“That’s Me, That’s My Story.”
Martha’s boyfriend was physically and emotionally abusive. For the first time in the interview, tears well up in her eyes and she dabs them quietly with a tissue. She did attempt to go back to school and attended Alhambra High for a short time. She knew of a few of the girls there from church, but they made fun of her and she soon dropped out again.
She had her second baby at seventeen. She had lost so much weight she felt like a skeleton and she was constantly living in fear of her husband and caring for two infants. She lived this way for seven long years. She eventually did separate from her ex, as she called him, and two years later met her current husband who she married last year. They had already been together for a few years and she has two children with him. They are the children attending A Stepping Stone; a boy, David-the two year old playing quietly behind her and a girl, the four-year old in Mrs. Smith’s class. A smile comes to her face as she relates the short story about picking a name for her daughter in the Mayan language which means, “one who smiles”. She wanted to be sure she could make her daughter smile unlike her own mother.
I ask her if she knows about the deferment process and how wonderful it is that she is taking GED now so she can begin the process. She is quietly conflicted. She knows about the deferment process, but fears she will not get her GED in time. Potential deferment candidates age out of this process at 31 and her birthday is in a few months. She is worried about the grammar that her teacher is now presenting in order to prepare her for the GED test. She fears she will not be able to pass the test.
She quietly laments her shyness and inability to ask for help all these years. She says, that’s what I was thinking when I spoke up the other day after the video. Mrs. Fran asked did we have anything to say after the video was over and no one said anything. I thought, this is how it always has been with me. And now no one will speak up. I need to say something.
So she did.