I lived with PTSD for 40 years, after molestation by a Catholic priest at age five. Read my story as I write it here through 2015.

This is a True Story

**See the R-Rated Version of This Story at CofA16**
Read ongoing coverage of pedophile priest crisis at CofA12
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

That Spider Bite Could Have Killed Me part 2

I changed a lot in that year in West Virginia.  Right after I arrived, I was ranting and raving.  It was just after my appointment with Chicago Archdiocese attorneys, I was still communicating with my lawyer, and they were all jerking me around. 

I’d gotten a ride with a pedophile priest survivor, to come to WV and stay with another survivor, but a third guy was supposed to pick me up from here and take me to Chicago.  Strangest thing.  He never showed up. Here is the scenario.

My friend at whose house I was staying was one of the L.A. plaintiffs who is really paranoid about the catholic church after what she went through as a victim of George Neville Rucker, topped with trying to be an activist in the “movement” and having the church, and SNAP, fuck with her life, as she tells everyone who will listen.

I went to stay with her in Spring 2011, and when I was there just a few days an attorney from the Chicago Archdiocese somehow got my friend’s home number and called her to talk to me instead of using my cell phone and calling me direct, and how did they get her number to begin with.  He said something to her that freaked her out, and within days I was dropped off in town in front of a rooming house that advertised on Craigslist.

I was already reeling in rage at the Chicago Archdiocese for telling me they wanted to negotiate a settlement, when what they were really doing was trying to intimidate me into stopping City of Angels Blog.  It seemed, since that intimidation didn't work, they were going to take other measures to shut me up. 

Podunk, West Virginia

Those first weeks alone in that Appalachian town, I would trudge downhill to where there was a little park and a one-block strip of shops that made up downtown.  I’d walk around and around the park.  It was one block of grass surrounded by a sidewalk, with three picnic tables, a few trees, a creek running through it, and lots and lots of bugs. 

I’d walk around and around on that sidewalk, around and around the park, wearing headphones and swearing.  

Swearing out loud. 

In the rant I was swearing about the weather, about the gnats in front of my face that blew into your mouth, about the lousy choices on the radio as I walked.  Forget about Progressive Talk, you couldn't even find Republicans on local talk radio, just the tea party and birthers and the only alternative to right wing politics was stations with preaching about jesus.  For music there was little more than gospel music.  Not passionate black R&B resonating Black gospel music but ma and pa singing around the organ 3/4 rhythm style gospel music. 

I'd stop and watch mosquitoes swarm over the creek, then I’d snarl and swear out loud to myself and walk around and around that tiny park, and then walk around some more, swearing.  Swearing at the church attorneys, swearing at the guy who was supposed to pick me up but never showed up, swearing at the woman who said she had a place here for me to stay and then dropped me off at an old boarding house and disappeared, swearing at the damn local radio programmers who can’t think of anything but anti-Obama treason babbling obscure radio programs and 1800 era church music to put on the air waves. Or NPR.  God, does anyone know what happened to NPR?  The one interesting radio station I could get in this little town was West Virginia Public Broadcasting so I thought, jeez, at least I'll get some intelligent information.  But no, instead it's the life of a blue-tailed wahoo in Nova Scotia for forty-five minutes complete with what sounds like canned bird singing in the audio.  Stories on NPR are so boring it's like they're designed to lull the liberals to sleep while the corporations take over the world. 

I’d snarl and mutter stuff like that to myself as I walked around and around and around in the park. I took a few weeks off from walking when the spider bite was taking over my right front thigh, and then just to break the boredom at the end of a day of working on my weird job in reality TV that is done over the internet, I was back in the one-block square park walking around and around and around. 

And Then The Rage Stopped

And some time between the end of winter and the beginning of spring 2012, it stopped. The raging and anger and endless muttering and tears of anguish pouring down my face, it just stopped.  And I sat in front of the little creek and watched mosquitoes dance above the little fishes. 

I survived it.  Whatever they were trying to make happen to me by leading me to this place and making it almost impossible for me to get out alive, I survived and got out and probably ended up better off for it.   

More to come. 

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That spider bite could have killed me, part 1

(Found this in a journal, copy and pasted it here, and apart from a few small changes for clarity, it's exactly as I wrote it in Winter-Spring 2011-2012, a period of time when I think the Church arranged for me to be stranded in West Virginia and, possibly, be poisoned.) 

(UPDATE: September 2014: I still have symptoms of this poison in my system, an illness that, in the past year, three different doctors have not been able to diagnose.)  

Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here ) 
I’d wake up each morning not sure where I was.  The building went up in the early 1800s as a boarding house in this small town in the country a 3-hour drive from Washington D.C., but that didn't matter to me as I had no way to get to D.C. or even out of this town.  I never had any reason to want to live in West Virginia, yet here I was, stranded. 

In 2010 I’d taken off to roam around the country interviewing other pedophile priest victims, trying to develop City of Angels Blog into something that could really accomplish something. 

