Not quite sure just why I am so worn out at the end of each day. I am not liking that I can not accomplish all that I want each day. LOL, I am not used to being slowed down. I wanted to write what is below last night and did not have the energy.
Yesterday’s class about ‘purpose’ confirmed for me that which I knew. I’ve known my purpose, such as it is, for a long, long time. We were given a shortened version of the workshop that the Blue Zone’s project workshop. If you live in Douglas County, then you qualify to take the workshop. (google: blue zones, Umpqua).
I am a person who has made for myself, many purposes. But, the end game for me has been for a long, long time – – expressing why (the argument), (especially) women and children need protection from abusive behaviors that are for the most part still condoned by society at large. Our country does a lot of lip service about protecting women and children. And there are a lot of compassionate, and honorable people out there trying to make a difference. But, there are just as many more willing to turn their heads, sweep under the rug, and deny what really goes on in the world, in their families, and to their children and grandchildren.
The trigger that led to this purpose was having a child hurt by my stepfather. I choose my child over everyone/anyone else in the family. I have been accused of betrayal because I chose my child. Hence, I have lost family to what I felt, and still, feel is right. It is a mighty painful price to pay, and having said that, the ‘pain’ from the situation keeps me writing about my situation, and what I learn from it. (The truth is all my children were touched in one way or another by this horrendous crime)
Of course, I have realized over the years, after years and years of education and picking up of the pieces, that domestic violence in my primary family played into and set us (kids) up for what happened in our family life as adults. And having said that the study of history and genealogy has led me to the conclusion that it is all generational — in other words, it is what we grow up knowing. Unless we educate ourselves about it, we are doomed to repeat it. George Bernard Shaw said that men are basically too stupid to learn from history. I beg to differ. All of us are capable of learning. Hence, my purpose.
I am one of many, many voices trying to change the future for women, children, men….. everyone and anyone who has felt the sting of a backhand, or the belittlement of a cruel statement, a threat of bodily harm, and the bruises from hands that one can not keep off another. Sexual abuse of any form. Everything I have done in my life since 1991 when I found out that MY child was hurt has come back down to this. Whether it is working to heal myself and my family, working to keep my children safe and healthy, writing for publications, including my own blog, studying history (all of it), or loving my genealogy. No one will ever silence me. Because it is increasingly apparent to me that it is going to take EVERY VOICE OF EVERY PERSON who is willing to make the changes in our culture that are needed.
I understand that friends and family (some of them) wish that I would shut up. Just know that I can not and will not. It is a drive and passion that, I think, only one that fills my particular shoes can know. I am the mother of a person(s) who was hurt for a lifetime. I am the daughter of a person who considers themselves the biggest victim in the whole situation. I am a friend to many who simply do not understand the enormous consequences (i.e. mental and physical health) of generation after generation of violence in the family. The sad part is that I am nowhere near unique.
I am planting seeds. And I know it. I have known it for a long, long time. Everything else is an end to a means. All else helps to support the main purpose one way or another. My life has been a participant based, customized, education-that leads this person who is meant to make a difference at some point for someone. I’ve gotten practice in writing, public speaking, and just plain making my point. It all comes down to that. The only thing that will ever stop me, is when my life stops. And I hope when that comes, I will have said enough to someone(s) to have made a difference – for at least one abused child, or one abused wife / husband. Nuff said.
I have been reading. It turns out that 1 in 10 families live with one sort of parent/child estrangement or another. People stay silent about it due to shame, guilt, and other reasons. I myself have kept reasonably silent about it. Only people closest to me know about what is going on in my life, at least with my kids. I am not at all quiet about the fact that I’ve not spoken to my mother in about 25 years now. That is a story that legally I should not share. But, suffice it to say that her side is that I betrayed her. My side is that I choose my seven-year-old daughter. It is impossible to betray a person who SAID, “I had to protect myself from ***** because I was afraid that he would divorce me and marry her.” ***** was a total of seven years old when the statement was made. My stepfather was 57 years old, and my mother was in her early 50’s. In her very sick thought process, though she probably never saw it in concrete terms (due to denial) she made my daughter the ‘other woman.’ This made a seven-year-old a threat to a 50 something-year-old. There was no comparison, and there was never an excuse for any kind of thought process that came to a deduction such as this. I could never in a million years betray that sickness. Not that I am incapable of the behavior, but that it is impossible for a daughter to betray a mother whose thought processes are so sick that she blames a child for behaviors that she can only honestly, blame on her husband who was a predator. It is impossible, betrayal is not possible–when you are placing the blame for a lost cause marriage on a seven-year-old child. So, this particular estrangement, while it is sad, and I have cried a lot over the years, is probably something for the better. We are at such an impasse, and she denies that she ever said the things she said. Emotionally, it is obvious that my mother is every bit as emotionally abusive as my father, and stepfather ever were.
I have kept quiet about the issues with the kids exactly because of guilt and shame. Even though, I know I did not do anything major wrong. In fact, even one of the daughters sent me a text and told me that no matter what happens, it’s not my fault. No explanations as to why I am being treated as I am. That is what is going on between ourselves and our 2nd oldest.
Let me just say now, before I move on, that I am sorry for the way things worked out. I would have approached the situation differently if I had to do it all over again. But, the end result would have probably been the same. As keeping a child away from an abusive mouth was the goal. Moving on….
With our oldest, the story is quite different. She said some things that caused red flags to fly. I decided to try and protect a child as best I could, and it bit me in the butt. I knew it would. I did not know what else to do. She is a confrontational type, and can have a mean mouth, and an attitude that if she’s right and angry then anyone else is in the room better sit down, shut up and listen. That attitude may work with others but it does not work with me. In fact, with me, that attitude has created a chasm. It has kept me at arm’s length (and others, including her newly adopted father) from her for years and years. Further, if I let the attitude stand in her treatment of me, then as I age, and become more vulnerable, then I dare say I don’t want to be under her care. We, I, love her with all our hearts, but when angered, which can be triggered easily, we avoid it at all costs, including changing our behavior in her presence and not talking about or saying things that might normally be said elsewhere.
The truth is, I’ve been afraid of her for years, because of her rough, tough, macho attitude. As I age, I’ve protected myself more and more by wrapping myself up with tools such as never being alone with the said child. The bottom line here is that I’ve seen this train wreck coming for years. In the long run, I do not harbor a lot of guilt about this other than perhaps, I could have chosen a better father for my children. And I wish I had known what domestic violence was when I was young. So much of this could have been avoided had I only had the education.
You know, I never considered myself a perfect mom. Just never happened. Never will. One sees what they see, they hear what they hear, they mull the situation over and contemplate what the best way forward is. I have pretty much consistently done the best I could in each situation. My daughter knows that I put children’s safety first and foremost and if she’d think about it, considering that I was trying to protect a child from that harsh and angry mouth. (and only from that mouth). A mouth that had already done damage (according to what she told me, she did not realize it, else she’d never shared). No child deserves to be confused or manipulated (intended or not). So, my imperfect ways created a rift that will probably be life long.
Hence, a mourning process. One does not estrange themselves (purposely or accidentally) without emotional pain. When it comes to children, regardless of the reason for the estrangement the pain is in the extreme. Nothing in this life has ever hurt me more. And I’ll tell you, my father left our family when I was 16, and then he died when I was 21. As stated earlier my mother and I quit speaking 25 years ago, and my eldest daughter had already divorced me once before when she was around 12 years old. Emotionally, I’ve been through the wringer. But, nothing, and I mean NOTHING hurts as much as losing two kids to estrangement.
