Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Campbell Compound Blues

What was supposed to happen:

A young Christian girl, home grown in the heart of Nebraska, sent to aid a sweety New Zealander with her heart mission of encouraging young mothers to lead a life of joy and happiness. My job was to help her ministry flourish, while providing a submissive, cheerful countenance and a willingness to serve her husband and children. It was the ideal situation; sheltered, volunteer work, biblical training, a woman of God serving men and their helpmeets.

What really happened:
Mr. Colin Campbell is used to getting his own way. He really doesn't question his position in the house. He simply assumes a full power authority, including over his wife, and treats everyone equally: like his attendants. He actually believes that anything he wants, he can order to happen and it will!

After church one day, I passed out with dizziness and fatigue. I was taken to the er, unconscious. As I slowly came to, I heard Mr. Campbell, loudly informing the doctors and nurses that this was all an act, that I was seeking attention and nothing more. He roughly shook me awake and ordered me out of the bed. Against the doctor's incredulous protests, I stumbled out to his car. He took me to his house, telling me that my next deceptive move would be faking a pregnancy. I was too out of it to protest his treatment, so he took that as a willing confession. I slept fourteen hours at his place, waking up in terror because I had somehow forgotten to breathe.

Mrs. Campbell is a very firm believer in the submissive role of the wife. I saw her, many times, come to Colin with a most valid point, only to be thoroughly shot down and treated like a nuisance. Her reaction to that was to quietly do her husband's will, and praise him for his keen mind. When he obviously knew nothing about a subject, say about a suicidal teen who just wanted to be believed, he would come to his own conclusion about what was really wrong. If the teen complained about her father abusing her, he instantly informed her that her misery was caused by her rebellion toward her father. No dad is perfect, and a girl should never question him. Because he is working under God's authority. Even if that means fingering his daughter in the night.

The Campbell kids. Namely, the girls... The girls all lived on their dad's land. And I got to know Pearl and Serene the best. Specifically Pearl. Serene was a very flaky, lively woman with way too much responsibility that she ignored. Several times I watched her 6 year old girl drop baby boy on his head, or her 2 year old boy step on nails and go unattended for most of the day. I stayed away from her house because horror was inevitable there.

I lived with Pearl, though. She was the most modern of the sisters. I wore her jeans and shorts, thrilled to wear pants for the first time in years. I watched star trek with her boys, and converted them into little trekkies. Her husband, a quiet, agreeable man, accepted me as one of his own little brood. I loved him.

But the girls were obsessed with their dad. In a really creepy way. One night, we went to supper at Colin and Nancy's. After supper, while Charlie (Pearl's husband) was out with the kids playing, Pearl curled up on her father's layup and kissed him on the lips. She lay in his lap for several minutes. I felt sick, and later asked her why she did that as a grown woman. She explained that although she WAS a mother now, she was still her dad's little girl, and she loved to please him by letting him hold his beautiful daughter. I wondered if it was strange that I felt so disturbed, but I never got over that.

When Colin decided that I was a habitual liar, he told the girls that I had infiltrated their children's pure minds and that they would do well to catch every lie the kids told, because the devil was now in the camp. And so I watched, as Pearl's 11 year old daughter, Serene's 8 year old son, and 6 year old girl were severely punished for presumed lies. Pearl's daughter agreed to do the dishes. When she got sidetracked, Pearl found her, called her a liar, and punished her. The daughter, one of the sweetest children I ever met, was very broken and confused-she hadn't lied, or hadn't meant to. And when Serene's son ran through her garden, she screamed that he could not go on a weekend outing planned Weeks before with his dad. He protested, saying he hadn't been running through to play, he was catching his brother. She then accused him of lying. His dad stripped him naked and beat him for several minutes. I was in shock with the brutality of the punishment, and all because of me. Or so Colin made it seem.

Evangeline was just...psycho. I didn't dare go near her house alone. Her pet wolf, Congo, has been known to bite the children, let alone adults. I once observed him kill Pearl's daughter's Dalmatian, as an 8 month pregnant Vangie danced in and out of the fight, pulling them apart with her bare hands, dogs snapping at her swollen belly. Inside her house was insane. She had a one room house. Eleven children! A king-sized bunk bed next to the kitchen sink. Mom, dad, and baby slept in the bottom bunk, and ALL ten siblings shared the top. She dominated her quiet husband, and raised her boys to be fierce, judgmental, and superior. The boys often struck their younger sister when they deemed she wasn't watching the baby well enough. It was seriously like stepping into a third world country. I always left in a daze, thankful for a bed of my own and a sense of personal space.

The  Campbells gave me quite an experience. The only person who treated me kindly was Charlie, and he was looked down on by everyone except Pearl. A few years later, in an interview, Colin described me as disturbed, mentally, a psychological liar, needing help, and yet he NEVER once attempted to give me any help while I was under his roof. He said that I had no respect for my father, but refused to believe me when I gave a very valid reason not to respect him. He pronounced himself one of the saaviest preachers of his time. Now he's producing a series of articles called Meat for Men. Heh heh.. He doesn't get out much.

The end.


Rachael said...

Wow, just wow. Long ago, I regularly read their magazine. What a mess behind that perfect image. I met Nancy in Australia once. I found her a little creepy.