Instead by summer 2011, I got sidetracked, swept aside, and outright abandoned and now I was in a flat in a house in small town West Virginia, totally isolated. 

And I woke up with a huge spider bite on my thigh, or a bite from some other massive insect whose venom under my skin was rapidly expanding into a puss-filled bubble, a good three inches wide.  And pulsating, I woke up with a hot red pulsating infected insect bite on my leg on top of my thigh.

I've had PTSD since age five, so I've been on this endless treadmill going Faster Than the Speed of Life.  No matter what happens, I keep running and running and running until I solve the problem.

Salt on my own wounds 


Table salt in a shaker. 

I poured table salt directly on the pulsating red infected five inch diameter bump of spider bite. 

Yow it hurt.  I was pouring salt on my own wound.  Burn!  Pain!  I hollered and it didn't matter, no one could hear me in that isolated place.  YEOW!! It hurt. 

But it worked.  It took about two weeks, but several times a day, I’d pour salt from the salt shaker directly on the massive pussy expanse on the front of my thigh and it would burn like hell, but then slowly over 2-3 weeks the puss drained out. 

I had to tape tissue over the wound and change it several times a day, this oozing mixture of green puss and blood and other unidentifiable human liquid, and then I went about my day isolated in that West Virginia furnished room, doing my job from L.A. over the internet, not talking to an in person soul.   

Today there’s not even a scar. 


My room in this two hundred year old house had one small window that since it was more than two stories up, had not been cleaned on the outside in decades, so the tiny inlet of light came through dripping rust, caked on dirt, debris, and dead bugs.  I could open the door of the apartment and sit on the porch, I could do that for days and never see another human being.  

A few weeks back, I had been dropped off on the road outside this building, where rooms for rent had been advertised on Craigslist.  The woman who dropped me off here was long gone.  The neighbor who I befriended here in the early weeks had moved away.  The building manager was tweaking on some prescribed medication and scared me so I avoided him.  In town, a ways down the road, there was a bar and an organic grocery and a 7 Eleven, so with Amazon delivering household items, I did not do without necessities of life, living in that furnished room in the back of a boarding house in Podunk, West Virginia. 

But now here I was with this infection on my leg getting worse and I had no idea how to get to a doctor from where I was.  I called the one who had a white picket fence around his medical practice downtown and was told that without health insurance he could not and would not see me.  I said, I’ll pay cash, but could not even make an appointment.  They said, Call blah-blah-blah hospital. 

I had heard that there was a new hospital built just outside town named blah-blah-blah.  I didn't know exactly where it was.  I had no one to ask for a ride.  There was no transit, there was not even a taxi.  In this town, people who didn't have cars asked friends and family for a ride, and I’d been dropped off here by a fellow "survivor" and the person who was supposed to pick me up and carry me from here to Chicago disappeared, I think now he was someone who contacted me through the blog as he was a handler working for the church.  He passed himself off as a fellow pedophile priest survivor and was really working for the church.  That one person played an integral part in me being left here in Podunk, West Virginia, as well as other strange things that happened in Chicago a year later. The Church knew I would be vulnerable to all kinds of unusual forces by being a somewhat disabled, somewhat broke, old lady in a strange town in Appalachia.

I think they left me there and I was supposed to die.

But PTSD since age five, after being raped at age five by a priest, had given me remarkable survival skills, ironically enough.  That's what PTSD is, your body finds ways to survive trauma.  

The Reason I Am Putting This Incident Here Is: 

Later I told a resident of the town in the park about how I self medicated away a poison spider bite and when I described the thing that had appeared on my leg, she said, “My cousin got bit that way, but them spiders they don't live here near town. My cousin was out by Shuster Creek when he got bit.  He weren't nowhere near town when he got bit by one of them spiders, them poison spiders ain't never bit no one here in town.

She scrutinized me and asked, "Do you got an enemy? Someone who might be putting a poison spider under your door to bite you?” 

I sipped my soda and didn't answer. 

(To be continued) 


A few weeks back I’d tried to engage a couple locals in town in conversation about how one gets around here if they don't have a car.  I’d said, “Is there anything like a public bus or public transit here?” and the woman in the park wrinkled her nose in distaste and said, “Why on earth would you want that?”  The conversation had not gone much farther, now I wasn’t even sure which of the other houses here on the outskirts of town was her dwelling.  Last time I’d knocked on the building manager’s door he’d stomped out into the hallway and hollered at me, “You moron!  I sleep until noon every day, I told you that when you moved in.”  So I left the kitchen sink dripping and didn't bother him again. 

