Wednesday, April 22, 2009

green river, running red

circa 1990, 25 years old

Currently, I'm reading a book about the Green River Killer, by Anne Rule.

Most of the victims were prostitutes between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and this still freaks me out. In 1983, when the majority of the killing was happening, I was eighteen. And it's not as though my life was any different than those of the girls in the book, except that I was living in Alberta, and they were near Seattle.

I'd been raised by my highly depressive and alcoholic mother when she split up with Dad, but she took us to the farm instead of the city, and that might have been a deciding factor. We endured some sexual abuse through a family friend, which also happened to a lot of kids on the street. I left home at seventeen to live with my BF, but we both worked, then a year later, got married. However, that ended when I was nineteen and I scrambled to make a paycheque and find a place to live.

In my very young days, I sold my kitchen table and vacuum cleaner and sometimes my clothes, and I waitressed and bartended and found jobs where staff lodging was included in the pay - which is why I worked in Nordegg and Red Earth Creek. If I was in a bind, my mom or my sister would help me out.

By the time I'd had Jamie, I was almost twenty-four, and the pic above was taken when I was twenty-five. By then I'd left Jamie's dad, set up an apartment with donated furniture, worked 50 hours a week in a restaurant and had my child care costs subsidized by the Alberta government.

Each day as I read more of the book, about more of the girls, I wonder what it was that made the girls turn to prostitution. I think I was lucky on two fronts - the first being that while we all smoked a little weed and drank a lot of whiskey, we didn't do cocaine, ecstacy or meth. The second was that while I've always had boyfriends, they were never the type to say, "Hey Kate - maybe you could turn a few tricks. You know, because you love me."

For those that suffered it, my heart goes out to them. It must have been a lonely burden. To be honest, I'm looking forward to the part of the book that explains what was going on in that killers mind, and what happened to him at trial. The proceedings happened after Dale's death, and back then I'd stopped watching TV, or reading papers. I have no idea if he's still on death row today, or already dead.

On a brighter note, our family has started receiving the Child Tax Benefit again, and we went out to stock up on groceries last night. It feels so good to have a full refridgerator!

Have a good Wednesday.


  1. Kate,

    This post grips my heart in a way that I can't describe. You are a survivor and I admire that about you.

  2. Oh wow... this was touching and really beautiful in a wierd sort of way... I'm not making much sense. Wow though... I think I admire you a little bit more for reading this.
    And I love that long hair... Princess's hair is long and dark like that, they're very similar.
    Can I giggle at your tight-rolled jeans? :)

  3. Thanks Bobby! I've been so lucky, in so many ways.

    Hi Sammi. You know, I am not sure why my jeans are rolled up, but I noticed that too. Was too close to the 80's? lol

  4. it was your fate to survive... and I'm so glad you did!

    I just caught up on the past pictures... nostalgic pictures are always fun to see.

  5. I am so glad you are the woman you are. You have touched my heart.

  6. Sounds like you have had some very memorable experiences. Thanks for sharing some of your history. It's nice getting to know you.

  7. It is a tribute to you that you got through the hard times to today, looking back is always a great reminder to respect what you have achieved, not only for yourself but those you love. Good on you.

  8. Kate, you certainly are strong and courageous to have handled all that. It makes me proud to know you. :)

  9. Dorrie - thanks for stopping by!

    Mamawkim - I appreciate your comment. Hope today is peaceful for you.

    Kim - I think everybody has a story or two!

    DD - nice to see you, thank you.

    Tim - I'd never thought of myself as "strong" before Dale's death, but now I appreciate being able to stay intact when everything happened.

  10. Sounds like quite a book, I might look out for it myself. You have led quite the life haven't you Kate - mine has been so sheltered comparatively

  11. I've read that book, and many others by Anne Rule. It still amazes me that she worked with Ted Bundy, knew him.........

    I'm sure the reasons why girls become a prostitute are across the rainbow with the why's. No doubt every reason is heartbreaking~

  12. I just thank goodness you were able to get through as a survivor -- I know you don't think you suffered at all and I am sure you thought your life was "normal". In the grand scheme of things maybe you were more normal that most - but its still something to keep bouncing back from all you went through.

    It was a different past but my mom survived her childhood and worked hard to ensure me and my brother had a good childhood and we did.

    I honestly think its there has to be something in us that won't allow us to turn to prostitution. I remember reading something in Cosmo in the 70's about some high priced call girl -- she made it sound so glamerous and I will admit there was a small part of me that thought -- its just sex how difficult could it be??? Thank goodness that thought passed very very quickly -- phew!!!

  13. Your story touched my heart Kate. We have very similar backgrounds in a way. You are a strong woman and I admire you.

    I hear you on the Child Tax Benefit! It is a life saver.

    Amy xxx

  14. You have made me drag and haul out my old pictures as well so watch out. Thank you for sharing these pieces of you. I am priveleged and honoured for this opportunity to know you. Maggs

  15. Your life inspires me more and more. There are so many 'what ifs' in life that could have changed all of our paths, but I do believe that there is something inside us that allows us to make decisions that save us from certain situations.

    Have a great day, Kate!

  16. I read that book, and some other similar stories and felt a lot of empathy for those women too. What a scary thing to end up in that position.

  17. It's funny how small things like a full fridge can give such a sense of joy.

    I think alot of those girls were just people who went through a hard time and were doing what they could to survive. It is sick the lack of value some people attach to their lives. In many ways I wish prostition was legalized and in brothels so that the girls would be safer.

  18. It always touches me when someone opens up the way you have here. You're an amazing person.

    I feel rich when I have plenty of food in the house, so I understand your joy.