It took quite some time of mourning. This has been going on for about three years, perhaps longer. I have purposely not been timing it all, I don’t want to know. It just hurts too much. The mourning process has gone through the normal phases several times: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance.
The kids themselves may read this and laugh at the isolation part, but the truth is, when you do not share with others because of guilt and shame that makes it so that you are indeed, isolated. And while my husband has known since day one, and been very, very supportive–the isolation is still there. No one and I mean NO ONE, can feel the pain but me. And considering I am the one who has spent years and years with these kids (present husband is my 2nd and not the bio. father of the kids)—in my pain, I am utterly alone. I have been in and out of the anger part, too. Including the indignant, “how can they treat me this way?” That was an emotionally necessary phase to go through, but also a perfectly good waste of time. It doesn’t change anything, and the energy used could have been put to so much more efficient use. I’ve tried to bargain (and beg, and plead) with the kids, with the devil, with God, with my husband…. all to no effect. Another emotional necessity, total waste of time. Depression and me, well it just happens. This situation along with health issues that crept up on me have led me to drive away expecting to never come back alive. That was at the worst of it. I have dealt with long term depression over the kids. I believe that at the height of it, the struggle was in learning to finally let go. But, before I could do that, I had to return to mourning in a sort of way, this time as if they were dead. My children no longer walk in my world. They do not exist. They are no longer part of my thought process in terms of planning for the future– I have chosen to move forward without taking them into account for any part of my future. Firstly, they inherit nothing. When on my deathbed, they need not appear, for it would only torture me, and at that point, I’ll just want peace. Eventually, if I have my way we’ll sell our house and move far away, and they will not be informed where we (or I) will go. I do not want to be under their care when am old and fragile. And yes, husband is very aware of this attitude and agrees. I guess this whole process ended up with an acceptance in that there is nothing I can do about the situation, and nothing is going to change (ever as far as I can see), and so I might as well quit punishing myself, as it is not all my fault. In fact, most of it, if not all of it, is not my fault. I have children who need to grow up, and learn to communicate — depending on the child either they just need to learn new communication skills, or they need to think about what they say, and not say it out loud again, because if they are not going to change their ways, then they at least need to not admit to their mother what they said to the small child. It puts their mother in a very bad, bad spot–in that I will always choose the safety of a child, ANY child.
The last time I was estranged from my oldest, I waited until she was around 16 years old, and it then dawned on me that, I’d purposely chosen to stay in the same town so that when she was ready and able she could find me. I’d made a website dedicated specifically to her, a communication and invitation to come home. I went through all the same stages, in that I thought it through, and tried to figure out why, and I tried to bargain, beg and plead. I even legally tried to get her back. But at a point, I realized she was old enough to get what she wanted, and if she wanted me in her life she could choose to make contact. At that point, I lit a candle, and I said goodbye. I choose to move on.
Today, I have yet to light the candle, which I think will finalize the situation in my mind. This time, I will light three. One for my mother, one for both daughters. In fact, maybe I will light six. Two others for other family members who are deceased, or that I am just not on good terms with because of the stress of these situations over the years. One for my own heart, and it’s healing, and a conscious renewal of health.
I’ll light these candles because emotionally it’s just time. But, I’ll also light those candles because of the physical toll this has taken on my body. One heart attack later, which was due specifically to the mourning process. I think this speaks volumes about how serious I have taken these situations, and also speaks to the very real and deep pain, I just need to let this go. For me to heal from this heart attack, I need to let go, and let myself live the most fully that I can with no more guilt, no more shame. It is time for me to stop the punishment and be best that I can be.
In a final note, to all the parents in similar situations, know… I feel your pain. There are websites (I very recently discovered) that are there for the specific reasons of supporting you. They have things for sale (if you wish) including self help books, and even memberships to supportive forums where you can talk to others in the same boat. But, there are even more FREE resources to help you through. In fact, it was through these free resources that I discovered that I was truly not alone, and that we parents who are estranged are a major portion of the population at large. Do not remain silent. Share your pain with others. Let go of the guilt and pain. Look for concrete ways to overcome and get on with your life. Light a candle, let it go, and move on before it kills you. Live your best life. If there is ever to be a reconciliation it will happen in it’s own time, when all parties are emotionally ready, and not before. Go outside and play!
Some search terms you may wish to put into any search engine (each is a link that will go through Google):
I have been given the diagnosis that most people just don’t want to hear. My heart is in such good shape after having a heart attack, that I can drop dead at any moment. The heart doctor said he could not believe how good I look considering how sick I am. The only treatment known to work for what I have is losing the weight, and exercise. Of course, I’ll be medicated and medicated. Right now, I’d be happy to be rid of the constant chest pain, and pain in my shoulders and arms (angina).
Genetics plays into this. Stress from family members (i.e. KIDS, now), Childhood Abuse (ACE – 7+) all play into this. I’ve told more than one person that this is all a result of a broken heart, and I’ll tell you what, I kid you not.
But what makes me unhappy is not the situation in and of itself, I knew it was coming eventually. But, I do not consider myself old, and I have tried to take care of myself including going mostly vegan over three years ago. I just don’t understand why, no matter what I have done to protect myself (No smoking ever, No drinking, No wild life, No drug abuse history) I have not managed to protect myself. I’ve been taking statins since the day they hit the market. I started taking Metformin before I went Diabetic. I went Diabetic after a neighbor from hell stalked me enough that I became a prisoner in my own home. I could not work in the yard anymore. I quit moving. Some of this IS on him. He a drug addict and mostly broke, or I’d sue the shit out of him. (Kelly Roper, Myrtle Creek)
This is basically a rant. I got a diagnosis that I do not want, and that I will fight until I can’t fight anymore. No one wants to live more than I. My life is not miserable much. LOL.
OK, I’m done. For now… Diagnosis, Class I (can go up to Class III) Ventricular something or other. I’ll probably be looking at cardiac rehab really soon. I need to move closer to the hospital.
Warning: There is explicit details in this essay. IF your stomach is queasy then do not go here. If rape is a touchy subject for you, do not go here.
Well, a new thought to share with my therapist. Can my own intense anger over one thing be a trigger for what is certainly a PTSD related trauma – and also a totally unrelated issue that I lived through years ago? And with that question, I have to say, I was unaware that I was still this intensely angry after all these years.
You know, being kicked from the historical society as I was, has left me intensely angry. The people who did the ‘dirty work’ made up reasons to justify asking me to step down. The truth is, I think, is that I began to realize that I was seeing unethical behavior and was saying something. I was becoming a whistle blower and they had to see it coming. Yesterday, one of those people contacted my significant other (2nd husband) and asked him via text for information. He had to ask me for it which he waited until bedtime to ask for. Which of course, triggered the anger at bedtime. A time when we are supposed to be settling down, and trying to sleep. To them I say: I am not going to share any information with you, ever, period.
So, getting kicked to the curb for no good reason is one reason to be really really hurt and angry. But why for heavens sake would it remind me of my ex husband and his stupidity? I really have no clue unless – the intense anger is something that was produced from both situations.
