Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Freedom from Fear


(Continuation of last Wednesday’s posting . . . )
 The three months of molestation ended on Thursday, November 28, 1946. Mom and Dad, my younger brother and I, and a young couple Mom had taken under her wing gathered that afternoon around the dining room table. When the couple spoke of leaving, Mom, knowing their pantry was usually bare, asked me to walk up to the road apiece and buy fruit and vegetables for them to take home.
         Mr. Jackson owned the produce stand where Mom wanted me to go. When I balked, she grew impatient because normally I was an obedient and willing child. But for five years, I thought my parents had abandoned me in kindergarten. I didn’t know why they’d left or why they returned. Because of this I feared they’d leave me again if I did something they didn’t like. Not knowing what that might be, I worried constantly about displeasing them.
         Did I laugh too loud? Cry too often? Wipe the dishes carelessly? Not make good enough grades? Twitch when I slept? Were my school stories too long?
         These questions were the reason I hadn’t told them about Mr. Jackson. I thought they’d be upset with me. I didn’t want them to abandon me because I was, as Nancygrayce said in her comment on last week’s posting, “a bad seed.”
         Mother insisted that I walk up to his produce stand and so I did. I put the money she’d given me in the side pocket of my new pale-blue trousers. They pleased me mightily because we seldom had money for new clothes.
         I walked up the hill to Mr. Jackson’s home where he and his family were eating Thanksgiving dinner. Getting up from the table, he ordered me to come with him to the produce barn.  
         As we walked through the orchard, he put his arm around my shoulders. Abruptly he rammed his large hand down my trousers and began to pinch my labia and clitoris. Stumbling, I cried out. Roughly, he pulled me upright and kept probing, pressing, fingering. Feelings cascaded through me. Feelings that confused me no matter how often he’d caused them in the past three months.
         I tried to turn aside and run back to his house, but he grabbed at me and ripped the zipper seam so that my trousers gaped wide on the left side.
         “Hold those pants together when you get home,” he growled. “Remember—this is a secret between me and you. And don’t you dare tell anyone. Your mom and dad will punish you if you do.”
         On both the trip to and from the produce barn, he kept up his monologue and his molestation. All the while, I searched desperately for a lie to tell Mom if she noticed that my trousers were ripped.

Norman Rockwell’s paintings of 
Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear

When I got back home, everyone was still seated at the dining-room table. I walked to its far end and handed mom the sack of vegetables and fruit. I stood sideways so she wouldn’t see the rip. But she had an eagle eye.
         “Dolores, how did you tear your pants?”
         “I . . . ”
         “You know we don’t have money for new things. You’re supposed to take back care of your clothes. How could you be so careless?”
         She looked so upset that I feared she’d abandon me again if I told her the truth. I began to stammer an implausible story.
         “The truth, Dolores,” she interrupted.
         “I . . . ” Then the words tumbled from my mouth as tears sprang from my eyes. I, who never cried for fear of being abandoned, stammered the whole dismal story of Mr. Jackson and what he’d done and what he’d been doing all those weeks.
         Amidst repeated pleas for forgiveness I wailed my fear: “I didn’t mean to do it, Mama. I don’t know what I did to make Mr. Jackson do that! Don’t leave me! Please don’t leave me!”
         At some point, Mom said, “John” to my father with a command that even I could hear. He quickly rose from his chair and the two of them went outside, got in the car, and drove away. The young couple encouraged me to take a nap and when I awoke, Mom and Dad had returned home.
         The following Monday, I caught the bus to school and did so throughout the rest of grade and high school. I never saw Mr. Jackson again until I was an adult and had already left the convent.
         Next week, in my final posting on this episode of my life, I’ll share that meeting with you. Peace. 

65 comments:

  1. Oh, Dee. I hate that this happened to you. I hate that you were so afraid to talk about it and that he preyed upon that. I love that your parents listened and believed you and did something to show you that they were on your side. I hope that their actions bolstered your faith in them and their intentions toward you. I hope it made you feel safe and loved.

