LIMA — Emma is a mother of six children — Emily, 18, Jessica, 16, Beth, 15, John, 13, Robert, 5, and Susan, 4. She and her youngest children have been bouncing from home to home since losing everything after Emma served time in jail.
“I had got drunk and pulled over,” Emma said. “I had to do 30 days in jail.”
She was renting a home and said she contacted her landlord before serving her time to explain she would move out before jail, Emma said.
“They ended up locking the screen doors, and I couldn’t get in,” she said.
Emma and her father had done a lot of work fixing the house at their own expense because the landlord wouldn’t do it, including adding their own locks to the main doors, she said. She didn’t have keys to the screen doors, though.
After serving her punishment, Emma tried to contact her landlord to retrieve her things. The landlord didn’t respond to numerous calls.
She went over to the house, found the locks had been changed and looked in the windows to see the house completely empty. Everything she owned — her children’s bikes, clothes, furniture and even family photographs were gone, Emma said with tears in her eyes.
“I called and she (the landlord) finally answered the phone,” Emma said. “I asked where my stuff was at and she asked where her money was. I said ‘first off, I have not been living there, I’ve been in jail. Second, you made us live there without heat all winter.’ She hung up on me.”
Emma contacted the police and filed a report but was told they couldn’t do anything to help her, she said.
“A lot of people told me I shouldn’t have dealt with them,” Emma said. “But I was just desperate at the time.”
Emma said she suffers from severe anxiety issues and has panic attacks at least 10 times a day. Before going to jail she was on prescription anti-anxiety medication, and the dosage has been increased recently.
Emma is fixing up a new house she is renting from a different landlord now, she said. She is looking forward to the time it is ready for her and her children to move in.
“I’m working,” she said. “I’m trying to stay consistent at work. I’ve been through a lot. I’m still going through it. I’m more at a point where I’m accepting what I can’t change. I’m trying to change how I react to certain situations.”
While working and trying to fix up the new house, Emma said she is also paying child support to her ex. Her oldest children are staying with him.
Emma said she would really appreciate it if the community would pray for her this holiday season. She said furnishings for her new home would really help, too. Her children need winter clothing and shoes. They would also be thrilled if they got any toys, she said.
Emily wears XL shirts and 18 pants. Jessica wears L shirts and 14 pants. Beth is tiny, Emma said, and wears S or M shirts and 0-3 pants. John wears XL shirts and 16/18 pants. Robert wears 6/7 clothing and a 13 shoe. Susan wears 4T clothing and 9-10 shoe.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362