Verdena's Life Story, Part 1 (VP-121106-01)
a long time ago
it used to be a lot different, there used to be an army hospital sitting there (place where sick people live, for soldiers)
at that time, I was born
two years passed, in the place where my mother lived, and then my poor old grandmother, my poor old uncle, the three of them [including my mother] were living there, and then
there as for me at that point [it was like] I woke up from a sleep [became conscious, as a young child]
we lived there in a good way. after a while, they said,
"they say she can't live at the house," my mother
"the old woman's welfare check (they distribute it to her)," my grandmother, "for that reason, she can't stay." and then,
for that reason she went off looking for work, and then way over there ...
... she worked. as for me, I stayed at home, my grandmother raised me, and then her friends, a lot of elderly people used to be alive at that time.
and then, with them all they (used to) come over, they (used to) have conversation
I always listened to these things
they told me things even when I was very young
and then, when I got a little bigger, they said [the old people]
"she knows a lot of things, that one"
"from this time on, we're going to tell her everything, we will teach her"
and then after that, they would tell me about everything, and then the next day another one (elder) would come back again
and then, a variety of things she tells me about. and then things like laws ...
... everything I learned, from that
I used to only speak Indian language
after a while they [the old people] said ...
"now you've got to go to school" (look at papers)
and then they took me and filled out papers, and then I was afraid of ...
... the people that are teaching, who only speak English. and then,
in spite of that, I went
and then they told me, "you'll get on the bus (every day), and then you'll go off"
and then I always leave (for school) and then something ...
they (teachers) ask me questions, and I never say nothing. I always think I might say the wrong thing
after a while I got older
it must have been fourth grade
I was getting high grades, some things I really learned well, like reading
they always ask a question and say "raise your hand!"
I never raised my hand, I didn't want to raise my hand. I always thought ...
"what am I going to say?"
and then "maybe I won't be able to say what I mean"
when I was eleven, they said
what's wrong with you, your belly looks big!
they always tell me, and then
some people they always say,
"(you're) getting fat"
"you've got a belly all of a sudden"
and then my poor old grandmother always says
"as for her, she eats a lot, really well"
"that's why her belly has gotten (that way)"
and then they ask me, they say,
"do you have a boyfriend?"
and then, I said "no, as for me ...
... I don't think about things like boys
and then again someone asks me. they say to me, ...
"didn't a man ever bother you?" they said
and then I just can't figure out why they're asking me this question
why would a man bother me?
so then I said no, nobody bothered me
and that's the way it happened, and after a short time went by
I woke up in the morning, and it turned out I was hurting all over my body,
suddenly, I couldn't turn over in bed, I couldn't do it
and then my poor old grandmother came in and said,
"get up out of bed, go to school!"
and then "no" I said, suddenly I feel sick all over
also under my arms it hurts all over
and then she went out
she told my mother. after a while she [mother] came in and she said, "what's wrong?"
I said "I feel really sick all of a sudden" and then
she [mother] told her [grandmother], "I already told both of you a long time ago"
"the doctor said they're going to cut her open, and then you always say 'no'"
and then my grandmother always said "no"
"they can't cut her open, they might kill her"
and then, my poor old mother, she always gets angry
after a while my poor old uncle said,
"me, I will pay for it all"
even then, "no" [said grandma]
and then I got sick, and so
they put a bed in the sitting room for me
in the living room, and then,
I lay down where it was warm
after a while (started to say something else)
when it became late afternoon ...
when it got a little later in the afternoon I vomited blood
It came pouring out all over, a lot of blood
I was so sick all over, I kept vomiting a little bit all the time
it got all over the floor
"hurry up!" they said
they're building a sawmill close to us, and the boss lives there, and he has a new car
they (my mother and my uncle) ran over to him, and I guess they told him
right then, "hurry up!"
