TITLE: Excert from 'Vantage Point'
By Samuel Connelly
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I have just about finished my book, and I need some help from my writing friends. I am posting a draft of the introduction and first chapter.
I need you to read it and tell me your thoughts.
Also since I am a little ways away from the final draft, I would like to know if you have questions, that I can make sure to include.
Home is where the heart is
There was always something about that statement that I believed, like an ancient proverb or parable, but it was a mystery to me. To find home I had to rediscover myself. I had to become vulnerable; break down the secure, brick-cocoon I’d built around heart. This should be easy, right...right.
At a very young age I found myself in search of that place called Home. No one could prepare me for the troubles that I would face, the heartache I would go through, the loneliness that would cling to me, and the sacrifices that making a journey of this magnitude would required of me. But I have always firmly believed that it is true of the saying, “The greater the battle, the greater the triumph.”
When I was two and a half my father, in a moment of fear and passion, abducted my brother, sister, and me. Although it was not called abduction, it was called child theft and was not crime in several states. It sounds funny to use the word abducted, but the hard truth is that nearly 90% of children that are abducted, are taken by close family members. I honestly do not remember a whole lot about that time that I was with my father, running from the law; just bits and pieces – stories of places and events come and go randomly. For the most part I was happiest when I was with my father.
It wasn’t until I was about six years old that I remember meeting my mother for the first time. In Texas, at the court house she grabbed me and wiped my face with a napkin. I was quickly pulled away from her but I do remember keeping a close eye on her during the entire court proceedings.
My mother won custody of my brother and me and we were soon in a rented car heading to Tracy, California. This was where I was supposed to be reunited with my family and live happily ever after. Right. Who really believes in happily ever after? The truth was, I did have a wonderful family to meet, yet my life was going to be far from happy. I soon found that this new life was not where my heart was, and neither would I find that magical place called Home. I was in for a really rude reality check.
So let’s revisit, for a moment…the day it happened…
This is what I saw:
I was in a house playing with my brother and sister, possibly more kids. I was playing with a superman toy. The Man of Steele was connected to a base, which was on a short slider. At the end of the slider was a brick wall which crumbled apart when I ran him through it.
A man, I think two men, came in the front door. A woman, picked me up in her arms: the babysitter. I remember wanting my toy. The woman handed me over to the man. And I lost superman forever…
Well not much to cry about there. That is all I remember about it. My next memory (which I’m sure I’ve got out of chronological order) was me, running through an apartment complex, naked, refusing to put my clothes on after a bath, and my sister running after me and my grandpa laughing and telling me to cover up before the birds thought I was offering them a hotdog. I covered my jewels thinking, they ain’t taking off with my weenie!
As you can see, I honestly do not remember a whole lot about the actual day, I was about three years old. Over the years I’ve had to find out what happen from my brother, sister, and father. Just as four different people may witness the same event from different viewpoints; I know what essentially took place, but with the limited knowledge of each person seeing and experiencing the day through different eyes, different ages, and different perspectives, all a little different from the rest, and all, remember, effected by the weathering of 25 years.
For this reason some of the actual events that took place, I am going to share from different views. At times these views will be from myself, my sister, my father, and well, my brother has written his point of view in his book, Throwing Stones. In my personal investigation into the clearest picture of the truth, also I have interviewed several keys witnesses of the events that took place, including the man who helped my father take us, the baby-sitter on the day we were taken from her house, family members that helped hide us, my father’s attorney, the Judge, my mother, and others who were there, on the scene, as everything happened, which is the reason this book is called “Vantage Point”.
In my endeavor to discover the truth, as the ‘baby’ (with broken and some suppressed memories), I have been on a long journey from Wichita Kansas, to places in South Texas, Arizona, Utah, and all over California, in an effort to take all the fragments of memory, like tiny pieces of reel to reel that have been cut up and scattered across the nation, and painstakingly put them together, to share with you, the final cut.
I will share documents and case files to keep us on tract with the facts, but I want to make it very clear, that although this is put together from the vantage points of several eye-witnesses, there’s going to be a lot of opinion from memories which have (as I stated earlier) been weathered by some 25 years. Some of the opinions may conflict, some people may completely disagree on how an event when down, but through the fusing of different points of view, and with the records (to be our standard and guide) I would like to present to you this crazy story, with me as literary director, the director’s final cut of Vantage Point: the second book (at this time) ever written from, but not limited to, the abducted child’s perspective.
I remember sitting in a court room for a very long time. The woman who had touched my cheek in the hall downstairs keeps looking over at me. She had no makeup on and her long blonde hair was pulled up in a bun on top of her head, a big bun. She wore a green turtle neck, or maybe it was blue.
After a lot of talk from the layers, my Dad and some other people from the court went into a side room. A police officer walked out of the room and straight towards us. He asked me and my brother and sister to follow him. When went into the room where my dad was. He was crying but trying as hard as he could not to. ‘Why is daddy crying.’ I asked my sister.
He grabbed me and my brother and hugged us so hard it hurt. “I love you boys. You’ll always be my kids.” He said that he loved us several times and then he just held us and cried like a baby. I never saw my dad cry so painfully. I started to cry. ‘Why are we crying? What happened? I just want to go home.’ I thought to myself. A few police officers were in the room and one of them stepped close and said that it was time to go.
My dad looked at me and my brother and said, “I will see you again, someday, and I will always love you boys.”
What? What does dad mean, some day?
The officers pulled us away and my dad had to be restrained as he screamed, tears flooding down his red cheeks, “Don’t take away my kids! Please don’t take my boys from me.” He looked at one of the guys standing near, who was not a police officer, “You can’t let that witch take my boys.”
I knew that something horrible was happening, and I had no possible way to stop it. I was loosing my dad. He was crying for us, fighting for us. Everything was going way too fast for me; until we were put in the woman’s car everything was a blur, because all I could think about was that I was being taken from my dad. The one who had taken care of me and my brother and sister, and kept us from harm, my Father, the only parent I knew, my home…was being ripped from me. ‘Why is this happening?’
Then I heard someone say that this woman was our mother. ‘My mother?’ I didn’t remember any mother. My brother and I was put into her car, and my sister was yelling at her, “I’ll kill you” she screamed. We pulled out and was on the road to California. My brother would not say a word to her, and on that long drive the reality settled upon me like a cement blanket: I will not see my dad again, and where ever we are going, my sister was not coming.
During the long drive, through the night, this lady, who kept talking to us, even though we did not return a word, kept telling me she was my mom, and I had a new dad and little brother in California. I sat in the front seat and she kept messing with my hair, touching my cheeks.
In that moment I was both frightened and secure. I knew that she was my mother, because everyone told us. She seemed very nice, not like a witch, and I had my brother. At the same time, I lost my sister, who was the only mother-figure I had known the last three years, and I would possibly never see my dad again.
I believe that the answers can be found in the months leading up to the day of the abduction, I’ll refer to, hear on out as Day Zero. Let me take you back to the 70’s, to the days of free love, bell bottoms, The Beatles, Elvis, and the ending of the Connelly family, follow me, to January, 1979…
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