My stalkers have backed way off

From checking my blog once or twice a week, now my stalkers are down to every three weeks.  They have not been to my church since August of 2012.  I have not seen them around town–except for their truck in a parking lot in May/June–since probably early 2013.

I’m not entirely sure where they live now, since their stats vary from Eau Claire to Fond du Lac to Madison to Minnesota (and that’s all the same IP address!).

If anybody knows how a Charter IP address can keep showing various locations without changing its numbers for more than a year, when other Charter IPs do not do this, please let me know.

But it appears that I am out of the darkness finally.  Now my concerns have moved on to other things, while I continue to tell my story for the sake of others who are being abused.

So be brave and tell your story without worrying about the haters.  Fear is their way of controlling you so they can abuse you without hindrance.  Telling your story takes that away from them.

 

New Guy Begging at My Feet–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–January 1995, Part 5

I had something to do every day over Winterim Break: Friday night, birthday party (1/27); Saturday, Superbowl party at Jason’s apartment in Milwaukee; Sunday, trip to Madison to see Sharon’s high school and one of Pearl’s old friends from Kenosha, who went to UW-Madison; then the last day, a trip to Milwaukee for a phone cord and boots.

Saturday, January 28 was the one-year anniversary of the day Phil and I began going out.  My day planner messages dealt with a printout of a genealogical chart my dad had sent me, and a missing phone cord for the modem.

No mention of Phil anywhere.  But I did remember what day it was, and blotted out the number 28 with white Liquid Paper.  You see I didn’t think much of that anniversary: It was the anniversary of the day I began a relationship with someone I should have run far away from.

At the Superbowl party, we watched the commercials and used the actual game time as breaks for getting snacks or going to the bathroom.  I believe the people there were my roommies, maybe Mike, Charles, Jason, Jennifer, and a cute guy named Brad.

Jason and Jennifer–like Peter and me so long ago–were pre-engaged.  But unlike Peter and me, they actually carried it through, and are married to this day.

The scary thing was, Brad acted like Phil!–Phil at a party, that is: crazy, goofy.  Pearl and I both freaked at the resemblance.  I hoped that was the only resemblance.  He acted like he kept wanting to talk to me or ask me something, but never got the chance.

At one point, we tossed around a stuffed, toy football.  Charles hit it at the computer, and a drink spilled.  Brad picked up a disc, which was in a plastic sheath, and said, “At least it had protection!”

Brad hadn’t shaved that day, but I could still tell he was cute.  (In a picture he later sent me of himself, he was clean-shaven and even cuter.)  All through the party he acted interested.

When my friends decided it was time to leave, we all stood around for a bit talking.  Jason’s apartment was a studio apartment with only the bathroom and the bedroom in separate rooms.  There was also a step separating the kitchen area from the living area.

I stood with my coat on above the step, and at one point Brad sat below me, hanging onto my ankles, begging me for something (I forget what, probably that I wouldn’t go).

If anything told me he was interested, that was it.  It certainly boosted my self-esteem.  I thought about slipping him my number, but I guess I didn’t have the courage.

The Budweiser Frog commercial, the first of its kind, was a big hit with us, our favorite of all the Superbowl commercials that year.  We loved the three frogs saying, “Bud! Weis! Er!”  We especially loved the last frog’s enthusiastic “ERR!” at the end of the commercial.

After we finally left, Brad buzzed us at an intercom in the hallway.  When we answered, he said, “Bud!  Weis!  ERR!!”

I was to find out that Brad was twenty-four, the same age as the Vampire and Charles.  But no, he didn’t look “too old” at all.

I kept wishing I’d slipped him my number.  Pearl wanted to set me up with a Madison guy named Alex.  She said we had a lot in common, and he was a Christian.

He sounded cool, and “Alexander” was my favorite guys’ name, yet there was this Brad.  I decided that a serious, exclusive relationship with anyone would be a bad idea for me at this time.

****

About the trip to Sharon’s on Sunday, January 29: There are hills on the way to Madison, big ones, almost mountainous.  It looks quite different from the little hills and flatland of southeastern Wisconsin.  (By the way, my Wisconsin friends who say how flat Indiana is, Northern Indiana has huge hills!)

When we pulled up to Sharon’s house and waited for her to come out, I saw her house for the first time.  It seemed I was the only person who hadn’t been there before; I don’t believe Charles was with us.

Its size–tiny, boxlike–struck me.  I couldn’t believe one person could live in that house, let alone Sharon’s whole family.  It looked no larger than one room.

