“Escaping the Arroyo” and Reflections on the Past

I just finished reading a book by Joyce Nance titled “Escaping the Arroyo”.  This is a tragically true story about a girl just a few years older than me who also grew up in my home town.  It took place in 1980,  I was in 8th grade when this episode occurred and don’t remember much of the story.  It is amazing how tunnel vision clouds the things around you.  During that time my family had also been going through a lot of trauma at the hands of my step-dad.  When you are young, and sometimes even as you grow older, nothing around you is as important as what you are going through yourself.

I am troubled, because even though I never knew the young lady in question personally, I feel like I should at least know or remember some of it.   I wonder though, could I have been blocking out that tragedy because of the happenings around me, knowing that I could not handle one bit more?  Or were those around me protecting me and making sure that the news was never really on during that time?  I think it could have possibly been  both.  I don’t think I could have handled one more scary thing in my life.

There is a long story about 1980 that could explain the tunnel vision, however that story is only partially mine to tell, and this is not the place.  However, having a step-father intent on kidnapping and possibly killing a member of your family can make you shut down.  I need to mention the harassment and constant feeling of being watched; knowing that he was around somewhere watching our home through his binoculars.  Just knowing that he could break into your home and try to harm another member of the family could either make you stronger or break you down.  Having lived through one break in in May 1981, and being the only one that could go for help, made me stronger.  However, it also caused a great deal of pain and anguish.  Having a wonderful family willing to step out of their comfort zone and assist the crazed looking girl banging on their door was a miracle.  Knowing that if I had never knocked on the door, the father would never have been put through so much stress that he would die from a heart attack that same night.  The guilt I still feel from taking this loving husband and father away too soon has been with me for a long time.

Once again the tunnel vision.  The tears I am shedding right now just writing these words.  I once again forget that there is a world out there that is going through things just like me.  Some a whole lot worse.

I want to thank that wonderful young lady for being willing to step forward and tell her story.  She is an inspiration and should be treated as a priceless treasure.  The fact that some people don’t appreciate the spirit of survival that made her a very strong lady is sad.  All I can say is, if you want to read a book that will break your heart, make you cry, and want to shake your fists at the people around her; this is the book.  I want to yell at them to open their eyes and realize that the help this lady can give to other victims is enormous.   That they should not let their fears of not understanding cloud their judgement.


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