Witch Bones

It has been fifteen years since Amelia and Lydia Clack last seen Black Hollow. They wouldn’t even be there now except their grandparents had left them the house when they died. Amelia and Lydia were the only set of twins ever born there in the history of Black Hollow. Their parents didn’t want them to be viewed as an oddity so they moved them away at a very young age. Black Hollow was built strategically at the base of Witch Mountain and it was the home to hippies and eccentrics.

Choosing to leave their hometown, of course, meant they would be outsiders and outsiders weren’t welcome. The twins didn’t have any intention of staying in town for very long so they weren’t worried about what the town folk thought. That would prove to be a mistake that both of them would eventually regret.

Amelia was the oldest twin by six minutes and she was definitely the more confident one of the two. Lydia was shy but she had a few strengths that Amelia didn’t have which is why they made a great team. As they pulled up their grandparent’s house they were in awe of the sheer size and beauty of it. It could easily be the largest house in town and definitely the most elaborate.

They felt like they had just stepped into one of the fairytale stories that their parents used to tell them. As they walk around the house they discover a secret garden and pond filled with various critters. This house would definitely sell fast and then they could quickly return home. As the girls walked around the house they never even noticed the person watching them from the woods. Lydia grabs the suitcases from the car while Amelia unlocks the front door. It has been several months since their grandparents passed so everything inside was coated with dust. They immediately commit to the task of opening up some windows and dusting.

They definitely didn’t want to sleep in their grandparent’s bed tonight so they chose to share the guest room. It was an elaborate room with large wooden furniture and several bookshelves filled to capacity. Lydia walks over to check out some of the titles but most of them were just numbered. She decides she’ll take a closer look later this evening once they have settled in. She leaves to join her sister who had already started setting up the for sale sign in the front yard.

Once the girls do some quick cleaning and unpacking they settle themselves on the couch. Amelia had brought her laptop so that she could work on some writing and Lydia brought a stack of books to read.The girls both sat quietly occupied for several hours until it started to get chilly.

Amelia got up and stretched before she headed over to the fireplace and that is when she noticed the large well-worn book lying open on the mantel. “Hey come over here and look at this.” She tells her sister. “It had better be a hidden treasure or something,” Lydia tells her as she makes her way across the room. Lydia gives her sister an annoyed look and says “It’s just a book!” “I know it’s a book but look closer at the pages,” Amelia says. As Lydia gets closer she notices the pages are filled with drawings and things that appear to be recipes. “I don’t get it.” She says to her sister. “They’re just strange recipes and pictures that make no sense.” Lydia continues. “I think they’re spells,” Amelia tells her.

Is this why their parents moved them away at such an early age? Lydia closes the book to read the title hoping it was some sick joke that they could laugh about later. The book was titled Witch Bones and that definitely didn’t feel like a joke. They quickly skim through it and learn that the book held various spells and secrets from their grandparents. Their grandparents were apparently the last two original practicing witches of Black Hollow.

The girls were shocked at the things the book revealed about this town and their grandparents. For the first time since they arrived, they were actually nervous about being in Black Hollow. The girls were interrupted halfway through the book by a loud knock on the door. Lydia jumped up to answer it and was shocked to see a tiny disheveled woman standing there. “You don’t belong here!” She says as she spits in Lydia’s face. The woman didn’t even wait for a response before she turned away and headed towards the woods. Lydia stands there horrified as she wipes the woman’s spit from her eyes.

“That woman just spit on me!” she screeched. Amelia gets up to go after her but she was long gone. “Let’s just try and make the best of this night by building a nice fire in the fireplace,” Amelia tells her. After splitting a bottle of wine they decided to just hunker down in the living room where it was warm. Amelia was the first one to wake the next morning and noticed blood smeared all over the windows. She tries to wake Lydia up but she wouldn’t budge in fact she didn’t even appear to be breathing. Amelia looks closely at her sister and notices her face is blotchy and her eyes are swollen shut. Lydia was barely breathing and Amelia could only detect a faint pulse.

Somehow Amelia felt the only thing that could help her sister now was her grandparent’s book. She knew that it must have an answer and after checking the table of contents she finds it. It seems as though Lydia had been infected with a poison delivered to her through the woman’s spit. There was an antidote that could easily be given to Lydia but she had to hurry. The poison was rare and could have easily killed any other person but the twins were made from witch bones.




