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

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Culture Shock

Not in the way you would expect

I live in an SRO and it's funny because all my life I used to say, when I'm old I want to live in a hotel.  I was dreaming more of the Hotel Laguna right on the beach with room service, or something downtown in a city such as San Francisco.  I was dreaming of an era that barely existed when I was growing up, but at least I was able to observe it as a child, the era of a thriving middle class.  My dad, the son of a Chicago cop, became a corporate lawyer, and the first home I remember living in must have been a mansion, looking back on it.  There was even a “ballroom” where my parents threw cocktail parties. I went looking for it in 2011 and found that a Northwest Suburb covers the area where our "house in the woods" used to be. 

In the 1950s when we went to special events, we wore complete outfits. Everything from barrettes to died-to-match shoes had been purchased for that one afternoon. Our shopping trips took up an entire day. We'd stop for lunch in restaurants with napkins, then in the store there was a comfortable chair to sit in while we tried on clothes, sometimes a saleswoman also served refreshments. 

Whenever we went out, we wore hats and gloves. 

So that upper crust lifestyle got into my DNA. I grew up with addresses in San Marino, Newport Beach, and for a brief time, Forest Hills New York.

So finding myself in a Single Room Occupancy hotel in South Lake Tahoe in my old age is a bit of a culture shock. 

Still I'm more comfortable here than I was in the “senior complex” that I was running away from when I landed in what is, yes, a hotel, but it's in the part of town where homeless people go when they finally move into permanent shelter.     

At least you know what to expect from a guy who sits on the bench outside his room with a can of beer in his hand every morning.  You know not to even try to hold a conversation with a staggering guy hollering “Why don't management take out this trash!” as he tosses a Hungry Man box on top of a pyramid of TV dinner boxes in the community kitchen. 

One of the worst things I've learned about many “senior complexes” that dot our nation’s cities from coast to coast, thanks to IRS and state tax incentives, is they put one face out for the public to see, but inside the seniors are living in a strange state of neglect and exploitation. 

So I’d rather be in an SRO.  I'd rather live where it's obvious who to stay away from. Actually what I'd really like is to live in a real home. 

But  in 1997, a red headed woman stole the family money, taking advantage of a time when I was kind of reeling, having just found out in 1995 that I Really Had Been Molested by a priest at age five and it was the reason I screwed up everything in my life with sexual compulsions. So I did not defend us, and my mom, sister and me became suddenly poor.  Now I find myself living in the strangest places. 


More to come. 

-kay ebeling 

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