, and had straight long black hair cut short in front and on the sides. She looked mean, but sounded friendly. She was Mexican, originally from New Mexico, and spoke fluent Spanish. She was 22 and going to auto mechanic school. I was surprised when she told me she had her own place and a car.

She kissed me in the bathroom and drooled all over me all night long. I gave her a few private dances.

She called me a few nights later and I regretted giving her my number because she was so persistent that it was actually scary. I refused to meet with her.

The 24th – Received some mail from my parents… Cigarette coupons and $50.

The 26th – Was pissed at Andy again, this time for coming between Kara and I.

The new maintenance guy that fixed my sliding glass door made me uncomfortable enough to tell Stacey about it. He asked way too many personal questions and I didn’t feel it was appropriate for someone whose job was to fix things around the complex.

The 27th – Met this guy name Scott at the club who claimed to have connections to well-known people in the music business.

February 1993

The 4th - I got a nice package from Tammy. She sent colored pencils, markers, a paint-by-number kit, and some puzzle books.

I sometimes paid Laurie to drive me to and from work, and one night Andy and Stephanie surprised me and showed up at the club.

The 10th – Andy, Stephanie and I went out to an Italian place for dinner. The place was dead, but the food was good.

Thanks to Andy, he'd gotten me into another neat hobby. Envelope decorating for letters to friends and family. I got these really cool changeable markers. Six different colors to being with that could be changed with a special marker. If I used purple and scratched over it with the special marker, it changed it to pink.

The 15th – I spoke with Kim who said something about Bob being sued for stealing someone's grill. On that and the accusations of him playing around with young kids, we both believe he was innocent, despite the statistics.

Talked to “Nervous” too, who was drunk off his ass.

The 12th – Had Andy's friend Velma try to straighten my hair, but it was a bust.

The kids at the complex continued to annoy Andy and I on weekends and after school, and Andrea was spiting me for complaining on her wild company by being as noisy as possible every chance she got. I was pissed for myself and I also felt bad for Mary because in order to spite me she was spiting Mary even more.

I began to seriously consider moving and was hoping to find somebody willing to take over my lease. Besides, I could afford a bigger place since I was dancing.

The 14th – Met a girl name Celeste who was bisexual and in an open marriage.

The 15th – Came down with a nasty flu, and Andy turned 31.

The 27th - Saw Ellie on my way to mail a letter. She looked horrible and at first I didn't recognize her. She had gained a bit of weight and her face looked all puffy, haggard and depressed. Her hair looked pitiful, too.

Kara's sister Stacey began dancing at my club.

I got orange shorts with fringes on the bottom. It also had a black ring buckle-like thing at the front of the waist with “diamonds” around it. I also got a gorgeous red shirt with open shoulders and colored gemstones around the chest area. I got one other shirt, too. A black crop top with little white daisies. Then I got a pair of black pumps and 4 journals, putting me with a total of 44 paper journals.

March 1993

They decided the studio below me should no longer be a model, and a guy named Dave moved in there. He was quite nice, quiet and hardly ever home. He invited me over for dinner once and empathized with me as far as the way Andrea was driving me crazy. And Mary, too.

At my wits end with the bitch waking me up, I one day disguised my handwriting and wrote her a note from "Daryl," the guy who moved in next to Andy and behind the bitch. I wrote: I recently moved in behind you in the front of the building. I realize you get up very early during the weekdays but I don't get up till 9:00. Please try getting up quieter.

This, along with Mary talking to her, helped me get more of the sleep I needed till I could get the hell out of there.

But not for long. One weekend she woke me up by banging up a storm as she was cleaning. It was obviously on purpose, too. Because our doors were side by side, I paid her back by knocking real loud on the inside of my door late one night, knowing it would wake her up and she’d wonder if it was her door or mine that someone knocked on.

I also knew she wouldn’t dare come to me about it either. She refused to speak to me. I just couldn’t understand not only how she could have so many kids over and not expect to receive complaints, but also why she was taking it so poorly for so long. It had been months yet she still couldn’t get over it and move on.

Late one night I called maintenance pretending to be her and claiming the toilet had overflowed all over the place, knowing she’d be woken up when someone from maintenance knocked on her door.

One night the deliberate banging was so bad and driving Mary just as crazy as myself, that I warned her and Dave that I’d be banging every chance I got for hours as payback, and I did. Ever since that night she was much quieter.

Met a woman named Leanne and Julia, a gorgeous Mexican girl, at the club. She was 23 and had hair even longer than mine.

Leanne never called, but Julia did. She was crying cuz she was upset with some guy. She said, "I don't mean to keep you hanging. I can't say I'll never be with a woman. I'm sure women are better cuz they're more sensitive, easier to deal with and I'm sure better in bed, but right now I'm so hurt and I don't want to see anyone."

I told her I was a good listener if she ever wanted to call.

Andy and I went to a restaurant called J.B.'s. It was so-so, but we really loved the Black Eyed Pea.

I took an hour and 40 minutes to cut coupons for him one night for the favors he’d done me.

Around the 8th I ran into Diane on my way back from the mailboxes. I’d seen her a couple times in the laundry room. She was a lesbian. She came up to see my studio, then she invited me to her place for coffee. We sat on her porch and had a nice talk. She was 29, athletic, and sober. She went to school and worked in the medical records department at a hospital. I liked her, but nothing ever happened between us. Just didn’t feel any real spark, I guess.

Andy left a TV guide and some hair and skin care products outside my door. Or so I thought it was him that left the 4 tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion. When I thanked him for them later on, he said he knew nothing about it.

Enjoyed hanging out with some people, including Stephanie, at the pool.

In the middle of the month I got a job dancing at a club closer to where my new apartment would be. It was a much bigger, classier club. The dressing room was a lot roomier and I liked that there were lockers for our stuff as well.

Once again I was hit with the flu.

Scott, who said he repaired government homes and could get furniture that was left behind in the homes, continued to do nice things for me, but also put doubts in my mind as far as his claims to connections to the music business.

He’d just moved into the same really gorgeous apartment complex I was going to be moving to. The only problem was that Stacey was spiting me out of any chance to have someone sublease my place till the lease expired in June. It was obvious. The reason why, however, wasn’t. Was she really spiting me? Or did she have a secret crush on me that was causing her to do what she could to keep me there, as some had wondered?

Believe it or not, I sort of developed a crush on her. And then something hit me that I wondered about. Could she be behind the items left at my door? I then left a message on the office machine thanking her for the beauty samples left by my door figuring she’d deny knowing anything about it if she hadn’t. But she never mentioned them next time I saw her.

Although I never got a refund from Velma, she got me a straightening iron at a discount.

April 1993

On April 5th I moved to my new apartment and I loved it. Scott, who said he had a warrant out for his arrest due to tax-related issues, helped me move. I was sure to pitch some extra hangers and a few other things onto Andrea’s patio on the way out.

It was beautiful and I loved the extra space. The only time it could get noisy was when screaming kids were in the nearby pool.

I met the couple below me, Steve the security guard, and his girlfriend that worked in the office. Her name was Bonnie.

I also met my neighbor and future husband, Tom, who lived between Scott and I. He brought me to K-Mart one day where I bought a much-needed Dirt Devil vacuum for $69.

Did some clothes shopping throughout the month, too. I got both street clothes and costumes.

The bad news was that I had the second asthma attack that landed me in the ER since moving to Arizona, but at least I finally got to meet Celeste. She was pretty good looking but nothing ever happened with us other than some kissing. She was recently divorced and not sure what she wanted in life.

May 1993

I got a letter from my dad which half upset me, half pissed me off. I was getting really sick of my parents’ shit and their insults. Even Tammy blasted dad for the letter full of judgmental insults.

Met a dancer named Marcella that I really like, but as fate would have it, she had just moved in with her boyfriend.

I liked Sasha, another dancer, but she could be annoying. She knew Scott and I were good friends and that I hardly saw him, but she hogged his attention when he would come into the club anyway.

One night it was so dead at the club that I told Scott I was afraid I’d get evicted if the place didn't pick up or if no positive results came out of L.A. He laughed and said, "No you won’t. I've got tons of money coming in next month."

In order to get further away from the pool, I moved to an identical 2-bedroom apartment in back of the complex. Tom helped me this time, as I now realized that Scott was full of shit about everything he said, and I also didn’t want to get sucked up in whatever legal drama was going on with him.

The guy below me was quiet, but the college kids that moved in next door more than compensated for the lack of pool.

I began hanging with Tom more, who would sometimes give me rides. He was a very mature, calm, open minded guy in his mid-30s.

He would soon be moving into his brother’s 2-bedroom house that included a pool. His brother was getting married and moving into his wife’s house, which was nicer, newer and bigger and also had a pool.

I spoke with Kim who was very annoyed with Bob's obsession for her. We decided to play a joke on him via anonymous letter.

June 1993

 Had an ok talk with my parents, but knew they’d soon be back to their usual shit.

I also auditioned and switched clubs again due to the one I was at being so dead lately. But then they told me they needed dancers in Bullhead City, which was too far away, so I then decided to try private room dancing for a while. It was one of those jobs where you’d make money in spurts. You also got totally naked instead of stripping down to just a G-string, and the customers were allowed to touch you in non-private areas. I didn’t mind since it was just a job in my eyes.

There were fewer girls working there, and we had our pictures published in The Beat.

Andy and I messed with Stacey one last time over the phone. She stiffed him out of his deposit, and turned my name over to collections.

Andy moved to another apartment but said the neighbors were noisy.

