On the third day after running away from home we ended up with the VW Microbus breaking down in Billings Montana. We got the car to a shop and found a place to rent. We both got jobs at the JB’s Big Boy restaurant in Billings. She as a waitress me as a dishwasher. The manager gave me a ten cent an hour raise my first night because I guess I worked hard, or well, or who knows. So I was making $1.75 per hour. This was 1973. Waitresses wages were far lower, perhaps around 75 cents, but they more than made up for this with tips. Back then 25 cents was a good tip, and one dollar was WOW. We had plenty of money. The car repair was expensive but completed quickly. Everything went on quite well in most respects for a couple of months. There was a regular customer who sat at the counter and drank coffee every day around 10AM. The waitresses liked him because he would always leave a 25 cent tip for a 25 cent cup of coffee. He offered me 2.50 per hour to come and work for him as a carpenter. I was anxious to do this and left the restaurant the next day, which I should not have done. I should have given them two weeks notice, but I was only sixteen and did not know any better. It was easy to lie about my age back in those days. I just lied. It was never a problem. The only drawback for me during this time was that I was still struggling with the reason she cut off the frequent sex that had defined our relationship up to when we left home. I blamed myself. I did everything I could think of to make her happy, thinking I had done something to make her feelings towards me change. It was only years later that I found out she had never had any serious feelings for me anyway. It would be five or six years but one afternoon she informed me that her goal, back when I was fourteen, was to lose her virginity, and had it not been me she would have used anyone handy. That has to be another post.
I sometimes wonder what it might have been like to continue growing up with my classmates, many of whom I had been in school with since Kindergarten. I wonder about continuing in sports. I think about what it might have been like to have dates, possibly to have fallen in love. To have loved and lost. To have carried on and found the true one… perhaps I would have messed it up, anyway. But perhaps not. I never had the chance. Instead I was made a father repeatedly and participated unwittingly in abortions… I doubt my kids know they have three siblings which never saw the light of day. A 14 year old cannot grasp abortions. Nor can a 15 year old. That is how I spent those years. Beer, sex, abortions. There was never any love- just dependence. Adults should not have sex with children.
It was not a love relationship. What does a 14 year old know about that. I depended on her for beer and sex, two things many 14 year olds would very much like to have but it simply is not available. It was to me. That was the relationship in my mind. I became dependent on her. Many young kids want to run away from home, but they do not have the means. I did. Doing this I placed myself at a much greater level of dependence. Once you are away from home you rely on the adult. Here was the point at which I should have turned around and gone home… the night we left- the sex was turned off like a light switch. I remember to this day laying there- right next to her and feeling a million miles away. I could not understand what had happened. I was too young I guess. I left my home and friends, and lost the relationship I was dependent on in the same moment.
She would take me out to drive-in movies. We would get a 12-pack of beer on the way. Usually Schlitz. Drink, make-out, have sex. This was the summer of my 14th year. We went to see “Little Big Man” 6 times. I never saw the movie till about 30 years later, when out of curiosity I watched it online. One time we were so out of it that we suddenly realized several drive-in employees were standing outside the car with flashlights, both of us buck naked. They wanted us to leave so they could go home. Most of these employees went to the same school I was going to and she had been going to. Like I said… this was the summer of my 14th year.
I have tried to discuss this at various times with various family members, but no one wants to hear it. I have mentioned the “everything is all right” conversational guidelines imposed by my family. It does not seem to be optional- My attempts to break this rule were met universally with staunch resistance. So I figured… if I cannot tell anyone- I will tell everyone. I have to do something with the story- it appears I have two choices: keep it inside and let it eat my guts out, or let it out so perhaps it will become harmless. To me in any event. I fear it is going to be disjointed and fragmental. I tried writing it down in book form but could not do it without being blocked by my horrible inadequacy as a writer. As a different aspect or memory surfaces I try to log in and record it. The story spans many years.
But I did have fun. A 14 year old supplied with all the booze and sex he could ask for and then some more he had no idea to imagine? Yes I had fun. But it was more an obsession. Everything else was tossed aside. Friends of my own age. Any interaction with my family other than hostility. High School. Sports. Everything became when will I get to see her again, have more beer, have more sex. I think this is one of the reasons it was made a crime. Perhaps THE reason. It is not that an adult will force the child to have sex, it is because the child doesn’t know how to say no to an adult, doesn’t know how to see the consequences.
I should not have had the opportunity to become a father at age 14. I should not have had the opportunity to become a father at age 15. I should not have been the cause of two abortions before I was 16. I should not have had ready access to alcohol. I should not have had the means supplied to run away from home when I turned 16.
I am old now and I think what would I have done if one of my kids had been taken away from me by an adult woman who took them out in her car and got them drunk and had sex with them. Somehow I think I would have put an end to it. It is and was against the law. I would have the law on my side. I cannot make sense of why my parents, who are both gone, did nothing to stop her.
My mother was dying. I was with her and one of the last things she said to me was she was glad things had worked out between me and “her”. Well, in a way she was right. I did not argue the point. Everything with her had worked out for her and my father. Everything had worked out for her- what had transpired since seemed to erase the crimes. The only person nothing had worked out for was me. Nothing was all right. Things were completely wrong- they had been wrong from the start and had done nothing but grown worse. In our family, however, it was always crucial to never address uncomfortable issues. It was crucial to pretend everything was OK.
Not sure where it started.