A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 8

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It wasn't long before I was pus.h.i.+ng the baby out. With A it felt like I was in labor forever. This one seemed to be going by so fast. In a matter of hours I gave birth to my second daughter at 2:15 a.m. November 13, 1997. Phillip later named her S. Nancy and Phillip wanted me to pick a name out of the Bible for her middle name. Nancy suggests Ruth or G, and I like G better. Phillip is reading the Bible a lot more now. I'm not sure what he is looking for. It gives him a focus and I am thankful for that. Phillip says that he has torn up the Bible two times now. One time he threw the pages in his bucket, which he uses to go number two in outside. He said he was fed up with G.o.d at one point and didn't think he would ever pick up the Bible again. Well, something must have changed because he has a new Bible now called NIV. I see him reading and talking to Nancy about it every time I see them. He is mentioning Bible studies for me and Nancy. Phillip says that with G.o.d's help he is coming to understand the voices that he hears, and G.o.d has cured him of his s.e.xual problem. I will believe that when I see it.


The night before I am to testify in front of a grand jury I had this dream ...

I was in this interview room with Phillip and Nancy. Phillip was behind this big desk to my right and Nancy was sitting in a smaller desk straight in from of me. I was sitting in a swivel chair in the center of the room. Phillip was asking me all these question that I can't remember and I was smirking at him and telling him I wasn't going to answer any of his questions because I didn't have to. He then said it looked like I needed a hug and when he started to get up, I yelled for the officer who was supposed to be right outside the door. When the officer doesn't come, I immediately rise and say you can't come near me and I make my way to the door. I go down the hall to find the officer that was supposed to be guarding me in the room. He is with another officer and he is in his underwear saying he was sorry but he needed to get dressed. Then I woke up.

To me this is a dream about how it is hard for me to trust in law enforcement. They weren't there when I needed them, therefore, in the dream they are not there for me. Knowing this and thinking this are two different things for me. I know when I go into the grand jury room I will be well protected and cared for. One the other hand, the government failed me for eighteen years. And that will take time to heal from.

Raising the Girls in the Backyard

The new baby has just turned two weeks old. I am the mother of two healthy girls. Phillip and Nancy are letting me stay in the studio room with them. Phillip says we can be one big family now. He says he is going to work super hard on the printing business. He wants Nancy to quit her job at CAP to be able to stay home and help with the baby and the business. He says he will get us all the jobs we need.

My days are consumed with the babies and Printing for Less. Since A is three, I am trying to get her to stop nursing. I can't nurse both of them at the same time. Phillip still says I am doing the best thing in the world for the girls. He has told me all the benefits of breast-feeding. I know it's good to breast-feed, but a girl can only do it for so long. A will just have to stop.

The name S just does not suit the baby. We end up calling her G. She was born with a growth above her eye. It feels like a ball right at the end of her eyebrow. Phillip has felt it and thinks it is nothing but "a cyst." I wish I could have a doctor look at it. Phillip says to continue to watch it and if it starts growing, then he will figure out a way to take her to the doctor. He says maybe one of those free clinics. Nancy could take the baby and it would look like a non-English-speaking Mexican woman taking her baby in for a checkup. Probably with no questions asked. I just hope it doesn't get any bigger so she doesn't have to go to the hospital. I would want to go, too, and I don't think Phillip would allow that.

Phillip has bought a digital camera for the business. He will be gone all day today and I want to use it to take some photos of the baby and A. Nancy gave the baby a really cute dress. It is pink with little flowers on it. I get her dressed and think of the time I was given a disposable camera for pictures of A. Phillip said as long as I took pictures of just the baby he would allow me to take them. Nancy had gotten a really pretty pink dress for the baby at her work. It was crocheted. I got pictures of her walking, taking a bath, and in her favorite rocking chair. When Phillip got them developed for me, I made a sc.r.a.pbook with them. She was about six months before I was able to get any pictures of her except for one that Nancy took when she was one month old. But I have none from when she was first born. I like having a digital camera because now I can take all the pictures I want and print them right here. G looks so cute as I pose her for a few perfect shots.