Also, Andy ran into the con man and began to follow him. So they pulled over by my old apartment and chatted 1.5 hours. Scott swore to Andy that he was going to give him the VCR back that he promised to fix, but of course he never did. He probably sold it right away. He no doubt also never knew Bill Toddman, never intended to take me to L.A., and never worked for Pepsi (after claiming he repaired government homes).

Then I received a nasty letter, which I assumed Scott’s girlfriend Crystal wrote, but I was hardly worried. That was another thing Andy said he said… that several times he wanted to come fuck me up (for trying to get him to keep his word), but that Crystal stopped him.

Was I really supposed to believe that a girl who hated me would stop him?

Finally, he said Scott said he saw no point in helping me since he couldn’t get anything out of it in return. In other words, my friendship wasn’t enough.

July 1993

Began to spend more time at Tom’s two-bedroom house. Although I didn’t like the layout and the fact that it was an older house built in 1950, it had a nice block-walled backyard and swimming pool.

Tom was big on electronics and computer related things. He began to teach me how to use his computer so I could type letters to friends and family.

Andy visited one day, bringing us goodies from McDonald’s as well as money he owed us. He also gave me a gorgeous black shirt with streaks of bright colors.

Business was slow, and Lea, the owner of the club I danced at, had to let some dancers go. Because I was one of the newer ones, I was one of the ones that was let go. This was at least the story I was told anyway.

My parents sent a bunch of old family pictures, which were interesting to see.

I met the couple that moved in next door, and got a call from my doctor saying that my white blood cell count was too high.

August 1993

Tom and I continued to get along really well and it was decided that I would move into his house with him in September. I looked forward to it not just because of the college kids next to me that wouldn’t shut up, but because, as I realized and was afraid to admit at first, I was falling in love with the guy. :)

I began dancing at another club, but wasn’t there for long. I decided to take a break from dancing and see what I might want to do next. Tom was ok with that. I think if anything, it eased his worries a bit since I was in a bit of a risky business.

I began typing up all my handwritten journals.

I received a summons to appear in court for a conjunction against me that Andrea was seeking because, as I totally admit, Andy and I had been trolling her with prank calls/mail. Since I was the one she dealt with directly, it was me she was after. Thanks to Stacey divulging information she wasn’t authorized to divulge, Andrea knew right where to have me served.

When our court date arrived, I wasn’t surprised to see that Andrea had Stacey in tow, but I was surprised at how much lying both of them did. Stacey accuse me of things I had absolutely no knowledge of whatsoever, and it was obvious that someone else was trolling Andrea right along with Andy and I. Either that or they were making things up thinking it would help their case.

It didn’t. The judge said they couldn’t prove that I was responsible for what they were accusing me of, so until they could gather more evidence of me doing something a lot more substantial than what they were saying I’d done, he wasn’t going to issue the conjunction. It didn’t matter, though, because in the end Andrea got what she wanted… no more games from me. Andy agreed to leave her alone as well.

I can’t deny that the best part of that day was the look of embarrassment, humiliation and frustration on their faces as I left the courtroom with Tom who had accompanied me. That much was priceless after all the grief they had put me through.

October 1993

During the time of the lost journal entries, I moved into Tom’s house in early September. A month or so later, a large Mormon family moved in next door, along with their dog. Their kids and dog got on my nerves at times during the day with the houses being so close. When they’d play basketball out front it’d sound like they were bouncing the ball off the walls of our house because it was so close to us to begin with. It could get pretty obnoxious at times, though the couple was very nice.

We threw acoustic tiles in the master bedroom windows and sealed the edges with a Styrofoam spray to block some of the sound. We didn’t do it just because of next door, but to block sounds in general. A quiet bedroom was always important to me.

Kim, her boyfriend Phil, and their deaf friend Alex came to visit for a few days, but Tom was working graves and didn’t get to meet them. We went to Sedona and did a variety of things. We shopped, we ate, we went horseback riding, etc. One day we hung out back by the pool.

After not being in touch with the family since the mid-80s or so, my brother Larry (then a trucker) visited our parents in Florida with his son and daughter. Tammy was the one who called and told me about it. At first I had mixed emotions about reuniting with him. After all, he was the one that dumped me.

November 1993

Next door woke me up one day when I was napping and they were having furniture moved in and something moved out as well. The bumps and bangs made me feel like I was back in apartments for the day.

Their dog was always, ALWAYS outside, which could get a little annoying at times as it too, sometimes woke me up. But as I was learning, most westerners didn’t seem to allow their dogs indoors. This was something I could never understand. Why get a dog if you didn’t really want a pet? As in something that was part of the family and your home?

I had a funny dream one night where I was over their house having coffee with the couple. The house didn’t really have a fireplace but it did in the dream. The guy went to light a fire, and as I looked through the flames and to the back wall of the fireplace, I realized I could see straight into our house. The woman laughed and said something like, “We can spy on you anytime.”

Tom knew this older couple that had a bunch of cats. One of them was really fat and needed to be put on a diet so we agreed to keep it at our place for a while so that it wasn’t hogging all the food.

As for my own weight, I was only 97 pounds at the time and with allergies that were getting worse.

Real early one Sunday morning Tom and I went to JB's for breakfast.

We also went to Wal-Mart. I got a leopard print bodysuit, two exercise videos, a journal, and neon fabric glue.

We also went to the mall. I got another journal, some makeup, and a hair removal system for $50.

A friend of Andy's trimmed Tom’s and my hair.

In the middle of the month I awoke with a bad asthma attack. Tom called 911 and they came and gave me two breathing treatments.

I spoke with Mary B from the old apartment complex, and just when she was relieved when Andrea moved out, some guy moved in who had wild late-night parties. I felt bad for her, even though next door could get on my nerves bad enough at times, as nice as they were. At least they had quiet periods. This guy apparently didn’t.

Played Nintendo games for the first time. I decided I liked the Duck Hunt game the best.

We got a very friendly and playful guinea pig in shades of brown. I soon settled on the name of Piggles for him.

Became phone friends with a DJ named Gina that worked at a local radio station. For a handful of months I’d call in at night on the party line.

December 1993

I talked to the guy who lived next door at the time. I said I was sorry that I went off on his wife about all the noise when they moved in and that I should've been more understanding, and he said that they understood and that there were a lot of people there, etc.

So they settled in and quieted down and then the house across the street picked up the noise from there. The teenage boy that lived there decided to have his buddies over for band practice on a regular basis, sometimes waking me up.

It really pissed me the fuck off. What was the point of finally getting to live in a house if you were just going to feel like you were still in apartments?

My brother finally surprised me with a call, although I think it’s safe to say that I figured his call was coming sooner or later. Even so, I was caught off guard at first and unsure of what to say. If I had to start all over again I’m sure I would have hung up on him. Yes, he had a great sense of humor but he was otherwise a hypocrite and an asshole.

His son Larry was 13, and Jennifer was 10. He said he wasn’t going to get involved in any family disputes (which later prove to be a bullshit statement) and that he only contacted Tammy to please mom and dad. At first this made me wonder if he only contacted me for the same reason.

He was a trucker who often traveled the country, and even said he’d been to the strip clubs I danced at. It was no secret that he was a player, so this didn’t surprise me in the least. In fact, when he tried to tell me he was friends with Jenny C, a former friend of mine, I knew they were more than just friends, not that it mattered to me. It was his life and he could do what he wanted with it.

So he and Jen came to visit one day. Jen, who I hadn’t seen since she was a baby, had hair below her ass and looked a lot like her mother, Sandy.

My parents moved to a 2-bedroom condo in Palm City. They eventually sent us pictures of the place, which was quite beautiful. I liked how modern looking at was.

Got a bunch of neat stuff between my birthday, Hanukkah and Christmas. Mostly clothes, writing and arts and crafts supplies. Tom also took me to Red Lobster where I got a combo of shrimp, lobster and crab legs.

I met his brother David one day, but Tom wasn’t home when he stopped by. He and his wife Evie were expecting their first child.

Cruel became my card game of choice on the computer.

Tom talked on the phone here and there with an old friend of his named Wendy, and another friend, Geri, was moving out of state. I didn’t mind Wendy, but I didn’t like Geri because all she did was judge me even though she had never met me. I think deep down she was jealous of my relationship with Tom. I knew Wendy wanted him but she was married.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

1992


Location: Springfield, MA, Norwich, CT & Phoenix, AZ

January 1992

The 2nd - Bob was worried about Kim going to Florida. She was going to the same area where Bob's second wife was murdered. Supposedly Bob and Dorothy were only married for 3 days when Dorothy's sister became ill. When she went to the sister's house, her brother-n-law came on to her. The guy shot Dorothy, her sister and himself too, I think.

Tammy called to let me know that the Norwich Housing Authority had called. They had a studio available at the moment, and said that as soon as a 1-bedroom was open across the street, I could move in.

Then I got a message from Ann Marie, the girl that left an ad for a feminine woman. Although she sounded a bit too serious for my tastes, I was curious enough to set up a time to meet her.

The 3rd - Tammy saw the studio and said it was too small. We figured as much.

The 6th – Met with Ann Marie. She was 27 years old, 5' 3" tall, and she weighed 120 pounds. She was in great shape and had a great body.

I spoke with Jessie and Andy and had both Fran and Kevin on the phone at one point, too. All they did was go off on each other… as usual.

The 10th – Feeling frustrated with my family for their constant criticism of me when they were far from perfect themselves.

The 11th – Wishing more and more that I lived where it was warm all the time. I was sick of snow and I hated winter clothes. I wanted to be able to run around in shorts and skimpy tops all year.

As many problems as Bob had, I enjoyed our late night chats when neither of us could sleep.

