I believe there's two sides to everyone.
"Who we believe and have been told we are, and who we really are."
Many years ago when I started my long journey of recovery and healing, I was asked by my counselor, Dr. Lynch, " Who Is Colleen and How Do You See Colleen?"
It was nothing short of a miracle, how the bare bones reality of stating the truth on both questions, would bring about such a sobering perspective about myself.
I'm here to tell you, "Life is sobering." As it is meant to be. Not void of fun, ease and pleasantries. But, to be coupled with reality and truth, about God and self.
In my over 40 years of recovery I have slipped and fallen many times, and to
a lesser extent, I still do to this day. I have been very blessed to live in a small New England town, of my choosing. Where life is slower and less invasive. Where you have both the time, and environment conducive to stepping back for deep reflection.
I've had seasons where there's been much success with the two beautiful daughters I've raised. Some seasons have brought trials for both mother and child that I would have rather not gone through; And so goes life. In life with all it's beauty we are destined to face trials, in relationships and otherwise. Without God I would not be able to endure or appreciate either.
I am also an active Cosmetologist of 38 years. I own my own salon, Colleen's Hair Salon www.colleenshairsalon.com. I love people, most of all serving them. I (am) have been a baker by trade over 30 years. I have published two cookbooks; Colleen's New England Kitchen (First & Second Editions) In 2014 I wrote LORDS HILL "A Place Only God Could Save Me From" under a pen name; Maggie Miller. Throughout this time I have been blessed with my best friend and husband, Michael.
Currently I am striving towards the race for which I am called. Leaving more behind and
pressing on towards the goal(s) for which I've been called in Christ Jesus!
Title: Lords Hill Author: Maggie Miller Genre: Drama
Hollywood Coverage WestBow Press
A young girl struggles to navigate her life while experiencing horrific abuse at the hands of her family.
A young girl, Maggie, and her three siblings are taken in by their grandmother when their mother dies in a tragic car accident. The children suffer horrific abuse at the hands of their grandmother, aunt, and uncle. Her uncle Henry terrorizes the whole family, often killing pets and threatening to murder the children. As she gets older, Maggie turns to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope and sees her life spin out of control, culminating in a severe car accident when drunk. After this incident, Maggie rediscovers her faith and successfully rebuilds her life by having a family and finding the loving environment she has always craved.
In the 1960's, MAGGIE and her three siblings go to live with their maternal grandmother, Nana HAMMOND, in Lords Hill, New England, after the untimely death of their mother. After
leaving a dance, drunk, Maggie’s mother had side-swiped three cars and hit a telephone pole head-on. Maggie’s father leaves the children behind like they don’t exist, only paying child support for the first month. Nana Hammond does not contest this as she is afraid he will try and take the children back. She tells Maggie that her father will beat them like he did their mother, and probably molest the girls.
At age nine, Maggie finds newspaper clippings in Nana’s drawer with pictures of her mother’s car accident. Up until this point, she has been led to believe her father shot her mother. After her mother’s death, Maggie’s older brother JIM is the only person who offers any comfort. As a
toddler, Maggie is engulfed with intense anxiety, fueled by being in a constant state of fight or
flight, which later manifests itself in various physical, social, and emotional difficulties.
Maggie’s aunt, CHARLOTTE, has a big hand in helping Nana raise the children but it comes at a price. Charlotte is an adulterous alcoholic who takes Maggie along to meet men. Maggie often waits in a strange house, listening to her aunt have sex, which makes her feel uncomfortable.
Despite the hurtful things her grandmother and aunt do to her, Maggie still loves them.
Twenty years later, Maggie and her aunt go out to lunch and Charlotte tells how proud she is of the woman her niece has become. Charlotte dies not long after, a result of her hard drinking. As Maggie stares at her body in the morgue, she feels as much relief as sorrow.
By the time her second daughter is born, Maggie’s view of her grandmother has softened. She realizes that for a widowed woman of sixty-four, raising four young children ranging in age from three to eleven must have been quite an undertaking. Maggie feels for Nana, who was not wanted by her own mother and buried four of her ten children before her death.
As a child, Maggie experiences happier times with her UNCLE FRANK and AUNT DOROTHY who live in Maine. Cheerfully, the couple welcomes their nieces and nephew on many weekends and provides the children with a temporary illusion of freedom from the heartaches they face at home. Maggie also has a good relationship with her great-grandmother, but the old lady is physically abusive toward her two older sisters, often dragging them around the living room by their hair. Maggie also witnesses the verbal and physical abuse her UNCLE HENRY dishes out to her great-grandmother.
Nana favors Jim over the girls. He always receives his share of the razor strap, but the punishment never hurts as much as the degrading things she aims at them. Food is always plentiful in the house, but because feelings are rarely allowed to be expressed, Maggie eats when punished and develops a compulsive eating disorder at the age of five. Maggie finds Nana’s love confusing and unpredictable. When Nana loves her, Maggie feels safe, but when she gets angry, her razor-sharp tongue and aggression are unmerciful.
Throughout Maggie’s childhood and teenage years, Henry terrorizes everyone in the house. He has no regard for their fears or emotional pain, and if it is expressed, a random killing spree of the pets may occur, sometimes done in front of the children. On one occasion, Henry makes Nana cook the animals, forcing the children to eat some. Threats to kill the children are common, and he is taken to the state mental hospital numerous times.
Until she is eleven, Maggie lives and plays in a fantasy world. There, between hating herself and wishing she were dead like her mother, Maggie spends hours pretending to be a teacher. The young girl often lays on the couch, staring at a picture of her mother, desperately trying to recover memories of her, but to no avail. To feel some sort of love and acceptance, Maggie becomes a caregiver to her abusers, but this forces her self-hatred to grow because she can feel herself becoming more like them.
