Sunday, November 1, 2009

'No wonder I've been so mean to you all your life. You took away my first lover.'

(Post still in editing phase)

For some reason I would often be in the role of my older sister’s protector. The response to rescue her was visceral.

I know my sister was also raped by Father Horne when we were children, because in 1995, when I first remembered being alone in the rectory with Father Horne on his mat, I called Trish on the phone. I said, “Do you ever think about when we were kids and Father Horne?”

Her tone was controlled concern, "Oh no, he got to you too?”

Me, "What? You too?" But she went on.

“No wonder I’ve been so mean to you all your life. You took away my first lover.” Her voice deepened, got breathy, a tone that penetrated deep past the ear.

I was already reeling when I called her, so when she said that I hit the floor, the phone flew out of my hand but the curled cord snapped it back. "Don't say that! Patricia Stop!"

Patricia is six years older than me, so when she got too old for a pedophile's desires, Father Horne dropped her and started in on me.

She went on, "It explains so much, all that hostility I had for you all my life."

Truth is, it hadn't been all our lives. Until I was in my twenties, Trish was in the parent role. All through high school, my parents would send me to stay with my older sister by almost six years. They had no idea how to handle me, it seems, and she and I were so tight.

Patricia and I had had this strange connection all our lives. Neither of us knew what it was that caused the connection, we’d just remark on it.

Even when we were living on different continents, we’d go through changes at exactly the same time.

Of course, it may just be because a whole generation of people were going through those changes. Patricia was in London and I was in Hollywood, but the Beatles were everywhere...

I was the one who brought my sister a Beatles album to listen to for the first time, even though she lived in Europe. I had a scholarship to Pasadena Playhouse and spent years in Hollywood trying to start an acting career. Trish five years later announced an acting career. When we were dancing at a restaurant on a country road in France it was me who got the whole crowd singing along with Yellow Submarine. Later they surrounded Trish to find out more about this new English music.

I'm the younger sister, yet by my late teens, I was the leader between the two of us. I would sort of lead from behind the scenes while it was Patricia who everyone noticed. I would show her where to go, then she would go there. I was in the Haight in 1967, tripping, creating things. Trish was still in Europe in 1967. Today she lives in the Haight District and is a regular at reunions from the 1967 period. She wasn't even there, I was, but I never hear about reunions ...

Our lives overlapped. I never knew why, until 1995 when my daughter Lizzie turned five, and as I'd stare at her, the intimate times I had at age five with Father Horne would start to fill my head. In fact, I came to San Francisco weeks later trying to find a support group for priest rape survivors that I'd read about.

Then Lizzie and I ended up homeless in San Francisco. It was 1995, and days before we arrived, Trish decided to rent out her spare room to someone who paid her $790 a month instead of having my daughter stay there temporarily. We ended up in a homeless shelter.

It was the Father Horne stuff that brought us to San Francisco in the first place.

A few weeks earlier Lizzie and I had a great home in Eureka, then I started remembering this stuff about Father Horne, and I lined up a therapy appointment. The only therapist my plan covered was at Catholic Charities. On the phone to the health insurance clerk I said, “I need a therapist because I'm remembering being molested by a priest when I was five years old, do you really think I should go to Catholic Charities,” and she assured me it was okay, the doctor's name was Jewish. And Catholic Charities has nothing to do with the Church.

So I went, and while I was in the waiting room, I picked up an edition of St. Francis Messenger, a Catholic magazine that happened to be on the table next to me. In it was an article about Catholic priests being accused and found guilty of pedophilia with children. The article mentioned a group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, that had formed recently and had a meeting in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went ahead in and saw the therapist that one time, mostly to tell her I was going to take the magazine home with me.

We had a garage sale, sold all the stuff we’d accumulated since Lizzie and I moved there after she was born in 1988, and arrived in San Francisco weeks after Patricia and I spoke on the phone.

And she'd rented out her rooms.

Now, I’m an old hippie. It used to be easy to pick up and move up and down the California coast, you’d always find a place to stay. I figured since I had a sister and a cousin in The City, we’d be fine until we found a place to live.

My cousin though it turned out also did not want us nearby as he had recently decided to return to the Catholic Church, because in San Francisco, they had just got out the word that you could be openly gay and still be Catholic. When cousin Jimmy heard why I came to The City, to connect with other pedophile priest rape survivors, his doors closed to us, too. He was in the middle of some personal growth, having just evicted his long time partner from the three story townhouse they shared in the Castro District.