(another cut paragraph: )

I stared out at the view from my doorstep where I sat on rotting wooden steps.  The shack stared back at me.  All summer I’d see people walk up this trail near my house and not come back.  When fall came and the leaves fell from the trees, it was revealed, there a few hundred yards from the door to my little furnished flat in this ancient building, was an old abandoned falling down shack maybe a hundred years old, where three, maybe twelve, homeless guys came and went.  So now I felt like I could feel their eyes on me, even though they were apparently inside the shack, or out and about on the town. . . not anyone who could help me get treatment for a spider bite. 


Who could I ask for help and what kind of help could anyone here give me?  If I got a ride to the blah-blah-blah hospital that was somewhere over those hills a few miles from here, how would I get back, I had not really met any neighbors. Plus the hospital might not see me when all I have is a California ID and no health insurance. I read stories in the local weekly about people not getting treatment at local emergency rooms and they had local IDs. 
Kay Ebeling

Please click my PayPal Button with High Fives as my story is my only asset
In the 1980s going Faster than the speed of life got me through an unexpected pregnancy when I was single and age forty.  I ran and ran and kept a roof over our heads and got my daughter to early adulthood in pretty good shape, well sort of. 

Again, oh Lizzie, I am so sorry. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More of the Story that Won’t Go Away

This is backstory on backstory. We all have to be willing to say what is true, even if it may hurt someone we love. The truth is more important. 

Reading my own past blogs to figure out backstory I found this at CofA 2:
“In early 2009 when it seemed everywhere I looked I'd see more signs that something was wrong at a shadow level with SNAP, it even affected me physically. I started shaking uncontrollably and it lasted days. I laid in bed taking muscle relaxants to keep from flying over the edge of the balcony. Shaking. Then with time it stopped, and I went back to telling myself, it can't be true. No one could be that sinister, devious, evil.  Yes they can."
After reading that this morning, I decided, I have to elaborate on this experience.  So sat down and knocked out this segment:

I held the phone in my hand, on the other end was David Clohessy.  Something he said to me clinched it, confirmed what I had been starting to suspect.  The words came out of my mouth, “Oh my god, you don't work for survivors, you're really working for the church.”

Clohessy sputtered, but he had been sputtering in every conversation I’d ever held with him, so the only thing different about this sputtering was a tone revealing he knew he’d lost control.  Up until then, his sputtering kept me from asking anymore questions, because it was so damn difficult to ever get an answer out of him.  

Here I was again asking a totally justified question, where does the money come from that keeps SNAP going, what do you do with the money, and he's telling me that as executive director he has no idea and does not know who would know, I'm going this does not add up at all. 

And the way he is evading any question I ask, the way it's been so hard to get anyone from SNAP to communicate with me at all, even though I'd started City of Angels Blog and had been publishing stories on the pedophile priest issue that were not being published anywhere else. 

Since so many survivors I talked to around the country wanted to know the same thing, I finally felt I had to right the ask Clohessy that simple question, how his nonprofit gets its money and what they spend it on. 

And he just would not answer, not after several phone calls and emails and a lot of his dodging and tap dancing. 

Something he said at that one moment in 2009 made it all come through to me so clear, I might have even said to him, “Oh my god, you're a priest,” because the phrasing, the construction of his sentence was So Damn Catholic and rang with that damn melodic lilt that so many priests use to emphasize that further questions are moot, don't bother to ask them, they will not be answered. 

Something about what Clohessy said to me, combined with the whole experience I was having doing City of Angels Blog and things I’d been finding out about SNAP as a result. 

It Hit Me.  SNAP is really the church, there is no doubt about it.

And I had a physical reaction. 


And SNAP even monitored me through the physical reaction. 

First I lied in bed shaking for three days.  Literally shaking. 

Just before the shaking started, I said to Clohessy, “Oh my god you're really working for the church,” and he was sputtering his protest as I set down the phone and started shaking. 

I was having trouble grokking what I had just learned. 

The word "grok" is the only word that describes it, a word from Stranger in a Strange Land, a book I read as a teenager. In it, the man from Mars had to “grok” before he understood what humans did, but once he absorbed it, he was all right.  I had to grok that humans could be so evil that the Catholic Church was running a fake support group for pedophile priest survivors and we really had received no advocacy, just damage control. 

At the time I was going to lots and lots of Bible studies, I feel a need to mention that, because it has a lot to do with why I had the balls to keep doing City of Angels Blog in the first place. 

I think those bible studies, which were very Zen Hollywood style Christianity, not the fundamentalist myopia you find in small towns, gave me spiritual strength I needed at that time.  I think those groups I went to on Sunset Boulevard at Hope Again Ministries helped me survive the whole experience, because to be honest, the physical reaction I had in that conversation with Clohessy could have caused someone weaker than me to have a stroke or a heart attack, it was that bad. 

I shook, it was a shaking that came from deep inside, and it was shaking caused by horror.  That any organization could be this evil, that the extent of these Catholic bishops’ determination to control everything that came out about these crimes was so deep, that they had created a fake support group and that group was doing a very evil thing behind the scenes while garnering endless media coverage presenting themselves as a compassionate couple of people running a nonprofit working for survivors. 