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    1. Dear Kari, it's only now as I write this story and remember what I felt and thought at the time that I truly realize just how much my parents protected me. Next Wednesday and maybe even the Wednesday after that I'm going to write about other sexual incidences and my response to all of this as an adult. I never fall asleep at night without talking to my mom. She's been dead since 1968, so forty-three years, but in Oneness I believe she and I are united. Peace.

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  2. It is so sad that this happened to you but even sadder that you were sure your parents would punish you if you told them. It is very hard to be a child--you don't know who to believe!!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, I think that so many children blame themselves for what happens when adults do things the children are unsure of. We've all heard stories of how children think that if they were different their parents wouldn't divorce. I think this is part of children being self-centered--and that's necessary at that age. They believe, I believed, that the world revolves around them. So if something is wrong, they made it happen. Or so I think. Peace.

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  3. Oh, Dee, I had tears after reading this- just thinking of the anguish you went through in with all of it. Wow. I don't have words except that I am so glad it finally ended, and I so hope there was justice for him. And healing for you.

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    1. Dear Shelly, I was so lucky/blessed that Mr. Jackson tore my pants, that my mother saw they were torn, and that she was a woman who took action. She didn't dither! I hope to speak of justice next Wednesday and of healing also. Peace.

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  4. I'm so sorry...what an impact it has had on you. Sharing this with us makes me think of all the creeps out there who have abused children. So often it is a family member or friend. I will be sure to stop back and read the rest of this segment.

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    1. Dear Lori, thank you so much for stopping by. When I saw your name I realized that I'd lost your blog many months ago. So I'll return to it and see what you are writing about the winter mornings and the barn. There are a lot of "creeps" out there. I don't begin to understand their actions, but I do know that within all of us there is a dark part. The tragedy is when it overshadows our best intentions. Peace.

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  5. Oh Dee. Tears here. I hate what he did to your body and mind. I am grateful that his impatience lead him to tear your new trousers and bring the story out. What he did is part of the wonderful woman you became, but how I wish your path had been easier.

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    1. It occurred to me that perhaps I wasn't clear. I hate that Mr Jackson (or anyone like him) had any part to play in the development of the you I have grown to love and admire.

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    2. Dear EC, I did understand exactly what you meant about the good thing that happened--despite Mr. Jackson's intent. That is, he tore my trousers and mom saw that and that brought forth the story from me and she, never a one to simply sit still when one of her children was threatened, took action. So his treatment of me on that long ago Thanksgiving afternoon really was a blessing because it marked the end of a traumatic and confusing time in my life. I believe that out of bad can come good if we are open to it.

      Next Wednesday I hope to write about what I learned from this experience and what I'm still learning. If not next Wednesday then I'll write more two weeks from now. I try to keep my postings under 600 words and this week I went way over! I never know what I'm going to say until my hands are on the keys. So I'm unsure of what 600 words will tell next week!

      Peace always and ever to you, EC.

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  6. Your story lays so heavy on my heart. I am normally far from a vengeful person but somehow, I hope your parents found a way to hurt him as much as he hurt you. What a sick,sick man.

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    1. Dear Arkansas Patti, I never knew what they said to Mr. Jackson, I know only one thing--I never saw him again when I was little. And yet I know also that my brother continued to play with his sons. So Mom and Dad must not have feared that Mr. Jackson was attracted to young boys as well as young girls. If they'd thought that, they never would have allowed my brother to visit that house again. Peace.

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  7. I am so glad you told. So, so glad. And that your dad took "care" of it in what ever why was needed.

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    1. Dear Juli, I, too, am grateful that Mom and Dad "took care" of the problem. I was too young to know how. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to get to your blog within the next couple of days. Peace.

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  8. Oh Dee..I am just sick reading about this..Thank you so much for sharing..Not all kids are brave enough to tell for fear of no one believing ..It really messes up a persons mind..I'm glad your parents believed you..Thank you again..

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    1. Dear Karleen, it's the sad truth that some parents don't believe a child, especially if the child is telling them about incest. Some women may be afraid of losing a husband; some women favor a son. I don't know why, but all of us are complex creatures with our own pains that make our actions sometimes irrational and hurtful. Peace.

