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A Charmed Life

The Story Behind Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle

ISBN 978-0-9948695-6-2

Kaitlin Ann Trepanier

Published by Kaitlin Ann Trepanier

E-Book Distributed by Smashwords

© Copyright 2017 Kaitlin Ann Trepanier

DISCOVER these titles NOW on www.Smashwords.com and other ebook retailers

1. Little Jack The Return of a Warrior? Book 1

2. Little Jack A Warrior’s Quest? Book 2

3. Little Jack The Unlikely Warrior Book 3

4. Little Jack The Menace Book 4

5. Little Jack The Comic Warrior Book 5

6. Little Jack A New Family Book 6

7. Dark Horses More Than You Believe

8. Under The Influence ... What We Don’t Know Does Hurt Us Manifesto

9. Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle

For You ... Because Everyone Matters

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The Story Behind Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle


Thank you Mom and Dad. You did the best with what you believed and knew, but there was so much you did not know or understand. Neither did many other people, including the experts of the time. Thankfully, after much research, studies, and personal work, I and many others now do.

Because of what I have learned and as a result also developed, the Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle concept, company, and global initiative, I am sharing my story to increase respect for each other’s unique differences and to encourage all of us to find ways to love unconditionally, so everyone will thrive, developing their potential to the best of their abilities.


She is a little girl who lives in a small southern Canadian town close to the American border surrounded by a sea of fertile land where one can see for miles, even when the crops are ready for harvest. Dividing the small white Scottish-settled community and neighboring communities of different origins, a dark, narrow river reflects the deep browns of the surrounding earth and rich green of the overhanging foliage rather than wide blue sky overhead, hiding what lay below, much in the same way the sunny smile of the little girl hides what lies beneath her surface.

Happiest when alone exploring the outdoor, rather than the indoor world, the little girl is drawn as a magnet is to metal. Her fascination with the natural environment and how things work sometimes made her lose track of time and her surroundings until she grows thirsty, hungry, tired, or until darkness falls. But sometimes even thirst, hunger, and tiredness cannot keep her from missing the feeling of night on her skin as she watches the dimples of light reveal themselves behind the curtains of daylight and twilight.

Though the little girl can sit for hours in stillness, eventually the electrical current coiled tight in her composed still-life form springs to life with such force an observer may wonder how one so little could look and feel so powerful. Static or moving, her internal world sometimes puts her in conflict with the outside world, placing her in harm’s way.

This is why I show up. Watching over her and keeping her safe to the best of my abilities is my job; one that proves quite challenging as you will discover.

When I first arrive, the little girl does not talk to me, but I know she knows I am there. Over time, she does start to speak to me, but since no one else can see me, her chatter makes her look even more unusual to those around her.

What’s your name? the little girl, Debbie, finally asks.

Maya, I reply and that is that. She does not ask any more questions, which is rather strange for such a curious little one, but I know she knows I am not here to limit or harm her. To her, I am a friend. Perhaps her best one, though only time would tell.

Debbie, put your clothes back on right now, her young mother cries out after opening the backyard door, her head shaking at the actions of her first born.



More silence. Not even a glance towards the open door and figure standing there.

Debbie’s mother cannot understand her daughter’s determination to shed her clothes, save her underwear, as soon as she gets out the door. Sheds the clothes and hits the sandbox before generously sharing her peanut butter sandwich with the family’s mutt pup, Skippy, as part of her two-year old’s summer routine before she ventures quietly around the large back yard. Rich with mature trees ripe for climbing, an old shed for exploring, and a small field of raspberry bushes, the back yard thankfully keeps her bold little one from the shores of the backyard river. Or so Debbie’s mother thinks.

At first, the young mother fights valiantly to redress her daughter, but she quickly discovers how futile her efforts are so she gives up and goes about her day before the next big effort of getting her little one inside looms before her. But if her Dad arrives home on time for supper, Debbie’s mother knows her valiant efforts will not be needed when their firstborn hears her father’s care pull up in the driveway.

