Looking For Love: Part 1 of 6
Part 1: Needing
My name is Carla Emory. I was born in El Paso, Texas in 1973 and have lived here my entire life. Until sixteen, I was an only child. My birth mother drank herself to death so by my eleventh birthday I didn’t have one. After that, it was just my Dad and I for the next five years. Growing up with my mother was a miserable experience. Like all little girls, I needed a mother’s love. Sadly, what my mother loved was her bottle – not me. Almost every day she would drink until she passed out. The house was always a big mess – just like everything else was back then. When Dad was at home, all they did was fight. Hating life and everything about it, she was always cursing, throwing things, breaking stuff and falling down drunk. Things got so bad Dad tried to ignore the situation by staying away. He was always late getting home from work. Even worse were the long nights when he didn’t come home at all. He always spent his weekends at the country club playing golf and I hardly ever saw him. His staying away just made things worse and gave my mother an excuse to keep on drinking. She grew crazier, meaner and more hateful with each passing day of that miserable drunken existence. Life was a living hell for me – I felt so alone and completely unloved.
After my mother’s death, things started to improve. Dad spent lots of time with me and we did all kinds of stuff together. I believe he felt guilty about the miserable existence I endured when my mother was alive. As a result, my relationship with him was more like that of a buddy than a daughter and that suited me just fine. For the first time in my life, I got someone’s undivided care and attention.
The year I turned fifteen, I joined a soccer team and loved playing the game. Dad was always there to cheer and soon started helping the team’s coach, Alice Kilpatrick. While not coaching our soccer team, Ms. Kilpatrick was one of the Physical Education instructors at Eastwood High. She was a divorced woman with two daughters. Her youngest was a fourteen year old named Jennifer who was a seventh grader at my school, Travis Jr. High. Karen was her eldest at sixteen and a sophomore at Eastwood High. Having been held back a year after forth grade, I was in my last year at Travis and would be starting at Eastwood the following fall. Being teammates and so close to the same age, Karen, Jennifer and I became really good friends. From things I related to the sisters, Ms. Kilpatrick learned about my mother and my unfortunate experiences. I don’t know if she was motivated by pity or perhaps, just a caring person, but in any event, she took a special interest in me. It felt really good to have someone like Ms. Kilpatrick care about me and it was a welcomed experience. All seemed right with life whenever I was around her – our relationship was special and I treasured it. She quickly became my hero and idol. Not only was she was beautiful she was strong, intelligent, witty and fun to be with. All the girls on our team loved her and she was highly respected by everyone at Eastwood. I often remarked to the sisters how lucky she was to have a Mom like theirs. It made me realize what my mother had cheated me out of and that I desperately longed for what every young girl needs - a mother that loves her.
At thirty-three, Ms. Kilpatrick was in awesome physical condition. Working full time as a PE instructor and soccer coach, she was extremely active and always on her feet. She was a large woman – just over six feet tall and what little fat she did carry was well distributed to all of the right places. She always sported a wide friendly smile on a pretty face framed by her long jet-black hair. With bright amber eyes and olive toned skin, she was a stunning lady and easy to admire.
I guess Dad was as impressed with Ms. Kilpatrick as I was and it wasn’t long before they were dating. Soon, and to my delight, things came together and it was almost like a real family. Dad, Ms. Kilpatrick, Karen, Jennifer and I were doing all kinds of stuff together. We went camping, mountain climbing, fishing – anything outdoors. When it fit into our busy schedule, we went to Eastwood’s football and baseball games. Our lives together centered on sports and other out-door activities. My miserable days as a latch key kid and a couch potato were history and I hardly ever turned on the TV. Home was for sleeping, bathing, eating and of course doing your homework. Ms. Kilpatrick was really serious about schoolwork and making good grades. She insisted that all of her kids – the sisters, team members and students do their best in school. The quickest way off of the soccer team was to do poorly in one of your classes. For better or worse, Report card day was a big event for her and every kid she knew.
With one exception, I loved all of the time we spent together as a “family.” The thing I didn’t like was Sunday mornings and all the church stuff that went along with it. Ms. Kilpatrick was an active member of First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday school to the young adult’s group. Dad had never been much on church before, but because of our budding relationship with Ms. Kilpatrick, he insisted we go every Sunday. Just going was not enough to suit her and she compelled me to be active in the church. Next thing I knew, I was singing in the choir alongside Karen. Whenever we would stand to sing, Ms. Kilpatrick’s warm and approving smile made it all worthwhile. I loved pleasing her.
