Trula Ann Godwin, my Sister, as always, Must Have her Own Page. Cop, Strong Woman and Survivor.

MY SISTER’S WITCH IN THE HOUSE WAS REAL: FROM RAPE TO PIONEER POLICE WOMAN

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THE WITCH IN THE HOUSE WAS REAL ( A LEGACY STORY )

THE STORY OF A RAPE THAT LED A VICTIM TO BECOME A DECORATED, PIONEER POLICE WOMAN AND SEX CRIME EXPERT IN IOWA IN THE ’70’S

My sister, Trula Ann Godwin Tanner,  after the Witch was gone. She stood as a testimony to survival.

Most of my life I have struggled with what is real and what is not. I think that I have not always used good criteria to make the judgements by. Influenced by approvals, criticism, religious intolerance and just plain faint heartedness (is that a word?), I often let myself be led in paths other than those I believed would lead me to truth.

I know I am not alone, I hear from friends and acquaintances their doubts and questions and I am always open to their experiences; but in the past I wavered at committing to firm declarations of belief. I have decided in view of this story that I have to face my convictions and let them be known.

I admit to the fact that I have a weakness in my character which makes me want to be right, knowledgeable and the expert. Sometimes when I am unsure, I dig my heels in and try to present myself as confident and sure. The story of the ‘Witch in the House’ is one of those times.

My life in comparison to my sisters became a paradox. At the time of this event my sister was a stay at home mom who loved to lecture me on my inadequacies because I worked. I would challenge her right back saying I could be all things my family needed and contribute beyond just the home front, and financially as well. Soon an event would occur that would change our lives forever and reverse our roles.

In truth my working was a necessity due to extreme catastrophic medical bills due to the illness of our youngest child. My sister’s husband made better money than my husband who taught school. The irony was my husband went to college, my brother-in-law was lucky to finish high school and worked in factories most of their marriage. There was the usual sibling rivalry and competition and it had been that way from earliest childhood and I simply saw this as a power struggle I couldn’t win.

When I received a call from my sister I could hardly believe my ears. My sister was inviting me over and wanted my advice on a problem she was having with one of her four children. As she was pregnant with number five, I felt it was a momentary lapse due to being overwhelmed and in no way entertained any thoughts that it was a truce or that she was recognizing I had skills in parenting. I accepted and planned it for my next day off.

SISTER TO THE RESCUE (?)

As a nurse I cherished the time off as I worked nights and was up and down all during the day taking my three children back and forth to the orthodontist where all three were in treatment with braces. But her needing me and my advice and help was too amazing to pass up. I looked forward to the date and was unprepared for what transpired.

We sat in her living room drinking coffee and chit chatting. That in itself was unusual as my sister never chit chatted with anyone, or about any thing. My sister was a no-nonsense person with the theory, “what you see is what you get”. By nature she would not lie. She just felt she was too strong to do that and if you couldn’t handle it, that was your problem. No, you wouldn’t hear her say, “oh, that looks good” if it didn’t. In fact you might hear, “if you weren’t so fat that might fit, but it looks stupid that way”.

Her two boys were the ages of my two oldest children. Her third child, a precious little doll baby, was only six days older than my youngest daughter. It was the ‘baby doll’ she wanted to talk to me about. I was surprised, as I thought it would be the youngest child; a little toddler with wild thick hair who seemed to have a will of her own and be a free spirit. (Little did we know that would be a foreshadowing of the future). But, it was the baby doll she wanted to talk about and I was somewhat taken aback by her very serious and troubled introduction.

This was taken about a year before my sister called me in to consult about “Baby Doll”.

Brad         Darrin             Amy “Baby Doll”     Rhoda

This Picture is why I nick named her “Baby Doll”

THE WITCH IS IN THE HOUSE; OR IS IT?

It seemed that the baby doll had not been sleeping most nights. She had regressed and began wetting the bed and the event that prompted the call was that she had “pooped” in her bed during the night and just laid in it. It was dried all over her bottom and legs when she got up”. When my sister asked her why she did that and didn’t get up and go to the bathroom just across the lighted hallway, she replied, “The witch was here again. It was in my doorway and it wouldn’t leave”.

My sister explained she had  been working on this problem for some weeks. Every time she had an “accident” she would say it was because she was scared. Then it became that “there was a witch” in the doorway and she couldn’t get out of bed as she was too afraid. She said she had to lie still so the witch would think she was sleeping and didn’t get her. 

 My sister was at her wits end. Baby doll wasn’t the type to be a problem, she had been potty trained and quit wetting the bed long before now. She had never been one to lie before this. My sister couldn’t abide a liar even at this young age.

I now admit that in hindsight, I think some of my attitude was condescending; my advice was faulty though well intended, and I definitely gave her a lot of credible information which all turned out to be useless, and wrong. In my defense, I truly meant well. I loved this little baby doll and wanted to be sure my sister didn’t get too overwhelmed and be too hard on her. And the truth was the problem was so progressed at this point, yet I was unprepared for my sisters next statement.“Maybe she should come and live with you for a while.”

SAY WHAT?????

This was an astounding proposal considering my sister’s house was very spacious, especially compared to ours. My sister prided herself in her children being in her care and no one elses. It showed her level of frustration. She further elaborated that she was really concerned as she considered baby doll to be completely distraught, crying for hours and absolutely worn out.

I tested the baby doll who was a true momma’s girl. I asked her, “Want to go home with auntie?” Her immediate response was to come to me and crawl up into my lap. I was stunned. With further explanation she still wanted to go with me. It was at this point I decided I could really help if I just used my nursing skills and explained some of this logically.

After explaining at length to my sister that many children regress when the mom is pregnant and they need extra TLC, and I thought this was more likely the situation. I felt Baby Doll had found that saying she was scared  was not a lie, but it was, to her young mind “acceptable.”  An adult would understand her being  scared and her needing them.

