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The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

10 Aug

 

Secret

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/secret/#like-244527

Would you have kept this secret for two generations? Maybe my Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept secret the fact that my grandfather Hugh Banks killed my Great Grandfather Daniel Finney (Hattie’s Dad) so that she could keep her sanity.  Guilt, embarrassment, shame, humiliation. I’m sure in the beginning after the murder it was all there deep within her soul, mind and spirit. But My Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept the secret so she could raise her three daughters (one of whom Mable was to become my mother) in relative peace, quiet and safety without passing this terrible haunting to future generations.  No judgment from me, only understanding.

 

The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney Banks

Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney was born Feb. 1905 in the poor coal mining hamlet of Davy, West Virginia.  A real looker in her youth blessed with a great sense of fashion and good taste Hattie though living in poverty was able to enhance her beauty through thrift and the ability to create something out of nothing.

With African and Sioux blood running through her veins her beauty soon caught the eye of the young men in the town. One named Hugh Banks seemed to have good prospects. Hugh like her Hattie’s dad Daniel R. Finney worked as a janitor. Not a high living job but one that could support a wife and future children. It also didn’t hurt that he was a strong strapping young man who was easy on the eyes.

They married sometime in the late 1920s when Hattie was in her early 20s looking forward to a bright future. Their first born child Mable Banks, (My Mom) was born May 2, 1930, and then came Helen on September 13, 1931 and finally Gladys on May 2, 1935. However as time progressed and the marriage wore on the initial first joys of wedded bliss gave way to drinking and horrible physical abuse from her husband Hugh. He regularly stayed out late getting drunk, spending the food and rent money on booze. A spirit of anger possessed him and he took out all the days slights on Hattie and their young children. Hattie always put herself between Hugh and the kids when he went on these violent tirades taking the brunt of the physical beatings and verbal abuse.

Finally on April 30, 1939 after a particularly horrible beating Hattie couldn’t take it anymore. In fear of her life she grabbed her three little girls and ran to the shelter of her parents’ house not far away. A very drunk Hugh Banks in hot pursuit of his wife followed her and demanded that Hattie and the girls return home with him. Hattie’s Dad, Daniel James Finney told Hattie to stay indoors while he went out to confront Hugh. Daniel Finney seeing Hugh in a violent drunken rage refused to allow his daughter and granddaughters to go with Hugh. An argument ensued and Hugh took out a pistol shooting Daniel Finney in the chest killing him instantly. Daniel’s brother Charlie Finney saw the murder, called the police and Hugh Banks was arrested.

Hattie and her mother Mary were devastated and in addition for many years Hattie carried the burden of guilt and shame that if she had not ran back to her parents’ house for protection perhaps her Dad, a strong healthy man would have lived even longer than his age of 75 years at the time of the shooting. Her choices haunted her for a long time but at least she found peace knowing that she had protected her three innocent young daughters and pride in the great love her Dad had for his family laying down his life for them.

Newspaper Clipping of the Murder

Daniel Finney Murder Newspaper Clipping

My Grandmother strong in her Baptist Faith eventually forgave her wayward husband supplying the information for my grandfather’s death certificate after his untimely death in prison from tuberculosis at age 30. No one from my grandfather’s family came to claim the body and he is buried  in the Potters Field attached to the prison.

Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Grandfather Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Daniel James Finney

Daniel James Finney Death Certificate

Shortly after the trial my Great Uncle Clarence came for Hattie and her daughters taking them to Dayton, Ohio where my mother grew up and later met and married my Dad Edward G. Palmer a union of 40 years that produced me and my brother Stephen.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when by then both my parents and my grandmother had gone onto glory. I met my common-law husband who like my grandmother’s relationship with her husband started off with great dreams and hope for the future but gradually deteriorated into an abusive relationship from which I too sought escape. For our final year together when the emotional, physical and psychological abuse was at its worst I prayed to God that this man would leave me and he did. He left me for a younger woman. A sigh of relief. A burden lifted from my shoulders. However though his physical presence was gone his psychological presence was rooted in my mind and soul. Though I had forgiven him it took years to dig up the roots and weeds of self-doubt and self-hate he had planted within me. Spirit never fails and after a brush with death from a minor stroke at age 49 and being Blessed to see 50 I began to experience a Change of Life. Not just from menopause which began physical changes within my body but spiritual and emotional changes. During all this upheaval my ancestors were with me, guiding me every step of the way. Each succeeding year as I progress through my 50s has brought me greater enlightenment and spiritual growth. Once I made the decision to answer my calling in this life doors open, thus here I am today to carry forward my Grandmother’s Legacy and be a blessing to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

