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My Story
by Annette Potter

When I was a very young girl of 14, I was out on my own in a world I did not know or understand. The circumstances leading up to that life are complex and I don't want to go into the details too much. Let's just say that I was on my own without anyone who really cared what happened to me. I lived as well as I could without guidance.

At the age of 15, I was walking around on the streets of Lexington, Kentucky when I met what would become my first husband. I was very afraid of him and he would continue to find me and confront me until I finally met and talked to him. I ended up living with him when I was 16 years old. He was 26 and very much older. He had been to prison and had learned the plumbing trade while he was encarcerated.

When I began to spend time with him, I became aware he had many unsavory friends who would party with him often. I didn't think much of any of his friends who all seemed to be losers of every caliber. On one occasion, his friends had all partook of one girl who offered herself to all of them and all of them contracted a venereal disease. I was appalled and disgusted by this type of behavior. After this party, I wanted nothing to do with this group of people including my husband to be who had not been with this female, but the idea was there that he associated with the people who engaged in this behavior.

After a time, I agreed to see him once more and we went to a trailer home he had purchased in the country. I was very poor and I had no vehicle nor did I have any way to purchase one. I was on foot and had no way to get back to the city. He left me in the country to go see about a woman who called him claiming to have decided to committ suicide because he had left her and she was distraught about it. The man did not return that evening and left me in that trailer home without heat or electricity over night. Again, I was disgusted and wanted nothing else to do with this man whom I now believed to be a dishonest person who was a cheater. He had asked me to be his girl and yet had now spent the night with another woman. I wanted nothing more to do with this man.

He begged me to re-consider, and to move in with him permanently, but in my opinion, he had already ruined any chance he had of closeness because of this indiscretion. There was no trust now and from then on it would be impossible for me to feel close to this man. He went to my mother and asked for my hand in marriage, and I reluctantly agreed to live with him. That would become a very big mistake on my part.

When I would try to leave him after that, which I did frequently, he would come and find me wherever I was and kidnap me and physically bring me back to his home wherever that would be. I was very much afraid of him because he was a scary man. He was very huge and muscular. Once he came to where I had established a home and he took an iron bar and destroyed the entire mobile home inside and out. He then took a container of gasoline and poured it over the two of us and held up a lighter then asked me why he shouldn't burn us both. I was so terrified I said the only thing I thought would save my life. I remember vividly saying I love you. It was one of the most frightening, traumatic times of my life. I will never forget it. When I finally left him, I was afraid to try to fight him in court for anything because he had scared me so much through the years that I thought if I did he would kill me and I knew he would get revenge.

That was his way of life. If someone crossed him, he would never stop until he had his vengeance. I knew that about him. When he finally allowed me to leave, he told me he would give me money and anything I wanted but not to do it through the courts. I was extremely afraid of him and I agreed then he didn't live up to his end of the bargain. He left me with nothing, so that was his revenge.

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