Little changes when Debbie’s little sister arrives when Debbie is three and a half years old. The mother is surprised at her eldest daughter’s lack of interest in the basinet holding the tiny new being, which is a relief since now she can leave her eldest to her usual devices so she can tend to her new daughter’s needs. A deep hope is this new child will not be so taxing for her as her eldest. What the young mother really hopes is because her second daughter is born on her own birthday, her second daughter will have more in common with her than her eldest daughter.

No, the five-year old replies.

You cannot walk to school by yourself the first day.

Yes I can.

No you cannot and will not. I will walk with you, the young mother demands though wearily from the battle leading up to what was supposed to be a relief with her little Debbie finally entering school.

The weary mother says softly to herself, I do not care if the school is a public one rather than the Catholic school she will attend for grade one next year, I need a break. Certainly she will be fine in a public school for one year.

NO! I can go by myself!

Knowing her five-year old’s increasing independence and determination, she knows there is no point arguing, especially when she knows she has another option. A safe one.

All right, she relents, preparing herself for the exercise of stalking instead of walking her daughter. She never thought it would come to hiding behind trees, bushes, or whatever was available to ensure her daughter arrives safely and peacefully to the fenced-in schoolyard, but then again she was no longer surprised by her eldest. Or so she mistakenly believes.

How could two blocks seem so far? The young mother mutters as she scurries from hiding spot to hiding spot, praying her eldest will not turn around and discover her because of the battle that would ensue. The arrangements she made for someone to look after her second daughter while she took her eldest to school is today’s saving grace she reminds herself.

Silently, she admits, at times like these, she is also proud of her daughter’s trust and courage to venture out into the world without fear, but she is also very afraid for her bold little one.

I watch Debbie and her mother as they push against each other daily with the knowledge their relationship is never going to be easy, especially now the second daughter is proving to be the apple of her mother’s eye, as Debbie is to her dad’s eye.

But something bad I sense is pending. The problem is not school because Debbie loves to learn. Her report cards verify her love of learning with a row of A’s and no behavior problem comments. Neither is she bothered by her younger sister. Well, maybe she is a little by the attention she loses to her, especially from her mother, but school, for now is filling the attention gaps.

No, it is something else. Something really bad I know I cannot prevent, but can only try to minimize the damage with my presence.

I do not know why mom and dad are making sleep in this bed in the basement, Debbie wonders aloud trying to break the heavy, dark silence. The cement floor is so cold on my feet bare feet and the walls are not really walls. Dad says they are walls waiting for their coverings. The bed is big like mom and dad’s bed, but this one, even with the pretty pink blanket, is cold and lonely with only me in it down here. The room is very, very dark, even though there is a high little window with a little curtain. I cannot tell what color it is, but it is not totally dark because a bit of streetlight is shining through. With the blankets pulled tight up to my chin, I want to go do sleep, but for some reason I feel scared. I don’t know why. I want to go back upstairs, but I am afraid to get out of the bed. There are many footsteps I hear. Then it is quiet. I squint my eyes to try and see through the darkness, but all I see are shadows of things.

But wait! Something just moved! I say, but this time only inside of my head so it does not notice me. I want to cry out, but I know mom and dad will be mad, but I still want to run across the basement floor, my bare feet smacking the cement with each step. Or I want to become invisible.

And then I am, but not in the same place or in a way I expect.

Somehow I am suddenly crouched beside a wooden object, shivering, instead of lying in the bed. But when I look at the bed, I am still lying in the bed still as an animal caught in a trap.

How can …?

Shhhh. You are okay here with me.

The voice cooing in my ear is familiar. It’s is Maya’s voice.

Like always, questions race through my head, but for some reason right now they cannot not make it out of my mouth.

Slowly my head turns to look directly at Maya. Her eyes are wide, then narrow strangely as she looks past me and at the two figures, me and some other on the bed. Hands course over my body on top of the blankets. I do not like it, even from where I am standing. My skin feels funny, not good funny; the skin I am standing in and the skin covering the little girl’s body lying there so rigidly. My body’s skin.

Maya draws me closer, holds me tighter, and covers my eyes.

No, I whimper. Was it a no to what is happening or a no to Maya’s covering hands?

You do not need to see this little one.

I do not know what to say other than no.