Now my cousin was actively participating as an evangelical gay Catholic dealing with his sexuality by being asexual and going several times a week to the “The Bascillica” he said with dreamlike reverent tones in his voice.

I didn't even ask my sister why she'd rented out those rooms, it was a given she’d do mean things to me, it had happened all our lives. That was our relationship.

It even made sense from this skewered point of view. Patricia had tried to tell us when we were still in Eureka that it would be almost impossible for us to find a place to stay once we got to The City. Now that we were here, if she put us up in the studio of her flat, it would mean she had been wrong about how hard it is to find a place in San Francisco ...

So Lizzie and I, she age 8 I was 48 and overweight and frowsy, ended up in a homeless shelter, in the Tenderloin District, where Jones meets Market. My sister did let me have a key to her place in the Haight, so I could come out and use her phone while I continued to look for an apartment from the homeless shelter.

The nonprofit agency that was housing us had an office with phones we could use…

1ST EDITED TO HERE, STILL NEEDS WORK: (Gotta go back to my paid job -ke)

We finally did get moved into that apartment we finally got at Haight and Webster, a horrible part of town bordering up against the Projects.

Weeks after we got moved in, my sister went on a one-woman PR slash social work campaign to do something about the rampant homelessness in the Haight District. She opened up her home and invited in the homeless kids, mostly junkies and ruined runaways who had taken up tents and blankets as homes along Haight Street, in the 1990s. Patricia managed to get several news media to come out to these events she held, where she left her house opened, had these pierced tattooed slack looking kids roaming through her home, and she’d look into the camera saying, “Someone has to do something about all this homelessness, if the City won’t do it, then we have to do something ourselves one at a time.”

Articles ran in a few newspapers, there was coverage on several local TV stations. I wanted so much to pick up the phone and tell one of the reporters I was her sister and she wouldn't let me and my daughter sleep there when we were homeless just a few weeks back, but I let it slide.

A few weeks later, maybe Thanksgiving, some holiday, for some reason Lizzie and I went to visit Aunt Patricia out the Haight Street bus, from where we got on near downtown and the projects, we’d ride out to where she lives, just feet from the Haight Street entrance to Golden Gate Park, to this day she lives there and rents out half the place as a separate apartment, paying almost her total 1970s rent control rent with what she makes for the room and bath on the side.

We went to visit Aunt Patricia trying once more to eek something like a family life out of this family, and she got out this photo scrap book with all the stories about her one-woman homeless campaign, and then popped a VHS videotape into the TV and played back all the news coverage she’d gotten on the local stations, with her one-woman campaign against homelessness.

Feeling the pain quietly inside as I was so practiced in doing by then, I asked her, “Why aren’t those homeless kids out on the street still coming around?”

She answered, “Oh hell I had to put a stop to that after a while.” She lit one cigarette off another, Camels, unfiltered. “The bastards were robbing me right and left, all my beautiful miniatures, my Marilyn Monroe collection.”

My sister. Our relationship is so complex. She was raped by Father Horne first. She confirmed it for me, once, in a conversation we had in 1996, when I was still in Eureka trying to piece things together. I phoned her. For the last decade or two, we’d only been able to speak to each other for short periods of time. Inevitably it would end up in a fight, a rancorous argument, where the damage goes clear through the soul to the other side, piercing all the way.

I know my sister was also raped by Father Horne because in 1995, soon after I started remembering stuff, when I was able to pick myself up and function again, I called her. I said, “I’ve been thinking about some stuff and I wanted to ask you something. Do you ever think about Father Horne?”

She said, “Oh no, did he get to you too?”

That might be the point where I started throwing myself against walls and bouncing between them and ended up on the floor having to pick myself back up. It was her saying that to me over the phone, because it confirmed to me, that yes this really did happen. I’m not just imagining it, I'm clean and sober for the first time in my life, and out of the blue without pre-conditioning or even saying what it was exactly I was thinking about Father Horne, she chimed in, even before I finished the sentence, “Oh no, did he get to you too.”

Problem is next thing she said pretty much defines our relationship our whole lives. She said,

“No wonder I’ve been so hostile to you all our lives. You took away my first lover.“ When she said those words her voice was deep, quiet, almost like coming from inside a cave, dark, breathy, like I am saying this in a way meant to penetrate deep into you and pierce. Pierce.

She really did say that. “You took away my first lover.”

Holding the phone as I was in our kitchen in Eureka, the wall phone with the long curly cord, I cried out, “Patricia how can you say that?”

“Well it’s true, isn’t it, and it explains so much, all the hostility I’ve had for you that was just inside me, I don't know where it even came from, but it was always there.”

