Excerpt From the Memoir

I’ve been so busy with Cosmo’s book, and other projects, I’ve neglected the memoir. It may seem strange to be working on a children’s book and a memoir at the same time but, one helps balance out the other and kind of cleanses the emotions. Here is an excerpt from the memoir introducing my mother’s fourth husband. He was a real charmer.

Any and all critiques are welcome.



It was the fourth husband, who verified my instincts about people. I had him pegged the moment I laid eyes on him in the stairwell.

His name was Les. He worked for the Toledo Blade as a typesetter. Not a rich man but, comfortable financially. She was gaga for this guy.

She was insulted when I called him a bum! According to her, he was so smart, so sweet and nice to her, had a great job… yadda yadda yadda. My gut said otherwise. There was something about his icy blue eyes and sideways smirk that whispered trouble.

We had just moved into our apartment, in a decent area of town, shortly before Les came into the picture. I had started 9th grade at a new high school. In nine years this was the twelfth school I’d attended. Having a broad frame of reference, I felt it was a pretty good school.

Mom was working nights which meant I had to rush home from school.  Mrs. Welker had the boys for a couple of hours but couldn’t keep them past 3 pm. No after school activities for me, but I was used to that.

Within weeks Les was hanging around a lot. He had clearly been anointed the next in succession. I could not warm up to this guy at all but knew I was doomed to this fate.

We moved to a larger apartment around Christmas time. Les was spending most of his time with us so we needed more space. I would have preferred separate States, but any extra space was welcome, and it was in the same school district.

He was very attentive to the baby, Tim, but barely tolerant of the four-year-old, David. As for me, I believe we had a mutual distrust that grew over time. Keeping that in mind, you can only imagine how I took the news, in early February, that they were getting married. Seems ‘Mother of the Century’ was pregnant!

They chose Valentine’s Day for a civil ceremony early in the morning. Afterward Les went to work and later that day so did mom. It was just another Friday, or so it seemed.

Les never came home. Imagine the bride’s shock when she arrived back at the apartment at 2:15 am to find her brand new hubby had never returned from work! She woke me in a panic.

“Why didn’t you call to tell me he hadn’t come home?” she screamed.

“I didn’t realize I was babysitting your husband,” I replied as I pulled the covers over my head, hoping he had changed his mind and left town for good.

In her total hysteria, she began to call some of his co-workers. No one seemed to know anything. She called the police… no accidents reported. He wasn’t in any hospital in town. He was just gone.

She called in sick on Saturday and frequently checked in with his friends hoping they’d heard from him. Nothing.

I so wanted to say, “I told you he was a worthless bum,” but she was truly pathetic. I had never seen her so distraught. I’m sure the pregnancy played into the emotional aspect. I tried to keep my distance and keep the kids out of her way.

Around 3 pm Sunday afternoon Les came waltzing in the door. We were frozen in anticipation. He seemed jovial and confused as to why she was so upset. When she mentioned she’d spoken to his friends and co-worker’s things got very scary.

He grabbed her by her hair virtually lifting her off the floor, pulling her head back to face him, and hissed through clenched teeth, “If you EVER do anything like that again you will live to regret it! Do you understand me?!”

She tried to explain her fear that something had happened to him and he cut her off. “My comings and goings are none of your goddamned business!”


And the games began.



  1. Donna

    Oh my gosh…..how awful for everyone

    • Barbara

      And, he was just getting started!

  2. Roxanne Jones

    Oh, the tales you have to tell, Barbara! I’m just glad to know you survived–and thrived. It makes reading your memoir a bit less scary, knowing that you ultimately made it out okay.

    • Barbara

      Thanks, Roxanne. This one was a doozy! He was just getting started with the mind games and then the physical abuse. I’m hoping, when it’s done, the memoir will help others keep the faith and know they didn’t deserve the abuse.

  3. pia

    Fascinating. Love where you ended the excerpt

    • Barbara

      Thanks, Pia. This was only the beginning with this s.o.b.

  4. 1010ParkPlace

    Oh my stars! What is it about women that fall for these guys? I think children see through them because they don’t have hormones that need to set up a nest. I’m sorry for all of you. Eagerly awaiting what happened next. xoxox, Brenda

    • Barbara

      My mother was the worst at choosing a good man, Brenda. Lord knows she’s tried frequently enough. But, she never thought her father loved her enough and I think, in some ways, that made her choices totally wrong. The fact that I was grandaddy’s favorite made things rough with mom, too.

  5. Alana

    A story too often told, although it was horrible that you (and your Mom) had to live through it. You stopped it in exactly the right place. Now I’m hungry for more.

    • Barbara

      Good! This was merely the beginning with this guy!

  6. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    I am glad you’re back at it…telling the story. Having read previous installments here’s what I want to know: how did young Barbara know what she knew? About men? About her mother? Can you show us?

    • Barbara

      Interesting questions, Karen. It will all be laid out soon.

  7. Barbara Hoepp

    Sorry that you lived it.

    • Barbara

      It wasn’t a fun childhood, Barbara, if a childhood at all, but it made me stronger and I’m grateful for that.

  8. Joy

    Can’t wait to see what happens next!

  9. Lee Romano Sequeira

    Crazytown — it’s amazing you survived this mess with humor and toughness!

    • Barbara

      This was just the beginning with this asshole!

  10. My Inner Chick

    O, he was MUCH MORE than a bum.

    Horrid man.

    • Barbara

      He was the worst, Kim!

  11. Sandy Farnen Christy

    Love that you’re continuing your story! I’ve been waiting for you to start it up again. Hate that you had to go through it, but love your telling of your earlier life before we knew each other. You are so talented, Barb! 😘

    • Barbara

      Thank you, Sandy! You are too kind! I am vacillating between the 2nd dog book and the memoir because I need the ‘comic relief’ along the way. But, I’m ready for a professional editor now, so it hopefully won’t be too much longer! whew!

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