But when I visited Sharon one day much later, I found it was actually like Dr. Who’s TARDIS: bigger on the inside than on the outside.  Sharon and her siblings also thought it looked too small when their mother first had them come see it, but then they walked inside and changed their minds.  This house had two stories, though it looked like only one from the street, and the basement and attic were made into bedrooms.

First stop: Shabazz, the alternative high school.  It may have been a whole building by now, or it may still have been as it was when Sharon went there: maybe two hallways out of a shared building.

Not many students went here, but enough to make it worthwhile.  The school was run quite differently from a regular school.  It was for smart kids; they had more freedoms, and classes and requirements were structured differently.

By this time, the halls were overrun with teenagers clad in flannel clothes similar to the ones Roanoke freshmen wore, only much trendier.  (In September of 1994, when the large freshman class came to Roanoke, I looked around the cafeteria and saw a sea of checked flannel shirts.)  I said to Pearl, “They all look like My So-Called Life!”

If you ever get a chance to see re-runs of that show, you’ll see what I meant by that.  The style was a mismatch of seventies fashions, thrift-store and probably army-surplus finds, striped flannel shirts hanging loosely over T-shirts, and probably some tight shirts on the girls.

The hair was in all sorts of weird fashions.  I can’t remember them now, but a glance at My So-Called Life will show you, like Ray-Ann with her crazy, tiny braids here and there in tousled hair.

For those of us Roanoke upperclassmen who had seen very few high-schoolers since the early nineties, this scene was so strange as to be almost unbelievable.  When we graduated, girls wore permed, big hair and clothes much like the late 80s.  Most of my college classmates still dressed that way in 1995.

Had things really changed that much since we were in high school?  It had only been three and a half years!

Back to Shabazz.  There was even a computer lab in which students sat all around the room at computers, all connected to AOL.  There was even a display on cards around the walls and above the chalkboard–like an alphabet–of the various emoticons, or smiley faces, frowns and other facial expressions used on the Internet:  :) :( :P >:( etc.

The streets of Madison were narrow and claustrophobic and had steep hills, but were pretty, and sometimes you could see the state’s capitol building or the university.

We parked on one of the hills and met some of Pearl’s youth group friends in a Victorian house they rented while at college.  They were students at UW-Madison.  One was a guy, the others girls.

It seemed odd to me to find students renting a house together instead of living on campus.  I remembered that Phil once talked with Peter and some other guys about doing this.  But the only traditional student I knew who’d actually done this was Latosha, who lived with her then-boyfriend.

I believe Pearl’s friends rented the downstairs story.  They had a bird or two, a cat or two, and maybe other pets; I was jealous.  I wasn’t jealous of the fixtures, which appeared to majorly need updating.  The lights were inadequate, and the house felt a little cold.  There were few furnishings.

But I did get to sit in a wicker chair, a big, round, nestlike thing, not the kind Morticia Addams would sit in.  This was the first time I’d ever seen such a chair.  (The second time would be in Cugan‘s apartment.)

I have just discovered that they’re called papasan chairs. (Wouldn’t you know it, somebody else in some Internet forum wanted to know what they’re called, and that’s how I found out.)

These students knew Alexander.  I whispered to Pearl in the car later, and she asked one of the friends about Alexander, but she didn’t know what was going on with him.  I couldn’t tell if she meant he was free or wanted to be dating or not.

We went to an ice cream place where Sharon used to work, Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor.  Though I don’t think it was like this when she worked there, it was now full of a kid’s wonderland: trains running along the tables, trains running around tracks inside the glass-topped tables, tables made up of gameboards, a jungle scene, clown dolls everywhere, and so much stuff I can hardly remember it all here.  For more information and lots of pictures, check out the website.

We sat in front of the jungle scene.  I ordered a sundae which the menu claimed was number one among UW-Madison students, and you would order it by asking for the “Number One.”  It was a grilled pound cake hot fudge sundae, “the number one sundae in Dane County” according to the current menu.

****

Charles took Pearl to a hospital in Milwaukee every week, Tuesdays or Wednesdays I believe, so her doctor could monitor her after her surgery.  One week, probably on Tuesday, January 31, I joined them, and waited with Charles in the lobby.

Charles read a Highlights magazine, even though it’s for kids, and I thought that was funny and cute.  The nurses thought Charles was Pearl’s boyfriend, so she had to set them straight.

One night, Mike asked me (I don’t remember why) to move his car from one parking lot to the lot next to the apartments, since I had a license.  I said he wouldn’t want me to do that, because I hadn’t driven in years.  But he still said I could do it, and in a way I wanted to, so I did.