I guess that says a bit about how different the two of us are, Patricia and me, even though our personalities were defined, definitely affected, by being sexualized by a catholic priest when we were just children. At some point she made a turn in a different direction. I used to think I was better off than her.

When we were visiting there in San Francisco, before I stopped talking to Patricia again, I asked her, “Don’t you sometimes regret being raped by Father Horne when we were kids? I mean you might have been a totally different person, all those years you were a topless dancer-“

She interrupted me, “Hey, I'm fine with it. I had fun. I had a good life. I have friends here. It doesn't really bother me that much.”

Trish used to be a regular at the Hookers and Dancers Ball they used to have in San Francisco, not sure if she still goes to it now or if they even throw it yet.

Her life is also textbook: raped by a priest as a kid, you're sexually screwed up as an adult. She stayed a virgin until she was 21. But at the end of her thirties, as a single mom raising little Damian alone, she supported them by dancing topless in bars all over rural Northern California, north of San Francisco, all through the 1970s.


But Can I Ever Trust Patricia’s Memory?

My sister has also had lots and lots of shock treatments, and I never did, so her memory is not real reliable.

My parents were still living in the Arcadia house when the shock treatments happened, Patricia was back in the United States, we were both living in Hollywood in separate apartments. I was on Leland Way going to auditions and doing porn shoots to pay the bills.

Patricia had come back from Europe with a husband, a British rock musician, or at least he fancied himself to be a rocker. He was also connected to the Vestey family, famous in England for holding onto their inherited wealth for generations. His allowance from the Vestey trust was minimal as a distant relation, but he still did not work.

Pat was pregnant, got a job at the Whisky a Go Go as a waitress where going out on the balcony with the rock bands to do heavy petting was part of the job. She had the baby, arranged child care with the lady upstairs so she could go back to work at the Whisky a Go Go, and all this time her husband the near knighted Vestey had not sold one song or made one connection with the L.A. recording industry. He just plinked away on his guitar in their apartment , unplugged often so as not to wake the baby, just plinking, and as he smoked and jotted down notes of poetry and melodies. A Vestey would not lower himself to anything so brash as trying to sell anything. Trish would put four diapers on the baby when she left for work, so he wouldn't have to do change him.

Re the shock treatments, I don't really know the details, just that my sister soon after Damian was born had a nervous breakdown and went with the baby to stay with my parents. At the time their house was in Arcadia.

She lasted there about a day then my dad packed her up to a sanitarium somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley to have shock treatments.

She had twelve shock treatments. They did it to her twelve times.

I was 19 or 20, living in Hollywood on Leland Way just off Sunset Boulevard, and when I came home to visit, I asked my dad, “Why are they giving her shock treatments?”

He said, “Because of her memory. She’s got some horrible memories in her head, and the doctor says if they do this treatment enough times, she won’t remember those horrible things anymore.”

I said, “What horrible memories, why do you want to erase her memory?”

“Well,” he went thoughtful and intellectual in his tone, his voice chesty from decades of smoking Kents down to the filters. He said “Sometimes a person remembers things that only cause them trouble. It’s better to just -“

God, I don't remember that whole conversation in detail, I need to work on the line of dialogue to get it to the perfect structure. And as I sit here typing this, I'm also thinking WHAT THE F---!!!!

Why haven’t I thought about this more before?

What was it they wanted to erase from my sister’s memory right after she had her baby? Anything like what I was remembering after my daughter turned five years old?

This is where writing can be therapeutic. Onward.


I often ended up in the role of protector of my sister, even when we were children. Once in the early 1960s we were up at a lake resort near Arrowhead or Big Bear.

As usual my sister’s beauty was a big player in any scene that went on in our family. Now she was in a one piece bathing suit looking perfect and drawing attention from everywhere on the lakeshore. But Patsy, as she was called in the house, Pat to everyone else, Pat Ebeling was going steady with Kenny Gustafson so she wasn’t even meeting an eye among all the turned heads.

The romance between Pat Ebeling and Kenny Gustafson had even made the local paper in San Marino, where the family had its house at the time and where Pat went to high school. An article ran about the two of them riding around in this newfangled car that Kenny had brought over from Germany to drive around Pasadena, a Volkswagen. There was a picture of Pat and Ken next to this funny looking car built in a style no one had seen before.

Pat stretched out in the sun, her skin tanning in perfect contrast to her white one-piece suit, looking like Sandra Dee perfect on the beach. Me I was always freckle instead of tanning, and I still chubby and pre-teen, but always gaping along at my sister’s side.

