Archive for the ‘life before Navy’ Category

Life before the Navy

September 24, 2006

My life as a kid was usual in most ways-but there were several incidents that made my boy hood different than what others might have experienced; but yet-I have seen with my own eyes the lives of others that make me feel guilty that my life has troubled me so.

I lived from age 5 to 13 in the hills of West Virginia just out side of the capitol city,Charleston. Our house as all the houses on our part of the street was built on a hillside that might as well have been a cliff-the front door opened to a brief terrace that led to a flight of twenty stairs that led up to the street The back windows looked out on a view that was up from the foundation about 3 stories but the cliff made it seem like 10 stories.

It was an era of freedom for kids my age then in the 1950’s. Television was rare,most homes had none-we did…but it only came on a few hours in the morning and then a few hours at night. People were’nt worried about kids at the age of 7-8 going out to play hop scotch in the street because society had not shown a threat to kids then as there is now.

I was a normal kid-thought Santa was cheat,and hated halloween costumes-but loved the rewards we got for getting dressed up that way. I wanted to play little league but that never happened,so wiffle ball was the trade off.

But then there was the night my sister JoEileen died. She was 11-I was about 7. A man came in a dark station wagon and he went to her room and carried her out wrapped in a blanket into the darkness and up those steps to his station wagon. The next time I saw her was while standing on a stool looking down into her casket.

About a year later my friend and I wer4e playing in the woods beside our neighbors-Mr.Hoke- house. We saw Mr.Hoke come around the side of the house and go into his cellar and he was carrying a gun. Well we were curious about the gun and so we followed him into the cellar to see if we could get a look at it…but as we entered the door he had put the gun into his mouth and ended his life right there in front of us. He never knew we were there…nobody ever knew we were there, we ran to our houses and kept our mouths shut.

The last time I saw Mr.Hoke was standing on that same stool looking down into his casket. Looking at him that day and seeing his head put back together made me so curious that I later became a mortician to learn how they had done that-put him back together.

It was kind of a strange phenom of that time…morticians held what I called back yard viewings (back in the fifties) and my friend and I saw more dead people by the time we were twelve by the courtesy of these viewings. Another old man on our street gassedhisself …and the morticians uncovered his blue body right there so we could see him. And old Bennie up the street died and sure enough-the morticians had him uncovered in the yard so we could get a gander at his blue body. So the picture here is bunches of deaths but no one ever thought what it might be doing to our minds-we were just little boys.

One day the Allied van showed up and we moved to Henrico County Virginia. I hated that move. I was being seperated from everything I knew-my street and school and friends. The mountains and the view from the back window. And Karen…the girl that had become my first girl friend….so the move was not what I had planned.

Theres alot of details I am skipping over in this because I am trying to lead up to my days in the Navy because my intent in these blogs is to tell the story of a mans life as a rape and sexual assault victim-to try to give an idea that this does exist but because it is so sensitive,it is hardly reported…there fore not much awareness exists.

There was some incidents at my new school that seperated me from most all of the student body-there was an issue of how I dressed for my first day of gym and the coach made such a deal about it that all the other kids saw it as an open door to tease me over and over til I quit paying attention to school and began planning a way to get out of there.I did run away once-but that was a short journey of around a week…so one day I took some eggs on the school bus and at an intersection I threw them at a car and caused a car wreck.

Later that morning in school the PA system came on and all the students on that bus were called to the cafeteria where the bus driver and the automobile driver and the police and the school officialsalll were waiting to hand out pencils and a index card to each student to write down the name of the oerson responsable . Those cards were never filled out-there was a girl named Debbie that said she did’nt need to fill one out and she pointed at me and said ‘ it was him…’ and thus my school days were over as I was expelled and sent to a judge who ordered me to work for some building contractor for the mere pay of 15 dollars a week which was turned over to pay the damages of the mans car.

The following year the Allied truck showed up and we moved to the suburbs of Washington DC. Now this was a move that I liked. Our grand parents lived in the DC city limits and all of my summers as a boy were spent there partly,and divided in half-the other half being with my grand parents inPottstown Pennsylvania. But the move also pleased me because I could start over-new school,new friends…

The first day of school at Robert E.Peary High School was going to be the best. It was a huge school with two tracks and a full size football field-it had a bag pipe band and asizeable display of the explorer Peary’s sled and other memorablia that he took to the midnight sun. The school had a theatre program-and an auto shop…it was a great place. But then when we were leaving our home room class where we learned of all the great opportunities that Peary High offered and we were walking down the hall to find our assigned lockers and our next class….I saw Debbie fromHenrico County coming down the same hallway – I could not believe my eyes.

School ended for me permanantly that day. I went sometimes-but most of the time I skipped out and went into the city. The pain of the students harrassing me in Virginia was not going to happen here…although I never thought that Debbie was in a strange place too,and knew no one-as I knew no one. I was’nt thinking that, and I was not going to stick around to find that that was the case.

My family by this time was thinking I was no good-the school bus thing,and now being caught traunt so many times and forced time after time to go back to that school where I’d go in the front door and out the back…so no one wanted to hear my reasons why-they just wanted me to hear them,and they were’nt talking with understanding. Not trying to learn…what is the problem.

The hippie movement was really big in the DC area and with so much going on with civil rights and the Viet Nam war and all of the changes that was being brought on by the movement of youth…well,it was hard not to get involved-if it was just merely becoming a hippie,and sothats what I did. I marched on the capital with the poor peoples march and attended an anti war rally at DuPont Circle that ended up going across the bridge to march on the Pentagon…I never made it that far but used to tell people I did to try to fit in.

Then one day I was given a stamp sized piece of paper and was told to set it on my tongue and let it disolve. It was LSD-altough I did’nt know it at the time…and years later learned it was legal in DC until 1967…and Sandoz chemical company was making the stuff right off of DuPont Circle. It was a buck a piece…one dollar and it changed my life. I ran away-of all the craziest places I ended up was inHenrico County ( ?? ) and my father came to get me.

One week later I was getting ready to go see a movie and was in my upstairs bedroom looking down at my two kid brothers playing on the lawn when my baby brother Carl ran right out into the street and into the path of an oncoming car-killing him. We buried him inPottstown -following the hearse all the way there…and listening to my mom say over and over that it should have been me instead of him…after all,he was a good boy-and I was not.

The real kicker came when I got caught skipping school and the truant officer returned me to the boys dean and there I was put into the class assumed that I would be in-I had been missing so much there that it was a state of confusion. It was an english class being taught by a student teacher-an intern from that same school…Miss Wagner. Now Miss Wagner took it upon herself to contact my father to tell him I was missing so much school that I was going to fail…but she was going to volunteer her free time to tutor me after school and on the week ends-I hated her.

The first week end came of her tutoring and my father proudly set up the dining room for her to use as a classroom, but she had another idea-she was going to take me to a farm up in Columbia County and teach me some things there. And…teach she did-she gave me my first lesson on nudity with a woman,and showed me another interesting thing…I called her Francis after that.

Francis got pregnant and was wisked away-I never saw her again,I don’t know anything about the child. I was kicked out of school…and so,I enlisted in the United States Navy.

I will keep my story here until I can get back to say more. Thank you.