When my ex and I were first married in the early 80’s…newlyweds, and that is no stretch, he came to me over a series of days and had me do certain things and told me certain things. For some reason I was to dress a certain way so that he could parade me around down town Cincinnati. I never quite understood that one. I did not like it in the least. I was embarrassed because at that point in my life, I was very, VERY modest. He came home from work (as a security guard) from the Cincinnati Enquirer and let me know that someone there thought I was a beautiful woman and wanted to take nudes of me. He wanted me to do it. I did not want to. Eventually, he didn’t want me to, and turned the guy down. To this day, I am not sure why the ex had the change of heart, but I have wondered since if he were not just plain full of shit. Maybe there really was no such person? During this time period, ex also came home from work, from the Cincinnati Enquirer and asked me to sleep with another couple with him. He wanted to ‘wife swap.’ I said no, and there was some intense pressuring. I did not even know in those days that that sort of thing went on. I was really that naive. So, part of the answer to the problem was that he started buying Forum magazines so I could read them and see what other people do. I guess, he thought it was time to educate me. It was also during this same time period though, I do not remember why it happened back then, that he first uses the technique of sleep deprivation to get what he wanted from me. If I said no, he just kept me up all night, rattling on and on about why he or we should do something, until I said yes. Back in those days, before the birth of children, and being young — he could have kept me up for a week, and I’d still said no. But, the abuse had begun. Even though I had no clue that it was abuse at the time. This was the phase in my marriage where I lived with objects being stuck up inside of me for his personal delight, and to my pain. The most memorable was of the night of the coke bottle. A coke bottle is no dildo if you get my drift. I said ok because I had no clue that I could say no. In those days, in my reality, man and a wife, alone, the wife gave it her all and stayed in that miserable place for the rest of her life. The bottle was very, very painful, and it brought tears to my eyes, and I tried my damndest to suck it up and stay silent, but complete silence did not come. It killed me when he asked me if it hurt, and through my tears (not so silent) I answered no–and he was so callous as to not see or hear through my denial. I was a very good wife, I suffered on for YEARS! Nearly 20 of them.
Fast forward about 14 of those years. I have either filed for divorce or about to and he knows it. I encourage him to date and move on, all the while staying and trying to work it out. Letting him go about his business is part of how at the time I was trying to help him not feel so hampered and controlled. After all those years, I agreed to an open marriage. While I agreed in principle, I never thought about a spouse swap. For me it just was not in the cards. In my mind we’d each just date who we wanted, and I had not realized the jealousy that would come into play. But he came to me, and told me he met a couple and she was HOT, and he wanted her, and he wanted me to sleep with the husband so that he (my husband) could sleep with her. I said no. I said no because while I knew them to, and thought she was gorgeous, he on the other hand gave me the creeps, and I wanted nothing to do with him. I could not have been clearer why I was saying no.
If I recall right this was one of those issues where he wanted what he wanted and he kept me up all night telling me all the reasons why we should. Now, I had an 8 year old, and a 3 year old. I was working night shift, and I was packing and getting ready to move 2000 miles to the east. At 4 am. I finally said yes, so that he’d leave me alone and let me sleep.
I did not know it at the time but, he must have that day or the next, or at least soon thereafter, approached the husband and tried to convince him to swap wives with him.
Now, husband in the couple did have a female African Senegal that appeared to be in great shape, but lonely. She kept laying eggs. I had a male, who had been obviously lonely for his own kind. He literally cried the most mournful cries. Knowing I could not take him when we moved, I’d been on the look out for a home. I gave the bird to them, in hopes that it would be happier there than with us. The husband of the couple called me and asked me to come over and look at the birds. They had laid an egg together and he wanted me to see. It was the middle of the day, I had no clue the man was alone at home, I packed up my 3 year old and around the corner we walked.
He answered the door and invited me in. He took me to the room where the birds were and showed my 3 year old the backyard where he could play. Once the boy was just outside the open sliding glass door the man informed me of what my husband had come to him, and what he had proposed, and how he felt about it. I’ll never EVER forget what he said. “He is not going to have my wife, but I am going to have you.” And it started.
My child was now on the patio, still close too the house, and so I would not scream or make noise because I did not want to alarm the child. I said no, I tried to fend him off physically, but I would not scream. When he could not take my clothes down to the level he wanted he grabbed my hair and forced my face into his crouch and demanded that I perform orally. I wish today, I had thought to bite him. But, even if I had thought of it, I probably wouldn’t. I had no interest in my son seeing or hearing a thing. I did not want him to be affected by this ugly scene.
The man’s penis had something on it. To this day I don’t know if it was moles, or warts, or just what kind of growth it was. But it was gross. The sight and situation made me nauseous. Actually, it still does, and to this day, I can not get that image out of my mind. So obviously, I do not want to think about it and I have been running from it. At least until this morning, I was still actively pushing this scene away—25 years later. These moments are from 1994. (2019-1994=25! I just checked with the calculator)
So, the bottom line, I am not sure if it was rape in that there was no penetration to my private parts, but I can tell you, it most definitely was forced and unwanted, and fought. When it was over, and I was released, I scooped up my little boy and walked back around the corner to the home where we were staying. It was the home of his Uncle and Aunt who lived on Glenwood Street in Fremont. They may have been understanding had I confided. But, we will never know. I was a master of keeping these things to myself. But to this day, I associated that rape or attempted rape, with the all night torture ritual of keeping me awake until he got permission for what he wanted. I told my soon to be ex about it. Nothing happened. There was no offer of reprisal of any kind. It was after I was long gone that the two men met up at our daughters former elementary school, and dear ex husband claimed that they shook hands and he squeezed the offenders hand very hard so that he was aware that ex was aware and angry. According to the ex, the offender turned tail and ran. If the husband from the couple did turn tail and run it was probably because he didn’t want his wife to know what was going on.
It was the end of a marriage, and there were head games, and harassment. My intelligence was insulted over and over again. In order to make up, one of the things I wanted was for my ex to take responsibility for his behavior. I had known he’d cheated on me years before. I had finally just realized that it was indeed stepping out, and that he’d brought home an STD to me. That is what had happened. All he had to do was admit it, and apologize, and offer to try to not go down that road again. And he had to do that, without laying the blame on me. Instead, he said he’d talked to his mom, and his mom told him to never admit it. I knew that was an admission, but the lack of taking responsibility for his actions was in my mind an insult to my intelligence, and I was not going to stay where those types of head games were still going on.
While living in the home of the aunt and uncle it became clear to me that head games were part and parcel of his family of origins dirty laundry. His uncle was relentless with the headgames, and so was his cousin. The whole situation was demoralizing, and crazy making. His aunt (who was the blood relative from family of origin) was an angel, and very, very kind. But, she was also aloof working hours a day, and coming home and pretty quickly retreating to her bedroom. Though, she treated me with the utmost of kindness. I had already been told that there was marital problems between said aunt/uncle. And cousin was addicted to drugs and a thief. She stole a quilt that I had hand embroidered and put together for my son, shortly after I showed it to her. She stole a brand new rag doll that I had bought myself as a special present to myself for my efforts in life. No doubt they were traded for drugs. The disrespect and crazy making for the most part was suffocating. The sad part, is that, my sister and mother were less than 10 miles away. That whole situation in my own family of origin was so sick, that I could not call them for help or support.
My family of origin is quite dysfunctional. Hence, I married into the familiar-and tried to stay in the marriage until ‘death do us apart’.
