I am happy (and reluctant!) to share my life with you. I hope that by sharing my experiences (good and bad) and expressing my great love for life, you will find a glimmer of light and a hope that will push your life in the direction you want.
I entered the world at 10:06 pm EST on Halloween night.
I was born into an ethnic family.
My father was 100% Italian.
My mom was French Canadian.
I was also told that I had some Native American ancestry (unproven).
On my 17th birthday, I should have been enjoying another Halloween bash, instead I had a two-month-old son. A healthy 17-year old would have been hanging out with friends, going on dates, enjoying their drivers’ license, and looking forward to a great future filled with possibilities.
My teenage years had been cut short and I never got to experience the life that could have been. After becoming a mother at such a young age, my passion is helping young girls maintain their innocence and freedom. I want to help them understand the long-term consequences that come from making bad choices.
MY FIRST YEAR
My Mom told me I was an excellent baby and a great sleeper, if I was at home in my own bed. (To this day, home is my favorite place to be. It is my sanctuary.) By the end of my first year I showed signs of a very strong personality.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MY YOUNGER YEARS
KINDERGARTEN: I attended a great elementary school. My teacher’s name was Teri, and I excelled in her class because she was an expert with children. She had a background in child psychology but more importantly was her love for children.
I was left-handed, and back then left-handedness was treated as a disability. In school, the teachers were required to force us to learn to write with our right hands. I remember clearly being frustrated trying to write. My teacher saw my struggles, she told my mom that she didn’t believe in forcing children to write right handed. Because of her support I gained confidence as a young child.
FIRST-FOURTH GRADE: I cherished these four years because I attended a catholic grammar school. I enjoyed attending church daily. I felt secure with the strict guidelines from the nuns and priests. During those four years I learned a fundamental principle (discipline).
FIFTH GRADE: I was an above-average student. I loved to learn, and I did well in all my subjects. I remember overhearing my mom talk about my school test results, saying that I had the highest IQ’s in my family. I felt so proud and so smart. I was even selected to go on an outdoor summer science trip with a few other high-achieving students, where experts taught us everything from how bees germinate to how the weather affects our everyday lives. I took so much pride in being a strong student. I loved outdoor learning, I was a school nerd.
SIXTH GRADE: I was so excited to start 6th grade and learn new things. Looking back this was the year I developed a lot of insecurities. During that summer before school started , a lot of physical changes happened quickly. I remember arguing with my mother about wearing a full-fledged women’s bra. People started to make comments about my body. Sixth grade was very easy academically. I struggled with social interaction. I also had issues with my body image. I was developing too fast.
SEVENTH GRADE: I wasn’t looking forward to 7th grade. My best girlfriend (Erin M) lived across the street. Her and I started to drift apart. She started to spend time with another girl. I was extremely sad because they never included me. I told my Mom how much that upset me. She ignored how much it was affecting me. Remembering back there were many negative events that happened to me in 7th grade.
My 7th grade math teacher was a very well-dressed woman, tall and thin with very dark wavy hair—not particularly pretty, but well put together.
When I received my first test back, it had a big fat red F at the top, with “FAILED” printed underneath.
I went home to show it to my Mom, so she could get me some help. Her first suggestion was to go and talk to my teacher myself. The next morning I approached her about my grade. I asked her if I could get some extra help getting my grade up. I remember her words to this day, as if she was standing before me and all my classmates “Well for starters, you have to do more in this class than just be a pretty face.”
I remember my self-image sinking. I didn’t have the confidence to respond to her. I know today that she was extremely immature. She was not only a bad teacher but she had no business working with kids. Mrs.Kramer was her name…
Towards the end of the year, I remember boys really started to notice me. I started to notice them too.
I was excited to start 8th grade. I really believed I was mature and grown up. I was making new friends, and starting to attend a few social events.
Academics: My grades in school were averaging a C+/B. I wasn’t doing well but I was making it through.
