In the past two weeks, I’ve posted the story of Mr. Jackson’s molestation of me when I was in the fifth grade. I told those stories from the point of view of a ten-year-old who truly didn’t understand what was happening during those three months of 1946.
Today, however, I’m shifting gears to share with you what I remember of the aftermath of this episode in my life. So I’ll be speaking as an adult looking back at a situation that continues to puzzle me despite my having been counseled by three psychiatrists, a therapist, and two spiritual directors in the forty-six years since I left the convent and realized I needed help.
This section of my on-line memoir may be a long; I’m not sure what I’ll say. I know only that when I woke at 3:30 a.m. this morning with words pin-balling through my head, I realized that what I wanted to say didn’t fall neatly into one posting. In fact it may take three or even four.
So today I’m just going to write until I’m written out. Then I’ll edit and polish the words into two or three postings for the next few weeks. To being I’d like to return to Mr. Jackson.
I do not know what happened when my mom and dad confronted him. I have some memory of sitting on the couch with Mom’s arm around me and she’s telling me that I’ll be taking the bus from now on. But, so far as I remember, nothing more was said. No one counseled me or explained what had happened. Nor did I ever hear that Mr. Jackson was arrested or counseled or that his life changed in anyway. I never again saw him until I was in my early forties.
At that time, one of his two sons died. That son had been only a year older than I and I’d always liked him. So when my brother asked if I’d accompany him to the funeral home, I went. With trepidation, I stepped into the foyer and there, seated on a loveseat, were Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. When he stood to greet my brother, who had walked forward as I hung back in the doorway, I saw him for the first time in more than thirty years.
A funeral home in Seattle, Washington. From Wikipedia.
I remembered him as being a towering giant with large, calloused hands, a coarse face, and black straggly hair. A monster in fact. But there he stood, a pipsqueak of a man. Instead of being broad-shouldered and barrel-chested as I remembered, he was bent in upon himself. Of course, he’d aged and his back was now bowed. But still, I stood pole-axed.
Thoughts raced through my mind: I let this little man terrorize me for all these years. I’ve been afraid of men because of him. I’d not let myself be hugged or kissed. I’ve been afraid to be alone in a room with a man. I’ve been afraid to sit in the front car seat with a man. I’ve lived in fear. And here he is, a man that would totter in a mild wind.
I walked forward and said, “Hello, Mr. Jackson. Do you remember me? I’m Danny’s sister.”
He turned and simply looked at me, not knowing at all, it seems, who I was. I took his hand and expressed sorrow over the loss of his son. And my brother and I walked into the funeral home and viewed our friend’s body and then left.
I wish I could have left my fear there, but too much happened in the two years after the molestation for me to do that. And it is those happenings that I’ll share with you in my next two or three postings.
Postscript: You have perhaps noticed, to the right, the new cover for A Cat’s Legacy. This past Sunday I asked a favor of those who read my blog on writing. If you have time, I’d appreciate your clicking here and going to that posting so I can ask the same favor of you. Thank you. And peace.