This is what came flooding into my mind this morning while in the midst of being intensely angry about the historical society. Did the anger over the historical society trigger the memories? I would have to answer that one in the affirmative. I just find it hard to make the connection.
I have known that I was angry about the deafening disrespect shown to me by my ex. Over the years it built up to where if I had been a snake I would have bit him. IF I were a snake, I’d chosen to be a Cobra and I’d spat in his face—aiming for the eyes. I was angry. Yes, Yes, Yes…
I am not sure I ever felt any anger over the rape until possibly this morning as the memory came rushing back. In order to protect my son at the time, my automatic reaction was to keep quiet and hold any feelings in. It was most certainly, survival mode that I was in at the time. When I told my ex about it, there were no tears– it was just the facts. I was 1001% disconnected from my insides.
So obviously, even if we decide that we are NOT going to be angry person, and not take it out on those around us, and not let it affect our hearts, there is more than a conscious mind at play, and we are not in 100% control of what we do and how it affects us. 25 years later, I am just now feeling the real and intense anger in such a way that I can identify where it comes from and why.
I never got an apology from anyone. I pretty much lost my mind for awhile after that scene. No one knew why. They still do not know why. And yet, I am the one that was “no angel” — I am the one in the wrong. I did the rejecting, I filed for divorce.
Over the years he brought home STDs, and filled my body and mind full of things that were just obscene. He expected me to perform acts that I had no interest in, and very often led me to tears. I lived through cracked and broken teeth created by being hit on the face and bruises from being hit elsewhere. Before it was all over, I was fairly sure he’d sexually assaulted his sister before we met or were married. I had lost all respect, if there was ever any to begin with.
Again – I get to make a point, that until we walk in the other person’s shoes we know not what their experience may have been, or what they have lived through.
The disconnect between the perpetrator and his feelings of shame must be something the size of the Grand Canyon. The disconnect the perpetrator causes in their victim and her shame while it may seem to not exist, is real, and life threatening. I was suicidal and was 51-50’d at this time. I thought it was because I had filed for divorce that I was suicidal. That is what I told the doctors. The truth is, that it was probably more over the rape, and the headgames, and the shear years of piled on disrespect and disconnection.
In these days of #MeToo, women are looking for acknowledgement, apologies, respect, and probably some retribution. I get it. I am a textbook case of a person assaulted as a child and that situation setting me up for assault after assault after assault my entire adult life. It is typical history for a woman in modern America. Peace even when it comes, still has the pain and memory of the violence from the past.
And the fallout keeps coming. My son has a pretty bad case of PTSD. How much of that came from that day 25 years ago….where he probably heard and saw the unbearable and what should have been unseeable and unhearable. A mother’s secret is about to become known…
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can break a heart faster than a child can. I’m not talking about a young child, I’m talking about an adult child who you love with all your heart. Said child(ren) has grown up fairly arrogant and think they know absolutely everything, and that you (their parent knows nothing at all). The children are in their 30’s now, living their lives, and doing their thing, and you are happy for them. Suddenly it dawns on you that you are getting older, you are beginning to feel vulnerable in the world, and the kids are the people you kind of think might be there for you when you get older and can’t anymore.
I have discovered it was all a dream. And not a very realistic one at that. My older kids show about as much compassion as the perpetrators in their life showed them. As you might realize that means just about naught. There is no empathy. No attempts to try and walk in our shoes. No apologies. Not even, “I’m sorry you feel that way” —which doesn’t admit anything, but shows a tad little bit of compassion. I do feel let down. I’ve been to court for my kids and fought and fought and fought for them. I don’t expect much from them, as they have proven that I dare not. But, I never expected a proverbial kick in the teeth either.
For my oldest, I worked with the detectives and d.a. and got a perpetrator thrown in jail. I complained to anyone that would listen (senators, congressmen, judges, sheriffs, district attorney, police….) trying to make sure he did not get out on her 8th birthday. That was to no avail. But, I tried.
I fought to keep them safe from their father, that I eventually realized was abusive. I fought and fought and fought for them. At this point they agree that he was abusive. So, abusive that he took her and ran for about six years. When I found them each time, and made it known that I wanted to check on my child, he picked up and ran again. And I do mean, he’d pull her out of school that day to run. Literally.
My 2nd one down whom became the third one down after an adoption is bi polar and autistic. At ages 4, & 5 (approximately) he’d come home repeating the things he heard his father say before the father ran. Through tears I heard how “daddy is going to kill you, mommy, and throw you in the desert where no one can find you….and then Tina is going to adopt me.” Kids this age just do not make this stuff up. He could barely pronounce adoption….he was really just a little guy. And he was already showing signs of having issues… he needed absolutely Zero percent of this abusive treatment from his father. Between his mental illness, and his treatment by his father, and hate to say it, treatment by any man I have tried to have a relationship with, they single him out, and really treat him like shit. So, he too, has grown up with a lot of problems, and again, I have fought and fought and fought for him. I.E.P, Child protective services, etc…. I gave him up to the state to get him treatment when I could not longer control him. That was an absolute painful act of love. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. But at the time, I was worried that I was raising ‘Charlie Manson #2’ — something had to be done.
My adopted one. Now the #2, is someone that I felt very special for. For me she was in a class all of her own. And you talk about side blinded. I never saw today coming. Not in the least. I think because of her, she is where most of my heartache, my heart break comes from.
With my oldest, its easy to see she’d picked up a lot of anger along the way. A LOT of anger. She is dysfunctional to say the least. A functional dysfunctional. But, between her anger and her arrogance (both of which comes from father and prior step mother attitude) — it is what drives her on in life. I knew we would reach a point where I could not live with it anymore. I reached my point. Where she basically attacked me over social media, and disrespected me and my husband in our own home. And she is not capable of even saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way mom.” That is the sad part for me.
For months now, I have been telling my significant other that I have a broken heart. When drs. started realizing that there is something wrong with my heart, I’ve been telling them that I have a broken heart. No one heard me until today. My cardiologist was looking yet again at my stress test. His answer today was, “You know, you just might be right, I think you’ve had a heart attack.” My answer, “Dr. I have never been diagnosed with a heart attack.” So, now we get more tests, I am waiting to be scheduled now. I need more blood work, and IF I have had a heart attack then, I need different kind of medical care. But, the doctor showed me on the pictures the dead part of my heart. I saw it with my own eyes. And I am pretty sure now, with thought, that I know just when it happened.
I know, exactly when it happened. When I was hurting the worst over those two angry girls, my 1st & 2nd. I have decided at this point, that we’ll probably never make up. Either way, the pain is real and it is there. Neither of them realize just how much of me, is invested in them. I don’t think I could make up now, if I wanted to. I’d be afraid they’d be willing to be just as compassionate and sympathetic — caring as they have been these past couple of years. The truth is, if I were to go through it again, they’d probably kill me. Other than the fact, that I had to learn to let go (again)….. I just can’t go through that again. They are too willing to be very hurtful. I am not willing to hurt. Although, I have to say, my heart will be broken and will hurt literally, for the rest of my life.
I do not hate them, I simply can’t take the pain. I am worn out. I have fought all my life in a kind of survival mode, first for myself as an abused child. My father raped me and had a lot of fun torturing me. Then raped again (In every conceivable way) by the first husband. Then again, by a boyfriend….his was mostly emotional and mental manipulation but it is just as bad as any physical abuse. While this is going on, I’m fighting for my kids.