It wasn’t long before Dad was shopping for a new house and focused his search on the new subdivisions springing up in the desert out past Eastwood High. As it was just Dad and I and we were looking at four and five bedroom homes, I knew something was up. When we found one we really liked, Dad asked Ms. Kilpatrick to check it out with us. I’ll never forget that day. She loved the pool, the spacious kitchen, all the storage, the three-car garage, the master bedroom suite, the yards – everything about the place. Compared to the cramped apartment she and her girls were living in, the place must have seemed like paradise to her. Gaining final approval, Dad bought the place and he and I moved in on June 25th - my sixteenth birthday.
As that summer was nearing its end, Dad and Ms. Kilpatrick announced they were going to be married and I was elated. The big wedding ceremony was held at First Baptist and Karen, Jennifer and I all took part in the beautiful service. After a quick honeymoon and before school started, we were all settled into our new home and living as a family. I was on top of the world.
On Labor Day weekend, we all went to Van Horn to visit my grandmother. We spent Friday and Saturday night at her house and were planning to leave early Sunday morning. It was less than a two-hour drive back to El Paso and the way Dad and Ms. Kilpatrick had it figured we could be at First Baptist by ten o’clock. As Dad was loading the car, Ms. Kilpatrick, started looking for Jennifer who was no-where to be found. The search effort quickly escalated and turned frantic. Ms. Kilpatrick changed out of her Sunday dress and into jeans and a t-shirt as she prepared to start searching the foothills behind Grandmother’s place. Then, just before nine o’clock, Jennifer came running down the street. Like a flash, Ms. Kilpatrick was in Jennifer’s face and demanding an explanation. Quickly, she backed away and with a stunned look on her face she started in on her, “You’ve been smoking Jennifer - I can smell it on you!” She was really MAD. I knew smoking was her biggest pet peeve – and so did Jennifer. For a few moments, Ms. Kilpatrick stood silently with her hands on her hips and let her angry eyes do all the talking.
After a few seconds the stare down ended and things really started to happen. Ms. Kilpatrick took Jennifer by her upper arm and marched her into the house and straight to the bathroom. After quickly pulling her inside, she shut the door. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I thought she was simply seeking privacy for scolding her daughter. Little did I know!
Dad, Karen, Grandmother and I stood quietly in the living room looking inquisitively at one another. Only Karen knew what was going on – the rest of us were at a complete loss. As the bathroom was immediately adjacent to the living room, I could hear Ms. Kilpatrick’s muffled yet very angry voice as she questioned and scolded Jennifer. Karen looked at me and said, “Oh boy – is Jennifer ever going to get it now. Mom isn’t even going to wait until we get home to wear her butt out. She’s dead meat. I can’t believe she’s smoking again.” “Oh Mi-God,” I thought to myself, “She is going to spank her!”
Within seconds, the angry voice coming from the bathroom changed from a questioning mode to one giving strict orders. I was stunned when I heard her bark out, “Get your jeans down Jennifer Anne. I mean it – RIGHT NOW – GET EM ON DOWN”
I looked around the room and noticed that my Dad and his mother were stunned by what was taking place. I had never been spanked or even around a spanking before so this stuff was all new to me. I had always known that Dad was not in favor of spanking and his mother did not believe in it either. Just as I turned to question Karen and hopefully gain some insight, I heard Jennifer pitifully start begging. “Pleeezzzeeeee Mommy…. Pleeezzzeee.. Not here… pleeezzzee…pleeezzzeee….One more chance. I didn’t mean too…. Really Mommy….. Not here….. Not Here……Pleeezzzeee…..I’m sorry….. Pleeezzzeee Mommy - I’ll never do it again…. Pleezzzeee….one more chance……I’ll do anything – just don’t spank me Mommy…..” Her wasted pleading was promptly interrupted by a stern and demanding voice, “Jennifer Anne, I’m not going to tell you again. I want those jeans down right now – DROP EM - DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
There was a moment of silence and then, in an even more panicked and desperate voice Jennifer resumed with her begging, “No – not the belt…. Pleeezzzzzeeee… not the belt … I’m sorry Mommy…. I’m sorry… Pleeezzzeee Mommy Pleeezzzeee…. Just use your hand Mommy….not Oh no….. no… not that….. No… Pleeezzzeeee not the belt… No….no……pleeeezzzzeee… I’ll do anything Mommy…. One more chance”
In a calm and steady voice Ms. Kilpatrick cut her off, “You just be thankful that I don’t have the strip with me. You got this one coming – now get on over here – lets go little lady. RIGHT NOW JENNIFER ANNE!” There was a pause of about five seconds and then, all hell broke loose. The noise coming from behind that door was like nothing I had ever heard before. The combined sound of hard slapping leather, a stern and relentless scolding voice and Jennifer’s frantic screeching, screaming and pleading was incredible. After quickly building in intensity to an unbelievable point, there was a momentary pause in the steady cracking. As Jennifer’s screeching started reducing to sobbing and unintelligible begging, another stern order was issued, “MOVE YOUR HAND – get that hand off that butt. I’M WATING. Do you want it on your thighs? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? – IS IT?” A few seconds passed and then, as quickly as it had stopped, the terrifying sounds returned. Crack, crack, crack, crack, crack…. and Jennifer’s sobbing quickly elevated again to the horrendous screeching and whaling made I had witnessed moments earlier.