And then all of a sudden, morning sounds on the floor above break the silence and draws me out of the still-cold bed. Without haste, I throw back the covers and race from one end of the basement to the other, breaking forth in the daylight with such joy I feel my heart will burst.

I know I should say something. I should tell mom and dad, but something stops me. Is it Maya? Or someone or something else?

After last night, no matter how hard I try to avoid sleeping in the basement, like falling asleep on the sofa, I wake up in the same dark, damp place I am growing to hate, as much as what I hate happens when I am in that basement alone at night. But I am happy Maya is always with me. I wonder where she sleeps. I will have to ask her.

My neighborhood friends make me forget the nights for a while during the day. Of the kids around, Kim, Keith, and Shelly, are my constant companions because we are all the same age, I think, and live close to each other. We run, we cycle, we dare each other, and we play hide and seek at dusk, trying to stay out late even as summer nights grow shorter. We even sneak back out and in at night because our house doors are never locked.

But the most fun we have is down at the river. We earn nickels and dimes from the Americans who dock their white shiny yachts a few houses down from ours at Fiddler’s Green Yacht Club. When done grabbing their lines to moor the boats, with coins grasped in our hands and mouths, we swim across the river to buy penny candy at the variety store. Sometimes we sit and eat the candy right away, but sometimes, especially on a dare, we swim back with one of our arms raised high above the water just to see who can make the journey with dry candy. Mom and dad do not know I can swim. How surprised they will be when they discover I can swim across the river and back! With candy in my hand, but I do not think it is a good idea to tell them yet.

School has been another fun escape from the dark place at home, but by grade three, everything changes. I am used to mom and dad getting angry with me and punishing me, but until now none of my teachers has ever punished me by hitting me.

I go to a different school now instead of the public school. It is a Catholic School across the river. Unlike my kindergarten school, this one has regular teachers and teachers who dress funny. They are called nuns. They look funny in their long black habits with the stiff white fabric pinching their faces, especially Sister Theresa’s face because she always looks mad and mean.

Because my last name starts with a “T,” my desk is almost always near the back of the classroom, which I like, but I cannot see the board very well. I also get very bored when teachers talk, talk, and talk. I like to learn, but when I am not learning my way, I do not want to sit still. But even then, if I have to sit too long in a chair, my body starts to fidget because it wants to move.

And Sister Theresa really does not like it when I start to fidget.

Or so I am learning.

I am okay when she is writing on the blackboard, but when she turns to talk to us and she sees me fidgeting, her eyes narrow, her face screws up, she grabs a ruler, and heads my way.


Deb … Or …. Ah!

I glare back at her for not saying my name right. She refuses to call me Debra after she tells me Deborah is the correct spelling of my name in the Bible and my mother should have known better.

When I see her charging towards me, I ready myself and my hands because I have learned the punishment goes faster if I make my hands ready. “Rat-a-tat-tat” sounds the ruler as the wood sharply finds its mark on my knuckles. Sometimes she just raps my knuckles, but sometimes she does the worst thing afterwards. She sends me off to sit in the corner with my back to the class on the stool for bad students. I do not mind so much because I like being alone in my thoughts, but I really do not like how the other kids make fun of me.

But I did not know the worst was yet to come from Sister Theresa; even when the worst happens I cannot believe it!

The day starts off like most other days. Sister Theresa is talking, glaring, and daring anyone to talk or act up. She looks meaner than usual. And sadly, I find out just how mean she is though I never learn why.

Doing my best to try and pay attention in order to be spared, I must do something she really does not like because suddenly her black-draped shape looms large as she barrels towards me, not just with a ruler in her hand, but a yardstick! Sad, but also scared and angry too, I place my eight-year old fingers on the desk for the expected rapping that never comes.

Instead, my head reels from the shock of the wooden yardstick crashing down on top of my head and the sound of “crack” before the yardstick snaps in half!

Stunned by the attack and the pain, I do not scream. Instead, I choke back my defiance and tears with all I can muster because I do not want another blow to land on my head or anywhere else. I do not know if I can take it. And I do not know what I might do, but I know I want to do something not very nice to the bad mean nun.