In addition to the abuse at home, Maggie is bullied at school. Over the years, the verbal abuse of the school bullies becomes physical torment. The only connections she makes are with other troubled kids, and together they skip school to drink and smoke marijuana. The school guidance counselor, MR. THOMPSON, is the only person who listens and cares about her pain. By the time she is twelve, Maggie is drinking and smoking regularly, and before long, stealing money from Charlotte’s purse.
A rare positive moment occurs when Maggie is accepted into a work program at the high school called the Cedar Program. She works there for two summers under the guidance of the janitor, MR. MARSHFIELD, who treats Maggie with respect. Two other saving graces during her teen and adult years are AUNT EDDIE and AUNT GENEVA, both of whom provide love and support.
Life at home gets steadily worse as Henry and Jim get into physical fights, climaxing in Jim putting a knife to his uncle’s throat after finding Henry threatening Nana in the same manner. At that time, Maggie’s middle sister runs away and never comes back. After a particularly savage beating by Nana, Maggie walks five and a half miles to the parish house of a Catholic priest, FATHER LAMPRON, where she begs him to help her find God. A gentle, kind man, Father Lampron gives the young girl a Bible with many parts of scripture underlined for her to read.
Maggie leaves school at fifteen and finds work in a shoe shop, spending some nights at her boyfriend’s house. These evenings spent away from Nana are filled with guilt – such is the strength of Maggie’s co-dependency. Since no one has ever told her about the facts of life, Maggie ends up pregnant before her sixteenth birthday and has an abortion.
Maggie is devastated when Nana passes away. Losing the only mother figure she’s ever known is traumatic regardless of the brutal treatment. In a matter of weeks, the house is closed up and put on the market as nobody has the money to stay there. Maggie makes plans to stay with Charlotte, but before she can move in, her aunt’s house catches on fire, so she stays with her boyfriend for a while.
Henry flounders around town, staying here and there, his antics too far over the edge with Nana now gone. A relative takes him in, but she is equally poisonous, eventually convincing Henry to blow his brains out. Maggie moves in with Charlotte, but her aunt’s controlling and abusive ways are too much to bear, so she and a boyfriend move to Massachusetts. Her life there is no better than in Lords Hill as her boyfriend grows ever more abusive, so in desperation, she moves back.
In 1987, after a work party, Maggie gets blind drunk and attempts to drive home. In a haunting echo of her mother, the car hits a patch of ice and crashes. Incredibly, Maggie crawls out from under the car and staggers to a nearby restaurant where a pickup truck driver takes her to the emergency room. She believes the driver to be an angel from God. By sheer luck, a sobriety test is not performed, but Maggie has a fractured hip and collarbone as well as extensive bruising.
This lucky escape prompts Maggie to visit church, and she prays hard for someone decent to love her and provide a family of her own. Maggie does marry, but more tragedy follows when their apartment building catches fire. After the couple welcomes their first child, a girl, Maggie realizes her husband is a full-blown alcoholic.
After eight years of marriage and tired of the emotional abuse, Maggie takes their two little girls and leaves, reaching out to the local domestic abuse program. Her husband’s diagnosis with lung cancer brings them back together, and after his death, Maggie turns to alcohol. After a lecture from Frank, Maggie stops drinking for good and marries her second husband, who loves her healthily and lovingly. She continues chipping away at her recovery with the help of DR. LYNCH, and her faith in God grows day by day.
Development Needed: Minimal
Comments/Suggestions for Adaptation
LORDS HILL is a well written, harrowing, and emotive true-life story about one girl’s struggle to cope with her toxic and abusive family. It also details the resulting issues these horrific experiences leave her with as she struggles to navigate her childhood and then adulthood. This piece certainly has great potential to be adapted, with its most suited medium being an independent feature film.
There is enough conflict and drama here to keep an audience emotionally involved throughout. The leading character, Maggie, goes through horrific abuse and violence from a very young age. The pace is relentless and doesn’t let up until the end, but provides great hope for anyone in the same predicament that they may also get help and lead a loving, productive life.
This piece will be a challenging watch for anyone, but an audience will experience a whole range of emotions from sadness and anger to hope. For a film to succeed, an audience should be moved to feel deep emotions, and this story certainly achieves this. It also focuses on important subject matter which many people could relate to and find inspirational, and deserves to be seen as a full feature.
Maggie makes for a terrific protagonist who will transfer superbly to the big screen. The initial loss of her mother in a car accident will immediately prompt an audience to sympathize with the girl and root for her until the end. Maggie overcomes tremendous hurdles and finally meets her
second husband, who provides her with the safety and security she has yearned and prayed for her whole life. This offers the hope that happiness can be achieved no matter how long it takes or how unattainable it appears at times. It’s important that a story as brutal and harrowing as this provides hope and a positive ending.
The supporting characters are mostly unlikeable but move the story forward well. Nana and Aunt Charlotte are particularly three-dimensional, offering some happier memories for Maggie in spite of the abuse. One of the things that gives this story great depth is the understanding Maggie
attempts to find in her family’s toxic behavior. She is able to acknowledge how difficult it must have been for her grandmother to take on four children after the death of the mother. Maggie even finds compassion for her uncle Henry, who continually torments the family, and recalls a few happier moments that Henry is responsible for. Some viewers may wonder how she can find forgiveness for these despicable people, but this makes Maggie a more memorable and well- rounded character.
Overall, with its dramatic story and compelling characters, Lords Hill has many qualities that make it suitable for adaptation.
Consider with Development