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  9. This is such a terrible trauma for a child to bear. The damage paedophilia causes to so many people is almost impossible to calculate. Your parents also must have been traumatized that they had let this man harm you, who knows what the man's family went through. From your description of his behaviour it would suggest that you were not his first victim. Nowadays we mourn what we think is a lost innocence of former times -- but in fact an evil that has been hidden for so long is now being exposed to the light of day and hopefully little girls (and boys) will not be so afraid to speak up and adults will not be so afraid, in many cases to 'hear' them.

    I can't help but wonder why men (especially) become like this. The more I learn about how many people have experienced sexual exploitation at such an early age, the more it would seem that the problem is more than an 'aberration' affecting only a 'few'.

    You are so brave to open yourself to us. It is impossible not to ache for you and your troubled soul so filled with guiltless guilt...

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    1. Dear Broad, like you, I don't think sexual abuse, molestation, incest is an "aberration affecting only a few." I think the statistic here in the United States is that 1 out of 3 women suffer from sexual abuse during their lifetime. One out of three. Every third women I encounter has had this happen! It's astounding. And yet somehow women endure.

      You know, Broad, just writing about this has been helpful. Thank you for your concern about the guilt I felt. Peace.

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  10. A child's life should be carefree, but unfortunately, not for you. Yours is the voice of millions of children who can't and don't cry out. There are so many secrets out there and wounds that never will be healed.

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    1. Dear Arleen, yes, millions. That word "secret" carries with it all kinds of trauma. In fact, I think most schools ask teachers not to use the word in the classroom because of its bad association for so many children. Peace.

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  11. Dee,

    This breaks my heart. I'm so thankful that your parents took action after you told them.

    *HUGS*
    -E

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    1. Dear Elisa, thank you. It breaks my heart each time I read in the newspaper about a child been abused or molested. And what is so horrific is that for every one report there are probably 100 that are not being reported. Or even a 1,000. Peace.

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  12. This was a dreadful experience for you, Dee and one which you shouldn't have had to endure, but I'm so glad it had a happy ending. The tearing of your trousers was truly fortuitous when it meant that you had a chance to tell your story to your parents and be believed.

    The awful thing about child abuse is that too often it is a vicious circle, with people who were abused as children growing up to believe that it's OK for them to behave in the same way to the next generation of children. I do think that our greater openness on the subject is one way of starting to break this vicious circle.

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    1. Dear Perpetua, it is a vicious circle with those who have been victims becoming perpetrators and passing on the trauma and pain. For myself, I've come to realize that while this was hard and traumatic it is as nothing when compared to what some young children and teen-agers go through. Always I remember for myself that "all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be exceeding well" as Juliana of Norwich said. Of course that is an adult perspective and as I child I was caught in a quagmire for those three months. Peace.

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  13. This one brought me to tears. Telling your parents what someone did to you and then begging your parents not to leave you...it's unthinkable that you went thru this. I hope expressing these memories has been very healing for you.

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    1. Dear Stephanie, I've had the advantage that many people haven't had of being able to afford to see three psychiatrists and two spiritual directors during my lifetime, so I've done a lot of healing over the years and come to a great deal of understanding about my parents and all that happened when I was a child. Still, writing this memoir has been truly cathartic and has helped me arrive at a greatest understanding of their love for me. Peace.

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  14. Oh Dee, I'm behind and just catching up. I haven't even read the earlier post about this, but I'm already so inspired by your courage. I think it's really important that you're sharing this story. Thank you.

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  15. Dear Emily, I got so behind in the past two months that it's taken me two weeks to catch up! So I understand. Thank you for your kind words. I always hope that my postings will relate to at least one person who has had a similar experience. If that happens, then I truly feel blessed. For the posting that preceded this one, Betsy--a fellow blogger- left a comment about her own experience and that touched me deeply. What she endured was so much worse than what happened to me. Peace.

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  16. I mostly don't like to touch adults, but children, oh yes(in a good way...). I would love to hug & comfort the little girl that was you.

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    1. Dear Mary, thank you for your kind words. I, too, want to hug and comfort that little girl. I've come to admire her greatly. She was a survivor. Peace.

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  17. I read your last two posts and feel so outraged that you had to go through something like this. You endured so much heartache as a child. I am pleased that you can talk about it now but so sorry that this happened to you.