Stunned silence fills the air. Softly, murmured words began to escape my classmates’ mouths, none of which I hear and do not want to hear. Instead I hear what was in my head. As the shock wears off, tears finally escape and race down my face. I want to hurt Sister Theresa. I am also crying because I do not want to give the teacher the satisfaction of my tears too. Then something strange and unfamiliar happens inside of me and suddenly I feel nothing; nothing at all. I choke back what is left of my tears and turn away from all the staring faces and Sister Theresa. Whatever happens next I do not remember because for some reason I cannot.

I know there is no point in telling anyone. I have already learned the real lesson. Adults get to do what they want to kids, so I do my best to stay out of Sister Theresa’s way. I do not look at her or speak to her any more than I have to for the rest of grade three.

We are moving, Dad tells us at dinner one night.

And you are going to go to Holy Family School instead, Mom adds.

My heart leaps and I want to get up and dance, but then I would have to explain why I am so happy to be leaving Our Lady of Help Catholic School on the north side of the river of our town. What my younger sister says in response falls on deaf ears because relief floods my mind with the thoughts and feelings of never having to see Sister Theresa again. Amen!

Our new school is beside the Holy Family Church on the south side of the river. We attend church there every Sunday wearing the best of our clothes. My first communion is at the Holy Family Church too.

I hope our next house is nice like this one, but I won’t miss the river being in our back yard anymore. Well, I will miss the power boat rides with dad, but since we moved to this house on the river’s edge, the river has lost much of its charm, especially after my sister’s friend Chris drowns after falling off one of the boats moored in his backyard not too far from our house. The adults say he got tangled in branches on the river’s bottom so he could not swim back to the surface, which is why the search takes forever to find him. Only when they drag the river with their boats and the drag bar does Chris’s little body get freed from the stuff below.

Maybe that is why mom and dad suddenly decide I need swimming lessons in the pool, but the pool’s smell makes me sick to my stomach. And the new bright orange two-piece swimsuit with its little yellow and white flowers I pick out in the ladies shop is not so comfortable to wear amongst all these unfamiliar boys and girls. I cannot wait to leave, especially since I fail the class because I refuse to jump off the end of the pool into the deep end. I am happy I never have to go back to the pool again. I really do not understand why swimming lessons are a big deal anyway because I have been swimming for years.

Sadly, our next house is small and noisy. The only thing I like about it is the candy store that is part of the gas station right next to our house. The little white house is small. There is not much grass. And mom and dad argue a lot now. School is not fun anymore. Kids are mean. Our teacher, Mr. Smith, is strict but for some reason I like him. His favorite subject is my favorite and best subject, arithmetic.

But there is a disgusting girl in our class. Snot runs from her nose all the time. Her hair, clothes, and books are always messy and dirty. Her glasses are always sliding down her nose. She smells and only sits a few seats away from me. The boys pick on her all the time. I do too because I have learned if I do not join them, the boys pick on me, and as much as I like to fight back, I am fed up with being picked on.

But that is a bad decision I find out soon enough.

I cannot remember what really happens. Our teacher, Mr. Smith, leaves the room to go to the office or somewhere.

Behave yourselves, he commands as he closes the heavy wooden door.

Within seconds, bodies scurry.


Deanna’s body and books hit the floor. Her steel blue metal desk with its blonde wood top is toppled onto its side. Her open pencil case spills its contents across the tiled floor as does her now-open binder as the metal rings spring loose. The overturned desk and Deanna now lay on the tiled floor, her body and clothes askew, like a rag doll thrown carelessly to the floor.

Before any of us move to do anything, Mr. Smith, opens the door. In his deep voice, he booms, What? as he strides to Deanna, who is now uttering strange sounds.

Who did this? he mutters as he checks her for injuries and begins to right the wrong.


Lots of silence. No one looks at anyone. Then several voices speak up at once.

Next thing I know I am standing in the hallway with several boys in a lineup as Mr. Smith wields the thick black strap across their open hands. My turn is next, but for some reason, when he gets to me Mr. Smith stops. His arm is raised to strike my open palm, but instead he looks at me and then looks away.

Go on. Go to the principal’s office now, he commands and I slink away relieved, but I worry what will follow at school and at home.