AUNTIE’S FAUX PAU; SHE CREATES A WITCH KILLER

Then I turned to Baby Doll and did the unforgivable; I lied. I told her that I had at home a “witch killer”. If she slept with it she would be safe and nothing could get her. I promised to bring it by  the house before she went to bed. Knowing that her dear auntie would not lie, she agreed to sleep at home that night with the witch killer. Later, I went to the fabric shop and bought a little cut out clown which I took home and made. I quickly stuffed it and took it back to her,  telling her the clown was a secret witch killer and she could be safe from now on,

I left their house feeling my niece would definitely sleep now as she trusted me and my sister would see what a wise mom I was; even if I did work. The next morning the phone rang and I already knew who it would be.

Baby doll came home with me and began to live at ourhouse.Weeks passed and she started school with our family and was doing very well. She slept through the nights and slept with my daughter. They were like a set of twins. I loved having them together and life settled in to a routine.

Nothing ever stays the same and we all knew one day Baby doll would go home. For her it happened when she had an ‘atypical’ appendicitis attack. It began before school when she complained of a stomach ache. It wasn’t an uncommon complaint as she often had constipation and felt better after her bowels moved. I sent her to school when it was noted there was no fever or nausea.

Later the school called saying she was complaining more and now complained she was sick at her stomach. Still no fever. I checked in with her mom and she said she’d come out and check her when school was out. Then the school called and she was in the nurse’s office and a fever was starting.

Her doctor thought it was the flu so she came back and then became really sick with pain. My sister took her to the emergency room and they literally took hours to diagnose appendicitis even after her mother and I had concluded it was going to be the problem. By the time they had diagnosed her and got into surgery, her appendix had ruptured. She was very, very sick and recovery was very long.

My sister decided in view of all of this, she needed to take her home. We all understood that decision and I as a parent would have made the same one. We sent her back carrying her witch killer which had protected her the whole time she was at our house, so we guaranteed it to work at her house. And for a while, it did.

THE SOUND OF THE PHONE RINGING CHANGED FOREVER

I will never forget the call some time later. My sister had been taken to the hospital for treatment following a rape in her home. I could hardly take it all in.

Her new baby was only weeks old. My mother had been staying at the house to help my sister so she could go in to the hospital for a tubal ligation as she and her husband decided five was enough. Just the day before the call, my sister had returned home from the surgery and my mom had returned to her home after assurances from my sister she would be fine.

My sister has often recounted the event of the rape. Telling it, became almost a mantra to shake her demons when she was trying to heal and overcome the flashbacks. In actuality, it took her  a lifetime to recover ; though she quit being a “victim” and became a survivor,  long before.

THE DEVIL, OR IN THIS CASE WITCH, IS IN THE DETAILS

She told how  on that night, mom had left after dinner and the dishes were done. My sister was beginning to wear down and the pain of her incision was coming to life since the pain meds wore off. Her husband was working nights so she went to bed when the children went to bed. The baby was in her bedroom in a bassinette  and she had fed him and put him down. She laid down and went  into a deep sleep.

After midnight she turned in the bed and was brought to an alert state by two things. One was she was thirsty, and the other was that her incision pain was intense. The hall light gave just enough light that she could check the sleeping baby and go into the kitchen to get some water. She didn’t turn on the light but opened the bedroom doors to check the sleeping children.

She wore only her husband’s t-shirt and it was big enough to hang loosely but even the slightest touch of the fabric against the incision caused her to flinch. She decided against a pain pill. They weren’t really her thing so she’d try to tough it out; then maybe after the baby’s next feeding she’d take something if it was still that painful. Maybe even a cold pack later. Right now she just wanted to sleep.

She stretched out in bed lying on her right side facing the wall. She tried to get comfortable but the pull on the incision was just too much. She turned  on her back and felt the stretch of her abdomen send a pain across her stomach. She quickly turned on to her left side. In the turning, she was now facing the bassinette that held the baby and she opened her eyes to take another peek. The light from the hallway flowed into the room helping her eyes adjust.

Suddenly, an unintended gasp escaped her mouth before she could assess the situation. She was focused beyond the baby and seeing in the doorway, the definite outline of a dark figure . The silhouette appeared to be a man’s and he was wearing some kind of bulky jacket and head-gear that was pointed. Later she would realize he wore a hooded sweatshirt.

Instantly she was awake and all the senses and adrenalin were sending thoughts screaming thru her mind. “Oh my God, it looks like a witch in the doorway”.

Her mind assimilated the message and the thought instantaneously established for her that this was Baby Doll’s witch. She forgot the pain and pushed with her legs, turning  toward the wall. It  moved her away from the doorway  and she was inching across the bed to the furthest edge. Too late, she tried to just lie quietly and pretend to be asleep as the baby doll had advised when she encountered her witch.

 The witch was not fooled. He entered the room.

In the hour that followed ,she would beg for her children not to be harmed, for the “witch” not to hurt her, and for compassion considering she had just returned from having surgery. The witch  was somewhat thoughtful at her last request and asked what kind of surgery she had. She was reluctant to tell him it was a tubal ligation and said it was some adhesions being removed from around her intestines.

 In silence she  endured his military commands and the smell of his clothes. There was the smell of automotive gasoline and oil, and she felt nauseated.

In hindsight, she believed he did actually treat her more gently than he would have had she not had surgery and had not had a baby in the room;  but it did nothing to give her peace of mind. In a future time she would learn she was the first of many victims . It was a fact that he became more violent with each woman, hitting his last victim with a tire iron. In the cases that followed, as in my sister’s case, the dog  in the house did not bark. That  suggested to investigators that it had encountered the “visitor” before, and maybe many times. The officers thought he’d been in the house watching them at night and if she hadn’t awakened and seen him, it might have continued as a voyeuristic experience.

FROM VICTIM TO SURVIVOR IN JUST ONE DECISION

When he finished he let her go in to the bathroom. He told her he knew her children, her husbands schedule and he got in with no trouble;  if she told anyone, she would be sorry. He would be back and would do harm to the children and to her. Her first step toward recovery  and becoming a “survivor” rather than a victim, was that she waited until she felt he was gone then she called the police despite his threats.

