Off and on during the past year, I’ve been working on several novels, one of which is “A Mile in Charlotte’s Shoes,” which should be available in 2021 or 2022.
It’s about a young girl who is different and often abused. She suffers from ACE (Adverse Child Experiences), which often looks like autism. She goes through many changes over many years, reads books on human psychology and behavior, and attempts to better understand her situation. In the span of a few decades, Charlotte goes through many changes. As she tries to navigate this thing called Life, She becomes worse before eventually getting better.
Chapter 1: Predestination
The trips back and forth to Beulah from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, or Camp Pendleton, California, were always full of excitement. Perhaps the most exciting trip home was the Christmas before Charlotte’s second birthday.
Frank and Christie were driving to Beulah from Camp Pendleton, traveling through the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. The song “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters’ was being played on the radio. Thinking Charlotte was asleep in her child restraint seat in the back, they talked about last-minute shopping and the last minute presents they would need. Suddenly, Christie heard a tiny hum coming from the back seat.
“Shhh-shhh!” Christie told Frank, “Did you hear that?”
“No. What was it?” Frank responded.
The humming sounded again, and then Charlotte began to sing the words the best she could to the song in perfect time and tune. Christie spun around and looked back at her, then looked back at Frank.
“Is this child singing? Listen to that! She’s a natural, Frank!” Christie said excitedly, “She’s in perfect time and keeping perfect tune!”
“She gets it from my side of the family.” He quipped as he smiled at his wife.
Christie playfully slapped her husband on the arm. Being a shy baby, Charlotte suddenly stopped singing.
“Don’t stop, baby girl!” Frank called back as he drove the station wagon, “Sing, baby! Sing!”
Charlotte began singing again, and Frank and Christie would constantly give each other puzzled but excited glances. Christie would then look back at her baby daughter and smile.
There were also the games at home that Christie would play with Charlotte. The games of Marco Polo in the kiddie pool in the back yard and singing of ABC’s, “This Little Piggy,” “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” and “This Old Man.”
The games of chase through the house were her favorite. Charlotte loved for people to chase her. She also loved hiding from people and having them search for her.
All the good times, the love and laughter, the play…they seemed to provide an even balance to life and make the bad times not seem so bad.
But the babysitter! How could Charlotte tell her parents what the babysitter was doing to her while they were gone?