The Fugitive

the fugitive2

So that title is a little dramatic.  AGMA hasn’t gotten into any sort of trouble.  


But I AM escaping.

This weekend I’m headed out to Arizona to visit the foster mother of my early childhood.  Jane and her family took me for 18 months when I was 1 1/2 years old to help out my family.  Due to some very nasty circumstances that you really don’t want to hear about, my mother was temporarily out of the picture, and nobody in my immediate family could care for an 18 month old.

Jane was a friend of my mother.  They went to nursing school together and remained close after they each started families.  Jane’s daughters were 8 years old and a 14 years old when I came to live with them.

AGMA has no memories of the 18 months I lived with them, but I know that I received far more love and attention than I would have had I stayed in my home.

That being said, it was a horrible trauma for a 1 1/2 year old to be given to, in her mind, strangers.  I’ve been told that I cried and cried and cried for my “real” family. 

Much like the children who have been separated from their parents and put into cages at the US Southern border.

Science has shown that this type of early childhood trauma actually alters the brain chemistry of the child as they try to cope with what is happening around them. 


This can lead to all kinds of issues from emotional to cognitive to physical to economic.

To add to the trauma circus, AGMA was reunited with my mother when I was 3 years old and removed from Jane’s family.   As part of the nasty circumstances I mentioned earlier, I had not seen my real mother since I was an infant.

So now I was living with another “stranger”.  My mother.

Again, AGMA has no memory of this time.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned this in a previous post when I wrote about Jane, but I remember visiting Jane and her family with my mother when I was older, but I had no idea who they really were.

All I knew is that the always gave me great Christmas presents!

After my mother died in 1965 when I was 11, I went to live my my father and all contact with Jane and family was cut off.

Fast forward to 2012 when Janes youngest daughter “found” me through Hubs online genealogy profile.  They were overjoyed and I was thrilled to find my lost foster family (as an adult, I found out about their existence from my brother.)

AGMA’s been traveling to Arizona every year since then to visit Jane and her daughters.  I wrote about her last year when I went out for her 100th birthday celebration.

Guess what?

Janie’s 101 now!

And she still lives in her own house and still (last I heard) drives her car short distances.

So AGMA’s heading out to Arizona again for a visit with these good people who took me in and selflessly cared for me so many years ago. 

It’s a short trip – only 2 nights – and I’m going solo.  Hubs is staying home to take care of the cats. 

The first half of the trip I’m hanging with Jane & family.

The second night, I booked a room at a posh resort in Scottsdale.

I’m escaping.

For one night, I am going to do exactly what I want to do.  Or not do.

Part of the effects of my early childhood trauma is that AGMA has always been a pleaser. 

When you are “abandoned” by your primary care givers 3 times before the age of 4, a small child’s mind is not able to reason or understand what’s happening.  A small child internalized the fact that people keep leaving them as a sign that they are not lovable, or worthy of love and care, or they have been too naughty.

As the child grows, they think they have to “earn” the love of those close to them by trying to please them and not do anything that could be interpreted as misbehaving.

Hence, AGMA was an obedient, compliant pleaser for years.  

And I’m here to tell you, you can lose yourself in all that obedience and compliance and pleasing.

In the past, I would have never dreamed of bailing on Jane’s family early – I would have felt too guilty.  Or spending money on a one night getaway at a resort by myself, without Hubs “approval”.  And I would have tried to get together with old friends (who are Don the Con supporters – ugh…) from college who live in Phoenix.  Or I would have invited another old friend from Tucson to come up and spend the night with me on my dime.

But then it wouldn’t be a “selfish, only for AGMA” escape.  I’d have other people I’d have to “worry” about.  And please.

When it’s just me, I don’t have to be concerned about making anybody happy but myself.  At least for a night.

Years of therapy and a powerful spirituality journey toward wholeness have helped immensely in breaking old, unhealthy patterns.  

Honestly, I’m still a work in process.

But then aren’t we all?

See you at the pool!

30 thoughts on “The Fugitive

  1. I hope you have a great trip. It is nice you reconnected through all these years. Family comes in all shapes and sizes with love, not necessarily blood, being key. Although the circumstances were not good, I am thankful you had someone in your corner.


  2. I totally understand the terrible trauma that you must have gone through. I am a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) in Denton County, Texas. My job is to look after the best interests of children in foster care. I currently have a case with three siblings – 9, 2 and 3 months. It breaks my heart to know the trauma these kids are going through as a result of parents who just didn’t care enough. Have fun on your escape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! And what a wonderful, heartbreaking, fulfilling, difficult job you have… I imagine that it’s hard to leave your work behind when you go home. God bless you for trying to take care of the “least of these”!