"we have to take her to Eureka to the doctor"
quickly he pulled right up and stopped and then he picked me up, my stepfather (it was actually the boss, Raymond Spaulding)
and then they put me there in the back of the car, and then
they covered me up
they put a can beside me in case I had to throw up again
they said to me, "you throw up in there," and then, "okay!"
and then it took off real fast, at once it was moving fast, around (the corners)
at that time it [the road] was very narrow
it went along to Eureka with a lot of turns
and then it was running fast, I could really feel it,
it started flying along, finally it stopped in Eureka
at the place where hospital was
and then there they took me out (of the car)(lying down) and they took me inside (lying down)
they called to the doctor
he came and he said
"she seems like she's only going to be breathing a little while longer, it looks like only about two more hours from now"
"this person will die"
so then they took me real fast (lying down)
and then they shaved (me) all over my body, I didn't have any hair (to begin with)
they shaved me (the nurses)
they took me in, and they said "count!"
"count up to ten!"
and then I remember that very well, that stands out
and then I lay down and they put something over my nose [ether mask]
and then I started counting
I said "one, two, three" and that's the only (thing) I remember, and then I guess I went to sleep
and then, I woke up again, I felt really good, I just felt like lying there, and I lay there, and at once
I don't hurt anymore
they came in, the person that takes care of you (the nurse), and she said
"how do you feel?" and then I told her,
"as for right now, I feel really good"
not nowhere in my body, I don't feel no pain
"I don't want surgery!" and then she laughed at me
and then she said,
The surgery already done! right now it's all finished, everything looks good
from now on, you just lay there, so it will heal up
I'm going to roll over (wiggle), I thought. Then I realized I'm all tied up.
right under my arms here, from there it went all across, around and round
I saw I was wrapped up as far as my pelvis
with it (the bandage) I couldn't move
there seemed to be something wrapped around my face
"why is this thing sitting here?" I said
they said, "that is for in case you throw up"
and then "in it you will throw up," and then
"no, I feel good," I said, "I'm not going to throw up."
they took it away over there
twelve days I was lying there, and I kept laying there ...
... I didn't move
and then they never give me anything to eat
(an IV) was stuck into my arm
five days passed that way, it was in my arm
and then after that they said
"now you get to eat!" some kind of juice they had on a tray, and then something else ...
... (something) thickened, "jello" it's called, and then
then they brought tea for me also
"this here, you drink it"
I did drink it, and then
I ate what they brought in for me (the jello), and then I still felt hungry
after drinking (tea) I was still thirsty, I said that I wanted water
"no," they said, "you can't drink (water), because of your operation you can drink only tea"
"drink just a little bit"
so that's what I did, and then after a while they came in
they said, "we're going to cut it off of you (the bandage)"
they started cutting it (the tape)
down one side, and then
and then they peeled it off of me, that which was stuck all over
that hurt bad
at the place where the incision is, they laid on another thick bandage
they put medicine on it, then they said,
"right now, we're doing this to you, because you're going to leave"
"in two days, you're going to get up, you're going to sit up"
it seemed like I was really strong, (while) I was lying there
and so they pulled me (up) to sit up on the bed, and suddenly, ow!
my guts felt like they were going to fall out. then they pulled me up to a sitting position
I sat up at the edge of the bed
and then they told me
"you're going to get up on the floor"
"you're going to walk as far as the end of the bed"
"you turn around at the end of the bed, you return back to where you started"
"and then we're going to help you back up"
"you're going back to bed"
and then, really ...
it doesn't appear to be a hard thing to do. And then they started helping me along
all of a sudden what used to be my legs, I couldn't even step on my own
it's like they were made of cement or something, my legs
somehow I started to move my legs
I walked to the end of the bed somehow
and then at the end of the bed, they turned me around and I went back
I didn't think I could do it. at the side of the bed, they helped me back, and they put me back up there (lying), and I laid back down
after that the next they did the same thing with me again
the very next day they said, "tomorrow you're going to go home."
okay then, so I went home
they came to pick me up (my mother and my uncle), they made a bed in the back of the car, I laid down on it
back to the house ...