Today I fight with hubby #2, over the kids. The crap never ends. There is a good chance that we’ll be going our separate ways, as I just can not take the stress anymore. period.
I have let go. I love all my kids, but I will not let them walk all over me or abuse me. Since at this point, there is no trust, and probably never will be again, in my mind I basically have two kids now. Now I put the ink to paper to try as a way of releasing the the harmful and unhealthy mush that has been holding me down literally for years. I can’t live with it anymore. I have to let it go.
At the same time, I can finally get it out, and say it out loud, I find out that I literally do have a broken heart. And I told the doctor it is probably because of my kids. And I have been saying it for months. Probably a couple of years now. I hope they are happy, that they literally, laid on the last straw that broke their mothers physical heart.
Turning the focus back to myself (my blog, na, na, na, na, na), and my family. Doing some research today and found an interesting clip. In reality it is sad thing.
The above clip was taken from the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier of Bangor, Somerset County, Maine. It is dated Feb. 12, 1898.
Below is copied from my Facebook page:
My great great grandfather was alive when this was written. By this time, my Rowe branch, including my gr gr, Alden B. Rowe were in Lane County, Oregon. But, the man in this article, is in the right place (Moscow, Somerset, Me) and time, 1898, to be my gr gr’s brother, Calvin Rowe. It is a sad thing, but it is, another of one of those details that make our ancestors more human to us. Those who came before us become a “who” instead of a “what” from the past.
What is the sad thing, is that ol’ Alden lived to be very old and as far as research goes, it seems he kept his mind the whole time. Seems as if Calvin did not. Calvin came west at the same time as Alden & family. Since Calvin was the older of the brothers, Alden et al, was probably following along with Calvin. But, when no gold was to be had, Calvin, wife, and one child went back to Maine, and Alden slowly headed north from the California Gold fields. Another piece of puzzle of what became… of me. 🙂
NOTE: I received a note from the Oregon Department of Justice yesterday. In the note I was encouraged to get the word out about these issues via social media, blog, news outlets, AND by addressing the membership of the Douglas County Historical Society. This essay will be distributed accordingly.
State of Oregon – Oregon Department of Justice 100 SW Market St. Portland, OR 97201-5702 Oregon Department of Justice Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General 1162 Court Street Salem, OR 97301
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
RE: DOUGLAS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Nonprofit, 501-c-3, aka DCHS. P.O. BOX 2534, Roseburg, OR 97470 EIN: 930495047
Until about two weeks ago, I was President of this organization and had been for about two years. I had approximately two more years to go on my term. Approximately two weeks before that, or so, I’d been diagnosed as having heart failure. However, the doctor was not a cardiologist. I let the Vice President, K** D*********; know about the diagnosis, because I thought he should know. I specifically asked him in an email not to tell anyone else, as I was still dealing with the news, and wasn’t ready to deal with others yet. I soon discovered that he called everyone on the board and told them. They decided that they had to help me with my chores.
Prior to diagnosis I was well aware of the fact that I was overwhelmed. Over the past 13 or so years with the historical society, I had taken on more and more responsibilities. Some of them were things that I loved to do, like write for the Publication, the Umpqua Trapper. But other responsibilities were taken as others on the board got older, sick and couldn’t do their jobs anymore, or they just flat out wanted to retire. I saw my term as President as my chance to get folks trained properly in what needed to be done at the historical society. At least to the best of my ability to teach, motivate, and yes, lead. I absolutely was aware of the need to fund raise, and increase membership numbers via activities that could attract folks to the historical society. I was aware that there was a lot of items that needed accessioning in properly (no one had done it since I’d been around), along with a whole slew of other things that just needed done in terms of keeping up a museum. My goal was to eventually have the Floed-Lane House receive accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. I knew there was a big job that lay ahead of me and others. I knew that I wanted to approach these tasks ethically, legally, and even more important in the proper ways that helped to maintain and preserve the very rich past that is housed within both the walls of the Floed-Lane House, but also the ‘Annex’, a storage building behind the Floed-Lane House, aka Lane House, aka, The Douglas County Pioneer Museum.
As it turns out, I do NOT have heart failure. This is according to a cardiologist. I verbally tried to tell K**, but he wasn’t listening, and then I emailed him about it. What I do have is not life threatening, but it can be debilitating, as I have discovered. So, had K** kept this news to himself, perhaps things would be running smoothly, except for what I list below. Please note that everything can be proven via: minutes, agendas, photos, where applicable, notes, etc., email.
Weed Eater: This is really a very small thing. However, in my mind it shows the mindset that is being dealt with the current board. Specifically as it pertains to the Vice President and a particular Director at Large: Months ago, I realized that a brand new weed eater that was bought with historical society funds from the general fund, and still in the box, specifically for the back yard at the Floed-Lane House, was gone. It had been removed from the box, and the box was left to lay. Eventually, within a week or two, the weed eater returned. Soon, I heard that the weed eater had been taken by a particular board member, and that she had used it on the yard of one of her rentals. What really bothers me about this situation is that this particular board member just returned from a week’s long vacation in Europe. This implies of course, that she can afford her own weed eater and that there was absolutely no need for her to put the wear and tear on one that was owned by the historical society. Now, I told the vice president about it, and he agreed that it was wrong. But he said it was no big deal, and that she was worth far more to the society than the weed eater. Of course, what bothers me about this is the mindset, and will either of them know when to stop, when it comes to property that belongs to the historical society.
2. Paint tools, etc., on an unprotected steamer trunk. Not long after the weed eater incident, I found a recently donated steamer trunk covered with paint tools. The steamer trunk was not protected in any way from the tools or potential of paint drips, etc. Probably only 10 feet away was a box of leaf and litter (garbage bags) that could have been used as a protective layer. However, in my opinion (and of that of a local peer who was aghast when she saw the photo) nothing should have EVER been put on top of that steamer trunk. I sent out an email to all board members. I did not name names, though; there were only two board members in charge of the labor (inmate work program) and painting. I asked that people stop working a little earlier so that they were not too tired at the end of the day to clean up properly. Judging from the reaction, I’d say that the same board member mentioned above, a Director at Large, female, made the mistake. She ‘fixed’ the problem. She took a piece of clothing, also a donated artifact, and put it on top of the steamer trunk, and then put the tools on top of that. As of the last time I was in the Annex, the steamer trunk was still in this state, though I had already protested more than once. Please keep in mind, that this bothers me for these reasons: These items were donated by descendants of the General Joseph & Polly Lane family. This family trusts the Douglas County Historical Society to protect, preserve, and maintain those items. I see the treatment of that artifact, and others in the Annex as a slap in the face to that specific family who donated the items less than two years ago. They are in VERY GOOD shape I might add. I also see this as a lack of respect and slap in the face to the membership of the Douglas County Historical Society who not only trusts the board and volunteers but expects us to preserve, protect, and maintain the items for the future. You can take that last sentence and remove “membership” and put in its place, “citizens” of Douglas County. Yes, this whole thing makes me angry. (see photos)
3. An antique pancake turner was apparently used as a paint scraper. I first found the pancake turner in the bathroom sitting on the sink counter. It was clean, but did not belong there. I put it back into the utensil holder it came from. The next time I found it, it was in with the paint tools. This item is also a donation from the Lane Family descendants and came with and inside one of the steamer trunks. It is very appropriate that we keep these items according to DCHS mission statement. They had no right (they meaning the labor, or said Director at Large mentioned above, who was in charge at the time) to use said historical items as tools of this type. Had they asked me, I’d said, no and asked them how many scrapers they needed. I’d made a beeline to the hardware store! In fact, I’d been told we’d bought several scrapers much earlier in the job when we were still preparing to paint! (see photos) The problem with these two issues is that they came after the weed eater incident. And after, ,the Director at Large started paying for labor to get the Floed-Lane house painted, and AFTER she’d told Vice President she didn’t want anyone to know, and after he slipped up and gave the information to me. The information came during an conversation where again, he was telling me that the unprotected trunk and pancake turner incident were no big deal, and that Director at Large had donated so much at this point that we had to let it go. She was just too important to the organization. I see this view point as dead wrong and I have made it known. (Proof via emails) I cannot let this go. If she feels she can abuse an artifact like this, how in the world can we trust her in any other way? To me, what I see is a feeling of entitlement. She was upset that the board passed a policy that no equipment belonging to the historical society can be borrowed by anyone. She voted for it, apparently without realizing what is said. That should not have upset her in the least. The policy is common sense in my mind.