Patricia, Pat, Patsy sat up with a start from her sunbath and said in surprise, “My ring. I don't have Kenny’s ring. I must have lost it when I was swimming just now.”

Okay, from 2009 I'm wondering, maybe she lost the ring on purpose as she was trying to prove some point with Kenny Gustafson because she didn't seem to mind that much that she lost the ring, but she was putting on a portrayal of concern. “I’ve lost his ring, he’s my steady and now I’ve lost his ring.”

I immediately became heroic, and said, “I’ll find it.” and began diving underwater looking for the ring. It was murky lake water, but clear enough to see through a brown haze in the blue water a few feet. I’d dive look everywhere, come up to the top, take a breath and dive back down. I think it became a bit of an issue, with three or ten people coming up and gathering after awhile. I was near the end of a small pier, a rowboat pier, at that time the cabins around Arrowhead had a genuine forestry look, it was not developed yet up there. It was quiet and my diving for the ring became an issue. Because I would not stop.

When I’d come up Patricia would be there saying, it’s alright, but I couldn't stop. I’d say, no, I know I can find it, and dive back down. My mom, others would beckon in those seconds when I’d come up for a breath, saying, Kathy it’s okay - you can come o--

Swoosh I’d go back down. I scoured every inch of the sandy bottom of that lake and later, much later, many dives later, I found the ring, retrieved it, returned it to my sister, who was nonchalant, and a bit embarrassed, sidetracked, as she thanked me for finding it.

She was maybe fifteen sixteen then, I was maybe ten.

And determined to rescue my sister's ring, just like today I'm relentless in writing this story, until it gets known.

With the twisting change and tides of time, Patricia ended up being in a bit of a different generation than I was, and the rapes by Father Horne thus affected her differently.

The 21 Year Old Virgin

Patricia was renowned all over San Marino, Newport Beach, and even Santa Barbara as one of the last hold outs. She was determined not to give up her virginity, no matter what, and she didn’t until she was 21 years old. Twenty one years old, and in 1965, people talked about her holding onto her virginity, yes, I remember it.

I was staying with her for the summer as I did every summer in high school, wherever she was living and this summer it was a one-room apartment out on the Balboa peninsula, almost to the end, back when the only way to get to the end of the peninsula was by boat or the road that went out from about 38th street to first past the ferry and then all the way out to the end.

Balboa was in this sleepy beach town then, and Patricia, with people watching on the sidelines and cheering practically, gave up her virginity to Tim Morgon, a guitar playing folk singer she dated, who was performing at the Prison of Socrates , Coffee House out there on the edge of Balboa Peninsula. Pat was working there as a cocktail waitress, it was 1965, I was staying with Patricia, two single beds in the one-room apartment out at the edge of the peninsula where there was just a smattering of houses, then The Wedge, which as a body surfers’ mecca, was about the only thing on the peninsula. You could drive out to the ledge on a summer afternoon and be isolated on an empty beach, nothing around for miles… at the edge of Balboa Peninsula… 1960s…

Back a Minute to Arcadia and Patsy’s Twelve Shock Treatments.

I think as a young woman in my twenties, just awakening to human rights and astonishment at what adults do, I may have asked my father, Why would they want to erase memories. He answered.

“She’s got something her memory and that's driving her crazy. Causing her all this trouble.”

Her shock treatments were in 1967 maybe 1968.

There are people who when they walk into a room everyone stops. There is a lot of beauty in my family, my aunt was a photographer’s model back in Chicago in the twenties.

Patricia went to UC Santa Barbara in 1962 and was named Freshman Queen at homecoming, then for the first time ever in the history of UC Santa Barbara, she also made the Dean’s List. Believe me that came up around the dinner conversation a couple hundred times, my sister was not only homecoming princess, but she was also the first Freshman Princess to make the Dean’s List, in fact, the usual pattern for a freshman Homecoming princesses was for them to flunk out by the end of the year.

That was my sister, brainy and beautiful, and she shined so highly that I was always in the background. Always. One nice thing my mother did do for me, when she’d see that I was hurt by all the attention my sister would getting. When I was real little, and people would remark about how beautiful my sister was, my mom would look at me, and then pipe into the conversation, “Well Kathy is real smart.”

“Kathy is real smart.” Because no one cared that my sister had already made the Dean’s List and was also real smart, what everybody was excited about was she was so stunningly beautiful.

She didn't flunk out by the end of her freshman year, but she dropped out middle of first semester sophomore year. Went to Europe, came back, and supported her child as a single mom, working the topless bottomless dance circuit in Northern California.

