There I was a typical 16-year-old girl enjoying the summer before my Junior year of high school. My friends and I were heading home on the Chicago Transit Authority bus after shopping at the mall.
We were sitting in the rear of the bus laughing and being silly when the bus stopped to pick up a passenger. That’s when, what I called, the “old” Michael Jackson look alike, boarded. He was tall, slender, with a medium brown complected, and had the perfect 70's Afro. Words like “Ooh Wee" and "What’s your name”, moved from my head and escaped out of my mouth.
My friends and I laughed hysterically, but I quickly felt a little embarrassed for the outburst. What was I doing?
He joined us and started talking to me. It was during that conversation, I learned that he was on his way home from Drum and Bugle Corps practice. We discussed where we attended school and what side of the city we lived on. He was 17 and going into his senior year of high school and lived in a north side housing project. I lived on the south side of the city.
We talked for about 15 minutes before it was time for my friends and I to get off the bus. He asked for my number, but no one had a pen or paper, so he said, “Just give it to me, I’ll remember it”. I recited my number to him then my friends and I exited the bus laughing, I figured that was the end of that.
Later that evening, to my surprise, I received a call from him! I was awestruck! He remembered my number! Now, in retrospect and some years of gained wisdom, my guess is that he probably wrote it down right after we exited the bus. During that phone conversation, I found out he was in ROTC and planned to enlist in the Army after graduation.
Fast forward, we began dating and started spending a lot of time together. During the times he couldn’t make it over to my house we would talk on the phone for hours. We quickly discovered that we both smoked marijuana, engaging in this "extracurricular activity" became a part of our time together.
His mom purchased him a used car as a gift for his 17th birthday, so he would to come over as often as he liked. We were soon spending almost every free moment together. He would even pick me up from school several days a week, “to make sure I made it home ok”. I rarely saw my friends any more. He preferred it to be just the two of us. We discussed getting married after I finished high school. We were so in love!
During the latter part of his senior year, I attended his Military Ball, Prom, and Graduation. It was established that I wouldn’t attend my high school prom because he wouldn’t be home to take me.
As planned, in June 1978, after his graduation, he enlisted in the Army. Things were better than ever between us and we continued to spend most of our free time together. That Fall he would be leaving for basic training in Fort Jackson, SC and I would be starting my senior year of high school, so our time together was vitally important.
He came home on leave that Christmas and it came with a wonderful surprise! He had purchased an engagement ring and asked me to marry him! I was getting married! After that nothing else mattered! I was going to marry a wonderful man, join him in Germany after I graduated, and we were going to live happily ever after! All I could think about was planning my wedding. We set the date for June of “79”, a week before my graduation because that was the time he could take his next leave.
A June bride!
To be continued...
Here are some helpful resources if you or someone you know is in a domestically violent relationship-
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Advocates are also available to chat 24/7.
National Center for Victims of Crime