My inner child still lives in Foster Care

Foster Care

Old Wounds

It is so very difficult to go back and face the past. Wounds that have healed begin to bleed again. My heart hurts and my soul weeps at all the loss that I have suffered throughout the years. Even the good thoughts make me cry because I know I can’t ever go back to that time. I am haunted by so many things but I continue to write. Everyone has a story, but what sets us apart are the little details that we are terrified to reveal. The mistakes, the addictions, and the abuse… that is what I struggle with. I hope that I am able to exhale when I finish writing my life story. Once that story is out then I can write without feeling haunted inside.

Kelly Blake 2017

More Time

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Time is an ever changing little trickster. Time can be seen flying past us or dragging slowly in front of us but either way we all know that time waits for no one. I think of this simple fact as I continue to write the story of my life. When I first got back in contact with my mother she would often get angry with my responses to her messages. “What do you want from me?” she would ask. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted at first. I wanted answers to so many questions. She would get angry and tell me that she never abandoned us girls and if I couldn’t move on then she didn’t want to talk to me. I don’t tell you this because I want you to be angry with her I am just stating the facts of our conversation. I can see a lot of things from her point of view because I am a lot like her. I know the guilt and suffering from giving up a child. I understand the total lack of control when it comes to drinking and anger. I understand the need to put up walls and push everyone away. I have lived through all of these things just as she has. There is nothing that can be done to change the past which is why I chose to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting because I will never forget where I came from and how I got here. So here I am writing my life story and I remember her final answer to my question “Why?”  I know it wasn’t easy for her to admit it to me but she did. She told me that she didn’t really know why everything happened the way that it did. I think she knew I wasn’t really buying that answer so she finally said ” I ran out of time, I thought I had more time to do the things they wanted me to do.”

(My question was why didn’t she ever come back to get us after she got out of jail. Her answer was she ran out of time.) 

The message I want to leave with everyone is – Don’t let time pass you by without doing the important things in life.  Live, Love and Laugh with the special people in your life because you never know when you might run out of time. 

Kelly Blake 2017

Crazy Tree, Crazy Apples

“Crazy Tree, Crazy Apple”  a direct quote from my mother.

The same mother who cultivated the crazy apples. 😃

Because I was adopted I never really felt like I had a place anywhere. I drifted through life very aware that I was alone. This reality prompted me to start building my family tree on Ancestry.com. I began with basic information that I had pieced together over the years. It wasn’t much but thankfully I was able to get more information from my little sister. As the years rolled past I would add information here and there but usually it was nothing more than a passing thought. That was until one day I receive a message from someone who was looking for her dad’s biological family. It turned out that her father was my uncle who had also been adopted as a young boy. The ancestry fever was ignited in me at that moment. I became obsessed with finding out more about my family and where I had come from. I knew all along that I was Native American and Polish but nothing beyond that. Before I knew it I had located several members of the Kasper clan and I finally started to feel like I was a part of something bigger. Even though I had never met them I knew I belonged and this fact calmed my obsession with the family tree slightly. That was until I submitted my DNA for testing. I was chomping at the bit while I waited for the results. I already knew who my parents were so I’m not really sure what I wanted to know. Maybe it was because I had attempted contact with someone who I was positive was my cousin and was rejected. It didn’t really hurt me or really shock me that his response was “We never heard anything about her.” Therefor I didn’t exist to him. That was his answer to the young lady I contacted as a go between since he would never respond to me personally. His answer only made me want to stand tall and prove it to not only him but to the rest of the Kilgore clan. I would not be silent and invisible any longer because I am a Kasper first and we roar! Within a few weeks my DNA results were in and I was so excited to see the results that linked me to so many different people. I’m currently trying to make all the connections as I search through the thousands of very confusing hints and facts and it’s safe to say my fever is renewed. (I’m not entirely sure that the fever ever went away.) All of what I have written up to this point now brings me to what has been rattling around in my crazy head for some time now. Some of you may or may not know that I spent several years in foster care and other various juvenile facilities. Those years were some of the most heartbreaking years of my life but also the most life changing for me. I learned things I shouldn’t have but never learned any lessons. So as I’m going through the DNA results I start to fill in the gaps of my family tree. I’m excited to follow the path of my ancestors but then my heart begins to feel heavy again. It’s strange how simple names or words can affect everything you have felt up until that point. The names of the people I was adding weren’t so familiar but the locations were. Menomenie, Escanaba, Rapid River and the most heart wrenching for me was Poplar, WI. These are just a few of the places that I lived in foster care or in a group home. I know it’s silly and unrealistic but I often wonder to myself how come no one knew? I’m sure it was written all over my face that I didn’t belong. Did you walk past me on the street or bump into me at a store? I was so close to my blood relatives yet I was completely invisible to them. I was just another juvenile delinquent in the eyes of everyone around me. How could they have ever known though? No one on my paternal side even knew I existed. It’s not fair for me to be upset with them when I was just a mere ghost floating aimlessly through life. I still can’t help but fantasize that maybe if someone had known they might have saved me and my life would have been very different. It’s weird what you learn through your family tree and how it can affect you. For now I will remain Kasper the unfriendly Ghost as I hang from my crazy apple tree.