Those times when Patsy was still a teenager, as I research them in the files in my head, wow, I’d forgotten the luxury.

That luxury is one reason I don't let myself get too angry that about 80 percent of the crime victims getting settlements from the Catholic Church for its child molesting priests in the last couple decades and here I am in the 20 percent who didn't get settlements. I try not to let that get to me, because I grew up in luxury, so I’ve had my time of creature comforts. My dad was a corporate attorney who specialized in real estate deals. He once had a negotiation with Walt Disney where he lost because of the Mickey Mouse creator’s deviance.

It concerned some land down in Orange County that my dad was trying to develop as a U.S. Tire and Rubber plant and Disney wanted for an amusement park. Disney finagled my dad in some behind the scenes way that made my dad real angry and for years we weren’t allowed to say anything nice about Walt Disney or Mickey Mouse at home or my dad would roar out in a rage about that damn Walt Disney.


Just now remembering my mom when she would come to my defense, essentially saying, well Kathy may not be all that pretty but she gets good grades, I remembered the luxury. It was the house in San Marino.

Luxurious fabrics on furniture, I viscerally feel that memory, thinking about those years, early 1960s in San Marino, California, especially now looking at the wreckage in which we live, my daughter and me.

But there is more love between me and Lizzie here in the slums of Hollywood off Sunset Boulevard than there ever was in that Ebeling family in Newport Beach, San Marino, Arcadia, San Francisco, and other places we’d live.

Thinking about diving for that ring, I wrote this paragraph, then deleted it and put it at the end here:

Vacation. My daughter has never even been on a real vacation. Once when we were in San Francisco I bought a Greyhound ticket and paid for three nights in a motel in Santa Cruz, saving up for months to raise the money. We swam at the motel pool and went to the Boardwalk with the arcades and rides each day. That was one time, one three day vacation I’ve taken with my daughter since she was born.

She’s another person whose life was affected by the sex crimes in the Catholic Church, my daughter is part of this story too. The story that is unfolding as I write it here.

The Prison of Socrates, 1950s, where Patricia finally at age 21, gave up her virginity to a folksinger, the year Marilyn Monroe died.

So it must have been 1962. I remember, I heard about Monroe's death when I went out to walk on the empty beachfront, and it was on a radio. Marily Monroe died that morning, my sister was uninterested and rolled over to go back to sleep. Me, I was devastated, already identifying with Marilyn, when I don't think I'd even had the "Facts of Life" talk yet with my parents.

Patricia was working nights at the Prison and days at a drugstore on Balboa Island, where she could help herself to amphetamines and downers freely, which fueled her two jobs.

She used that extra cash to get over to Europe and travel. She gave up her virginity to Morgon and then went overseas to re-create herself.

I did hear God’s voice, once, at the very beginning of this journey. In San Francisco in 1996, when Lizzie and I first moved into our apartment there at 222 Webster Street. We went to a Catholic church for a box of food, and they made a huge ceremony out of it, I had to show up in three different places in different parts of town, before going to a rectory in rush hour and parking out on the street to be given this box, that when I got home was almost entirely empty but for a sack of rick and a bag of beans. At the rectory door a Filipono boy so feminine I thought he might be female had taken our name, acted surprised that we showed up, and handed us this huge box that like a trick birthday present practically had nothing in it.

In my new kitchen in the lower Haight of San Francisco, this loud voice bellowed in my head, "This can no longer go on!" And I know it wasn't my imagination. I'm not one of those persons who go around claiming they can speak to God all the time, that happened One Time.

Here is the Perfect Storm that led to all this: When I was clean and sober two years (first and only time in my adult life), my daughter turned five, I’d look at her and start remembering what happened to me when I was five, and that's how I ended up remembering being raped by Father Horne at age five, which is textbook for recovered memory, though I did not know it at the time.

I have to say that a kind of frenzy kicked in there in 1995 Eureka, that ended up with me and Lizzie in San Francisco a few months later, staying at a homeless shelter, after we’d run out of money staying in hotels. I didn't think it would be that hard to find an apartment when we got there, plus I have two family members who live in The City (my roots go so far back that I refer to San Francisco as The City, but only in my heart, as no one who’s moved here in the last forty years gets what you mean when you call San Francisco The City).

Like I said, none of those family members had room for us. I won’t dwell too long on how cold my family is, suffice to say that it’s often the most dysfunctional families that the Catholic pedophile priests go to for their prey, as that's where you usually find vulnerable children, pedophiles all know that. Our family was vulnerable.

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