4. Toe boards: DCHS (Douglas County Historical Society) – Some history. The deck on the lower porch on the Floed-Lane House needed replaced. An older member offered to pay for the job. Somewhat later, she said she wanted a certain contractor to do the work. The former President, John Robertson, approved of that. Well the ‘contractor’ was young and did a historically incorrect job, and didn’t bother to let anyone know how rotten the supports underneath the deck were. So, the society had to start all over. DCHS received a huge grant from the state of Oregon and the decking and supports were replaced in a historically correct way. The lumber from the brand new (First) decking was saved. Ideas have been tossed around for using it, picnic tables or back steps for the back door. The lumber was stacked behind the storage building. One day, a Saturday, when I was the volunteer docent that day, I was` opening up the Floed-Lane House I noticed a man taking boards from that lumber pile. I tell him to put them back. I had no clue what was going on, but no one was taking that lumber. The boss of the roofing job next door, at the Vice Presidents house came over and informed me that the Vice President said they could use the lumber for toe boards while they were on the job. There has been a discussion in the past of the boards being used for picnic tables or for back steps at the back door of the Floed-Lane House. Either way, they were not his personal property, he had NO right to tell that contractor to use the lumber, and he CAN absolutely afford to buy his own! (This man is the owner of Mobile Tune on the corner of Washington & Rose in Roseburg) This happened WEEKS after the weed eater incidence.
5. Formation of the Board: Two days after turning in my keys to the society, after my husband made a remark about something he was unhappy about, in terms of the behavior of these people not listening to what was right about how to treat artifacts etc., I came to the realization that I basically let the Vice President stack the board just like a deck of cards! When I gave up the keys last week this was the board’s formation:
A. Peggy A. Rowe Snyder, President, Myself, voted in nearly 10 years ago first as Director at Large, then as Secretary by another board.
B. Kenneth Deatherage, Vice President, voted in by a previous board.
C. Carol Dudley, Treasurer, Mr. Deatherage’s book keeper at his business, Mobile Tune.Based on her statement to my husband, we know she feels her paycheck depends on her doing whatever Ken wants her to do. The question is, does this include a vote on issues before the board?
D. Cynthia Rockney Wilson, Secretary, chosen and introduced by Ken Deatherage. (She was asked to leave the downtown association board for some reason, Ken promised to “keep her under control”)
E. John Robertson, Director at Large, former President. (120% totally innocent of any of this) (and wasn’t contacted by anyone other than me and wasn’t asked for a vote on any matter)
F. Lois Deatherage, Director at Large, Ken Deatherage’s wife.
G. Clyde Snyder, Director at Large, my husband, voted in by a previous board. (also innocent of this stuff, mostly a witness to it)
H. Dale Greenley, Director at Large, chosen and introduced by Ken Deatherage. Whom I interviewed and still had 2nd thoughts about because of a past experience with a family member of his. Mr. Deatherage informed me prior to the vote that he had the votes to get him in, so I had to just get used to it.
I. Nicholas Schaebert, Director at Large, suggested by myself. (120% totally innocent of any of this)
J. Maria Crince, Director at Large, Ken Deatherage’s wife’s best friend.
“This gives Mr. Deatherage a clear majority, if anyone feels obligated to him…“
This gives Mr. Deatherage a clear majority, if anyone feels obligated to him. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Ken Deatherage would abuse the power, as he has. It just never even dawned on me that he would. But when you fail to follow the by-laws that are filed with the state then you are breaking the law. Kenneth Deatherage can’t sight lack of experience, or knowledge, he sits on at least two other boards in Douglas County: 1. Salvation Army board in Roseburg, & 2. The Downtown Association Board (President). Surely he learned a few things along the way??
6. Abuse of Power: Within a couple of weeks of hearing the news that I had ‘heart failure’ Ken Deatherage, Dale Greenly, and Maria Crince had put together an ‘Executive Committee’. Keep in mind that according to the by-laws, the President makes committees and assigns people to them (unless I am mistaken), and I had tried to do this, and no one followed through on what was asked of them. This committee called a meeting and informed me that I needed help, and Maria asked that I make a list of things that I needed help with. Ken asked me to drop off the mail key to Carol Dudley. (Turns out he’d given his copy to her already). I am a slow thinker, in that things need time to percolate in my brain. Things did not hit me until after the meeting, hours and even a couple of days later. But during this meeting, I was told to not talk to anyone on the board anymore about any of my concerns. My messages were not ‘palatable’. After nearly 25 years with historical societies, I cannot believe that I was EVER not palatable. But, I had used the word “boundaries” when I spoke about the unprotected steamer trunk. There is an email to prove it, but, yes, I said someone clearly had boundary issues. According to Ken, I ‘triggered’ someone. Personally, considering the disrespect shown to the donors of the artifacts, and supporters in general, I don’t care if I ‘triggered’ someone. I was also told that Ken had talked to a lady that a former board had kicked off a prior DCHS board due to unethical behavior and for fear of artifacts coming up missing. Dale Greenly is a cousin of this lady and was obviously advocating for her, and stated she’d run these types of organizations before. Ken Deatherage had me know that she was going to be welcomed back to the historical society, despite a previous boards decision, and without a vote. Her name is Charlotte Eggleston. During that same meeting, Ken also made it clear that the committee had decided that Bernie Woodard would be welcomed into the society. I had already given a flat out NO to Bernie. He is a convicted felon. A neighbor to the Floed-Lane House believes he is a ‘white collar criminal’. I have researched Bernie Woodard and showed the research to fellow board members. The previous board wanted nothing to do with him. Again, this welcoming was decided with out a vote. Since this time, Ken has informed me that they only wanted a sign that Bernie was willing to give the Floed-Lane House. Again I said NO. I contacted the McLaughlin House in Oregon City and asked them if Bernie had ever worked for them, and had they given the sign (some piece of chimney off the McLaughlin house) to him as he claimed. They emailed me back and let me know they’d never worked with him, and never associated with him. I deduced from the answer they never gave him the chimney piece either. So, my NO to taking the sign (chimney piece) was fear of ‘receiving stolen property’. I don’t want the Douglas County Historical Society associated with that man or his history in any way, shape or form!