THE VICTIM IS VICTIMIZED AGAIN, AND AGAIN

There is much that could be told of the bungled investigation and the stereotypical response of the all male component of cops, who asked her “what were you wearing?”  It went down hill from there and would in the months ahead steel her resolve to become a police officer and make sure other victims were treated with dignity and follow up.

The long years of wondering and the bitter-sweet experience of knowing that her rapist was finally caught, were heartbreaking when he owned  up to every single rape, except hers. By then he was in prison, she had become a Pioneer Police woman and sex crime expert. NO inmate wants retaliation for what he did to a cop: even one who became a cop after the crime.

OFFICER TRULA GODWIN (TANNER) SWEARING IN DAY: DAVENPORT, IA  P.D.   INDUCTED INTO IOWA WOMEN’S ARCHIVES POSTHUMOUSLY

And when DNA came into investigations, her evidence had been conveniently  “lost” from the evidence storage and so could not be tested: a whole different story to pursue another time about “paybacks”.

Let’s go back to the original premise of this Legacy Story. That the Witch in the house was real. He was.

LESSONS LEARNED BY ME

I learned never to over simplify to “fix” the fears of others. It is true that there is a definite time and place for fears ,and for adults to take serious the fears of children. I have thought so many times about my niece, her fears and how it profoundly changed her life. It would seem that in context, it would have made her doubt that her auntie knew anything about witches and that her auntie lied.  Thank God for forgiveness.

As bad as all of that is, it is worse that she, like all the children, became caught up in the need for a mutual recovery after the attack. It really happened to all of the family members as well;  and changed their lives for ever. So is the nature of the act of rape.

Whatever the “witches” in your children’s lives; listen, listen, listen. Don’t be quick to fix things. Some things can’t be fixed. Remember that their trust in the truth can be enhanced or destroyed by you, so don’t create witch hunters as a quick fix. Instead, keep an open mind and accept that you may not be able to answer or explain all the questions and fears.

“BABY DOLL” OUT WITH TRULA DURING HER CHEMOTHERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER AFTER 25 YEARS ON THE POLICE FORCE.

WRITTEN BY TRULA AS A POLICE OFFICER FOLLOWING HER RAPE

As for my niece today, she is tough, stands up for herself and fights for the underdogs. She investigates people who abuse children and takes on the bad guys and helps children get rid of the “witches” in their lives for real. And she never gives them witch killers made of stuffed fabric. You go girl.

If a Cop Cries, Does Any One Listen? In this day of Ferguson and Baltimore, can we remember Good Cops are out there?

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* 17 y/o  in Lubbock, TX    *Day of Swearing in: Davenport, IA.   *Mother of 5 when raped.

I remember the day she was sworn in. Trula was a determined, proud and grateful person. She was destined to become a decorated policewoman and a pioneer in her field. In her professional life, as in childhood and adulthood, controversy would dog her. Few saw her emotional moments of personal pain for she immersed herself in the protection of tough love and CYA. She honed those skills as the result of “the blue code being administered differently to female officers. Hers was a career that had drama, compassion, recognition, and rejection throughout; but she lived and loved every moment; and in the end, it almost broke her heart.

There were consequences to her decision to become a police officer and they were big ones. But given the background of her childhood, her ability to overcome childhood molestation and then rape as an adult in her home after the birth of her fifth child, she was a definite survivor.  She was also  a role model for those who, when kicked in the teeth by life; get up, spit out the blood and move forward. She was her own worst enemy and the best friend of any down and out street person; addict; underdog; or person in need of protection.

Mine was a privilege of birth that allowed me to  watch her from childhood to death. I am her sister. Her baby sister whom she adored, abhorred, and sometimes did bodily harm too. I am the one who drove her over the edge at times, but heard her intimate confessions in life when we weren’t on disgruntled terms. I am her sister, and only now, in my days of retirement am I able to share about her and the passion of her caring and devotion to helping victims become survivors. Why now? Why me? Because I am her sister, and I still have breath in my body

     THE GODWIN GIRLS; MOTHER MARGUERITE, strong victim/advocate; JOYCE (R) future author; AND TRULA  future police officer (L and standing on the ground)

The Godwin Girls

*

As a woman who was a pioneer in the field of police work as a sex crime expert,first woman in the nation to have her own solo squad car, Trula knew from the onset that grit would be the determining factor as to whether she made it or not as a police officer. They didn’t call them the “Good Ole Boys” for nothing when referring to male police officers.  She was not automatically “included” and in fact in the beginning all the cops refused to ride with her saying a “woman couldn’t cover their back“. There were several instances when the “Blue Code” was used against her by her fellow officers, rather than for protection.  Then up stepped a burly police officer named Warren and he said he would ride with her, be her friend, and see her through to her death.

In time to come, Trula would become a training officer, sex crime expert, the first woman of the elite MEG (Metro Enforcement Group)  (undercover)  and the first woman officer in the nation to have her own squad car and ride a beat alone. That “beat” was the inner city; the nucleus of the street people and the raw nerve of the city where they could not “control” the pulse of  crime. At least that’s how it was when she arrived. It became her hotbed of C. I.’s (confidential informants) because they trusted her and respected her. She was able to “walk on the wild side” and wasprotected by the street people and their own street code. The street people were far more inclusive of her than the “good ole boys” and their “blue code”.

In 1984 she was named one of the top 5 women in law enforcement, and in 1985 she was name Woman  of the Year by the International Association of Women Police..

Trulas honor as a Police Officer as one of the top police women in America

 

 

Before her forced retirement due to the breast cancer, she achieved a level of appreciation from the male officers for living up to her motto: CYA. (Cover your ass)which was her demonstrated answer to everything that was thrown at her by her peers and anyone else who tried to take her down. She was an invaluable back up and the men knew it.

