I wrote My Life Story Tragedy and Spirituality to share with you. If you are dealing with tragedy in your life, there can still be happiness after tragedy. There were times when I wanted to give up, but somehow I just kept going. As humans, I believe that we are stronger than we might think. I came out stronger after my toughest experiences. The pain and suffering never goes away, but life does get easier. I believe that whatever it is that you might be going through, you can make it. There really is life after tragedy.
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My Life Story: Tragedy and Spirituality
By Deanna Daly
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Deanna Daly
All rights reserved.
MY DAD - WILLIAM DUNDAS
Mom and Dad
By Mike Daly
I'm so proud you were my Mom and Dad.
The way that you raised me I am so glad.
Dad the day you kneeled and looked me in the eye.
You told me how to treat people and the reasons why.
The way that I want to be treated you treat others.
After all everyone is your sisters and brothers.
I took these words with me wherever I went to go.
These words are part of my spiritual journey this is how I grow.
Mom looked so beautiful with her olive skin in that red dress.
And Dad you were so tall and handsome I must confess.
People judged you for the way that you died dad.
Dad with you dyeing and all the judging made me so sad.
And Mom for doing the best you could they judged you too.
As far as what is right and wrong some people don't have a clue.
Mom and Dad you taught me never to gossip or to ever be mean.
You had taught me so much by the time I was a teen.
You taught me to take care of all God's creatures.
Of all the people in this world, you were my best teachers.
* * *
It was May, 1946 and it all began for me on one Sunday morning. My parents William and Evelyn Dundas, lived in the country about eight miles from the nearest little town. Mom went into labor and dad rushed to town to get the doctor. But the doctor was out of town so he returned with the local veterinarian, which helped mom bring me into this world. Throughout my life those that new about me being delivered by a veterinary doctor, always said that this was the reason why I had a great love for animals.
I had a baby sister Shirley, two older brothers Don and Ron and an older sister Beverly. All seven of us lived in a small two-bedroom cement block house. There was no modern plumbing. We had a hand pump that we would carry water that we needed to cook and clean. There was an outhouse for our other needs. Dad painted it white and we called it the white house. There was this big iron pop belly stove to keep us warm. Dad would get up very early in the morning and get the stove fire red hot, so it would be warm when we got up. The stove would be used to not only keep us warm but also to heat our bath water. We would also make toast on it. Mom and dad used one bedroom and the five of us kids shared the other bedroom. In the kid's bedroom we had two sets of those old wire springs with mattress's sitting on cement blocks, with room only to walk between the beds. The boys slept on one bed and my sisters and I slept on the other bed.
It was not unusual to wake up in the night and to have someone laying across our bed with a shot gun sticking out the window. The man with the shotgun would be guarding his house next door.
Our neighborhood was made up of families whose fathers mostly worked for the auto companies, or were well drillers. Times were hard for everybody when the shops went on strike. But dad got a cow to help out. She provided us with milk, butter and cottage cheese. We also had chickens who gave us eggs and meat. Whenever there was some extra money mom and dad would buy plants and seeds for the garden.
Dad would try to protect the wild animals in the woods. There were men in the neighborhood that would set traps to catch and kill them. If you know anything about trapping it is very cruel. An animal could suffer for days before dyeing when caught by a trap. Dad would come home from work every night and go to the woods and gather all the traps and free those animals that had been caught. A few times he brought home injured animals and would try to heal them. The barn was full of traps. What was so funny to us kids were that the neighborhood men would tell dad about people steeling their traps. Dad would go along and tell them something like: "If I see anyone I will let you know." I guess not all lies are bad.
With our house being so small, dad built shelves for storage in the little barn that housed our cow and canned goods. Dad knew this man who had a horse and the man was going to put her down. Dad knowing horses as he did, asked the man to, instead of killing the horse, could he take her and let her live her life out with us. The man agreed. We were so excited to have her become part of our family.
In my family we never had what you call: "A traditional religious upbringing." But I believe the way that we were raised were full of many spiritual teachings'. We were taught how to follow our heart and to show kindness to all of God's creation.
Once when I was about seven or eight years old dad knelt down to me and put his hands on my shoulders. He then told me: "Honey promise me one thing, that you will always follow your heart." I then told him that I would and I looked away. He then said "Honey look into my eyes. I want you to treat everybody the same way that you would want them to treat you." I said ok and he gave me a kiss. I then resumed playing. This is why I cry every time I hear the song "Skin Deep", by Buddy Guy.
When our pets would have babies we had to sit to hold them. We could not walk around carrying them by the neck or something like that. We were taught that because we walk upright does not make us superior. We were also taught to always offer a helping hand without expecting to be paid.
