I had no idea what I was up against when I set out on this journey to begin with. The dart throw began the year before I moved to Mesa to raise my fifteen-year-old Daughter alone, as my Son was completing his time in Job Corps back in Sedro Woolley, Washington. My Daughter was staying behind in Goldbar, WA until I get settled in Mesa or……

Now my kids wanted to emancipate me, but we still had some unfinished business to complete. But my responsibilities were lessening with time and my future was becoming more visible to me too.

When my kids were growing up, I would often remind them by saying “When you grow up, you’re more than welcome to stay here and I’ll gladly put everything in your names, and I’ll send you postcards!”  Of course, I was only kidding each time I said this; and that day would eventually come and yet it still surprised me when it did! 

My kids would emancipate me by the time I was 40 and I hadn’t even a glimpse of what I could do without the responsibilities of (full-time) Motherhood.  Yes, I started young but not as young as I could have!  I had my first child just after my 19th birthday.  With two almost grown children, I felt a new start situating, I could only begin to imagine what all I could do now! 

Now, my Son was most concerned about my traveling to Arizona with all my belongings and he insisted on coming along for the ride.  Just to insure my safety, of course!  We started in Goldbar, Washington and I drove the first leg to Portland, Oregon.   We discovered that here, they don’t allow one to pump their own gas, so the Attendant takes care of everything!  I didn’t mind that at all! 

We continue taking turns to drive to Stockton, California where we stop for a night or two to party (of which my Son didn’t seem to mind at all!)  with friends of mine and once again, we took off, still enroute to Mesa, Arizona as that’s where the dart landed!  Once we arrived in Mesa, we had no idea where to start looking for a place to unpack.  We decided to sleep in the back of the U-Haul with the door slightly open to give us air for breathing.  We did this for a few nights in a parking lot that had a franchised restaurant.  Within two more days, my Son would need to return to Sedro Woolley, Washington as he was already enrolled in Job Corps there.  He was returning via Greyhound and sadly, I had very little money to give him for food on the return trip.  Worriedly, we both said our good-byes….

Once my Son had left, it was now time to return my U-Haul rental and of course, now my car had a break-down and I’m so close to a U-Haul rental lot!  So, I crossed the street, leaving my car in the out-lying portion of Pep Boys Vehicle Parts Store.

I walk into the U-Haul office on that same corner and meet a wonderful woman named Teri.  She was in her late fifties, possibly even in her sixties, with gorgeous blonde hair and a very business-like personality.  I was very upset by my dilemma of having a U-Haul to return but it’s currently attached to my broken-down car which is still across the road!  She takes pity on me and has her husband Dick help me in getting things worked out with my car and their newly returned U-Haul while Teri works out a place for me to stay. 

In no time at all, Teri had arranged to have a male friend of hers to come pick me up to take me to his place.  I’ve never been able to remember this mans’ name other than Dodge which was his last name and he lived out in the tulies, at least that’s how it looked to me!  His home was located between Mesa and Apache Junction as I would later learn.

After a great nights’ sleep and a strong cup of coffee, Dodge would take me back to Teri’s to find out our days’ plan of attack.  I felt much better and ready to take in all the information that she would already have put together for me by the time we got there, which was great, and I was very happily appreciative for as well! 

We set off to check out the apartments she had picked out from last nights’ paper for Mesa, Arizona.  We had only to look at a few of them before we came upon a gorgeous place which I had only dreamed of before!  It was a second-floor walk-up apartment overlooking a pool and more, and that was just the beginning!  We entered with a veranda (as they say!) and large enough in itself to entertain two lawn chairs with a table between) with sliding double-doors on my left that entered into a large living room including a wet bar separating a dining room on the right with a hallway leading off.  The dining room had a pass thru from the kitchen which was just as nice but still too small for me but very well laid out. 

The hallway led to a full bath that had a stall shower (no bath) on the right which was followed by a bedroom for my Daughter, at the end and another bedroom, for me, on the return right side.  The second bedroom was a very large bedroom with a large dressing mirror with two sinks and an enclosed toilet a shower and bath.  This was a most beautiful place with lush light grey carpeting throughout except baths and kitchen.  This was going to be a great start to say the least!

