May. 13, 2022

MY LIFE'S LIVING HELL.

On several occasions,  I’ve made impulsive decisions that placed me in unbelievable situations and unimaginable places. If life is pre-planned or pre-destined (which I’m convinced is the case), then I consider every "episode"-- a destination—not an accident or a coincidence.

I was Women’s Director at Educational Television, when the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce contacted me about taping an interview with the President and Owner of New York City’s oldest public relations firm, Dudley-Anderson-Yutsy (D-A-Y).  The Chamber had recently hired the firm to promote Little Rock-- globally. During my television career,  I interviewed many nervous people but no one as visibly-shaken as Barbara Hunter. The PR President’s teeth were actually clicking together and her body wouldn’t stop shaking. If I couldn’t find a way to put this woman at ease, I’d have no choice but cancel our interview.

Sitting at the counter in the break-room, nibbling on chips and drinking a coke, the two of us engaged in girl-talk. I purposely focused on fun times—believing my guest would lose her stage fright if she focused on the past rather than the present. It didn’t take long for Barbara’s body to stop jerking and for her to regain her composure.Soon, we returned to the studio for our scheduled "talk." 

 After our successful interview ended, Barbara Hunter surprised me with a job offer. She raved about my “calming influence” and my ability to ask her “ ALL the right questions.” She believed I would be the perfect spokesperson for one of her major PR accounts-- The National Confectioners Association.

I never made a career decision without talking with my children. We talked and both daughters agreed it was time to move away from Arkansas. They liked the idea of New York City with all its opportunities. I called Barbara Hunter to see if her offer was still open. Several phone conversations later, she invited me to fly to New York City to meet her staff and discuss my role as a spokesperson.

 I made arrangements to fly to New York City and, as expected, my mother “pitched a nasty tantrum.” She used every negative and ugly word imaginable to describe me. In the end, when she learned I’d hired a sitter for my New York City Trip, she demanded my daughters stay with her. Hoping for a little peace, yet still frighteningly-fearful of her, I gave-in to her demands. I under-estimated her determination in seeking revenge.

My plane was met by D-A-Y’s uniformed driver who chauffeured me to The Plaza Hotel, my temporary “home away from home.” After spending the next day with Barbara and her staff, I felt encouraged about future plans. Rushing back to my hotel room, I began completing the multiple pages of paperwork—for the hiring process. My application needed to be finished by the following day, when Barbara planned to introduce me to officials at the National Confectioners Association.

My hotel phone rang and-- I assumed it was a call from Barbara or her staff. Imagine my surprise when the hotel manager asked if I would pay for a collect call from my daughter?!?! A frightened and very-emotional Myra, my oldest daughter, said she and her sister were alone in the parking lot of a motel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Unknown to me, my mother and father had driven my daughters from Pine Bluff to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to visit relatives. They’d checked into a motel, did some visiting, and somehow—over lunch the next day—my mother started a fight with my daughters. Controlling everyone with another tantrum, my mother drove back to the motel and checked out of their room. She told my daughters not to put anything in the car because she was leaving them behind.  She made it clear she was driving back to Pine Bluff without them!

Apparently my father tried to reason with her but—true to form—my Mother made “a big scene”— screaming, threatening, and attracting attention. My father couldn’t control her so, hoping to change her mind once they were on the highway, he agreed to get in the car. After standing in the parking lot for several hours--- hoping my mother would return to get them-- Myra made the collect call to my hotel.

I asked Myra for the Motel’s payphone number and told her to stay close. I was thousands of miles away, but I was determined to find help. This was a horrible emergency and I must act quickly. I had one relative in Cape Girardeau but we hadn’t seen or talked with each other in years. Placing a phone call to his office, I prayed Joe Buerkle-- my distant cousin-- was still alive and still practicing law in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Not surprised to hear about my mother’s disruptive behavior, Joe promised to drop everything and rescue the girls. After retrieving my daughters, Joe called me back to discuss a plan. The only possible solution was for Joe to drive my daughters to the St. Louis Airport—100 miles from Cape Girardeau—and put them on a direct flight to Little Rock—where I would meet them. In order to make that happen, I must grab the next flight from New York City--- back to Little Rock—but first-- cancel the next day’s meeting with Barbara and the Confectioners Association.   

There was no time to lose. The next Flight--back to Little Rock-- was scheduled to leave La Guardia Airport-- in one hour. I phoned Barbara with a brief summary of the situation, threw everything in my suitcase, and—within fifteen minutes—was headed to the airport. Like an experienced travel agent, my cousin, Joe managed to coordinate airline flights so-- I arrived at Little Rock’s airport a few minutes ahead of my daughters’ flight!

All because of my devious and heartless mother, I spent nearly three thousand dollars in twenty-four hours on plane tickets, taxicabs, and long distance phone calls. Flying back to Little Rock, I could only think about my mother’s success--- in ruining my lifetime of opportunities. 

FOLLOW-UP:  Both my mother and my ex-husband were my most-hated enemies. They were ruthless in their determination to destroy me---any way they could.  For years after losing the Mayor’s Race in Pine Bluff, AR, I remembered how my ex and his family had "ganged-up" against me---using their money to place nasty newspaper ads;  hiring people to destroy and desecrate my billboards and yard signs; attacking me on every radio talk shows; and---even formulating a plan to "expose" me as a Lesbian!

Not long ago---quite by accident-- I discovered the sickest of all information. As a Mayoral Candidate, I received an anonymous note in the mail that said:  “if you don’t drop-out of the race, the opposition is going to name the “jailbird” in your family.” Two weeks ago--- I learned that the despicable note had--more than likely--been written by my own mother. Of course, the note was intended to shock me so-much--I would quit the race. I'd never known that---long before my father became--my father-- he had helped several of his small-town friends rob a service station.  Actually, my father drove the “get away” car and was sentenced to one year in the Missouri State Penitentiary. For the rest of his life, my father was ashamed and---deeply-regretted his teenage mistake .

It was much-more than I needed to hear, especially after learning from my mother, soon after my divorce,  that--she'd decided to have sex with my ex.  Then, to learn---- they'd  worked together--- to keep me from winning the Mayor’s Race---was about as "sick" as it gets.  Yes, they enjoyed quite a long--- winning streak. Because of their "joint" efforts, I lost the Mayor's Race and much later---thanks to my mother and my ex---I lost my daughters. 

All These Years later---- I suggest: 

"It’s not the “after-life” we should fear.  It's when our Life becomes a “living hell”--- we should be the most--fearful."

Simply, Sally.