Swim or Drown

•August 2, 2011 • 2 Comments

I don’t remember when the molestation with Don began but I remember when some of the fear and controlling began. My mom and Don had a swimming pool at their house. I didn’t learn to swim until I was older than most children. I had a real fear of water when I couldn’t touch the bottom or when I felt like someone was going to try to push me into the pool. I remember being in the pool and hanging onto the side  the whole time….especially when Don was in the pool. Don would always take me away from the edge and hold me horizontally and tell me to swim. I”m sure he had good intentions of teaching me to swim but I was so afraid that it was really counter productive. There were times that I would get out of the pool and the tips of my toes and fingers were bleeding from hanging onto the edge the whole time.

I think the military side of Don was very frustrated with my fear of water and the fact that I wouldn’t swim. He just couldn’t understand what was so scary about being in the pool and why I couldn’t just learn to swim like every other child. He began pulling me away from the edge of the pool and tossing me into the deep end so I had to swim. All this did was make me even less trusting and more afraid of getting in the pool.

One day my mom and Don invited my grandmothers and I over to hang out by the pool and have dinner. Just to clarify, I enjoyed playing in the pool, I just didn’t want anyone messing with me or forcing me into the deep end. We all arrive and are having a good time and Don is drinking the whole time. About the time that the steaks hit the grill it becomes very apparent that Don has had too much to drink. All of us have changed into dry clothes and are setting up for dinner when for no reason at all Don grabs me and throws me into the deep end of the pool….clothes and all. He said “swim or drown” then walked into the house and passed out in bed. I got out of the pool and walked into the house soaking wet. Everyone looked at me and asked what happened. I told them that Don threw me in the pool. My mom burst out laughing, apparently that was about the funniest thing she had every heard.

After that incident my grandmothers told me that I was going to have to go to swim lessons at the “Y”. I cried and told them that I didn’t want to go but they said that I was going because I had to learn to swim. To this day I remember the way voices would echo and that the lights were dim at the pool. Going to swim lessons was like pulling my fingernails out one by one. I would have such anxiety about it that I would go into my grandmother’s bedroom at night and sit on the floor crying and begging her not to make me go. She would tell me I had to go and to go back to bed.

For any of you who have read the About Me page, you know that I do triathlons as well as other types of races. Triathlons involve swimming which to this day is a real struggle for me. My races are limited to pool swims because I just can’t get comfortable in the open water (lakes, rivers etc). Maybe one day i’ll give it another try but for now i’m content staying on dry land.

Then There Was Don

•July 26, 2011 • 1 Comment

My mom met Don at a motorcycle run in the 70’s. Don retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel and was a decorated fighter pilot in WWII. Don was loved by everyone who met him. He was very outgoing, charismatic and talented when it came to mechanics. Unfortunately, he was also an alcoholic and a child molester.

Don drank martinis from noon till he went to bed everyday that I can remember. As a matter of fact, he taught me how to make a dry gin martini….fill the glass with gin, add a couple of drops of vermouth and throw in a couple of green olives. He would work in the garage building trikes (three-wheeled motorcycles) everyday. Around noon he would tell me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich and a martini.

Don was much older than my mom and had two grown children. His daughter’s name was Linda but I can’t remember the name of his son. I vaguely remember that Linda had problems with addiction. I know she had a drinking problem and I think she was also involved in drugs. I remember Don being very disappointed in her. She was always asking for money and just never seemed to be able to keep in together.

Don was very “military” in that everything was always organized, clean and planned out. The house was cleaned as though it were the barracks, his clothes were folded the military way and he dressed as if he were going to inspection. These were all good qualities for my mom because I believe she was just the opposite prior to meeting him. My mom and him were together for over 12 years but never married. I never could really figure out the relationship entirely because sometimes when I was there my mom slept in the same bedroom as him and sometimes she slept in a different bedroom.

I have often thought about Linda and wondered why she had all of the issues that she had. One day it occurred to me, maybe I do know why she add the problems that she did. After all, we all manage the aftermath of our abuse in different ways…..for some people it’s with drugs and alcohol.

Bill the Thief

•July 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As best as I can remember, the abuse with Bill went on until I was about 13 years old.  Around the age of 13 I went to live with my mom and her boyfriend again and then later went to live with my dad in Oregon. My mom and her boyfriend had moved to Nevada so I rarely saw Bill.

After I graduated from high school, I went back to California to live with my great-grandmother. Bill was still there helping her with shopping, yard work etc. in exchange for free room and board. One day while I was at work he went into the house and told my great-grandmother to give him the keys to her car. She asked why and he said that he was taking the car and leaving. She didn’t want to give him the keys but he told her not to make him have to get the keys himself. He took the car and we never saw it again. He also cleaned out everything from the garage including family photos, heirlooms, furniture and everything else right down to the Christmas decorations. I have a feeling that he owed money to someone possibly over gambling debts and he had to come up with money from somewhere. The police were not much help saying that he lived there and those items were just as much his as they were hers. It was very sad for my great-grandmother as I know she trusted him after all those years.

I saw Bill years later in a camera shop. He was sitting in a chair behind the counter watching people. It was very strange because I got the feeling that he was there as security but in a mobster sort of way. I remember making eye contact with him and he had this cold hateful sort of look in his eyes. It gave me the creeps and a little chill went down my spine.

Sometime later I heard that he was working as a janitor at an elementary school. When I heard that he maybe working around children a red flag went up for me. I went to the local police and told them everything that had happened and that he might be working at a school. They checked all of the schools but never found him so hopefully my information was wrong.

Bill has long since passed away and i’m sure he got what he deserved in the next life. The memories remain for me but those events happened long ago and I choose not to dwell on them.

Now on to the next chapter.

