Helen: My Story

I was born in Manteca, in northern California, and raised in southern California. When I was a baby my dad took me away from my real mom. He wrote her a note telling her where I was and she never came after me. He said he thought he saw her once, he was not sure. He did remarry as I grew a little older. My stepmom was jealous because I was Daddy’s little girl. My dad was a heavy drinker and so was my stepmom. They spent most of their nights at the bars. Her youngest son and I were left alone a lot. When they would get home, they were always fighting like cats and dogs, physically and verbally. When I was five years old I was going out the front door to catch the school bus. My step mom pushed me down in the driveway.

I remember one time I was in the bathtub, and I thought my dad was not at home. I got scared when I got out of the tub. I went to look for my dad, but he was not there. I then ran outside looking for him. Then I heard my dad say get back in the house, he was trying to find someone to watch me. Someone came up to my dad and offered to watch me. I did not even know who it was and it was dark out.

My dad worked in the oil fields. His friend that worked in the oil fields in Huntington Beach tried to take me on a trip one time. I kept telling him I wanted to go home and use my own bathroom. I was sexually abused.

I moved into a foster home when I was eight years old. I remember I was at school one day. I was walking and talking with my friends when I ran into a metal pole and my glasses broke in half. I told my foster parents that my glasses needed to be fixed but they never got them fixed. My foster father started feeling me out after I started developing. I went through high school unhappy all the time. I was afraid to say anything at all. When I was 18, I moved back in with my dad. My social worker at that time told me if I would have told her sooner she would have gotten me out of there right away. Moving back in with my dad did not work out very well because he was always in the bars. I got a hold of my caseworker and told her I wanted to move. She took me to look at an apartment. At that time they needed my dad to sign papers. My dad did not want to sign them. Then she took me to look at other group homes. I had found one that had two people in it and I ended up moving in. I moved around quite a bit when I lived in Southern California.

In the 1990s, my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter called me and told me that her mom passed away. She said that my dad had started back up drinking again. She asked me if I would come to Bakersfield, California, for a couple of weeks. So I took a bus to Bakersfield and was there for almost a month. Then I went back to Southern California and I was there for a few months. I talked to my aunt and she said Grandma wanted me to move closer to her. So I had a talk with my dad and he moved me in with him for a while.

I had to be hooked up with Kern Regional Center. My dad is now deceased.

Now I live in Michigan. I moved to Farwell, Michigan, with Betty and Becky, Leslie, and Kathleen from Mojave, CA. When I first came to Michigan I was very happy to be with them because I felt like they were my family. Betty had promised my dad before he passed away that they would take care of me. I lived there almost a year. Then I moved to Manton, Michigan, to an AFC home. I found out about Club Cadillac through my case worker. When I first came to Club I was afraid what people might think of me. I started working in the Clubhouse snack bar. I worked there for a couple of months. I have been filling out applications to work at either McDonalds or Burger King. Then I started working in the clerical department, and I made new friends. I like working in clerical because I like using the calculator and working with money. Also I like answering the telephones. I just started bowling for the Special Olympics. I really love to bowl. I like my new friends at Club because they help me when they can and I try to help them when I can.