Trula was instrumental in working with Governor Terry Branstad to get the state statute of limitations changed for the benefit of rape victims.  She was also named an Honorary Colonel of the Iowa National Guard by Governor Terry Branstad for meritorious service in the line of duty.(In the picture below, Left to right: Iowa State Representative Steven E. Grubbs, Iowa State Governor Terry Branstad, Police Officer Trula Ann Godwin.

COLONEL's Wings Presentation by Governor Branstad

Trula’s Philosophy   

There are really only two ways to approach life—as victim or as gallant fighter—and you must decide if you want to act or react; deal your own cards or play with a stacked deck. If you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you.                                                                      

                                                                      Borrowed from Merele Shain*

As her sister, I only know of twice in those 28 years on the force when my sister broke down and cried due to something that happened on the job. No it wasn’t when she was punched in the face receiving a fractured bone on her face under her eye that led to complications (and the mother of the man who did it showed up at the station and told Trula she was so angry at her son for hitting Trula she would have shot him but they arrested him and she couldn’t get to him.) The two times I know of are: Once when she arrived on a call and tried to resuscitate a baby, still warm to touch, who had died of SIDS.  The other time was when a young man who was mentally ill and a very trusting person, was ganged up on, kicked in the head and stomped to death on a down town street by his peers. Trula had worked with him, helping guide him and stabilize him in the community. She wrote a touching poem as a tribute to him:

                         REALITY     by Police officer Trula Ann Godwin

David Smith died today

Bruce Springsteen mania prevails

The Chicago Cubs lost ……

                                    and justice is a joke

A dream died today

A family grieved their loss

A cop cried……..

                             but no one paid

Trula

*********************************************************************************** “““““““““Her Final Honor, Her Greatest Hour:

“““““““““The Conference of Black Youth Presenter.

This letter was delivered as part of my sister’s last career speech. As a police officer she loved this invitation to speak more than any other. As a white police officer raised in Oklahoma, she felt most honored to be asked. It was the invitation to speak at the yearly Conference of Black Youth to a few hundred attendees. Indeed, though she was ill with the effects of her breast cancer treatments, she delivered the speech as her last official outreach before leaving the force after twenty eight years.

It was also the last time she and I were able to collaborate on a talk or story or be able to sit together and polish and tighten her words. She always wanted to be sure whatever she was going to say, was said in a manner that conveyed respect and lifted her listeners up. She never forgot where she came from and that she had lived growing up first- hand in the segregated south. She wanted to be sure that when they honored her by asking her to speak, she honored them in what she would say.

DELIVERED TO THE CONFERENCE OF BLACK YOUTH, QUAD CITIES, DAVENPORT, IOWA BY POLICE OFFICER TRULA ANN GODWIN. 

In recent national news coverage, a young man was heralded as a hero for rescuing a couple from a burning mobile home in Mississippi. What made this story so spectacular to the media was the fact that the young man was African-American, the couple was white, and outside their mobile home flew a confederate flag. Add to that information the fact the young man was returning home just having viewed the movie “Rosewood”. (http://www.displaysforschools.com/history.html)

Here was a young man who had just seen a movie about a white hate mob wiping out an entire community of African-Americans leaving no trace that the community had ever existed. Suddenly he witnesses a burning trailer flying a Confederate flag that often is today’s emblem of membership in such a hate group.

This young man not only stopped to help, but he saved the two people inside which required going into the flaming inferno, and then giving them CPR. The couple inside told the media that medical personnel told them, another two or three minutes and they could not have been saved. The husband who was pulled to safety first said when he looked at the burning trailer, he was not sure he would have risked going back in for his wife as it looked so hopeless.

The young hero made a decision based on his hope that there is good in this world, though it may only have been in him. He did not judge the situation by what he saw, or what he could have “thought” he saw. Recently reunited with the couple he saved, he was embraced by them both, thanked and assured no Confederate flag would ever fly at their house again. Even though their flag had no association with a hate group or intended racist attitude, they now understood what it meant to him.

My challenge to the African-American youth of today is the same as my challenge to the White youth , Asian youth, Native Indian youth and indeed all youth. Take responsibility for all that you think, believe and act on. Do not let hate, bigotry and prejudice from the past or present lead you to destroy the future. Be strong in your pursuit of justice, and let it be justice for all.

Have faith and hope in this nation and its future. Never let anyone take your heritage from you. You were born in the greatest nation with the most freedom of any place in this world. Do not let negative history become so ingrained in you that you destine yourself, your family and this country to repeat it’s mistakes.

Be responsible to communicate with others, to bury fear of being different, and in fact learn to embrace it. It is your birthright and your true “Heritage”.

Believing in your future, I thank you.

Trula Ann Godwin.

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                       Memorials and Tributes Photo Gallery

Trula was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Library

http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/findingaids/html/GodwinTrula.html

While there were many tributes, including a letter from Govenor of Iowa Terry Branstad, here is just a mixture from  her website.

Some selected memorial goodbyes from Trula’s friends/family which further define who she was.

A CARD FROM HER JEWISH FRIEND LAURA WAS ONE OF MY DEFINITE FAVORITES: It had all the flags of the world written into the word PEACE.

Lying in the hospital for the last time, pioneer police officer Trula Ann Godwin had a steady stream of visitors and received many cards. Her breast cancer had returned with a vengeance and the chemotherapy and bi-lateral mastectomies had not stopped it from ravaging her body. 28 years on the police force had toughened her to a point that she could step back and finally accept the nurturing and accolades due her.

One card that touched me  deeply was the one pictured above. I read it to her and she smiled. Her Jewish friend was particularly close to her and was/is a fiery passionate worker who especially excelled in working with juvenile offenders.

