About “And Then This Happened”

“In polar opposition to everything normal about us, was everything not normal.

We lived in a travel trailer and paraded around the United States. My public speaking skills were honed in grocery and department stores as I politely answered question after question: Why aren’t you in school? Is your family Amish? Are these all your brothers and sisters?

By 1992, we were living a different story.

We wore homemade dresses and head coverings. We didn’t have a TV and we drove an old GMC truck with a topper and a mattress in the back. We lived in a travel trailer and stayed on compounds and property owned by people of ‘like mind.’ We were home schooled and frequented libraries, but if upon flipping through a book, it had the word “damn” or “hell” in it, back on the shelf it went. We couldn’t spell “sex” on the Scrabble board.”

This is a story of Holly Wise’s journey through a conservative sect of the Christian Patriot Movement, and into an adulthood far removed from the armed compounds and degradation of her youth. This is a story representing the stories of dozens of others who have escaped and survived, escaped and suffered, and those who are still ensnared.

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