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May, 1970- We left Detroit, Michigan and headed down to Toledo, Ohio. Holy Toledo! Here we come. It was late May, when we arrived there.

We stayed in a tent on a campground until I found us a place to live. It took me a couple of weeks to find an apartment. The drinking and abuse was getting worse.

July, 1970- After a few months there, we met two teenage girls, that were visiting their aunt next door. Their mother was a drunk and had kicked them out. She was worried the girls would take her new husband away from her.

The oldest girl Sandy, (16) came to live with us and her sister, Cathy stayed with her aunt. I became Sandy's foster mother soon after. I was only 23 myself at the time.

One day I heard Andre telling Sandy's uncle the story on how he got robbed in Detroit. It was not the same story I heard. He told him he paid $50.00 for a black prostitute and on their way to her apartment, a black guy jumped him and took his billfold.

On most weekends, Sandy and I would take the kids to the drive-in theatre or window shopping if we had no money, to get away from my husband. He was getting drunk every weekends and I couldn't stand getting abused by him anymore. Sometimes, we would just sit in the car somewhere and wait until he was passed out before we went home. One day, he didn't want us to leave with "his car" so he laid on the hood of the car and was holding on to the windshield wipers, so I gave him a ride in the alley. Today I think it's funny, but not back then.

In the Spring of 1971, we moved to a big house in another part of town. Shorthly after we moved, I received a phone call from my family, telling me that my 19 yr old sister, Diane had died in a big hotel fire. Two of my brothers were firemen on call that night and one of them found her body. I don't even think they knew that she was at the hotel that evening. Our little girl Chantal and I rode a plane to Quebec for the funerals, leaving our son Jacques with Andre and Sandy.

We had the tent set up in the back yard and one of Andre's homosexual friend would sleep there almost every night. I woke up around 4:00 AM one morning and Andre was not in the house, so I went outside to look for him. I started to unzip the tent and someone was holding the zipper down so I couldn't get in. He finally came out a few minutes later and told me he was having a beer with Joe.

Summer, 1971- One evening, I was not feeling good, so I took a nap, I woke up and heard my little girl saying "Daddy why you playing with Sandy's boo...". I got up and seen my husband with Sandy on the sofa kissing, with his hand inside her blouse, in front of our 5 yr. old little girl. I moved out of our bedroom, and never had anything else to do with him again.

Sandy moved in with an old lady next door. I had no place else to go, so the kids and I stayed there for a while. Andre also moved next door. I think I lived in Toledo with him for a year and a half.

In late summer I became involved with another French Canadian. He seemed so "nice". His name was Gaston Lachance. He worked with my ex, and drank with my ex.

In October 1971, after getting an eviction notice, the kids and I moved to Port-Clinton, Ohio with Gaston. He was such a nice guy, I was sure he was the man of my dreams. He even told me once that I should put Andre in jail for beating me up, that he did not believe in a man hitting a woman. I was so happy to have a man that wouldn't beat me up.

February, 1972- Gaston got laid off from his electrical lineman job, so he decided to go back to Quebec so he could get his carpenter's license. (He was a carpenter before moving to the U.S).

We packed all we could fit in the back of the pick-up truck , and off we went in the middle of the night. Oh boy what a trip. A case of beer in the back and a bottle of Black Velvet whiskey under the seat. He decided he was gonna be doing all the driving.

When we got to the Canadian border, we really got searched. We always kept 3-4 big bags of sand in the back, for weight in the winter time, and they sliced them all up with a knife to check inside of them, and they opened all of our luggages, what a mess.

He was getting drunker and drunker, and still refused to let me drive. He drove more than 900 miles without any problems, except for swerving a little, once in a while.

When we got passed Quebec City, the roads were all snow and ice. He missed a curve and thank god, there was a long driveway that went straight across our path. We finally came to a stop, 3 feet from a garage. Snow covered 3/4 of our truck, and my door was the only one that would open. I had to get out and shovel us out of there. We made it the rest of the way with no problems.

We stayed in Quebec for a few months, until he got his carpenter's papers and in the Spring of 1972, we came back to Toledo.

May, 1972- How I wished I had stayed in Canada with my family. He was a worse abuser than Andre was. Sandy's sister Cathy had been living in a children's home for a while and she would spend weekends with us. One evening after the kids were asleep, Gaston wanted to have a threesome with 15 yr.old Cathy and I. When I refused, he got so mad, he pushed me into the window and the whole frame broke. I left the apartment and he followed me outside to get to the pickup before I did. He got in the truck and tried to run me over. He barely missed me.