December 16, 2002

Trula,

There are no words & not enough space here to tell you what I feel. I am hopeful, however, that you already know. You have been not only a loyal friend to me for so many years, but so much more. You are a role model. You’ve shown me how to live life, how to embrace the world, how to fight a good fight, often with love rather than power. YOu are so many of the things that I want to be. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your wisdom, your soul. I, along with the multitudes you touched, will take those gifts with us as we journey through this world.

As I leave for Israel on Wednesday, I will take you with me in my heart. I will pray for you on holy ground (& yes I  will remember to duck ☺)

I hope to see you in better health when I return on 1/3/03. If I do not, I will listen for your footsteps up in heaven, when the world is quiet. I will know that you are in a better place, with God (Jews don’t werite it-remember?)helping the less fortunate in heaven, watching over all of us, whispering in your friends ears occasionally-we will need you, & walking around like you mean it.

God bless us both on our journeys. I love you my friend.               Laura

P.S. I got this crucifix in Jerusalem, wear it with my love always.

This is another card that was received before her death while she was still at the hospital. It touched me as it was written by a female officer who followed Trula onto the force and had learned first hand the challenges of working in a hostile environment, and yet understood Trula had endured so much more when she “plowed the road” for those women who followed.

WRITTEN BY DETECTIVE JEANNE RAY (DAVENPORT, P.D.) DECEMBER 2002

Hi Trula,

I want to remind you that your life has not been in vain. Your life has touched many other lives in a good way. I know this because as I have worked the street as an officer, many people have mistaken me for “Trula”. This is always ok with me, because it is very evident that people love you and would never do anything to harm you. It is plain to me that if anyone else would even try to harm you…..these people would help you.

I have been able to “ride along on your coat tails” because of this. There were many times when it was quite tense dealing with some of these people,but because they thought I was “Trula”, they would calm down and be cooperative. I can’t think of a time that a citizen who mentioned your name, didn’t have a smile or a good word about you. I thought you would like to know this and this is what I am reminded of when I think of you.

Whatever it is that you are needing right now…Peace? Hope? Comfort? Strength? Love? I pray that God will bless you with it.       Jeanne Ray

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Tom Williams (Davenport, IA) December 26, 2002

Trula was a very special person. she impacted the lives of all who knew her. I am very fortunate to have been able to call her my friend. “The wolves are calling to each other mourning your passing.”

(TRULA WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT ALL CAUSES CONCERNING WOLVES)

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Gina Wright (Davenport, IA) December 26, 2002 (Daughter of former Mayor of Davenport, Charles “Chuck Wright” or as Trula called him affectionately “Charley Rotten. He was the mayor who hired Trula onto the police force and stood behind her in all things.)

I feel blessed to have known Trula; she was a very special person to me and my family. My dad now has an angel with him in heaven. Trula and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Todd Reed (Davenport, IA)December 26, 2002

What can one say about Trula that all who knew and loved her doesn’t already know. I am blessed she was my friend.

“Whose woods these are I think I know

His house is in the village though

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake

the only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep.

And miles to go before I sleep “

Robert Frost

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Tamie Smith (Wright) (Wentzville, MO) December 26, 2002(Another daughter of Mayor Wright)

Trula, I am glad the suffering is over. I know you’re in a better place, you helped me so much after my dad passed away. I will miss you and think of you often .  Love, Tamie.

**************************************************************************************

Dawn Williams (Davenport, IA) January 4, 2003

When a loved one becomes a memory, the memory then becomes a treasure.

One day my husband and I were shooting darts against Trula and Father Brian and we were losing every game. Finally Tom said we may as well give up; they had the Law and God on their side. So we quit.

I am blessed to have known Trula as a dear and close friend. She was and always will be a special part of my life.

To Darrin, Brad, Amy, Rhoda and Jason; you had a very special woman as a mother. She will be deeply missed by all.

**************************************************************************************

Kathryn Irwin (Houston, Texas) December 26, 2002

Trula was a very special cousin to me and someone I always admired as I was growing up. Although I’m sure she must have considered me her “bratty little cousin Katie” at times, she never made me feel that way. I love you Trula and I’ll miss you very much.

***************************************************************************************

A LONG LOST COUSIN (A note from Trula’s sister: As my husband, Father Brian Miclot and I prepared to take Trula to the hospital for the last time, the phone rang and this cousin was on the phone. Trula was so touched to hear her voice and know she was “alright and safe” after years of being lost to one another, she realized it was a “God thing” that they were able to speak and say to each other “I love you” It gave Trula great peace of heart as she loved her very much.)

Today is Trula’s birthday and I think it is the perfect day for me to sign her Guest Book and share a few memories I have of her.

Trula was my cousin and I’m about six years her junior. When I was growing up I looked up to her and always thought she was so beautiful.

Some things I remember: We went to Woolworth’s and she was so proud of the wedding anniversary card she bought for her parent’s anniversary. When we returned home, she showed it to my mother. One problem. It was a sympathy card.

One evening when she was babysitting for me she came across a crime magazine and read some of it. It scared her so much that when my parents came home, they found her hiding under the desk.

One warm , lazy summer day, we climbed up on the roof of our grandparent’s house. We sat with legs dangling over the side, talking and eating cherries from an over hanging cherry tree branch. It was a special time for two cousins to share.

When I was fifteen and she was about twenty-one she came to live with my family for a lttle while. I loved having my older and wiser, fashion savvy cousin there to give me all kinds of advice about makeup and clothes and boys. On an outing to a drive-in movie she advised me concerning dating.

She told me, “While you’re young you should drink all you can….a, uh. I mean date all you can”. We had a really good laugh about that.

Trula had inner beauty as well as the outward beauty. I’ve always remembered. I hope the work that was so close to her heart will go forward in her honor. I love her and I’m sad that “goodbye” came so soon. I’ll cherish the memories I have of her.

**********************************************************************************

Photo Gallery Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner)

Trula Godwin project mail box

 

Below is the novel written to honor Trula. The first book of the Greyhound Lady Walking Series, real cases fictionalized to protect identities of victim/survivors, workers, locations and confidentiality. She collaborated on cases for the series before her death.

glw6

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLW collage with author 9

Before retiring.