Smile and Say “Cheese”

•July 7, 2011 • 2 Comments

As mentioned in a previous post, Bill was very much into photography. Bill had a camera everywhere we went. We had reels and reels of home movies, slides and photographs. Unfortunately, Bill did not always use his talent in a positive way. No matter what we did together, he had his camera and was snapping pictures.

I’m sure there were more instances than this particular one but it’s the one that stands out in my mind most. I recall being in his room and him handing me a pair of his underwear and telling me to put them on. I did as I was told and was then instructed to sit on his bed while he took pictures of me. At one point he told me to smile and say “cheese”. I remember feeling uncomfortable and humiliated. I wondered what he was going to do with pictures like that.

I have no idea what became of those pictures but I think it’s safe to assume that he was not the only one viewing them. Fortunately, the digital age had not yet arrived so I am hopeful that they are long gone.

I know that he was still photographing girls both under and over 18 years of age many years after he took those pictures of me. I was about 18 years old when Bill brought some photos in to show my great-grandmother of a young woman who appeared to be somewhere between 16 and 19 years of age. She asked him what the pictures were for and he said that the young woman wanted to be a model and needed some pictures for her portfolio. When she asked him how much he got paid to do that, he said that he did it for free because she was a nice girl. I got sick to my stomach when he said that because I knew that that young woman paid a price for that portfolio….nothing came free.

Peeping Bill

•July 5, 2011 • 3 Comments

As I remember, with Bill there became a point where there was very little privacy. I remember him opening the door just a little if he knew I was dressing. I remember him asking me to climb on a ladder or a counter to reach something when I was wearing a dress. I believe the most disturbing aspect of his voyeurism was when he would try to watch me in the bathroom. There was not a lock on the bathroom door so I tried to create one by opening the drawer in front of the bathroom door so it couldn’t be opened. That kept him from opening the door but he then resorted to looking through the keyhole. I remember wading up pieces of toilet paper and sticking it in the keyhole so he couldn’t see though it but he would stick a pen in the hole to push the paper out. I began putting bubble gum over the keyhole which did the job but he then told me I couldn’t have bubble gum. I finally figured out how to drape a towel over one of the drawers so it would hang down over the keyhole. That finally stopped him from seeing in the bathroom but it made him mad.

Bill was angry that I had finally figured out how to stop his peeping antics so he would try to find a reason that I would deserve a spanking. He knew that he would have to come up with a good reason to spank me for my grandmothers to agree that I needed to be disciplined. I don’t recall him ever spanking me because my grandmothers wouldn’t allow it but I was still afraid because I knew that he was mad at me.

To this day I don’t watch movies about people being watched or stalked as it completely creeps me out. The experience has made me much more aware of my surroundings than I might have been had these experiences not happened to me. On a positive note, I like to think that I became a pretty good problem solver at a very young age.

The Feeling In My Stomach

•June 28, 2011 • 2 Comments

As best as I can remember the touching began with what seemed to be a slight slip of the hand during tickling. As we all know, it was not an accidental slip of the hand. This was all very calculated and planned out. This was a way of prepping me for the deliberate actions that was to come.

I remember times when Bill would have me pinned on the floor tickling me and his hand would run up the inside of my thigh. I didn’t think much about it because after all I was moving around so much from the tickling and he didn’t seem to be worried about it. It was so subtle in the beginning and the more times subtle things happened, the less and less I  began to notice it.

The touches started out very brief but then began to linger a little longer. What was so quick to the point of almost being unnoticeable became longer and more deliberate. I remember the point at which I began getting that “feeling” in my stomach. Being such a young child, I pushed those feelings aside because at that age I didn’t really understand what that “feeling” in my stomach was telling me. I thought that I was being dumb because Bill wouldn’t hurt me.

I believe that the full on molesting began in his room where there was no one ever around to see anything. I remember him standing me on his bed while he stood in front of me and me looking anywhere and everywhere but in his eyes. Everywhere I looked was the pornography. I still recall the scent of the Old Spice that he wore and the smell of beer on his breath.

BOO!

•June 21, 2011 • 5 Comments

I’ve never understood why some people think it’s funny to scare other people. I really can’t think of one thing that is funny about someone jumping out from behind a door and scaring me.

Bill was one of those people who got a real kick out of that. I would be walking through the house and he would be hiding around the corner or behind a door and jump out yelling “BOO”. It would scare me so bad and he would just laugh and laugh until he was almost crying. I remember that as I became older I had become almost paranoid about it. Whenever he was in the house and I had to go to the kitchen or bathroom, I would walk slowly and cautiously looking to see if he was hiding somewhere. I was hoping to see him before he saw me so I wouldn’t get scared.

Bill would also chase me through the house. Once he caught me he would tickle me until my stomach hurt so bad I would almost cry. I would beg him to stop but he would keep tickling me. I remember once when he was chasing me through the house that my fingers got slammed in a door. My  middle finger got the worst of it and blood sprayed out from under my fingernail. I was rolling on the floor holding my hand and crying. I eventually lost two fingernails from that incident.

Bill also thought it was funny to lock me in closets and the trunk of the car. He would jump out of a closet to scare me and then push me in the closet and hold the door shut. I would try to open the door but he would hold it shut and laugh. It wasn’t until I either cried or just stopped trying that he would let me out. On at least a couple of occasions I remember him locking me in the trunk of the car. He wouldn’t drive anywhere with me in the trunk, just leave me there until he decided to let me out. I remember that the trunk was much more scary because I was actually “locked” in the trunk. It wasn’t like he was just holding a door shut.

I suspect that the purpose of all this was to make it perfectly clear that he was in control and to bring me to the point of always being submissive to him. What I learned from this as a child was to always be thinking ahead, always be out thinking the other. If I could predict the hiding place, stay away from the closets or just wait until Bill was not around, I could avoid the situations.