Is that similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
They say it’s what Vietnam vets have when they come back from war and they’ve lost their memory. I started going into comas and an ambulance would have to come get me. He was very emotionally abusive and I just wanted to raise my girls. One day my body just shut down and said no more.
Was there physical abuse?
Only at the end. I had a very difficult time getting away. He was like a stalker who wouldn’t leave us alone. I eventually had to get restraining orders.
And you told me he is incarcerated now?
Yes. He’s in Texas. I feel like I’ve been given a whole new chance. My boss Russ, who I love, I mean, it was difficult for me to be around a man. If he would even just raise his voice a little I couldn’t handle it, but he was just trying to be a boss and that’s what the people at vocational rehab were trying to tell me so I could be in a workforce again. It messed me up to the point to where if he was just to speak I couldn’t handle it.
How did you overcome that kind of abuse?
This is the part of the story I like. I was substituting teaching here. I was going trough all the stuff and I really just did not know I was so tired, so I took six years off. I just rested and my mother took care of my girls. I never did give up on life and not want to live, but I did give up on everything and just lived in that trailer for six years. You just don’t know you can get out, and believe it or not I’m a real tough woman.
What did your daughters think of the six years you spent in the trailer? Did they live with you?
No, they lived on the same property but my mother raised them for six years. They just did not know what was wrong with me. They did not know why I wouldn’t come back. I used to do everything. I used to take my kids to Fox and get out, but after the accident even driving to Fairmount became difficult, too.
After such a low point how did you end up DJing on WIVL?
I was listening to the radio station one day and they were talking about how it was a station for the disabled. People had been trying to get me to come out, but I wouldn’t answer phone calls from my family. Believe it or not I wasn’t able to speak. I had lost my ability to speak from the trauma of that marriage. With my foot I qualified for disability, but my family wanted me to at least get a volunteer job. I called the station and they said we don’t have any girl DJs and they said the owner liked my voice. So, I called Jasper Taxi because I had no car and he drove me here. They ended up hiring me for Sundays. That was the beginning of me coming back. I spoke because I had to. I moved off the mountain to get into town.
Yes. I wanted to ask how DJing here has changed your life.
I had people telling me I was going on 50. They said it’s not too late, you might pick a good man. I just stopped trusting my own judgment on things. So after I came here I literally started coming back. After I moved into town I got a second job and little by little I started coming back. I even got an invitation from 95.5 The Beat, which changed and moved to a different number now, but they wanted me to come down and talk about our station. They put me up as a VIP for the weekend. Again, I went from absolutely nothing, to that taxi driver telling me he didn’t see me checking out like I had. I mean, he said, lady, you have way more to give and helped me out a lot with a car, and now I have all these new experiences.
Where did you get the name Diamond?
My real name is Sandra Temple, but when I came here they wanted something different for the air. Nobody knows this, but my dad had a nickname and he called me Diamond and he died in ’97. So that’s what I came up with and it stuck.
This is a volunteer job and you come here five days a week now. What keeps you coming back day after day?
I love Mark Hellinger, the owner. I love his heart for starting the radio station to help people with disabilities. That is the number one thing. I don’t know if I’ll always be here, but I hope I am. Right now with my disability and my part-time job I’m able to make it. There may come a day I have to work differently but I hope to always be here. Secondly is what it has done for me personally. I was going to have to have speech therapy and it helped me talk. Thirdly, I love what WIVL is in Jasper. I love the feedback we get from the community. I just love Jasper. I plan on never making another place my home.
Why Jasper over Texas?
I love it. There’s a funny story because I came here in 1993 to visit when my daughter was little and the minute I put my foot on the mountain it started snowing. It was the blizzard of ’93. I got snowed in and it was horrible. I couldn’t wait to leave. (Laughing) I said, “Get me off this God forsaken mountain.” After my car accident I had to spend time in a wheelchair. My doctor said I would never walk again. I had so much time in that mountain not being able to do anything that I noticed the beauty of it and fell in love.