— Life —

The Contents of My Diaries

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Today I transferred the contents of my safety deposit box to another bank. The contents contained things you might expect to find in a safety deposit box, but it was my diaries and old passport photos that reminded me of one of the scariest, yet most exhilarating times of my life. A lot for a 20-something to endure, much less to write about so matter-of-factly.

“7/2/82: Guido and Little Louie [my names for the men who steal our garbage and override our alarm system] are still with us.”

“Last night I was still awake at about 2am. At first I heard voices outside, below my bedroom window, then noises downstairs. About ten minutes later I saw shadows underneath our bedroom doors. I crept to the door and poised, frozen for a minute until I heard something brush against the door on the other side.

“[My first husband] was out on valium and vodka. I got the shotgun, knowing I had no business with it unless I was prepared to use it. I went back to the door and chambered a round… a recognizable sound… counted to three and flung open the doors.

“You’ve never heard such clumsy scrambling to get down the dungeon [my name for the first floor of our three-story house] stairs at the end of the hall. All I saw were pants legs. The Three Stooges would have been more graceful.

“I didn’t go any further. Closed and locked the bedroom door, knowing that who ever they were had fled. I returned to bed and just sort of collapsed into immediate sleep. In the morning, I found it quite puzzling, my reaction… It seemed that when my emergency “fight or flight” adrenaline ran out, I found myself exhausted and sleepy. Didn’t wake [my husband.]

“The thought of living in fear–plus our attorney wants us to secure a bodyguard–is a more frequent thought since we’ve had more than this one incident. I can sympathize with celebrities and the super rich who want to live a low-profile lifestyle. Even so, our frame of mind is one of excitement, looking ahead to whatever obstacles lay in store for us… the challenge of it all.

“[My husband] said we lead a soap opera-type existence no one would really believe it. [One set of friends] are more normal, lead a quieter lifestyle, and [another couple] have two kids, a split level and a station wagon to even them out. But we sit up here, looking out over the city, feeling so very removed from them all, constantly discussing the ins and outs of everything. Even though we’ll be a public company, will the Feds and the Big Six, who drive tobacco colored Rolls Royces, let us get away with this? If we do… it will expose one of the biggest, deadliest consumer product and government tax frauds ever perpetrated on the world.

[My first husband] likes one of Wernher von Braun’s quotes: “I aim for the stars but sometimes I hit London.” We’ll see.

Love, Brenda


  • Dr. Margaret Rutherford March 25, 2017 at 8:32 am

    It’s horrifying to realize that someone is on another side of a door, rifling through your things, or having the intent to hurt you in some way. This sounds very frightening Brenda, and obviously very sad that your husband at the time had made himself useless. Two kinds of issues, really.

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      It was frightening and sad, Margaret. My first husband had always been in control until he went cold turkey with Valium. That changed who he was, how he thought of himself and who he became. I think I find the power of drugs are scarier than any corporate or government spies. Valium changed my life, and I wasn’t even the one taking it. Thank you, Brenda

  • Alana March 25, 2017 at 9:21 am

    “Scary, yet exhilarating”. That’s an interesting way to describe that part of your life. Still a need for some kind of adventure? Risk taking? Why not? (Just not in that way.) Your memoir would be great reading!

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Risk taking is a drug. Adrenaline. I continued on the risk taking path for the next 30 years. I had to see a therapist to stop it…. Now that’s scary, but not exhilarating. Thank you, Alana

  • Beckye March 25, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Oh my gosh. Incredible the things you’ve experienced! You are a survivor in so many ways!! Praise the Lord, Heaven will be completely satisfying without the safety risks! Would love to hear your stories, and yes, your memoir would be great reading!!

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I do believe God has spared me this long for a reason… Not sure it’s my memoirs, but thank you, sweet Beckye, for your encouragement. xoxox, Brenda

  • Rena March 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I want to hear more of the story! One night I heard glass shattering and I thought for sure someone had broken through the sliding glass door. I woke hubby and he grabbed the shotgun and went to take a look. Dummy me got scared for him and went to check. He was outside so that’s where I headed. I came around the house and he almost shot me! Scared both of us to death. It was something that had fallen off the wall in momma’s bathroom! We were both exhausted after the adrenaline left.

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Oh, Rena! I’ve been in that situation as well. When one of you agrees to stay put, you must do it, no matter how tempting it is to for us to check on the other one. Scary, scary! You know what I mean about being out of adrenaline and finding yourself exhausted. Thank you, friend, for sharing. xoxox, Brenda

  • Esther Zimmer March 25, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    My goodness, Brenda! You had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I know you’ve mentioned here before that you don’t feel like it would be right to publish all of your stories – which is a shame – what a memoir they would make! Essie xx

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Yes they would, Essie, but some of them are not my stories to tell, even though I was there. Especially if they include famous people who’re still living. xoxox, Brenda

  • Mamavalveeta03 March 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    My oh my! When will we get to read the rest of the story?

    • Brenda Coffee March 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Val… After the comments here about “reading my memoirs,” I’ve been seriously considering it. I’m not sure I can write a book, do 1010ParkPlace and find a life all at the same time. More importantly, I’d have to wrestle with my conscience because it’s not a story that’s in the world’s best interest. We’ll see. You’ve gotten me thinking about it. Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  • Beth (GrannyBeth3) March 28, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Years ago I ran into my diary stash and read them. I vowed to never do that again. I memorised the entry of the scariest time of my life and my then husbands reaction. It broke my heart to realise that the person next to me was so empty. It broke my heart to realise that I was made of such stronger stuff than I knew.

    • 1010ParkPlace March 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I can identify, Beth. I’m sorry you’ve come to these realizations. They hurt, don’t they? The good news here is you and I are strong women. Probably stronger than our husbands. Reading just a handful of my dairy entries showed me something my younger self didn’t know: “It” was all about him. His ego didn’t have room to value and appreciate me, much less not do anything that would harm me. Even when he was dying of cancer, he didn’t tell me I would be left with tremendous debt and very little with which to pay it off. I felt used and abused and was angry. In fact, I slammed my fist into the top of his closed casket at the cemetery and said aloud, “Damn you!”

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