Debbie cannot always remember or tell whole stories because I take many of them from her and lock the details away for safe keeping until she can handle them, if she ever will be. However, if she ever will be is not my job. My job is simply to keep her safe, but I have learned too, I cannot always keep her safe, though so far I have at least been able to keep her breathing, fighting, and alive.

Another move, a block closer to school, but this time the house is big enough for us all as my brothers born a year apart a few years ago are growing fast. Living in a two-story house again with a front and backyard, plus a garage dad builds, there is room for all of us and the dog, Skippy, to breathe. And because there is room here for us to get away from each other, neither my sister or I run away like we did at separate times while living in the little white house. My sister and I still have to share a room, plus a double bed, like our brothers, but our room and mom and dad’s room each have these little cubby holes for storage we turn into our private forts and secret places.

Much changes here. A fighter I have become. No has become my favorite word. I no longer allow things to happen to me, even if it means taking the punishment for my defiance. Tasting the soap in my mouth as punishment or feeling the blows hurts much less than the other ways people hurt me. I can tackle a boy playing touch football and take him down when he teases me because I am now taller and even stronger than most of the boys.

Surfboard and other names thrown at me for my tall, skinny body is cause for a tackle because I do not like boys much. Taunts about my first name Debra, which many pronounce De-bra, fires me up, as does the many ways my last name Trepanier is twisted out of shape. I don’t like being in school at all anymore.

Then grade seven arrives and suddenly my athleticism and long legs thrust me into the sports world of track and field and volleyball. As one of the top three female athletes in the Catholic junior high school across town again, the coach, takes a personal interest on developing my talents, even coaching me privately on the high school track. But the years of night visits, nightmares, teasing, and discipline are taking their toll and I no longer believe school, especially sports, are important revealed by my ever-decreasing grades and reams of negative feedback comments, Does not apply herself, and Can do much better.

Finally grade eight arrives and I am surprised by the attention older boys and men are starting to give me. Suddenly, stares and whistles make me feel as if I am okay after all, but after all the boys’ teasing, I do not quite understand. I am not pretty or chesty like my friends. My friends, who attend public junior high school a block away from the Catholic junior high I attend, like the attention they are attracting and tease me about not liking the new attention.

One of my newer friends lives alone with her grandmother in a tiny, dark little house across the road from another friend. She adores Cher, wears hats over her long wavy dark bangs and hair, and paints heavy liner around her eyes. The other friend is the eldest, like me, of a number of siblings. Her dad looks like Mr. Clean and her mom is a rotund, fierce woman, who laughs as readily as she yells. My friend is loud like her Dutch parents, with a flair for drama. She is a force to contend with for any reason. Buxom and curvaceous, she too attracts much attention. The other friend is a quiet, petite, yet also buxom girl, who has also been a neighborhood friend I played with as a child for several years.

By grade eight, age thirteen, other surprises await, including many more shocking dark ones.

First one, a boyfriend arrives.

David is a cute, quiet boy with shoulder-length dark hair and long bangs that sweep across his face and eyes. He lives a block away from my Dutch friend’s house. David’s friend Francisco has a crush on my petite childhood friend. The two of them follow us and then corner us with their bikes near the train tracks. But once we hear that a neighborhood girl, who is a little bit older than us, is gang-raped in an empty train car, even though we were not sure what gang-raped means, my friend and I decide we do not like David and Francisco’s scary ways either so we do what we can to avoid them.

Maybe that’s why sixteen-year old John driving his family’s big car catches my attention as I catch his.

In no time, there I am in the car riding with him, his brother and sisters, plus his friend Tony, who is much nicer to me than David’s friend Francisco. John and I drive around, seldom alone, and usually end up at his family’s farm near a place called Tupperville out in the country past the road my meme and pepe live on. John’s mom is a loud little woman without many teeth, but a strange way of talking, a love of laughing, and a lot of children. I never see more than a glimpse of the very tall man who is her husband and the person they are all terrified of and some even hate.

