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  • As a young woman, I had taken on too much. I wanted to be a singer; I was ready to do what it takes. Hard work! Practice! I was responsible for a full time job in order to pay for rent, musicians, rehearsal studio time and recording studio costs. I was married to a musician who never let me see a dime of what he supposedly made. He would be gone all day, supposedly selling portrait studio time to families. He was a heavy drinker. I found a whiskey bottle hidden under the floorboard of his car. His friend had shared his secret with me and wanted me to know that my husband had a very big problem. I lost the ability to have fun. I was miserable in my marriage, my husband was often gone hanging out at a bar in Hollywood. Often, he would arrive in the early hours of the morning, stone drunk and mean. I was alone at home and when he was around we would have vicious physical fights. He did however, show up to every band rehearsal and he was in complete control of everything! What to call the band? It was just our names; no other member could be included. We did all of the writing and he did not want to share credit. In the promotional photos it was just me for some reason. It was not what I wanted we were a band! He dictated what to sing, when to sing, where to sing. The band was mad at me because he would not allow them to be in the photo shoot. Yet at home, I would hear you suck, you are nothing without me!

    He demanded that I give him my paycheck and I began to question why I was paying for everything, what did he make? Did he really work? I would try to leave and he would pull the phone out of the wall and lock me in a room to keep me from leaving. Other times as I ran, he grabbed my arms from behind pushing me forward on steep steps as I screamed for fear of falling three stories down. Once he attempted to throw me out of our apartment wearing no clothes. I fought back; there was no way that I was going out that door naked! I swung my fists at him to protect myself and I kicked him too! He said that I had to leave with what I had arrived in which was nothing according to him! I lost my self-respect; no one had ever pushed me to this limit. Fighting! I was a fighter! I began to hate myself. He told friends and family that I beat him, always leaving out why I lashed out. This man was 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds to my 5' 6" and 113 pounds. I began to believe him; when he said that I had anger issues. What’s wrong with me? I began to apologize for protecting myself. It was warped, he held me down and spit on me and I swung and I was the one with the problem? I had to go to the hospital for self-defense wounds after he tried to push me naked out the door. I kicked him wrong and sprained my foot; they did not believe that I had tripped. I was too embarrassed to tell them the truth, and my overbearing husband stood right beside me as I gave them my hard to believe story. Another time, I cracked the side of my foot bone against furniture when he threw me down on the floor. I let it heal on its own; I can still feel the bump.

    The last straw was coming home to an empty house; I was flat broke, hungry and opened the refrigerator door to find absolutely no food but a 6 pack of beer sat center stage.

    I called my friend in frustration. How do I get out of this mess? I was locked in! I felt that I had nowhere to go and absolutely no money. I was starting a new job the following morning at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. She invited me to come stay with her, her grandmother and grandaunt until I got on my feet.

    I have no memory of how I told him that I was leaving; it was the first time that I left his suffocating grip. I packed my belongings into my Volkswagen bug, parked at the Ambassador Hotel employee parking lot with all of my belongings in the car. I locked the door and went on to my new job in the sales and catering office. When I returned to my car from the long hard day, all of my clothing and my car stereo had been stolen. I could not help but believe that it was my husband who did it. Who else would want to be so spiteful and leave me with just one pair of shoes along with my tax return on the passenger seat? Welcome to your new life Audrey! You leave me with what you came with, NOTHING!

    I drove to my friend’s home with only the clothes on my back. It was a wonderful house on Edgemont in Hollywood, CA. It was an old 2story home with beautiful antique furniture everywhere. I had a room to myself, paid 50 dollars a week to grandma Dorothy. My friend lent me her clothes and Grandma let me borrow her beautiful shoes from her flapper days. Grandma made breakfast for us every morning before we went off to work. It was always 1 egg, bacon and a piece of toast. I never ate so well! Later, my friend showed me how to have fun and play. Instead of being on stage, singing in the band and everyone else dancing, I got to be on the dance floor. We did what most young ladies in there 20s would do; we went out on the weekends to nightclubs. I laughed, danced and learned how to be happy. We would drive to the beach and frolic in the ocean. Once I went with her to see her father in Bakersfield or she joined me on a visit to see my parent’s in Camarillo. Boarding with her family was short lived; she fell in love and moved to New York. I was lost without her strength and went back to my abusive relationship for a few more years.

    Photo taken March 10, 1979 - That's me on our wedding day in Los Angeles, California. A family member wanted a photo without the groom. How telling is that?
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