If you could have any life-changing phone call with anyone in the world, in the history of the world, with whom would it be?

That’s Quora. Sometimes, between less or more trivial questions and fact-finding, you catch a glimpse of the dark magic of real life.


Answer by Dot McHale:

I’d call my dad and I tell him to run.

I have to get him young enough that the abuse hadn’t taken hold of his mind yet, as he was victim to some of the worst abuse Pennsylvania had ever seen according to both himself and the relatives that are still alive, so I’m talking about maybe a five-year-old child possibly six…… but I want him to run so bad, you can’t imagine!

If he could’ve made it to his deceased mother’s family, he might’ve been safe – they weren’t that far away.

His rather broken excuse that he was never physically hit, because his father wouldn’t allow it when his stepmother tried to escalate it further yet doesn’t change all the other horrible things….. Things that would haunt him his entire life and eventually break him by the end of his life.

His two half sisters were never allowed to speak to him the entire time they lived together from birth until he moved out. When he died, his youngest sister Rita sent me her secret stash of mementos of her brother she dearly loved who never once knew she loved him – because her mother would never allow any communication between the two of them.

These were literally stolen objects. A picture here and a report card there. Some kind note look like it was from a grade school that was the first time I ever saw my father’s name abbreviated as “Tommy”. I wonder how much courage it took for her to steal them in the first place knowing what her mother was like in her jealous rages concerning the deceased first wife and my dad?

I’ve never spoken to my aunt Rita or her sister Marion. I’m kind of afraid with the could tell me, considering what I already know.

I do know that, given the opportunity, had my dad been able to run from house and successfully get out permanently to be safely raised by other relatives, his entire quality of life would’ve been changed over the entire course of his life – and consequently, so would mine.

My dad never read any books to me that with the actual text of the books.

Every book was the exact same story:
Once upon a time there were three little pigs. Genevieve {step mother’s name}, Rita, and Marion. And after the big bad Wolf did his thing, he’d go bar hopping. He’d start with the Heineken and a shot wild turkey 101 and work his way into crashing into a brick wall.

This is every single book!

Nevermind that I could read at a second year college level by the third grade, sometimes a little kid just wants to be read to… Instead I got his coping mechanism many years after the abuse took place.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

His stepmother’s name, by which I mean her last name, translates in German to “devil” and no, not kidding.

My dad was being raised Catholic, so maybe that’s the first thing I tell him on that phone call: the devil is in the house and you have to run now.

It’s not just that she won’t let you sit at the family table to eat or allow you to be called by name – it’s going to get worse, you have to run now. Ignore that she won’t let you use the front door and insist you use the back one or the celler flap doors in the ground to get in and out {I forget which house they had at this age}, it’s going to get worse, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, RUN!

FIND AN ADULT, ANY ADULT, AND TELL THEM YOUR MOM’S NAME! Tell them you got lost on your way to her family’s house and ask them to drop you there or tell them anything you like, but get there.

Her brother was your dad’s best friend before your stepmother forbid him from talking to your dad anymore. He’ll take you in, I promise. Any of them would if you can just get there, please run!

I can almost hear myself pleading with that child that was my dad once upon a time. By time he was old enough to listen to me and do something about it, the abuse would’ve already started to some degree. I don’t know if I could get him to listen, but I would do almost anything to be given the opportunity to try.

If you could have any life-changing phone call with anyone in the world, in the history of the world, with whom would it be?


Turning stories into reality.

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