by Erma Bellamy
To this day, I still can’t eat eggs. I can’t stand the smell of it cooking.
I’m not fond of bread and butter either. I’ve tried to eat eggs several
times, but it comes right back up, along with the bad memory
associated with it.
One morning, when I was 5 years old, the delicious smell of breakfast
lured me to the kitchen doorway. I was hoping to see Mom cooking,
but it was Him.
Him being the ‘daddy’ that beat Mom in front of us. Him being the
monster that taught my brother to steal and lie before he was even
7 years old. My brother loved that man, but I hated him and said so
every chance I got. I’d even tell strangers how much I hated Ed
Sturgis, hoping they would help us get away from him.
That morning I hated him even more because I was hungry and
I knew he wouldn’t fix me any food. I stood in the doorway starring
at him, wishing with all my heart that he would disappear. Then I
could eat the food he had just fixed; Scrambled eggs with cheese,
lightly toasted bread with butter and grape jelly. Personally I could
do without the jelly and I liked my toast almost burnt. But ‘silent ‘
beggars can’t be choosy.
He moved his plate to the chair closest to me so I could see every
morsel he put in his mouth. He put on quite a show, chewing loudly,
holding the food up to his mouth, then biting at it like it was his
By now I was so hungry I was in tears, but I refused to beg him for anything.
When he finished eating, he went to the sink to wash the pan and other utensils.
As mean as he was, you’d never expect him to be clean, but he was. Go figure.
Anyway, the moment his back was turned, I planned my attack.
There were a few scraps of egg and toast left on his plate. If I
acted quickly, I could slag it and run. After all, he was just going
to give it to our dog.
As he washed the pan, I saw him sneaking a look at me from the
corner of his eye, but I was too hungry to care. Being short, it took
me a few seconds to get up on the chair, but once I had accomplished
that, it was smooth sailing from then on. I had just picked up the bits
of egg with the small scrap of toast and almost got it in my mouth
when it happened;
Ed came at me at the speed of lightening. All I saw was a moment,
before he slapped me so hard that I was air born, then landed
on the floor. The thump was so loud that Mom came running out
of the bedroom.
She saw her little girl on the floor. My mouth had started bleeding,
while Ed stood a few feet from me, laughing. It was the first and
last time Mom went off on him. She told him if he ever put his hands
on me or her sons ever again, she would kill him. Ed stopped laughing.
We’ll never know what he would have done, because just then, there
was a knock on the front door. It was urgent, loud knocking. Ed went
to the door, flung it open and stopped dead in his tracks. If it had been
the ‘rent man’, Ed would have cursed him out for bothering him so early
in the morning. But it wasn’t the ‘rent man’. It was the police.
“Are you Ed Sturgis”, one of them asked.
“Awww, yes I am”
By now me and Mom had moved closer to the door and could see
outside. Our tiny yard was filled with police cars and policemen
standing around with their hands on their guns.
I was scared. I had never seen police before.
“Ed Sturgis, we’d like to talk to you outside.”
“Aww ok. Hallie I’ll be right back.”
“No you won’t!!“ a squeaky voice yelled.
Ed and the police turned around to see where that voice came from.
Those words came out of me! A little 5 year old girl, in a long white
night gown, with blood on the front of it and a determined look on
I slammed the door shut.
As I walked away to clean myself up, I saw Mom looking at me
like she’d never seen me before.
That fateful morning, Ed and his brother Monroe Sturgis, were arrested
for robbery and murder. They had broke into a man’s house looking for money
and killed him. We found out later that the man didn't have any
money at all. Not in his home or a bank account.
Ed got life in prison. His brother was found hanging in his jail cell before he went to
trial. I wanted Ed to go away and never come back, but I didn't want my prayers
to be answered by someone getting killed.