Once I got to St. Louis and was picked up by devotees I found out that some of the women were in India and the few remaining had been sent to Chicago. I would be traveling by train to the Chicago temple.
My time at the temple was a mixture of things I loved and difficulties when I asked to remain there and found myself being groomed for selling books at the airport rather than serving the Deities inside the temple as I had been doing (making vases, sewing and other activities). I wanted to be a pujari. I knew I was too shy and introverted to make a good "book distributor" or "sankirtan devotee." I have written about this time in more depth here: https://tapati.livejournal.com/345999.html
The above entry includes meeting my first husband (Mike aka Mahasraya) and falling in love, a story which is continued here https://tapati.livejournal.com/346129.html where we fell in love (or lust) and tried to make it an instantaneous committed relationship. Since it was also my first serious relationship this was misguided at best. (Kids at home--don't try this!)
My mom had heard I left Missouri for Chicago and that I had left that temple as well. By Illinois law I was NOT free to leave home and be on my own without an emancipation process. She found me at the Salvation Army runaway shelter and they had to allow her to take me home against my will. I tried to argue that I had met someone (he's a magic man, mama!) and she said he could come too, as mentioned in the post linked to, above. He eventually went back to Chicago and Mom agreed I could at some point join him--then decided to move with me. This was part of her mental illness--Borderline Personality Disorder. She couldn't let go. In Chicago we shared a studio apartment and it was very cramped. We had a blow out argument one night and I had to flee. I met Mahasraya and we went to stay with a friend. We were trying to figure out which temple to "surrender" or move into when we ran into Swarupa, the devotee I'd been corresponding with in L.A. He invited us to come to L.A. and we could stay with him and his family while we looked for an apartment and a department to serve and be supported by. I got the rest of my stuff from my mom (a very tense scene) and we flew to L.A. on August 10, 1976.
This post https://tapati.livejournal.com/285762.html takes me from living in a Spanish apartment building on Watseka Avenue near the temple to losing our housing when I got pregnant the following year (1977) and staying in an unheated laundry room, sleeping on the cement floor and applying for welfare when Mahasraya found and then abruptly quit a job that could have supported us. He began abusing me soon after we moved into our first apartment and the abuse continued throughout my pregnancy and beyond.
These next two posts, https://tapati.livejournal.com/285953.html and https://tapati.livejournal.com/287585.html continue my account of violence amid childbirth and my son's first year, including an attempt to leave Mahasraya. I aborted that attempt which involved a plane flight to Hawaii. I was too afraid to be on my own in an unfamiliar place. It is a mark of how difficult my family was that I didn't turn to them instead.
I didn't realize that I was already pregnant with Ramya until the morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) began. This post is an account of that period of time before I left once again after a terrifying incident of abuse that I felt threatened my pregnancy: https://tapati.livejournal.com/288309.html
I ended up sharing an apartment after a brief stay with my friend Nitai dasi. While I was renting a room in CV dasi's apartment I turned twenty. My daughter's birth was five months in the future. (Yes that means she will be turning 40 soon.) This is an account of that time and how I sadly got back together with Mahasraya: https://tapati.livejournal.com/289500.html