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October, 1975- Just before Halloween, we moved to rural Gibsonburg, Ohio. We moved in a house in the country. I loved it there, it reminded me of my childhood. Our only close neighbor was our landlord. They owned a farm and lived in a small cottage next door. They were good people but they never knew what went on in our home, until we lived there for a few years.

One day when the landlord was feeding his cattle, Gaston was chasing after me with a 2X4, and when he saw him, he came to a dead stop. It was too late, he'd been seen already. I don't think the landlord ever talked to him about it, but he told his wife because she asked me about it. Her name was Debbie, we became good friends. She had a small herd of dairy goats and I fell in love with them.

April, 1977- I had to have a partial hysterectomy, because I had cancer of the uterus. I was lucky, it was diagnosed early and it hadn't spread anywhere else. I also had a bladder suspension done at the same time. I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and was told not to do any lifting or heavy housework for at least 6 weeks.

About two weeks after I got home from the hospital, I was helping Gaston put on a new roof on a friend's house. He would lay a few rows of shingles down, and leave for a few drinks at the nearest bar. Sometimes by the time he got back, I had half the roof done. I had to carry 60 lbs bundles of shingles up there by myself. You can imagine how long my bladder suspension lasted.

January, 1978- I'm not sure of the exact date, but it was on the eve of the big blizzard of 78. I was watching the late news on the television and they had announced a severe winter storm warning. It was hard to believe because the temperature was very mild that day, I believe it was in the 60s. I was worried that Gaston would run out of booze and that he'd get even meaner if he didn't drink at all, so I went to a bar and got him a 12 pack of beer.

Oh Boy! did the storm come, I'm from Canada and I had never seen that much snow accumulate that fast. First we got a couple of inches of ice, then we got lots of snow. Our power went out the first night and stayed out for 72 hours. Thank God, we had a wood burning stove for heat and a Coleman stove to cook on. Gaston ran out of beer by early afternoon the next day. We went out that day to shovel some older folks out of their homes so they could get in a helicopter, and go to a shelter that was set up in town.

The next day the Red Cross was delivering food on a snowmobile to the people that were stuck in the country. Gaston ordered 10 lbs of hamburger, 2 big cans of kidney beans, a carton of cigarettes and a 12 pack of beer. We were allowed 2 bags of "groceries" and that filled them up. He even told the store to hide the beer on the bottom of one of the bags. We had chili for 3 days.

The day after the storm let up, he walked the 4 miles uptown to get milk and came back with a fifth of whiskey and forgot the milk.

Finally, 3 days after the blizzard, they plowed up the road. There were snowdrifts higher than the power lines, but we survived "The Blizzard Of 78".

April, 1978- Shortly after the blizzard, we were told that we had to move, the owners of the house were moving back in. We had until April 1st to find another place.

We found a big farm house in the country and we were allowed to use two of the barns and an old milk house. I only had one problem living here back then. No neighbors for a mile. Good for him but not for me and the kids. We could scream all we wanted, nobody could hear us. His beating me had become a weekly thing, sometimes more often yet.

Once, I tried to call the Sheriff Department and he broke the phone on my head. After that the first thing he'd do when he came home from the bar mad, was pull the phone off the wall. He'd get mad if I didn't argue with him, because I wasn't paying attention to him, and he was mad if I did argue with him. It was a no-win situation.

We started getting some farm animals shortly after we moved in. At first we got some laying hens, a rooster and a pair of wild turkeys.

I had a few laughs in my life. One that still makes me laugh, whenever I think about it, is when Gaston came in from getting the eggs, and told me that the rooster was sitting on an egg trying to fertilize it, and he was serious. My 9 yr. old son came in and said "daddy come quick and see the rooster fertilizing the hen".

We bought a bred sow in late summer. She was a beauty. We named her Floppy, because of her floppy ears. The kids and I had her tamed so well, she'd come and greet us whenever we went to the barnyard. She loved to get her tummy rubbed.

September, 1978- When our family doctor told me not to give cow's milk to my 3 yr. old little girl, and to try and find some goat's milk, I had the best excuse in the world to get some milk goats.The first one we got was a Nubian doe named Fanny. She would cry as soon as we left the barn, and every time we would go outside. She was lonely poor thing. We just had to get another one. We got two, Nanette and Emilie.

One day, I went to a county fair and I saw some beautiful does there. I asked one of the exhibitors if he was selling any of them. He showed me the daughter of a champion, that was for sale, but he was going to breed her first, and that he'd call me when she was ready. She really looked nice. I paid him the $150.00 he wanted for her and went home waiting impatiently for the call.