Not even a year and the "honeymoon" was definitely over. The abuse I received from the first husband was nothing compared to what I was getting from him. I could take the beating and the verbal abuse but I could not take that the children got abused too, so I started shielding them with my own body. I would lie to him when they broke or lost something so they wouldn't get in trouble. Of course, I always thought that if I was real nice to him, that he would change, but no matter what I said or did, it got worse.

My ex and his wife Sandy would spend some weekends with us and I think it made him worse, like he had to prove something to my ex. Sandy would try to defend me and we became the best of friends.

Summer, 1972- He came home one day and told me he had a night job for me, bartending. I was too afraid of him to say no. My poor kids, sometimes were left in the pickup truck camper so he could go to the bar. I was lucky, my boss was like a mother to me. She would go get them out and bring them in the bar. He was too nice of a man in public to argue with her.

Guess where my paychecks went? To pay for his bar tabs. I did make some tips by telling the customers that I would take the drinks they offered me later and since I didn't drink, I kept the money. Believe it or not, my customers nicknamed me "Smiley".

Summer, 1973- One night, the kids were screaming in the back of the truck because he was driving like a maniac and they were scared. He stopped the truck in the middle of nowhere and went to the back to shut them up. All got quiet back there and as he took off, I saw the kids on the road trying to catch up with us. I jumped out of the truck and we walked a few miles to a farmer's house and called my boss to come and pick us up.

In mid august, 1973- I had a miscarriage and almost died from it. I had been carrying a dead fetus for a couple of months. I was 6 months pregnant and the fetus was only 4 months along. I was so sick, I passed out in the bathroom. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The doctors didn't know why my baby boy died, but I knew.

I hated the Holidays with a passion. Every Christmas that I can remember, the tree would end up on the floor. Either he had gotten mad and threw it on the floor, or he was too drunk to stand up and he would fall in it. His drinking would be so much worse during that time because he had days off from work. I had so many broken bones in my body over the years that I can't remember all of them.

December, 1974- I had to stop working, I was 8 months pregnant. We made it through Christmas again as usual but I wasn't sure if I'd make it through New-Year's day. I was black and blue all over my breasts, black eye and choke marks on my neck. I was worried about the baby, due soon, I did not feel any movements at all anymore.

January 2, 1975- I delivered a small but healthy baby girl (Tania Helene Lachance). I heard the doctors in the delivery room making fun of my bruises.

June, 1975- When my other children were 9 and 6 and the baby was 5 months old, we moved into a cottage on Lake Erie, in Reno Beach, Ohio. My son loved to be able to go fishing every day. Once he caught a big cat fish, he had some guy help him reel it in. He left it on the rocks to go get a bucket and a stray cat ran off with his fish. poor Jacques was so devastated.

One evening Gaston hid his money outside the back door.There was a storm that night and the next morning, whatever money was left was pasted to the rocks by the lake.

I had gone back to work at the bar by then. One day, I was sick so I came home early from work and he was very drunk. He had left the kids alone and gone out to a bar about 4 miles away. It was a good thing my oldest daughter Chantal was very responsible, she took care of the baby when I was working. Of course when the kids told me he had gone to the bar for a couple of hours I got mad, and told him never to do that again. I should have kept my big mouth shut, because I really got beat up that time. He punched me in the mouth so hard, I fell on the aquarium full of fish and broke it. Fish all over the floor and the kids were crying.

After he heard me call the cops, he tried to take off in his truck and rolled it over twice off the dike. I don't know how I did it, but I made it down that dike almost as fast as he did. When I got down, I could see what I thought was smoke coming out of the truck. His door was open so I reached in, turned off the engine and dragged him out. It turned out to be steam from the engine still being hot from his trip to the bar. I was bleeding on my legs from going down the dike and he didn't even have a scratch.

When the deputies got there, he told them he was the one that had called them, to report that the heavy rain had washed up the side of the road and his truck rolled over in the bottom of the canal all by itself and that he needed a police report for his insurance. After talking to him for a while, one of the deputies asked how his truck got down there and he told him some guy was coming down in the middle of the road and he had to swerve out of his way and he got too close to the edge and rolled down the dike. I'm sure they didn't believe none of his stories but he got a report for his insurance anyway. It took two tow trucks to get his truck out of the canal. Of course it was totaled, he bought another one with the insurance money. I quit my job right after the incident.

October, 1975- During a big flood, we had to move out of there fast. The water was a few inches from the floor and the high water was chasing all the rats out of the rocks by the lake, and they were starting to come up in the cottage. The Sheriff department came and helped us pack and move to Gibsonburg, Ohio.

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