... I returned, they brought me back (lying down), and then they brought me back into the house, they put me back in the bed
and so the doctor said "don't let her walk around"
"she can get up, stand up occasionally, but don't let her walk"
my grandmother she was old
the outhouse used to be outside, way down around ...
... she used to go out, she used to go over there
while she's doing that, I would sit up
after a while I start walking along
all the way down the bed
I go around it, I walk back, then I go back to bed
they didn't know what I was doing
sometimes every now and then my mother would come in and tell me
"you just keep lying here!", she'd pull (the blankets) back up for me
then she leaves and then again I get up
again I'm walking and they don't know it
after a while they said, "all right ..."
"... you're going to go back to the doctor."
"tomorrow we're going to take you back"
and then I could only drink milk,
and boiled eggs
I could only eat ground-up, what they call apple sauce
three times a day I eat the same thing and then I felt, it seemed like I was becoming weak.
in the mean time
and then they said "we will take you back to the doctor"
so they took me back, and then there he said
"she can eat whatever she wants now"
"you can feed her stuff that that's like juice"
"let her eat stuff like mashed potatoes"
"she will become strong again" and then,
he told me "after this,"
"when you go back to school"
"watch out. don't let anyone hit you in the belly"
"because then suddenly ...
"... it will be feeling really sore"
and then "if someone hits you there, it will be really bad"
... inside of my belly, since it had been cut
then I stayed at home, and then my teacher came from the school ...
he was very nice, that man
he would always bring papers, then he would always tell me
"this, you do it this way" and then I would do it
he would go away again, and then when five days had gone by, he would bring another one
and then after a while they said,
"okay, time for school to let out"
and then, I heard,(actually I saw) he came, and he said "come back to school!"
only one day was left of school
"we really want you to come to school," and then
"in the morning you have to get the thing that goes by (the bus)"
and then in the morning I got up and I went there, I got on
then, so all the kids were sitting up (on the bus), that go to school together
they laughed at me, and they said
"why did you come today, only one day left? today everybody leaves."
and then I said, "it was him, the principal (boss of the school), that told me (to come)"
and then they all laughed
and then I went into the classroom
there again everybody started laughing at me, and they said
"she didn't even go to school ...
... for a long time, why is she only coming today?"
and then the principal said
"don't bother her, as for her, she came today ...
... she will go to school, and then we're going to give out the papers"
"that way we will know if you passed"
and then they started laughing
some of them said
"she's not going to go to the next one, she's going to stay in this one (class) again"
"she wasn't studying, she doesn't know anything, that one"
all day I stayed there, at school, and then
some of them talked to me nice, those kids
some of them I had been in school with
some of them talked Hupa, we used to talk Indian together
and then, after a while
when they're going to leave
he started digging through the paper, started handing them out to us all, and then they said
"did you pass?" they asked me, "did you pass?
and then they grabbed it and yanked it away from me (the report card)
they all looked at it
some of the kids said
"it looks like she passed!" and they all laughed, and they said,
"as for her, when we come back again (next year), they're going to move her back"
"she doesn't know the things that we know"
they didn't know that as for me, I had been studying at home
and then, that's the way it went
and then school started again, and we went back to school
and then they said, those walking around (at recess), "they're going to move her back"
"she doesn't know anything," they said, "the work will be too hard for her"
and then we wrote some things
(the teacher) he wrote a lot of assignments on the board, an we wrote things down, and then
at the end of two weeks
they said ...
and then the teacher said
"two boys are going to come in and you will go with them"
she said to me, "the desk (that which you sit in) with stuff in it ...
... they're going to take it for you, follow it and take your papers with you"
"where you go in, give him your papers, to (the person) that will be your new teacher"
I said "okay," and then the boys came in
... two of them. and then they picked up the desk (what you sit on), what is made for putting stuff in
and then I followed them
and then up ...