Phillip is going out every day to find us jobs. I think Nancy will be able to quit her job soon and spend the whole day with me and the girls. He has set up a CB radio, which we use to communicate with him while he is on the road. On most days he leaves at seven or eight in the morning and doesn't come home until dinnertime around five or six at night. To contact him on the road, he has taught us to say, "Breaker, Breaker, Sky Walker, do you copy?" Sky Walker is his handle. He says we can pick a handle to be called, too, so when he calls we will know it is him and not a stranger on the same frequency. Nancy's handle is Baby Blue. She says Phillip calls her that and when they used to go up to the mountain to get high they would take a CB radio with them and talk to all the truckers. I pick the name Data, which is my favorite character on Star Trek: TNG, and A wants to be Tinky Winky from Teletubbies. Her favorite show. Phillip says the more time he spends out in the field, the more jobs he can get. The CB radio lets him be out and not worry about us at home.

I can't wait until Nancy can stay home with us all day. I really need some help with them. Phillip is gone most of the day and doesn't help with them when he is home. Yes, I have all I need physically for them, but I wish he would spend some more time at home. I am getting overwhelmed.

A is reminding me more and more of my mom. Sometimes when I look at her all I see is my mom. I must put those thoughts behind me; it just makes me sad to look at her and I don't want to feel that way. I need to change these feelings into something positive instead of negative. Phillip has been teaching me how to use affirmations to change my thinking process. I know in time it will get easier and I won't feel like this every day.


This seems like a good place to give a little update on how my girls are faring now. It is the first day of real school for them. Wow, I can't believe I am writing those words. This is something I have dreamed about for them for so long. I have done my best to educate them in the backyard, but I could only go so far. My education level only went to the fifth grade.

Phillip always believed school was a terrible environment. He thought it was so much better to homeschool the kids than for them to be in public school. He used to say he had created the perfect environment for raising children. We never had a choice in the matter. Phillip believed public school would expose the girls to bad influences, like bad language, drugs, bullies, and all the things he believed the kids should be sheltered from. While I agree with him that some schools are not the best environment for growing children, I do believe in education. I loved school. I didn't always love the kids that I went to school with-at times they were mean or I was just too shy to stick up for myself-but overall my experience in school was positive. I don't think Phillip enjoyed his school years and that, combined with drug use in high school, gave him a warped sense of what life is like. I believe that in many ways he wanted to create his own little world and for a while he succeeded at the expense of others. I was just a character in his world, a world he created for his own benefit.

My own education stopped at the fifth-grade level and although I have kept myself reading and learning all these years, I still am not a teacher. Thank goodness for the internet! (I know what people are thinking, and the answer is yes-yes, I did think about using the internet to find my mom, but Phillip told me and convinced me that he was monitoring everything I did on the internet and he would find out each and every thing I did on it. He said the computer kept a record of everything and he could see it anytime he wanted.) If not for the internet, I don't think I would have been able to educate the girls at the level I did. When I proposed the idea of enacting an actual school schedule for them, it was at first met with some hesitation. Phillip believed that within a few more years he would be able to hire someone to educate them. The girls also had their own issues with doing school every day; these are very strong-willed girls. Nothing like their mom, or their "sister," as I was known at the time. They didn't understand why all of a sudden they had to keep a schedule. They were used to doing pretty much anything they wanted during the day, as long as it was in the backyard. No playmates for them. No sleepovers. No playdates at the skating rink. Their day was pretty much just video games and certain TV channels and programs approved by Phillip. Anyway, I ended up winning the school battle and before they knew it, I had them going to school from ten a.m. to two p.m. I would print out their worksheets the night before and put them in special folders I made for each of them. They had four subjects-math, spelling/reading, social studies, and science. I loved websites like enchantedlearning.com and www.superteacherworksheets.com, which are great for all subjects. We had a lot of printers. Phillip loved Canon printers and the separate ink cartridges the brand made. It made the printing business a lot cheaper to run because he filled his own cartridges and bought the ink in bulk. So I had everything I needed to print the worksheets for the girls. We always had leftover paper around, so that wasn't a problem either. I would stay up late and print their worksheets at night before I went to bed. In the morning, I would get up at about nine to start my day. I would wake the girls up and tell them to get up and get dressed for the day, then go inside the studio building (now called the office) and make some Hills Bros. Cappuccino, double mocha flavor, while I watched the Today show.