I sat in the car and remembered all the things I needed to do–adjust mirrors, move seat, put on seatbelt, etc.–but I totally forgot to turn on the lights.  It was bright under the lights in the parking lot, so I didn’t think of it.

I drove onto the highway, since the apartment lot didn’t connect to the other drives and lots on the campus, and drove there for a minute or two–realizing I didn’t have my lights on, it was now dark, and I didn’t know where to find the light switch.

Somehow I could find my way: there was probably a street light or two.  I wondered if the car coming the other way could see me.  At least there was no one behind me on that country road, which got little traffic besides students.

I got to the apartment lot safely, went inside, and laughed as I told Mike what had happened.  What better way to get through your embarrassment than by laughing about it?

Now that the Vampire had introduced me to it, whenever I could I watched Forever Knight.  I kept wondering if Dr. Natalie Hunter was a grown-up Sarah Sutton, the actress who played Nyssa of Traken, but her name never came up in the credits.  It was actually Catherine Disher, but she had an uncanny resemblance.

For the Spring Semester, we rearranged the living room: The table and chairs went along the wall in the study nook.  The TV went over in front of the glass doors, far enough away that we could still use the doors.  The couch went opposite it, under the bookshelves.

The armchair went to the left of the couch, when facing the TV.  The stereo went along the side of the wall to the kitchen counter.  The computer was to the left of the TV, when seen from the couch.

I believe one of the table’s chairs became the computer chair.  Whenever one of us wanted to watch a roommate’s activities online (which was often), we pulled a chair over to watch.

We may have sat on a footrest, of which there may have been two: a cushioned milk crate and a blue one belonging to the armchair.  (Yes, that’s the same milk crate that offended Phil when my friends suggested he sit on it.  Yet it was good enough for us to sit on.)

We knew the new room arrangement looked a little funny, with the TV sitting all by itself over by the glass doors, but we loved it because it was more open.

We heard that people in Muehlmeier kept knocking out walls (which they could somehow put back up again later) to get more room and more roommates.  Charles told us about this, and he lived in Muehlmeier, so it was probably true, but I have no idea how it was accomplished.

This gave my roommies, already in the mood for rearranging, the idea of moving all our beds into Pearl and Tara’s room and all the desks into the room I shared with Sharon.  When they told me, I said,

“I don’t want to do that!”

Randy joked, “One day you’ll go away and come back to find it done, whether you like it or not.”

One roommie said, “Why don’t we do a two-week trial period?  After that, if you still don’t like it, we can move it back.”

Sharon or Pearl said, “This way, we can use one phone line for the modem and the other for talking.”

The second point tempted me more than I wanted anyone to know.  You see, the phone cord used for the modem was actually more than one cord hooked together.  We ran it from Pearl and Tara’s bedroom to the computer, which was in the living room.

When we switched the rooms around, we hooked up both the modem and one of the phones to this cord.  This new-style phone had no carriage, so you set it down to hang it up.  We put it on the floor by the computer.  You just had to be careful not to pick up the phone when someone was online, or you’d bump them offline.  Since Roanoke had call-waiting, every once in a while, even an incoming call bumped us offline.

The phone line in my bedroom was now used for talking.

This was a useful setup, and it was fun to see the surprise on people’s faces when they asked for my extension and I gave them two numbers.  So after a while I no longer wanted to put the rooms back the way they were.  I tried to ignore Randy when he joked that the rooms hadn’t been switched back around, so I must like the new arrangement.

As the weeks passed, I spent so much time online that I no longer cared which room I slept in or where all the desks were.  Ironically, now I could’ve talked to Shawn late at night if he wanted, because neither phone was in the bedroom, but he never called again until after I graduated.

Of course, bed-making was now shot to heck.  None of us made our beds very often, now that the bedroom was just a bed room and nothing else.  Friends were entertained in the living room.  Sharon and I still kept our clothes in what was now the study room, and changed there.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–January 1995, Part 4

Mike started eating one banana per day, usually at lunch.  I think it was a health thing.  It seemed to make him bouncier than usual.

****

My dad sent us an old modem to hook up to Pearl’s computer.  It was 2400 baud, already ancient by then, when 14.4K was top of the line.  He also sent his old, outdated copy of Procomm, without all the fun perks of the later versions.  It was fine for Pearl’s 8088 computer, which didn’t have Windows.

We just needed a phone cord and someone to help us hook the thing up.  It wasn’t a simple box like our first modems were, but confusing and intimidating: you actually put it in the computer.

