The house where I lived was torn down (foreground) ...
the back of the house in the background was where
the 'love shack' was.
Last evening, for some odd reason, I looked up the local obituaries online. I used to get the newspaper and that was pretty much the only feature I read. I cancelled the newspaper, because I get my news online, and eventually lost interest in the obits. So it was kind of out of the blue that I decided to read the obituaries last night, only to discover that one of the more well known neighborhood fruitcakes died last week. I can't use his name because I'm not sure how public his reputation was, he was 76 years old when he died in a nursing facility. I'll call him Gumdrop - a name the neighborhood girls gave to him.
He never molested me - I think he was more interested in girls. He was creepy looking, skinny, badly dressed, unfortunate facial features, big eyes, weak chin, a leer rather than a smile, premature balding, and a little hunched over. I specifically recall seeing him once on the playground when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, and he was selling Catholic religious medals. He had a salesman's case and everything. I was so excited and ran over to look at the medals. My sister ran over, pulled me away and told me never to go near him. (I have a feeling he was after my sister and maybe used me to bait her.) Much later, in middle school and in a new neighborhood, my new friends all knew about him too.
Gumdrop was one of many molesters on the East side of St. Paul. One heard stories of men pulling over to expose themselves to girls, invite them into the car to pet his puppy, and so on. We knew some girls were molested, but no one ever seemed to report it. Some of the boys occasionally hitchhiked from one end of town to the other, and bragged about the blow-jobs. They weren't gay either - several were the tough-hood types, the ones the more slutty-girls often chased.
Everyone knew who the fruitcakes were, and parents warned kids to stay away from them. Some were 'queers' others were simply referred to as 'fruity'. My parents warned me and my brother and sister to stay away from this or that creepy guy. Why? As my dad once said, 'he's a g-d d-n fruit, that's why!'
It seems incomprehensible to modern ears that the police weren't always called, or suspicious fruitcakes weren't at least taken in for questioning. I don't know why that was. No one mentioned these things except to warn. It may explain why we today accuse the Church of cover up when it came to fruitcake priests. Yet that is how things were back then. That was in the day when it was still shameful for unmarried girls to get pregnant, and when they did - they were mysteriously sent away - to have the baby or do something about it - only to return as if nothing happened. Another interesting note is that girls were said to have gotten themselves pregnant: "She went and got herself pregnant." People today would never accept such language. Imagine a girl being responsible for an unwanted pregnancy? Or an abortion?
Anyway - so all of these memories came flooding back last night. I prayed for Gumdrop and the others. But it didn't get rid of the haunted feelings, the flood of memories. I still couldn't go to sleep.
I once looked up another neighborhood molester - the creepy guy next door, whom my parents actually befriended afterwards! I know! This guy now lives at the same exact address my family did when we first moved to St. Paul. It was a different neighborhood, and it was there that I was first molested by another neighbor - and now, that other perpetrator lives there. That just seems so strangely ironic to me.
Laying awake, I went through all of those mental archives, spilled out like files all over the room, and I spent the entire sleepless night trying to put them all back in order, noting things I hadn't paid much attention to before, praying. I counted almost half a dozen pervs in my one neighborhood - the last neighborhood I lived with my parents - before I ran away. Gumdrop never lived there, he just wandered through - roaming the territory. As for resident-pervs, there was one guy who had a corner store - a lot of guys hung out there - not many knew he was gay. Then there was the florist - as well as a counselor at the community center - few knew they were gay. Then of course, the guy(s) next door. One of the guys just demonstrated masturbation for the boys. Another exposed himself in the 'picture window' - to women passers-by. The most well known perv had a 'love shack' shed which he used as an art studio - he also supplied booze and cigarettes, and of course, fellatio.
Overall, last night was a very creepy night.
I have nothing edifying or spiritual to say about it.
Song for this post here.