Norman promptly loaded up my bedroom set, all my clothes and dumped it in the driveway of the T's. Norman would not even look at me when I tried to apologize for being disrespectful. I wanted to make amends, but it was clear he did not want to hear of it. With a deep sigh I started moving my things into the T’s home. I hoped for better days to come.
All went well for a while; I happily spent time with the girls and come September school started. All but Judy went onto school and they had a neighbor watch her. I had to go back to school as it was my 11th year of high school at F.E. Warren High in Downey, Calif. I also worked part-time at an Orange Julius and had been since I was 15 ½, Norman refused to give me money for food and I had to work for it if I wanted to eat.
Routines were normal every day at the T's. I would come home and help Dot make meals and after dinner I would rush off to the Orange Julius to work. Every night one of the girls would take their turn snuggling up with me in my bed. I would read a story to them and they looked forward to it. But Ellen had a little problem, she was a bed wetter so every night that it was her turn, the next morning one side of my bed would be wet. I didn’t get upset I would just change my sheets and wash them.
It was November and getting cold, as cold as it can be for California. Sunday night, the girls all tucked away in bed and Dack made drinks and asked me to join him and Dot. Mind you now I was not accustomed to drinking.
I had one bad experience at Dave’s going away party into the Green Beret’s. Dave was the oldest of Dale and Carrie’s and Sandy and I mixed sloe gin and seven up. It tasted great, a sweet syrupy drink and in short order I was drunk. I was also very sick the next day and spent that night at Dale and Carries. Carrie didn’t want Norman to know what happened and also didn’t know Sandy and I were experimenting with alcohol. I was 16 at the time and my first try at this stuff. After that experience I swore never again. I couldn’t understand why people enjoyed feeling this bad the next day.
I reluctantly said ok, recalling a prior experience. Dack assured me I would not get ill and wanted me to enjoy that night with him and Dots. He mixed orange juice and Vodka and added some red stuff to it and cherries and it looked appealing. My first sip I nearly gagged, the vodka was so strong but he encouraged me to finish it that I would grow to like the taste. I listened and adhered because he was the man of the household and I was fortunate to be allowed to live there and surely blessed they wanted to take me in.
The Telly was on and I don’t even recall what was playing. I leaned my head back on the couch while I was sitting on the floor. The room was spinning and I didn’t feel very good. I glanced to the right and Dot was passed out on the couch. I think Dack must not have had much booze in his because he promptly carried her off to bed. When he came back he laid me flat on the floor. I felt nearly paralyzed and could hardly move. He pulled my clothes off and I had no power to resist, but tried to scream. He positioned himself over me covering my mouth and cautioned me not to make a noise.
It was my 16th birthday and I was over at my best friend’s house, Dean. His mother named Doris made me a cake and Mark, Dean and a few friends were spinning records. The first song they played for me was, Sweet 16 by Neil Sedaka. Before my 16th birthday I was a true tomboy, short cropped hair looking like one of the boys myself. My mother used to keep my hair cropped short; I think she thought it was easier to care for. After she died in 1969 I started to let my hair grow. My hair was now nearly down to my waist and I wore the stylish clothes of the hippie era. Hip huggers, flared stove pipe style pants, and long sleeved flower tie dyed tops. Although I was still a very shy teen and I had never even kissed a boy. I was not a young teen who was interested in any sort of sexual revolution at that time I had better things to do like have fun with my friends. I didn’t know the first thing about sex other than that 6th grade movie all girls had to watch on becoming a woman. Something I did not look forward to, having a monthly cycle was not appealing to me.
The deed was done and all I could do was lie there, shocked and terrified hurting and betrayed. I couldn’t move, just laid there for what seemed hours alone.
The sun’s first morning rays were beginning to come through the living room window. The household would be up shortly; I gathered my clothes and ran to my bedroom. I couldn’t let the girls find me like I was naked and bleeding, still trembling with fear. I grabbed a robe and my school clothes for the day and showered. I felt sick and wanted to vomit, my head hurt and what was left of my dignity and something cherished to give the man you love was gone. Gone forever, taken away from me.
