Our whole life did not instantly revolve around the cult. A gradual change took place. So slow it was hard to notice, until it was too late.
As long as I can remember, my Dad played soccer. Before I was born, he played in high school, and received a scholarship for college. He was involved with the Seattle Sounders for a short time as well. I have a healthy respect for the sport. As a child on the sidelines, I cannot say it was “fun” to watch. I loved to go explore and play around while the teams were on the field. I knew that my Dad had broken his nose three times, and that kind of scared me. I saw some injuries take place while we watched, and that looked miserable for the injured person! I liked to play with the other kids, and I still like to play for recreation, but the high competition still makes me nervous. I would like it when Dad’s team won. Everyone was happy! What I didn’t like was when Dad or his friends would pick me up because they were happy and excited. They were always so sweaty! Also- the spitting. Yuck! They would put water in their mouth, swish it around, and spit it out. Above all this, I was so proud of my Dad. He was so obviously gifted. I will never forget the way he would dance up and down the field with the ball. It was very artistic.
My family has always been active. We have pictures of Dad carrying me in a backpack while hiking to Lake 22 and many other day hikes in this area. Mom and Dad loved to bicycle, and shared that love with us. I remember Brother and I being towed in a bike trailer on a long trail. And then Brother and I learned to ride. We would go for day trips and it was so fun. We had a hill by our house, and I loved to start at the top and ride as fast as I could to our driveway. When I would reach a certain speed, it felt like I was flying. One time, I hit a large rock at the end of our driveway, and I literally did fly over my handlebars and landed in the bushes. A good reason to live in the country. The bushes were a lot softer than the sidewalk. Every weekend, and most evenings in the summer, we would be outdoors. Either watching Dad play soccer, riding bikes, playing tennis as a family, or going camping. In the winter, Brother and I would do gymnastics. Mom and Dad made the best of our moments as a family. They kept us active and I am so grateful for that.
The animals we had in Carnation were two dogs and a cat. Barney, our German Shepherd, was a trained fire dog. We got him because his temperament wasn’t correct for police work. He was too nice. He really did have the most patient and sweet personality. But he was a little dumb. The good thing was he was a good protector because everyone was scared of him because of his breed. Our other dog was Lady. She was a small yellow lab mix. She “smiled”. Have you ever seen a dog smile? They look like they are baring their teeth, but it is not because they are being vicious. It is adorable. However Lady would get herself in trouble. She would scare people with this skill and one time a lady whacked her with a stick because she thought Lady was going to bite her. Poor Lady. She did have an evil side though. She used to lead Barney to porcupine. He would get quilled and she would get nothing. They did it often enough, that eventually Lady got all the dogs in the neighborhood together, they all got quilled (except Lady) and she brought home the porcupine body. Barney and Lady lived a long time. Barney had bad hips, and disappeared into the woods one day. Lady moved with us a few times, and disappeared when we lived in Snohomish. My cat, Tabby, was my cat. She was tabby/calico mix. We moved into our house in Carnation when I was 3. Mom took me to pick out my kitten shortly after we moved in to the house. I picked the one that was the most playful and independent. She was very smart too. Aaron and I used to call her to bed with us, and she had to decide in which bed to lay. She put up with us. I remember one night when she was in my bed, that I had a dream a dinosaur had cornered me. The dinosaur was a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was scratching my arms. In my dream, I was squeezing my teddy bear tight. I woke up and I was squeezing poor Tabby and she was scratching my arms!
I wanted to write all this to show that the cult did not instantly take over our lives. We had many recreations that slowly got “taken” away. Brother and I had a toy room full of toys, and shelves full of books. Dad had bought us a computer, and Nintendo. We were spoiled children, and had no idea the changes that were to come. I had never imagined that we would move and I could only keep one bag of toys. That I couldn’t keep my books. Or that we would be separated as a family unit, and from our extended family.