Kelly Kasper ❤ 2017

Do you want to know why I’m SAD?

Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) 

An anxiety disorder in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (e.g. a parent, caregiver, significant other or siblings).

 I was a Preschooler when the person I depended on for all my basic needs was taken away from me. After a few years of adjustment with my new family I was ripped away yet again and given to another family. Then at age fourteen my relationship with my two siblings was forever changed. I was on my way to a new home yet again. I suppose I could have adjusted if I hadn’t lost so many important people from my life in such a short time. There was nothing permanent or even long term in my life. I actually became quite adept at sabotaging most situations in my life. I had very few friends and literally no family in sight. I figured out a few years back that it was easier to avoid relationships then form them. At the same time I find myself struggling with loneliness. The few close friends that I do have I am very possessive of. They are mine, all mine and it is difficult for me to share. If I don’t hear from friends I start to imagine they have abandoned me. But my true fear of loss and separation became clear to me when I found it difficult to throw away empty containers and boxes. I could easily make up the excuse that I could use it for something. I thought for many years I was being frugal by recycling used items. Eventually I was forced to face my “collecting” habits head on when my Husband started making jokes about my cardboard forts in the corners of my bedroom. The first time I had to break down a stack of boxes and throw them out, I actually had a slight panic attack. That is when I knew for sure that it wasn’t about reusing or recycling, it was about holding onto even the simplest of things. When you lose so much in your life it becomes easy to develop habits of hoarding. Now you know why I am SAD.

Kelly Blake 2017

Senator McCain Doesn’t Care

Before you sit down and get comfortable, grab your preferred beverage and maybe a snack.We might be here for a little longer than expected. I am the wife and caregiver of a Quadriplegic man. When I met him he was already Disabled so I was not around to fight for his basic rights and needs. I have been in his wife since 2014 and have to always make sure he doesn’t get overlooked or swept under the carpet. Last year I sent emails to Senator McCain’s office located in Tucson,Az. I wanted them to hear me and hopefully help me with my husband’s SSI Benefits. Or at least give me answers or options. Initially I did receive a response. “We need a signed Authorization Form to have access to your SSI file”  His office stated in a returned letter. I sent the form back to them almost immediately. Unfortunately I had to send it again because the first one we signed Digitally and they needed actual signatures. I waited patiently for a response but still never heard anything. I thought to myself, well, it’s near Election time, so the office is probably pretty busy. I’ll wait a little longer. By the new year I still hadn’t heard from them so I sent another email inquiring about my original emails. Again I receive the request for authorization. I explained to the person who was emailing me that I had already sent the form. I remember sending it because I complained to my husband that the Senator’s office couldn’t even bother to send a SAE. Shortly after this last email we did receive a letter stating that they had contacted our local SSI office and as soon as they heard from them they would contact us. So now here it is the middle of May and I still have no response. The reason i’m writing this in a blog is so that I may get a wider reach and hopefully force a response from my local Government.

