I am on an email list which is usually light-hearted and makes me smile. There is no specific discussion topic; it is a small list and we just have fun on it. The list members are from all over the country, but some of us have met face-to-face.
Today someone whom I have met, and who is from my home-town area posted a link to an obituary. It caused me to flashback quite a bit. It took me a while to process it all, and then to respond. Below is the link and my response. The one who posted this didn't make any personal commentary beyond a subject line which said, "Too sad."
I wanted to be respectful of the one who posted it, but yet stay true to myself, my old friend, and my message. I think I succeeded.
I didn't mention it in my post, really by neglect not purposeful ommission, but when this story happened I was only seventeen years old. I left my parent's home when I was 16-years-old. I am now 51; this all seems like so long ago, yet parts of it also seem fairly fresh.
I remember him; my story is not so uplifting as some of those on the site.
I was a local hippie in 1973, hanging out with the street people. I
had a friend whom asked to stay with me. Prior to coming to stay with
me she had been staying with Shakey Jake. I asked why she needed a
different place to stay because his home seemed safe. She told me he
had sexually assaulted her. While she told everyone she was fifteen,
I found out that she was really only thirteen years old. She was
treated a bit special by many of the street people, because we knew
she was younger, we just didn't know how young. We thought she would
be safe with Shakey Jake, and were very surprised she was not. But, I
did believe what she told me. She seemed even more traumatized than
usual when she came to me for help; I was one of the few who actually
had an apartment to call home. Eventually, she ended up as a hooker,
traveling the interstate, and that is the last I ever heard of her.
Once I saw a poem she wrote:
What am I looking for; what will I find?
I wonder if I'll call it peace of mind?
Shakey Jake had a good reputation locally but, at least during one
part of his life, he made a habit of preying on the young street
people who were too traumatized and abused to have a home to return
to. This was before the days of massive "child protective services"
involvement in cases of incest and abuse. This was before incest was
even in the feminist mind, yet alone the public eye.
Sorry my story might pop someone's idealism balloon but, yea, I knew
Shakey Jake. I just knew a different side of him.