Got a package from my folks with the pictures I sent them and asked that they return since I didn’t have copies. Also some coupons for cigarettes, cat food, coffee, chocolate pudding and feminine products.

Tony and I went to a Chinese restaurant, and I had a very positive talk with Tammy. We got a lot of stuff out in the open.

The 17th - I spoke to Ann Marie again and we had a very pleasant talk. However, she seemed to be a bit critical of some of my ways, like my inability to drive. Honestly, even if I didn’t have a driving phobia, I couldn’t possibly afford a car at the moment.

We discussed how my therapist said I push people away subconsciously, but I really did feel justified to do so at times and that it was in my best interest, depending on the person and situation. All I knew was that I looked ahead that night and I didn’t see Ann Marie in my future.

The 22nd - Due to the fact that I didn't have a lease, the landlord could ask at any time that I move. I spoke with Peter, who said he was giving me till March 1st, as a young couple was pressuring him about moving in. I told him it wasn’t my fault that last December I was 100% sure I was moving and that my mom unexpectedly backed out of helping me make that move. I said I'd take him to court if I had to and that the law doesn't allow you to fuck with someone who's on SS or SSI so easily. I went through this with my old landlord and even though I won in the end, I wasn't about to put up with it all over again.

He spoke with Tammy and he said he would "work with her," so to speak, and try to have a little compassion and understanding. I spoke with George today as well and he said, “You could have stayed forever and ever, it's just that you did say you were moving.”

I did, but nonetheless, I explained to him what caused the delay and he said to just hang in there, as things do get better, and was sympathetic to both sides. The couple was living with their in-laws and going crazy. I was isolated with nothing and nobody and also going crazy.

Tammy was able to get the girl at the NHA to move me to the top of the list. Also to get mom to keep her word about paying for the move. Tammy's got some friends to help move me and she's gonna rent a U-Haul.

I called and spoke to a woman name Mary Jane. She told me a few things about the apartment. One thing is that it was on the 1st floor, which made me a little nervous. I was told I’d be next to a couple with 4 kids. It was very basic. Small, no carpet, no dishwasher, no disposal, no laundry facilities on the premises, etc. But now my rent would be just $138.

The 26th – Kim returned from Florida with a great tan. She gave me this really cute satin pillow, which was small and had silk flowers and ribbons on it. She also gave me a glass butterfly and elephant, plus tiny porcelain heart-shaped jewelry box.

The 28th - I got two prank calls from the same guy who called my other number. I was 99% sure at that time that it was connected to Maliheh.

February 1992

On the 8th I moved to the NHA in Norwich, Connecticut and I absolutely and totally hated it. The apartment was a microscopic dumb, and part of the large family’s apartment next to me extended above mine. The walls were paper-thin and I could hear every single move they made. I couldn’t tell whose phone was ringing. I couldn’t get any sleep or even hear myself think when I was awake. Barbara and Dave’s 4 kids never sit still for long. There were three boys and one girl in their four-bedroom apartment.

I liked being closer to Tammy and the girls but I hated everything else. Norwich had such a screwy public transportation system and you kind of had to spend a lot of time riding around the town just to get to a place that was only a few minutes away.

Although this project was in a nicer neighborhood than the one I had been in back in Springfield, the kids and chaos was everywhere. Everywhere. The little brats were screaming indoors and outdoors and it seemed that the only time I could get a break from them was at night.

Despite their constant noise, the kids were a bit helpful, by showing me a shortcut through the woods to the nearest stores. My most regular visitors were nine-year-old Jenny, the youngest child next door, and a child named Layne that lived with her gossiping bitch of a mother in the neighboring strip of apartments to my left.

The nicest adults I remember from the place was a black woman named Pam and a white woman named Laurie. They were in the strip of apartments to my right. I think they each had one child.

The stress was horrible and I was often left exhausted. My frayed nerves and the lack of sleep only compounded my asthma and seemed to make everything harder on me. I wished desperately that I could quit smoking, but all my attempts had failed thus yet. I was becoming desperate and self-destructive and I knew I had to do what I possibly could to change my situation.

March 1992

The 10th – Tammy and I tried Habitrol patches in hopes of quitting smoking, but it didn’t help.

Ann Marie visited and we did a little shopping together… among other more private things. :)

Despite the pouring rain, the kids would be outside playing LOUDLY until 8pm.

The 11th – Spoke with Bob. His wife Sandra didn’t have much longer to live at this time.

The 15th – Shadow had become both an indoor and outdoor cat.

I spoke with Jessie, but sadly, I lost touch with Steve.

I also continued to be driven crazy by next door’s racket and had to sleep with earplugs. This didn’t always save my sleep either, with the way the floors would vibrate with the kids’ footsteps.

The 16th – When I returned one day to my apartment from the store, I found a note on my door from the NHA. They wanted to modernize the place and mentioned homeowners fair housing laws and shit like that. I intended to be long gone before this could happen, and I let them know it, too.

I felt as bad for Tammy as I did for myself after she went through so much trouble to move me down there.

Fran called to tell me he was being evicted, Jessie called to tell me her man troubles, and I spoke with Cassandra again. I missed her and my old apartment big time!

The 18th – Began to mentally look at my parents as people and not just “mom and dad.” I wasn’t sure if I liked the people that they were very much.

The 22nd – I babysat my nieces, did my laundry at Tammy's place, and wondered if I wanted – really wanted – to keep my parents in my life or not.

The 23rd – Had a grease fire when I cooked something the wrong way and burned it. Tammy heard the emergency call on her scanner, but I assured her everything was under control by the time she called.

The 27th – Got my first prank call from a couple of high school guys. One said he knew Barbara and was also Lyle’s cousin. Lyle was a neighbor in a band.

The biggest surprise was the $30 check I received in the mail from Brenda for the stereo I sold her.

April 1992

The 6th – April was a month to get all excited for absolutely nothing when I was hired to sing in a band that soon decided they were too busy to continue performing after their day jobs.

It started when I met my neighbor Laurie at Price Rite. She was the one who introduced me to Lyle, who knew a guy in a band and so on and so forth. Laurie was a really sweet person, though, and Lyle was nice, too.

They lowered my rent to a flat $100 since my disability checks were of a lesser amount in CT than they had been in MA.

The 8th – Had to go to the ER due to an asthma attack. Lyle took me. I was in and out pretty quickly.

The 12th – Was wondering why the people next door needed to bang so much. Even at a late hour with their kids asleep, 30 seconds didn't pass without a slam, a bang or chairs and tables sliding around their place.

I had two shrubs right outside my front door and having 20 kids playing hide and seek in them and screaming at the top of their lungs was no joyride. Same went for the bouncing balls off the outer wall of my place, and the way they would climb out next door’s bedroom window to run around on my rooftop (their place extended over part of mine).

The 24th – My sister and I had some arguments, mainly thanks to her wonderful husband at the time.

The 29th - While I was watching TV one night, Ann Marie left a message saying she got a second job meat wrapping at a grocery store. She said she wanted to come see me, but was too busy to do so. Somehow I doubted I’d ever be worth making the time for in her mind, anyway.

May 1992

The 14th – The stress of the NHA was beginning to come to a head. I felt like shit. I wasn’t getting any sleep. And now the government wanted to take more from my checks.

I had a bad asthma attack this night and was too tired to even call the paramedics. I fought it on my own, regardless of how much of a stupid risk that may’ve been. I eventually passed out.

The 16th – Kevin got a phone and I spoke with him for a while.

My hair was now to the crack of my ass when I pulled it straight.

Mom and dad sent me a package with super nice curtains, a cute little crystal lamp, a beach towel, tanning lotion and a pair of black shorts.

Jessie told me that Steve moved to Chicopee and would soon move to California.

Tammy lent me her electric typewriter, which I thought was awesome at the time. This was about as high-tech as I’d seen back in those days. It had several really neat features and could erase a letter, a word, or a whole line. I had fun with it… until the ribbon broke.

In the NHA bulletin it stated that there'd be a Norwich city police foot patrol in Oakwood Knoll beginning that month. I eventually chatted with a cop named Warren.

The 25th – With the stress of living at the NHA totally taking a toll on my nerves and body from months without sleep, I finally ended up having both a mental and physical breakdown. I went to the ER and was then transferred to Natchaug Hospital where I was admitted to a small adult psychiatric ward.

I was a little worried at first that they would want to be quick to mask my problems with medication, but they didn’t. They knew that what I really needed to do was find another place to live where I could hear myself think and get the sleep I needed. Granted I couldn’t do it in the psych ward, but I needed to recharge before I went back home to focus on finding a new place to live. I did sometimes request sleeping pills at night because I wasn’t always sleeping much better there than I had at home.

I had one roommate and her name was Lindsay. Some of the staff members were nice while some were high on power play. They kept us busy throughout the day with various groups and activities. I felt there wasn’t enough one to one attention, but I also understood that limited staffing made it harder to dish out individual attention more often.

I was thrilled to learn that my dad would be making the drive up to see me, and I really appreciated my family’s support.

The 29th - Dad and Tammy came to visit me and they brought me some more of my clothes and some personal items.

June 1992

The 9th – Early in the month Andy and my father shocked the shit out of me by breaking the news that my parents were finally going to send me to Arizona!!!

Before going to the airport, dad took me to take care of some last minute things as we disconnected my life from the east, more or less, and then to cousin Boo and Max's where I really didn't want to go at first. I was glad I did, though, as they were both super nice and let me take a much-needed nap upstairs. Being so busy and excited in the days leading up to my departure left me incredibly exhausted, so it was nice to be able to take a nap and let the others have time to visit with each other. Boo and Max also gave me some money to take with me, which was also nice.

