Chapter Two - Defining Moments

Now that her father was gone, Joy assumed many adult responsibilities as the oldest child in her family. She was used to watching out for her mother and her siblings, but her caretaking abilities were challenged by her new stepfather’s erratic behavior.

Joy resisted, and respectfully disputed him to his dismay, refusing to let him step all over her family. So when she resisted this new man in the family, he directed his rage toward her.

She lived with the knowledge that at any moment he could snap, and her life would be over. As time went on, she believed he would to kill her. Joy pleaded with her mother to leave this man.

Torn between her intense love and loyalty to her daughter and the need to provide for her dependent family, Joy’s mother struggled to protect Joy and to reason with her daughter. While so many others were going without, they had a home to live in, food on the table, and clothes on their backs. With his reputable job at the Conoco Oil Company, the family was financially secure during the Depression. So Joy endured his unpredictable behavior and his predictable beatings, wondering what would happen next.

Then one day without warning, the big hit came. During a dispute her stepfather crossed the invisible line of physical civility, unbridling his hatred toward Joy like never before. The bottom of his huge hand swung so hard against her small 13-year-old head that he knocked Joy down, rupturing her eardrum. It cost Joy her hearing in her right ear. When the doctor questioned her about what happened, she hid the truth. After all, her stepfather was an upstanding church man in the community; she had to protect her family.

This repugnant man’s insane jealousy of Joy was always simmering at the top, ready to boil over. Unconsciously, he knew he couldn’t compete with Ollie’s love for Joy. He showed

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