Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What makes me the artist I have come to be. I think that it is true that we are born with 75% of who we are, and the 25% is life experience, and environment. I will make this as condensed as possible, and try to maintain the level of terror.
When I was 8 my mother started to date a man who she worked with. You know the story, perfect in every way, candy, flowers, cards, super polite, and very loving. We were living with my darling, wonderful, grandparents. Happy as can be! Anyway she married this guy and he moved us out to Wisconsin. At that time there was nothing around just farms, and many summer homes. Coming from Chicago it was a nightmare for me. I felt quite lonely, and fact is totally isolated.
Shortly after we moved here, he changed drastically. He was a total psychopath, for real. He lived by extremely strict schedules, to the second. He would get up at 4:00-am and leave for work to Chicago. He would then remove the distributor cap from my Mother's car and leave.
I would take the bus to school, and had no friends. They treated me like I was an alien from another planet, and to be honest I was. They were all very uneducated, very mentally challenged, and the kids around here were as scary as my stepfather. They were only ten years old and already on hard drugs, alcohol, and sex was their only pastime. I steered clear of them for sure. My Mother and I bonded very strongly, out of fear mostly. My Mother was a very beautiful woman, and oh so loving, and kind.
As years went on he got extremely verbally, and emotionally abusive. No one was allowed to speak at the dinner table except him. He would look at me very sinister and say every night, " You know I am so concerned about how small your nostrils are and I feel they have to be made larger", yikes! Every night, after night, the same dialog. After I would go to bed he would push the lawnmower into my bedroom next to my bed and say nothing. Just look at me with hatred.
Well I was young, and so easy to intimidate, especially since I have never dealt with such a person. He would measure my bath water, it had to be 4", if more he would drain it, if not enough I had to run the water till it was perfect. But I could never add hot, just cold. Weird!
Everyone in the area was afraid of him, and hated him. This drove him more into psychosis, and he even got weirder. You couldn't ever touch his stuff, he would set up traps, and if they were tripped we had to be exposed to hours of yelling. Every night he would wash his hair with only "Fitch" shampoo, at 7pm. After dinner, kitchen was closed. No one could go into it, and no way could you have a beverage or any food. By the time the years past his rules were so many you would be frozen to do anything. It was torture. We were allowed no contact with anyone.
Once he even threatened me with a baseball bat. I stood my ground though. There comes a time in one's life where the Spartacus in all of us comes out. Rather be dead than to face another day of torture with this tyrant.
Well, one day my Mother got a call from the Manufacturing plant he worked at. He died of a massive heart attack, fast, and sudden. We started to go through all his stuff, way scary. Tons of pornography, papers with phone numbers, addresses, etc...oh and a whole bunch of "Safety Deposit Box" keys..weird! We then proceeded to open his trunk of his car, God forbid if you ever when even near it, we opened the trunk. Inside was a woman's purse with everything in it, a skirt, blouse, bra, underwear, pantyhose, all folded neatly. Along side was her shoes. UH OH! Well to make a long story short, the FBI came, and took everything. They didn't have much to say, after-all he was dead. I will never forget that day. They were so kind to us, took everything, and said their Goodbyes. Never heard another thing from them.
Oh there was a million things I could write about him. But getting back to what I originally stated I don't think anyone living under these conditions would not experience and alteration in their life. All I had was Art, drawing pictures of pleasant places, people, and animals. It was my form of escape.
It has made me truly appreciate any act of kindness, appreciate being loved and loving, and all the wonderful simple pleasures life has to offer. I love animals, Love God, and always reciprocate kind things done for me.
So here is a real life scary Halloween story....! Like Conan the Barbarian said, "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger"! Happy Halloween my fellow artists!


Gary's third pottery blog said...

omigosh ALL THAT IN HIS TRUNK???? It is a total mercy that he died without somebody having to murder him. You turned out perfectly Maureen, but nobody should have to live through that weirdness!

Reverend Awesome said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Maureen. You are an amazing woman for having the strength to go through all of this and be the wonderful person you are today. Just absolutely amazing.
That's so scary. The truck. The lawn mower. All of it. The bathwater. Oh my gosh. I'm so happy you made it through. Love to you and your family.

k.a. barnes said...

Oh Maureen, what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger!

George and Maureen Johnson said...

Thanks friends, you are all awesome. When he passed away it was like a huge dark cloud was lifted. Days seemed sunnier, the air seemed lighter, and easier to breathe. My Mother said, "He took his demons with him" Truly dark and spooky. Makes one appreciate that they are not so screwed up. He too was a prisoner of his own making. It's just so surrealistic to be held prisoner by someone who is so lost. You are just frozen, can't explain it.

Gallow said...

Maureen, all I can say is Wow! You've definitely been through a lot of extremes in your life. It's a good thing that 75% you were born with was strong enough to handle this crap that nobody should ever have to deal with. You are truly an amazing individual.

Fran said...

Oh wow, Maureen. Thanks so much for telling this story. How scary for you! You seem to have gained the positives out of the situation and that's amazing!