When I was young during our toughest times, we were the happiest. The neighborhood was filled with people that had their own tough times, but we would all help each other. Mom and dad shared the garden with people in need. Mom and dad also shared their canned goods. It just seemed to me a lot of love and laughter was in the air. Everybody just lived, worked, helped each other, and played hard.
This one morning I woke up and heard mom and dad talking. So I got up to be with them. There were no lights on, but I made my way to the kitchen and found mom and dad looking out the back window at the barn. They were watching this homeless man who would sleep in our little barn at night. Just before daybreak and in time for dad to milk our cow, the man would go to the garden and stuff his pockets with food. Dad would wait until the man was out of sight before he went to the barn.
Mom worked as a waitress at the local small town bar and was at work this one evening. Dad was at home taking care of my little sister Shirley and me. My older sister Beverly was on a date and my two brothers Ron and Don went roller skating. That night the back door flew open and a man from next door who was a big war hero attacked dad. He hit dad and he fell on his back. Then the man proceeded to kick dad with his steel toed shoes. Dad then tried to get up. The man then continued to beat dad some more by hitting him in the face. Dad started bleeding so bad that blood had gotten into his eyes. At this time, I ran into the kitchen to get mom's iron skillet. I got this idea from mom when one time I had seen her grab a skillet to protect herself, when a mean man came over to the house one day. So at the age of four, I thought this is how a person handles mean men. So getting back to the story, I tried to hit the man with the skillet to no avail. So then I ended up jumping onto the man's back. I was hitting him and pulling on his hair trying to get him off of dad. But the man grabbed me and tossed me like a rag doll. Then our little dog King jumped on the man's back and was growling and biting him. The man then also grabbed King and threw her and she hit the popped belly stove. Then the man got off of dad and dad ran into the bedroom to get a gun and he told us girls to stay in the bedroom. Dad then came back from the bedroom. As previously mentioned, dad could not see as his eyes and face were all covered in blood. But because dad couldn't see he didn't know that I was still in the same room. When the man seen dad with a gun, the man then proceeded to grab me and pull me and himself, behind the pot belly stove. Then dad started firing the gun. He could not see what he was shooting at but just started firing. I can still hear the sounds of the bullets hitting the stove. Meanwhile the man started screaming at dad and said that he had his little girl. By the time dad's gun was emptied, the man ran and jumped thru our glass door and just kept on a runnin'.
Kings back had caught the hook on the stove and cut her neck and back. Mom nursed her for weeks and she ended up living thru the ordeal. She ended up to live for twenty-two years.
Even though dad lost his hearing in one ear from the beating he received, he never held it against the man because he knew he too carried a lot of pain from the war and life, itself. Dad never judged him.
Mom and dad never took us kids to church or tried to preach the Bible to us. But I believe they tried to teach us the difference between right and wrong and mostly tried to teach us through their actions.
There was not much change in my life until about the age of ten, when dad had decided to move the family north. He had inherited his mom and dad's family farm. Dad had been working for the auto companies in Detroit and Flint Michigan. Our family had to live closer to the towns in which he worked. Dad and some of his fellow shop workers had decided that they could all move up North, and take turns driving to work because of the great traveling expense. So one-day dad came home from work all excited, and told mom and us kids, we were moving north. Mom was going to start packing. But dad had told her that she didn't need to pack much because the farm house was already furnished with dishes, linens, etc. So he sold our house with all the furniture and basically everything in it, to a farmer that he knew. He just wanted to go. Dad always said that one day we would move north; this was his dream. So within a short time we had set out on our new journey. When we arrived we had found out that dad's brother and sister's had stolen the family farm from him and sold it. All of this time dad had trusted his older brother to rent and care for the farm while dad was in the Army. And also care for the farm during the time that dad had to work south until he could return. I remember his brother coming to visit throughout the years telling dad "Everything is ok." I will never forget dad and his brother having a fight in his brother's living room. We then left his brother's house. The ride back home was so sad. Mom was crying and wondering what we were going to do. Dad just drove the car in pure silence. As far as us kids were concerned, I think that we were too young to really understand what had happened. When we arrived back at our old neighborhood we just sat in the car. We kids fell asleep. When I woke up we were at the house of one of our neighbors. His wife had died about one year before and he lived with his son in a two-bedroom house. So my brothers Don and Ron shared one bedroom with him and his son. Mom, dad, my sister Shirley and I, had shared the other bedroom.
This was the beginning of a nightmare. We had ended up moving seven times and had attended four different schools in two years. Dad was never the same after that.
It is so sad what family and other people can do to one another over money and material things. This whole event in my life showed me, that there was a difference in people. It taught me about greed. It opened my eyes to a new way of looking at people. I learned from an earlier age about the emotion of fear and hurt, but now, at this age, I learned about greed. If I had one prayer for the world it would be to end anger and greed.