    To answer your questions on my blog : yes I have read numerous Donna Leon mysteries. I started last summer and have read more than a dozen. As for giving travelogue lectures to groups – first I don’t know any group and second I could not talk in public – it would be very difficult for me. But thanks for coming to my blog.

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    1. Dear Vagabonde, I think these bad things are so traumatic for whoever has to go through them. But the truth is, Vagabonde, that when I look back over my life it seems to me that everything has worked out unto good. I think that's because I've been able to learn from happenings such as this and so that made me a better teacher and a better friend. At least I hope so.

      I'm glad you like Donna Leon. I'm wondering if you ever got hold of a Martin Walker mystery novel (there's a series) that take place in that part of France where the caves with paintings are. Peace.

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  18. Dee, in your bravery at so many things, especially in this telling, I am again struck with your mother. You might not realize it, but, in this part of your terrible trauma, you show mothers and those responsible for children how to take charge and move forward in protecting their children and doing something to stop molestation. :Your spirit is so open and giving and I just know that you are reaching others with your memoir.

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    1. Dear Penny, my mother was a wonderful women but years passed and she was dead before I truly came to realize that. I so wanted her to leave Dad because of the drinking and when she didn't I began to think of her as a weak woman.

      I regret that greatly for I think I hurt my mother's feelings. I think I wounded her.

      And yet a gifted psyche once told me that my mother was in the room with us and what she said to me then seemed to be something only my mother and I knew. So I believed she was there.

      She told me then how much she loved me. I cried when I heard that. She was an exceptional woman and I talk with her each night as I lie in bed. Peace.

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  19. Dee, What a horrible experience, and writing it as you have from the child's viewpoint, it is heart-rending. I'm thankful that now child molesters are more often brought to light and punished for their monstrous acts than they were in years past, when children felt they had to keep the terrible secrets or be punished.

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    1. Dear Karen, I've tried to write all these early stories from a child's viewpoint. I'm so glad I succeeded here. Thank you for noticing that and commenting on it. Like you, I'm glad that child molesters are now more often brought to light. Peace.

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  20. Dee, This is so vivid, I could barely read the words. You are a good writer. It brings an anger inside of me when I think what little girls had to suffer in years gone by. I'm a little confused.... who is Mr. Hill?

    Now society tries to protect children from such sick pedophyles and kids are not afraid to speak out (usually).
    Thanks for an informative and loving post.
    Love and peace

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    1. Dear Manzanita, thank you for your kind words about my writing. It's my real passion in life. The "Mr. Hill" was a slip of the fingers on the keys! I meant Mr. Jackson. You're a good proofreader to find that! Peace.

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  22. How ironic I read this as news is announced about Los Angeles Catholic Church documentation revealing alleged child sexual abuse by trusted spiritual authority figure adults and others who covered up the allegations.

    I'm always sorry to hear of anyone who has been subjected to such treatment and can only wish all who have been could have avoided this experience. No child should ever be subjected to such experiences and yet many of us are. We do learn from what happens to us but it can be a double-edged sword.


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    1. Dear Joared, I agree, no child should ever be molested or abused, sexually or physically. And yet, as you say it can b a double-edged sword if we can learn something from it. But I think the learning takes a lot of time and much maturity. Peace.

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    1. Dear Michelle, thank you. Peace.

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  24. I hear my mother's expression "God works mysteriously" when I read this part of your story. In his lust he ripped your pants which = the end of the story because your Mum saw the rip in your pants.

    I think I'm correct that your father had a temper? I cannot imagine your parents confronting Mr Jackson. Did they call the police?

    I know it doesn't belong here but just want to thank you for the book recommendation. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. Dear Rosie, it is so true that life is mysterious. I made that great discovery when I was in my forties. The whole mystery of life and God's part in it because what I mused over during those years and since.

      Dad did have a temper, which he kept carefully hidden and mostly it showed itself only when he'd been drinking whiskey. The didn't call the police because back then--in 1946--that wasn't done. Instead they drove up to Mr. Jackson's house. What they said to him, I'll never know.

      I"m glad that you're going to follow up on that book recommendation I left on my your blog and I hope you enjoy the author's writing and story. Peace.

