Eventually, I adjusted and became more than content with our new family. Kerry was no longer my step-dad, he was just my dad. Looking back, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him. My mother was in control of the money, which meant we never had any! Yet miraculously a large sum would always appear when we needed it. She told my dad that my godmother or another relative was helping out. Somehow, we always seemed to manage.
At some point we decided to move to New England. My mother found an agency similar to the one they currently worked for in Concord, New Hampshire and very shortly after we were relocating. We had recently adopted a beautiful Collie, Nicholas. He wasn’t the most intelligent dog, but he was very sweet and loving. I would lay on my stomach in front of the television and he would lay on my back. We still had both of our cats, Ashley and Shadow. After we moved, Ashley started peeing on my bed immediately after my mother had washed the sheets, so eventually we had to give her away.
Shadow was honestly the coolest cat I have ever had (don’t tell my current felines!). We named him shadow, because when he was a kitten he followed me everywhere, plus he was mostly grey, with little white paws. He let me dress him up in doll clothes and push him around the house in my baby buggy. He was such a good sport!
My mother found an amazing log cabin for us to rent on a beautiful lake in Bradford, New Hampshire. There was a small private beach in our front yard and a wooded area in the back. The inside was fully furnished and had hardwood floors that Nicky would slide on every time he darted into the house. He was usually stopped by a piece of furniture or the wall!
Bradford was a true example of small-town New England. My parent’s drive to work took an hour through woods and mountains, which became challenging, but it was beautiful. I began going to a nice home daycare where the woman who ran it had it setup with a giant fake tree in the middle that I used to climb on when I wasn’t helping her take care of the younger children. Unfortunately, I only went for a short time. Eventually, my parents grew to hate their jobs and decided to quit. My mother told him they would be fine because someone was sending money to help us out. She was still in control of the bills and always seemed to have it covered, so neither of us worried. Until one day, when two men showed up with a tow truck and told us they had to take my dad’s car. My mother made up a story to cover the reasoning for the repossession and as I would later find out revealed to him that she had been lying about her true identity because of some dark secret she had been holding back from him about her family.
Everything began to go downhill after that. We were flat broke and the mysterious money that had been rolling in before, suddenly stopped. There was a public assistance program in the town that issued us a grant to pay our rent for a few months, but what we would do after that was anyone’s guess. Not knowing what else to do, Kerry decided to join the Air Force.
They had delayed entry at that time and we had to wait six months before he would begin testing and training. Our resources exhausted at this point, my mother suggested we move to Florida where she had been in contact with a dear friend who could help us get settled until he was enlisted.
Now down to one car, we were forced to say goodbye to Nicholas. This was heartbreaking for all of us, well at least Kerry and myself. My mother never seemed to have a problem leaving behind animals. She was never cruel to them and would never leave them without someone to care for them, but she also didn’t seem to dwell on their absence.
When we arrived in Florida, there was no friend waiting for us and no place for us to stay. We ended up in Cocoa Beach where we rented a trailer just across the highway from the ocean. My dad wasn’t scheduled to enter the Air Force until April, 1990 and it was only November, 1989. So, he quickly took a job as a cook at a very popular fast food restaurant and my mother started her own cleaning company. Knowing what I now do about my mother, the cleaning business was maniacally genius on her part. Sure, she would clean your house, but she would also snag a few blank checks in the process to clean out your bank account later.
That year, it was the coldest winter on record in Florida. All sorts of records were broken in temperature and snowfall. There were rolling blackouts across the state and residents were unable to leave the city due to ice covered bridges, which was virtually unheard of in Florida!
On Christmas Eve, we were without power and we all had to snuggle on the couch to keep warm. Thankfully, there was a wood burning stove in the trailer that gave off some heat and allowed my dad to cook his Christmas goose for the three of us. It was a bit slimy, but it was good.
Early in February, Kerry received an odd call at work from his brother. He was with his mother who told him that someone had cashed the check she sent him for his birthday for $1500.00 instead of $50.00. She was told that the bank would not cover the discrepancy unless she pressed charges against the perpetrator. Knowing the perpetrator was most likely my mother, she chose not to and instead paid all the fees herself. When a copy of the check was sent to him later, he said that my mother had crossed out everything on the check and rewrote it in her own handwriting. It is crazy to think that anyone would have accepted something so obviously forged, but my mother has a gift of getting people to do what she wants. Even if it is ridiculous.
Shortly after this phone call, Kerry enlisted in the Air force and went away to basic training in Texas. The plan was to wait for him in Florida and then meet him where ever he ended up being stationed, but about half way through basic training we lost contact with him for several months…