John, also another quiet cute boy, with dark shoulder-length hair with long bangs that sweep across his face, often shielding his blue eyes. His round face is dappled with freckles and I like him because he is nice to me. I am fourteen, feeling and looking much older. John presents me with my first ring, so it is official. I have a real boyfriend. The band is real gold. In the center of the ring is a pearl and on each side of the pearl is a small diamond chip set in a silver leaf. I am a grown up. Maybe I will marry John!

We smoke, we drink, we kiss a little, and then one day he is very angry with me. I do not know why, but I never see him again, though I try to because his mom and sisters have become my friends.

My girlfriends tell me once I lose my virginity boys will like me more and will stick around. They even dare me to let this older guy who helps girls by making them not virgins anymore. Because they are my friends and because I want to be liked, I listen. They tell me about this cute guy, who happens to have long, dark bangs that sweep across his face and eyes. He drives a cool black and white convertible. We meet and one ordinary night, I am riding alone with him in his car. He stops the car somewhere dark. We climb into the back seat, and start kissing. In moments, I feel the sharp pain and the wetness. I am embarrassed as he drops me off with no backward glance. I feel more alone than ever.

Debbie has tuned me out. She no longer talks or even acknowledges me, but I am not going anywhere. She does not know what she has done by acting on her friends’ dare. She has set in a motion a series of events worse than her childhood days and nights of terror. She mistakenly thinks her actions make her a grown-up, but there is so much her fourteen-year old brain does not yet know or yet understand. And no one else seems to understands or know how to help either. But then no one knows the whole truth behind her thoughts and actions. Instead, they see what they are creating, but do not know they are bringing out the worst, not the best in her. Increasingly, she puts herself at risk in many ways, even with her intelligence level. I know the worst is yet to come, yet every day I hope someone else will reach her because she is not talking or listening to me anymore. I have been discarded mistakenly as an imaginary childhood friend.

She does not understand she needs to treat herself better, but she is doing what she learned by how she has been treated. One only has to see the boys’ names she carves in her forearms with razor blades and fills in with colored ballpoint ink, plus the names also created graphically on the bedroom walls and furniture to see the path she is on.

The town is growing and changing. With the new bridge built, car traffic now flows in a one-way circle along the main street and loops along the second street from the river. At the south end of town, the road returns to a two-way street. You can follow the road to the new bridge to the south side of town or you can turn right and head towards Port Lambton where our family sometimes picnics. The big river is deep and cold. We have to be careful when the big ships go by because though we like the waves, dad and mom said the water can pull us too far and we could drown. My sister almost does, but dad saves her.

My friends and I like the one-way street we walk as we cross the bridge that has been converted to a walking bridge only as we head to school. We imagine ourselves and even try act more grown up than our fifteen years. A lot of the guys who cruise the loop in cars seem to like us too, which is why I decide to accept my aunt’s request to babysit for her.

“Oh yes!” I eagerly reply knowing her and her husband’s apartment is over the pool hall between the loops of the main streets. I do not like to babysit anymore because I am because I am the eldest of four children and the eldest granddaughter of a lot of cousins and instead want to have some fun. Fun that might happen from hanging out the windows to talk with the guys going in and out of the pool hall below.

The baby is quiet and the night flies by. Later than expected, my aunt and uncle return home.

“I will give you a ride Debbie,” my uncle offers.

No. It’s okay. I will walk.

I will call your parents to pick you up.

No, don’t wake them, I say, looking at the clock. I’ll be fine. I walk all the time.

At first, I am not thinking about the two hotels I have to walk by on my way home. That is, until I draw closer to the first hotel and see the stumbling figures exiting the first hotel.

Too proud to turn around and accept my uncle’s offer, I look to the bridge I cross several times a day, but suddenly at night, alone, it does not look familiar and friendly. Cautiously, listening and watching, my steps creak the wooden boards as my footfalls make their way quickly. The last feet of the bridge is where the two walking paths converged and one has to share the last distance with anyone coming along the other side or walking towards me since this section is only two persons wide.

Exhaling my held breath when I see the coast is clear, I stride across the last wobbly boards feeling home free. Just as my feet hit the asphalt of the once road, now a sidewalk, and I have to decide to choose the right or left sidewalk, a sound snaps me to attention.


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