By: Lolo Anderson
Another letter in a series to document pieces of my life before they are gone forever. I will be writing this letter to my older self after my dementia has progressed to where I no longer can remember this time in my life. Thing is I have already lost so much that I will need to talk about my younger self as yet a third person in this story.
You had just moved from your beautiful house on the sailboat marina on Clearlake. You rented a nice 3-bedroom townhouse on Old Sonoma Road in Napa. Your teenage son and daughter each had their own room next to the common area large swimming pool. Across the road was the Napa County youth correctional facility.
Your daughter was the first to bring home a lonely little girlfriend. From then on, she sat at most all your dinner tables with your own kids. Way too many breakfast tables to. One little friend after the other next thing one asked me to visit her brother across the street. What an eye-opening experience that was.
Not long and both the counselors and the guards were letting me talk and visit with the inmates in their common area. One of the counselors was working with a Christian Youth group called Young Life. Totally non-denominational with no direct support by any church. Designed to create a safe simple place for teenagers to gather and invite others to meetings with each other.
He invited me to work with the leadership of the local chapter of Young Life and come to his house to meet the other leadership.
Your daughter fell right into the joy found singing and praising the name of the Lord with 30 other teenagers crammed into a various kid’s living rooms. Before I continue talking about what was going on with you and your daughter and Young Life, your son was also there with you all this time.
Your son thought he was a lady killer. One year of fighting for the bathroom at Casa Del Noyo with dozens of beautiful would-be teenage models. All getting ready to pose for senior portraits in your front room. He became very comfortable around so many beautiful girls and how to respect them. His self-confidence and experienced gentleman nature was very attractive to many young girls.
He ended up connecting with Lisa. The most beautiful, sweetest and most intelligent girl in all the 5,000 students at Napa High School. Naturally he was not home very much but there was a number of girls hanging out at your place just to interact with your son.
There was one meeting each week on Thursday for all the kids and one leadership meeting the day before. Kids would volunteer the use of their houses to hold the meetings every week. Napa is a very wealthy area and we had meetings at some very nice country mansions in the Silverado golf course area.
Everything was very laid back and easy for the kids. This was not your church youth group meetings. No preaching or central speaker, just kids giving there testimony between songs. Songs, sounds so simple. The entire meeting was all about the music.
Sometimes just blasting over the stereo or singing at the top of our voices and holding hands. After the meeting the other counselors would open conversations with anyone wanting to talk. One little girl after the other would introduce me to their friends they brought just to talk to me.
Soon some were bringing them to your apartment for more singing and swimming in the pool between regular meetings. The manager asked me to limit the number of my guest in the pool to allow others to use the pool. This was the environment the Lord had placed me into.
Most all the difficult problems seem to find you. The kids at JUVY all had problems with the law and school. The kids being brought to you at the Young Life meetings were more complicated and personal. Soon even the good Christian church goers were bringing me friends with drug and alcohol problems.
A few minutes talking to me, they knew I was familiar with both the drugs and the drinking they were going through. You went with a number of them to AA meetings so they would not have to go alone. All the leaders would invite any of the kids to attend church with them on Sunday. Some attended the Calvary Chapple a very popular non denomination Christian Church in Napa. Others were catholic and Methodist and even Baptist. Each counselor had a group of kids that attended their own church.
You were free to attend any church any teenager asked you to. You met many of your kid’s mom or dad at their church. Needed the weekly leadership meeting where we could all talk about the kids that were reaching out to us. Later the meetings turned into them praying over you and asking God to protect me from the Evil One.
You had to keep so many private meetings secrete with so many that had sexual abuse issues to get my help and advice. My connections with the professionals back at the county jail really help you get them connected with people that could help them. Most never would let you talk to anyone, not even your leadership at Young Life.
God had blessed you with Pam. The troubled sexually abused foster daughter that was in the middle of your breakup with your first family. Because you loved her from childhood after her parents were killed in an accident, she told you so much how a little girl feels inside when things like that happen to her. Sometime you were even asked to talk to kid’s mother that was going through abuse as well.
My rebellion led you far from God and all the sinful experiences of permissiveness, drugs and alcohol also prepared you to be able to relate to so many hurting little babies. Knowing first hand how sexual abuse almost destroyed your wife’s life years later, it was easy to show your love and sensitivity on so many subjects.
Even the darkest of darkest thing in my life He was able to use over and over again. I was so ashamed and guilty for going along with aborting you third child years before. Way too many sweet and frightened little girls came to you for your help. If only one little mommy saved one their little children of God, it would all have been worth it.
It was a time of walking so close to God and sensing His Holy Spirit being leading you to such joy and peace within. It was taking a toll on you and you began to show signs of emotional breakdown. Without the precious redhead girl and her best friend to support you would not have survived the stress. They would pray and hold your hand as we lifted up so many of their hurting friends.
Just give you one single example. There was an exceptionally beautiful girl working at the 37 flavors ice cream shop. Boys would crowd into the shop just to flirt with her. Your redhead friend brought her to one of the Young Life meetings. You were introduced but hardly spoke. Only a few months later your redhead friend asked you to call #37.
After the call you went to her house to help her pack her things and you drove her to her aunt’s house in Utah. She had been abused in so many ways. The bruises on her once beautiful face and legs. He mother cursing you all the while you helped her pack. She was in a panic thinking you would go to the police and she would loose her husband. The weeping little girl all the way to Utah and the opportunity for me to tell her how much God loves her and never to lose faith in Him. The ride back to Napa alone with your redhead friend was very emotional and you both cried most of the way home.
You found that you could only absorb just so much sin. You were so involved with so many ugly things all around you. Come to find out feeling so much and loving so much was just what they needed but it had cost you in many ways too. Maybe it was a nervous breakdown or just more than you could handle. You even resorted to marring Shirley thinking she would be the partner like your Young Life leader and his wife was being for their kids. Result was 6 months of living with your second wife that broke the dam hold things together. You packed her up and brought her back to Lakeport where she came from. She made you choose between the midnight phone calls to meet some crying teenage girl or her. Her teenage daughter, Cindy tried to warn you about her mother. You stayed separated from Shirley for several years before your filed for a divorce to marry your third wife. Cindy did not attend your marriage to her mother. You supported her long after your separation thru school to become a licensed nurse.
God provided a job opening back in Fort Bragg and you moved out of that townhouse. The time spent there will remain as your most gratifying and holy walk with Jesus. It was only through His power and strength that I was able to be show His love to so many. My prayer is that walk with Him in Napa would make up for so many other things you have done wrong.