The extent of just how evil that was, the realization of how evil that was, somehow combined with the strength I was getting from those bible studies, and I was able to grok it.  But it took two or three days. 

I laid there shaking and I happened to have a prescription at the time for a muscle relaxant.  So I used that pharmaceutical to keep the shaking down to a rattle and shook there on my futon in the dining room that I had converted to my sleeping area in that apartment, because Lizzie had the one bedroom for her space.

Now and then my daughter, late teens at the time, would walk by from her room to the kitchen and back, pass me, and see me lying their shaking repeating words like, “so evil, it's hard to believe anyone could be so evil, so evil.” 

Must have been a changing moment in her life. . .

She hates me today because of all this, and what can I say, everyone hates me to this day because of the stuff I've written, so much so that I have nothing left to do but keep writing. 

Funny how that works out. 


Because I was in a kind of confused spiritual state, back then in 2009, I turned to someone who I knew from SNAP. 

I did not call him, he reached out to me, after I posted about my conversation with Clohessy.  I'm not sure if at the time I even knew he was on the board of SNAP.  I knew Farther John Shuster, sort of, because after the SNAP conference in Chicago in 2008, Shuster had been in the car when I got a ride to the hotel where I was booked to spend the next three weeks as close to Bartlett as I could find a hotel. 

Shuster is a married priest who runs a nonprofit advocating for priests to be married along with his wife in Washington. I did not know it at the time of this episode, but he was also on the board of SNAP. 

CUT OUT the stuff I wrote about Jeff Anderson, not relevant. Yet. 


Get back to the shaking,  

After a conversation with David Clohessy where I realized, at that moment for the first time for certain, that SNAP was really working for the church, I somehow ended up interacting with Father John Shuster, married priest and board member of SNAP.  

I'm on my laptop posting on my blog, hey, guys, I'm lying here in bed shaking, because what I just found out about SNAP and the church has put my body into a state of shock, it's so evil.

I kept repeating that, I told anyone who would read me, what I just realized about SNAP was so evil it was making me shake.

And this email shows up, or maybe a phone call, from Father John Shuster, his melodic and soothing voice telling me he would intervene and get to the bottom of whatever problem I was having with SNAP.  As shaky as I was, I responded exactly the way he asked me to, and gave him the names of five other survivors who also feel that SNAP is really working for the church.

It was a mystery then to me why over the next few days, those survivors told me John Shuster did not call.  Except for one who weirdly told Shuster No I love SNAP and was later given the title of SNAP leader in his state, then a few months later, dropped out of the "movement" and was rarely heard from again. 

The other four people who had agreed to talk to Shuster told me, he never called them.

But yes, I was that stupid and still that naïve about how evil they were.  I thought by asking Father John Shuster to call these people and ask them, and hear what they said, that it would help him realize, I was not making this up. SNAP really is screwing with the survivors they claim to represent. 

Only result was now SNAP knew the names of five people in the organization who were criticizing them.

Man, they're good, they're really good.  They're evil but they're good at it.

Before giving Shuster their names, of course first I contacted my friends, and I think I was only able to find five who were willing to talk to him, of the people who had told me their weird experiences with SNAP that had caused them to stop being part of the “movement,” a phenomenon that happened all across the country in 2007-2011.

Most people I asked said hell no I won’t talk to Shuster, because they had more years of experience dealing with SNAP than I did, and knew now to trust no one.  They were not as naïve as I, still carrying residue of the flower child on me in 2009. Now in 2014 that is almost all gone, not much flower child left today. 

So naïve me, I gave those names to John Shuster, then lied back down to shake some more, thinking he’d do something about this horrible injustice to vulnerable people.  The married priest also said to me, in several of our conversations during this episode, that I should use lots of my medicine, hint hint wink wink.  He even sent me 25 dollars through PayPal so I could “buy some more medicine” meaning marijuana.  I guess he didn't realize that I buy a month’s supply as soon as I get my paycheck, always, it's what sustains me. I don't use it to get stoned, I take one or two small puffs a few times a day, just to make it all tolerable.  I'm not stoned. I do a job that requires intense concentration, a job most people can't concentrate well enough to do in TV production, and the marijuana does not impair me. 

The medical marijuana would not even help with the shaking, I was using muscle relaxants to stop the shaking.  I'm not stupid.  

Clohessy's Barking Dog. 

His barking dog.  I remember from every conversation I ever had with Clohessy on the phone, in the background was his barking dog. 

Nice way to keep people from recording your conversations. 

These people who show up in the news claiming to represent the survivors are not to be trusted.  Thousands of pedophile priest victims called them and poured out their hearts to them, and SNAP took all those stories and hid them. 

If nothing else, we should demand that SNAP turn over its files, the same way they demand the church turn over its files. 

And we’d probably get the same unwilling response.