But unbeknownst to my Grandmother and Great Grandmother a little girl cowering in front of a dusty little used attic window had peered out becoming an eyewitness to her Grandfather’s being shot to death by her Dad. Mable was always the quiet one of the three girls who took in many things but let out little.  As the Bible says  of conversations concerning Mary and Jesus, Mable Finney Banks was a small girl who took in and absorb all the things around her and pondered them in her heart……………….  From now on the events of that day would follow her all through childhood, young womanhood, and as a married woman with children and as she battled her own demons of schizophrenia. I shall take up Mable’s story in the next segment.

Thank you Sisters and be Blessed!

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Jephthah’s Daughters Redeemed

14 Jul

Jephthah’s Daughters

by Espiritu en Fuego — A Fiery Spirit Expressing Herself aka DeBorah Ann Palmer on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 3:51pm ·
Jephthah's Daughter

Jephthah’s Daughter

A colleague recently told me that no child is a throwaway but if that child is causing chaos and strife everywhere he goes then the other child or children usually girls are once again being sacrificed. The future of a talented gifted young lady has been put on the altar just to save a boy child who doesn’t care about his own family, neighbors or community. Damn the Village, it’s all about me is his attitude. Now that’s sad. As we can see from the below passage not much has changed for girls since Biblical times. Boys especially the ones who’ve adopted the thug life are praised and honored while a girl who tries hard, studies, has good manners and is kind is kicked to the side in order to save a boy child who hates his family, disobeys authority, & has no regard for rules or regulations.

Shall we regard our girl children as Jephthah’s Daughters?  How long will we continue to perpetuate the adage, “Women love their sons, but raise the daughters.”  Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in life but success comes through accepting responsibility and learning to be accountable.  Any child male or female who constantly lashes out at authority figures in a bid to always be “right” is a child bound for prison or the graveyard.  Stop making excuses for your badass boys behavior. Stop making girls the sacrificial lambs!!

One Girl’s Story

V. finished summer school last week. Now she is studying for an Earth Science regents. V. has that red & white Barrons study guide. She did not have this class during high school. If her mother had done the right thing V. could have graduated last year at age 16. She took all her required courses in that particular High School plus she took extra summer school courses to get ahead and graduate early. However once her brother screwed up they both had to leave that school attend a lesser inner-city high school. That low level high school did nothing to help V. during the year she attended and would not accept any of the extra classes she took in the previous high school. V. was also disappointed in the curriculum offered by this so-called Magnet School. Despite the high sounding name V. did not feel challenged in that school. It was a total dud. She wanted advanced accelerated courses but they refused to give her those type of course and barely offered tutoring in the classes they claimed she needed. 

 
Despite these disappointments V. has pressed on. Even though she is a bit behind V. is determined to get ahead. V. is filling out job applications, (she turned18 in October) and plans to apply to LaGuardia Community College and Queensboro Community College. Because of her mother’s unstable vagabond hobo lifestyle V. went to five high schools in five years which resulted in a messed up G.P.A.  Now she can only be accepted into a four year school based on her grades in the two year schools. Detours, yes, but she has a plan for her life and I’m determined to assist her in making her dreams come true. She deserves this opportunity in a quiet, peaceful, safe stable environment. For me it’s not a sacrifice but a calling. In V. I’ve found my purpose in life. I’m more than willing to give her all the encouragement and support she needs.
It’s like a part of me is now complete. I was meant to be there for her. That is part of my calling in this life. 
 
