I was raised in a tiny little town in Eastern Oregon for the first fourteen years of my life.
Nyssa is on the boarder of Oregon and Idaho in the middle of onion and potato country. I was
raised almost entirely by Grandma. My parents divorced when I was three years old. My Dad,
myself and two older sisters lived with my Dad’s parents. We lived in their garage that was
converted into two bedrooms. We lived with them because my Grandpa was a veteran, who had
very poor health. My Grandma couldn’t take care of him herself. My Dad had to work full time,
which is why my Grandma raised us.
I had a very simple childhood. We grew up very poor; it was a struggle for my Dad to
support three children, himself and his parents but we seemed to manage. We may not have had
name brand clothes like the other kids in school, but we had all that we needed. We had a roof
over our heads, food in our stomachs and clothes on our back. Whenever he could my Dad would
manage to take us girls out to a movie or to buy a new toy just to let us know he was trying, and
doing the best that he could. That was all any kid could ask for. We were loved and that’s what
mattered the most.
Our Mom was still very active in our lives growing up. For a few years after the divorce
my mom lived in the same area as we did. She eventually moved away to Eugene, Oregon. She
moved there be closer to her sister and to better her life so she could be a better Mom to me and
my sisters. When she lived close to us we spent every weekend with her, we also spent every
summer with her. That was until she moved away, then we only got to be with her for the
summers and every other holiday. Man did we love our summers with our Mom, they were the
When I was nine years old my Grandpa passed away. I was really hard on my family,
especially my Grandma. I didn’t realize this until many years down the road that I never got to
ask my Grandpa questions about his life. I wished that I had that chance. My Grandma lasted
longer than anyone thought she would after my Grandpa passed. She managed to hold on for five
but ended up giving up on that fight. It was just her time to go.
After my Grandma was gone, my Dad saw no reason in staying in Nyssa any longer.
Without me knowing, my Dad decided to move us across the state to Yoncalla be closer to his
family that I hardly knew. I was very unhappy with decision. I didn’t want to leave all my
lifelong friends. I acted out and rebelled; I didn’t do my school work and failed all my classes. I
met a boy in school and we started dating. In a very short time we dropped out of school
A few years into our relationship my boyfriends Grandma, who lived in California,
needed help on her farm. We decided that we’d move down there to help her out. She said that if
I was going to live with her and help her that I also needed to help myself and go back to school.
I ended up getting my G.E.D which I scored within the 98th
percentile in the whole US. I was
going to trying to get my diploma but ended up getting pregnant. I was so sick in my pregnancy
that I could finish school again. I had a son on November 22, 2004.
After our son was born, we moved back to Yoncalla. My boyfriend had a fishing job at
the time; that he lost shortly after our move. Therefore I had to get a job to support my family. I
started working part-time at a deli and part-time for my mom boyfriends landscaping company in
Portland, Oregon. I worked seven days a week. My boyfriend took care of our son the four nights
I worked at the deli. When I drove to Portland for the other three days to work I took our son
with me. I became exhausted from this very quickly. I ended up leaving the father of my son
when he was about a year and a half. I couldn’t handle doing all the work by myself anymore.
I moved in with my mom and her boyfriend to try and get back on my feet. I worked full
time with my mom for the landscaping company. During that time, my cousin, who had a
daughter that was the same age as my son; ended up abandoning her with my mom and I to raise
together. Her boyfriend, also our boss, couldn’t handle the fact that my mom now had a three
year old. He decided it was too much to handle, he fired us and kicked us out of his house. He
did however help us move into a new house together. We both found jobs and worked very hard
to raise our kids together.
I worked a few different jobs during this time. I ended up working at a Motel 6 just
outside of Portland. A gentleman, who was working out of town from West Virginia, started
staying at my motel. Every evening that he’d stay there, he would come into the front office and
talk to me. This went on for months. Eventually the man asked me out, and of course I said yes. I
knew I loved him right away. We started dating and about eight months into our relationship he
found out that he’d be coming back home for work. We had a discussion about what we both
wanted to do, neither of us wanted to end our relationship. We decided that my son and I would
move to West Virginia with him. We figured it would be a great place for me to start school. I
had always wanted to be a nurse but never had the chance to do anything about it. He gave me
that chance. So here I am trying to be a good mom and provide a life for my son that I didn’t
have. I hope to be a nurse within the next years, and be married to the love of my life in the next