Linda’s childhood was tumultuous after her mother’s death as she was raised in what she thought was her grandmother’s home. When she learned the truth about her life from the neighbor’s kids, at age 10, Linda immediately wanted to find her birther father. She endured years of abuse in her grandmother’s home with no love. She characterizes her story, not as an adoption, she thinks of herself as stolen from her biological father.
You can find Linda’s book at LindaBlackmer.com or you can search “My Father’s Eyes: A Story of Stolen Lives” on Amazon
Read Full TranscriptLinda: 00:03 Grandma’s drivin. Then we’re driving down the road and she begins calling me names and then she gets quiet and she goes, you know, Linda, you’re right. Your Dad is not your father. And it was like, wow, you know, my abuser is actually finally telling me the truth.
Voices: 00:27 Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who Am I?
Damon: 00:38 This is who am I really a podcast about adoptees that have located and connected with their biological family members. I’m Damon Davis, and on today’s show is Linda. She called me from Farmington, New Mexico where she lives so far away from it all, that she had to drive into town from her house to get a good mobile signal so that she could share her story with you. Linda’s childhood was tumultuous after her mother’s death as she was raised in what she thought was her grandmother’s home. Once she learned the truth about her life from the neighbor’s kids at age 10, Linda immediately wanted to find her birth mother. She endured years of abuse in her grandmother’s home with no love. She characterizes her story not as an adoption, she thinks of herself as stolen from her biological father. This is Linda’s journey.
Damon: 01:32 Linda admits her journey is convoluted, but you already know that many of our stories are on November 22nd 19, 63. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The next day, November 23rd. Linda’s mother was killed. Linda was about three years old. Her sister was four the girls, went to live with their maternal grandmother as the family tried to make a plan for their future.
Linda: 01:59 The people in the family were trying to figure out what to do with us, and one day a grandma Brown into the house and sitting on her chair was a strange man that we had never seen before and so my sister and I, we looked at each other and looked at the guy and he had two great big white teddy bears and he held out his hands and said, hello. I’m your Daddy. And we’d never seen him before. Again, it was really strange and really confusing.
Damon: 02:35 Okay,
Linda: 02:36 so we did go to live with him and he could not handle raising a three and a four year old, so he took us to his parents. So we grew up with our Dad’s parents and we of course called and grandma and grandpa.
Daon: 02:54 Can I just ask quickly when you were two, I make the assumption that you were living in a two parent household when your mother was killed, is that correct?
Linda: 03:05 That is not correct. Okay. Um, basically our mother, she was divorced but she was living with a man and we were living with him too and he was her boyfriend and the one who caused the accident related to her death. Um, so it was actually vehicular homicide. We just remember bits and pieces of him, but apparently he was severely abusive and uh, the story goes that she wanted to break up with him. He was pretty angry about that and that should be one of the reasons that caused the accident.
Damon: 03:48 Do you remember any of your feelings at the time as a child who has lost her mother? Do you feel that you remember the grief or anything?
Linda: 03:58 I didn’t remember that we were told that she had died and so I remembered… What I do remember is we were being babysat by one of our aunts and I remember standing on the couch looking outside the window waiting for mom to come and pick us up and what I saw is her father or Grandpa come and start picking up our toys in the front yard, put him in his car, and when I asked him, I ran up to him and said, hey, where’s mommy? He totally ignored me. He wouldn’t talk. He wouldn’t look at us, nothing. So that was really confusing to me because again, I was only three, but apparently we were told that she had died. That I don’t remember that at all.
Damon: 04:52 Wow.
Linda: 04:54 I do remember that. Everybody’s looking around and I did go to grandma wants and asked, you know, when’s mom coming back? And she just looked at me and continued folding clothes and didn’t say anything.
Damon: 05:10 So the girls have had a lot of quick transitions. After their mothers death, they left their home with their mother and her abusive boyfriend moved to their maternal grandmother’s house. To their father’s house, vent to his mother’s house, she said the final move to their grandmother’s home was really difficult. They lived in the back of a cafe grocery store for transient farm workers. It was there in kindergarten. Linda worked really hard on a family picture of herself, her sister and their grandmother and father, and she was really proud of it. Linda looks all around the store for her grandmother to share her awesome work.
Linda: 05:48 Grandma! Grandma, look what I made for you in the course. I’m in that five year old. Happy Anticipation, you know, of getting real good. She take the picture, looked at it, shoved it back at me, put her hands on her hips. And so you think this is good? This isn’t good. You shouldn’t brag. You’re no good and should have never been born.
Damon: 06:16 Oh my gosh.
Linda: 06:18 `So that’s like at five years old, right. And um, I didn’t know how to process that. That hurt like to my core. And that opened up grandma’s repressed desire to come after me. So when you ask what my childhood was like, it was consistent, verbal abuse and emotional abuse. Every day, unpredictable physical assault. She hated me. She just absolutely hated me. She couldn’t stand the fact that she had to raise me and the people in the family, they all saw it, but grandma was diagnosed shortly thereafter as having bipolar disorder and in my opinion, I think she was an unrecognized trauma survivor because of just her family story, but I. I hold a lot of anger towards the family members that didn’t step in to do the right thing, to try to help a child
Damon: 07:30 to remove you from that situation. Regardless of whether she was diagnosed or not
Linda: 07:36 correct.
Damon: 07:37 Linda lived under those abusive conditions until she was 18 years old. I asked about her father, whom she calls daddy because Linda and her sister are living with his mother. He went to California and started a tavern, which Linda and her sister think was our front for illegal drug operations, but he did show up for occasional visits. He got married for the third time when the girls were about nine and 10 and they went to live with him. They were so happy because they were escaping the abuse and they actually liked their new stepmother. They all moved into a brand new house and they took baths every single day. Something they could not do in their grandmother’s home. Unfortunately in time they learned their father wasn’t a very nice man and their stepmother,
Linda: 08:23 she was schizophrenia and in time her mental illness really began to manifest and she was not all that nice to my sister and I. and one day we were at home and if we got in trouble, we had to wash the dishes in the kitchen. Right. And on this incident, she took out a butcher knife and started coming at us and saying, I’m gonna kill you. I’m going to kill you, you know, blah, blah blah. And so my sister and I’d we locked ourselves in the bathroom because we were afraid of her know to us that’s threatening our lives. And when daddy came home, we told him about it. He told us we were lying, that she would never do that and it never happened. And when she went after him is when he finally kicked her out of the house, so the day that he kicked her out the house, he went over to the neighbor’s and proceeded to get drunk with the neighbors and he told them a story and their kids overheard the story.
Linda: 09:38 So the next day we went over to play and they’re calling out my sister’s name going, we’ve got a secret and Glenda can’t hear it. And of course I want to know what the secret is. I don’t like being excluded. And then my sister actually pulled me aside and told me that my mother had an affair and I am the product of that affair. After she died, no one wanted me, so he took me so that could have a sister. And it was at that moment when I realized my grandma hated me so much is because I was not a part of their family. So that when you’re asking my childhood was like, it was exceptionally lonely. I didn’t have anybody that I could turn to anyone that I could look at and go, you’re a part of me, you know. So I basically grew up not belonging anywhere,
Damon: 10:43 so Linda’s mother had an affair while married to Daddy. She said that because they were married when her mother was...