Time had passed and now dad was fifty-four. We ended up finally settling in about eight miles from where we originally left when we had tried to move up north. By this time Don and Ron had enlisted in the army and Beverly had gotten married. So that left Shirley and myself with mom and dad. Mom and dad still worked hard as always. Shirley and I were going to school and we all were just trying to get on with life. At this time Don was going to be shipped over to Germany. He wanted mom and dad to somehow go down to Kentucky and bring his car back to our house. This way he would have it when he got out of the army. Dad couldn't get off work but they had a couple of friends that went with mom to help her bring the car back. One-day mom was gone to pick up the car and Shirley was babysitting. And I had come home from a friend's house. I walked in the door and found dad on the floor. He had killed himself.
I can't find the words to express what had happened. It devastated my family and myself. To add to the devastation of dad dyeing, people started judging him for killing himself. This is the biggest point in my life when I too began to judge and hate some people. It was so hard to understand how people could judge dad without even knowing him. As time went on I learned that a lot of these judgmental people learned their ways thru their religion. Why would these so called religious people claim to be these loving followers of Jesus, but on the other hand, hurt me and my family by judging dad? This episode just proved to me that I wanted nothing to do with organized religion. Evan though I did believe in God.
Today I am proud of who I have become. With the teachings I got from my parents and the things that had happened in my life, I believe molded me into the type of person that I am. Even though dad's death was one of the biggest events in my life, I thank God and dad for one of my biggest teachings with respect to my spiritual journey. It was not in my cards to follow any organized religious belief, but to look within and to follow my own heart, like dad had taught me. I believe that organized religion is the right spiritual path for some people but it's not for me. I believe that each living being can connect with God, their own way.
There are people in my life that do things that I admire and choose to want to be like. And there are people that I choose not to be like. Hopefully I am growing every day to become as much like the people I have come to admire. I call this my spiritual journey.
Ron was one of my biggest hero's in my life. Beverly had gotten married and Don went into the Army. That left Shirley, Ron and myself. We were like a bond that could not be broken. We did everything together. We were as people would say: "Where you found one, you would find the other two"; we were inseparable. You will learn more about Ron and the love I had for him, as you read on. With that being said, I will continue on with my story.CHAPTER 2
Now that dad's funeral was behind us, Don had returned back to the Army in Germany. We all just tried to move on with life. Mom still worked and Shirley and myself never returned back to school. So I never ended up getting my high school diploma. We took on babysitting jobs to help mom. Ron tried to enlist in the Army in Michigan and was turned down. When he was born, because of a poor heart condition, doctors told mom and dad that he would not live much beyond his teenage years. But he wanted to serve so bad, he hitch hiked out to California and enlisted there. Then mom did everything she could to get Ron discharged. Ron ended up getting a medical discharge from the Army because of his enlarged heart condition. Anyway, he got an honorable discharge. I think maybe God had helped Ron because he finally knew how much we needed him at home. And what a big help he was. Beverly and her husband Lewie, helped us as much as they could. But they were young and by this time had three young boys to care for. Times were not easy for them either
Meanwhile I'm dating this guy named Larry Bone. His parents came from a line of farming families that owned several hundred acres of land that were handed down from family to family. Larry and I dated a couple of years and then he got drafted into the Army. We married before he left for basic training. Soon after he was drafted, he was sent to Vietnam where he served thirteen months (all of 1967). As for me I stayed at home with mom until Larry was discharged. I was able to help my family and go to cosmetology school, with the money that I received for being the wife of a serviceman.
Larry had five brothers and one sister which are named: Bill who was married with four children, Dick, Eddie, Stevie, Ronnie and Sharon. Both of Larry's parents are named Everett and Jerrie. Both sides of his grandparents are named Grandpa & Grandma Bone, and Grandpa & Grandma Kramer.
The Bone family farm was around the corner from where Larry and I lived. Larry and I could see the farm from our windows and backyard. Larry's Grandpa and Grandma Bone lived about a fourth of a mile west of the farm on the same road. Larry and I were very close to Grandpa and Grandma. We all lived so close that we spent a lot of time together. Grandpa never had a religious upbringing but he too was a man, that what I call: "walking the walk." He never had a harsh word to say about anyone. He was known for his quite, gentle and honest nature. He never said much but when he did it was worth listening to. He was in my opinion a very wise, and what I call, spiritual man. Larry and Grandpa Bone spent a lot of time together. When I got to know Grandpa Bone I found him to be one of the kindness people I had ever met.
Excerpted from My Life Story: Tragedy and Spirituality by Deanna Daly. Copyright © 2016 Deanna Daly. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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