SNAP is more secretive than the church itself and they do not care who gets emotionally damaged along the way as they barrel through and continue controlling damage done to the church in the pedophile priest crisis.

Hardened by Years of Trauma

I shook and shook for three days but recovered, because I've been through some helacious trauma in my life, and on several other occasions I’d shaken and shaken for days in that way, so I knew eventually it would stop and I would recover.

There was the time in 1969 when I was raped by nine Indians on a reservation in Mt. Shasta.  After it was over I was back out on Highway Five and a man and wife from Oregon picked me up and, concerned about my obvious emotionally messed up state, took me to their home and let me rest there for a few days, no questions asked. 

And I shook and I shook and I shook UNTIL (coming soon at CofA 16 the R rated version of that episode).

Or the time I was Taken in Paris France at age seventeen and almost sold to two Arab guys, I've written that story several times including here and here at City of Angels blog. 

On all those occasions at the end, I did this shaking thing, where I shook and shook and then after a few days it stopped and I recovered. 

That's how I reacted when I finally realized that my suspicions were true, SNAP was really working for the church. 

And nothing that's happened since then has convinced me I was wrong. 

- Kay Ebeling

I have to get to my paid job now. Meantime, please click my PayPal button with many High Fives as My Story is My Only Asset.


When I first arrived here in "the movement" in 2006, there were guys on the message board hollering SNAP is the Church, SNAP is the CHURCH and I thought they were nut cases, like Charlton Heston at the end of that movie, hollering "Soylent Green is People, Soylent Green is people."

Thing is, Soylent Green really is people. 
Cut paragraph: 

Oh how I regret and probably will for the rest of my life how I did not contain myself enough to keep everything I went through from damaging Elizabeth, but all through it I felt like, better to let her know everything that's going on, than to leave her wondering what's going on. 

(Cut paragraph for sake of story. That's the kind of mother I am.)

Oh Lizzie, I am so sorry.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ch2: The Thud and a Nipple Dress

How one pedophile priest skewered the dynamics of an entire family, continued.  (Read other chapters here:  Chapter One First Light Chapter Three Considering Who We Are) 

by Kay Ebeling

“There in a picture from 1981 are my parents, my sister, and her nipples, smiling at the camera in the family photo album.”  (See cartoon below)

In his home in the Castro district, conversation with my cousin* finally came to why I'd come to San Francisco with my six year old daughter.  I asked him, “Do you remember Father Horne?” and then blurted out a version of events from the past few months, where I’d recovered the memory of the priest sexualizing me at age five, and confirmed that he’d molested my sister Patricia too.  I  ended with “Now I know why I've been so screwed up my whole life,” excited, thinking my cousin would share my elation. Instead: The Thud. 

When you're in a conversation and everything is going fine, then you mention you're a pedophile priest victim, there it is: The Thud. [BEAT] All talk comes to a complete stop, any ambiance of friendliness that had once been there evaporates, the room is silent, and all persons within hearing distance stiffen. Once The Thud happens, communication is never the same again. 

Doing City of Angels Blog since January 2007, I've finally learned to stop bringing up the issue in casual conversation, but only after experiencing The Thud many times.

Back in 1994 I was just beginning this pursuit and my visit with cousin Jimmy had been going fabulous.  I did notice a tone of awe and reverence as he said: “I go to the Basilica several times a week,” with just a little too much enthusiasm.

The Bassiilllliiica, he said, stretching the word way out.

Jimmy had only weeks earlier returned to the Catholic Church.  I wanted to say to him, “But you're gay,” but he rushed on before I could, and talked about the classes and Masses he does now at “The Basilica.” 

“The Bass-ill-icaaahhhh”

I should have known not to say anything more about Father Horne being a pedophile priest, but again, I was still green in this world of survivorship. Once I told Jimmy that I accuse Father Horne of molesting me back in 1955, there was no getting past The Thud.

Cousin Jimmy had no room for 6 year old Lizzie and me in his three story home where he lived all alone, not even for one night.  So we left, and as he ushered us out the door we received these words one more time. “I will never believe Father Horne would do anything as bad as that.  He was a wonderful man, an absolutely wonderful man.”


He had said the name “Father Horne” with same reverence he had for “the Basilica”.

So Lizzie and I went instead to Aunt Patricia’s house, even though she’d said earlier by phone we couldn't stay there.

During a phone call with my sister a few weeks back, I told her we were coming to San Francisco because I’d found a national support group for pedophile priest victims with a branch in the Bay Area. 

“Something called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP,” I said, “isn't that cool?  We can get some group therapy and support.”

But Trish just sighed into the phone, “I don't know.” I could almost hear her shrug. “It affected my life, yeah, I had a lot of sex.  But I had a lot of fun too.”

To this day I'm perplexed as to why I can’t look with the same attitude at the damage done to me by that priest, and just let it go.

But I can’t.  Not yet.  Maybe soon.