7. I wrote Ken then and told him with Charlotte coming back, and at the time I thought Bernie was being brought in, and between that and the abuse of the artifacts, and that no one thought they were important that I was ready to step down as President. And I wrote that the moment Bernie stepped in, I was stepping out. And I meant it. During this same meeting, mentioned above, Dale Greenley informed me that a box of newspapers should go to the other museum. Our mission clearly states that ALL Oregon History is within our pervue, that box of newspapers belongs with the society if it so chooses and NO one person should make that decision, unless they are a trained collection manager!
8. Days later, Ken called me; I gave the phone to my husband. Among other things my husband was told that at this point, if I did not step down, they’d vote me out. I had to this point, nothing wrong except perhaps say one unpalatable word. I had not yet missed one meeting. I had missed one of my docent days. ONE! Thirteen years of service, NO complaints, and a LOT of hard work, taking classes to be sure I am doing stuff right, writing two major grants, and this is what I get for trying to do things right! I had refused to attend a meeting, called by “3 or 4 people”. They were not telling me why the meeting was being called, it was originally called by the secretary which was not according to by laws, and I told them the person who should call the meeting, if I am uncapable (and I was NOT), & it needed to be done properly. But, maybe this is why I was to be thrown off the board, because I refused to sit and listen to them tell me about all the wrong I was doing, when I was NOT. Ken let my husband know that it was time to return all DCHS property to the Annex including the keys. So, basically, I was removed without a vote by the board. For no reason whatsoever in my mind.
9. So three or four people decided that I didn’t belong on the board. Ken Deatherage because my opinions and legitimate concerns were not “palatable”. Cynthia probably because I triggered her, and because obviously she thinks she should be allowed to do as she pleased, because she NEVER corrected the clothing being used as protection problem on the steamer trunk to my knowledge. And Dale Greenly because I had the audacity to send the whole board an email voicing my concerns about Charlotte Eggleston which are as follows:
A. We would be breaking a former’s board’s precedent, and ignoring their very valid concerns.
B. It looked to me like Ken was making this a command decision, and there really was no vote yet.
C. At the time, Charlotte had told me to print a message in the Umpqua Trapper, “from the President” and in his name, John Robertson, without John’s permission. She had given a box of genealogical stuff to the local Genealogical society without anyone else’s knowledge or permission, and I saw it returned, so I know it happened. I had been told that she had brought in an appraiser, when that is unethical. She either attempted to sell or promised to give a sewing machine away. There is a confederate money(s) that may be missing. Board members at the time had NO clue what all had happened and what was missing that is how far out of control they felt at the time.
D. I also stated that had Charlotte really run a historical society, she would have not done the things she did simply because what she did, did not follow proper museum protocol (accessioning in AND OUT). And with these concerns, I honestly, don’t see why anyone would take a chance. Yet, when my husband delivered the keys to the Annex, Ken had Charlotte in the Annex, and it looked like an interview to my husband. We figure she’s on the board at this point. Which gives her unlimited power to throw things away, which is something she told me she did. Which might have been fine, if she had followed proper protocol.
At this point, if our collections are audited, we’d never pass the audit.
…”she told Clyde that she had to do whatever it was the Ken asks of her, because her paycheck depended on it. Does her paycheck depend on her vote(s) as well??”…
0. Last but not least, While dropping the mail key off to Carol Dudley, my husband Clyde made a remark, it was probably meant to be humorous knowing him. Carol’s answer however spoke volumes. Not a direct quote however she told Clyde that she had to do whatever it was the Ken asks of her, because her paycheck depended on it. Does her paycheck depend on her vote(s) as well?? I do not know at this point, if any of these people, have broken any laws severely enough to be looked at. I know if I sat in an official’s seat in Salem, I’d want to look further.
Please note that when it comes to the protection of history, I am and have been for years and years, very passionate about not only the protection, but also preservation, conservation, maintaining in an ethical, honest, transparent, and absolutely legal way! I know that there are several people out there that would back up that statement whole heartedly. Thank you for your time. Please note that I do have emails, notes, agendas, minutes, etc. to help to prove nearly all if not all of what I say here.
Thank you for your time, Peggy A. Rowe Snyder Former President, DCHS, and now a VERY concerned citizen. (P.S. I never officially resigned, and I still have no letter informing me that I have been voted out.)
To the Editor – Sent to the News-Review, KPIC, etc.
People sometimes do not realize that once they have committed themselves to a legal 501-3-c that they have also committed to follow a line of laws and ethics that are meant to protect the organization. In this particular case, I am speaking about a local organization, Douglas County Historical Society, or DCHS for short.
There have been some very
small ‘details’ in terms of Ethics broken recently. Which would be no big deal except to say
that, “the devil is in the details.”
Recently a docent saw some workmen removing lumber from the property of the Floed-Lane House (DCHS). Docent stopped said behavior. After all, as far as the docent knew, no one had permission to remove the lumber. Keep in mind that this lumber is 2×6 pieces, probably no more than 5 feet long. The idea of making back stairs, or picnic tables with the lumber had been tossed around. No final decisions had been made about what was to be done. Turns out within a few minutes a boss from a roofing project next door to the Floed-Lane house came to the museum and informed the docent that the owner of the house next door said that the roofer could use the said lumber for ‘toe boards” while they roof the next door house. The owner of the house is a prominent business owner in Roseburg. The business is on the corner of Washington and Rose. The owner of the home is a Christian and professes doing things properly. (He is also a member of the DCHS Board)
Taking a few boards might seem like a very small thing. Until you realize that there is NO shortage of income in the family of the said business owner/leader.
When it comes to museums here is one definition about the code of ethics that those associated with museums must follow. This definition comes from the American Alliance of Museums: “Ethics principles that help people make choices about what they ought to do. Ethical practices are based on rights,obligations, or other values. Acting ethically means adopting behaviors that,if universally accepted, would lead to the best possible outcomes for the largest possible number of people. A commonly agreed upon set of ethical principles and practices encourage people to act beneficially and for the common good.
“Acting ethically is different from acting lawfully. Laws usually reflect ethical standards that most citizens accept. AAM’s Code of Ethics for Museums reminds us that “Legal standards are a minimum. Museums and those responsible for them must do more than avoid legal liability; they must take affirmative steps to maintain their integrity so as to warrant public confidence. They must act not only legally but also ethically.”
Between the idea of ethics, and using the logical argument of the ‘slippery slope’ then one realizes the need to point out: Does the homeowner next door to the museum understand what this small act of basically theft undermines the whole principle of ethics that museums and their boards and volunteers must follow?
This small act sets an example for others in the organizations. Others learn that boundaries within the organization are fluid, and that it’s OK to take stuff off the property, no matter what the reasoning, even when it is for personal use. Probably the most important ethic principle that applies under this circumstance is this:” The museum is a good steward of its resources held in the public trust.” Is using the lumber from the property of a non-profit museum the good use of a resource? Personally, I don’t want to eat food off of lumber that has had people’s feet all over it. Another question: If the lumber had been stacked on city property just a few lots away, would the home owner have given permission for the lumber to be used at least without permission? IF not, then why do two different modes of logic apply to the different properties? The person who follows this behavior has minimized other people’s behavior whose logic seems to follow the same exact path.