  3. We all need “me” time, so enjoy yourself to the max. You seem to have ended up quite all right in spite of the dark times of your childhood. Or maybe, because of them. Life is strange that way. Sometimes dark times can help us be a better person or, at the very least, help others get through their dark times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The “me” time was delightful! Thanks! I can’t say whether the dark times made me a better person. But I do know that my faith and all that counseling has helped me cope with the damage that was done, and that has made me a stronger person as an older adult. But at times, I can’t help thinking about how differently my life might have been had I had a stable home and not been separated from my family multiple times. I truly grieve what’s happening to those precious children on the Southern Boarder. Their lives will be very difficult as a result of the severe trauma they are experiencing. My heart weeps…


  4. It kinda depends on your take of “Me time” I guess AGMA.

    In my case, I used to feel a tad guilty of clearing off on a motorbike and leaving Mrs Dookes behind…until the day that she confessed that she was glad to see me off… as unless I regularly get my fix of travel I become, in her words, “A monumental pain in the backside!” – I have been told, I now know my place and realise that my “Me Time” is also “Me Time” for her!!!

    Enjoy your trip.

    Dookes (Now heading off for “Me Time” in the Pyrenees!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was a lovely visit. But I realized on this visit that I really have nothing in common with Janie and her daughters other than the 18 months we spent together some 62 years ago. We have lived totally different, separate lives, and it’s kind of like visiting very kind strangers. The conversation lags after a spell. But I will be forever be grateful to them for their kindness to me as a toddler and treating me as one of their own, and for that reason, I’ll continue to visit. And the “me” time was lovely…!


    • Thanks Shelley! I still haven’t gotten caught up in my reading so I envy you! And I’m very glad Janie was there and willing to take on a toddler when her youngest was 10. That must have been a shock to everybody! Ha! I hear that I cut the hair of one of Faith’s favorite dolls – oops!!


  5. Sounds Oh So Familiar, AGMA. My two older sisters (one a baby at the time), were almost sent to an aunt’s friend who lived on a farm in Ohio. The farmer’s wife could not take them — we have a copy of her letter — and my sisters somehow survived the toxic stuff going on between our parents when they lived in a Chicago housing project in the 1940’s. I was born in my family’s first suburban salt-box of a home. My role there was to be the “window dressing for normalcy”: “Ah look, we have a house and a brand new baby.” (Me). But the skeletons rattled in the closet and when I questioned Mother in my 30’s I learned that we were never the Ozzie & Harriet family I imagined. I was a shame-based, guilt-ridden person who felt bad when I pleased myself (after all, I did not experience life in a housing project — I was not an equal opportunity sufferer — we had a “normal” home!). I am continually learning to un-learn my co-dependent, people-pleasing traits.

    This could sound like whining in comparison to the poor immigrant children who are being held hostage by our government. If it does, forgive me Planet! My heart goes out to them. The trauma being done to them is horrible!

    I beam you endorphins on your trip to AZ to meet up with 101-year old Jane. And I hope your spa treatment brings you head-to-toe luxury.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – I’m sorry for your early difficulties and the ongoing issues they have caused. And it’s not whining when we are trying to process what in our past we have unwittingly carried forward that is being detrimental to our emotional health and wholeness. I think that that type of processing and subsequent understanding actually makes us more empathetic to those who are suffering today (like the children our government have put in concentration camps…)
      P.S. The trip was very nice and my little one night get away was lovely!! Thanks!


  6. It can be hard to stop “living” in the past, though if we learn some lessons for the present and future there is some value to that sometimes. I say that based on the current extended amount of time I am living with my mother while trying to decide if I should make this move permanent. Your story, especially the characters, reminded me of a similar chapter in my dad’s life, which, as a German Jew and the son of a single mother, saw him living with a Quaker foster family in the English countryside. I corresponded with this wonderful lady, who put on a bar mitzvah for Dad (according to Mom) and sent us many very British gifts after he had started his family here in the U.S., also lived to a ripe old age. In fact, I am hoping to learn more about Dad and Grandma’s time there by digging into the history of that time in that place that I might find on Ancestry. It truly can be a small world sometimes, especially when the people who make it so are kind and generous.

    Liked by 1 person

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