Mike’s friend Brent came over one night to install the modem, after January 27 and before February 7.  I had a lot of fun chatting with Brent about AOL and modems and such as he set everything up.

I think there were no problems putting the modem in, but when Brent tried to use his introductory AOL disc, it refused to work.  Mike tried calling the tech support number, but was put on hold for an excruciatingly long time.

When he finally got to talk to someone, it didn’t help.  Somehow, Brent finally figured out the problem and got the disc to work.

We were now in business.  Dad gave me two S– BBS numbers from one of his computer magazines.  One may have been for Spatula City, a once-popular BBS run by Jennifer’s boyfriend Jason.  The other was for TCB.

Spatula City was more an old-style BBS, but this TCB amazed us.  It amazed Pearl and Sharon because they’d never been on BBS’s before, but it amazed me because I’d never seen such a fun BBS before.  Even PanOptic Net (Dr. Who-based BBS in South Bend) had never been like this.

It also charged a fee, unlike any other BBS I’d ever used more than once.  The old-style, free BBS’s like Spatula City and PanOptic Net were now on the decline, because BBS’s were starting to include expensive Internet access and multiple lines.

TCB hadn’t yet gotten up to twenty-some lines, but it was already close.  Every other BBS I ever used, could only allow one user on at one time.

The commands were easy to use, much easier than on PanOptic Net.  You could go into Teleconference and find colorful letters, fun action words, and tons of people.

Sharon and Pearl sat there “oohing” and “aahing” as I set up a demo account and explored the BBS.  (In those days, TCB let you do almost everything in the short-term demo account, before you decided whether or not to set up a paying account.  Later on, the demo class allowed for very little, and wasn’t fun at all.)

Jason also helped us out, telling us about other BBS’s and giving us his Spatula City handle, Antilles.  Spatula City wasn’t working right for a few days, so we didn’t get to see why it was so popular.

Jason also told us my ex Peter ran a board named Dementia.  He warned us that if we found a Red Dwarf on TCB, it was him.  (This is a fake handle.  I think Peter got his actual handle from Babylon 5.)

He said all this with an ominous tone, as if he thought Peter was scary.  I don’t know if he knew about my history with Peter, but he might have, because he was now dating my old pledge sister Jennifer and used to date Cindy and Catherine.

****

Pearl, Sharon and I got home one night fall semester, possibly from an InterVarsity activity, and Tara said, “Pearl, some guy named Shawn called.”

We were all like, Shawn?  Shawn???  There’s a blast from the past!

We sure weren’t expecting to hear from HIM!

He probably called Pearl again, and must have gotten my number from her.  He called me later, and we had a long conversation about how our lives had gone since he left.  He said he was on Prozac now.  He sounded a slightly deranged sort of happy.

He said, “I haven’t had a girlfriend in about two years, and no one seems interested in dating me.”

When I told Pearl about this later, we both said, “Girlfriend?”  The only girlfriend he could have had two years ago was me!  I thought he always told me I wasn’t his girlfriend?

Pearl said, “That’s fishy.  Maybe it shows there was something going on there.  Maybe now he thinks of you as an ex-girlfriend?”

I said, “If he didn’t think of me as a girlfriend before, then why did he call me one, now?”

“I always knew there was something there he wasn’t admitting to.”

A few years later, I read an article in Mademoiselle or Glamour magazine about this very phenomenon. The author had been in several situations where the guy would never say, while they were dating, that they were actually dating or seeing each other or hanging out or anything, or introduce her to friends as anything but a friend.  But years later he’d refer to her as an ex-girlfriend!  So it happens.

But back to the phone call.  While I sat at the desk in my room, I told him about the spiritual marriage.  It came up because, when he mentioned things we’d done, I said it could have been much worse but it wasn’t.

I told Shawn we were common-law married, so he wouldn’t think less of me for “giving it up without a wedding ring.”

(I heard that phrase on The Cosby Show once, the fantasy episode in which the men started getting pregnant and not the women.  Hey!  The men in the opening news segment got pregnant in Oconomowoc, WI, close to where I live now!  🙂  )

Shawn said, “So now there are only a few virgins left at Roanoke!” Meaning a few of my friends–and not me anymore.

Shawn was one person I could talk to about these things.  We had stirred up the fire between ourselves; now I had gone on to another guy with that fire still burning.

Shawn didn’t try to get back with me now that I was single again, but that was just as well, because I had moved on–and would soon meet the love of my life.

Shawn called me again the week of January 22, at one in the morning.  Sharon was asleep at the time, and not too happy about having to jump down off her bed to answer the phone.  I took the phone into the hall, and whispered,

“You shouldn’t call so late, Shawn!”

