Punk Life (Re-Post)

Photo courtesy Life Site: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-i-saw-an-aborted-babys-heart-beating-outside-his-body-new-undercov

I am reposting this story written in January, 2013 because it is so relevant today, with the sickening videos on Planned Parenthood being released.  It is my story and it is why I am Pro-Life:  

I recall sitting in the back of my grandparent’s car in the late '60s as a little girl and hearing the Beatles for the first time, and I was bored.  I know.  Can you believe? Through the '70s my sister fell in love with David Bowie and his glitter rock and I fell asleep listening to the click of her 8-track tape deck changing from side to side.  I heard his songs so many times I could hum Panic in Detroit in my sleep.  I was beginning to form my musical opinions.

By the time the '80s ushered in my ability to drive, get a job, and have some freedom, I was so in love with all that new music because it did not sound like anything else I had ever listened to.  On a clear night I could get the radio station in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  They played punk and what was being called New Wave.  While surfing the radio waves one snowy night, looking for an announcement about closed schools on our little local radio station WHMI, I discovered that they were playing some of that heady stuff I was falling in love with.  I started listening to The Cure back in their very black days. You won’t hear that stuff on the radio; not even today. 

Punk.  You just couldn’t find it anywhere in Detroit.  I mean, this was DETROIT.  Home of Motown.  Rock City.  WRIF ruled the waves and it was Ted Nugent, AC/DC, and Bob Segar.  All of which I enjoyed of course, but my heart was being tugged elsewhere.

My bff Terri and I were not much unlike all the giggling teenage girls back then.  We spent hours talking, playing with makeup, planning outfits, singing, dancing, going to concerts, and shopping. When we graduated from high school, we were old enough to enter the club scene in Detroit.  Oh sure our hands were stamped with the ‘underage’ scarlet letter but that didn’t stop us from wanting to dance and be part of the music scene. 

We had our own personal favorite spaces and we would cooperate going to one or another.  Mine was a punk/gay bar called Todd's Sway Lounge in East Detroit. It was located at 7 Mile and Van Dyke, and believe me when I say it was very dicey even back in the day. However when we dressed like punks, we found that nobody messed with us.  I was scared to death walking from the parking lot on 7 Mile, but dressed as a punk I didn’t look scared. Here I was, Lilly White posing.  Black rouge, black nail polish, black lipstick.  My eyes rimmed black.  Back in those days I used real safety pins as earrings, easily nipping off the sharp tip because the idea of stabbing that thing through my ear was frightening.  There was no such thing as Got 2B Glue, I used real watered-down Elmer’s Glue and hung my head upside down to dry in order to get the Mohawk to stand up.  I used food-coloring mixed in hairspray and found it washed out easily in the morning.  The nice thing about having longer hair was that if I put it up, people could see the sides of my head were shaved and if I kept it down, they couldn’t really tell so much. 

My bff and I would slow dance in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by other punks, swaying in our own little circle.  There was no picking up people there; it wasn’t a place like that.  It was a place to be seen….and the punks with their spiked hair could be spotted in black silhouette on the dance floor with mulit-colored, bright stage-lights lighting up our hair in a dazzling array.  Todd's had live punk bands there.  The air smelled of incense and herbal cigarettes.  If you wanted a drink, you had to make your way to the bar where the gays hung out.  No judging.  Everyone was a misfit in that bar and we all remained easily anonymous. I was part of something so utterly underground in Detroit that only certain people knew about this place. It was not packed on alternative Thursday nights by any stretch. 

Conversely, to appease my bff, I went clubbing with her in Ann Arbor.  Such a cool town, we used to go early and make our way to the local head shops for entertainment and the record store.  Schoolkids Records was locally well known. They had imported vinyl and I could buy The Cure – Faith and Seventeen Seconds, Batastrophy, The Sex Pistols.  For these outings we would be dressed in our brightly colored miniskirts with big, 80s hair.  My bff had a penchant for Billy Idol, Depeche Mode, and the more electronic New Wave music. We would often close the bars in Ann Arbor.  I was going to Eastern Michigan University and my bff had dropped out of school, to work.  I loved her like a sister.  It was about this time that she started to become totally boy crazy.  I really had to start watching her.  I became the mom and she became out of control.  She started going to the bars without me.  When I went, I was her designated driver. 

She met a guy at a bar and sadly she got herself pregnant.  I recall at the time that she was terrified and needed me and I just wanted to be there for her.  She wanted the boy to marry her but he refused.  He offered to pay for an abortion.  She waited.  She cajoled but he would not relent.  Finally she realized she would have to make some difficult decisions.  Our other good friend Kim insisted it was a sin to have an abortion. She cried and begged for Terri not to do it.  She couldn't understand why I was supporting it. When Terri finally made the decision to go through with it, and I supported her decision, Kim never spoke to us again.  My bff was terrified her mother might find out so she begged me to come with her.  I skipped school that day because I loved Terri.

I played the mom yet again.  She had already gone to Planned Parenthood in the morning and they inserted a wood ‘wedge’ to start dilating her cervix.   When I got to her apartment, she was taking the first valium they prescribed.  She was in some pain already.  I drove her back to the clinic and held her hand all the way through.  I stroked her forehead as she squeezed her eyes shut in the moments the suction hurt her very badly.  I have tried to block out the images and sounds as I sat in that room with my best friend.  I have tried to block out the image of the bloody jar that contained floating bits of a baby.  They held the jar up and carried it out, like it was an everyday occurrence.  My best friend’s baby was in that jar.  Had they no feelings?  I have tried to block that image from my mind for 29 years and I cannot. I have tried to block the image of the doctor going in to cut up the larger parts of that baby when that horrible sucking machine stopped.  It was truly horrifying.

At the time, I recall being thankful that I never placed myself into that sort of a situation.  I was glad that it was her difficult decision to make.  I could not sit in judgment of her and I took no blame for the decision, though Kim blamed us both.  I just wanted to be there for Terri.

Within a year, I had moved away, married, and we lost touch.  Life went on.

It was about the time I was age 30 that I started searching for my long lost friend.  The internet allowed me to start searching phone books in Florida as I had heard she moved there with her mother.  I had two little ones at home and I was urgently in need of my high school bestie.  I was in urgent need to know everything was OK with her.  I searched for 2 years on the internet.  I mailed letters to strangers with her mother’s name and finally, one day I received a phone call.  It was my best friend’s mother.  What she proceeded to tell me has haunted me ever since.  Only 6 months earlier my best friend Terri was killed in a car accident.  I lost the dearest friend I ever knew. 

You probably wonder why this has haunted me.  I am haunted by the images of myself as a young girl so willing to let my friend put an end to a life.  She just wanted this foreign, offending thing out of her so she could go on living.  Unfortunately, she didn’t live, did she? I could never tell her mother what we had done together.  I could never let her mother grieve for not only the loss of her sweet daughter, but also mourn for the loss of what could have been her grandchild.

If I knew then what I know now about life, I would have begged Terri to have the baby.  Her mother would at least have had a grandchild to remember her daughter by.  I cannot forgive myself for being a tacit partner in the loss of that innocent unborn child.  I also cannot forgive myself because I knew my friend had lied about her last period.  At the time only first trimester abortions were allowed and I knew she was in her 4th month.  I must live with the pain of her decision every day of my life. 

Terri was such a sweet soul.  She was kind and generous and loved life.  She made some errors in good judgment and I cannot blame her for that.  I am still heartbroken that I will never get to see her again so that I can heal for my part in standing by in the terrible decision she made to abort her baby.  I only hope that this story will help others to see that a decision to follow in Terri’s footsteps will have life-long effects on others around them.  It is a life.