This is an excerpt that comes in strong in my memory, I've decided to write about things in my life that even I can't believe whats happen.
This is the Snowden Apartments
This is the place I stayed with a deranged man who robbed a bank and fled to canada, came back to the states and we ended up here
I was 17 years old. My head was spinning and I was so afraid, missing my family and so far from New Jersey where I belonged. I am here on the sixth floor of the snowdon apartments. It looked so shabby when I was there but this is definitely the building. I'm going to start telling little pieces of my life so that you women who are scared and going through some bad area in your life can read my words and be encouraged. What I write about is seriously difficult for me to do so. I am not doing it for money, because God knows that so many people have different stories to tell and all of them are different and worthy of remarks, rewards and helping other people out.
I'm just going to try my hardest to stay with the Snowdon, because it was my place of refuge and place of hell at the same time. I had to wait with my belongings on the sixth floor for the super of the building to come with a key that worked my apartment door. We just finished paying for one month rent and worked out security deposit. Things were different back then, so much easier to do things on the sly. I was with this man who was 26 years old. He told people that I was his wife. It wasn't true of course but I played along. " I was on an adventure"
I was looking out the big bay window at the street below, I saw our old faded blue pick up truck, still packed with boxes and just had a few things that we had to bring upstairs. I was not looking forward to doing that because we had been on the road for a long time. The drive to Canada from Pennsylvania took 7 hours and change. I didn't even tell my mother that I was leaving come to think of it. She must of been out of her mind with worry. Then the drive from Ontario Canada back into the states to Syracuse New York took over 11 hours because of stops. So we were in that truck for quite some time. I can remember sitting in a rest stop in the cab of the truck. The man I was with told me to wait, because he was going to go through the woods and rob the gas station that was on the other side about 2 miles from where we were. He went on foot. I was so scared. Let me tell you how God works.
It was raining and I was lonely and scared. I couldn't let anyone know what we were doing. I got on the CB on channel 19. It was the only channel that people seemed to be on in those days. I said "breaker 1-9 This is Baby Bubble Butt comin at you, is anyone there?" There was some static and I listened not really thinking about wanting to try again, I was just seeing if anyone would answer. I wasn't disappointed. I heard a young man's voice. He asked me why I was on the radio so late at night while it was raining. I was half honest with him. I said "My husband and I just picked up stakes and moved from Pennsylvania to Syracuse and we are looking for an apartment but we didn't even get into town yet. We just ate our last scrap of food and we will begin our search tomorrow. There was a long pause. He came back on the line and asked me "Do you and your husband want to come to our house in the morning and have breakfast with our family and then go to church with us?" "over" At this point Ron (the man I was with) got back into the truck. He had done what he set out to do and heard me talking to this guy." He heard what the guy asked and he nodded his head. Free Food. So the man on the CB gave me his phone number, I think his name was Steve. I cant be for sure in my head, it happened so long ago, but I do believe it was Steven.
We did call him the next morning, and got directions to this house. When we got there, it was like walking into a buffet restaurant. There were pancakes, eggs, sausage, waffles, bacon, orange juice, milk, coffee, tea and I can't remember what else, just remember being flabbergasted by the trouble these people who didn't even know us, went all out and created this wonderful breakfast just for us. There was a girl there my age and I could definitely tell the difference between her and me. She was a straight A student, with career goals in mind, and played sports and exercised and was a talented straight arrow. I was not. We did go to church with them and I felt like I didn't want to go in because I felt like such a big dirty liar. I had this big lump of guilt inside of me that was making my head shake. After the church service, the man of the house invited us to come back there for lunch. Where once again they treated us like we were some kind of royalty. They had two different kinds of meat. There was a roast beef, and there was a turkey. They had all the trimmings too.
They offered for me to stay with them at their house during the day while Ron looked for work. I think they must of known something was wrong and if I would of told them that basically I was kidnapped, robbed a bank, that he just go done robbing a gas station, they would of called the police, but I kept my mouth shut. That night Ron and I said our goodbyes for the night, and said we would see them the next day. We stayed in a rest area . There was no cab on the back of the truck, we took a blanket, spread it on the bed of the truck and tried to sleep. There were people all around us. we heard laughter all night long and singing. They were partying. Loud music was playing. When I was dropped off the next day at Stevens house, his wife asked me how we slept. I told her about our night and I remember saying "oh well" It happens.
When Ron came to pick me up, Steven approached him and told him that he paid for a motel for us for a week. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I'm gonna actually sleep in a bed. I don't remember that week, I must of gotten good sleep.
The next thing I remember is pulling up infront of this building. I remember the front porch the most. It had slanted columns holding on the front entrance way. You would enter the building and then there were the office and the elevators. When I stepped into the elevator to go to the top floor, there was this man in the elevator who looked at me and didn't say a word. The elevator itself had mirrors on all sides on the upper half of the wall and the carpet was one of those commercial carpet, very thin and dark blue but you could tell that it was so dirty. The elevator smelled bad of urine. I held my breath when I stepped on. The man in the elevator had a one inch indigo strap around his left arm just above the bicep, below the deltoid. That strap was home to a knife held in place by it. I didn't say a word as I stepped on by myself and the elevator doors closed. My next memory that has taken hold in my mind was waiting on the top floor. The key for my apartment wasn't working, so I was standing in front of my apartment door waiting for Ron to come up so that he could go get another key. As I was standing there, I heard these strange foot steps. One was heavier than the other. I was afraid to turn around. "Thump", Thump, Thump" finally I turned around and one foot away, coming towards me was a 6.5 man coming towards me. He had a black bowlers hat on his head, and I could see that he was balding. His face was oval and his eyes were big, dark and staring right at me and he wasn't saying a word. I was shaking so hard and couldn't move. He brought his arm up and made a fist at me. He cocked his arm and said "I'M GOING TO PUNCH YOU RIGHT IN THE NOSE!"