All my belongings (except for furniture, of course) were to be shipped to Andy's studio. I was to stay with him till I could get my own place.

With my cat in a pet carrier, off I went from Bradley airport in Connecticut to Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. It was a very emotional day for me, and my dad was allowed to board the plane with me. Back in those days you could do that. I felt great emotionally, but physically I felt horrible. My asthma was making my chest feel tight and I was beyond beat.

Andy had a delicious pot roast dinner waiting for me the evening I arrived, and took me to take a dip in the pool and Jacuzzi.

Then I threw up twice, haha. I was totally exhausted and worn out, but eventually I was able to get some sleep, even if we had to share a bed in his tiny little second floor studio.

Back in ’92, Phoenix was a very modern, beautiful and affordable place to live. I started off at the Vista Ventana, which had two pools/spas and two laundry rooms. I was able to nab a ground floor studio two buildings down from Andy's the next day, but couldn’t move into it till the 15th. It was only 400-square-feet and I had no furniture, but I loved it. Didn’t care for the thin walls, but the studio was cute for one who didn’t start off with much stuff.

The only negative to spoil some of the excitement was that they were screwing around with my disability checks, stalling my food stamps, and this left me pretty hungry at first.

The 26th – Andy introduced me to “Pez” (Leslie) and Stephanie. Stephanie was gay and resembled Barbara Streisand a bit.

Andy's friend Donna that also once lived back east and was a fantastic singer, was nice enough to give me a twin mattress and box spring, though not right away.

My upstairs neighbor was Robert. He was from Santa Fe, and although he was very nice, I hated how he walked like an elephant.

I wasn’t impressed with my next door neighbor Mark at all. He told me a woman’s purpose was to “please man,” and I didn’t feel very comfortable alone with him.

The 27th – Funds were low and my stomach was empty. While the government was busy screwing me around and stalling my checks (along with the food stamp people), I called a church and they delivered some food, which I was grateful for despite their known attitude towards gays. At that moment I was just too damn hungry to care if I was being fed by a bunch of bigots or not.

Robert was kind enough to give me a few things too, but I knew it wouldn’t last long, of course.

The size of the spiders and roaches were straight out of a horror flick, but I was loving my new environment/climate despite the noise I could do without and not liking some of the people I met.

I was threatened via certified letter to get rid of my cat or get out, since I wasn’t in a pet apartment. Truthfully, I couldn’t have afforded a deposit even if I was. Shadow liked the outdoors, so I thought at the time that if I just kept him outdoors during the daytime, they wouldn’t know he was still around.

I spent a lot of time at the pool tanning until I got sun poisoning, and Andy took me to see the view of the city from some of the largest mountains I’d ever seen, as well as a wealthy town in which many celebrities lived.

The 28th - I met Andy's friend Velma, a hairdresser. I also met Donna and Angel. Angel had just had a baby and Donna was newly married. We’d often chat at the pool, and the two surprised me one day with several bags of groceries. I was so appreciative! Especially since the church gave me food a few days later than they said they would.

July 1992

Andy and I went to a club on karaoke night, but didn’t win anything.

I continued to struggle financially in ways I didn’t expect to. Then I was forced to give up my cat. Then Andy and I started fighting. Then I dumped Donna because she was getting too judgmental of me.

Then came Ellie. Ellie was a 48-year-old woman who was also on SSI and SS. She had a lot of problems too, so I was sympathetic but reluctant to get too close and risk getting caught up in the drama.

My parents eventually agreed to send $50 a month to help me out and they also sent some non-edible things that food stamps wouldn’t cover. The food stamps that would be delayed yet another month because some idiot didn’t close out my case back east. So I had to go hungry because someone didn’t do their job.

One night the stress became too much for me, and a counselor from Terros came out to help calm me down.

Andy and I visited some of the local gay bars and I was surprised to find more feminine girls around, though this didn’t mean I had any more luck than I’d had back east. I was still everything a man wanted and nothing a woman wanted back in these days.

Met a girl named Rose Marie at my complex. Beautiful. Italian. A year older than me. And one I stupidly thought would at least make a good friend, since she was straight and had a BF. At first she seemed nice enough, though I didn’t care for the BF. I could tell he had an aggressive side, but then in some ways, so did she, as I would later learn.

They didn’t seem to mind at first that I was attracted to her or the fact that I was on disability. Rose Marie did say, though, that these lesbians used to live next to them and she was afraid of one of them.

Initially they seemed eager to get to know me, telling me I was welcomed to visit anytime I wanted.

I also met a heavyset, homely looking woman named Fay who wasn’t very bright. She too, was on disability. She lived with her son in the same building Rose Marie was in.

Later in the month I tried apologizing to Donna for dumping her, but like most people, and like I wished I could be more often, she wasn’t very forgiving at all. Instead she picked up where she left off with criticizing me, the very reason I cut ties with her in the first place.

The drama with her was now causing me to question whether or not other friendships were worth it, or if I should bother socializing with Rose Marie. I did attempt to visit Rose Marie once. However, Rick answered the door saying she was asleep.

August 1992

Started baby-sitting an 11-month-old boy named Justin. His mother’s name was Stacey. She didn’t live at my apartment complex, but her sister Kara did with her own 8-month-old daughter, Ashley, and their mother. To be honest, changing smelly diapers on crying babies wasn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But I really needed the money and so I was willing to do it for a few hours here and there, as people needed, after putting up a notice on the bulletin board in the laundry room.

The 13th - I got a couple of packages from mom and dad with household items.

I had started cleaning for Ellie, but decided to stop. She was a paranoid loon with a million problems. I got tired of the delusions and having to hear for hours on end how she was going to die and that there were 5 organizations after her. She also went back on her word as far as paying me went. First she said she could afford it, and then she couldn’t.

By this time I had become very hesitant to meet any more people. Especially after Rose Marie and her boyfriend went a little ballistic on me, thanks to me stupidly trusting Fay more than I should have. It turned out that Faye was jealous of my attraction for Rose Marie, and she told Rose Marie some rather twisted versions of some of the things I confided in her about.

After a few weeks of hoping that Rose Marie would come to me for a visit instead of the other way around, I finally asked her at the pool what was wrong. She told me I didn’t do anything wrong, but after thinking about it she decided that she was too religious to want my “type” around.

At the same time I appreciated the honesty and knew she had a right to pick and choose her friends, I was both hurt and angry.

Shortly after this, Fay told me she ran into her in the laundry room and that Rose Marie said didn’t want to hurt me, but said that Rick had beat up some other girl and was watching her like a hawk. So this pretty much confirmed my suspicions about her being controlled and manipulated by her BF. I suspected she was probably more abused than she had let on, not that it was any excuse to go bipolar on me, being kind and accepting of me one minute, then deciding I wasn’t worthy of having around the next.

As a prank, I put a letter on her door that I received from Bob when neither of them were home. I had never mentioned him to them, and after I made sure my name wasn’t in the letter, I figured there was no way they could know it was from me because the only ones that knew about it was Andy and Fay.

Then came the night she showed up at my door. I was surprised, of course, and hoping for an apology and a change of heart. Instead I got lectured on how she didn’t do women, rumors were going around that I “wanted” her body, she and Rick were fighting (as if that were my fault), don’t leave notes on her door, and she didn’t know how to get the point across other than beating the shit out of me and she didn’t want to, or something to that effect.

Caught off guard and stung by the cruelty and falseness of her words (I never went around announcing to the complex that I “wanted her body”), she left my place and then I found Rick waiting just outside the door when I went to close and lock it. I should have figured she wouldn’t have had the guts to confront me alone.

“I understand your fantasy,” Rick tried to tell me, “but don’t lurk and just leave us alone.”

I supposed that going to the pool that happened to be right by their place was considered “lurking.”

After the hurt and shock wore off I became extremely angry and stormed over to their place. Dave, the security guard, took one look at just how pissed I was and called the cops, but nothing ever happened because they didn’t have the guts to open their door and confront me on their turf.

I quickly cut ties with Fay. Kara, Stacey’s sister, was kind enough to drop an egg on Rose Marie’s little red sports car for me as a way of saying “thanks for your shit, bitch.” This kind of revenge may’ve been wrong and immature, but that’s just how I was back then.

Around this time I moved to Andy's building and never saw Fay, Rose Marie or her stud ever again.

Kara, whose baby I sometimes watched as well, moved with her mom across the street to a larger apartment at another complex that was more affordable.

Three weeks into the month and I got my first taste of a monsoon storm. Pretty intense. Fun, but also a bit scary.

I was breathing easier, but still hungry. I thought it pretty pathetic that my parents could live high off the hog while I couldn’t even fucking eat. Or afford a phone. Any calls I had to make were made from Andy's, long distance ones to family being collect.

Was relieved to learn my parents survived Hurricane Andrew that year.

I met two really nice girls who were roommates named Tara and Tonya at the pool. I didn’t see much of Tonya, but I saw Tara every now and then. She could draw really well, and she gave me some helpful tips and pointers as I too, sometimes had fun drawing.

At last my food stamps arrived on the 27th, nearly 3 months after moving to Arizona. I was so psyched and I literally cried tears of relief.

Andy and I both agreed we were sick of Ellie’s many moods and Fay’s many lies. I was tired of their games and other issues. Andy said it was still worth meeting people, though.

Was it really?

Fay eventually came over with a peace offering. A little table for my patio. We had a good talk and I told her how I felt.

By the end of August I’d really come to hate Mark, the guy next door. He was occasionally fun to be around, but overall his attitude stank. He seemed to hate the whole world… gays, women… you name it, he hated it. All he could do was rank on my friends, talk about sex, and pressure me about getting stoned with him, which I had no desire to do.

