Arleen (aka “Arlene”) Phyllis Hogan-Hickey

The Mother of My Unborn Children

I guess I should explain that subtitle. When I’ve told the story to people about the “mother of my unborn children” it confuses them, but that is how I think of Phyllis. She was to be my wife and have my children. My children never got to come into this world because she left me. I’ve had some very low moments in this lifetime because those dreams were crushed. People will say to me, “Why didn’t you just move on and find another girl?” That is what people of the world will ask, but he who has the Words of G_d written on his heart follows another set of rules.

I may not have been very observant and knowledgeable of the written Word, but so father Abraham kept the Torah perfectly our sages say even before the Torah was given much later to Moses to give to the people. His Word is written on the tables of our heart, but because our hearts are deceitful our Abba had to give them to us on tables of stone for us to look upon, similar to the tzitzit He commanded us to wear as visual reminders of His Commandments.

My Scottish ancestry and Jewish ancestry both are in agreement that once you promise yourself to someone it carries the same weight as marriage and you may respect a woman as your wife with full sexual privilege’s. Worldly ways crept in during the last few hundred years and many people don’t see things that way anymore, but G_d is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

I’ll probably repeat this part later in my recounting, but before my family ever moved away from Kentucky to Florida in 1979 Phyllis and I agreed to wait for each other till we were old enough to get married. Even though just a couple generations before us folks got married at 15 I was under the impression that we had to wait a few more years, but we were in love and we were sure we were meant for each other. Instead of an engagement ring I gave her a gold engagement bracelet with a promised that I’d return when I was 18 and we could be legally married. I moved back when I was 18 for 6 months and ended up returning to Florida because things didn’t turn out the way I hoped.

I can hear the haters right now saying mean things like I should have forgotten about her long ago or that I’m obsessed. Naw, that ain’t it. I simply fell in love with the girl that G_d meant for me and for some reason I’ve yet to figure out He didn’t allow me to keep her in this life. Real love never fades.

Phyllis reached out to me back in 2008. Herself and a co-worker told me how miserable she’d been in her marriage to a very abusive and controlling man. I told her that I felt bad for her situation, and I reminded her that all things happen for a reason, but that I wasn’t trying to say anything negative like that’s what you get for not marrying me. I just tried to be supportive and asked her if she felt she needed to get away from him. She said she was too scared to leave him as he micro manages every moment of her life, never allowing her to have a car, and not even allowing her to walk across the parking lot with co-workers to have lunch at the Diary Queen. And it gets worse. The only place she could have her hair cut was at her brother’s salon on the one day a week the salon was closed and he would demand that the lights not be turned in the salon as to not attract men looking at Phyllis through the window. I can only imagine the hell she has suffered with Patrick Hickey. Phyllis told me that she was afraid if she ever tried to leave him that he would kill her. That’s about the time she stopped communicating with me. If anything ever happens to Phyllis everyone will know who did it because all her family has been witness to his craziness. I hate to see the sweet girl I loved trapped in a hell like that with an abuser, but I’m unable to free her. I can only pray that Patrick softens in his old age and stops abusing Phyllis. I just hope she has been able to hold onto herself and he has not completely psychologically destroyed her. If one day he dies and she is free of him I’d hope to meet the sweet girl I knew long ago again.

As I mentioned, I began keeping a journal at age 12. By the time I began writing my life story in 1990 I had a pile of journals. They became a helpful source for remembering a lot of facts and dates. The writing of my life, or memoire took a creative turn several years to become a novel based on a true story. A publisher who had read some of my online story expressed interest and supported me in the creative novel approach where I incorporate my faith in re-incarnation. That’s all I will say about that for the moment.

In 1977 I began attending Alex Barrett Middle School. I was 14, and Phyllis was 14. The following school year Phyllis began attending another school, but just a week into that new school year one of my friends named Sammy Murphy came to me with a note from a girl he said called him. I called the phone number on the note and it was Phyllis to my pleasant surprise. We began talking on the phone daily and one day I told her I could ride my bike over to her house and bring my yearbook and we could go through our memories of our past school year together.

In my minds eye the memory of that September 1978 day we met again plays over and over like one of the best scenes from a favorite movie. I can still see it all in great detail with me sitting on the left side of the swing and her on the right. I already knew that first day of our reunion that she was the girl meant for me. That day lead to many other days that I’d ride my 10-speed bike over to her home. Her mom and sister Linda would always be there and sometimes her brother Tim would pop in and out. Zina and Joan the older sisters of Phyllis were already living on their own.

