It was through Megan that I was able to connect with a county social worker, which gave me hope that I would be able to have someone intervene on my siblings and my behalf. That did not work out, which led me to making the decision to leave. I knew I needed help, and so I asked Megan for help by calling her from the neighbor’s house. She said she would help me and we made plans for when and where we would meet. The following is an excerpt of my book that tells what happened that morning.
Megan arrived with her station wagon full of children. She looked amazed that I was really there with a suitcase. I got in for the short ride to her house, and I was relieved that she said nothing about having changed her mind about wanting to help me. As soon as we got to her home, she sent the children to the playroom and we started planning.
“You did it!” she said. “You left! What was it like this morning? Do they have any idea?”
I didn’t want to talk about it. Briefly, I told her what I’d told Mem about babysitting overnight, and then I said that the first thing I wanted to do was cut my hair.
“Is that necessary?” she asked. “Many women have long hair.”
“My hair looks like a horse’s tail when it’s down,” I said, “because I’ve been putting it up in barrettes and it is all broken.”
“Why don’t you go up and take a shower, and when your hair dries, I will take a look at it.”
Megan took one look at my hair when it was down, and she said, “You are right, it does look like a horse’s tail.” She picked up the phone and made an appointment at her hairdresser’s that afternoon. “We can take you clothes shopping afterwards,” she said. “Now, do you have any idea where you want to go when you leave?”
“I want to go to Vermont,” I said.
“Oh? Do you know someone there?”
“Then why Vermont?”
“It’s where I’ve always wanted to go, so I figured since I’m running away, I may as well go to someplace I like.”
“How do you know about Vermont?” Megan asked.
“I remember reading about it and seeing pictures in geography books in school.”
Megan looked at me with a sideways smile on her face.
“I also have been getting Vermont Life magazines,” I said.
“You don’t think that’s a good idea?” I asked.
“No, I think it’s fine. I am just amazed that you are so clear about this. So, how will you get there?”
“I was thinking of taking a train, if there are connections.”
“Where in Vermont do you want to go?”
“I heard about YWCA places that house women in transition. I want to find out where in Vermont they might be located. I’d rather live in the country than a city.”
“We could call the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. But some YWCAs don’t have rooms for rent, so be sure to ask them if they do,” Megan said.
“How am I going to pay you for the call?”
“You may use my phone as much as you need to and I will pay for it. That will be my gift to you,” Megan said.
“I don’t know how I will ever thank you. I couldn’t be doing this at all without your help.”
“I’m glad you called me,” Megan said with a genuine smile.
First I called information to get the number for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. I called them and asked where in Vermont they had YWCAs that housed women. The woman I spoke to said there was one in Rutland and one in Burlington. Then she double-checked that and said the only one that was a residential YWCA in all of Vermont was in Burlington. She gave me that phone number.
Next, I called the Y and talked to Mrs. Ohr, the director there. She said there was a room available for a week. I asked if there was anything available after that, and she said something might become available. It would cost eight dollars a week. I made reservations for a week, beginning the next day.