Finally, the haunting sound of punishing leather and relentless scolding ended and Jennifer’s screaming slowly subsided back to heart wrenching sobbing. “Jennifer Anne - will there be any more smoking - EVER?” Jennifer was incoherently blubbering something in an attempt to be responsive when Ms. Kilpatrick cut her off. “Okay, get your jeans back up, wash your face and get yourself ready to go. If there was ever a girl that needs to be at church – its you.”
Next thing I knew, the door swung wide open and Ms. Kilpatrick emerged slipping the belt back into the loops of her jeans. “I’m really sorry I had to do that here Connie.” She told my grandmother, “She knew better. Smoking - I just won’t have it. I love her too much to let her kill herself with those damn stinking cigarettes. I don’t know why they even sell those awful things in this country”
My grandmother was at a complete loss for words and simply nodded before looking away. Spinning back around and looking at the bathroom door Ms. Kilpatrick warned, “Jennifer – you’ve been in there long enough. You march yourself out here right now young lady – I really don’t think you want me to come back in there Jennifer… do you?”
While Ms. Kilpatrick attempted to explain herself to my Dad and Grandmother, Jennifer came running from the bathroom. Both hands were covering her face and without stopping or saying a word, she passed through the living room, out the front door and quickly ran to the car. Within seconds, Ms. Kilpatrick was at the door and scolding again. “Jennifer, you get right back in here and thank Connie for having you as a guest and say good by to her properly. You know about good manners – and I expect to see some right now”
Looking at her feet and still sobbing softly, Jennifer stepped back into the living room. With out looking up and she addressed my grandmother in a soft and trembling voice. “Ms. Emory, it has been very nice meeting you and I thank you for having me as a guest in your home. The meal last night was delicious. I hope I can come back and see you again soon. I’m sorry I caused such a problem here this morning. I really am.” As she spoke, her embarrassment must have overtaken her. She broke down and started sobbing again. My grandmother quickly moved across the room with her arms extended. After the harsh treatment she had received in the bathroom, I know Jennifer was comforted by my grandmother’s understanding and loving hug. I could not hear what she whispered into Jennifer’s ear but by her reaction, I know it was warmly welcomed.
Ms. Kilpatrick was on the phone arranging a stand in leader for her Sunday school class while the rest of us were saying our good bys and moving towards the door. We were all loading up when my grandmother called and beckoned me back to her porch. I responded and as soon as I reached her, she gave me a huge hug and a kiss on my forehead. Then, with a very serious expression of concern, she cautioned, “Carla, whatever you do, don’t you dare give that woman a reason to get after you. With out a doubt that’s the meanest damn woman I have ever seen in my life. The way she treated that sweet and innocent child. I’m telling you honey, if you give her a reason, that woman will whip the living daylights out of you. If she ever lays a hand on you – I just don’t know what I’ll do. What on earth is wrong with your Dad – what was he thinking?? Marry a woman like that! Well, you know you can always come here and live with me and be safe.”
I hugged and kissed my grandmother and assured her that everything would be okay. I told her Ms. Kilpatrick was always very nice to me and that I really liked her. She had never done anything like that before and I knew that Dad would never permit her to hurt me. Deep inside I was really upset. I wanted my grandmother and her to like one another and become friends. “Don’t worry Nana, I’ll be fine. Really – please don’t worry. Okay? Love you!” I gave her a final hug and kiss, turned and headed for the car. As we drove away, I could see her standing on the porch ringing her hands in distress.
On the ride back to El Paso, I was in the front seat with Dad while Ms. Kilpatrick was in the back with her girls. Dad wasn’t saying a word and I could tell he was upset. After we had done ten or fifteen miles, Ms. Kilpatrick broke the silence. “Your upset – aren’t you Robert?” After a pause, my Dad responded, “Hon, I had no idea you reared your girls that way. If you had to do something like that, I just wish you had waited until we got home and done it in private. You should have seen the look on my mothers face when you were in the bathroom with Jennifer. Alice, you need to understand that my mother, Carla and I have never been around anything like that before. Spanking children is just not acceptable to us. It’s barbaric!”