Family Roles: My mom was my caretaker and my dad was the provider of our home. My dad was a hard worker and worked three jobs.
My Comfortable Life: My Dad’s hard work paid off in many areas, there was never a shortage of money in my home. I had beautiful clothes, cash in my pocket and a beautiful bedroom. I had everything I needed.
My Relationship With My Dad: My dad was great at cooking breakfast before school. He also made the greatest lunches. When it came to personal issues (school, boys, or setting goals) dad was not involved.
My Relationship With My Mom: My mom kept a spotless home and she cooked dinner every night. She spent many hours teaching me my faith. Her nurturing style was more like a nurse. She labeled me as needy. My mom would say “You should be a only child” That was very hurtful.
My Sibling Relationships: My older brother and I shared a great love for each other. My older sister was always jealous of me from the day that I was born. That has never changed. My younger brother was a sweetheart and an intellect.
My Siblings in Trouble: My older brother and sister were always getting into trouble. My older brother almost died from alcohol poisoning. My older sister was irresponsible and unaccountable.
Family Dysfunction Affected Me: At this young and impressionable age my family’s daily trauma negatively affected me. I absorbed these negative energies. This was a major turning point in my life.
Boy & Girl Relationships: I remember a boy named Jim C at my school, he lived in my neighborhood. Jim liked me since 6th grade. He used to ride his bike to my home. My father told him many times “to get lost” so he came around when my dad was not home. He was a very quiet and shy but I found him to be really cute.
I Was Sexually Assaulted: One day I was taking the bus home from school. Jim C and his three friends were also on the bus. I was sitting with my girlfriend (Erin M) on the bus. Jim B (Jim C’s friend) asked us to miss our stop and get off at their bus stop so we could all watch a movie.
We all agreed and went to Jim B’s house after school to watch the movie. When we got to the house and we went downstairs to his basement. It felt uncomfortable because I realized there were no parents home. They turned on the movie and the two boys sat on the same couch as me.
Within a couple of minutes the boys started to touch me inappropriately, my girlfriend got nervous and ran out of the house. They sexually assaulted me . I finally got away and ran home. After this incident my friendship with Erin M ended.
Unlike 8th grade, I was not excited to go to high-school.
Physical Features: I started 9th grade weighing about 90 lbs. I was 5’4” and had a hard time keeping weight on. I remember everyone asking me how I stayed that skinny and a group of boys in my coed gym class called me Twiggy.
Twiggy was a very skinny professional model in the 1970’s.
In 9th grade, there was too much attention drawn towards about my physical body. That me very insecure. To make matters worse I had long shiny black hair. People would ask me if I was Chinese.
Academics: I felt completely lost in my academics. My grades were C’s/D’s, I was really struggling. I started skipping gym class because I felt physically insecure. My Mom and dad never exposed us to any physical activity outside of riding our bikes, so I had very little confidence in my physical abilities.
Socially: I had no real girlfriends because I was isolated and overprotected by my father. I could never do normal activities like sleepovers or go to the mall with my girlfriends.I couldn’t even participate in any after school or social activities. I spent most of my time with my family and extended family. I told my Mom constantly how unhappy I was but nothing ever changed.
Family Life: My mom was 100% dependent on my father, she didn’t have a driver’s license. My mother didn’t have any real friends other than the next-door neighbor She never did anything social, except for occasionally attend the neighborhood party on New Year’s. My parents didn’t even go out together very often. Most of their time was spend exclusively interacting with my father’s family.
Boy & Girl Relationships: I had many boys very interested in me. One particular senior class boy ( Mike O) consistently stalked me. He would follow me from class to class. He was dating a beautiful senior girl at the same time. I was a freshmen and had no idea what was going on. I loved the attention of a senior guy but never really liked him. We started to hang out together and he met my parents. “Now we were officially dating”
One day we went to his house after school no one was home. We ended up having sex. I was really disappointed and didn’t feel good about myself. I made sure I was never alone with him again. It was not a good memory or experience. This is when I started to feel a lot of guilt. I was also depressed.
