It was on Wednesday, December 19, that I last posted a story from my life for this on-line-memoir blog. That posting was about two Christmas gifts I received in 1946 when I was ten and in fifth grade. The two gifts were a medallion and a rayon slip embellished with lace. I ended that posting with these words, “Always,” that slip “gave me confidence and I needed that in the fifth grade. In January I’ll explain why.”
Today, I’m writing about events that shattered my sense of security between the opening of school in September 1946 and Thanksgiving. Here’s what happened:
In grades one through four, I boarded a city bus each morning that delivered me to St. Mary’s in Independence, Missouri. A number of students who attended the Catholic grade school, my brother and I among them, lived out in the country and caught that bus into town.
However, my father’s drinking left little money for bus fare, so when a neighbor with three children offered to drive my brother and me to school at the beginning of fifth grade, Mom took him up on his offer.
The first day of school—Tuesday, September 3, 1946—set the pattern for the next three months. The neighbor—let’s call him Mr. Jackson—sat behind the steering wheel in the front seat. I sat next to him. To my right sat his daughter who was in first grade. My younger brother and the neighbor’s two sons sat in the back seat.
A 1941 Plymouth fastback sedan from Wikipedia.
As he steered the car that first day, Mr. Jackson abruptly shoved his hand under my uniform skirt, roughly pushed aside my panties, and stuck his fingers into my vaginal opening. He moved his fingers around, plunging them deeper and deeper and then withdrawing them and pinching the labia. Over and over he did this throughout the three-mile drive to school. No one had ever touched that part of my body before then and I felt not only surprised but also uncomfortable with what was happening.
“Please don’t do that Mr. Jackson,” I said.
“You like this. I know you do.”
“I don’t. It feels bad.”
Giving my labia one final pinch, he removed his right hand from under my skirt and slid his right arm behind my back. Then he began to squeeze my right breast. That hurt and I cried out.
“Shut up!” he said. And I did. For the next three months, Mr. Jackson did this on the trip to and from school each day.
During each school day, I’d try to figure out how I could get into the back seat of his car. When he came to pick us up at the end of the school day, I’d say something like, “Mr. Jackson, I need to sit in the back seat so that I can start on my homework.”
He’d laugh and say, “The back seat belongs to the boys! You’ll sit in front with me.”
Always I had to accept being wedged between him and his young daughter who stared out the window as we drove home. Even today I do not like to think about what her life must have been like living with her father.
And so the days passed, with Mr. Jackson thrusting his fingers into my vagina opening or squeezing my breast all the way to and from school.
I never told my mom or dad about this because I thought that I’d done something that made our neighbor do this. I was at fault.
All this ended on Thursday, November 28, 1946—Thanksgiving Day. In my next posting, I’ll tell you about the final scene and the epilogue of this event in my life.
Postscript: Those of you who don’t follow my blog on writing may want to click here to discover the concluding posting I did on my entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.