Police Officer Trula Ann Godwin at about 20 years on the force

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With daughter Amy Elizabeth Tanner

 

 

 

trula with amy bald

GLW Tracks 2

A novel written with Trula’s hometown and childhood in mind; as well as some family stories “in the creative fiction” telling. Lisbon is a blend of this author, and Trula.

 

 

TRULA AT SEVENTEEN IN LUBBOCK

 

Trula at 17 when she lived

in Lubbock, Tx. and was

friends with Buddy Holly.

My dad visiting in Okmulgee, Ok. My sister Trula on the right, and me on the left.

Mo%202

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2008Mosaics

 

 

 

Trula by Bob Clancy

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A  sampling of the prologue to the  legacy book
Grandma  Lady’s Slightly Exaggerated and Fractured Family Tales
  is  now offered;      
                            
 THE PROLOGUE: SIGNS (A LEGACY  STORY)
POLICE OFFICER TRULA GODWIN
DAVENPORT, IOWA                    After Swearing in Ceremony  1973
 
Trula’s Philosophy    There are really only two ways to approach life—as victim or as gallant fighter—and you must decide if you want to act or react; deal your own cards or play with a stacked deck. If you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you.                                                                       Borrowed from Merele Shain
My free spirited sister forced my conservative  and sensible mother and me, into a pact. It was a “Life After Life Pact”. She  forced us by her determined persistence. We only agreed to her terms to get her  to “give it up” and not “hound us” about it. “The Pact”, was an agreement that  whoever “went first” would send back a sign.

Mother went first, and indeed she did send back  signs. My sister  Trula passed on second, and I anticipated my signs , but none came.  At least, not signs for me. The Pact ( tho really only agreed to by Trula as we “placated her wishes”)specified there would be direct signs  between the three of us; mother, sister, and me. Others called with stories of  her contacting them, but still none came to me. Even my conservative husband who is a  true fundamentalist and non-believer in signs after life, was shaken by signs  that definitely involved  “sister” and were not explainable in “rational  terms”. But to me, nothing. Until………

Four years after her death my sister gave me a  sign of direct contact. It was in her own time, and in her own way, just as she  had been in life. She always had a way of surprising me throughout life in good ways and in bad. In life she  might be in one of her “snits” and not speaking, yet in my time of need, she  would still come through. So it was now, with the promised  signs.

I was having a difficult time, struggling with  the pain of concern for someone dear to me who was in serious trouble. I found  myself sitting on the couch crying; I didn’t want to go to work upset, but I  couldn’t resolve this problem in my mind with enough hope for a positive  resolution. Prayer in these times is always involved, but there are just times  we leave that prayer time feeling we selfishly wanted immediate gratification or  resolution. This was one of those times for me.

I found myself saying aloud, “If you were here  sister, you’d know what to do or who to talk too. I really need your help.”

In my mind, my sister, a distinguished, veteran  police officer for twenty eight years, would have a vast ray of experience to  draw on. She would have answers to my questions if she was here. I boo hooed a  little longer, then I went to the kitchen to take my insulin and force myself to  eat breakfast .

As I passed the television it was showing the  morning show that was my least favorite. My husband left it on that channel  before leaving with our greyhounds for a  morning walk. Imus. Imus is such  a negative person that he sets my teeth on edge. As I passed the tv I could have  switched it off , but in my passive and saddened state, I just ignored  it.

Fixing breakfast I began to notice music playing  in the background. It was a beautiful gospel song with such familiar harmony  that I marveled it could be coming from the Imus show. There had to be an  explanation. Imus thought of himself as a musical afficionado’, but this was not  even close to the usual music of his choosing. Then, it hit me. The familiarity  was because it was the, “Five Blind Men From Alabama”. My sister’s favorite gospel group.  What in the world was that music doing on the Imus program?

I hastened to the living room and there, on the  screen , was the singing group. Not only was I hearing their music, they were  making a personal appearance on Imus. Impossible. I felt a little nudge in my  spiritual self ; realizing there could be a significance to this, and to my  previous plea to my sister that I needed her. Of course, the thought of  “contact” was fleeting, as one’s practical self always interrupts with doubts.

When my sister was literally on her death bed  from breast cancer ,and in the hospital; she had me playing the CD of the “Five  Blind Men From Alabama” hour after hour. In the last coherent hours of  communication , she had me play only their version of “Amazing Grace” from that  disc. It is the most haunting and unique variation of the song I have ever  heard. Distinctive, moving, and powerful. I could never forget  it.

At that very moment, they began to sing,  “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.” As my eggs begin to burn and my toast  turned cold, I stood spellbound by the haunting refrain . At the end of the  performance I remained silent and staring at the screen. I was still floored by  the fact they were even on the Imus program. Beyond that, I had to absorb the  occurrence of that song being sung within minutes of my tearful plea to my  sister to help. And to hear  that song, specifically. It should be giving me  comfort and made me feel she answered. It was a chilling moment when I felt I  needed to accept it as a direct contact. But, the contact wasn’t  over.

I arrived at work in a state of confusion, hope  , and need. I told no one of my state of mind or anxiety and went about in my  usual way; pretending this was a perfect day, and life was good. Inside myself,  I was still anxious and felt I should have been reassured about my concerns. I  should have taken my sister’s contact as a sign that the problem I was worrying  about would be worked out. But, like most people who struggle with things of the  supernatural type, I continued to try to explain away the “coincidence” of the  morning music; the appearance of the singing group appearing on a program known  for mocking such music; and again, for mocking such belief  systems.

Within the hour, I would no longer have doubts.  I sat fretting over work I could not concentrate on. Office interactions were  blocked out as I tried to focus on the tasks at hand. In the cubicle next to  mine, I could hear our graphic artist talking to a new employee about his own  personal work style. This graphic artist was known for arriving promptly,  putting in his ear plugs, and only taking them out for breaks and lunch. He also  had a massive number of downloaded music choices he listened to. Being young, in  his twenties, and not known to be particularly religious, I was often glad he  used ear plugs as our music tastes were complete opposites, though he often  offered to play selections I would enjoy.