Living in Mesa, Arizona held so many new kinds of beauty to me as I had grown up mostly in Alaska.  I had moved here in late Spring and the warmth was MOST inviting!  I would wake early every day and go sit in the sun for about an hour, followed by a short indoor nap and a shower and then off to find a job!  I always felt so happy in the sunshine and meeting new people!  I knew it wouldn’t take me long to get myself situated in this new location too. 

I found my first version of a boiler room and made it to the top of the charts in appointment settings, of all in the room for the first few weeks.  I loved working on the phones and talking to new people all the time!  I always enjoyed it so much too!  Phoenix Marketing Services (PMS – Service with an attitude!).  With this job, I could finally have enough money to get my place furnished so that my Daughter could join me sooner.  Teri was so helpful and always coming over with new stuff for her room.  In no time at all, Trish’s room was completed in smart colours of black, white and red to go with the lush grey carpeting.  It was just beautiful and sharp looking too!  I just knew that my Daughter would at least like or at least I hoped she would!

One Saturday, a new guy showed up on the scene to work and he sure was handsome, I had to admit!  Most everyone other than Jerry and I, were just kids!  We were the old folks over 40 that is!  Even the owners and operators were no older than 35.  That was my first experience at being an old (or older) person in everyone’s eyes, until Joe walked in. At least not since College, a few years ago.  He was slightly over 40 and his charm was quite sweeping.  He personally took me on as a challenger in competing to be the most productive telemarketer there.

A few weeks went by before Joe asked me out.  I played hard to get.  He then asked for a ride to a mall on my way home, so I obliged him.  We enjoyed each other’s company and again, he asked me out.  I informed him that I may be available for a date the next day and gave him my address when he asked for it.  We smiled as we parted there in the mall parking lot and onward home I was headed. 

I had been home for about an hour, getting ready for a previous engagement with Mike that I met about two months ago in a nearby local pub, here in Mesa.  My doorbell rings and I look at my watch to see if I’m running late, which I wasn’t expecting Mike for another two hours!

I opened my front door and was met with 24 long stemmed red roses, held by someone behind them.  From behind came Joe with a great big smile and he sure had a beautiful smile too!  He stood 6’6”, perhaps about 230 pounds and tanned from the Arizona sunshine!  Like I said before, handsome too! 

I was dumbfounded as no one had ever given me two-dozen roses, or anything like that before!  All I could say was, “I thought sure we had plans for tomorrow and not today.”  Then he turns on his charming smile and states, “I was walking home, and I couldn’t let these beautiful flowers die in the heat before tomorrows’ date so……. Here I am!!!!”

Oh, he was quick to reassure me that we are still on for tomorrow and that he was just dropping the flowers off to me.  I informed him that he had to leave as my date would be here soon and if he interrupted this date, I wouldn’t be seeing him tomorrow.  He was quite proud of his accomplishment here and slowly left shortly after. 

Now, Mike my dinner date, arrived on time and he saw the roses and asked me who they were from, but I just waved off his question as if the roses were nothing to me and off, we went.  We were expected at Teri and Dick’s for dinner tonight and all I could think about were those doggoned roses!  Teri noticed that I was most distracted and asked me into her enclosed kitchen to find out why.  Of course, all I could talk about were the roses that arrived earlier that same day!  And about Joe too!  Due to my obvious distraction, Mike took me home early, but I reassured him that this too shall pass and that I still want to get to know him as I don’t want to overlook his potential just because of roses that will just die in the nearer future.  I had always been a logical person, in my opinion at least.  I would date Mike for a few more months but in that short time, he had brought me a beautiful table.  Now this table wasn’t at all ordinary, let me tell you!  It was made completely of clear and smoky-tinted acrylic, that he made himself for a customer that changed their mind from square to circular table and he didn’t know what to do with it, so he gave it to me.  Now this table as is, could easily have fetched me a thousand dollars as it also contained a change of clear OR smoky tinted tabletops to choose from as well.  It was definitely “A Beauty!”  At least when he stopped calling on me that I knew I had a souvenir from him!  I always smiled whenever I looked at it too!  I had decided to put together a beautiful pictorial jig-saw puzzle that I would place between the clear and smoky tinted sheets of tabletop for a conversational piece! 