How I Found SNAP Back in 1994

Up in Humboldt County, after recovering the memory at age forty five of Father Horne sexualizing me at age five, and after having a weird physical reaction to it, I knew I should see a doctor and that the episode was psychiatric, so I scheduled an appointment with a therapist.  Since I was in a small Northern California town, the only shrink I could see on my insurance was at a clinic run by Catholic Charities. 

In the waiting room were copies of St. Anthony Messenger magazine with a cover story about pedophile priests, (Cover at top of this post; see entire articlehere   ). As I waited I began reading it, and they mentioned a support group for pedophile priest “survivors” in the Bay Area.  By the time they called me for my appointment, I didn't want to talk to a therapist anymore, except to find out more about this group.  She said she knew nothing, she was not Catholic, she just worked there. I said, “I'm just going to take this magazine with me.” And left, making plans to move 

Since Patricia lived in San Francisco and had also been diddled by Father Horne, I thought she’d be as excited as I was to find a network of other people who were raped by priests, but she was nonchalant. 

In a loud voice over the phone I asked her, “Doesn't it bother you that because of Father Horne molesting us, we were total out of control whores our whole lives?”

And there was Lizzie age five standing nearby overhearing everything I said.


Just like when I learned about the Vietnam War as a teenager and wound up on staff of the Peace and Freedom Part and just like when I learned about the space program in my twenties and lobbied until I got a job at NASA, at age 45 I latched onto the idea of being an activist about pedophile priests.  Going Faster than the Speed of Life, I never slowed down long enough to say, hey, this happened to me and I'm damaged.  I was too busy babbling in a compulsion with which only I was familiar, trying to make sure everybody in the world found out.   

We held a yard sale and were outta Eureka in weeks.  Then we drove down Redwood Highway with all the belongings we had left in the backseat and trunk, packed so tight, there was just a small hole in it to see out the rear window. 

As I drove and Lizzie slept, I remembered the time around 1970 when my sister Patricia had twelve shock treatments right after having a baby. My dad told me she was having “horrible memories” and electric shock would get them out of her brain. 

What memory was Patricia having after her baby was born that they wanted to erase, I wondered.  Was it anything like what I was remembering now after my daughter turned five years old?

A Not so Flowery Haight-Ashbury

Since Cardinal Levada had apparently made it okay to be gay and Catholic in San Francisco in 1994, so my newly renewed Catholic cousin would not let us stay in his house, Lizzie and I drove over to the Haight to see what Aunt Patricia might do.

Usually when people think of the Haight Ashbury District in San Francisco, they hear finger symbols, imagine flower children in breezy cotton clothes dancing around psychedelic maypoles.  That was not the Haight Ashbury of 1994, when Lizzie and I arrived in San Francisco in pursuit of a pedophile priest victim support group.

In 1994 the Haight had a darkness, as if all the grime of twenty five years since the Summer of Love had become ingrained in the concrete.  A different kind of street kid populated the doorways and staircases than in the 1960s.  I had last come through The Haight in about 1967.  Back then there was a magic in the air.  My friends and I on that visit left our bags in a “crash pad,” some strangers’ house, and wandered the city for hours, then returned to the pad and our bags with all our things were left untouched.  Dozens of hippies had passed through the house and seen our bags and yet no one even thought to steal anything.  The original hippies would not harm each other, we were all in this together, hey, man, peace love cool. 

In 1994 the grime on the street blended with the graffiti and tattoos on the kids’ skin.  Hair was still long, but it was greasy and bore no flowers.  The bony bodies and holes where eyes should be showed the drug of choice on Haight Street was no longer pot and psychedelics.  Drugs in The Haight of 1994 were heroin and speed, preferably shot into the vein, where tattoos hid the needle marks. 

Of course along Haight Street in 1994 there were still coffee houses and book stores with street seating cafes so the remaining aging hippies could meet and talk about politics and culture.  But the new population of Haight Street was not reading alternative newspapers, or selling them on the street for sustenance.  There was no hopeful notion of changing mankind and leading the way to a better future, as we all believed in the hippie era.  By 1994 the passion of Dylan and Baez had been drowned out by Kurt Cobain.

Into this dark and crowded place I drove with my six year old daughter trying to find a parking place so we could go to Aunt Patricia’s house. 

Aunt Patricia’s House

When you go east on Haight Street from Golden Gate Park, the first street you cross is Shrader.  Turn right, and two doors down on the left was the entrance to Aunt Patricia’s home.  You almost could not see the door.  It's right up against the sidewalk cut into the wall, with a tiny doorknob and a peephole.  A person passing could mistake Patricia’s front door for the entrance to a crawl space under the building, or maybe even a hobbit hole.

Down about 20 feet further from Patricia’s front door was a more ordinary door that looked like a front door, which was where Patricia’s tenant lived. 

By renting out part of her apartment, my sister paid almost no rent, to live two blocks from Golden Gate Park in 1994, because she had the same apartment she’d had since 1974.  With rent control she could charge her tenant 700 a month for a furnished room and pay the rent for her entire place.