The girls would come in and want to go up to the house to get some breakfast. Phillip told them they must always call first. The girls and I grew up knowing he was on parole for the rape of a woman in his past. It wasn't something we questioned him on. Phillip was afraid his parole agent would show up unexpectedly and he didn't want the agent to see where the girls came from. He was sleeping in the house lately with Nancy and his mom. He didn't want anybody to see the back property. I always thought it was so strange that not one of Phillip's parole agents knew that the property extended further back. I just figured they didn't care and thought Phillip was a totally rehabilitated offender. I wanted something to change. I wanted his parole agents to ask questions. If Phillip wouldn't be able to answer, maybe something would change. I also feared whatever change would come. I didn't have anywhere to go. I had the girls to take care of. But I wanted them to have a better life. I just couldn't do it for myself. I needed someone to free me, but no one did.

I, however, have mixed feelings about high school. On the one hand, for eighteen years I had been taught that schools are bad and kids learn bad things there and peer pressure can ruin a child's life forever; but when I consider who I heard all this stuff from, a kidnapper, rapist, pedophile, narcissistic, pervert, I can only come to one conclusion. Maybe school isn't so bad after all! I don't know what my high school experience would have been like. Part of me would like to go back in time and take that first step out of the car as a new freshman, and part of me is so glad I didn't have to. I look at my daughter and see what it could have been like for me had I not been kidnapped and taken away from my life at the age of eleven.

Both of my girls are going to school full-time now. When they first made this decision, I didn't want them to see how the idea scared me to death. How all I could think about was how much school would change them and how lonely I would be without them and how the thought of anything happening to them would just kill me. But I knew saying any of these things aloud wouldn't help. So I supported them. Taking A to shadow at different high schools. Helping G decide what school and grade would be best for her. Taking them back-to-school shopping. And then before I knew it, A's first day arrived. It was a Tuesday. I made her a veggie rollup. I asked how she was feeling, and she said she was nervous and excited. A week before, we attended orientation. What an experience that was. I felt so out of place, like I didn't belong. A nudged me and said, "Hey, you're making me nervous." So after that I really tried to seem calm and in the moment. But all I could think about was if this is what it would have been like for me. That day ended up being really good for her; she was nervous about the other kids, but after seeing that they were just as scared as she was, it helped her to not feel so out of place. Unlike me. I felt very out of place. I think part of it was being afraid people were thinking, How can she be a mom? I'm short and have been told I look very young for my age, and then there's the fact that I gave birth to her when I was fourteen. Of course, people must be curious. n.o.body said anything to me, though. And I started to relax and just enjoy being on campus. We listened to the princ.i.p.al. We watched as he introduced his a.s.sistant and turned just in time to see her pulling a finger out of her nose! That helped to relieve some of the tension that I felt just from being there. Watching A getting her student ID, gym locker, and watching her interact with the other kids was an eye-opening experience. I realized she's going to be okay. And in realizing that, I have gained peace of mind.

Walking the high school grounds brought up feelings of grief for what I had lost. I even felt some jealousy and envy deep down inside. I should have had the opportunity to have these experiences. But they were forcibly taken away from me. Now I have the opportunity to take back a piece of my life that was taken. I always dreamed about going back to school. Sometimes I even had dreams that Phillip would let me go to school and I would actually dream about my school days. Sometimes they would be so real my mind sees them as actual events.

Early in my captivity I felt so alone. I didn't know where I was, so I didn't believe anyone could find me. I was afraid to try to get away, thinking that even if I could, what if something even worse happened to me? I was so scared. I wonder what would have happened if I was rescued in the very beginning.

I know I'm being redundant and a little off topic here, but Phillip gave me this awful image of the world. To me a large part of the world was made up of pedophiles and rapists. I have come to realize this is not true. There are some really fantastic, wonderful, and helpful people out here who have been amazing and comforting and try every day to do the right thing. I was conditioned to think the outside world was a scary place, and the only place I was safe and my girls were safe was to stay with their dad. He always took care of everything. He always had an answer for everything. If I ever questioned him, yes, he would listen, but then he would tell me why I was wrong and why only his way would work. One of the reasons I stayed was I wanted my kids to be safe. The outside world was scary for me. I was so afraid that if I left or tried to leave and take them both with me, I wouldn't be able to protect them. I knew they were so safe in the backyard; I didn't have to worry about anyone taking them like I was taken.