“Yeah, there’s all kinds of music on here”, he  was saying to the new employee.  “Some I listen to a lot, and some not so often.  Like this”.

I could not even react as I heard the strains of  “Amazing Grace” begin to play. Oh no, not just a version of Amazing Grace you  could explain away, but Amazing Grace by the Five Blind Men of Alabama. I  silently begin to pray and to thank God that He allowed my sister’s  encouragement to reach me.

While the previous problem did resolve in an  purely positive way, I knew I could rely on the fact my sister knew of  my concerns and sorrow; even though she was no longer “here”.  I was  accepting that it wasn’t going to be an every day happening. I now believed she  could be involved in the caring of my welfare in this life, but we weren’t going  to have a daily coffee clutch or be able to communicate at will. I felt a  renewed sense of loss. But, that would not be the only time she would make such  a bold statement in my life and give me another jolt.

As much as it has been a joy for me to write  these legacy stories to leave for my family, I have also anticipated putting  them in a book, to share with anyone who might enjoy or benefit from the tone  and content of the stories. At the same time, it has also made me sad that my  sister never got her book published. It was her life long dream to write about  her tormented childhood; unsolved rape in her home, and her colorful and  pioneering career in the police department. I must say , hers would have been a  bestseller. Mine, is a bittersweet project.

On a particularly melancholy night , I was  ruminating on these very thoughts as I went downstairs to go through bins of old  pictures. I was trying to select a few relevant pictures to publish  in my book. The fact that I am a clutter bug and have all kinds of  pictures, cards, and memorabilia from the last fifty years, means that I get  into these bins for hours once I start. That night would be an exception.

The second bin I opened was a combination of  pictures and old greeting cards. Some were from years gone by and concern people  only I would remember. I try to “thin out” the cards thinking ahead to a time  when my poor children will have to go through things, after my passing. I am  sure they will wonder who these people were and why I kept their cards.

As I searched through to the pictures hidden in  the bottom of the bin, I noticed a card that didn’t look familiar . What caught  my eye was that it didn’t appear to be a holiday or birthday greeting card like  most in the bin. It had pencils and stars on the front and the phrase, “You Are  a Lover of Words”.

I pulled the card out and without opening it,  began to read the front;

You  Are a Lover of Words

One  Day You Will

Write  A Book

People turn to you because you give voice to dreams,  notice little things, and make otherwise impossible imaginings appear real. You  are a rare bird who thinks the world is beautiful enough to try to figure it  out, who has the courage to dive into your wild Mind and go swimming there. You  are Someone who still believes in cloud watching, people watching, daydreaming,  tomorrow, favorite colors, silver clouds dandelions, and sorrow. Be Sacred. Be  cool. Be wild. Go far. Words do more than plant miracle seeds. With you writing  them, they can change the world.

I paused to consider the meaning of those words  and ponder the person who would have given it to me. I had a client who was an  accomplished and published author of some 28 books and gave me several cards,  but I didn’t remember this card let alone her giving it to me. Then there was my  friend who is my “Writing Buddy” . We have made another kind of pact with each  other. Our pact, was that we would each write and publish a book before we died.  I didn’t remember her giving this card either, though I have dozens from her  sent over the years.

I decided to open it and solve the mystery. I  was stunned.

The undertaking of writing my memoirs, let alone  publishing them, often overwhelms me. After all, my sister was the talent when  it came to writing poems; I just dabbled at creative writing. Nothing special, I  just like to do it.  I would have valued my sister’s opinion and  encouragement, but she has been dead for over four years. I opened the card and  the message inside was hand written. I recognized the familiar scrip  instantly.

“In  my life you have played an important role Sister! Because of you, I grew in  certain directions..for the better. You stood by me in real life; life and death  crisis, and you did it with love and unconditional. If you had not been there, I  might not be here this year to say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”. But thru the years of good  and bad, we grew, and we complimented each other while we reached for goals that  only were mapped out in different directions. We work different, we love  different and pray different. But Sister, we are the same. May this new year  bless you with your heart’s rewards you so rightly deserve. Happy Birthday From  ,the Sister of the Wind, Blood of the  Wolf,         Trula.”

So many questions exploded in my mind. How could  I have received this card and not remember it? It was not dated, so when did she  give it to me? Most cards in the bin were in envelopes so I could check the  postmark, but not this one. I took it to my husband and asked if he remembered  it. He didn’t. He too could not imagine I would have forgotten it considering the  amazing revelations of the handwritten message. In addition, he couldn’t fathom  that I wouldn’t have showed it to him which would have been in keeping with our  usual practice.

We theorized it was from the time period when my  sister almost died from surgical complications and I stayed with her three weeks  in the University Hospital. Then, I brought her home to our house where I  dressed her surgical site daily for weeks. It would fit that time period. But,  how would I have forgotten that? It was a stressful time but  still…….

I know I treasure the timing of the find and  feel she led me too it. I cherish it more than words can say , as during our  often contentious relationship through the years, my sister had a hard time  saying she was sorry or expressing deep emotions. This message was truly a gift  of closure for me and reassured me that all the time and efforts I had put into  trying to be a good sister, had not been in vain. Maybe God allowed me to block  out receiving that card until it would do the most good, and touch my life in  the most powerful way. Whatever the reason, it worked.

The legacy of sisterhood and that bond cannot be  fully explained. You have to experience it. And I did.

 

 

A Cop’s Letter for Youth of Today. Ferguson, Baltimore, and Wherever Injustice Prevails.