During the nice weather of summer Phyllis and I would sit out on the front porch of the house on what her mother would call “the sparkin’ bench”. Some days we’d go for walks down her block and over to the campus of the Sacred Heart school where there was an old cistern under a tree that was covered with a large concrete slab and we’d sit there on the slab and talk. We fell in love. I could spend hours not even talking, but just gazing into her eyes.

For Christmas 1978 I bought her a Krementz gold bracelet for a gift that symbolized an engagement ring that fit over her wrist instead of her finger. I was too afraid to buy a ring just yet, even it was a promise ring so instead I gave her a promise bracelet.

The following spring my mother did something nice for us for my 15th birthday. She took took Phyllis and I out for my birthday dinner at a fine hotel across the river in Indiana. Phyllis and I sat at a separate table from my family. It was like our first official chaperoned date. I remember that night so well, sitting there with her in the warm glow of candles the the table and how grown up and beautiful she looked in her dress. I felt grown up. I guess at age 15 we were. While times and customs change over the years I realized that in the older days many people married at age 15 and younger. My aunt Mary was married at age 13.

I could already see our future together. My plan was to finish high school and then we’d be married. We’d both go to college together and then 5 years into our career we’d begin our family. I was so happy and so was Phyllis. She fulfilled me with the love that made up for all the ugliness of my childhood growing up with an abusive alcoholic mother who never loved me. Everything seemed to be going along perfect and then my mother suddenly met a man and remarried and announced we would be moving to Florida. I was in shock.

Looking back now, I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do but to go along with my mother’s plans. Had I not been such an abused and beaten down boy that was afraid to even imagine rebelling I would have probably thought of getting Phyllis pregnant so my mother’s plans to move us to Florida would have been stopped and my relationship with the girl who had won my heart would have remained to this day.

When you are the child of an abusive alcoholic you become mentally trained to NEVER step out of line and cause your mother even a hint of trouble or the next time she gets drunk she is going to take out all her wrath upon you. This happened to me over and over as a child as long as I can remember. I have a memory of when I was 6 years old when she was blaming me for all her troubles. I remember we were in the kitchen of our home at 3107 Verne Court where I grew up. She angrily told me she could see my father in my eyes when she’d look at me. Apparently she must have hated my father because she divorced him the year earlier. I’ll never forget how rejected and abandoned I felt as I stood blocking the front door of our home so my Daddy wouldn’t leave. As he was coming to the door to leave for the last time I pleaded, “No Daddy, please don’t leave me!” He said, “Get out of my way boy!” as he shoved me away from the door and I never saw him again. It wouldn’t be till 7 years later when I was 13 that my drunken mother who was beating me over the head with a bottle would reveal to me that he was not my real father, but another man was and she proceeded to drunkenly try to contact him on the phone to reveal for the first time that she was pregnant when they divorced and she’d had a son by him. My eyes memoried the page number and the the family name and address in the phone book. She spoke to his mother telling her the truth, but never spoke to my dad David on the phone. The next day, of course, when she was sober I dared never bring up what she’d told me while abusing me the night before. When you are the child of an abusive alcoholic you know if you are to dare to bring up anything up to them when they are sober that they did while drunk you are going to have hell to pay the next time they get drunk so I forever kept my mouth shut and I never sought out my biological father till another 12 years. I was so happy when I did meet him and got to have a relationship with him for the next 15 years before his death because he was a loving, kind, and humorous man. I missed out so much on not getting to grow up with his love and guidance.

Well, um…alright…dry my eyes and lets get back to the story at hand. Phyllis and I knew we were helpless against my mother’s plans to go to Florida so we spent the next few months saying our slow goodbye till we left for Florida in the fall of 1979. I was very heartbroken and I know it sounds extreme, but I poured out my heart to Phyllis everyday in letters that were never less than 7 pages back and front. I lived to go to the mailbox everyday when I got off the school bus to see if there was a letter from Phyllis for me. Back on those day of 1979 phone calls cost a large amount of money that you are charged by the minute and an hour phone call would put another $20 dollars onto the bill so letters were the mainstay of our continued relationship.