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  25. This has upset me so bloody much and I am so bloody mad that this happened to you. As you said the didn't call the poilce because it wasn't done back then well maybe that was a good thing as you didn't have to go about telling strangers what happpened to you over and over again........I can't wait to read the end of this tale.

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    1. Dear Jo-Anne, no police and no counseling as that wasn't done in the 1940s. And so I simply pressed my fears down and avoided being hugged by anyone but my parents. Peace.

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  26. I am just so sad at the reading of this part of your childhood, Dee. I have so many impressions! First of all, the idea that you thought you'd be punished seems to be so common among sexual abuse victims. And ever since you first shared about your parents leaving you with your grandmother when you were so young I have felt such compassion for you! My granddaughter is now five and in Kindergarten. I picture her separated from her parents, and she would be completely devastated! So of course, you were so wounded which may have made you more of a target. You also may just have been the target of opportunity! But it's dreadful! And then, just about the time I think your parents have let you down, I think you're telling us that they went into action to rally around you and protect you. My guess, though, is that you're going to tell us no one really got you the help you should have had at that time. I'm sure there were no mentions of psychologists. No one was trained in this area! i do want to hear the conclusion of this story. You are very brave to talk about it so openly when it has to be very hard to even think about! Blessings!

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    1. Dear Penny, I never know what I'm going to say in a story until I sit down before the computer to write. I usually know the subject but not the words or just exactly what will emerge from my memory. So I, too, want to see what I'll write for the conclusion of this story. There's a lot of say and I don't want to write such a long posting that readers will get weary reading it!

      You know, Penny, I don't feel brave when talking about this. The thing is, I've spoken about it to three psychiatrists and two spiritual directors and they've helped me come to peace with it. Maybe not three, maybe it was only the second or third psychiatrist who was finally able to elicit from me why I feared sex. I'm no longer sure. Peace.

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  27. Pedophiles seem to "know" when there is an available victim. You were so brave to speak up! I hope your Dad beat the hell out of him.

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    1. Dear Susan, I was available and so vulnerable. I sort of doubt that my dad "beat the hell out of" Mr. Jackson, but I suspect that Mom ripped into him with treats that shook him in his work boots! Peace.

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  28. Glad you never saw that EVIL man again ---but I wonder how many other young girls he molested through the years... Gads...

    I didn't tell my story either for a long time for fear of being rejected. But--when I did --I did get rejected in one way --as you know. That was harder for me than the events themselves...

    Have you told your convent story??? I'd love to read it.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy, your story seems so much more tragic than me. You are a brave woman with great fortitude.

      As to the convent story: I've told about the first 18 months out of the 8 1/2 years I spent there. I've also told a couple of stories about leaving the convent. All of those stories are gathered under the heading "convent" under the "Label" head on the right side of this blog page.

      I plan to begin more convent stories soon. Peace.

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  29. It breaks my heart to read what happened to you, Dee.
    Betsy expressed my thoughts as well.

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    1. Dear Pam, Betsy also left comment on the posting before that described just what happened. In that comment, she spoke of the sexual abuse she endured. That made my heart ache. Peace.

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  30. Oh, Dee, I just want to hug you and tell you how much I care and how things like that should never be allowed to happen.

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    1. Dear Inger, you're right, things like this should never be allowed to happen and yet they continue to happen all the time. It's a tragedy. Peace.

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  31. Thank you for continuing your story, Dee. The affects of tragic choices people have made are part of all of our stories, but you had to go through a particularly hard situation, and I'm sorry. I'll be interested to read what happened when you met the man years later.

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    1. Dear Denna, I hope to write about that next Wednesday. Thank you for your kind words. Peace.

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  32. I can’t bear to read the comments.

    All I can do is hope that you tell us next week that Mr. jackson was punished for his evil deed.

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    1. Dear Friko, it's Wednesday and I'm sitting at the computer ready to type a posting about Mr. Jackson and the aftermath. No punishment that I know of however. Peace.

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  33. Thank goodness you're able to blurt it out! Just wish they had been able to report him for his own girl's sake.

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    1. Dear Heidrun, yes, it's his daughter that must have been the most affected by his actions. Peace.

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  34. I hope the daughter is safe...I am glad you told...I am so sorry. SO very SORRY!
    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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