September 1992

Andy and I went to see the Twin Peaks movie, Fire Walk with Me this month.

I got some really cool stationary with neon cats for a buck at Walgreens for keeping in touch with friends and family back east.

Andy cracked me up. We recorded him trying to sing a song in Spanish. He had the headphones on while he tried his best to follow a song of Gloria’s. It was so damn hilarious!

I enjoyed chatting and drawing with Tara, but not the night Ed scared me. I heard a knock on my door one night and I thought it was Tara. I still lived on the ground floor at this time. When I opened the door it was a guy named Ed that I’d met at the pool. We'd had some good talks and he said he knew this girl who was gay that he thought he should hook me up with. Anyway, he was at my door with a beer, obviously smashed, saying he was just wandering.

Yeah, right. He just had to "wander" to my door and right onto my patio? He never said or did anything to harm me, but I could just imagine what was going through his mind as I locked my door and headed off toward the pool.

Robert and Mark were pissing me off even more. Robert with the stomping over my head, Mark with the sexual harassment. Fed up with their shit and not liking a ground floor unit, I jumped to the opportunity to move to a second floor studio behind Andy, but not before jumping out to scream at Robert for waking me up at 4am one morning on his way to work. I called the office about his shit later that morning and he started walking normally after that. I knew some of it was “payback” for my lack of interest in him.

The new studio would be an identical layout, only with beige carpet instead of blue. I would be above a guy named Jeff and next to a woman named Andrea. Andi, as she went by, was hideously ugly and I suspected she was probably gay, too.

Gordy, the maintenance guy said he needed extra time to paint and fix whatever needed it, so I couldn’t move in until the next month.

I continued to be hard up for money and called cousin Boo to explain my situation to her. I told her I'd never ask for money ordinarily, and to please not tell my parents (though I’m sure she did). She said she knew the move was rough, would be delighted to help, and to consider the money a birthday gift.

Later in the month my parents sent more of my stuff out to me… my typewriter, twin sheets, a twin blanket, legal documents, old albums, my tools and two awesome outfits.

I got a quick letter from Tammy along with $50 since she sold my couch.

Met a gorgeous girl named Melissa at the pool. She was reading a book on addictive relationships, saying she was too clingy and always jealous of her BF. I’d always avoided the jealous type. As far as I was concerned, anyone that jealous was not only not right in the head, but potentially dangerous as well.

I finally got a phone at the end of the month. This was certainly a relief to have in case of an emergency.

Met and chatted a few times with Rachel, who lived diagonally below Andy at the front of the building I was to be in (I was to be in the back) and she was very sweet.

A really nice guy named Randy, which I met when I first moved in, fixed my typewriter.

Since it had been a while, Andy and I decided to go visit Ellie. We figured she may not want to see us but she was totally thrilled. I ended up getting my pink denim mini skirt and bringing it over to glue on beads, shells, sequins and colored glue she had. It was fun and the skirt looked great.

I told her I was transferring studios and gave her my number. Andy gave her his number and she gave us hers.

Then sure enough, as we were leaving she became furious, saying I didn't help her clean up, but I most certainly did. Andy said she seemed so cured until we left, but that was so typical Ellie.

October 1992

The 1st – Andy and I went to a karaoke contest. Neither of us won, but we had fun.

I took a walk over to what was going to be my new apartment in 8 days and asked the girl who’d been living there if I could take a quick glance at it. She didn’t have a problem with that. I liked how the patio was more private, not just because it was off the ground but because there was a large tree in front of it.

The 3rd – I got a letter from Kim. She was nice enough to enclose stamps in it for me, too.

The 11th - A guy named Dennis and his brother Brian that I met at the pool helped me move into my new studio. Dennis and his mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, took me grocery shopping with them as well.

The place started off quiet with the only occasional annoyance being that I could hear kids playing in the common areas.

Andy took me out to a buffet in exchange for doing his laundry. Both Rachel and Stephanie ended up joining us.

One night I could have sworn that someone was peeping out at me through their blinds in the building next to mine while I was on my patio. I didn’t give a shit, though. I wasn’t about to let anyone intimidate me.

A pool pal named Tina put fake nails on me, and Rachel gave me a few things she didn't want. A pillowcase with teddy bears, two shirts, a rug that wraps around the toilet, and a nightgown.

The 13th - Andy and I went to check out several bars. I exchanged numbers with a girl named April. I eventually called her and we ended up having a fairly good talk for a little over an hour. Then sure enough, she failed to show up at my place when she was supposed to.

Randy came up to see my new place and he hooked up my VCR for me. He also told me that it was him who had been leaving the TV Guide at my door. He left it twice, which was nice of him. I thought it was him or a guy named Mike I recently met somewhere around the place.

The 12th - Velma trimmed my hair. Personally, I thought Ellie did a better job, as crazy as she was. Velma trimmed more than I asked her to.

Mary, the girl below Andi and next to Jeff, was very nice. She couldn’t walk too well due to having cerebral palsy, but her speech was fine. Unlike Melissa, Fran's friend.

I got a package from my parents with paper towels, Kleenex, toilet paper, a really nice cream-colored shag rug for the bathroom, a nice shirt, and nightgown. Also, some liquid dish washing soap, but I told them not to send any more unless it was for dishwashers.

The 20th – Andy, Mary and I began feeding a stray cat we named Moon Shadow. He was a lot like Shadow only he was black and white rather than orange and white.

The 21st – Andy and I got some strange voice messages from Ellie. Definitely not right in the head, we realized.

One day when I went to open the door for Moon Shadow, an electric typewriter was sitting there! I ran down to the Jacuzzi to see Randy who I knew would be there, but it turned out to be a real bummer when we discovered that the motor was shot. He called the guy who gave it to him, swearing the guy was honest and that they’d done business together before. I told him not to worry about it, though.

The 26th – Jeff let me pop some popcorn in his microwave since mine was too wimpy.

All I had to fix was the space bar on the Smith Corona electric typewriter I grabbed at the thrift store.

The 30th – It was around this time that the apartment manager, Stacey, began harassing me, sometimes in some very strange and questionable ways. Part of it was my fault. I was guilty of prank calling Robert in the middle of the night for waking me up when I lived below him, and then I also prank called Ellie as well. Only difference was that they didn’t have me on tape while I still had Ellie’s crazy message on my answering machine in which I played for Stacey, casting a shadow of doubt as to just how much of a “troublemaker” I may be. Still… I was sorry I ever bothered to give Ellie a second chance.

Judy and Paula, who also worked in the office, were very nice. It was only Stacy I had a problem with. Actually, it wasn’t just me that had a problem with her. Others had problems with the bitch as well. She was a very strict and controlling person much like my mother.

Where it got strange was that she called both Andy and I down to the office one day, but she met with us separately, Andy being first. We never knew her reasons for this. Maybe in her mind she just didn’t want to give us a chance to get our so-called “stories” straight. Either way, it felt as if we were children being sent to see the principal.

Being criticized for making prank phone calls was one thing (not that this particular thing should have been any of her business), but then she started accusing me of vandalism I knew absolutely nothing about. Andy did say, however, that one night he woke up to the sound of glass breaking and thought it was his car. He got up and checked it out, but all was fine and he didn't see anything that looked to be wrong.

Next, she got on me for going to my second studio before I moved in and asking the girl if I could quickly take a peek at it. If the girl had had a problem with this then why did she let me in? She could have said no.

She mentioned something about “people not understanding my friendship,” and me asking people to come up to my place and trying to get their phone numbers, hinting that I was trying to pick up women for sex. That was certainly not the case, of course, and any numbers I did have were given to me on people’s own free will. I certainly didn’t force anyone to give up their number to me.

I had to laugh at the part where she accused me of going through the phone book as well. Not that I recall ever doing that, but were phone books suddenly illegal or something? I wondered.

She told me the office would no longer accept any packages under different names, which was strictly out of spite, of course. Why else would she have cared whose name they were in? And yes, I sometimes ordered things in fake names.

Then she went back-and-forth, admitting that she didn’t know me in one breath and then being all judgey in the next. Also, nosy about personal matters that didn’t concern her. Why didn’t I get a part-time job or do volunteer work? Why did I not go live in Florida where my parents lived?

How was any of this her concern and what right did she have to ask me this?

Then she insisted I was lonely and I should meet more people a split second before telling me I should keep to myself. In fact, I later learned from Andy that she suggested he dump me. I was like, OMG, you’re kidding me?! How unprofessional was that?

She also informed me that she knew where I was and what I was doing, and that if someone didn't tell her, she'd find out anyway. I began to wonder if she was spying on me and why.

I would have handled her much differently and in a much smarter manner had she hit me with this shit when I was older and wiser. Instead of listening to her accuse me of shit that I had nothing to do with, and butt into my personal life that didn’t pertain to her as manager of the apartment complex, I would have made it simple and told her to mind her own business and then left the office. But I was too nice and too forgiving in these days, not to mention naïve. I should have reported her as well, though I honestly wouldn’t have known where to go for that. I think she knew this too, and took advantage of my naiveté.

Instead of returning to my studio half amused and half annoyed like I would be these days, I returned to it both angry and scared. If dealing with some of the tenants hadn’t put a damper in my willingness to trust others, Stacey certainly had. A counselor from Terros came to my place to help calm me down, but she was still there. In fact she was everywhere from what I’d learned that Kara and I ended up checking my vents for bugs or cameras of any kind.

Ellie continued to do crazy things. While the counselor was there she called screaming about some “mess.” Then she left plant soil outside my door. The next day I swept up the soil and stormed over to her place in a rage where I dumped it.