About 2 weeks later, the call finally came. I was able to pick her up. It was about 20 miles away. I was very excited, couldn't wait to get there. When we finally arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the place was worse than a dump. He had some real nice goats in one barnyard, but in another one it was terrible, a bunch of sickly looking animals. Some of them could barely walk. The one that was suppose to be the one I bought, came out of the dirty barn. She was the same color as the one I paid $150.00 for, but not in the same shape for sure. I asked him what happened to her in 2 weeks time. He said probably the Buck that bred her was too rough on her. I told him it cannot possibly be the same doe. He showed me the tattoos and said it matched the registration papers and it did. I never saw her papers or tattoos at the fair, I didn't even know goats had to have tattoos before they could get papers. Her name on her registration paper was "BG Acres Spirits of 76", we nicknamed her Brigitte.

I brought the poor thing to my veterinarian right away. He said she had arthritis real bad, and must have had it for a while, because she could barely walk. I took her home. I'd been had. I swore to myself that I would somehow get my revenge some day.

A week after we brought Brigitte home I found out she was in heat. I called that guy and he told me to bring her back. I said no way, not in your filthy barns.

I made some calls and found a purebred buck for sale. I went down to Central Ohio and bought him, his name was "Happy Tracks Bundy" Now, I was a breeder. He was only 6 months old, but very capable. He bred her as soon as I got him home.

March, 1979- I had to register a Herd Name with "The American Dairy Goat Association" so I could register my goats in my name. I decided to use a French name:"Petite Menagerie Nubians". We started having kids in early spring.

Poor Brigitte was in so much pain, she laid down most of the winter and now with extra weight from the babies she really looked pitiful. She had 2 babies, a doe and a dead buck kid.

There was an old milk house right across my driveway, that I made a couple pens in for does in labor and the kids were kept there until they were old enough to be weaned. I called it Maternity Ward and Nursery. As soon as the mother had the babies she was taken to the milker's barn close to the Milk Room. I had already decided to raise the babies on the bottle so I took the baby away from Brigitte right away. I milked her for a few days for milk for her baby, then I had her put to sleep. It was sad but she had suffered enough.

June, 1979- We now had a herd of 12, 8 kids on the bottle. My two older children joined a 4-H club, taking Dairy Goats as projects. We bought a nice registered doe kid and named her Coquette.

I was reading all that I could find about dairy goats and going to all the shows in the area, so I could learn how to upgrade my herd.

Our life at the house had not changed for the better, Gaston was jealous or envious of the time I spent with the animals. I still was getting my weekly beatings, except with different excuses than before.

Summer, 1980- I finally got my revenge from that breeder that sold me Brigitte. I entered my herd in the same county fairs that he usually showed his Nubian Goats at and beat him in every class, at every fair. I got "Best of Show" with Coquette. That was a very sweet revenge.

January, 1981- Gaston got arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced to 30 days in an Alcohol Treatment Center.

After he was there a week or so, Tania then 6 yrs old told me a devastating secret, that she'd been holding since she was 4. She told me that this 15 yr old boy (son of a preacher) that stayed with us for a few weeks, 2 yrs earlier, had raped her. She said to me that Kevin had put his thing in her peepee and that it hurt real bad. He told her that if her dad knew, he'd beat her up because she did something bad. She was too afraid of her dad to tell me. We couldn't do anything to the boy, they had moved away. She spent 2 months in therapy.

February, 1981- I had been living in this country illegally since about 1969. I heard a report in the news that President Carter was going to forgive anyone, for living here without legal papers, (greencard) if they turned themselves in to the nearest immigration office. Well, I did. I was fingerprinted and told that they could deport me immediately, but they'd give me 6 months to marry the man I lived with for 10 yrs, so I could get my Alien Resident Card.

I found a few volunteers and started a 4-H goat club "Udder Joy". We had all the kids in the county that took dairy goats as a 4-H project. I was an advisor for over 5 yrs.

March, 1981- We got married by the same judge that made him go to an alcoholic treatment center for 30 days, for a drunk driving charge. He'd only been out of the center for a few days, so he was sober that day. Andre and Sandy were our witnesses. We had a small reception at our house.

We would attend AA meetings, but I was the sober one, not him. He would pop a few rolaids in his mouth and thought he was fooling them all, but he wasn't. He would get his book signed then head for the first bar he could find.

June, 1981- He asked me to go pick up his check one morning, knowing I couldn't because I had a doe in labor, so he left for work the usual time. Later that afternoon, I received a phone call from a hospital in Toledo, asking me to go there immediately, my husband had been in an accident. When I got there, the first thing I saw was his chest. It looked like someone had drawn a picture of a steering wheel on it. The doctor told me he had a fractured breast bone and most of his ribs were broken . They couldn't operate and repair the damage yet, because he also had his heart and one lung damaged and he wouldn't be able to make it through the surgery. He had enough alcohol in him to die of alcohol poisoning. He was fighting the nurses to let him out of there, he wanted a beer. They had to strap him down.

He spent 2 weeks in intensive care and was let out of the hospital a week later, waiting for his heart to get stronger for surgery. I went to see the truck, and could not believe he got out of there alive. It looked like an accordion.