Months and months ago, a weed eater was purchased for DCHS. It was brand new and still in the box. The tool was absolutely needed for the backyard space behind the museum. Some weeks later a couple of board members noticed that the weed eater was gone. Later it was discovered that a board member took the weed eater out of the box, and then used it on one of her rental properties. When it was brought back, it wasn’t even cleaned up first. There was no permission asked to use the tool, and it was flat out unethical to use it. Membership or community monies are used to buy this lumber and the weed eater mentioned. In the case of the lumber, it was bought by an older member of the society and she trusted that the materials would be used in a correct and ethical way. In the case of the weed eater, the purchase was made from the general fund. But, who is it that the monies from the general fund comes from? Short answer: It comes from YOU! It comes from people buying the Umpqua Trapper, it comes from donations from people who trust that the organization will spend funds in a reasonable and trustworthy manner. It was honorable to spend the money on a weed eater. Keeping the yard looking nice is one way to attract the public and encourage them to come into the museum and visit.
It is the writer’s experience that the lifetime of a weed eater just isn’t that long . The person who ‘borrowed’ the weed eater without anyone else’s permission on the board actually just got home from a week’s long trip to Europe. The point is there is NO shortage of funds in that household either. Why is it ok to put wear and tear on a weed eater that was bought specifically for the purpose of use for a non-profit ok to use on personal property, especially when we are looking at a family who has the income to buy their own??? The same amount of energy it took to drive to the DCHS storage building and unbox that weed eater and take it to the rental to use is was probably nearly identical to the expense of energy of driving to a hardware store, purchasing one, and then driving to the rental.
One note, this person may not be a prominent
member of the Roseburg area. But, she is
an active member of area, and she lives downtown and espouses that she cares
about the area. She was on the Downtown
Association board and was actually asked to leave. I have no idea why. But, I wonder now, if perhaps boundaries
might have been an issue? And I also
wonder now, again, using the slippery slope argument, just when will this
person draw the line? Is she going to
know when to stop??
The person who gave the permission to the contractor to take the lumber minimizes the behavior of the woman who took the weed eater. Probably because if he finds her wrong he has to realize what he himself has done. But, realize it or not, they have now entered into a partnership of non-verbal, and non-ethical compliance. If the pattern holds, then more and more serious laws and ethical rules can be broken and each will, more than likely, protect the other’s behavior. How long will be it be before artifacts are taken from the museum and ‘sold’ and how much of it will go into their pocket?
The Floed-Lane House has in the past couple of years made a stunning physical transformation. Part of it is due to the state paying for a new fence which adds a whole new feel for the place. This was part of the deal that was made by DCHS and the state, whereby DCHS let a tiny slice of physical property go towards the road realignment project. The State of Oregon Heritage Commission under Oregon’s Park and Recreation department in Salem issued DCHS a couple of HUGE grants. One for a little over six thousand dollars for a HVAC system that was meant to protect the artifacts inside the museum from the extremes of heat, cold and moisture. The state basically paid for the system in full. The state also put a large chunk of cash towards the replacement of the front lower porch on the museum. The state contributed around seventeen thousand dollars to that project alone! This project was necessary because the supports under the decking of the porch were so rotten that there was nothing supporting the upper porch. It was a severe danger to visitors and volunteers alike. Without the state the project would have never been completed, reason being non-profits have a habit of running on shoestring budgets, holding onto every dime they can, always looking at another form of fundraising, or ways to earn income so that the lights can remain on, let alone accomplish a major and necessary upkeep project.
Next, the porch project then required a paint job. There were bids obtained towards the paint job. Bids came in at approximately 18K. The board decided that the organization could not afford such an expense. The board decided to do the job themselves, and to try and get the public involved. Proudly, they did. People donated time, materials, skills, and equipment. There was a paint party held, and some people came and participated. What this showed is community support for the project and TRUST. The community TRUSTS that the board is doing the proper things behind the scenes to make things happen. The community TRUSTS the board members to follow a code of ethics and the law to keep the organization above board and above reproach.
community is trusting that the board members are NOT using DCHS property for
their own personal gain, even if it is ONLY to save money that might be spent
on a few pieces of lumber or a weed eater.
There are photos that exist that show tools from the above paint job (which is not quite finished) – were laid on a unprotected pristine steamer trunk donated less than two years ago by the descendants of the Lane Family. It is one of a collection of four. They came full of clothing, old wool blankets from the time of Joe and Polly Lane. There were kitchen utensils and other goodies in the trunks. The Lane Family descendants gave this gift to the organization basically with no strings attached. They trusted that the artifacts, the steamer trunks and their contents would be correctly cared for! TRUST! Just like the general public and the membership, the family trusts the board to do the right thing!
When it was asked that the trunk be protected, a member of the board grabbed a piece of donated clothing and put it between the trunk and the painting tools. This took the original lack of consideration for the object and made the issue twice as bad. There were large plastic garbage bags not even 10 feet away. Again, we see boundary issues, the abuse of trust, and a total lack of consideration for the trust put into the board by the membership of DCHS and the community.
There are yet a couple more issues that I could describe, but this should be enough to get the public’s attention, and make the said board members think twice before they violate ethics rules or laws again. I personally would have them thrown off the board. I have asked them to step down, but they have refused to vote themselves off, or to voluntarily step down. The board is now being run by 3 or 4 key people. The state is being contacted about all of the things going on at the board level.
For those who want to know, I was President of the Board until two days ago. This is how I know about these things. I saw this go on with my own eyes. It was me who told the workers to put the lumber back. It was myself and my husband that noted the weed eater gone, and were in shock to discover that it was used on a rental by a fairly well off board member. It was me who took photos not only of tools being on a steamer trunk, and then the piece of clothing being used to protect the steamer trunk, but also of stuff being strewn on top of and burying other artifacts, and of food being left in the storage room to attract pests (we pay a monthly fee to kill pests, why attract more?). I have quite a few photos.
It was I who was told that I was ‘ranting’ and that my words were unpalatable when in fact, the words, were statements of the facts. The words pointed out the ethical and legal violations. In words board members were asked in a non-identifying and non-threatening way that they stop all unethical and unlawful behavior. I even suggested that volunteers stop working early so that they still had energy to clean up tools, etc., properly.
I am NOT looking for attention or even a good word. I am looking for artifacts to be treated with honor and consideration as required by the state laws, ethics, and reasonable logic. I am asking for DCHS owned resources NOT be used for personal gain unless it pertains DIRECTLY to helping DCHS. For example, I’d have no problem loaning the weed eater to a neighbor so that he could get the weeds between us and him if he wanted. But, don’t use it in your personal yard, or business – rent free.
Note: One last point, the two people mentioned above have donated significant time and money to the effort. But, this does not mean that they can abuse the power of those facts when it comes to handling of artifacts, or the borrowing of resources or tools. Having said that, the most egregious act in my opinion is the failure to protect the artifacts.
Written on behalf of members of DCHS, the community at large, the descendants of the Lane Family (and other descendants of the pioneer families who have donated artifacts, time, and money in the past), the state, and others who have interest in protecting the very rich past of Douglas County, Oregon. My goal: To stop ethic and legal injustices, to bring attention to behavior that could get worse. To make the state of Oregon aware of the issues at hand in Roseburg, Oregon. To protect the artifacts (i.e. Treasures), the reputation and the spirit of Douglas County Historical Society.
This website is built & maintained by Peggy A. Rowe. It is her personal insight into the world around her. All graphics, stories, etc. are copyrighted to Peggy A. Rowe. Please ask before using anything from this site, i.e. reproduction and/or modifications. In most cases, I’ll say yes. If something is not mine then I will say so. Please DO ask.