... and then I went up one (grade)
and then I went in and gave the papers to the teacher
so I went to school there (in 8th grade)
and as for some of the kids out there (out in the playground) they said
"as for her, she's not going to pass the 8th grade"
"we're going to finish before her"
and then they say outside
they were making fun of me
and then when that term went by, I went to another level
and then I was in a higher class (9th grade)
it turned out I had passed to the next grade
and then after that they didn't laugh anymore
so I went along until I hit 11th grade
there used to be around an Indian
he was a policeman, Bill Quinby was his name. For him ...
for him they brought things together (gifts) and had a big dinner
that he's not gonna be (working) anymore, he retired, after what must have been 20 years
he was a policeman
lots of people came, and then
so my late mother, my late stepfather, (and me), we all went there
they started dancing
instruments were playing, all kinds of food, they set up a whole lot in bowls
lots of drinks, sodas (summer drinks), all kinds of drinks
they were all in a line, piling stuff on their (own) plates, and we all ate also
they danced (partner dancing), they really went at it
I was really enjoying watching them and I really liked it, and then I realized that my mother ...
... and my stepfather, they were drinking outside
and then after a while they come back in
after a while they go back outside, as for me, I just sit there
after a while, she said (my mother)
"go back outside," she told me, "as for these (people), they're (drinking) too much"
"there's drinking going on, so I don't want you to stay in here" she said
she said "you stay hidden in the car"
she took me back outside, in the car, and then in the back (of the car)
she covered me up with something (like a blanket) that was back there
"you stay right here, when we come out, we're going to leave"
I sat down there in the seat. After a while, I started to get sleepy, I drifted into sleep off and on, I'm about to go to sleep, it seemed like
all of a sudden the door opened
all of a sudden he sort of jumped in there in the backseat where I was laying down
I come to realize, the door wasn't locked
and then, by my neck ...
... and then, putting his arm across my throat, he told me
"don't say nothing" he said, "don't yell or nothing," he said,
"if you yell," he said,
I'm gonna start hitting you, he said
then, right there, he raped me
everything, what used to be my underwear, he ripped it off
he's roughing me around, showing me how tough he is
and then, when he got done with that, he told me
"don't tell nobody about what you did"
"if you tell, then I will say, 'she wanted to do this'"
"your grandmother," he said, "I will kill her. your uncle too, I'm going to beat him up"
"if you tell anybody that"
and then I was afraid of him, so I never said anything
after a while, they came out, my poor old mother [with my uncle]
as for them, they also seemed kind of drunk
I didn't tell them, I really felt afraid of him
my poor old grandmother, and my poor old uncle, I loved them very much
I didn't want anybody doing bad things to them / IMPF!, ?
and then, for that reason, I didn't mention anything (about what happened)
and then, from there turns out he left and went back to the service (where they were fighting)
after a while, he came back from the service, and he told me he had been looking for me, and he told me
"what you did, for that reason"
"you got to become my wife, you're not going to be somebody else's wife, nobody not going to want you"
and then he said
"if you like somebody else, I will say ...
... she did that"
"nobody else will like you"
for that reason, I never said nothing, after a while, I finally became his wife
six years passed, I had two girls
and I became pregnant four times
two times he beat me up during those six years. One time he picked me up ...
there was a big couch that used to be sitting there
he threw me down over it, and I had a miscarriage
that used-to-be, they brought it back out at the hospital that used to sit there.
and then the doctor he was there
he was a big guy, and he took me in there (to the emergency room)
and then (the doctor) told (my husband)
"you should be in jail"
"you have killed what was going to be a baby"
it seemed like more than six months (in the womb), that baby ...
... that (baby) he killed. And then after that, again, I had a girl [Debbie]
and then he used to beat me up and say all kinds of things
and then he would always tell me, we're going to kill you over there to the east [mineshafts at Gray's Flat]
"we're going to put you in there"--all kinds of things he used to say to me
he always called me all kinds of names
and then after that, after a long time ...
... six years had gone by [since our marriage], and then
a lot of girls came up from Weitchpec way, like Yuroks, [because of a flood] and then
I guess those (girls), they really started to like him
he used to go around with them. Because of that, he went away from me
after that, as for me, I started having a life of my own, someone ...
... I married a different person, he did me good