Then just as quick he brought his hand to my face and tweeked my nose and said "TWEEK!!! GOTCHA! HELLO MY NAME IS JOHN, WELCOME TO THE SNOWDEN"!
Well I just about pissed myself. This is one memory that sticks in my mind and I can see him clear as day. I bet he is not on this earth to this day, I think he probably is in the great beyond at this point. Its the only memory I have of him, I don't remember seeing him anymore there. We were there for approximately a month.
It was a place where people lived but they were the kind of people that I wasn't used to seeing. I know when I got a job down the road in a potato chip factory, there was someone who would escort me downstairs, someone who took over when I got to the porch and he would escort me to the potato chip factory and when my shift was done, he escorted me back to the Snowdon. He used to call me Muffin. He was always drinking out of a jar that had red liquid in there and when i asked him what it was , he told me tomato juice and vodka. He had shoulder length black hair and it was never combed. And he had that drink all day long. When I asked him why he brought me to work, he told me that he didn't want to see anything bad happen to me and that him and a couple of other guys that lived in that building talked about it and decided that I needed protection. One was that guy with the indigo strap on his arm with the knife. I can't for the life of me remember their names but I see their faces clearly. They knew I didn't belong in this place. That I was innocent. Even a woman that I would see once in a while that always had her apartment door open and at night a red light shown inside the room, she would tell to watch out for myself. If I ever needed anything to go to her and she would get help for me. None of the people that I saw liked Ron. They knew what he was about. They knew he had a soul as black as the devil and I didn't belong there.
When we didn't have the money for rent the next month, these very same people formed a team with me. I would hand over a box, then one person brought it to the dummy waiter and another person on the bottom grabbed it out and brought it out to the truck. We packed our truck by night under the super's nose and we left that building. Its all I remember of the Snowdon. I was 17 and I still can't believe that it happened. I will never forget the people who were alcoholics and drug addicts protected me and made sure for their part that I was ok. Like I said, it was hell, but God was there in the mist. I'm here now, back in New Jersey. I'm 54 years old and it seems like a lifetime ago but It happened. I have so much more to tell , when I put these articles together one day, I will have a book.
Proof of what I was seeing and smelling
These links will bring the reader to an articles that were written about the Snowdon in and around the time I spent there. Which verifies that I did smell urine, and bug spray, and see cock roaches. I was in the mist of all of this and I'm here to tell about it.
My First Job Ever, "Jeans Potato Chip Factory"
I didn't have anything to do. I was worried about the money. There was this place on East Division Street down the Road from the Snowdon Apartments. It was called Jean's Potato Chip Factory. I managed to get a job there. My mornings looked like this. I would get out of my apartment, there would be one of the residents of Snowdon outside my apartment waiting to escort me downstairs to the foyer where that black haired man with the tomato juice and vodka would meet me and walk me out and he would walk me to work at Jean's Potato Chip Factory. I would work an eight hour shift and then there would be my vodka man waiting for me at the end of the day to walk me home.
Jean's Potato Chip Factory was taken over by Terrell's Potato Chip factory and is no longer there. I had a nice conversation with the owners daughter of Terrells and she validated what I am saying about it being in walking distance to the snowdon apartments.
This is the link showing Jeans potato chip factory
Terrell's Potato Chips
My thoughts now
I don't know why I explored these things in my head. I just got off the phone with the historical society in Onondaga County. I was just verifying what I went through. The Snowden apartments back in the 80's was home to derelict criminals, prostitution, pediphiles. The place had roaches, and was not taken care of. I kept on thinking when I wrote this, was I just imagining it all when it occurred to me to find out what the place was like back in the 80's. It was just how I described it. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why those people in there didn't touch me, protected me, and kept me safe. I'm still shaking and to think that I am here to talk about it.
I am thankful that God protected me and must of put some invisible chains on these people or secret orders not to harm me. How does that happen? Does anyone know?
Words To Think About
Now for all the teenagers out there, or the twenty something year olds that think they are doing the right thing, like I thought. There is nothing that anyone is going to tell you to make you do the right thing. You would think that my upbringing was wrong, but it wasn't . I had parents who loved me, I had a good life and I chose wrong. i brought all the bad on myself. God still watched over me, and I know if it wasn't for him, I would be dead. I don't think any kind of religion is going to decide whether or not you go to heaven or hell. I think God knows your heart, and your either good inside or your not. If you are good inside and have well meaning intentions, from my experience you get into situations and there is safety put in front of you so you can survive. I keep thinking, what is the reason that I am alive and lived through everything that I have lived through. I think I've almost concluded that its so I can get to the next step and see how I handle something else that comes my way. Everything is a test. I don't think we are graded on it until the end. So always do your best. With everything you try to do. Don't ever give up. Situations can really look so bad and you can be overwhelmed with regret and worry, but there is always something on the horizon waiting to show you that it can be different.
Kidnapping still happens every day in our country
I would like to thank The Onondaga Historical Society Specifically Sarah in the historical department
321 Montgomery St, Syracuse, NY 13202
A Thank you goes out to Terrell's Potato Chip Factory
Terrell's Potato Chip Co 218 Midler Park Dr Syracuse NY 13206(315) 437-2786Visit: terrellspotatochips.webs.com
for the information on buying Jean's Potato Chip factory and validating for me that it was standing there at the time I said it was.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Primpo
Primpo (author) from Howell, New Jersey on October 14, 2020:
I just need to tweek it a bit.
Rob Clewley from Fresno on August 29, 2020:
Great article and very informative. It was a joy to read and it really pulled me in.