Patricia told me the rental unit was empty when we were still up in Humboldt County, and that had only been a few weeks back.  Since I told her we were coming, I figured the rental unit would still be empty, but instead she must have rushed to rent it as fast as possible.  

I don't know if Patricia’s disinterest in helping Lizzie and me when we came for help could be called another incident of The Thud or not.  

It is an example of that weird thing she said in Chapter One, That she'd been hostile to me our whole lives because at age sic, I took away her first lover.  

It does tell you something about the screwed up dynamics that result in a family where a pedophile priest has stuck his prickly fingers.

The Nipple Dress

As we sat during our first visit since 1988 (link to Chapter One) Patricia got out her photo album and I paged through it, coming to a stop when I saw The Nipple Dress.

There from Thanksgiving 1981 is my sister Patricia and her nipples smiling out at the camera in her family photo album (see Cartoon at right, or Click here for R-Rated version version, sorry, I'm trying not to take any of this too seriously). 

In the family photo, Patrica is bent over our mom and dad wearing a lacey black blouse with nothing under it. 

Throughout that entire holiday, everyone in the family tried to act as if there was nothing unusual about having Patricia’s nipples peeking out at us, all through cocktails and dinner, but there they were, pointing out bright red under the thin lace of her dress. At some point I had apparently taken this picture of them that now Patricia wanted me to see in her family album.

Why no one ever suggested that  Patricia put on a sweater, I never understood. 

How Would I Do My Art? Patricia asked.

We sat awhile in the narrow entry room that Trish used as her living room, with the carpet that had only been swept, never shampooed since she moved in in the seventies, surrounded by shelves with figurines of Betty Boop, Marilyn Monroe, and various fairy princesses.

I asked, “What is behind that closed door?”

“That's my studio,” she said. “Come see my art.”

Here was a spacious room with French windows looking out on the yard, with scraps of colored paper and art supplies such as scissors and glitter spread out on a table.

“I am now officially a San Francisco artist,” Patricia announced, and put an example of her work in front of my face.  “See?  I go to the park with my camera and shoot pictures, which I then cut into pieces and paste back together.  The result is this.  A colorful cardboard pastiche collage, See?”

The picture in front of my face made me have trouble focusing: masses of mixed color with no patter, rhyme, or reason that evoked no feeling other than confusion.  Patricia went on to explain, "It's a new art form that I invented myself,” and she was so proud of her work, I kept humor from showing on my face, and agreed they were beautiful works of art.

I said, “Maybe we could stay here in the studio just until we find a place,” but she interrupted, “Then how would I do my art?” and began a diatribe about the people now populating Haight Street.

She said, “They're not hippies like we were, they're junkies. I can’t even get them to buy any of my art."

I, as always, tried to show I'm on her side saying, “Yeah the new street kids are like toxic waste left over from the Summer of Love,” but that only made Trish glare at me.

So Lizzie and I went to a homeless shelter in the Tenderloin District where we stayed six weeks before finding a place to live in San Francisco, another experience for a whole nother book. 

And since this shelter, like most shelters, made the “clients” go to Therapy once a week, I told my story to a college-aged psychologist who, believe it or not, opened her Roll-O-Dex and gave me the number for the Bay Area SNAP group that was meeting back then in Hayward. 

So the family dysfunction I lived with, probably as a result of being vocal about the pedophile priest, ended up getting me connected with a network of support and activism about pedophile priests.  Or so I thought. 

The Dog Fights Next Door

Snarling dogs tore at each other’s flesh right outside the window where Lizzie and I huddled on the mattress we got from a guy at an AA meeting.

When I’d looked at this apartment on Webster near Haight, I asked the agent, “What is that building out the back window?" and the she'd shrugged back, “Oh just some apartments.” I didn't ask more questions.  Lizzie and I had to get out of the shelter in the Tenderloin where I had to carry a hammer with me when I went to the kitchen in case someone jumped me.  When I finally found a landlord in the city who would rent to us, I went Faster Than the Speed of Life through the walk-through and just rented it. 

Turned out the buildings behind us were the recently condemned Projects. A group of holdouts now lived in the crumbling, police taped structures, refusing to move, holding dog fights. 

So there were me and Lizzie huddled on our mattress each night, listening.  

The snarling dogs seemed to be starved to a manic rage and along with men's cheering voices would get louder and louder.  Then you heard the plaintive wail of one dog, a sad and surprised bark of shock and pain from the one that just lost the dog fight, hollering until it died.  Then men would cheer and it would finally get quiet.

We listened to that outside our back door almost every night.

Soon after moving in, we got a TV set and I turned on the local news.

There on Channels 2, 4, and 7 was my sister Patricia in front of the hobbit hole that was her front door talking on camera.  The voiceover began, “A woman in Haight Ashbury has opened her home to the homeless street people who live on the sidewalks nearby.  She’s letting them come in to her home, no questions asked, so they can take showers, and rest.”