I dressed for school and left before anyone was up. I couldn’t face anyone I was so ashamed. I sat on the school bleachers waiting for school to open. Still I couldn’t cry, but the pain was real. I felt nothing but emptiness now, just a shell of once was. Blaming myself and not others, I must have done something wrong. It was my fault, although I couldn’t rationalize why.
When administration started to arrive, I walked to my counselor’s office. Mr. Bleu he was my counselor and had been since 8th grade.
I was so naïve and can still laugh about this experience. I was 13 years old and had spent the weekend with my Mother’s best friend. My mother was ill during this time and had not yet passed away. Adele was a wonderful person and I enjoyed going to Los Angeles and spending time with her and her husband Les and their children Scott and Kim.
Adele was running behind and was rushing to get me back to Downey and to junior high. I was stressed and asked what should I tell the office if I’m late? She told me, “Just tell them you weren’t feeling well.” Sounded good to me, so arriving late for class I went to the front office and proceeded to tell the ladies up front I had morning sickness.
There is a saying, if a picture can say a thousand words; their stunned faces had me very perplexed. I was told to sit and they contacted my counselor Mr. Bleu. He walked out smiling knowing me very well and ushered me into his office and sat me down. “How are you Carol? He asked. Well I’m ok I guess, am I in trouble? Still smiling he said, well I don’t think so why don’t you tell me what you told Mrs. Hoffman. I told her I was sick, you know sick this morning but I feel better now. I just had morning sickness and it went away. He laughed and asked do you know what morning sickness is Carol? I said, well sure it’s when you’re sick in the morning. He smiled and chuckled and said no Carol, it’s what pregnant women have. It’s a part of pregnancy for some.” I recall the heat rising in my face, I was never so embarrassed in my life… even though I knew how the birds and bees worked (unlike swallowing watermelon seeds like my Mom’s friend Adele told me) that was the last thing I would be involved in.
I asked to see my counselor Mr. Bleu; I trusted him and knew he had always been there for me. He ushered me into his office and I told him the details of what happened. He promptly called the police and two detectives showed up and off to the Downey Police Department we went.
1971 was an era before sensitivity to women and circumstances was exercised and the grueling interrogation I was put through was not for the weak of heart. I was still a naïve young teen not experienced in worldly matters. Yet, I still did not breakdown and cry. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t believe me other than my refusal to go to the hospital to be examined. To me that was a horrible thought and for me, my personal privacy in that area was very strong. I was raised by people who were very puritanical in thought and action and that sort of examination to me was unbearable. Why would I lie? I was not in the habit of lying.
After hours of grueling embarrassing examination, much to my horror in walks Dack. Again, I had been betrayed. He informed the detectives I was a troubled teen whom they took in that was wild and uncontrollable and slept around. The ride back to Dack and Dot’s house was quiet and terrifying. Once back, Dack and Dot stood in front of me shouting how bad I was and why would I want to ruin their family when they gave me a place to stay with love and care. All I could do was stand there and take it. Dot ordered me to my room and I went. But not before grabbing a bottle of aspirin out of the bathroom, Bayer aspirin and a glass of water.
I sat on the floor in my bedroom and opened the top of the container; there were 500 little aspirin in the bottle. One by one I chewed them up, and swallowed them with a water chaser. I couldn’t face life anymore it was too painful all I wanted to do was die and go where others loved me. I thought that would do the trick. I was one-third way through the bottle when a voice came to me. “Carol… Carol…” I swung towards the bedroom door, but it was still closed and locked. No one was outside of it and I sat back down to continue my pill swallowing. “CAROL… CAROL…” it was loud now. I stopped and listened. “It’s not your time, you have work to do” the voice said. I stopped, I had no idea what had just happened but stopped. I didn’t know what it meant, but calm came over me.
Dack knocked on my door until I opened it, next to him stood Aunt Cloyd. He called her to come get me and explained what happened (lied of course) and off I went with her. The entire way to their mobile home I was chastised by my Aunt asking how I could do such a thing to such wonderful people who took me in. She exclaimed I needed psychiatric help.