Next day he showed up in my locker with a small box of chocolates with a note attached. It said that he was in love with me. I handed him the box back and said, “I don’t want this. You already have a girlfriend.” He did not hesitate for a second, telling me that he broke it off with her. I had a lot of confused feelings about accepting the box of chocolates. I wasn’t sure if I was his girlfriend or if he was still dating the other girl.
I Get Bullied From Senior Girls: His girlfriend found out that Mike O and I had been dating. Her senior friends (the mean girls) cornered me against my locker and screamed at me “stay away from Mike he already has a girlfriend” they wrote “whore and slut” on my locker.
I was mortified and I ran to the telephone booth to call my mother, once I was exiting the telephone booth one of the senior girls grabbed me by my shirt and smashed my head against the telephone booth. These mean girls constantly harassed me. What was so sad was that Mike O’s senior girlfriend was pregnant and had to get an abortion. It was a total nightmare.
No Support From My Older Sister: My older sister went to the same high school. She never protected me, she knew exactly what was going on and never supported me.
My Father Goes To The Principle: My father went to the principle (Mr.B), he told the principle how I was getting assaulted. The principle called the girls into a meeting with me and my father. They admitted to beating me up and promised to stop. The principle didn’t expel the senior girls and the harassment continued.
New School / Same Problem: During the Christmas break of my freshman year my parents enrolled me in a new catholic school. I felt helpless and scared. What made things worst was that my counselor put me in a business math class with many senior boys.
Are you serious?
Where were all the adults?
Why would any educator or my parents put me in a class with senior boys?
This was my main issue at my last school. This is where I meet my first husband Steve, he asked me on a date to go to a hockey game. He came to my house a couple of times and met my parents. My mom liked him and my father called him dippy and jerky.
He told me after the hockey game that he told his mother that when he saw me in math class he was going to marry me. I had no idea what was going on or reality. I was very impressionable and lost.
PREGNANT AND BROKEN
Six months later, I was 15 years old and pregnant. I delivered my first child at 16 years old and my second child at 17.
We got married and eventually divorced. I had bad feelings towards relationships. All my past experiences I lost faith in relationships or marriage.
THE ONE BRIGHT LIGHT OF MY HIGH-SCHOOL YEARS WAS PROFESSIONAL MODELING
I started modeling at a 13 years old.
I was trained at John Robert Powers modeling and finishing school.
I learned fencing, etiquette, runway modeling and photographic modeling.
My first paid modeling job I was 14 , I was hired to run a Christmas booth in the middle of the mall. I was dressed as Santa’s helper to monogram Christmas Stockings.
In 1971, I regularly modeled for major department stores. I earned $120-150 dollars a day. I could not believe it, I was so excited..
I modeled for manufactures as a corporate calendar model.
I modeled for local ads that were advertised in the newspaper. I was paid $65 an hour.
I felt successful and important. I was making amazing money for a young girl.
Kim Alexis went to a modeling and finishing school in the same small city as me. There were not many specialty schools like this in my small city. Within a couple of years she was in NYC modeling for a top agency. I was a couple years older than her.
I met Cheryl Tiegs at Modeling Association of American
I felt successful and important. I was making amazing money for a young girl. I ruined this great opportunity due to a string of making poor choices.
WHAT I LEARNED
Many years later, my therapist explained to me that I attracted very sick love. It wasn’t my fault—I learned about love from my parents, and I didn’t realize at the time how unhealthy their relationship was. My therapist called it “crazy love.” I call it “love hate.” I used to think love hate was how love was supposed to be; but there is no hate in love, and there is no love in hate. There is sickness in that confusion.
WINNING IN 2017
I am starting my own online company and I passed my high school equivalency exam this year. I am proud to tell you that I achieved a top passing grade after being out of school for 40+ years. My grades were in the top 1/3 in the state. I passed all five subjects in only one year. I am so proud of myself. Let me help you become proud of yourself!