First date went like a dream with Joe!  It wasn’t until the 3rd date, that he introduced me to what I took for granted to be cocaine.  At this moment, in hindsight, I should have asked!  That would be my biggest mistake yet and to this very date!  I became addicted to this new crystal powder quickly as I had done so much of it and throughout that same night too!  As I said before, “MY Biggest Mistake!!!!”

We were at his friends’ house, just the three of us, sitting in the living room, snorting line after line.  Joe excused himself to the bathroom and his friend continued to visit with me, engaging me in depth conversation about plumbing and heating.  While Joe was still in the bathroom, his friend asked to show me his hot water tank in the garage to get my input.  Of course, I had none to give but I followed out of politeness, stating that Joe should see this too as he might have better input, but he ignored my direction and continued talking and talking while pointing at parts of this boiler.  I honestly didn’t care one iota about this boiler or its problems!  I am always trying my best to be polite to others in their homes as I am their guest, right? 

Joe walks into the garage and sees whatever he wants to see. This would be only the beginning; of his paranoid schizophrenic episodes.  This he didn’t tell me until much later of which; I had no idea what I was up against and I was foolish enough to believe I knew what I was doing here!  No, I had no idea at all! 

In the meantime, my Daughter was coming to her new home here with me.  I was so looking forward to not only seeing her but having her around too!  She was always mature for her age and I loved being around her too!  But sadly enough, things in my life were only beginning to spiral downward and I couldn’t see it yet. 

My Daughter wanted to talk to me (in my hindsight, that is) but felt she couldn’t, and I never saw it because I was always high and never saw a problem!  We started to argue over nothing, not only between my Daughter and I but also between Joe and I as by now, he had already weaseled his way into moving in with me.  I never intended to have any man move in with me after everything I went thru to get out of Snohomish County of Washington State too!!!  I was getting barraged by the crystal meth and Joe’s personality problems surfacing more frequently due to the crystal meth, which also caused me to become quite argumentative over everything and with everyone!!!!! 

Within months of my Daughters’ arrival, Trish had asked to live with her father.  I was crushed and I couldn’t fight for many reasons that I wouldn’t understand until much later in life, sadly enough but true nonetheless!  I’m sure my Daughter was disappointed in me, of which I was as well and even harder on myself than she could ever be to me that eventually, I hope I’ve found forgiveness from her.

Sadly, after my Daughters’ departure, Joe would become even harder on me, which would become more obvious only to me and this continued for a few years, with episodes only getting worse each time. 

During this time, we even started a business of our own!  Of course, this is before telemarketing became extinct!  I’m still sad about that as I would still love to do something of that nature now, that’s for sure!  Anywho, Joe became most meticulous about the statistics, which I had never even considered to do.  He would calculate how many calls we would each have to place per hour, per week and per month basis and even more details.  For a quick sample would be; twenty-five dials per success per hour could be anticipated.  Now, all this information does help but only if you continue daily which we did for only, just under a years’ time before his mood would change, again!

During this successful period though, we telemarketed for three different Chiropractors, two family lawyers, and three CPA’s.  We would call people within a five-mile radius of their places of business and give them $150 worth of services for free in exchange for three cans of food for the food bank of their choice.  Now, we charged $30 per head that showed and we would arrange pick up of the canned foods to deliver to the food banks and they would pay us on a weekly basis but each on a different due day!  This made a three-payday per week if we had at least three clients to work on at a time, which we did for quite a few months each!  Our first Client brought to our attention, the fact that we had improved his proof of value of our service and wanted to share our name.  With this idea, we offered him a set number of free shows in exchange, which he loved!  Now we were growing, and our Clients were very happy with us and our services!  But I guess success became just another trigger for Joe and his moods.  By now my Daughter was gone and I wanted so badly to share our success before it was all gone, again!  Joe was really getting quite difficult with his mood swings and how long it would take sometimes for those moods to change from one to another, and not knowing which mood would follow this time too! 

I was trying very hard to understand it but couldn’t due to being kept high, I just played along.  I was too busy having fun, being high all the time.  By now, I had dropped from ninety-nine pounds to eighty-three and I finally felt that I had to do something, if I were to improve my life any.  And I needed to do it soon before getting high again!  I had forgotten my beautiful and lost Daughter (or so I felt), our lost business and now losing my once beautiful apartment, as well! 

Before I would finally realize all this, but a few more things just had to happen though!  Just one to speak of would be ……

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