Apparently, I’d committed a cardinal sin by describing the figure of a girl that lived in my neighborhood that waited for the school bus with a group of other kids from the neighborhood. I thought nothing of mentioning her, but I guess I was blind to understand it made Phyllis feel insecure. Before I knew it Phyllis had begun telling me in her letters about a Native American guy who would come into the ice cream parlor job she had and he’d talk to her and try to ask her out on a date. I thought nothing of it because I had complete faith in her love for me. Then one day she wrote to tell me he’d asked her if he could take her to a carnival nearby and then I began wondering why she was telling me this. To my horror it wasn’t much longer after that when I received a letter from her that said she wanted to break things off with me. I immediately called her on the phone, but she refused to talk to me. I called back begging her to talk to me numerous times, but she would hang up on me. I didn’t understand and couldn’t understand. The only person that had ever loved me had now abandoned me. That day I became emotionally devastated and tried to commit suicide. While I was in the hospital recuperating my mother called Phyllis’s mother to tell her what her daughter had done to her son. After returning home from the hospital Phyllis finally agreed to talk with me. I assured her I had no idea that mentioning some girl had upset her and that there was no other girl for me but her and I begged her not break things off with me. After several days of pleading phone calls she finally agreed to take me back and hope returned to my heart.

Christmas of 1980 we traveled back up to Kentucky and I got to see Phyllis. My mother wasn’t always abusive to me. She helped me purchase an engagement ring for Phyllis and I was going to give it to her, but something happened that shocked me to my core. She wasn’t sure she wanted to continue our relationship and I spent a whole day at her house talking with her and reassuring her of my love. Her mother needed to run out to the grocery for a bit and left us in the house alone–a first. Phyllis asked me to come up the stairs to her bedroom and I didn’t think nothing of it as I’d been there before when her mom was home. I was thinking maybe now would the time that I’d ask Phyllis if when her mom came home that I might ask her if it would be okay with her that we became engaged to be married. I was ready with the ring in my pocket, but what happened next made my jaw and heart hit the floor. Phyllis laid herself across her bed and said, “Make love to me”. My mind really goes blank now as to what I said next, but I can only think that it has to be something like saving that for our wedding night. I couldn’t help the feeling, but in that moment of her asking me to do that I felt as if she became the girl I didn’t want to marry.

I still haven’t figured out what was going on with Phyllis for her to act the way she did telling me about other guys coming around like she was trying to provoke me to jealously. I Phyllis I loved I trusted with a pure heart and I wasn’t thinking she was trying to make me jealous. I felt more like she was a victim of guys hitting on her. I never got to surprise her with the engagement ring and I still have it.

That next spring when I turned 18 and went to live with my grandmother I took the engagement ring with me in hopes that Phyllis and I would rekindle our love. We began talking on the phone and I was trying to ease into us mutually deciding on getting together for a face to face eventually. I guess I was moving too slow, but when you’ve had your heart broken by somebody you sure don’t want get your hopes up again too quick. One evening with no warning Phyllis and her sister Linda showed up at the farm. They didn’t know how to open the gate at first and my grandmother became very defensive and forbade me to go to the door to welcome them in. I was so well-trained to obey by my abusive mother there was no way I was gonna go against my grandmother’s wishes even though I saw no harm in going out and letting then in. I didn’t disobey my grandmother and they finally left. I thought I’d call her the next day and explain. I think the whole thing was just mentally overwhelming for me because while I remember that night I can’t remember what transpired afterwards. I think my grandmother felt Phyllis would take me away from her and she needed me to help her on the farm and she wasn’t about to lose me to a girl that had already broke my heart so bad that I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. I think my grandmother was just protecting me and didn’t want me even talking to her on the phone anymore. Things thereafter soured between me and my grandmother. I found out that Phyllis up and hastily married someone else the next month in May and I was just done. I stayed with my grandmother another 4 months and then returned to Florida where my life began to fall apart.

To be continued…..14 September 2020

16 March 2021 – I’d kinda forgotten about continuing this writing. Today I was listening so some old country music, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Rodgers, and it got me to thinking about Phyllis. I hope she is doing okay. I know she has had a difficult life with that man she married. I know it may not be right to think about the day she may be free of him, but I don’t wish anything like that. I just know our heavenly Father has a plan and I wonder if His plan includes that I’ll ever see Phyllis again. I often think of her being free again and we meet and we just simple pick up our happy days as if no time has ever passed. Love doesn’t allow you to remain upset about disappointments. You just continue to love and respect and make every moment a good one. I just noticed the date. Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t yet met my father when Phyllis and I knew each other. I search him out when I was 25 and found out that I’m part Irish, mostly Irish, I guess. My dad’s great grandmother immigrated from Tipperary, Ireland. On my mother’s side my great-great grandmother was Scottish, but they had all left Scotland after the battle of Culloden in 1746 for safety in Ireland because the British were genociding many of the Scottish. Well, Happy Saint Patick’s Day little red. I hope to hear from you again one day.