Please read part 1 below first if you haven't already.
Before I go on with the story, I would to make it quite clear that this was not an actual kidnapping with knives or guns or anything. I really don't know what to call it. Entrapment? Anyway, I was in fear my safety and, above all, the safety of my children, and had no way to get out for several days. It left my children traumatized, angry, and scared.
Okay. So fast forward quite a few years to the year 2001. I had been homeschooling my daughters, ages 10 and 7. We had been reading the Little House on the Prairie books, and they were REALLY getting into them. S and I were still talking on the phone from Minnesota to Texas. She knew that we were really in a money crunch, having started our own business two years before and trying to get it moving along. We had to watch every penny. Vacation time was set aside only to visit relatives, not for pleasure trips. S was single, made great money, lived very simply and saved her money for something special. She was a "big sister" in the Big Brothers/Sisters Program in Minneapolis, and took kids camping, to museums, whatever. She loved to educate kids, and she loved playing tour guide to visitors. She had begged me to come see her for years. She still had the controlling personality, of course, and my ex had not taken to her at all. She came to visit us once before when she was in Houston, and she basically took over the conversation at dinner; he didn't like that at all. But I somehow found her very interesting, super intelligent. I mean, there seemed to be nothing she didn't know about, politics, history, science, literature. She would have been a great Jeopardy contestant. She thought very highly of me as a teacher, mentor, and mother. She was extremely proud of what I was accomplishing with the older daughter who had learning difficulties.
So anyway, around February of 2001, S suggested that I bring the girls up to Minnesota for a visit. All I had to do was supply the three plane tickets; she would pay for everything else. She said we could take the girls on the Little House tour, from Wisconsin, thru Minnesota, to South Dakota, and back, skipping Missouri because of lack of time. How could I resist such an educational experience for my girls? And basically all expenses paid? This was not something that their dad and I would be able to provide them at this time in their lives. So I told the girls that if we worked hard and finished all the Little House books, we would go and see Laura Ingalls Wilder's homes, plus get to see the Mall of America and whatever else our tour guide had in store for us. My mother made them prairie dresses and bonnets to wear to the Ingalls Homestead and Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. It was their first plane ride in their memories, and they each planned to bring their expensive American Girl dolls with them.
S had the itinerary down to a T. And that's what I wanted. I had never been to any of those places, so I was glad that she had everything planned out. July is when all the Laura I. Wilder celebrations, parades, and pageants take place. The girls and I would fly in to Minneapolis in early July and stay a couple of days in her apartment, seeing the sights there and in St. Paul, visit S's school, and then leave on a three to four day Little House tour. Story to be continued.