Being in the outside world at times still scares me, and sometimes I want to hold my kids close and never let go. But I know that I am 1% of the population. Stranger abduction is very rare. I still have to remind myself of this fact every time I drop them off and leave. I hope they grow up with a greater sense of self than I had. I was raised to always be polite to my elders. In most cases this is right, but there are moments in which all of us need to have a backbone and feel that we have the right to say no to adults if we believe they are doing the wrong thing. You must find your voice and not be afraid to speak up. I gave my power to my abductor. I was the one to comfort him when he was the one in the wrong. Where was my comfort? Where was my freedom? Why did I feel the need to comfort my tormentor? Violating my body was not enough? He had to violate my mind as well? He had the ability to turn every situation to suit his needs. What happened to the "bullheaded" part of me? I knew I had to do what he told me and not complain. My fear was doing something wrong and Phillip getting mad and who knows what would have happened then. Instinctively, I knew I had to cooperate with him or else.

I hated what he was doing to me, but I felt helpless to do anything about it. When he would cry afterward and "thank" me for helping him with his s.e.xual problem, I wanted to yell and scream to please let me go. I didn't want to help him with anything. I have come to realize that Phillip Garrido is and was a very selfish man. He took me away from my family. From a mother that I loved with all my soul and I still needed desperately. He did disgusting things to me. He told me all along that I was helping him. He used to cry and say he was sorry, after he was done with me. And I would forgive him and say it was okay, that I was okay. I was not okay! That was the confusing part-he could be an animal doing disgusting things to me one minute and then the next crying and asking for forgiveness. It confused the h.e.l.l out of me. Now I know it was all a part of his manipulation. A game he has been playing all his life. When he took Katie Callaway, kidnapped and raped her, he used the same excuses he did on me. He had a s.e.x problem he needed help with. He used the same plat.i.tudes, such as don't struggle and it will be easier for you. Just let me act out my fantasies and everything will go good for you. Basically the same as what I was hearing.

Even though I have forgiven him, it does not negate the facts. I have learned so many new facts about him, I'm not sure if I have the right to forgive him. I will probably struggle with this question for the rest of my life. Yes, in his mind he wanted us to be a family, but when I think back I can see we were just pretending. Pretending everything was okay. Pretending the girls didn't need to go to school. Pretending that is was normal for me not to be driving. Normal for us to not have friends. Normal that Phillip was hearing voices. He will always be their father. Nothing can change that. There are so many opportunities out there for all of us now. I can't wait to see what the girls do with their lives now there is no one to tell us we can't climb a mountain in Istanbul or fly a plane over the Swiss Alps or even just take a walk by ourselves down a quiet street. All this is open to us now, where once it was not.

It still scares me, the fact that I can't protect my daughters from everything. What mother wouldn't want to protect their child from the dangers of the world? But I have to choose to believe they will both be okay and realize that sometimes when we shelter our children too much, we are really protecting ourselves.

My mom survived the loss of me. I think it was a good thing she had my sister to keep her busy. But she never gave up hope of finding me one day. I know this now. For a long time I chose not to think about certain things like my mom because it was just too painful. Sometimes I would think about "what ifs" or remember certain times we were together, but mostly I just tried not to think at all. I used to only allow myself to think about her on her birthday. I would give myself permission to cry and think about her only then. Sometimes my mind would not cooperate and wander with thoughts of her. Did she stay in Tahoe? Is she thinking of me? One time I got this strange feeling that she was gone from the world. I remember I felt devastated. I had to keep convincing myself that it wasn't true and to stop scaring myself like that. Thank G.o.d it wasn't true.

Nancy Becomes "Mom"

Nancy has quit her job at CAP and is staying home now. Phillip says that the printing business is generating enough money to see us through until he becomes famous. He always talks about how one day he will be famous because of the songs he has written. He says he has songs for everyone. He has even written one for his mom. Nancy is always telling me that I need to pump him up, meaning pump his ego so he will continue to move forward and not go back to his old ways. He is taking new medication that his psychiatrist has prescribed him. I have learned that one of his therapists diagnosed him with ADD (attention deficit disorder). He said this therapist changed his life. He finally understands why he felt the need to "self-medicate" all these years. Since they treat ADD with methamphetamines, he believes that's what he subconsciously was trying to do all these years. Now he has been a.s.signed a new psychiatrist who has prescribed Dexedrine for his ADD and Zoloft for his manic depression, which his other therapist also diagnosed him with.


A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 8

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A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 8 summary

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