TRULA’S OPEN LETTER TO THE YOUTH OF TODAY (A Legacy Story)

 

 

 

Pioneer police woman in Iowa, Trula Ann Godwin http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/findingaids/html/GodwinTrula.html

 

The words delivered by Officer Trula Ann Godwin,  Davenport Police Department

In recent national news coverage, a young man was heralded as a hero for rescuing a couple from a burning mobile home in Mississippi. What made this story so spectacular to the media was the fact that the young man was African-American, the couple was white, and outside their mobile home flew a confederate flag. Add to that information the fact the young man was returning home just having viewed the movie “Rosewood”. (http://www.displaysforschools.com/history.html)

Here was a young man who had just seen a movie about a white hate mob wiping out an entire community of African-Americans leaving no trace that the community had ever existed. Suddenly he witnesses a burning trailer flying a Confederate flag that often is today’s emblem of membership in such a hate group.

This young man not only stopped to help, but he saved the two people inside which required going into the flaming inferno, and then giving them CPR. The couple inside told the media that medical personnel told them, another two or three minutes and they could not have been saved. The husband who was pulled to safety first said when he looked at the burning trailer, he was not sure he would have risked going back in for his wife as it looked so hopeless.

The young hero made a decision based on his hopethat there is good in this world, though it may only have been in him. He did not judge the situation by what he saw, or what he could have “thought” he saw. Recently reunited with the couple he saved, he was embraced by them both, thanked and assured no Confederate flag would ever fly at their house again. Even though their flag had no association with a hate group or intended racist attitude, they now understood what it meant to him.

My challenge to the African-American youth of today is the same as my challenge to the White youth , Asian youth, Native American youth and indeed all youth. Take responsibility for all that you think, believe and act on. Do not let hate, bigotry and prejudice from the past or present lead you to destroy the future. Be strong in your pursuit of justice, and let it be justice for all.

Have faith and hope in this nation and its future. Never let anyone take your heritage from you. You were born in the greatest nation with the most freedom of any place in this world. Do not let negative history become so ingrained in you that you destine yourself, your family and this country to repeat it’s mistakes.

Be responsible to communicate with others, to bury fear of being different, and in fact learn to embrace it. It is your birthright and your true “Heritage”.

Believing in your future, I thank you.

Trula Ann Godwin.

***

 

This letter was delivered as part of my sister’s last career speech. As a police officer she loved this invitation to speak more than any other. As a white police officer she felt most honored to be asked. It was the invitation to speak at the yearly Conference of Black Youth. Indeed, though she was ill from cancer treatments, she delivered the speech as her last official outreach before leaving the force after twenty seven years to battle her breast cancer.

 She always wanted to be sure whatever she was going to say, was said in a manner that conveyed respect and lifted her listeners up. She never forgot where she came from and that she had lived growing up first- hand in the segregated south. She wanted to be sure that when they honored her by asking her to speak, she honored them in what she would say.

Trula had learned firsthand the bitterness and pain of racism when she married the first black police officer from an adjoining city. When he first went on the force, his home was fired on and his family threatened  and subsequently, the marriage failed.

After their marriage, Trula and Jim left the police force after a disabling injury but each had served on integrated police forces of bordering states, and were shunned by some due to the marriage. 

Having suffered discrimination,  being only the second woman to come onto the police force, she had the experience of male officers refusing to work with her because she was female, and she had already been initiated by the Blue Code punitive retribution among officers, when she reported a policeman’s abuse of a detained black suspect.

Her new marriage caused a firestorm and she now had to suffer rejection from long time friends and fellow officers. She was the butt of cruel and vicious pranks, even in the police station where her peers were among the pranksters and detractors. The only thing that had changed was her inter-racial marriage.

She believed in expressing herself in poetry and one of the poems she wrote and dedicated to her husband follows:

Jim Flowers

DARK OPPRESSION

As dark as the night,

as dark as his hope

His very being cries out

for recognition beyond his hue.

At first, afraid to question,

bitter acceptance with restraint.

Born into penance to be paid

by generation after generation–

the tally never balanced.

Developing Mind, Body and Dreams

until the day of realization

That his dreams are for dreaming,

His mind is to waste.

His body is different…

And during Life’s struggle of Hope

for the blending of humanity

He questions his burdened strife–

and cries out..

“What seed was sown to beget

the destruction of My heritage?

Nourish the continuing growth of ignorance–

the indignities that bring

Despair to mind

Hate to heart

Dreams that become

Nightmares to the oppressed?”

*******************************************************

Such was the shared legacy she experienced and now shares with you in her stories and poems. Cancer silenced her and stilled the fingers that had so long labored to record the story of her life and experiences. She can no longer pen her unique life events, and her written words intended for her biography which tragically disappeared after her death. Yes, it was a “tell all book”. Her legacy lives on in the lives and issues she challenged and changed.

 

Trula three collage

The dignity of her last words, her personal eulogy if you will, further illustrates that she overcame the hate and the vicious attacks and died more than a survivor, she died a victor.

 

A EULOGY FOR TRULA BY TRULA 1940-2002

At the funeral services there were simple flyers handed out with a picture of a field of flowers on them. This simple statement was left as her parting thoughts.

BY TRULA

To each and everyone who touched my life each in your own way, I want to say “thank you….a very special thank you”.

Some touched me with love and compassion, standing beside me through trials and tribulations. Others became my inspiration, helping me to view life through a different light or guide me to a new path…a path yet to be explored.

There are many who touched my life as an instrument of learning, therefore a short but impressionable time.

Yet others touched me with tears or pain, you too were important.You taught me tolerance, compassion and forgiveness.

Each in your own way, loved ones, friends and acquaintances made me what I am. I grew to like myself…because of you.

trulas poem of faith

                                                      ***

My sister Trula succumbed to complications of breast cancer after years of struggle December 23, 2002. It ended her long career in her beloved police work unceremoniously, and with regret. In the moment she could have said anything to anyone via her eulogy and funeral, the words above are there to tell you the essence of who she was at her death. I think she was very generous in her good-bye.

Trulas%20News%20Clip%20at%20Funeral

 

NEW%20EULOGY

 

 

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