As soon as the girls moved in, that is when the actual abuse started. Ducky beforehand had been somewhat nice. He tried to put up with my “weak, girl-like body.” But as soon as his daughters moved out to the farm, I was in constant trouble for not being able to pull cow tits, moving the hay bales, the feed carts, walk the horses, or anything that seemed like a boy should have been able to do. I remember the first time I got into trouble for not being able to do the chores. Ducky grabbed me by the hair and pulled me into the cellar. I fought hard, but it just made him madder. He stated that I would be punished by being locked in the root cellar for the night with just a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and my stuffed dog, Sewie. Mother, later that night, brought a blanket and a small plate of leftovers. Mother, if she knew Ducky was passed out would do this. I spent many nights down in that dark and damp, one bare bulb room.
Sometimes if I really made him mad, I was there all the next day, whether or not it was a school day. If Ducky caught Mother bringing a blanket, more food or water to me, he would beat her until she could not walk and then would pick me up by the hair or neck and drag me to the barn, shaking me, screaming and yelling at me that I was not worthy of anyone’s love. He would even state that I was no better than his farm animals, that I was “mindless and stupid.” Ducky would throw me in the old horse stall that was at the back of the barn, and then lock it so I could not get out. If I struggled or tried to fight him off, it just made things worse. He would just punch, throw me to the ground, and even kick me if I did not get up fast enough. Later, he would tell his daughters that they were not allowed to let me out nor bring food out or they would be punished too.
This cycle of crazy abuse went on for almost three years until the Department of Social Services did an investigation. Ducky and Mother put on a show and made it look like it was I who would beat myself. They even built a “wall” in the dining room to make it look like I had a bedroom. I missed a lot of school during the six years I lived on that farm. When I was able to be at school, I would try to tell the teachers. But it always went against me and they felt that all I wanted was attention.
Six months from that investigation, Department of Social Service convinced Ducky and Mother to put me in a children’s psychiatric hospital. I remember that it was a cold, snowy Halloween. I got off the school bus and looked down the driveway and saw two police cars, a black sedan with the gold emblem of Social Services, and an ambulance. Not knowing what was going to happen, I ran thinking Ducky finally maimed or killed Mother. The driveway seemed longer, and my feet felt like they were made of lead. It felt like I was in a dream. When I came up past the first police officer and saw Mother sitting on the steps crying, I ran to her, thinking the worst. She took me into her arms and embraced me.
Quietly, she whispered, “I am doing this for your own good, my little Bull Frog.”
That is when I realized there was more to the scene. I asked, pulling away, “What do you mean?” She looked over to Ducky, who was standing next to his van, smoking, and she turned her head slightly back to me, and gently, with restraint in her voice said, “Donald, I want you to go for a ride in the ambulance with that nice lady there.”
I turned and looked at the woman in a dark blue blazer, her auburn hair pulled up into a bun, and glasses hanging around her neck like a necklace. She reminded me of Mrs. Drutz, my second-grade teacher. That is when I realized, and thought, that I would never see my sister Dew nor Mother again. I pulled from Mother’s light grasp on my arm and dropped my book bag. I bolted into the surrounding woods and fields.