I believe one day V. will make a wonderful curator at a museum. Curators make a very good salary and their work is creative and fulfilling.

From this experience a new ministry for girls called Jephthah’s Daughters has been birthed. Please send donations and contributions to help young girls in need via PayPal to deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. Rest assured that you are supporting a good cause that will lift up young women who have been abandoned and neglected by their birth families.  Thank you.

 
GIRLS MATTER! GIRLS ROCK! GIRLS RULE!!

Ladies, let’s love our girl children and stop putting them on the altar in order to save a son who does not wanted to be saved and does not think he needs help or worse some no account man who should not even be a part of our households to begin with. Let us not return to ancient times when girls and women were thought of as little more than chattel or commodities to be bought and sold. (See below for more details on ancient economies)

Girl Sacrifice

Girl Sacrifice

“One of the unusual things about the Bible is that it preserves some bits of this larger context. … It would seem that the economy of the Hebrew kingdoms, by the time of the prophets, was already beginning to develop the same kind of debt crises that had long been common in Mesopotamia: espe­cially in years of bad harvests, the poor became indebted to rich neigh­bors or to wealthy moneylenders in the towns, they would begin to lose title to their fields and to become tenants on what had been their own land, and their sons and daughters would be removed to serve as servants in their creditors’ households, or even sold abroad as slaves.

V

Limits on Human Forgiveness

10 Sep

 

The Rape of Tamar by LeSueur
The Rape of Tamar by LeSueur (2 Samuel 13)

Limits on Human Forgiveness

Can a pedophile be Forgiven?

My cousin Michael was a child molester. There I said it and there is no easy way to say something like this but his actions cannot be sugarcoated or made palatable in any way, shape or form. Michael sexually molested his niece when she was a little girl. How long the sexual abuse went on I don’t know since I did not find out any of this information until a few years ago. Michael’s behavior towards his children and his mother had always disgusted me but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Once I found this out I no longer had any contact with him for any reason. Thank goodness he lived in another state so that made it easier to take him off my radar.

Just that piece of knowledge keep hidden within the victim for years, then suddenly coming to light served to reinforce my perceptions of my cousin and the discomfort I felt even as a child then young woman in his presence.

How do you forgive a sociopath? A man with all the characteristics of a Ted Bundy who has sown his seed with women of various races, so much so that at his death earlier this summer the niece whom he raped as a little girl, now charged with contacting said children, could not find them all.

A man so evil who in life created so much discord within the family that his grown children had abandoned him, as he did them; and no one outside of his immediate family saw cause to attend his funeral.

But what disturbed me more? The fact that his mother, my aunt praised him to the hills and constantly sent him money from her meager fixed income or that in recent years he had taken up with some addled white woman with whom he had two more children, one a little girl. Did he take up his sexual perversions with this girl child or as he used to tell us, was he so ill that sex was no longer an issue or a capability. One of Michael’s favorite lies he told his mother was that he had cancer or some other life threatening illness that had him knocking on deaths door. He told this lie for so long that he became like the boy who cried wolf so that when he did pass this year we were like well guess he really was sick after all.

Sickness. We all like to believe that illness does not come from God. God is merciful, kind, compassionate and loving. However God is also a God of wrath and justice. He exacts vengeance upon child abusers and child molesters. “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:2, Matthew 18:6 & Mark 9:42.

I would estimate that Michael became seriously ill not too long after his last daughter was born. Final justice. God said no, not this little girl. He gave Mephistopheles leave to lay claim to Michael’s evil soul. As in the story Faust, Mephistopheles made good on that claim with another sexual deviant consigned to the levels of Dante’s Inferno.

When informed of his death I felt nothing but a sense of relief and justice had been done. There was no mourning on my part. Yes I do admit my forgiveness is limited. I can forgive crimes against property, hurt feelings, money disagreements, break-ups etc… but I have to draw the line with crimes against children. Pedophiles don’t just harm these children physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A child’s soul has been stolen perhaps never to be returned. In my book those who commit assault against children will never be absolved.

Mark 10:14

New International Version (NIV)

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

 

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