He said, “You always stayed up late before.”

“But I’m not rooming with Clarissa anymore.  I have roommates now who can hear me talk on the phone!”  (Reminder: Clarissa was mostly deaf and took out her hearing aid at night.)

I talked low on the phone, so my roommates wouldn’t get woken up.

At some point he started asking me, “What is sex like?”

When I told him, I could hear in his voice that it was turning him on.  It creeped me out, like I was his 1-900-phone-sex operator.

He kept asking me questions about it, so I said, “Why do you keep asking me these questions?”

Finally, the conversation finished.  Of course, that was nothing compared to those conversations we used to have till 3, 4, or 5 am!

He had called us in the first place because I sent him a Christmas card; I believe he called the switchboard to get our new phone numbers.  He called again the next night because I couldn’t talk to him at one in the morning.

I asked, “Why are you calling me all of a sudden?  I thought you said you didn’t want to have anything to do with me.”

He said, “After my brother died, I decided I’d better try to keep the friends I have.”

****

The Vampire never wrote me, though he said he’d try to write every week.  And I couldn’t write him unless he wrote me, because I didn’t have his address.  He shouldn’t have lost mine, since he wrote it in a notebook with all his BBS numbers, and he probably guarded that notebook well.  Oh, well, 20 years later I finally found him on Facebook.  🙂

****

We finally had another party in the apartment, possibly on January 21.  It was a big one, and fun.  We played games in two rooms, and had pizza and chips and pop.  (No, we never had wild, drunken revels.  Who needs those to have fun?)  Someone even brought Jenga.  We wanted the party to be big and take up several rooms, each with a different activity, just as Tanya’s Halloween party did.

I decided to sit out during Taboo.  Charles did the same because he didn’t like Taboo.  But I did because we played it every time we had a party at Roanoke, so I knew practically all the answers now.

I’d called one long-lost friend over Christmas Break.  Her mom answered and sounded shocked that an old friend from high school was calling.  I left a message; however, my friend never called back.  I don’t know why.

I wrote to her, my middle school friend Josh and another old high school friend; no letters came in reply.  When I found Josh online over Spring Break, he said he sent letters and cards to high school classmates, too, but none of them answered.

He said about my other friend, “I’m sure he’ll write ya,” but he didn’t–and neither did anybody else.  I wrote other letters to my male friend, but he didn’t answer those, either.

But funny how times change: I later found all of them on Facebook.  No longer do we have to depend on the old method of exchanging letters or phone calls to reconnect with old friends we haven’t seen in years, friends who may forget who you are or forget to call/write back, or never get your note.

It’s even better than the old Internet standby of e-mail, which can also be easily forgotten.  Facebook is much better because you can interact with your old friends with immediacy, even if you have not seen them in 20 years and live far apart.

****

Astrid began sending me letters because I mentioned that I wanted some.  I didn’t mean letters of the alphabet, but she began sending me one alphabet letter at a time through the on-campus mail, until all together they made up a quote from her new poster.  I’d have to find all the letters to tell you what the quote was.

Pearl and Sharon decided to stay another year and take on another major, because they didn’t want to leave Roanoke yet.  I, on the other hand, was sick of Roanoke, and didn’t want to do this.  And it would have meant more money to pay back in student loans.

****

On the 27th, I wrote to my friend Becky,

Sometimes these days I feel like several of my friends, who know about the common-law thing, are judging me.  The things they say–It’s as if they mean, “You’ve done a terrible thing–premarital you-know-what–and we thought you were more moral than us!  You’ve fallen, fallen!”

It makes me want to grab them and say, “Hey!  According to my research, it was a common-law marriage!  I didn’t sleep with him until we were c-l married, so it wasn’t premarital or anything!  Stop talking to me like I’m a fallen woman!”

–Since, after all, we began calling ourselves married, which is all you have to do. I’ve told them that, but they still talk this way.  I don’t believe I’ve broken God’s commandments because we were c-l married, but when they judge me, I feel like I have.  It really frustrates me.

I won’t write what Becky replied, because it’s private.  But she and Catherine were both far more understanding.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Reblog: Invisible Victims: Men in Abusive Relationships

Harris O’Malley’s post gives all sorts of useful information, without the usual feminist/women-hating tripe you find in many places these days:

Invisible Victims: Men in Abusive Relationships

His advice is simple: Get Out.  If you can’t leave or you’re staying to protect innocent potential victims (such as kids or pets), call the police.  Retaliation means going to jail.

 

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