Then there was a closeup of Patricia talking to reporters who’d gathered outside her home in the Haight.  

“I decided to let them come in here, just to let them have some time off the streets,” said my sister to the reporter with deep compassion in her voice, “to give them a place to chill, maybe regroup.”

I sat there dumbfounded on my mattress with the snarling dogs in the background and watched as the reporter and camera then followed Patricia through the hobbit hole door into the dark rooms inside. 

The camera panned my sister’s living area, where disheveled street kids were strewn about blending with the décor.  They leaned on chairs tables and stairs, their hair split like clouds around their heads.  A murmuring sound mixed with smoke, eyes darted left and right. 

The camera and everyone in San Francisco watching the local news then turned their attention back to my sister Patricia the Haight Street homeless advocate.

“Why would you open your home to these street kids this way?” asked the reporter with compelling urgency.

Looking like a scolding mother, stout yet a little like Lana Turner, Patricia looked straight into the camera lens and said, “Well somebody’s got to do it.”


* Same cousin I mentioned in Chapter One incident, which may be the real reason he didn't want us around.



Patricia got citywide media coverage.  News stories ran everywhere lauding her efforts to end homelessness in San Francisco, in spite of the fact she hadn’t let her sister and niece stay in her home a few months earlier and we ended up in a shelter downtown.

Still, as always, I patched things up with Trish and a few weeks later Lizzie and I went back to her place.  Before I could even sit down, my sister Patricia insisted I look at her scrapbooks again as she’d added a lot of new clippings.

I flip past the picture Patricia in the nipple dress, to get to the new part she wants me to see, news clippings from her homeless activism a few weeks back.

Patricia also insists we watch a VHS tape she made with all the TV news coverage she’d gotten for her campaign. 

After watching them, I ask my sister Patricia, “Whatever happened to that homeless project you ran?”

She answers, “Oh hell I had to throw those brats outta here,”  and takes a long drag on her Camel.  “They stole my whole Marilyn Monroe collection.”


A Hobbit Hole

Patricia’s part of the home was a really weird place, carved out of a weird building.  As you walked through, you couldn't really identify the rooms with names such as living room, dining room, etcetera.

Trish used the area you encountered when you entered through the front door as a place to hang out, so she called it the living room.  It was narrow and window-less. Below your feet was a well-worn carpet that always felt kind of wet, but the dark colors and floral pattern camouflaged the dirt.  In the twenty years my sister had lived in that apartment, I doubt she ever did more than sweep or vacuum it.  She was not inclined to anything as mundane as shampooing a rug.

In that narrow entryway / room was a couch on the left and a a television set on the right, stereo equipment on shelves along the hall.  You followed the walkway into the kitchen.  Here were elements similar to what's found in the kitchens in most human homes, a sink, counter top, cabinets with dishes and cooking utensils.  Still there was a strangeness to the place. For instance, when you sat at Patricia’s kitchen table, you should be able to look out on a backyard with trees and a sitting area.  But Trish had covered the floor to ceiling windows with clippings from fashion magazines.  So the only way to see the grand backyard was to walk out the doors which she always kept closed and locked. 

“There’s a lot of creeps living on the other side of the yard,” she explained.

I got the feeling she’d fought with her neighbors, just from decades of reading body language with my sister.  But I didn't ask. .

Trish wore a Japanese style kimono with nothing under it.  She smoked unfiltered Camels through a foot-long cigarette holder and her smile showed tobacco blackened teeth. Still she was, as always, stunningly beautiful. 

Trying to make small talk I commented on the shelves that lined the walls, as if the apartment had once been a shop of some kind.  Knick knacks, figurines of fairies and nymphs, and Betty Boops filled the shelves. 

Most alluring were hundreds of figurines depicting Marilyn Monroe, about which I asked Patricia and she said:

“Every time I see anything about Marilyn, in a second-hand store or a yard sale, I buy it.” She added, “So sad the way she died. It was all a conspiracy, you know.”

I wanted to remind her of this (link to Marilyn and Me posted May 29 2012 ) but let it go for now.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chapter 2 coming soon, here is a preview

Patricia 1981 Family Reunion PG version, cartoon by Kay
This "cartoon" will be used to illustrate Chapter Two, to be posted in a few days.  See R-Rated version here at CofA16.  Heh heh

Am I a deviant for doing this? probably but how could I not be.  I write and make jokes about the whole pedophile priest thing, "Just because it's all so f---ing hilarious," as Conner Rooney says in Road to Perdition, a movie I watched last week that got me writing again for some reason, probably bk it's about Irish Catholic criminals.  In one shot Paul Newman stands over the kid putting a silver dollar in his face, saying, "You have to forget" in Irish brogue bk the kid witnessed a murder.  Hey, That Was A Trigger for Me!!!