Before I begin telling you the basics of what I wrote in my email, let me explain to you that I am well aware of the basic Parameters and Laws of SSI. I do understand that these Parameters are in place to be “fair” but also to avoid any form of abuse or fraud. However, I do believe in some situations that certain individuals should be given a more thorough look see. My husband is on SSI Disability Insurance due to a car accident that he was in. He was not the driver nor did he cause the accident. My husband was twenty-nine at the time of this accident. Still pretty young don’t you think? Let me ask you a question, how many of you reading this can say that you had your life all figured out by twenty-nine? Probably not too many of you did. Prior to the accident my husband worked a lot of side jobs such as construction and basic maintenance. A lot of young men take these jobs because they pay cash in hand for a hard day of work, No waiting for a paycheck or a Bank. Pretty appealing situation if you don’t mind manual labor in the Arizona heat. Most people at twenty-nine are not thinking about the future or the “what ifs.” I bring all this up because it’s a major factor in my husband’s SSI allotment amount. See, he paid very little into taxes back then so his SSI amount is pretty low. I understand you get paid what you pay in. I guess he should have planned the car accident better. I’ve tried several times to get my husband on the basic SSI but I keep being told he doesn’t qualify. Someone had even told me that he could draw off of his parents SSI if approved. I guess he should have planned the car accident better. He would have had to become disabled before the age of twenty-one in order to do this. He should have planned it early enough in his life or made sure he paid a butt load into his taxes if he wanted to receive a decent allotment. Remember, he was the passenger and not the driver. My next issue involves me personally. I feel like I should have the right to marry the person that I love and want to spend my life with. However, if I had known how much our marriage would impact his SSI benefits, we probably would not have gotten married. So now two years into our marriage we have had to talk about the “what ifs.” What if we just get divorced? What if we move to a different state? Why is this something we should have to think about? My income affects his SSI Disability amount. I make the basic minimum wage in Arizona. Ten dollars and hour at thirty-seven hours a week. I can not make any more or any less. I get no vacations or days off and obviously no overtime. The other reason for my husbands SSI amount is that SSI feels whatever the husband doesn’t make the wife can make up for. Which is understandable for the most part. However, my husband is a Quadriplegic and is 100% dependant on me for his care. If I was able to leave him for six to eight hours I would consider working a second job to make up for his very small amount of SSI. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I would do anything to improve my situation if I was able. So let’s review the situation real quick. He should have worked a lot harder because he was planning to be in a car accident at age twenty-nine. However he should have planned the accident prior to turning age twenty-one. Once he became a Quadriplegic, he should have never dreamed of getting married. Once he was married, he should have expected his wife to work herself to death in order to afford their basic needs. I think that sums it up pretty well. So what options do we really have at this point? Get divorced? Move out of the State? Or would our Government prefer me to neglect my husband’s basic care so I can get a second job. That would mean he would sit alone in a house for hours with very little water and no food since he is incapable of getting his own. I’m no slouch, I rack my brain for hours, day after day, trying to figure out ways to bring in extra cash income. I’ve looked for discounts and services that might help us afford the basics. We do actually qualify for sixteen dollars in food stamps because we’re just poor enough. I think the whole system is a mess and people like my husband get lost in a big pile of crappy papers on someone’s desk. I know it happens to many more people than just my husband and I. I also know that our pleas fall on deaf ears. I have asked for help and now i’ve resorted to “begging” online just so that I can hopefully afford to get a ramp installed into our van. If I am forced to just barely get by, i’d like to have the ability to get outside with my husband. That way we can watch the sunset while we are getting screwed. Even if nothing ever changes for us, at least I can make myself heard. So many people in our government are living a life that people like us could never even imagine. And by that I mean, the ability to pay bills on time and the ability to afford basic necessities.The ability to live without wanting to break down and cry everyday.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’d like to hear your opinion, and if you have a similar story, please share it with me.