“Put it in a letter,” she said, slamming her door at the sight of just how pissed off I was.

I knew she was terrified of me, but I didn’t give a shit. I’d had it with people and I ended up screaming outside her door for a few minutes as well as trashing her patio.

I never heard from her again.

That night 3 firecrackers were thrown up toward my place and I wondered if it was connected to Stacey, Ellie, Mark or Robert. Even worse, I worried that Stacey would accuse me of this stunt if she wasn’t behind it herself, and I doubted she was. Firecrackers just didn’t seem like Stacey’s thing, as little as I knew about her other than that she was a bitch.

I began to feel like I was living in a giant house full of children with Stacey as the housemother, rather than an adult living with other adults in an apartment complex in which she was the manager of.

I discussed her possible motivations with friends and we came up with a handful of different theories from my being Jewish to her having a crush on me she couldn’t handle. Or maybe she had a problem with those on disability or exotic dancers. She may’ve even hated gays. There was simply no way to know for sure why I suddenly became the focus of her obsession. I just wanted her to back off or go make someone else the center of her obsession.

November 1992

The 1st – Screaming kids continued to be annoying during the daytime, but there was nothing I could do about it. They had a right to be outside playing.

Mary called asking if I had a mop because her toilet overflowed, but I didn’t even have a broom yet let alone a mop.

Emily went to Andy saying that she wanted to apologize to me but was afraid of me and that was why she didn’t go to me directly. Andy told her that it had nothing to do with him, which was the proper thing to say, IMO.

The 3rd - Andy and I went to South Mountain. I'd never witnessed scenery so beautiful before. Just when I thought you could see forever on Squaw Peek and Camelback Mountains, well, you could really see forever on this one. Downtown Phoenix was gorgeous to me back then. It was so classy and modern looking.

I met a lesbian in the laundry room who looked the part and was also very nice.

Bill Clinton was elected president.

The 6th – I had to go to the office to put in a work order to fix the lock on my door, which was getting harder to open. As I walked into the office I was bummed to see that only Stacey was present. I simply told her the problem and left.

I swore I’d take that bitch to court if she harassed me again!

I got a package from my parents. They sent towels, which I had enough of. Some jellies and jams which I never used, a pad of lined paper, typing paper, a pen, toilet paper, a purple colored basket, 4 different neon colored pencils, coupons, tape, scissors, and a cigarette case.

The 11th – Bob called, and then Fran called saying that someone kicked his door in and made mince meat out of him, landing him in the hospital.

Andy discovered that Moon Shadow was neutered right before I noticed that I hadn’t seen the cat in a day or so. I began to wonder if Stacey was behind his disappearance.

Was still in touch with Dennis, Randy, Tara and Tonya.

The 13th – Met a deaf girl, Jane, and we signed together.

The 16th – Kim moved into her own apartment and told me that Carol, the detective I dealt with back east, lost her son due to some tumor.

The 19th – Andy and I went to the mall and I got a couple of journals (I hadn’t yet gone digital) and that made a total of 35 journals that I had at the time.

EMTs came out because Rachel had a panic attack. I almost had an asthma attack that same night.

I hung out at the pool and talked with Dennis and his mother, as well as a woman named Sandy.

As I sewed on a button on a pair of Andy’s shorts for him, I really wished he wouldn’t stomp when he walked. Our studios were adjacent to each other and the whole place would shake like hell when he’d walk like an elephant.

The 24th – Andy flew up to San Francisco to visit his sister.

The 25th – Chatted with a girl named Sandy at the pool.

Rachel called asking to borrow the pool key and apologized for calling only when she wanted something. She offered for me to spend Thanksgiving with her and Peter, but I told her I already had plans. I spent Thanksgiving, which was the following day, at Kara’s apartment with her mother, stepdad and daughter.

December 1992

The 1st – Dennis took me to see my PCP for asthma medication refills, and Andy took me to the King's Table which was an all-you-could-eat buffet.

One night we also went to Marie Calendar's. I got some good quiche there and he got London broil.

The 2nd - Got a package from my parents, which contained mostly jewelry and household items.

The 3rd – I found myself annoyed with Kara. I told her to call before coming over. Instead she just came over and woke me up. Her kid annoyed me just as much. If she let it go it would trash the place. If she held it down it would scream.

The 4th – For my 27th birthday, Dennis and Bea gave me a card with $5. My parents had flowers delivered. Andy got me two very pretty journals. He also took me to Denny’s where they give you free birthday dinners.

He and Velma visited for a while that night. Andy made himself and I pork chops. Velma cut his hair and gave me a b-day card and a pretty purple hairbrush.

Began to wonder what Randy was up to. I hadn't heard from him lately. I later learned he’d been sick with the flu.

The 6th - While I was over at Andy’s I heard glass smashing in the parking lot. I checked Velma and Andy's car, but they were fine. Then I realized I didn't want to be seen in case someone did do something bad that Stacey might try to pin on me.

The 10th – Bob called and told me he moved, but was still in Turners Falls.

Dennis’s mother died, and Tara visited me.

Jeff moved out from below me, and naturally I worried about what may end up below me next.

Against my better judgment, I spoke with Andy and Kara via three-way calling. Andy had taught me long ago that friend mixing could be a very bad idea. Especially when he tended to drag others into our problems when he would get pissed at me.

The 13th - I got two hilarious cards from my parents and $120! My bills were all paid, so I planned to go shopping and just have fun. I knew it’d be quite a while before I got the chance to do it again.

The 14th – Was at the doctor’s feeling miserable. Very congested.

Had to have my hot water tank fixed because the hot water would run out in 5 minutes or less.

The 19th – Had a scary asthma attack that landed me in the ER.

Maintenance pissed me off by waking me up early to see if I had any leaks in my bathroom (I guess downstairs was flooded or something) and I went off on them for it.

They woke me up the next day too, as they warned me they would have to. Only this time they had Stacey in tow with them. If I hadn’t been so exhausted and felt so shitty I would have LMAO at how they needed her to escort and protect them.

The 25th – Got in another stupid fight with Andy, who made a point of being extra noisy thanks to the spiteful, immature ass he could be.

Stacey refused a package at the office containing a porcelain doll I ordered in a bogus name, so the mailman did me the favor of delivering it straight to my door. The doll was a blue-eyed blond dressed in old-fashioned clothing and about 14” tall. She wore a sky blue dress.

The 28th – Was EXTREMELY annoyed with Andrea’s 15 little siblings that she had crammed into her studio next to me during a holiday visit. The noise was horrendous. Mary, who lived below her, got the brunt of it. They were running around, slamming, banging and bouncing off the walls like crazy. Even Andy could feel the vibrations and his place was diagonally from hers. He thought it was something I was doing at first. The chaos went on not just all day, but all through the night, too. I felt like I was back in the NHA.

The 31st – Following the death of his mother, Dennis moved out of the complex, and on his way he gave me round glass shelves on an olive metal frame. He also gave me a stepladder, a small table, and a TV stand.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

1991

Location: Springfield, Massachusetts & South Deerfield, Massachusetts

January 1991

1991 was off to a shitty start. Fran got drunk and went downstairs to Jimmy’s place where he embarrassed his friends Mike and Lisa. Then he came back up to my place where he couldn't stop playing with my hair, slapping Andy and me on our heads, and then he raided the kitchen. That was it, I decided that night. He would no longer be allowed in my apartment.

Tracy was over a few nights later. She had lost a lot of weight.

Then Andy and I got into a huge fight and even shoved each other during an argument. Later on we calmed down and laughed about it. Even so, I really did hate having a roommate at the time. I thought I would enjoy it, as I’d enjoyed roommates in the past, but I guess I had gotten so used to living alone. I didn’t even want a relationship at this time, but just casual sex.

On the 7th I met a nurse named Kim at the ER. I was standing outside waiting for a cab when I spotted the book The Joy of Signing in her hand. It was a book I had learned a great deal from, along with the deaf boy in my hometown as a teenager. We struck up a conversation and exchanged numbers. The married bi-curious nurse visited me soon afterwards.

My health and emotional state was very fragile at this time. I felt I had no one to turn to. Andy lacked in both compassion and understanding and I willed myself to suppress things as best as possible to avoid conflict. I knew that opening up to him would only make me feel worse in the end. Yet I didn’t feel close enough to anyone else in which to unburden myself to other than my journal.

One night I had a severe migraine and was crying for hours in bed till I finally threw up twice. Of course, Andy didn't give a fuck and I knew it so I held it in and suppressed the urge to scream and scream to my supposed best friend who was taking our problems to Brenda, Bonny and others it didn’t concern. I felt it was no one’s business and like he was gossiping about me behind my back. I was still young and so I found this behavior a bit hurtful. I didn’t have the confidence and maturity I would later come to have.

Toward the middle of the month things worsened with Andy and I. I continued to feel like shit and he continued to discuss us with others and even pit them against me, while I discussed us to my therapist and in my journal. It was then that I knew he had to leave and find another place to live. I could no longer stand having him around. He would deliberately wake me up, say negative things that were sometimes downright mean, and I’d had enough of his selfishness and insensitivity. The only good thing was that I managed to go a week without smoking around this time.

On the 20th, Andy rented a room and I was never happier to see him go. Despite all we’d been through, our friendship amazingly survived the storm.

I called Martha and let her know I wanted to take a break from therapy. I really wanted to learn to suppress things and just live with the bad as well as the good without running to others about it, and in my mind at the time, running to a therapist wouldn’t allow me to master this so-called skill.

The landlord wanted to evict me for complaining about how cold the building was. I wasn’t the only one to complain either, yet it was me he dragged to a mediator. He “liked” me otherwise, he told the woman handling our case.