In a disbelieving tone, I heard it coming from the backseat. “Barbaric? What do you mean – Barbaric?” She paused for a moment, thought and started speaking again. “Robert, I grew up with spankings. My Mom spanked my sister and I until we left home. My Dad was always taking Gary out behind the barn for a session with the bridle strap. And you know what, we all turned out just fine. To this day, all of us thank Mom and Dad for having the guts to punish and discipline us as they did. What – I guess you don’t think I turned out okay?” she asked. Starting to break the ice, Dad had to chuckle as he glanced in the rear view mirror, smiled and said, “I think you turned out perfect. That’s why I married you.”
“And how about my Brother? He turned out well – Bobby is one of the most successful road and bridge contractors in Texas. Ask him if he thinks his sessions with Dad and that strap out behind the barn hurt him any. Wait – that is not what I mean. I know they hurt him plenty at the time he was getting it. Oh boy - I can still remember – you could here it going on clear over in the next county. Sure it hurt him, but it helped mold him into one of the most honest, hardworking, and well-respected men in Texas. And my sister – she was getting it all the time – more than any of us. Mom must have blistered Angie’s butt a hundred. Now look at Angie, she’s the Head Nurse at the East Texas Medical Center in Longview. And you know what else Robert? Angie spanks her girls and Bobby’s wife spanks their kids. Those are all well-adjusted and happy kids. The proof is in the pudding – spankings works. Just look at these two – best in the whole wide world.” As she finished up her pro-spanking speech, she hugged Karen and Jennifer and tightly and kissed them each.
Dad responded by pulling me close to him and patting the top of my head. “Hey, my little princess has not ever been spanked and as far as I am concerned, she’s perfect.”
The conversation left no doubt that Dad’s and Ms. Kilpatrick’s views on raising children were as different as night and day. Dad had grown up as the only child of a medical doctor and his wife in the desert of West Texas. In stark contrast, Ms. Kilpatrick was the oldest daughter of a hard-working farming family in Gilmer – a small rural town nestled deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Be it at school or at home, in the East Texas communities such as Gilmer, the spanking of kids was as common as the washing dishes.
By the time we had reached the outskirts of El Paso, I noticed that Jennifer and her mother were having fun and playing with one another in the back seat. It was clear by their giggles and silly talk that all had been forgiven and their love for each other was genuine and unconditional. At that moment, my envy of their awesome relationship was almost unbearable. I would have given anything to be Jennifer right then. I needed a real mother like Ms. Kilpatrick so badly it hurt.
It was just past eleven o’clock when we finally arrived at First Baptist. Being late, it took forever to find a place to park. As it ended up, we had to walk two and a half blocks from our parking spot to the church. Ms. Kilpatrick, with one arm around the shoulder of each of her girls walked in front as Dad and I followed behind. We never had a chance to change our cloths and I was very surprised we were going to church dressed in jeans. In the past, we had always dressed up to the max for our Sunday morning church going activities.
As we walked along, there were two objects that I had difficulty taking my eyes off of. First, Ms. Kilpatrick’s brown leather belt looked much wider, thicker and heavier than I had ever noticed it being before. Upon further study, I noted the obvious crease in its’ center and I concluded that must be the folding point where it’s doubled when not being used for its primary intended purpose. “Mi-Gosh, that thing must hurt like holy heck,” I thought to myself as we walked along.
The other object that captured my imagination was the seat of Jennifer’s jeans and the small bottom that filled it. In my mind, I could picture Jennifer in that Bathroom being made to take her jeans down as her mom was pulling that fearsome belt from her own. I wondered if Jennifer’s poor bottom was marked from the strapping. Based upon the sounds I had witnessed, I could only conclude that she had gotten it really torn it up.
Being so late, once inside the church, we couldn’t find a pew with enough vacant spots for all five of us to sit together. To overcome the situation, we split into two groups. Ms. Kilpatrick, Karen and Jennifer sat together in the pew directly in front of Dad and I. Every time we stood to sing, my eyes drifted to the Jennifer’s small bottom and Ms. Kilpatrick’s wicked belt and my young mind filled with all kinds of thoughts.
The sermon that day was fitting. In a nutshell, the preacher was telling the parents that they had a duty to discipline and punish their children. He read from the bible and words such as “rod,” “smite” and “chasten” were used over and over. As he was speaking, I thought about the recent meeting of belt and bare bottom in Van Horn and wondered if that session would have met with his approval. He never came right out and said it, but he was defiantly in favor of parents spanking their kids. Being a straight-laced preacher man, I was wondering what his feelings would be on the taking down of a young girls jeans and the resulting exposure of her bare bottom. As the “beat the devil out of those bad kids” sermon came to a close, Ms. Kilpatrick turned her head back and with a satisfied expression, winked at my Dad.
-- The End --