Kelly Blake 5/2017

The Caregiver Diary: The Stand Still

In the Beginning

When I made the decision to become Wife and Caregiver I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. I knew there would be lots of sacrifices on my part. This Relationship would prove to be the biggest challenge I would ever have to face. When we were married, we lived in town. After the first year we made a joint decision to move from our little townhouse. There were several factors involved in this decision but we felt it was for the best. A friend of mine was keeping a watchful eye out for a new place for us because this move was fast sending me into a frenzy. There were so many things had to be taken into account. Most people can simply look at location, size and price. We had to factor in Wheelchair access and bathroom space amongst other things. Eventually my friend spotted a little hole in the wall in a neighboring town. Time was running out on our current lease so I knew I had little choice but to find a place quickly because I can’t really be homeless with a Disabled husband. We contacted the owner and made a deal. I thought at first that this would be just the peace of mind that we wanted. We are now approaching the end of our second year out here. The first year was busy, the kids lived with us most of the year and although that was extremely stressful it was nice having company. I’m not sure if people really realize that when you are a live in Caregiver, your job never ends, so any little break from the monotony helps a lot. After the kids left and the friends faded I started to really feel the affects of being isolated. Each day I sink a little bit further into the pit of depression. I thought moving out here would be great even though we didn’t have a reliable vehicle at the time. After our first year we were lucky enough to get approved to buy a van and I thought for sure we were finally catching a break. I would soon find out exactly how wrong I was. When we bought the van we had high hopes of paying it off and converting it into a wheelchair van. Someone we relied on for medical transportation had told us that it would only cost a couple thousand to convert. We eventually found out that this was very wrong information. The cost of a conversion is at least Ten Thousand dollars. Ten Thousand dollars that we will never have. So now here I am in my second year of isolation, with no real hope for anything better.

The Stand Still
When we moved to a more isolated area I said I could deal with it as long as we got a vehicle to get back and forth to town. I know that even though I enjoy my privacy, I also need socialization. So now I sit here staring out the same window everyday with tears in my eyes. I never thought my life would come to a complete standstill at Forty-Five. I see life happening all around me and it dawns on me that I won’t ever have that life. I see people fishing, swimming, vacationing or even just hanging out with friends and it hurts. I understand I made this life choice and my love for my husband is no less than it was the first time I realized I loved him. I just never expected to live my life in isolation and I am truly not sure how much longer I can actually do it without losing myself completely. Everyday I feel myself getting more depressed and bitter and I don’t want to be that way. So I guess for now i’ll just sit her staring out my window daydreaming and trying to remember what it was like to actually have a life.
Kelly~ 2017

We went on a road trip once, and I lost my ID

It was May 13th, 1977 when we took our road trip to Poplar,WI. I was only Five and a half years old then. Road trips are always exciting but this one felt different somehow. We were going to visit someone from what I understood but I wasn’t exactly sure why our mother wasn’t with us. The only thing I was sure of was I had my hard pink suitcase that carried all my little belongings. We eventually arrived at a quaint little A-Frame house with a large St. Bernard. The family seemed really nice and very happy to see us. Before I knew it, the car that had brought us to the house backed out of the driveway, and left us behind. They never did come back for us, and nobody ever brought our mom. Once I was old enough to understand I learned that the house we were brought to was called a Foster Home.

Foster care: A system in which a minor has been placed into a wardgroup home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent”. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses.

Foster care started as a result of the efforts of Charles Loring Brace.

Brace believed the children would do best with a Christian farm family. He did this to save them from “a lifetime of suffering” *Nordmark, Oliver. “Orphan Train History.” : REVEREND CHARLES LORING BRACE. N.p., 09 Feb. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

We lived in this Foster Home for a couple years while we waited for our mother to come for us.This is something that never happened. They told us that she showed no real interest in getting us back with her so they ruled our case as Abandonment. We were eventually put on a list for Adoption. At age six I never even knew there were differences between us and the family that we lived with. I wasn’t even aware until I was Adopted that I was “Native American”. I just thought I was a kid, like everyone else. I realized later on just how wrong I was.

Transracial Adoption: Placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group.

When you adopt a baby, do you take on responsibility for fostering the child’s connection to the culture or cultures of origin your baby leaves behind to join your family? Or do you just try to integrate that child into your own family’s lifestyle and culture? Having been born part Native American I should have been privy to my family’s history and culture. Instead I was raised in a Lutheran household with parents that were from Finnish and German descent. Never the wiser that I had lost a lifetime of culture because of my Adoption. I came from a proud nation of Chippewa Indians. I learned about my family and culture on the internet. I was the poor little Indian in a white person’s world. I am not necessarily Anti Adoption, but I am most definitely Pro Education. I believe in the preservation of culture. I am not against Transracial Adoption if culture and heritage is taught and preserved. I have been angry all of my life because I know nothing of my family or culture except for what I find on Google. Forty years of culture lost even after the The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) was established. Even after 1978, Native American children were placed in Non Native homes.

So to recap, In 1977 I went on a road trip, and that’s where I lost my ID.

Kelly Kasper ~Blake (2017)