I shut up about the cold, but I wasn’t about to go anywhere till I was ready to… and I didn’t.

Jenny also wanted to take me to court for prank calling her. Was I guilty of that? Yes, I was. Did I regret it? No, I didn’t. Probably not the right answer, but with the way she cruelly dumped me simply because I had some issues to work out that she didn’t have the patience for, I felt I was owed a little indulgence in a bit of harmless, sweet revenge.

When I failed to appear in court she tried to have me arrested by calling the cops and claiming I beat up an old lady in my apartment building named Mrs. Baker. Fortunately for me I was not only out of the building at the time Jimmy said the cops came looking for me, but I knew that the cops would quickly learn that there was no such person in our building. I also figured they’d see that I had a Failure to Appear warrant out on me and put two and two together as to why Jenny made the bogus call she did. I hoped she was charged with reporting a false crime, though I highly doubt she was.

What pissed me off was that (if one could believe Jenny), earlier she had asked the cops for my phone number, saying that her logic was that I had hers. Therefore, she felt she was entitled to mine. Well, some stupid cop gave it to her, and she probably also used her looks for the information, too.

We would get our day in court; just not yet.

Again Fran dragged me into a puddle of drama with his lies and delusions by getting some poor girl named Liz (I think) to believe I wanted to harm her two-year-old daughter. I have no guess whatsoever as to why he did this, but who can figure out the crazy, right? Where I went wrong was by being dumb enough not to cut ties with the bastard altogether after I calmed the woman down and assured her no one wanted to harm her. My guess is that because she refused Fran’s advances (which I heard over the phone courtesy of 3-way calling), he decided to spite her by using me against her. Again, she was smart enough to get that I was sincere in my assurances to her, but I wasn’t smart enough to drop Fran. At least not yet.

And then there was Angie. Drunk, classless Angie. We were at the club one night when Andy and I noticed her. I thought she was pretty decent looking.
As Andy and I were leaving at closing time, we walked by Angie and her girlfriend and Andy goes, "Now, here's the better looking girl," gesturing toward me.

"Will you lick my pussy?" she suddenly screamed for everyone to hear. Then she gave me the wrong phone number.

Not long after this incident, Andy was cutting through this Laundromat to his mother's store one day, and it turned out that Angie worked there. He said her name and she asked how he knew who she was. "You don't want to know." Andy told her.

On the 25th, Andy and I performed at the club but didn’t win anything, and I was tired of freezing my ass off in my apartment.

The landlord came over and asked me to write the temperature down every time it got cold after putting a thermometer in each room. He also told me he was prepared for the judge to allow me to stay till October, but that he hoped it wouldn't come down to court. Oh, it wouldn’t and I knew it.

On the 27th, Kim came over for me to tutor her in sign language, and a girl named Lisa that I met at the club surprised me with giving me her correct number.

I was getting along better with Bonny and Brenda, but Brenda and I were mostly just friends at this time.

Decided to go to therapy after all at the end of the month, and was glad I did. I got a lot of shit off my chest.

February 1991

Psychic hotlines became a big thing, and as skeptical as I was, I wasn’t any less curious than most folks. I called them up one night and everything they told me was bullshit.

I was doing laundry one day in the basement of my building when I met a girl name Susie who said the band she was in was looking to add another female singer. We harmonized together a bit and she gave me her number. As was my typical luck, though, nothing ever came of our little meeting.

Kathy, Bonny's sister-n-law, trimmed my hair and did a great job.

Jimmy bought a house and moved out from below me. Jai was now living across town and his girlfriend Jenny was living with him.

Toward the middle of the month, Andy came over stoned out of his mind, but in a good mood. He turned 29 around this time. I gave him a card and a bag of hard candy. He was to be moving to Phoenix the following month and I hated being left behind but didn’t see any way I could possibly join him.

Bonny was set to move out in March, Brenda in April. I began to feel like I was losing everyone, though I was hardly close to Bonny.

I was beginning to realize just what a major crack addict Brenda was. Her good “friends” Bonny and Dave got her hooked on the shit, sadly enough.

One night Brenda called me from Bonny’s SIL’s asking me if I would go to the ER with her because she got punched in the nose while she was out. Naturally I said yes since she'd taken me before, but as Andy and I both suspected, she probably went to buy drugs and got robbed and assaulted. According to Brenda, though, she went out to get cigarettes for her and Bonny when a guy came up to her and she rolled down her window. When I asked why she'd roll down her window, she said that for all she knew he could've been asking for directions. Then she said the guy’s girlfriend punched her in the nose when she refused to buy drugs from them. She said the girl also spit all over her window as Brenda was trying to back out her car, which kept stalling, and the girl also threw a bottle at her windshield. The windshield wasn't broken, but I could see that something had spilled out all over it.

I felt bad for Brenda, but also knew I couldn’t risk my own safety by being too close to her. It was definitely time to go our separate ways.

On the 17th, I was listening to music when a strange feeling came over me. I slipped off my headphones and could hear a bunch of yelling and sirens. At first I thought it was a drug bust till I looked out my window and saw tons of fire trucks. One of the nearby buildings was on fire that I knew a lot of druggies to live in.

As annoying as he could sometimes be, I found myself missing Kevin at times. Andy and I agreed that he was probably what drove him away. He knew he couldn’t “compete” with Andy.

On the 20th, Kim called to let me know the only other apartment in her building would be vacant soon. I was interested, but doubtful as I didn’t think I could afford it. A few days later I visited her and met her husband Mark, who was a cop in the neighboring town. I was highly impressed with the apartment, the area, and Mark. He was such an easygoing guy and I felt like I’d known them both forever.

I called my Italian foster mom and updated her on my life, then I called Mary D, mad at myself for letting myself be scared of her for so long after she tried to ambush me and my apartment back on Oswego St. She actually apologized and said she still felt sorry for that day, but I wasn’t about to meet with her. Even if her violent side never emerged again, I’d seen it once and I didn’t want to always worry if something I said or did would bring it out a second time. I may have been too forgiving of those who could be verbally and emotionally abusive, but I certainly drew the line at assault. I managed to keep her from giving me more than a bruise on the forehead that day, but I knew that if I hadn’t been quick enough to defend myself, she could’ve hurt me worse. Maybe even killed me had she bopped my head hard enough in just the right spot.

On the 26th, I learned that I passed the police exam with an 81%.

March 1991

Peter M, the owner of Kim’s building, ran a lumber business on the first two of three floors. The top floor housed two humungous apartments that were over a thousand square feet. They had a unique layout and were very modern and loaded with extras… dishwashers, garbage disposals, trash compacters, motion sensors, alarms, cathedral ceilings, skylights, a washer and dryer in the bathrooms, and even a Jacuzzi in the tubs.

Kim and I spoke with my mom and at first she refused to listen, but Kim soon melted her right down with all the good the place had to offer. Mom was impressed with the area, which she was familiar with, everything the apartment had to offer, the price, and Kim and Mark. She kept telling Kim what a guardian angel she was, and was true.

And so I would give my landlord Russell S my notice to move in April, something he was no doubt thrilled to receive.

The night I saw the apartment, Kim and I went roller-skating at Interskate 91. I had a blast. She visited me soon afterwards in Springfield, and took some stuff of mine up to her place for me.

Brenda wanted to have sex one last time before we moved. I refused and she admitted that the coke and crack or whatever she was doing was screwing her up and ruining her life.

On the 12th, Andy drove across country and moved to Phoenix. I was happy for him, but sad to say goodbye.

I continued to have scattered asthma attacks that could sometimes get bad enough to land me in the ER.

I also had a urinary tract infection at this time.

Kim and I grew closer and I realized that she liked me. As in really liked me.

At the end of the month, Andy made it to Phoenix and was really happy. He said it was beautiful and that there were so many stores and everything was cheaper. I was both excited to move to S. Deerfield, but also longed to join him in the desert.

April 1991

On my father’s 60th birthday I moved to S. Deerfield. It was so much quieter there and the air was so much cleaner. Gone were the naughties of the night yelling on the streets over drugs and johns. Gone were the honking horns. Gone were the many sirens. Gone was the sense of danger.

I got a new stereo for $275 and that included a turntable, dual cassette, AM/FM radio and the CD player.

Kim was so great and a really sweet person. She was everything I’d look for in a person. I felt I could never express how grateful I was for all she'd done for me, including surprising and delighting me with a new pair of roller-skates. I loved them.

I will admit she wasn’t what I was used to having for friends. She had a good job, made good money, and she was very stable. Unfortunately I’d had a knack for attracting mostly broke losers that were sometimes not all there. I didn’t care if one had money or not, but I preferred a more mature and secure person in my life that was drug and alcohol free. So Kim was a welcome change.

I felt safer and I felt happier, but I was feeling a little lonelier at times, too. Away from everyone I had known or still did know, the isolation and boredom could get to me at times.

May 1991

Kim, Mark, and I went to Hampden Beach early in the month. Before we left I had an appointment with my asthma doctor, and he agreed I was getting much better.

Kim gave me a musical note mobile and got me a beautiful spring jacket, a dress and a bracelet.

Chatted on the phone with this guy Tony that I met when I was out roller-skating.

Found myself becoming depressed and bored at times as I settled into life in South Deerfield. I looked back in my past journals (which were all handwritten at the time) and found that I’d left out a great many details of the things I’d write about. I took on the task of writing about my life since going out on my own in much broader detail.

Steve and I were missing each other, and we talked about the possibility of him moving into the area when he visited one night. We had a great time. We talked, watched a movie, and he gave me $40! I was broke, too. He loved the apartment, of course.

The next night, Jai came up for an hour or so. That was nice, too. He and Kim knew each other, it turned out.

Met this lesbian that dialed me by accident. I wasn’t impressed with her masculine looks or her gruff personality, so we never met again.

Went to this lake with Kim. Her grandparents lived there as well as in Florida. We went in a paddleboat and I swam quite a bit and got some color.

That evening, Kim, Mark and I went to Interskate 91 and I had a blast there, too. I really skated up a storm, but boy did they play shitty music. I met an older man there who was a dancer and he knew my uncle Marty. Small world indeed.

June 1991

My dad visited this month and after he returned home to Florida and got the pictures he took developed, he sent me some as well as some of other family members.

As I sat in a little breakfast place one morning that reminded me of Dunkin Donuts, I realized that while I didn’t miss Springfield at all, I wished the place had more stores like Food Mart.

I asked about a part-time job at a nearby seafood restaurant since I was desperate for extra money, but the guy didn’t need any help at the time and I didn’t care for the way he was overly flirtatious.

Andy was still enjoying Phoenix, but couldn’t stand the people, something I would come to understand sooner than I knew.

July 1991

One night at Pearl Street I met this hottie named Maliheh. She knew Kim from sign language class. Maliheh was totally hot despite being close to my height, something I didn’t usually prefer. She was very skinny, and while she wasn’t feminine, she wasn’t masculine either. She had a nice tan, dark eyes and dark straight hair to the middle of her back. I was stunned to learn she was 34. I thought she was my age at the time.

She too, liked to sing and play the guitar, but talk about being a whole different person over the phone than in person! In person she asked me to dance, gave me her number, and kissed me on the cheek on the way out.

After I got home and had time to reflect upon things, I knew that yes, I was attracted to her, and yes, she seemed like a nice person. But that protective side of me came out and warned me of what shit I might be in for and certainly didn’t need in my life.

We chatted once or twice by phone and she didn’t seem eager to get together as we had talked about doing at the club. Finally I left a message on her machine, thinking I was doing the right thing due to her apparent lack of interest and my not wanting any drama, and told her we should just be friends.

When I hung up the phone, though, I was pissed at myself and felt so bad for the message that I was in tears. What opportunity might I have just thrown away, thanks to allowing others who had burned me to make me so paranoid?

But then the call from Maliheh in response to the message turned up that anger and sadness tenfold when she went off on me about it. She didn’t appreciate my “Dear John” message, she told me, I was the one with the 20 questions, etc.

Then why did she give me her number, and where in my message had I ever implied I was breaking off a relationship that hadn’t had a chance to start? I wondered.

Pissed and hurt, I lashed out the only way I knew how to back then and began to mind-fuck Maliheh through the phone. I crossed her with people and left her utterly confused. She was the hysterical bitch she’d proven to be while I sat back in the darkness with a vengeful smile on my face.

Despite my sweet revenge, my life was crashing in on me. The loneliness. The lack of money. The lack of singing opportunities. Everybody wanted to hire people with experience, but how was I to get that experience if no one would give me a chance in the first place? I wasn’t the greatest singer in the world, but I was decent enough.

Soon afterwards my parents sent an additional $50 a month to help out, which I appreciated, and Kim and I went to Hampden Beach in New Hampshire.

Andy saw Gloria in concert and mailed me a tour book from the show.

Jai and Jenny came up and we had a nice visit.

The landlord decided I needed a new kitchen counter, so some guy spent two hours on that and making my head spin with his very loud sanding machine.

August 1991

I got the Gloria tour books from Andy, which were beautiful.

Tammy, Bill and the girls came up and we had a great visit.

I went to an older couple's house for a cookout that were friends of Kim's. Kim and Mark, however, were gone to Vermont because it was their anniversary. Bob and his wife Sandra picked me up, then brought me home afterwards.

The day before, Kim, Bob, Sandra and I went to a fair in Cummington where I got some cute things.

Then one evening the 4 of us went out bowling. It wasn't too bad either as we were the only ones there and I didn't bowl as bad as I thought I would.

September 1991

I was spiraling into a pit of depression at this time and wondering why I bothered to go on living. I felt like nothing was working out. My hatred and mistrust of people in general deepened, as did my anger. I began seriously considering moving down to Connecticut near my sister. What was the point of a big beautiful apartment if I had no life to go with it and was just going to be miserable all the time?

I was also having sleep issues more often where my schedule would bounce between night and day, never knowing why.

My mother visited this month, and while she brought some food and clothes, all we did was fight for the most part. She accidently knocked over my guitar and broke two strings. At first I wrongly blamed her cuz I was pissed at her, but I knew it was an accident. She said she’d send me a whole set of new strings, which I appreciated, as she could afford to replace them and I couldn’t.

We went out and browsed around the Yankee Candle Co. and ate lunch outside at their picnic table. We also looked into some other shops, which were newly built at the time, which had mostly jewelry and knickknacks and plenty of old stuff. She bought me a bracelet and some beads and some of that colored flossy yarn that's more like string. Last night I made my nieces bracelets.

In my moments of boredom I wrote a song called A Light in the Dark. It really reflected how I was feeling at the time.

Kim was kind enough to pay to have my cat Shadow fixed, and so I could get new journals. I really appreciated that!

October 1991

I got a very nice letter from mom along with 18 pictures to add to my photo collection. Dad's 60th b-day party with Charlotte and Jim and other friends were in some of the pictures. One was of Ruth and Marty on their 33rd anniversary renewing their wedding vows. Several were of my nieces and one of me.

The morning of Oct. 22nd was a nightmare. I had a massive asthma attack in which I knew instantly I'd never be able to fight on my own. Mark was a great help and a good support to me. The EMTs even told Mark he did the right thing as I needed oxygen and to go to the hospital. It was so scary and I was so bummed out about it that after they gave me the updraft and they left the room, I cried. Mark took care of letting the EMTs in and also locking the door after they took me away and calming Shadow down. He picked me up after and bought me a coffee and himself some beer.

November 1991

Andy sent me a few pictures of himself, along with a coupon for my favorite coffee at that time. He also sent some cigarette coupons.

I had a little chat with Nervous. Not much had changed in his life.

I stayed at Tammy's at the end of the month for Thanksgiving, and even let her read part of my journal.

I got some new markers and a coloring book along with a couple of journals when we went shopping. Remember, back in these days I wrote everything by hand.

Tammy was a great cook and it was nice spending time with her and the kids, though other family members were present as well.

December 1991

Dad called on the 2nd, which was nice, because I was depressed. Chatting with him cheered me up.

Bob and Sandra took me out to run errands, such as stopping at fuel assistance. We ran into Mark and his partner doing a sobriety test on some female driver.

Kim boosted my spirits on what was turning out to be an incredibly boring 26th birthday. She took me to Ponderosa where I had the steak and lobster combo.

When we came home, Kim told me to give her a few minutes to make a phone call. After waiting 5 minutes or so, I knocked on her door. She opened it and was in the dark holding a cute little cake with pastel colors. I blew out the candles and there was a sudden flash. At first I thought it was Mark till I realized he was working. Kim flipped on the lights and there was Bob! She had called him on her car phone while I ran into a store to buy some smokes.

I got a large photo album from Kim, which I had put all my drawings in. Now they'll be safe. I also put some songs I'd written in there along with family and celebrity photos. Then stuck Kim's card in it, too. It was so cool; the card she gave me.

She also gave me a cat mug and a wooden black cat you stick on top of a doorframe. It looked like it's about to jump down from the frame. She also gave me a little one that sits upright.

Lastly, she gave me a big huge Hershey's chocolate kiss.

Bob gave me a wooden napkin holder he made himself. He carved dogs out of it.

I got some really cute things at a place called Mix-n-Match with Bob and Sandra. It was a super nice bargain store. I got a placemat to put under Shadow's bowl, 2 lipsticks, cat litter, a pen, stationary, 2 bottles of nail polish and some ranch Doritos all for $11.

I then had 25 paper journals kept on the headboard-shelves of my waterbed.

I received a package that was one of those free trial offers. 40 cheap pairs of earrings along with some groceries and household items. Some of the things I got in that trial package are nice. Pasta, lemonade mix, Windex wipes, Ajax, pretzels and a can of cat food.

I got a birthday card with $25 from mom and dad, which I quickly spent.

On the 10th, I met with my counselor, Cassandra.

My parents sent a package. There were two cartons of Cambridge ciggies, some powder, a lighter, a neon braided bracelet and two very pretty barrettes, and a key chain, too.

Kim gave me tons of stamps, which was really nice of her.

I spent some time next door one night with Kim and Mark. Their Christmas tree was lovely.

We were all surprised to spot an ad in the Valley Advocate personals stating that a thin, feminine, 27-year-old female with a great sense of humor was looking to meet another feminine thin female around her age. The word feminine was capitalized.

Tammy and the girls came to visit at the end of the month for a few hours.

Kim and I went to the Hampshire Mall one evening, and then we went roller-skating.

I returned home one evening at the end of the month. After a few good hard tugs on my doorknob, which was frozen with ice, I saw a Dunkin Donuts napkin. It was from Cassandra saying that twice she attempted to see me and that she'd try again. That made me feel so good as I missed her and really needed to see her.

I even missed Bob. Bob and Sandra were really nice people despite all their troubles, but I saw less and less of them cuz their car broke down and Sandy was terminally ill with cancer.

Kim gave me a few pictures she took and made copies of. They were of me moving in with Mark and Kim helping me. There were also two pictures of me sitting at Kim's piano with Shadow and a few taken by Bob the night of my birthday.